3 STEP

Now let’s deal with your hair. Chances are you haven’t been spend­ing more than five min­utes with a hair dryer dur­ing your first weeks at home with your baby. Use this oc­ca­sion to give your­self that home treatment that’s been sit­ting in your bath­room cupbo

Your Baby & Toddler - - FASHION -

Iam a qual­i­fied nurs­ing sis­ter with mid­wifery, com­mu­nity and oc­cu­pa­tional health; and be­lieved I was do­ing ev­ery­thing right. I have never been a drinker or smoker and live a healthy life­style. Af­ter an un­event­ful, well mon­i­tored, full term preg­nancy, Devon was born on 3 Septem­ber 1993. There were no com­pli­ca­tions dur­ing the nat­u­ral de­liv­ery and I had noth­ing for pain. His Ap­gar (a quick test done one minute af­ter birth, to de­ter­mine how well the baby has tol­er­ated the birth process and again at five min­utes to asses how well he/she is do­ing out­side the womb.) scores were 9/10 and 10/10, and he weighed 3,3kg (a per­fect weight). I was the hap­pi­est mom ever!

At home he set­tled in fast and seemed to love his new cot with its firm flat mat­tress in his well-ven­ti­lated nurs­ery. Over the next few weeks he gained weight steadily on breast­milk and was al­ways ahead of his mile­stones at his clinic visits. By four­teen weeks he was lift­ing his up­per body right off the ground and could al­ready roll over. Other than a bit of re­flux af­ter meals, he was a happy, healthy and very ver­bal lit­tle baby. I al­ways put him down to sleep on his back, but wasn’t con­cerned if I found that he had turned onto his stom­ach dur­ing the night, as he could just as eas­ily flip him­self back over.

A week be­fore he turned four months old, I started hav­ing night­mares. They were al­ways the same. I dreamed I would go through to Devon’s nurs­ery in the morn­ing and find him dead in his cot. I would wake up with a start and go to check on him, al­ways to find him still sleep­ing peace­fully or smil­ing and gur­gling hap­pily to him­self. Friends and fam­ily alike started to call me para­noid. But the night­mares wouldn’t stop! So for peace of mind, on 31 De­cem­ber 1993, I took Devon to see a pae­di­a­tri­cian. Af­ter ex­am­in­ing Devon thor­oughly, he told me I had an ex­cep­tion­ally strong, healthy baby and should go home and en­joy him.

THE NIGHT­MARE BE­COMES LIFE

I was due back at work the fol­low­ing Tues­day, and we had al­ready cho­sen what seemed to be a car­ing, or­gan­ised and ex­pe­ri­enced day mother who my cousin had used and highly rec­om­mended to look af­ter Devon dur­ing the day. Be­tween us, we had ar­ranged a two-hour stay on the Mon­day morn­ing to see how Devon would set­tle. My hus­band Brian and I dropped Devon off at 10am, and de­cided to do a lit­tle shop­ping be­fore go­ing back to pick him up at 12pm. We had been at the mall for less than an hour, when I sud­denly felt the most ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain in my chest and for a few sec­onds I couldn’t breath.

In that in­stant, I knew there was some­thing hor­ri­bly wrong, and begged Brian to take me back to Devon. He thought I was just hav­ing a sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety at­tack, and of­fered to take me home in­stead, so I could use the tele­phone to phone the day mother (of course, there were no cell­phones in those days).

As we ap­proached the front door, I could hear the

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