Yesterday was the 21st anniversary of us bringing baby Joshua home from hospital. After 11 days in Special Care Baby Unit, I had felt looked after and protected. I was delighted when they started to talk about Joshua being discharged, but as the day grew closer, I started to realise that I was not ready to fly solo. We had been horrified to learn that the little bottles of ready-mixed SMA Gold baby milk, that Joshua had enjoyed while in SCBU, were not available in the shops. From now on, we would have to make up powdered milk and sterilise bottles like the rest of the world.
I can clearly recall that drive home with baby Joshua, disappearing in his enormous furry onesie – he was so tiny. Both Granny and Nanna were driving home too on this momentous day, that we had worried might never come. They stopped off on the way home to buy a cat net for the pram, so they arrived home after us. We placed sleeping Joshua on the floor in his car seat, so that our German shepherd/ labrador, Honey, could greet and sniff him. They made friends that day and it cemented Joshua’s relationship with our pet dogs ever since.
It was a terrifying prospect to bring your baby home as you put them to bed in their cot, which is not equipped with any alarms or monitors like we have been used to, to check on baby’s wellbeing. But with the benefit of hindsight, I can now see that with the later days in SCBU, we had the best training that any mother could need. How many other new mums are shown how to bath their new baby, and are then supervised while they try the techniques out for themselves? how many other new Mum’s experience Baby Massage before they have left hospital? How many other new mums are shown how to feed their baby and to monitor any changes in weight? In short, we were well trained ready to fly solo!
Of course there were times when Joshua did not play ball and cooperate with the training programme. I would spend hours dancing with him in the lounge with loud instrumental music playing, jigging him back to sleep. Even now, those songs still take me right back to that time, with a sobbing Joshua in my arms, and his settling in response to his favourite music.
Joshua began to gain weight, dramatically, and it was a source of great pride to me that he was within the 100th percentile for height/length but gradually, by weight too. My husband is 6’5″ , so I would have expected baby Joshua to be long and slim, like his Dad’s frame. However, as he filled out, he was more my shape – 5’5″ and pretty round! I based this good eating and subsequent growth, as a measure of how well we were doing at flying solo and the scales revealed that we were excellent at it!