I am sitting in my office typing this post with one hand – the other is wrapped around my 10 day old baby boy – Zac.
It occurred to me this morning that I have a great many things to be grateful for at the moment. There is something quite magical and miraculous about the birth of a new baby and I felt I wanted to express that somehow. I love writing lists; so here is my top 10 “Things To Be Grateful For”.
1 – My baby boy! He is healthy (albeit still a bit jaundiced), extremely beautiful (not that I am biased!) and is thoroughly adorable to cuddle.
2 – Vaxjo hospital and staff. Arriving at hospital shortly before 8am on Friday 19 February we were ushered into our own private room, offered breakfast and I was able to have a bath to ease contractions. It was a very relaxing way to start the physical marathon that is giving birth. The midwives were friendly and professional and the one who was present during the actual birth was a trombone player called Anna! So she kept reminding me to do my trumpeter breathing.
We stayed in hospital for a total of 1 week due to Zac having treatment for jaundice. At times it was hard not being at home with him, surrounded by relaxing and familiar sights and sounds. However, it was really helpful to have the midwives on hand as I got used to the steep (and often painful) learning curve that is breast-feeding. We also had all our meals provided for us with breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 fika breaks. The uplifting view from my room and the day room was of a large park and a lake. I am grateful that I do not have to pay for the care that I received because it is one of the benefits of living in Sweden.
3 – Like most new mums, I am finding social media super handy for touching base with friends and other mums. There is so much to get used to and learn at first that I think most of us simply want to be told, “yes, this is entirely normal…no, you don’t need to worry…yes, this is a just a phase that will pass.” I have also received a great many cards, presents and messages of support from my friends and this really cheered me up whilst in hospital, waiting for Zac’s jaundice to get better.
4 – Another important source of support has been my family. My husband “the rock” kept me going through the birth process with jokes and encouragement. My in-laws managed the hotel while we were in hospital. My brothers, sisters-in-law, uncles and aunts (including one who is a midwife) all sent me encouraging messages. And my parents have been on hand to help look after Zac and the hotel since we arrived home. What a team!
5 – I am grateful it is the low season at the hotel and that we only had 1 guest staying the night that Zac was born – a much easier scenario than if he was born in the summer when we can easily have 20+ guests staying the night!
6 – Zac’s timing was impeccable. Not only was he born exactly on his due date, he also got to see his step-brother and step-sister before they went back to England. If he had been born any earlier, he could have stolen my step-son’s thunder, whose birthday was just 4 days earlier on 15 February.
7 – I am grateful that my son gets to grow up in Urshult with its beautiful lake, forests, friendly residents and relaxed pace of life.
8 – My husband has been unerringly by my side both throughout my pregnancy, the birth and Zac’s first few days. I can’t imagine managing without him!
9 – All the gifts we have received: clothes, toys, baby blankets…I have been really touched by the generosity of my friends and family.
10 – My amazing body! I have a new respect for my body now and all the changes it has been through over the last 10 months. From the miracle of growing a new life inside me (an entire human being no less!) to pushing out a 9lb baby last Friday. In the following days it felt as if every muscle and nerve in my body ached, as if I had used absolutely every cell in the effort of giving birth! And yet, the body recovers. 10 days on, I am no longer in pain when I walk or sit – although I do still get very tired. And I am now producing regular supplies of milk for my little one, which is pretty cool!
So, there you have it – 10 reasons for me to feel grateful as I embark on this new chapter in my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has leant support over the last 10 months or so…you have helped ease me into my new role as a mother and that is totally awesome!!!