Our little Max is one week old today – which is pretty mind-blowing to me, really.

I mean, on the one hand, it feels like he’s been here forever. On the other hand, though, I just can’t stop talking – like, literally CANNOT STOP TALKING, sorry to everyone who’s had to listen to me – about how, just a few days ago, this little bundle was INSIDE MY BELLY, I mean, CAN YOU EVEN?

Guys, I cannot even.

This time last week I was sitting in a hospital room, shaking with nerves as I waited to be taken down to theatre, absolutely convinced that something was about to go catastrophically wrong.

And this week? This week I’m sitting typing a blog post from the comfort of my own bed, with this little face next to me:

Max at 3 days oldIn related news, there’s a strong possibility my heart is going to burst at some point, seriously.

Our first week as new parents has been a blur of night feeds and nappy changes, plus a constant stream of visitors. I feel a bit like I woke up on a moving treadmill, with no option but to just start running, even although I haven’t had time to draw breath, and actually, I’m not even all that good at running. As crazy as it’s been, though, I really want to try to document these precious first days with our baby boy, so here are some things I’ve learned in my first week of parenthood…

01.

Having a newborn is a lot like running a commercial laundry

Seriously, though: I’ve always thought Terry and I got through a lot of laundry, given that there were only two of us in the house at the time, but Max generates more laundry in a day than both of us would in a week. Like, we’ve already had to have Hotpoint out to fix the washing machine, THAT’S how much laundry we’ve done.

newborn laundry pile(This is Max’s washing for, like, half a day or something. The giraffe’s all, “WTAF?!”)

(OK, slight exaggeration. Only slight, though…)

As I write this, Terry is ironing the clothes of ours that the baby spit up on last night, and there’s another load of whites making their way through the wash. Once that’s done, we’ll either sit down and take a few breaths, or we’ll just start doing more laundry. (CLUE: IT’LL BE THE LAUNDRY.)

02.

Being undressed for any reason is, like, the WORST THING that can happen to a baby, seriously.

In general, Max is a pretty chill little baby. I mean, he cries when he’s hungry, or if he needs a nappy change, obviously, but, other than that, he seems pretty content to either sleep, or gaze around him in wonder at everything. Try removing his clothes or nappy for any reason at all, though, and it’s like when Bruce Bannon transforms into The Hulk. Max is just OUTRAGED by your attempt to change his dirty nappy, or put him in some fresh clothes, and when Max is outraged, he’s ALL DRAMA. It’s basically the only time you can tell he’s related to me, as opposed to just being 100% Terry, so hey, at least I’ve given him SOMETHING, huh?

On the subject of fresh clothes, though…

03.

LOL to the idea that I would dress him in “outfits”

Before he was born, I had this crazy idea that I’d carefully pick out a little outfit for him every morning, and that would be what he’d wear that day. Which is just, HAHA, NOPE.

Yeah, onesies are basically all we can manage at this point, and, rather than carefully selecting the one that best matches his eyes, or whatever the hell I thought I’d be doing, it’s mostly just a case of reaching for whichever one happens to be a) clean and, b) within reach at the time.

OUTFITS.

SERIOUSLY, AMBER, Y U SO CRAZY?

As it turns out, though, no outfits have been wasted due to this delusion of mine, because it turns out that Max is so tiny (By which I mean he’s a totally normal size for a newborn, it’s just that I had absolutely no idea what size that was going to be…) that absolutely none of the clothes I’d bought for him fit him yet. On our first morning at home, my mum messaged me to say she was going to the supermarket, and did I need her to pick anything up, and I was just like, “ONESIES. BRING ONESIES. TINY ONES.”

So, as things stand, Max currently has 6 onesies that fit him (But which still look too big, because he likes to pull his hands and legs towards his chest, so he’s basically just a tiny ball in the centre of his clothes, with the empty fabric of the arms and legs flapping around him), and approximately 6,897 that are gigantic on him.

Er, at least he’ll grow into them, right?

Max being weighed

(I was just joking about the c-section: Max was actually delivered by a stork, the old-fashioned way…)

04.

Sleep is for the weak

Absolutely everyone talks about the sleep deprivation you go through with a newborn, so I’m not going to dwell on it, other than to say that it’s amazing how quickly you progress from, “God, I only got around 3 hours sleep last night: nightmare!” to, “Yeah, I got a full three hours: pretty good, no?”

