Seven weeks into my motherhood and I’ve finally got the headspace to blog about it and the pregnancy leading up to it…
2012: Pregnancy in Pictures
2012 felt like it was all about the pregnant – I saw in the year wondering if I could get pregnant after a surprise diagnosis of endometriosis, trying to get pregnant, managing it in what seemed like no time at all and being pregnant before giving birth to a healthy (and very overdue) baby Rowan on 2nd December 2012.
I made the above video towards the end of my pregnancy, not only to take my mind off wondering why my baby was taking its sweet time with putting in appearance but also so I’d remember all those precious pregnancy memories which would no doubt drop right out of my head the moment I gave birth. Up until the last fortnight I had quite a nice pregnancy and I wanted a record of it all – the move to Cardiff and marriage proposal that led up to it, my craving for apples, the holidays and good times that were had and eating spicy hot food in a bid to kick-start labour. It’s called ‘Snowflake’ because that’s what we called Rowan whilst he was in utero – a play on Carl’s ‘Snowblind’ online alter ego! The soundtrack is the Snowflake’s heartbeat, recorded when he was monitored for lack of movement. Thankfully, he was fine and born fighting fit not long afterwards. Here’s the story so far:
Week Zero: Where’s Baby?
Rowan was due to arrive into the world on 16th November but he just didn’t want to come out. I tried everything to try and encourage labour but it seemed that no matter how many fresh pineapples I ate or cups of raspberry leaf tea I drank it just wasn’t going to happen without a medical induction, something I really wasn’t keen on. This photo is a record of me at my most desperate – Carl read online somewhere that rubbing your bump clockwise whilst looking at a full moon can induce labour, so I stood in my back garden in the freezing cold and did just that for twenty minutes. It didn’t work and on 1st December, 16 days after my due date, I admitted defeat and had labour induced at University Hospital, Cardiff.
Week One: Hello Rowan!
There’s no denying that Rowan was well worth the wait! He was born at midday on Sunday 2nd December weighing 8 pounds and 5 ounces. I can’t say that my labour was a particularly pleasant experience (my carefully crafted birth plan went right out of the window!) but the minute he was handed to me I burst into very happy tears before thinking to ask a few minutes later, “is it a girl or a boy?”
Week Two: Super Dad and Fantastic Family
On the evening after I was discharged from hospital with Rowan I found myself heading straight back there, in pain from infected stitches which was, not to put too fine a point on it, fucking minging. This meant that much of my second week with Rowan was lost in a Tramadol-induced haze and poor Carl had to do most of the parenting. It really brought home to me how I couldn’t have done this without him and made me wonder how on earth single parents do it! Both sides of the family were just as amazing, rallying around to help out. Rowan is a very lucky baby, to have such doting grandparents and extended family!
Week Three: Just the two of us
As the pain subsided and Carl returned the work, I finally got to enjoy some alone time with Rowan and marvel at him. Carl and I don’t consider ourselves to be oil paintings so we’re amazed that we managed to produce such a gorgeous baby. I know we’re biased but look at him – he’s gorgeous! He gets complimented on his gorgeousness wherever he goes and has been cooed over on the bus, in the shops and in cafes, in both English and Welsh. Everyone who stops tells me I should treasure this time as he’ll grow up in what seems like no time at all, which I am doing!
Week Four: Rowan’s First Christmas
Rowan was never meant to be a December baby but because he is, and thanks to this rather marvellous hat, my pet name for him is and always shall be My Little Christmas Pudding. This is the price he pays for his tardiness. Rowan spent his first Christmas in Birmingham, where we celebrated with Carl’s family and he received enough presents to sink a ship from his adoring grandparents, great-grandparents and other family and friends. We could barely fit it all into the car for the journey home, he really is a very lucky little boy!
Week Five: 2013 – a challenging year
The three of us had a peaceful New Year’s but sadly it wasn’t a taste of things to come. It’s only January but already 2013 is promising to be a challenging year. As well as parenthood it seems we’ll be dealing with some serious family illnesses on both sides. Admitedly, coping with a new baby on top of an awful lot else has been hard but I suspect things would feel a lot harder without Rowan. He brings great joy to what would otherwise be a pretty grim time and seems to be a positive focus for everyone, reminding us all that however tough things might seem, life really is rather beautiful.
Week Six: Rowan is registered!
Rowan was officially registered as Rowan Ernest Getgood-Savage in Cardiff City Hall on 11th January. The receptionist there commented that he shares his name with the current Archbishop of Canterbury. We didn’t name him after Rowan Williams, we just liked the name (in fact, the only other Rowan I’m a fan of is the child sacrifice in The Wicker Man, one of my favourite films, but let’s not dwell on that). Ernest is a traditional Getgood family name – the name of my Uncle Ernie (who passed away last year) and the name my Dad goes by. We’re aware that Rowan’s double-barrelled surname is rather unusual to say the least, but the fact is Carl and I love our surnames and the legacies they carry and we wanted to pass them both down to our children. Plus no-one else on the planet has the surname Getgood-Savage – it’s a name Rowan and any future siblings of his can own.
Week Seven: Bottle-fed Baby
This picture is a rather bittersweet one for me. I really wanted to breastfeed and tried very hard to make it happen but I couldn’t get Rowan to ‘latch on’. I tried lots of different techniques and positions but nothing seemed to work and each feeding time would end up with us both in tears – Rowan out of hungry frustration and me as a hormonal new mother who couldn’t stand to hear her new baby cry. Each attempt would leave me pretty miserable and as a friend pointed out, “Now is not the time to be miserable!” So he’s now on the bottle. Suffice to say, breast-feeding is far from the only good intention that’s gone out of the window. Dummies, which I didn’t think I’d use, now litter the house. But there seems little point in getting upset over not being my idea of the perfect mum, so I’ve resolved to be happy with being the best mum I can be.
Week Eight: Snowed in!
Just as I’d gotten the hang of managing to leave the house with a baby (no mean feat) the snow came and Rowan and I have been pretty much housebound for the past few days. The roads are clear but I can’t drive and pushing a buggy along an icy pavement is dangerous for the pair of us. Even more frustrating is that I haven’t been able to visit my Dad, who’s poorly and unable to drive himself at the moment. This past week has made it clear to me that now is the time to do something I should have done a long time ago: I’ve got to learn to drive. I’ve applied for my provisional license and found a good deal for local driving lessons. I know it will be a hard slog but the freedom it will give me will be well worth it.
I must say, it feels like Rowan has been here for a lot longer than eight weeks but I also know that in years to come it will feel like this period of time flew by! It’s been one hell of a journey so far, so I’m both nervous and excited about what else this year has in store for us. The one thing I will predict is that I’ll end this year feeling like a rather different person to the one who started it!