Second time round
'Never again' you said after the birth of Harry Arthur in 2014. With the addition of some other expletives which we won't mention on here.
Fast forward four years and little Elliott Charles enters the world.
However, after the euphoria of post birth starts to fade you become fearful.
Fearful that you won't love Elliott in the same way as Harry.
Fearful that you will suffer from Postnatal Depression again.
Fearful that your relationship with your amazingly patient and also fearful husband will hit the rocks again.
Fearful that you have forgotten how to look after a baby again.
Fearful that you will never sleep again.
Elliott's arrival wasn't the easiest, after various growth scans (my first son was below average weight after a 41 week pregnancy) he appeared to stop growing at 36 weeks, indicating that he wasn't getting enough nourishment from the placenta.
During a routine midwifery appointment you are told "you are to be induced this week, the baby isn't growing as much as he should. What day suits you?"
You can't believe that you are having the baby this week. You will meet Elliott this week. You don't feel ready, you need more time to yourself and above all you can't have the water birth you desperately wanted.
You are emotional and scared. You won't sleep for the next few days (despite everyone telling you to).
You clean the house like a mad woman and run around clearing up any outstanding errands before your freedom is taken away for a while.
You don't rest. You don't make the most of being alone while Harrys at nursery in the afternoon and you cry a lot.
The day of the birth arrives. You shout at your husband before dropping Harry off at his Nan's house. You forget how he is also feeling scared and anxious just like you (even though he would never admit it).
Leaving Harry will hurt you so much, knowing he is confused and unsure about what is happening. You hold him so tightly and tell him "mummy will be fine".
After two days of simulated and painful labour, Elliott is born. You love him immediately and hold his warm body against your chest. He is tiny, he is beautiful, he is perfect.
After 4 blissful hours of holding him, the three of you go downstairs to the postnatal ward accompanied by a lovely midwife. It is late so you are all whispering in the dimly lit ward while you settle into your bed for the next few days.
You look over at this tiny body laying sound asleep in his clear cot and you cry a lot. Your husband needs to sleep so after many hugs he leaves you to rest. But you can't. There are so many fears, the main one being how will I change his nappy?
It had been two years since you changed a nappy and your brain froze. Besides which you forget how small they are and Elliott is a big reminder of this.
However, you figure it out and it all comes flooding back, as does the first few days of sore nipples and walking like you have had a big accident in your disposable briefs.
However, this time you're prepared. You have 4 maxi sanitary towels stuck onto your paper knickers, you have the nipple balm and the mini wash bag of toiletries to help soothe your aching body. You have been here before and you know how to practically care for your baby and yourself.
However you will not be prepared for sharing your attention with your dear four year old and your tiny baby.
You sob as you can't read Harry his bedtime story as Elliott's screaming for a feed.
You can't enjoy the neverending snow from the 'beast from the east' with Harry as you are sore and it's -10 which is not ideal weather conditions for a newborn baby.
Your morning cuddles are now interrupted by the on-demand feeds and nappy changes.
You feel an ache for the time when it was just you and Harry. Life was simple, you were not tired and you could venture out to the shops without so much of a thought.
You end up suffering from postnatal depression again. This was inevitable as you suffered with it with Harry. You can't stop crying, you feel useless and pulled from pillar to post. But luckily you are prepared, you know yourself as a mother now and you recognise the signs, just as you did with the cracked nipples and stretchmarks.
Your health visitor is amazing and she helps you get the help you need. You feel like this time there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
You get perscibed medication and receive accessible therapy through the NHS.
Spring comes and you feel stronger each day. You feel proud of how far you have come and before you know it you feel you can juggle two and you keep things simple. (Or as much as you can do).
Life is much easier once you accept that it all works out in the end. You did it once so you can do it again.
And yes Harry does get his cuddles in the early morning....just a bit earlier than before.