Last night I woke to Oli whimpering in his cot. The whimpers soon turned to crying and as I approached the side of his cot I could hear the gurgling of his tummy. As I picked him up he relaxed into my arms but instead of going back to sleep as he usually would he arched his back and wriggled around. I layed him in between Ian and I as I do every night and slid into bed next to him. Two and a half hours later and his tummy was louder than his babbling and I hadn't got a wink of sleep. I decided to get up and change his nappy as there had been a lot of wind happening! I get up and decide to stay awake for awhile as moving around playing usually helps his tummy to get things moving. At 2.30 as I'm watching tv I see him playing with his toys and crouch over in the corner. Oli then proceeds to do the noisiest poos I have ever heard. The poor little thing, his tummy was so upset. The only positive was that he didnt get upset or seem to have any pain. I stayed up til 4am with him and then was able to settle him next to me in bed - only if I held his hand and had my other hand over his cheek.
Before I had a baby I would have thought this sounded like a nightmare. In fact a few months ago I would have found staying up this long nightmare-ish! But last night I just knew Oli wasn't right, and sleep seemed a very selfish thought while he was feeling so terrible! However when I woke up at 9am I felt like I had been hit by a bus. This feeling wasn't helped when Oli goes from sleeping to 2097098 miles an hour within three seconds. My eye mask was pulled up, and with a slap on the face and lean on the boob he was off. Peering at my phone I saw messages and a missed call from Meg. I called her back and she asked if I was coming out for breakfast. The thought of lifting my head off the pillow was exhausting enough without thinking about physio, meds, breakfast , dressing Oli, dressing myself, getting out the door, then driving to breakfast! But I knew I needed it. I needed the company and thats exactly what I got.
I feel really sad for people who don't have a close, supportive family like mine. I'm lucky enough to have two brothers AND two sisters. I feel sad because on mornings like this morning they make being a mum more bearable. With a husband that works a lot, their help is a necessity to me. I park near a staircase and wonder how I'm going to get my pram and Oli up there when my sister and her boyfriend pull up near me. They carry my pram up the stairs and navigate it through the busy coffee shop and suddenly something that would usually cause me anxiety disappears. We meet my brother at a table and he takes Oli straight away. These two are the best of friends and we usually catch up daily or at least every second day. I often call him my 'Manny' Male nanny! Or Oli's second daddy! As soon as I pass Oli over I feel lighter, I feel free and like I can relax. I love my little Oli til the end of the earth but this feeling is honestly amazing. To know that he is suddenly a shared responsibility between three other people who care for him as much as I do is the most reassuring, lovely feeling in the world. Oli is fed, entertained, walked and carried around over the next hour or so and I'm able to eat my breakfast and drink my cuppa in peace. My pram, shopping and Oli are carried back down the stairs and put safely in my car before I can get myself sorted enough to start the aircon.
On the way home I feel on the verge of tears. Mostly because of my sheer tiredness but because I know that I'm so lucky. The quote rings so true to me in this moment. It does take a village to raise a child. In my deliriously tired state I needed that support, and love and reassurance that someone would take Oli off my hands, feed him his breakky and love him just like I do. The best thing is they are doing it because they want to. As we were leaving Meg's boyfriend passed her his wallet and keys and said 'No I want to carry Oli, I haven't had him yet!' My heart did a little leap. He only met Oli 9 months ago , but I can see how fond he is of him like he's known him forever! He loves you too Mitchy!!!
Whether its our 4 hour breakfast dates at our local cafe every Saturday morning, the midweek coffee dates or the 'please come to my house get Oli ready and drive me where I need to go' messages, I know they are always here for me. You can choose your friends but not your family. I'm lucky enough to say my brothers and sisters are my best friends. Family is not an important thing - its everything.