Leo's birth announcement by Saint Gertrude Design and Letterpress
We had a baby! Somehow he is already 12 weeks old today.
Our little man, Leo, was born on April 24, eight days late. He weighed an impressive 10 pounds (4538 grams) at birth and was 54 centimetres long. My only explanation for how I did it was having five weeks off work beforehand! Lots of time to listen to relaxation music and birth preparation tracks. By the time labour came, we were so ready and excited to meet our baby. If I'd known how big he was I may not have been game to do it with just a TENS machine and some gas. I should mention we did an active birth class through Birthready and we found it invaluable in preparing us for birth. We are also so fortunate to have received brilliant care at the Royal Women's Hospital. To think this is public health care is amazing and makes me thankful to be Australian.
We didn't know we were having a boy and we found it easier to agree on girls names. Just after Leo was born, the Mister had to whip out our shortlist of boys names and quickly settled on Leo Reid. We liked that it was an old name but short and easy to spell as opposed to our surname McLoughlan which has many variations. We chose Reid as it was also my late father's middle name so he'll have a little piece of my dad with him even though they won't be able to meet in person.
He's a beautiful boy and the funniest thing is watching him smile when we tell him that! He's even more beautiful now that he sleeps in his bed regularly during the day. When the Mister returned to work after four weeks, it took me awhile to get him into a good 'eat, play, sleep' routine. In the first weeks, he got so many cuddles from visitors and us but all these cuddles and gorgeous naps in someone's arms are not sustainable once you're home alone. A mother needs a few moments to herself or she can momentarily forget how lucky she is!
I can't pretend I've mastered it all by any means. Yesterday he really resisted his sleep in the late afternoon. Generally though, we feel we have been so lucky and stumbled on a really happy, content baby. I now understand why people use the phrase "he's a delight"! He really is. That fact doesn't change the enormous adjustment to being a full-time mum at home. I don't think I expected to be looking for stimulation outside parenting or contemplating part-time work so soon. Getting out of the house each day is pretty essential for me. Sometimes it's just going for a walk with the pram and grabbing a coffee, other times it's taking advantage of the many activities and groups for new parents - I've been to a mums and bubs exercise class, 'rhyme times' at the library, a pram walking group and 'gather and chats' organised by the Australian Breastfeeding Association. Plus I'm in a mother's group organised by the local council full of lovely local mums and their babes. I enjoy all these activities with Leo but I crave doing my own projects and hobbies. There are only snippets of time available and it's hard to feel I'm making progress on something.
Being a mum and doing all I can for Leo's development is my first priority, but if I'm really honest, most of the associated tasks feel repetitive. I guess it's this repetition that is the foundation for routines and the stability children need. So it's a matter of balancing the needs of the baby with needs of my own. The age old balancing act! At least I know I'm far from alone. I haven't decided when I will return to paid work. I don't want to blink and find him grown up. He is just so adorable right now so I try to savour each moment. Even the constantly dirty nappies!