Wednesday 16 November 2016

The Fourth Trimester

I don’t feel like I have much time to sit down and write these days. Or even much time to think. When Ebony was little, I would spend hours thinking about what motherhood meant to me and then I would eventually find the time to sit down and type it all out. I just don’t seem to do that anymore and, as a result, I worry that I’m failing to note down these early months of Ember’s life. Ebony doesn’t have much in the way of a baby book, but at least she’ll be able to read about her early life thanks to the stuff I have noted down here. Ember will have no such luck.

I can’t believe she’s already 12 weeks old (is she?). She’s been here for almost three months though it already feels much longer. In one sense, I fear she is growing up too fast and changing daily. And then at the same time, she has always been here for as long as I can remember. And now she has woken up, as she often does when I sit down to type. She’s leaning back in the sling, reaching up to smile at me, chewing on her fingers. She found her thumb last week and now she often drags her slobbery hand across her face, covering herself in drool, desperately waiting for her thumb t magically slip into her open mouth so she can start sucking loudly.

She can use her hands now, she reaches up to bat her toys and grabs for things that take her interest. She takes great pleasure from pushing away my phone during feeds. This newfound ability to grab, to shove, to hold comes in useful when I have things to do. For the first time since was born, she is now happy to be by herself for a little while. I can pop her in the bouncy chair or under her wooden play gym and she will be content for a few minutes. I can sort the washing out (or more likely put it on again because I didn’t manage to empty the machine the day before), clean the kitchen or bash out a few hundred words before she starts to whimper. I guess this means that the fourth trimester is coming to an end.

I know some mums simply tolerate the fourth trimester, that three month period where all your baby wants is you. Those early days where you are stuck on the sofa breastfeeding, holding your baby close and constantly being needed. It’s not always easy, sometimes I long for just ten minutes of not being touched so I can relax. But these are my favourite days, this extra trimester where your baby is on the outside. I know I will miss it when it’s gone. Don’t get me wrong, I love those extra minutes of freedom each day so I can sort things out. But this marks the end of the newborn days for me.

Ember is alert know, I can see her brain ticking over as she looks around the room. She’s not just working on eating, sleeping and growing bigger anymore. She’s starting to want more, she’s reaching out to touch the world and taking it all in, and I know the exhausting part is coming. I know the four-month sleep regression is just around the corner and I am dreading it. Ebony slept so well for those first four months and then bam, the four-month sleep regression, I’m not sure she’s slept since.

I feel like I’m coping really well. I’m getting two kids out of the door almost on time every morning, I’m making my big girl healthy dinners she enjoys, I’m managing to do the odd bit of work, I’m staying in touch with friends, I’m going to groups. I feel like myself. I don’t have the intense brain fog I did with Ebony, I’m still me. But I worry all that will change with the four-month sleep regression. I dread that intense tiredness that makes your teeth hurt and renders you unable to make conversation. And the fact that if that happens, I’ll still have to do the school run in the morning. There will be no sleeping till 10:30am like there was last time.

But, for now, I will focus on enjoying the sleep while I can. I will treasure every time she falls asleep in my arms. And I will use this time to watch Gilmore Girls because it makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I will soak up each and every minute of having a baby because I know it will be over only too soon. I can already imagine Ember as a toddler, I can envision sending her off on her first day of school, I can hear her telling me about school. I’ve taken all those steps before with her big sister and so I know just how soon they will be upon us. And this little (big) girl, she already seems so much more intent on growing up than her big sister ever was.

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