Hudson Jack Calleja was born on Wednesday 8th of June at 2.20pm weighing 3.3kg. My life changed instantly once again, as we became a family of four.
I felt completely calm the morning of my booked c-section. I woke up, cuddled with the boys in bed, did some ironing, took my last selfie with my bump, got ready and off we went to the hospital to meet our little baby. I surprised myself at how good I felt and how well I managed my anxiety.
It wasn’t until I walked into theatre and sat down on the bed that I started to feel nervous. The fact that the anaesthesiologist ‘touched a nerve’ when he was putting the spinal in which resulted in my left leg jerking up in the air clearly didn’t help! The instant numbness then made it all very real. For anyone that’s had a c-section, you know how uncomfortable it is. You don’t feel pain, but you do feel everything. You feel the initial cutting, the pulling, the prodding. You feel short of breath and nauseous. You feel claustrophobic and panicky. After all, you’re having major stomach surgery, and you’re completely awake and alert throughout the whole thing.
It was the most surreal moment when one of the nurses said “Hudson is here” and I heard my little boy cry. This little baby was mine. I was now a mum of two. My beautiful boy Benny was a big brother and just like that, my life was never going to be the same. The first thing I noticed when Jay brought him over was how much he looked like Ben. He was much smaller but he had all of his features- from his cheeks to his eyes. I spent the next hour or so holding my little man as my love for him grew by the second.
Coming out of recovery holding my sweet little baby, I could hear Ben’s voice. As he came over I grabbed his hand and did not want to let go. I told him I was brave because I thought of him the whole time. The look on his face as he met his baby brother for the first time was something I will never forget. He was amazed that the ‘baby was out’ and he could finally touch him. At that moment, everything was perfect. I had Hudson in my arms, Benny next to me holding my hand and Jay right beside us.
My family was complete. And like we always do, we took a selfie. This time, as a family of four.
That first night was tough. It was only the second time I was sleeping away from Ben so I missed him incredibly, and with Hudson up every 15 minutes or so for a feed until he finally settled at 4am, I was exhausted. The pain of the c-section was also a lot worse than I remembered. With Jay’s help, I got up and showered, got dressed and then the headache set in. It was similar to a migraine, but worse. Worse because I had a newborn who needed me, and so the next few days in hospital were very much torture. The midwives who looked after me though were incredible. I have such admiration and respect for what they do and I will never forget ‘Amy’ who looked after me the first two days. She’s pretty awesome.
We took Hudson home on the Saturday. There is nothing like being home, in my own bed, in my familiar surroundings. But I no longer had the help of the midwives and so reality sunk in that this was going to be hard work.
- The first challenge was taking care of Hudson. Trying to get him into a routine, changing him, feeding him, getting to know all of his cries and what they mean.
- The second was lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation is genuinely a form of torture. Trying to function when you’ve only had 3-4 hours of broken sleep is not easy.
- Then there’s a little thing called ‘recovery’. Although the headache had gone away, I was still very much in pain and struggled to get around the house.
- There’s also a lot of washing to get through, and washing of bottles. Trying to feed everyone and just settling into a new routine. Unpacking my bags, and opening up all of the thoughtful gifts.
- I was also still unsure whether I wanted to continue breastfeeding or not. I breastfed Ben until he was about 3 months but because I hated it, I resented him for it. I didnt want that to happen this time around and so decided to express the milk and bottle feed Hudson. That was going well until I ran out of milk! We’re now combination feeding with me being able to express about one feed’s worth of milk, and everything else is formula.
- The ‘baby blues’ is also very real. I had it with Ben and I now have it with Hudson. I can go from extreme highs to extreme lows in and instant. Flashbacks of my ‘old life’ bring on a deep dark feeling of regret. Did I do the right thing? Was a second baby a good idea? There’s also the isolation. Staying home all day brings on not only boredom but a feeling of seclusion from the outside world. Social media was one of very few contacts I have to the outside world. I find myself looking up real mums like “The Young Mummy” and my new fav “Abby Gilmore” (the wife of Bulldogs player Jake Stringer who’s just had a baby herself) to remind myself that if they can do it, I can too. I’m also never one to ask for help or admit that I’m struggling, but I have reached out to friends practically begging them to come hang out with us.I just need noise. I don’t like the quiet.
The biggest challenge of all though has been Ben. I really thought (and hoped) that he would be accepting of Hudson and take on the big brother role with pride. It was the complete opposite though. My perfect little boy turned into a nightmare. He was aggressive. He was crying for no reason. He was whingy and threw tantrums. He physically hurt us and didn’t want anything to do with Hudson. I knew this was normal but I wanted it to stop.
We first tried to discipline him telling him that his actions were not acceptable. That didn’t work. So we tried to praise him and tell him how amazing he was. That didn’t work. We tried to talk to him and reason with him asking him why he was acting the way he was. That didn’t work either. It was heartbreaking. I didn’t know what to do. As a mum, seeing your kid sad is the worst pain you could ever feel. Knowing that YOU are the cause of his sadness is indescribable. I think I took about 50 photos of him and Hudson together, as a proud mum would, but in every single one of them he had a resentful smile that just tore me up inside. I deleted every one of the photos as I didn’t want to remember him that way.
It wasn’t until we read a blog that Jay found about how bringing a newborn into the family affects the older sibling and how to deal with it, that we started to see progress. It was about changing the way we spoke to him. Instead of saying “you’re not being nice” we would say “I know you’re angry that Hudson is here, but you need to tell me what I can do to make you happy again”. That night after his bath he opened up and told me he gets sad when we don’t have time for him because of Hudson. Even though we gave him far more attention than normal, I thanked him for being honest and promised we’d spend more time with him. We’ve since tried to stick to our old routine as much as possible and have noticed a huge difference. He’s even wanting to get to know Hudson more, which we tried not to push. Their bond needs to grow naturally; it’s not something we can force on him. I’m actually so grateful that I dedicated my last blog post to him because I’ll be able to show him once he’s bigger that there was never a moment that I didn’t think about how having another baby would affect him.I guess it’s another reason why I love blogging so much.
So here we are. 10 days in. We’re getting about 4-5 hours of broken sleep with Hudson finally in some sort of routine. Ben is almost back to normal. I’m recovering well and not needing as much pain meds. We have support from our family and friends, and we’re getting out and about to get through the isolation. I’ve also found some time with Hudson asleep and Ben at kinder to sit down and right this post. So I’d say that we’re doing ok.
I don’t know what the next 10 days will bring, or the next 10 weeks. But I do know that I am the luckiest woman alive to have two healthy beautiful little boys who I am so proud of, and a husband who has been there by my side every step of the way. That man is truly one in a million, and the love, respect, admiration and appreciation I have for him is not something I think I’ll ever be able to put into words. The boys have the best dad in the world!
Although overwhelmed by the change, my family is complete and my heart is full. And I’m excited for this next chapter in our lives.
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