As most of you would have noticed, I’ve barely blogged this year. You probably thought it was because three kids are busy and I’ve dropped the ball. Well that may be true and the ball may have been dropped a little. If anyone asks, I tell that that I call three kids “beautiful chaos”. Throw in a surgeon as a husband and a business or two and it really is a recipe for a full plate. But really that’s not why I haven’t blogged much, its actually because this past year words have completely failed me.
I’m not sure that this is going to be the most clear, coherent or well read blog so bare with me. The sequence of events of the day still confuses me and I’m guessing you’ll pick up on that. The day was muddled, and therefore so are my thoughts.
Indie is a year old today, presents have been opened and the party has happened. Life really has really hit a new kind of normal. No more overnight feeds, or pulling over on the side of the road to breastfeed, 0000 clothes are now simply 0 and the vomit towels have been chucked (ha!). The skinny chicken legs have now got some serious meat on them and the sweet long fingers have been replaced with grubby ones that crawl through the dirt. The newborn cry that can send shivers up your spine now resembles that of an older child and she can call out to her sisters and even the dogs name. I’m hoping that “mumma” is going to come soon but it seems she has decided on her priorities within the family.
It has been the most phenomenal year watching my big girls embrace their younger sister, look after her and really open their hearts and love her. She has become a family “project” that we are all so proud of. She is smothered in kisses from the minute she opens her eyes until closing them.
But this year has been testing that’s for sure. There have been days where I have been smiling on the outside but feeling broken on the inside. Anxiety has gotten the better of me and the walls have felt like they were closing in on me some days. Those first few steps out of bed were sometimes my hardest, and occasionally it didn’t get easier all day. If you follow my blog you would know about my labour. If you are new, here’s the link: https://www.belliesandbeyond.com.au/blog/labour-caught-on-camera
The week of hospital was different this time. I wasn’t in a room filled with flowers and visitors, but rather I held my baby tight in my arms whilst different doctors came and left to talk about what had happened to me. There weren’t screeches of excitement but rather people didn’t know what to say to me. Fast forward to home time. This drive was a long drive home. With my first born, my husband was already back at work and I drove home with my mum and chatted away, so excited to bring my baby home. With my second, I had the confidence of a second time mum and we even stopped at a café for a lunch on the way home with our new bundle. But this time was different. I clicked her into the capsule and panicked. I then checked the capsule again and again and then sat down in my own seat. My husband started driving and all I could think of was that every car was going to smash into ours. I mentally could visualise cars turning into mine. It made no sense to me at the time (or now!) and I casually mentioned it to my husband but played it down. I got home and didn’t get back into my car for weeks. Somehow the anxiety from my labour had translated to worries of something happening to Indie. I couldn’t connect it in my head but I knew that I wasn’t right.
And this started a year of panic over things that wouldn’t normally even worry about, a year of self-doubt and a year of often wanting to stay in the safe walls of my home and the protective arms of my husband. Before this I felt like I was quite a self-assured mother and after this I questioned everything. Multiple visits to my paediatrician to check that she was ok. Frequent visits to the health nurse to discuss my feeding, her weight and to check I was doing things right. I was going through the motions as a mama-bear but felt like I couldn’t quite protect my littlest cub.
It’s been a year on a rollercoaster of emotions. It is safe to say we are truly obsessed with Indie. The girls have shown nothing but love but for me I feel like a flick has switched and my make-up has changed. The trauma in labour only lasted about 15 mins but in those short minutes, it set my life on a new course. Those doctors and nurses may have forgotten me but I never will forget their faces or their words and sometimes more importantly, their lack of words.
There have been positives that have come out of our experience too. We have slowed down so much as a family, we stop, we breathe, we check in with each other more often. More time at home in pajamas and less time worrying about what happens outside our safe walls. My husband may have previously relied on me to be the strong robust leader of our family but had to step up and help me put one foot in front of the other sometimes. He has let me talk and talk about what happened to me, and helped me to piece it all together. He has allowed me to waffle and ramble and hypothesise endlessly. In the beginning weeks he may have struggled emotionally with what happened but his knowledge as a doctor definitely helped him intellectualise it all.
But today is a new day. Today she is O N E. Today is the day that I plan to stop looking back and try to only start looking forward. The paediatrician has reassured me repeatedly that she wasn’t affected by the trauma. He patiently did every test he knew at our check ups to prove to me that I have a beautiful, healthy daughter that is none the wiser about her entry. So if she is fine, then it is just me that is left to heal. And I am getting there.. I think today is the day I am going to lower my shoulders and exhale slowly.
I want to send special love to all those mothers that suffer from anxiety. I have had a small taste of it this year and some days it really took all my energy to just be. It is exhausting and lonely and I pray that you have the support systems to get through it.
Happy birthday to my beautiful, happy and HEALTHY Indie Liat.
(The good photos are from Vicki Lauren Photography).