Get outta my face Mum!

Its been a while between posts!!  The last nine weeks have simultaneously flown by and seemed endless.  The vagaries of time…  Callum is thriving despite not being terribly keen on sleeping during the day for a few weeks.  We’ve had some really tough moments when I have been ridiculously overtired and wondering if I’m really cut out for this Mumma Mish position.  However there have also been many wonderful moments when Callum has looked at me a certain way or given a big grin or just generally been a cool dude.

I must admit, I’ve been obsessed with getting Callum to sleep during the day – after all,  all the advice you get says that newborns (i.e. from birth to approximately three months) should only be awake for 1 – 11/2 hours at a time.  And it appears I’ve been cramping his style! 😉  After going through a few weeks of madness where Callum was only getting in a few cat naps during the day and it was heavy work getting him to have those, I called in some outside expertise because I was getting increasingly exhausted and anxious about Callum not getting enough sleep (and no doubt he was picking up on that, which made him more unsettled – a vicious cycle). Previously when putting Callum down for a nap, I had been putting him in his sleeping bag and then swaddling him in a wrap before either holding and rocking him, holding him and stroking his head or walking him around until he was three quarters asleep and then attempting to transfer him to his crib without waking him… A very tricky maneuver!! Often he would wake up either as I was transferring him or soon after. If it was a successful transfer I would then generally lie quietly on the bed next to his crib and wait for him to be fully asleep before sneaking out. Then as soon as he woke up (often after only one 40 minute sleep cycle or less in some cases) I’d be in there ready to “get him back to sleep”.

Last Friday I had a visit from Caroline’s Angels (, a company run by two ex-midwives who specialise in sleep, settling, behaviour and toilet training for babies and toddlers. Caroline observed Callum as I was about to put him down for a nap and asked what I would normally do to settle him. After explaining the various things I was doing, Caroline said “Lets try just popping him in his crib and seeing if he will go to sleep himself”. So in he went and then we stood by the door to observe him without being right there in front of him. Initially quiet, he started protesting a little, but nothing serious.  After a few minutes his crying started to ramp up so we quietly went back in and Caroline gently stroked his head as I would have done, but sat out of his line of vision and only did it until he stopped crying.  Then it was back out to the doorway.  After a few more minutes of protesting, Callum went to sleep.

All. By. Himself.

Amazing. Caroline and I then discussed how to move forward and create a new sleeping routine for Callum which basically involved being as hands off as possible and giving the little guy some space to go to sleep once he was showing his tired signs without Mumma Mish hovering over him and trying to make him go to sleep 😉  We’ve only been trying this new way for a few days and while it doesn’t always work perfectly (but what does?), Callum is definitely getting more day sleep in and I am a much calmer and more relaxed Mum!

This new strategy is good for Callum as he is a very visually stimulated baby and I was making it harder for him to go to sleep by being right there next to him as he could see Mum and wanted to be awake while at the same time trying to go to sleep, if you know what I mean…

So here’s to more sleep and less stress!

Introducing Callum John McMahon (aka Eggbert)

Its taken me over a week to get this post together – I am now getting a first hand understanding of why it is so tricky to do anything but look after the baby when you have a newborn!  Read on for the story of Eggbert’s entrance to the world…

So, little Eggbert finally decided to make an appearance on Sunday 9 June after making us wait an extra six days past the expected due date!

James and I had done quite well at making ourselves believe bub would be overdue, then at our last few visits to the Obstetrician at 38  and 39 weeks our Ob told us bub was in the right spot and my body was ready to go, so it could happen any day.  Cue two weeks of nervous anticipation 😉  Each day we were thinking – oooh, could be today….  Ah, nope.  Eggbert’s expected 40 week due date came….  And went.  Still no bub!

At our very last Ob visit, the day after Eggbert’s expected due date, our Ob had advised he prefered his patient’s not to go more than a week overdue.  So we were tentatively booked in for an induction on Monday 10 June.  I stayed around home for most of the week prior, in case things started to happen and James had a fairly unproductive week at work given he had been expecting to already be on leave and celebrating the arrival of our bub!  Towards the end of the week we had resigned ourselves to waiting until Monday to meet Eggbert.  On the Saturday I was a bit over hanging out at home so we went down to Medibank Stadium to watch my beloved Titans girls play a night football game.  The girls were a little concerned I might go into labour at any moment, but I was pretty relaxed about it given the hospital was only five minutes away – ha, ha!