On that note, I’d suspected this would be the case, but the whole “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” thing? Yeah, that’s not going to work. I mean, it would be cool if it did, because it’d mean we’d be getting something like 20 hours sleep a day, but it would also mean that all of the visitors we’ve been getting would just be sitting there looking at this view:

05.

Poop can be green.

And it can also be yellow.

I’ll just leave that statement hanging there, for those of you who, like me, have never had to care for a newborn before…

06.

Staring at a baby is a totally legitimate hobby for a new parent

I know a lot of people say they find the newborn stage a little boring, on account of the fact that new babies basically just eat, sleep and poop all day long, but I’ve honestly been loving it. Every single thing Max does is absolutely fascinating to me, so I spend a lot of time just staring at him, and going, “Look, Terry, he waved his arm! He blinked! Lookit how cute he is!” Oh yeah, and when I’m not with him, I look at photos of him on my phone instead. It’s my hobby, and I like it…

07.

I really wasn’t joking when I said my heart might explode

It’s another one of those things that people talk about to the point of cliche, so you listen to them, and you’re just all, “Yeah, yeah, WE GET IT, it’s like your heart is now outside your body, plus every other cliche you can think of,” but honestly, nothing can prepare you for the amount of love you feel for this tiny little creature who’s just dropped into your life. On our first night at home, I woke up to see Terry pacing the floor, trying to rock Max to sleep, and just the sight of that little dark head bobbing around in Terry’s arms made me want to burst into tears. Given that this is just the BACK OF MY BABY’S HEAD we’re talking about, you can imagine how something like his face, say, or his tiny little hands, or that cute little roll of skin at the back of his neck gets me.

(See also: HORMONES. RAGING.)

The flip side of this, of course, is that the love comes with the absolute terror that something might happen to him. We spent one night in hospital (I’ll be writing about our hospital stay, and his birth story, as soon as I get a few hours to myself: so, pencil that one in for some time in 2025-ish, then…), during which I couldn’t really move much on account of having just had surgery a few hours before, so I tried to convince Terry that he had to stay awake all night to make sure the baby didn’t just randomly stop breathing or something. Then I stayed awake too, just to make sure someone had EYES ON at all times.

(Terry rolled his eyes at this, but I wasn’t fooled: I know he’d have stayed awake anyway. Since we’ve been home, though, he’s had this crazy-ass idea that we could both try to sleep simultaneously, which… yeah. I’m working on it.)

Newborn baby MaxSo. The first week has been hard in lots of ways (Not least the fact that Terry’s mum was admitted to hospital again yesterday morning: there’s obviously a whole lot more to be said about that, but it’s another, “don’t have the words” one, so I’ll leave you to imagine just how extreme the highs and lows have been this week…), and I’ll be writing about it all in more detail soon, I’m sure, but, despite everything, it’s also been one of the happiest weeks of my life. Throughout my pregnancy, whenever people would ask if I was worried about the actual parenting part of this journey, I’d say no, not really: that, for me, the pregnancy and birth was the hard part, and that, if I could get through that, I was pretty sure I could do anything.

(Well, almost anything. I still couldn’t do a skydive, or touch a crab, say, and now I come to think if it, I STILL can’t clean glass properly, or change the duvet cover without wanting to stab myself. You know what I mean, though…)

Well, it’s still early days, obviously, and I’m sure there will be many, many times when I’ll want to eat these words, but, for now, I think I was right. Because the moment I heard that first cry in the operating theatre, a wave of relief washed over me, and I’ve been living  on that feeling ever since.

Our baby boy is here, and he’s perfect.

Everything else is just detail, really, isn’t it?

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47 Comments
  1. He is lovely. And it’s heartwarming to read about how happy his arrival has made you and your family. Thank you for sharing this with the internet! <3

  2. Awwwww beautiful! I remember the newborn days afresh through your words, it is wonderfully tiringly fascinating! It’s hard but try to remember to look after yourself a bit too, you just had surgery. There will also be a day where you cry all day for no reason, it’s hormones. All the best to you and new family! X

  3. My first baby, my C section one is now 25 and left here today to go back home after Christmas. Reading this took me back through the years, especially the heart bursting love and fearful bit. Some great big actual tears may have landed on my cheeks. Thanks for taking time in your business and baby staring to write the post.

