It’s 3am and my daughter Maisie just woke me up with an ear splitting scream to let me know she’s ready to eat, puke on me, have her nappy changed and be rocked back to sleep after crying for a while about seemingly nothing.
It’s a routine that we’ll repeat throughout the small hours of the night without much rest in between – and you know what? It doesn’t bother me one bit.
Sleep deprivation, cleaning up all matter of bodily fluids, trying to figure out the needs of a creature who is incapable of communicating with me – I do it all with a smile.
The reason why I find it all so easy is that this is my second time around. With my first daughter, Zoe, those first six weeks were very different.
She didn’t wake me up with a scream because she was physically incapable of screaming, so I would set alarms through the night to prompt me to get up to feed and change her.
I didn’t have the privilege of breastfeeding her because she didn’t have a suck or swallow reflex and so my little one ate formula through a feeding tube.
And when she spit up, it wasn’t a matter of just wiping it up, it was a signal for me or my partner to make a panicked dash towards her to attempt to use the suction machine to clear her airways so our newborn didn’t choke.
Those first six weeks were like walking across a minefield, we never knew when something was about to go spectacularly wrong.Baby Zoe.
But the biggest difference between Zoe’s first six weeks and Maisie’s is that Zoe only got six weeks before she passed away late one night with her father and I looking over her. You see, Zoe was brain-damaged at birth after an undetected cord accident during labour left her starved for oxygen for far too long.