As planned, the bump was delivered to babyhood in mid-October. Internet, meet Jamie.
Born weighing 7lbs, he's healthy and happy. And perfect. Of course he's perfect. He has perfect ears and perfect long little toes and perfect enormous blue eyes. I want to write paragraphs and paragraphs about how brilliant he is in every way, and of course I don't have time, because he's a newborn, and I'm breastfeeding, and there's any number of friends and relatives to wrangle, and Steve's back at work, and babies make a lot of laundry... and honestly because for the last few weeks, if you gave me a choice between writing a blog post about my tiny baby Jamie, or actually cuddling him or playing with him or doing things he needs me to do, well, it's a no-brainer.
There's difficult times as well. Like when he decides to wake up and demand feeding NOW NOW NOW in the same minute as I've got my dinner on the table. Like when he projectile vomits all over the place at 3am. Like when I haven't felt able to take my pain relief because it makes me too drowsy to take care of him properly and I'm not managing to fully let go and trust anyone else to be the Awake Responsible Adult who will make sure I don't nod off mid-feed and suffocate him (particular fear, there).
But these are vastly outweighed by the good bits. In some ways, even the difficult bits are good. One of our friends watched me calmly dealing with an incident involving a variety of bodily fluids and observed that he'd rarely seen me so happy. I am happy. I'm happy because I know I'm good with babies, I'm confident about what I'm doing, I'm well supported by Steve and by my friends, and everything is going well.
What else to tell you...
The birth was by planned caesarean, which went well. We cannot praise the NHS staff enough - from the first booking appointment with the midwife at 10 weeks pregnant, to the theatre team, to the still ongoing postnatal care from the Health Visitor, everyone we've dealt with was professional and supportive. A particular mention has to go to everyone at Swan Ward at Warwick Hospital, from the lady with the tea trolley to the ward manager, they were compassionate and friendly and helpful. We thanked them all profusely and heard in response a lot of variations on a theme of "well, that's my job..." no. There's ways and ways of doing your job. Steve and I feel like we got absolute gold standard care, and never doubted that the three of us were safe.
Lovely though everyone was at the hospital, it was still a hospital so I was very glad to be discharged just 50 hours after surgery. Steve had a full two weeks of paternity leave, which we definitely needed. We went out several times, and since he's gone back to work, Jamie and I have continued to go out with PA support. Every time we leave the house Jamie seems to make new friends - in supermarkets, in cafes, in the library, in the park, always there are strangers marvelling at him. It's making me feel better to be out and about after so much of my pregnancy was spent confined to base.
The PA support is working out well. The golden rule is that the PAs Must Not Do Childcare. They must not, to give a specific example, change a nappy. But they can and do lift the baby onto the change table; if I have a moment and need to stop mid-change they can hold onto him and make sure he doesn't roll off while I pull myself together; and at the end of a shift they go through my "replenish list" to make sure that there are enough nappies (and cotton wool and wipes and cream and a fresh outfit and a few other bits and bobs) in various strategic locations within my reach to see me through until Steve gets home or the next shift starts.
Every day, I feel glad we did this, pleased with how it is going so far, and hopeful about the future of our little family.