In some ways I can’t believe Clara is six weeks old today, and in others I think “Only six weeks?!”
She’s changed so much in that short space of term. From being a tanned premature jaundiced squishy baby to a determined little lady, so much has happened in the last month and a half, obvious medical interactions aside.
Today we reached two exciting milestones: tummy time and walking down the hall, just Clara and Mummy. Usually these things happen soon after birth but we never got the opportunity with Clara as she got poorly quickly and spent most of her first two weeks of life laying on her back under photo therapy lights.
Clara, understandably thinking she’s in Barbados, trying to tan her feet and block the sun from her eyes before having a nap.
Since arriving in the children’s hospital I’ve thinking about Clara’s developmental milestones. Tummy time was a questionable one – I was really scared it would hurt her as she has her pipe coming out of her tummy and her operations were only a matter of weeks ago. I assumed it just wasn’t possible. That is until I got to the children’s ward.
I decided the best way to test if she was ready would be to lay her on my chest, holding her bottom away from me, so her stomach didn’t directly feel pressure laying against me. If she didn’t like it, I could lay her down flat on her back immediately – her dummy was ready on standby.
I lifted her up slowly and held my breath whilst I placed her against me. Instinctively, Clara curled her legs up underneath her dress against her tummy and snuggled in. I tried to hold her bottom away from me but I soon realised she was comfortable snuggled up close and I’d soon have a dead arm. Slowly, I sat down, let Clara get settled with her head on my chest, and breathed.
We now have Clara’s favourite cuddling position. We now also have Clara’s only comfort when she’s crying and her relaxation method in the middle of the night. These are one and the same. At 2.30am this morning, Clara was still in the same position. My worries had gone, she clearly finds it relaxing.
It’s almost too relaxing. As of a few days ago Clara has now realised if she cries hysterically she’ll get picked up. The minute I place her on my chest she’s silent. Move over Ewan the Sheep, mummy’s heartbeat has got this covered. Within minutes Clara falls asleep… Goodbye sleeping through the night. Goodbye empty arms.
With Clara clearly comfortable lying on her tummy on me, it was time to take it one step further. But in order to take this extra step, I had to be prepared to make a giant leap. To make tummy time a regular reoccurrence I had to feel confident enough to unplug Clara’s fluid pumps before taking Clara in one arm and the fluid stand in the other before walking with both to the playroom down the hall. What if unplugging it caused her crucial fluids to stop running? What if the battery failed? What if? I don’t know, just what if?!
Never did I think that just one week to the day we moved to the children’s ward we would be walking around together, away from the cot, enjoying time in the playroom on our tummies, roaming the hall, and meeting other mums and children.
With reassurance from Clara’s incredible nurse Chloe, I did it – and Clara loved it.
This afternoon has been almost entirely Clara napping on my chest, whilst I sat down, stood up, or walked around the ward with my new found confidence with her pump stand.
We had a wonderful visit from a music therapist, a guitar player called Andy, this afternoon. What a voice. He sang soft lullabies to Clara, accompanied by the guitar, as she lay in her cot, eyes closed, feeling reassured by the gentle tones surrounding her.
This place might just feel like home sooner than we thought.
3 thoughts on “Six weeks old: tummy time and mummy’s arms”
Fantastic blog Acacia. So glad she’s doing better after her bumpy weekend and you look so content with her on your chest. You’re doing an amazing job mummy!
Acacia dear one, how fortunate for little Clara she has you for a mum!
Thank you 🙂