The (overwhelming) return of the things-to-do

Time seems to fly, the things-to-do build up and “taking it easy” is difficult, some days. I feel quite well, physically, and I love to go to the seafront and breath the salty air and just walk and be peaceful. It makes me feel good and think I should do things. Tidy up the house. And sort out my documents. And maybe start looking for a house to buy. And dial in to that work meeting. And arrange Pallino’s birthday party. And bake a cake for our guests on Saturday. And load the washing machine again. And write. And meet people.

I try. But sometimes I stop and try to remember what I was trying to do. Or I sit in the car with the wrong key and wonder why the engine doesn’t start. Or L sends me a text asking if I called xyz and I don’t know what he’s talking about. Yesterday I was in bed at 9pm, I had not finished my dinner, I had not brushed my teeth, I had not changed the baby. Pallino was finally sleeping, and I just didn’t want to move anymore.

You’d think I could do one thing after each feed. Feed, put the baby down, have an hour for myself, feed again. But the reality is that I have to hold the baby for a while after each feed to help him burp. After that he sleeps in my arms and I’m quite sleepy myself. The moment I put him down, he wakes up and starts crying. So I have two alternatives: I leave him there, telling him that I have something to do, and he keeps crying; or I pick him up again, and I have only one arm to do whatever I wanted to do, and no will to move from the chair anymore. Now, it must be some trick of nature, but hearing your baby crying starts some ancient response in your mind that stops you from concentrating on anything else. You mum HAVE to do something. That’s hard (but necessary for survival: it’s the same mechanism that wakes me up at night to feed the baby; dads don’t wake up). After a while, I give in and pick him up. Maybe after I had a shower, or some breakfast. And then it’s time for another feed. A whole day can go on like this, and at the end I haven’t done anything (well, technically I had kept a little human being alive and safe and well fed). If I go out, I need to time it well: I leave just after a feed, I take the bus (it takes about 40 minutes to get to the town centre), I walk for about an hour or a bit longer, I go to a caf√© to have lunch and feed LittleOne, I walk slowly back to the bus stop and go home, I feed him again at home. Luckily, when we’re walking or on the bus he sleeps, so it’s tiring but manageable, and I feel much better when I do go out. Sometimes we go to the nursery in time to pick up Pallino and we walk back home together. It’s about 1.2 miles, and Pallino loves it. At the end I’m tired though.

Is this “taking it easy”?

This helps a lot

Taking it easy

Life with a newborn is quite monotonous. He wakes up every 2 hours during the night, so I often spent the morning in bed trying to catch up a little bit. However, the weather is getting better, and I have to go out. My father in law stayed with us for two weeks. He helped a lot with Pallino (they adore each other) and cooked for us. And we went out a few times. I was afraid of going by myself at first, so being with him helped. This is a friendly city, however most of the restaurants and shops in the city centre are small and wouldn’t be suitable for a buggy, which made me a bit nervous. But we found a few places where we could sit without problem, and I could breastfeed with some privacy. And I managed to walk for up to an hour. 

Now I’m alone with the baby. Still in my pj at lunch time. And nothing gets done… 

Up, up, up on a leg

LittleOne made his appearance a week before the due date. He must have heard me when I said I was ready, because he spared me another week of pregnancy and was born very quickly! 

It was a very different experience from the first. I had a sweep at the hospital and the waters broke. The day after I woke up with mild contractions. I had an appointment at lunch time for a check and possibly an induction of labour. The consultant performed another sweep and, less than two hours afterwards, I was in labour spontaneously… No time for pain relief other than gas and air, and the baby was born that afternoon! It was brutal, but at the same time I was aware of everything and somehow more in control. I stayed off the bed as much as possible, and gravity really made a difference – the first time I gave birth, it was after a long initial stage, I got there already exhausted and had an epidural. Things went a lot more slowly and I was in bed the whole time. This time I had asked for an epidural, but when the doctor came in and asked me to sit still for a while, I just couldn’t. And I couldn’t stay on the bed. Suddenly all the things I learned at the nct classes in 2012, about the breathing, and visualisations, and positions during labour, made sense. 

LittleOne was born. I had a heavy haemorrhage at the end, so the last stage was “actively managed”, which means that now yes I had to stay in bed and had an IV drip while the doctors tried to stop the blood, but I also had a little perfect baby in my arms and didn’t care. We stayed at the hospital for a few days, to make sure there wasn’t any infection and we were both well. I recovered quite well without the need for a transfusion, and every day I feel better.