We headed home after the game (a convincing win by the Titan’s girls – join in the chorus!) and I had a three hour nap on the couch while James watched movies.  I was then in bed reading (well, I did have a three hour nap!) when I started to feel some sharp twinges about 1am on Sunday morning…  I went to the bathroom and just as I got there, my waters broke!  Finally, my body and Eggbert had decided it was time!

We walked up to the hospital (true story – its only about a 300m walk from our place) and the midwives settled us in for the night.  About 4am I started to feel more cramps and my lower back started to become quite painful.  I was  up and down with heat packs and standing under a hot, hot, hot shower for long periods trying to relieve my back.  About 8am the midwives and the Obstetrician on call (unfortunately being a weekend we only had a 1 in 7 chance of getting our own Obstetrician) advised if I didn’t go into labour “properly” soon I would need to be induced as once your waters have broken, bub is no longer in a sterile environment.  I’m not sure why, but I was initially quite resistant to being induced, even though I would have been induced the following day had Eggbert not decided to start things in the wee hours of Sunday morning…  I think I was just hoping my body would be able to keep things going and I had also heard from friends that induced labour can be quite intense as things don’t “build up” at the body’s natural pace.

By 9.30am I’d come to the conclusion that induction was the right choice and things were go, go, go from that point.  At 9.45am I was hooked up to a drip and ten minutes later I was having intense contractions at three minute intervals.  At which point I realised what the midwives and the Ob on call were referring to as “proper labour”.  As the contractions continued to increase in intensity (and my lower back was still feeling very unpleasant) my visions of a drug free labour went out the window as at that point I was thinking labour would go on for a number of hours (that’s what the midwives advised – the dosage of the synthetic hormone drug syntocin would gradually be ramped up through my drip over a number of hours to keep the labour happening).

I asked what my pain relief options were and the midwives advised that gas wasn’t an option until I was further along in the labour because it would rapidly lose its effect if started too early.  That left me with pethidine (yuck) or an epidural, which initially had been a massive “Heck no!!” in my book.  But with the contractions coming on thick and fast and me thinking this could be on for hours, I felt an epidural was the right choice.  Luckily the anaesthetist was already at the hospital administering an epidural to someone else, so I was told it wouldn’t be too long.

Meanwhile I’d been having these crazy contractions every three minutes for just under an hour, rocking back and forth on a fitball with my head slumped on the bed and James massaging my back, when I had a sudden urge to push.  I told the midwife and she said “No, no, you can’t!! You won’t be anywhere near ready yet.”  At which point I (might) have yelled “I HAVE to!!”.  The midwife helped me up on the bed and James reckons she just about fell over when she realised my body was ready to push – I’d gone from nowhere near ready to all stations go in just on an hour on the lowest dose of syntocin!!  Clearly my body just needed a little kickstart to realise ooooh, THAT’s what you want me to do!

Callum 1

At that stage it was too late for the epidural (fine by me – I was just focused on getting bubs out to finally meet Eggbert…).  Then came the pushing.  For me, this was much better than the contractions by themselves as pushing gave me something to focus on throughout the pain of the contraction.  I had my eyes closed most of this phase as I focused on pushing and I’m pretty sure I nearly crushed James’ fingers as I held (squeeeeeeeezed) his hand for most of it 😉  Thankfully after only half an hour of pushing, our baby boy came out to meet us.




It was amazing to finally meet Eggbert and realise he was Callum all along!! 🙂  Hard to describe the feeling of first seeing our little man, but the words overwhelming, amazing, joyous, breathtaking and so on could all fit the bill.  The next few hours were truly special as we gazed in wonderment at   our little man – we were so lost in our little bubble that we forgot to even call family with the news for about four hours!!

And that is how Callum John McMahon came into the world and stole our hearts from the moment we saw him.

Our little man all wrapped up.

Our little man all wrapped up.

In Nanna's arms, 1 day old.

In Nanna’s arms, 1 day old.