Just hold your baby.

Have you ever felt mom guilt? It is this unease that you are not doing enough for your kids, and if you let it eat at you you can find yourself cutting corners on your personal time and self care and pretty much exhausted. About a week and a half ago I found myself in ICU because for the previous week I had been pushing through between housework, homeschooling, diffusing situations and preparing a long list of projects for the two weeks Simon was having off. This meant that I was not careful as I should when it came to breastfeeding and expressing, I let others hold my baby even though what I really wanted was to snuggle with her and all the kiddos and watch a movie. I ignored the signs and before I knew it I was suffering from a very bad case of mastitis. I have dealt with mastitis before but this specific case got bad much faster than I expected and I found myself calling NHS 24 after putting the kids to bed. Within an hour I had been booked for an out of hour GP who told me I needed to get to hospital immediately. She made calls for Peyton to be allowed alongside me. I was feeling unwell but the penny didn’t drop of how bad it was until I realised I was being booked on the ICU ward, my heart was beating way too fast and my blood was infected, my body temperature was climbing before my eyes and I heard calls made for arrangements for Peyton in case things took a dire turn for me.

A doctor came in and had a chat. It was pretty honest that things were touch and go and challenging due to my allergies to certain antibiotics which limited what could be used to fight the infection. It was a good thing I had called out of hour and not waited till morning as I probably would not have woken up. This was pretty sobering, I was feeling absolutely horrible and when I asked what I could do the answer was: “Just hold your baby”. The very thing that if I had prioritised just like I was craving would have saved me this horrible and scary experience. This very first night was painful and I focused all I could on the warm little person, feeling her breathing, brushing her soft cheeks and kissing her head, holding on to her and for her. For the next few days I was taken care of by amazing nurses and doctors, Peyton was a little trouper and she did great, she smiled for everyone who met her. I was exhausted, hooked on IVs, trying to breastfeed with a cannula on was an interesting experience and said cannula had to be put on a few times after Peyton took a special interest in it (ouch!). I missed the kids at home though I was grateful that Simon was home and on holiday so he could take care of them. I did my best to enjoy the day to day and snuggles with Peyton, if it weren’t for the very scary infection situation I would have to say it was also a good resetting experience of enjoying my baby and reminding myself that my wellbeing mattered.

Smiling on the hospital bed, the room was very warm so she was in just a little vest most of the time.

I came home after five days and I have some check up appointments to ensure I am healing, I have tried to take it easy and process this entire experience. I am trying to feel less guilty for taking care of myself and allowing myself the time to do things I enjoy but also try to find things for the kids to do that allow all of us to build good memories. The takeaway from this experience is to feel less guilty for the things around you and prioritise what matters, hold your baby, take the time for yourself and for your body to be cared for because cutting off on these very little but important details can have some life changing consequences.

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