Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Life's Greatest Gift

On Thursday 21st April at 11:49am, a new little person took her first look at the world, as Lydia Reed-Peck was born. She had certainly kept us waiting - she was born nine days late - but it was well worth the wait.

Trying to write a blog that captures in words the feeling of becoming a parent for the first time is not an easy task, but I will do my best!

Our gorgeous little girl
I remember a whole rollercoaster of emotions washing over me as the nurses placed our little girl into the arms of her mother, from delight and elation of becoming a dad, through to doubt and anxiety over how we will cope.

The most prominent feeling I can remember is that of sheer love, and the knowledge that even though I had only known her for a few minutes I would already do anything for her.

As soon as I held Lydia in my arms, I was overwhelmed with pride at having such a beautiful little girl, and immediately felt my protective dad instincts kicking in. I cut the umbilical cord (which was tougher than I thought it would be; I had to give a couple of good chops to get through it), helped the midwife run through the initial baby tests to check her reflexes, and also gave Lydia her first bath the following day.

Coat might be a bit big...
I was in awe at this tiny person in front of me, admiring the brilliance of nature in creating new life from microscopic cells. I gazed in wonder at Lydia's fingers and toes, marvelling at how everything about her was exactly like us on a tiny scale, right down to her little fingernails and eyelashes. I was happy, and at the same time proud of my wife for growing such a perfect baby inside her and for giving birth naturally.

Christelle and Lydia stayed in the hospital for 3 nights after the birth, so that both mother and baby could be monitored by trained professionals to make sure everything was alright.

I spent the majority of each day with the two of them (plus the various visiting family members and friends), trying to learn how to handle a newborn baby.

One of my first attempts at changing
Lydia - I don't think she liked it!
I have to admit, I was hopeless at first; I took ages to change her nappy because I was scared I would hurt her, and struggled to put her clothes on as I didn't want to force her arms and legs into the holes for fear of breaking something.
Luckily Chris was on hand to guide me, and after the first few goes I was much better at it.

When the day came for us to come home together as a family, I think it would be fair to say that the happiness we felt at leaving the hospital was somewhat blighted by a sense of worry about how we would cope without the hospital staff. What should we do when the baby screams? How do we know if she is hungry?

Warm, cosy, sleepy
In actual fact, we needn't have worried, as we both took to parenting like naturals. I was amazed at how the paternal instincts came to the fore as I seemed to know what to do, like I was in some sort of guided trance. In fairness, when a newborn baby cries it is usually because they are hungry, so when Lydia started to scream we would simply feed her, change her and then cuddle her until she fell asleep.

This plan worked fine until Black Thursday - a whole 24 hours in the company of a screaming baby who did not want to eat or sleep, only to cry. We tried everything we could to calm her down: changing her, feeding her, holding her in various different positions, lots of cuddles and reassuring words, the baby scarf... all to no avail. Eventually we resorted to driving around in the car for a bit, and Lydia finally went to sleep.

Wonder who dressed her?
Fortunately, Lydia has been much easier to handle since Black Thursday. She tends to be very awake during the day and then sleepy at night, which is hopefully a pattern she will follow as she gets older.

As each day goes past, our little girl shows us more and more of her personality, and it is truly a delight to see how much she has changed already despite it being less than three weeks since she was born.

During this time we have had lots of fun dressing her up in various girly outfits, as you can see in the photos below.

Now we are really a family, and have already gone for a couple of strolls next to the lake to enjoy our time together. It is funny how time goes quickly when you have a baby at home. I took two weeks off work to help Chris out and also to get to know our little girl, and I could not believe how fast those two weeks went. Seriously, hats off to all single mothers who manage to look after babies on their own - even with both of us helping it was still a huge, exhausting challenge!

Time passing quickly has made me realise that we really need to appreciate every moment we have with Lydia because it won't be long before she is walking, going to school, having boyfriends and moving out... okay, so I might be thinking a bit far ahead there, but one thing is for sure - I will make sure to cherish every day with my new family. 

1 comment:

Belly said...

Hugs to you all! She is perfect. Agree, hats off to single mothers, it can't be possible :0/