I’ve been with my current company for 6 years and during a major growth period. When I joined the company, we were 6 people! A receptionist, a financial controller, a marketing dude, our financial director, our managing director and me – national account manager extraordinaire! 🙂 And all aside from me with my fertility issues, everyone was either past the young child/pregnancy stage with grown up kids or too young to want kids. Aside from our MD who had one child. I was very sheltered from my infertility pain at this company. Everyone has been super kind and very supportive of our journey to parenthood. I got time off whenever I had to have some medical procedure for IVF or tests or whatever, without having to sign off leave.

And in all the years of struggle, nobody had babies. Of course the company has also grown and we are now a team of 20 people. 2009 proved to be the year that my lucky-pregnancy-avoiding-streak would end. At the beginning of 2009 our MD’s wife had a baby, that I could handle because there were no pregnant bellies around me. Then in November of 2009 our marketing-dude-turned-marketing-director’s wife had a baby as well, again, it was easy to bare because again, there were no long pregnancy orientated discussions, no pregnant bellies etc etc in the office. But there were two female colleagues who were getting married within months of each other early in 2010 and I just knew the time was fast approaching when I would be faced with pregnant bellies, pregnancy chat and all things pregnancy right here in my office. Thankfully, God must have known that I’d been pushed the very limit of my strength and courage and within 2 weeks of our marketing-dude-turned-marketing-director’s babies birth, Ava-Grace was placed in my empty arms and all of those fears disappeared.  And not a moment too soon.

I returned from maternity leave and on walking into our office was instantly confronted by a pregnant belly as one of my female colleagues was pregnant. Two months later, the second one was pregnant too. And for the first time in my life I got to be joyful, I mean, really really joyful for them. I got to participate in the discussions about sleep deprivation and what I thought was the best nappie, cot, formula etc etc etc. They actually sought me out for advise and it was wonderful! Now the directors PA is also in the process of trying to fall pg and I’ve been dishing out advice on getting pregnant!

So preggie belly no. 1 had her baby at the end of November and preggie belly no. 2 gave birth yesterday. Before she gave birth, she asked me for some tips on surviving the first, very difficult few months. I told her about our house rules and although most people think I’m being funny, I am in fact being dead serious, so here is what got us through the first few months and are still in fact hard and fast rules in our home:

You Wake It – You Take It!!! This rule still stands today and it not only applies to Walter and I, but also to any guests who may inadvertently forget the sleeping toddler. Of course, we have never been the types to put our fingers to our lips and shush our visitors, we’ve always been of the school of thought that little babies need to learn to sleep through loud noises because I personally believe it makes for better sleeping habits when said baby is older. And so far that has paid off for us. Ava has slept through barking dogs, she sleeps through loud music, she has even slept through roof repairs where they were chopping out sections of the roof. But we do try to be mindful of our sleeping toddler when entertaining at home, should the party get slightly too rowdy etc.

What happens between 10pm and 6am DOES NOT COUNT!!! This means that no matter how much of a ratty bitch I am, no matter how I may throw the f-bomb at you, no matter how irritated or unpleasant we are too each other during those night-time hours, initially when soothing a new-born and now when dealing with a sick toddler. Whatever gets said during those hours does not count and we are not allowed to be angry with each other in the morning! It’s actually the perfect rule because if I think Walter has been an ass, I can wait until 22h05 and then I can tell him that I think he’s been a wank-chop-dick-shithead and he’s not allowed to be angry with me! 🙂

10pm – 6am Are Mama’s Job! I didn’t love this rule much in the beginning but I grew to understand that it was necessary. Thankfully, Ava started consistently sleeping through from 12 weeks, not sure I would have loved it if I was still getting up for middle of the night feeds – and don’t be shocked -I actually know some people who are STILL not sleeping through! But the truth is, a baby knows the difference between Mama and Dada! And when it was Dada’s turn to do night feeds, little Miss Ava-Grace would stubbornly drag it out and refuse to go back to sleep for at least 2 – 3 hours at a time. If it was Mama? Little Miss Ava-Grace would be back asleep, bottle finished and nappy changed within 20 minutes!

Sunday Morning Is Mama’s Time!! Walter struggled a bit with this concept and I did have to rather gently guide him through the process. But basically this rule entailed me, being allowed to sleep till I woke up on a Sunday morning, I used to try to sleep until at least 10am, without Walter or little Miss Ava-Grace being allowed in the room or to disturb me in any way. Walter finally got the message about 6 weeks in where for about the 20th time that Sunday morning he came into the room and said and I quote: “Ava needs to make a poo but I also need to make a poo so what should I do???” I think the laser beams that shot out of my eyes and burned holes in his head, along with the steam escaping from my ears gave him the message that perhaps he should try to figure these things out for himself without always having to ask me! Of course, again, this rule also fell away when Ava started sleeping through and middle of the night feeds became a thing of the past.

So what were the rules and procedures you had in place that helped you survive the first few months with a newborn?