After an angry and tearful exchange, they booked me in for both her check up and immunisations for Friday, but I was allowed to see the Health Visitor today. She was weighed - 4.3 kg/ 9.47lb - and sadly she's dropped into a lower percentile. While the HV said she wasn't concerned at this stage (though asked me such stupid questions such as 'do you think you've got enough milk in your breasts? - how should I know???), she does want to weigh Charlotte again next week.
And despite her saying she's not concerned, it still knocked me sideways a bit, because I think she's been feeding really well. But - as both Grandmothers have pointed out to me - when she's awake she's so active, she'll burn off far more energy than many more docile babies. We're back to 'no two babies being the same' again. All I do know, is that after her feeds she is almost always content. 90% of the time we seem to have a very happy, playful baby. Certainly not one that is underfed and constantly crying for food (though the increased chewing on her hands has caused me some concern, but she does that even after a really good feed as she's clearly discovering her hands and fingers).
When I came out from that check-up, a little upset, the receptionist told me there'd been a cancellation, so the Doctor could do her 6 week check up (at nearly 9 weeks!) then and there, and therefore she could have her jabs. Check-up was mostly fine, but we've been referred to a specialist as the GP picked up a heart murmur. He said it was more than likely benign, and pretty common, and nothing really to worry about. But you can't help but do with a tiny, helpless baby when you're told her heart needs attention.
And then came her jabs. At first she screamed no more than we hear most days when she's overtired, but about 30 seconds later she let out an almighty howl - louder than I've ever heard. It was the perfect storm of the needles, being tired and hungry. I just tried to comfort her as best I could.
We're back home now after the best part of two weeks at both sets of grandparents. And I must say it feels a bit daunting all over again without their support for the coming weeks. But Charlotte is definitely still making progress. I think we've just about nailed getting her an hour's sleep in the mid morning - usually around 9am - without too much of a fuss. Now we're trying to crack a longer sleep around lunchtime. The past six days though, that's been easy because we've had long car journeys that have fitted in, and she's slept right through most of them. Just need to transfer that sleep to the Moses basket now.
Talking of sleep, as expected, her seven hour stretches at night from the past few nights didn't continue. She was up as usual at around midnight and 4am for feeds. Only what I expected to be honest, and it really isn't a problem. Not sure what she'll do tonight after her jabs.
Driving back down yesterday - with two months under our belts - I got to thinking about what advice I'd give to one my closest friends who's expecting her first baby in December. Here's what I think I'd tell her to expect:
- You will read books and internet forums searching for advice - but take all of that with a pinch of salt and really try not to. A lot will scare you. The best people you can go to, for the best advice and reassurance, are your friends who've been through it all so recently.
- You will live your life by the clock - checking how long since your baby last fed, had a sleep, has been asleep, needs waking for a feed.
- Just as you think you've got the hang of something, i.e. breastfeeding, your confidence will be knocked when your baby throws you a curve-ball by doing something different (eg sleeping for longer/shorter, feeding for longer/shorter) and so you start to question everything all over again.
- You will get conflicting and confusing advice from all the health professionals - and they'll make you feel guilty about everything: feeding, weight gain, sleep - yet qualify it with every baby is different. Try to follow your gut instinct, even when you feel you have none.
- The overwhelming love and bond may not be there instantly. It's taking me weeks to get there, slowly.
- And the one thing that EVERYONE says, that is ABSOLUTELY TRUE, but which seems impossible during that first month, is that it DOES get easier. Your baby will become more manageable once you get to recognise their needs more and more, and once they start learning what to expect throughout each day.