  4. So glad to hear he’s here – that wait is over! And so worth it – what a gorgeous baby!

    I don’t have children, but I do have lots of little nephews (including a four-month old one called Max) and one niece. And my dad has two young children; I spent a lot of time with his little boy when he was a baby. He was adorable and I totally bonded with him, so I can imagine what it’s like if the baby is yours. I went to Japan for eighteen months and the hardest thing was leaving him and missing out on him learning to speak.

    Enjoy your first weeks. My little sister started dressing her Max in lots of lovely little outfits when he reached two months, but pretty much before that it was non-stop babygros.

  5. I’m 23 weeks pregnant and reading the last part of your post gave me all the feels and nearly made me cry, you can blame the hormones! Can’t wait until it’s my turn! X

  6. Oh my gosh Max looks like a PERFECT baby! Love his teeny tiny eyelashes in the big main photo! AWWWW. Congratulations and so happy for you.

  7. This. This post makes me happy. It reminds me of all the wonder and joy and love of having a newborn home. It reminds me of the sleep-deprivation too but that is just a bump in the road. Your Max is beautiful and your joy shines through this post I am so happy for you. Also, I am sorry Terry’s mom is back in the hospital. Life can be so hard and so wonderful all at the same time.

  8. Well done again Amber – he really is beautiful (I’m at work and when I saw the pictures it took all my will-power not to squeak incoherently – though on the bright side if I had, likely only dogs would have been able to hear me anyway)! I know I’m preaching to the choir here but he is sooooo gorgeous. You are also SO impressive. Can’t wait to read your birth story when you’re ready (I’m prepared to hang on until 2025 if I have to – that’s how much I enjoy your blog!). X

  9. I was on such a high after each of our kids was born that I could barely sleep. Just so relieved, so ecstatic, so in-love, so thrilled, so over-the-moon. Your little guy is adorable. And you know, those newborn sleepers/onesies are pretty cute!!!

  10. LOL LOL LOL I had forgotten about the arms and legs pulled back inside the onesies! Both my babies did it too as newborns. It used to make me laugh… thank you for sharing this, Amber!

  11. Reading this post takes me back about 16 years when I was where you are. It’s like it was yesterday and I have all the feels right now. Such exciting times, and I know exactly what it’s like to just sit there and stare. So so happy for you and Terry, and I am looking forward to reading about this new chapter in your life.

  12. Congratulations! I’m so, so, so happy for you, even though I only know you from reading your blog.
    He truly is perfect and I can only imagine how excited, relieved and happy you must feel after all you’ve been through to get here. Sending you lots of love!

  13. You will never forget this time with Max, learning about him and loving him. He really is a miracle, one that you’ll forever be grateful for. Your joy brings joy to others too.
    I am sorry to hear about Soula, but am delighted she has met Max. That is a precious memory.

  14. What a sweet, darling boy! I’m so happy for you!

    Max is just like my brother, too. He could not care less if he had a dirty diaper, don’t you DARE mess with him! He would scream and make fists and turn bright red in the face when my parents had to undress him for any reason. Baby rage!

  15. Okay you know how you always have to say babies are cute no matter what they actually look like? That is NOT a problem with him because he is ADORABLE and somehow looks perfectly IMMEDIATELY after being born. Like, some NEWborns don’t exactly look like babies, but he does absolutely!

    Also, I’m not sure if you’ve already heard of this, but there’s a baby monitor called Owlet Smart Sock that monitors that baby’s oxygen and other stuff and will alert you if something is going on. It might help with the sleeping simultaneously thing! I’m not a parent and I’ve never used it, just heard of it.

    Congratulations on the baby! And I can’t wait until he can start wearing outfits, because I’m sure you will pick out amazing ones.

  16. awww Such a cutie pie. Ollie hated HATED tummy time til we got him toys with mirrors he could see if he was up on his boppy. Sleep when the baby sleeps becomes more important later. Right now you will constantly be watching him sleep for fear of SIDs or some other equally horrible ideas that come into your brain. Sleep when you can is more like it than anything. Also breast feeding moms don’t get to sleep for long periods of time due to the constant feeding and breast pumping if not feeding schedule. It’s rough but it does get better I promise.

