Monday, January 7, 2013

Drip feed Mama

The girls are almost 4 weeks old (Wednesday is their weekly milestone). I have decided that I am a drip-fed Mama. Normally all these exciting firsts would happen within hours of your baby's birth. Maybe it's for the best that I hadn't had the time before their sudden birth to imagine all those firsts, wonder about what it feels like to hold your baby. Feed her. Change her. Clean her. As all of these moments are now being drip-fed to me over the course of this past month.

The longing and excitement of that first skin to skin cuddle. Oh I shed little tears onto their CPAP hats as I enjoyed those cuddles. We are lucky enough to get a cuddle a day now, Rob and I alternate (we're already careful not to have favourites!) I love seeing their little faces up close, especially if they open their eyes. Elisabeth has moved onto hiflow oxygen, which means she just has little prongs in her nose that are taped to her cheeks. She has coped with the change well (no longer requiring the pressure of the CPAP) system to breathe. It also means her head is bare, as they had to wear a cap tightly held on with Velcro with CPAP. Her head recovered quickly from the cap, plumping out from it's wrinkled state. So now, when she's snuggled on my chest I can kiss her soft head covered in a mop of fine dark hair.

Maggie is still a bit more fragile so will be in the CPAP for a while. But I love my cuddles with her just the same!

I see it as a great honour to help with their care, changing messy nappies and carefully putting them back on and rearranging the cables from all their sensors. Taking their temperature under an arm. Gently cleaning their eyes using cotton wool buds soaked in saline or water for around their mouth. Massaging their heads to relieve them from the pressure of the CPAP cap.

The milk expressing has been going well. Rob seems particularly proud and will declare their daily record to anyone who looks even vaguely interested. Probably the most precious moments have been the two times the nurse has put Maggie and Elisabeth on the breast. They are fed my breast milk through a feeding tube, but both girls knew exactly what to do with a nipple. So funny to see and feel their sucking and watch them swallow like crazy. Such a basic instinct, but one that has made me very happy. The breast milk is now being fortified with vitamins and minerals, to help our girls grow. Both have been doing quite well in terms of growth. Elisabeth hit the kilo mark last Wednesday and Maggie isn't far off either. The nurses were keen to tell us about the tradition of the kilo cake, so we duly brought in some Nigella chocolate brownies that Rob had baked to celebrate Elisabeth. They all appreciated it so much, Rob thinks we'll celebrate each half kilo with a cake!

Our life has become quite simple. Visiting the girls, walking the dogs at the beach, eating well, watering and tending the garden (Rob, not me yet), and napping. The 3 hourly expressing regime is enough to keep me occupied! The 3am one especially ensures that we both feel slightly tired all the time. Just in training I guess for when the girls come home.
I struggle to keep up with emails, phone calls and blogging. It just seems to be the last priority, and sleep or baby cuddling will win every time!

So although this isn't the start of motherhood I imagined, every one of my drip-fed Mama moments are treasured, and we delight in them all day, maybe even all week! I am storing these precious memories away, and hope I never forget just how much I anticipated and am thankful for them.


Jane @ Shady Baker said...

Wow Marian, your post has given me goosebumps. Especially the breastfeeding bits which are almost my most treasured memories of motherhood, so far. Love to you and your precious girls :)

Sarah B said...

A lovely post Marian, thank you for sharing :)

Holli said...

Oh I remember taking such joy in taking their temperatures, changing their tiny nappies and the rare cuddles that never lasted long enough. Any opportunity to touch, feel, smell my babies. You are doing an amazing job, it's not easy to return home without your babies but you always write with such joy instead of focusing on what you can't do, you seem to cherish what you can do and saying things like "Just in training I guess for when the girls come home" is amazing. Before you know it they will be under your feet wanting to lick the bowl from the Nigella chocolate brownies. Love the update, thanks!

Jane said...

Thanks so much for sharing this all so candidly with us, Marian. You are doing such a fabulous job under trying circumstances. Bravo! J x

Claire Chadwick @ Scissors Paper Rock said...

Thank you for sharing your updates and stories with us Marian.
I love hearing about the girls. I think of them often.
Good job on the 3hourly expressing. I did that with Ella for many many weeks as her & I couldn't get breastfeeding sussed :)
I am hanging out for the day when you update us to say the girls are HOME with you & Rob!!!!
Until then, keep smiling and breathing {and sleeping as much as possible} and ENJOY being a Mum!

Jo said...

Im glad to read that all is going so well for you all. All of our mothering experiences start in different ways, but they are all equally as special. Take care x

Michelle said...

Oh Marian! What a gorgeous post. I think about you and the girls often and I'm so pleased to hear things are going well.

How awesome you are!


The Moerks said...

A lovely post. Drip feed or not you sound like a gorgeous loving mother.

Monique said...

Your post made me teary. Marvellous milestones that will make memorable stories when your girls are older. My little ones love the stories from when they were tiny babes. Keep going. The girls will be home soon.

Dee said...

Beautiful post Marian.

Seelife3d said...


~Kell, Momma of twins
from WA.

Annette said...

So happy to hear they are doing well!

Maria said...

Love your blog, Marian. Can't wait to see pictures of your precious little girls. I'm sure they are both incredibly beautiful.
Know that you're in our prayers.
Maria (NJ,USA)

Ashley said...

Love this post!!! Loved the part about feeling Elisabeth's soft sweet. There is a poem I know you can relate to:

Mother, O' Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth.
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek - peekaboo.

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew,
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo.
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

~ Ruth Hulbert Hamilton


Dee said...

Even after [almost] 23 years your words bring back so many tears and memories.

Allana said...

What a gorgeous post, thankyou for sharing your precious moments - and a big hello to your gorgeous girls! Congratulations to you both xxx

Allana said...

Ps. great poem Ashley - thanks for sharing!

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