Posted by on Wednesday 17 March 2010

Elastigirl Envy

Mike's Mum was present at the birth of both of our daughters. I had asked that she be there. I knew she would be able to spot if Mike was going low, and know what to do. I had an idea my attention may be elsewhere. As it happened, he was fine, which was just as well as after 42 hours, I'd eaten all the sweets.

In the first few weeks of parenthood, Ellen lulled us into a false sense of security, as babies are wont to do. You build yourself up to a major life change, no sleep, incessant crying. We went home and had a pizza. It all seemed a doddle. We lowered our guard, we thought she was the best baby in the world, then she changed her game.

At six weeks, Ellen stopped sleeping and began a feeding frenzy. I was exhausted. Ellen, unhelpfully, flatly refused to take a bottle. I ate three large meals a day, took build up drinks in between and still lost weight. She drained me. Everything is a blur. Mike was working for an agency at the time, long hours, strict deadlines. He arrived home to be handed the baby so that I could get some rest. I'm sure anyone who has children will recognise the level of exhaustion I'm talking about here. Now add diabetes.

I wake up to the sound of Ellen calling for her morning feed, and see that Mike is looking that waxy, pasty colour you learn to recognise as a bad sign. I try to get him to talk to me to confirm my suspicion that his sugars are low and sure enough he's unable to answer simple questions and too unresponsive to sort himself out alone. By now, Ellen is screaming. I'm pulled two ways, my heart is divided, I have to sort Mike out first, but I'm a Mummy and my baby needs me. More than once I found myself running from room to room, sorting out Mike, then feeding Ellen, back to check on Mike and back to Ellen, thinking, I'm sure this isn't how it's supposed to be. Telling the story later was always entertaining, it sounded like part of a comedy show. Ellen was always rather surprised to be thrown back in her cot mid feed, and Mike would always add a surreal touch by answering my test questions with bewildering answers if he had not fully come round.

I hadn't anticipated the need to be more than one person, in more than one place at a time. I expected it with the second baby, but not with the first. I suppose I'd forgotten about Mike. I've been temporarily distracted, for about ten years. I always thought it would be great to have the powers of Elastigirl from The Incredibles. Elastigirl with extra arms would be the ultimate power for any Mum, maybe with a built-in everlasting tissue dispenser.


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