The pelvic pain is gone, so now I can stand on one leg (you don’t know what you have until you lose it, believe me), the stitches are healing well, the baby is well and I’m breastfeeding him. I still have lower back pain and my wrists are sore when I had the IV needle, but I’m still convalescent after all. 

Here is a little baby, and he seems so fragile and defenceless, but at the same time he had the strength to stay alive, to wait in a freezer for four years and to grow and come to this world despite everything. And I’m amazed at what science and medicine had done for us, because people say that women’s bodies are made to give birth, but in my case there would have been a few significant steps when the process would have stopped, or I would have had serious complications or worse…   

The cat in the hat, Dr Seuss. Now I’ve got to juggle family life with two boys ūüėČ

Week 37

This week is going very slowly… I’m spending most of the time at home, sleeping in the morning and reading or watching movies in the afternoon. We had some social events: we invited a few colleagues of L over for tea and cakes (and doghnuts and cookies and more cakes ecc.), and it was nice: the house was full of people, but, being at my place, I could sit down and rest whenever I wanted, and they were all nice people. One got me a set of sleeping remedies (lavender oil, pillow spray and eye mask), which I’m not sure it can be used during pregnancy but I loved the thought!

Another time I met one of the girls from the nct refresher course, we had lunch together and chatted a bit. It’s good to start knowing people here, feels more like home.

There was also a birthday party in a soft play, with children from Pallino’s nursery. I went because I wanted to see the other mums, but it was very hard for me: loud noises, uncomfortable chair, not being able to mingle… L was there too, so he took care of Pallino, but still I was in pain when we got home, I should have stayed in.

And yesterday L worked from home and took me to a lovely pub for lunch… Now that I’m writing all this, it doesn’t seem that I’m spending all the time at home, it’s just that the days at home feel very long and nights are longer still.

It’s all happened in my first pregnancy as well, only we didn’t have to negotiate any hill at the time, so going out for a short walk was easy, and symptoms appeared a bit later first time round – the pelvic pain a lot later, actually, so now I’m more worn out I guess, as well as being four years older.

I’m a bit worried for Pallino. He keeps saying that the other children don’t want to play with him at the nursery. Last night he came to sleep with me and told me that “when the others don’t want you at the table, you have to change table, taking with you your plate, fork and cup”. How many times has this happened to him? When I go to the nursery, he seems ok. When I ask the carers, they always say he had a good day. In the morning, he goes straight in without a fuss. Is he trying to attract my attention because he’s worried about the baby? Is he feeling anxious? Or is he being bullied at the nursery and the carers don’t even realise?

Different speeds

Sunny days and miserable windy and wet days alternate in London, while the month of May has come and gone. I feel time flying most days, all around Pallino and his discoveries and moods… he’s well in his terrible twos and determined to test the boundaries all the time. Not in a bad way, certainly: he wants to learn how to use the potty, but gets frustrated at times and doesn’t want to get up even after sitting for half an hour, he likes making jigsaw puzzles but calls me when a piece does fit (“mamma do it!”), he doesn’t want to go to bed and every night now come to our bed around 11pm. He’s growing and needs to feel secure. I spend all the time with him when I’m home, early mornings and after 6pm when we come back from the nursery. We enjoy reading together. He loves watching TV as well, although we almost never switch it on… he has seen Peppa Pig and loves it, but I don’t like to keep him in from of the TV, so we watch one episode on demand from time to time and that’s it. I got him a mini scooter a few days ago; he cannot ride it yet, but I’m sure he’ll learn very quickly, and I want to get one for myself too, so I’m looking forward to it!

I had a few days for myself at the end of May. I spent a weekend in Athens with two dear friends and it was lovely to see them and talk and sleep without interruptions and see a new place and a new Country… it feels like a long time ago already!

Unfortunately at work I’m not having much to do. And I don’t deal well with being bored, I quickly lose motivation…

When I was at uni, I got a contract in the front office of my faculty. It was the place where new or prospective students were supposed to come for advice and information. I worked there for 200 hours in a year, and doing that I earned enough to cover my fees. However the managers were not prepared to have students working there, they didn’t know what to ask me, and they weren’t working much themselves in my opinion. I ended up photocopying timetables in the best of cases, reading for my own exams the rest of the time. And I promised myself I would never accept to be bored again at work. ¬†Sometimes it’s inevitable, though.

I’m sure it won’t last, I’m waiting for a new project to start and in the meantime I’m asking my colleagues to delegate anything they can to me. In other circumstances, I would possibly look for a new job. But I cannot do it now. I like the work environment, and I need the flexibility. So I try to be patient and proactive. Maybe I could do some shopping online while I wait.