  17. Awww. Max is so beautiful! I’m totally delighted for you Amber. Your words bring back many memories even though my oldest is now 18. It’s funny how some babies hate being undressed. Neither of my girls minded but my little boy made a huge fuss about it just as Max does. The photos are delightful.

  18. I’m so happy for you Amber, and I’m so glad you got your little family after much worry and strife. He’s gorgeous and this post made me laugh – I remember hearing all this from my best mate when she first had her baby, ten years ago now when we were in our 20s and didn’t have a clue about anything baby related! Lots of love. x

  19. May have shed a tear or two while reading this. Congratulations Amber and Terry – he’s completely gorgeous. Hope you soon manage to fit in some more sleep xx

  20. What a little cutie he is and I’m not just talking about Terry!! He is just adorable and you and Terry must be so proud of him. It’s lovely to see how this new chapter in you lives is going and I am so pleased for you.
    Take care and all the best.

  21. Congratulations to both of you, i am so happy for you, welcome to the world of parents. I am married and a mother of a 6 year old daughter. I can only tell you one thing that once you become a parent you experience another dimension of what love is. You will go through sleepless nights, fatigue and children tantrums (as he’ll get older) but I can assure you that although the tough time you’ll go through you will love him unconditionally no matter what!

  22. Oh this post has put such a big smile on my face Amber – it’s so lovely to read about Max after everything you’ve been through to get here. He’s absolutely gorgeous!

  23. Two things I have learnt: 1. your baby is CUUUUUUUUUUTE*, and 2. you are amazing.
    Seriously, I have a weird sense of pride in you** – you have been on such a huge journey these last couple of years, you’ve faced heartbreak and enormous fears, and you’ve overcome them. I’m so glad to see you enjoying your beautiful little boy, and I truly wish you all the best on this new and wonderful adventure. You are already, and will continue to be a great parent.

    * Excellent new hobby, by the way.
    ** Considering that I only know you kinda sorta from the internet. But your writing is very compelling, and I’ve been enjoying your blog for years at this point.

  24. Congratulations! He is such a cutie! 😁 Massive yes to the sheer rush of love – my little one was born 11 days ago (writing this having just settled him after a feed) and I can’t find the words to describe it. Everytime I’m in a different room, I totally miss him 💙

  25. Aww this is so lovely Amber – congrats to you all! It’s all very familiar too – gosh even though it’s been 10 months sometimes those first few days just feel like yesterday! That initial first couple of weeks of newborn bubble bliss are just so lovely and cosy and wonderful! Evie also hated getting undressed too and she HATED baths at the beginning- poor things must be horrible for them after being all nice and warm inside us for 9 months!

    Also don’t hate me for saying this but I too remember thinking my daughter was a pretty chill baby in that first week… I chuckle at that thought now!! By week 3 she was anything but chill… I pray you avoid the dreaded Colic/reflux saga, gah that was the WORST time!

    Anyway so happy for you all, and enjoy every single second of it!
    xx

  26. Um…yeah… you’re going to need another washing machine Amber! But seriously, congratulations to you and Terry! I have been lurking on your blog for several years, and was so happy to read about your new addition. I wish you so much happiness and fun times ahead…and, yes, there will sometimes be absolutely mind-boggling exhaustion, but it will be worth it.

  27. Awww. It takes me right back to our first weeks with our child. I cherished those days and I do miss them. Every stage is to be cherished and missed…they whir through them so fast. It’s such a lovely time and I’m so glad he’s an easy baby. Peace and love to you.

  28. My heart is bursting with happy! Your words take me back to the ecstatic chatter of my first week of parenting – a once-in-a-lifetime experience of “all things wonderful and new and cute and amaaaaaaaaaazing and sleep deprived”. Congratulations to you and Terry and little Max <3

  29. Congratulations, Amber. I will confess to being largely indifferent to babies, but your writing means I’ve followed your pregnancy journey with interest. After all your fears, I’m so glad you and Max are home and happy and healthy. I applaud your bravery for talking about the struggles that I’m sure many women struggle with in silence; losing a pregnancy, being pregnant after that experience, and the general terrors and ‘well-meaning’ but actually very insulting folks that come along when you’re pregnant.
    I look forward to equally honest posts on parenting. Enjoy staring at your lovely new baby.

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