LIVE . LOVE . HURT . HOPE

Breezing through life and loving every moment…

Motherhood: The Initial Days

To say that the first few days following delivery was difficult is an understatement.

I have to admit that I am no supermom. My first week at least was stressful, full of worries and perhaps tinted with some slight post-partum anxiety. I would not say that it was depression but I was really stressed out, to say the least. I think a lot of it had to do with the breastfeeding. I had obsessively prepared for it that I thought it would not be THAT difficult. Perhaps I had expected too much out of myself. Either way, it made me struggle a whole lot and doubt myself as a mother.

The emergency csect certainly threw all my carefully laid plans out of the window. Barely an hour after surgery, the nurses wheeled Maddy in for her first breastfeeding session. My little bundle of joy was placed on my chest and encouraged to suckle. It did not go well AT ALL! Because I was still suffering from the after-effects of the epidural…shivering uncontrollably and numb waist down…I could barely sit up properly and the latching was all wrong. She refused to take in my nipple and had the nurses shoving it in…that was the start to my many many many episodes of the hospital nurses woman-handling my boobs. Did I care? Not really…I was in so much discomfort and also yearning for my ‘perfect’ breastfeeding experience that I wasn’t going to let any modesty issues get in the way. But at the same time I was super tired from the earlier labor and then the painkillers were slowly wearing off…when the nurses said they would take care of Maddy for me that night I guiltily readily agreed. She was spoon-fed supplementary formula that night.

The following 2-3 days I struggled on with the recovery and the feeding – the two most difficult tasks for me. The epidural fully wore off and after 2 days being immobile and in bed, it took quite a lot of effort to finally walk again. Not to mention, having to sit up and get into comfortable positions for breastfeeding was not easy as well. My milk had not yet fully come in by Day 3 and although I knew that was normal, it had me worried that Maddy with her mild jaundice needed to be well hydrated. So worry worry worry I did all day long. In fact I did not much else but worry about Maddy and my milk supply throughout the first week or so. In addition, trying to get over the pain from the csect and being confined to my tiny hospital room (with its window facing the main road that the noise from traffic was driving me nuts!!!) added to my stress level. Maddy was still being supplemented with a small amount of formula twice a day. I was devastated but she was crying too much with hunger.

Things got better eventually. After day 4, I felt that my milk had come in, although not engorged because I latch Maddy on very frequently. She was great at latching on, and my slightly sore nipples healed almost immediately. We had Maddy room-in with us and I painstakingly stayed up latching her, feeding her while Hubby did all the diaper changes. It was our little world within that stuffy annoyingly noisy hospital room but we were there as a FAMILY :). By day 4, she no longer was supplemented with formula and doing absolutely well!

We were both discharged from the hospital after a week and settled in back home. There were a few days when I grew frantic when Maddy decided she wanted to sleep all the time and refused to wake up for feeds. But that changed and she began feeding like a champ daytime and only wakes up for feeds every 3 hours at night. My milk supply got better and I knew Maddy was getting enough by monitoring her diaper changes.

It has now been a little over 2 weeks since I officially became a MOM and I am still adjusting. Motherhood is not something one can read up on, learn it by heart and apply. After getting through those initial days, I realized I’ll just have to learn on-the-job as each day passes by. No plans, no scrutizing books expecting the right answer and no perfect expectations. And I will just have to learn to relax a little bit more, I suppose.

Throughout all this, I have also discovered that I needed much more emotional support than actual physical help..and I am so proud to say that Hubby has been the greatest ever! If not for his constant words of encouragement and belief, I would have freaked out and given up on breastfeeding. But he kept me going, and made me think of nothing else.

With that, I end this post by saying “I LOVE YOU EVEN MORE” now, my darling daddy to our perfect little Madelyn.

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Madelyn: Labor & Birth

Madelyn’s birth day did not start out as dramatic as how most childbirth stories go. In fact, it started out as a normal Friday morning where I decided I wanted to go to Mr Wong’s coffee shop for my last bowl of non-confinement meehoon soup special for breakfast. So off we went, just Hubby and myself, for breakfast where I also had my last cup of tea for the month. Boo hoo! I was going in to get induced that day because nothing we did before that triggered any signs of labor. And baby was getting much to cozy inside and growing at a rate which wasn’t too cozy for my doc – I am not exactly a big girl to start with.

(By the way, the night before I gobbled up sotong asam pedas and some steamed sea clams for dinner…all sinfully delicious stuff!)

I guess I was not yet feeling nervous of the fact that this day was going to be the day I will go into labor and (hopefully) deliver our daughter (hopefully). I guess at the back of my head I thought if all fails, an epidural will save me! (hopefully).

So mum and dad sent us off with well wishes and Hubby and I reached the hospital by 9am; ready to be admitted for the induction. We were shown to my room, given my much-too-large hospital gown and told to change. I was then hooked up to a baby heart and contraction monitor for a while to check baby’s heartbeat and my contractions, if any.

At about 10am, Dr Aida arrived and started the induction process. I would be first be induced with a pill (I cannot remember what it was now) inserted deep into the birth canal to start to soften the cervix and hopefully induce contractions and start the labor process. I had a membrane sweep done the day before but that didn’t work by the way. Both processes were rather uncomfortable, to say the least! OUCH!

So it was supposed to be waiting after that. But by 10.15am, I was beginning to feel fidgety with mild menstrual-like cramps. Then they got stronger…..and stronger…..and STRONGER. Before I knew what hit me, the contractions were coming 2-3 minutes apart and I could not even get up and walk – the nurse said I should to hasten the process. But DUDE! If that was not quick, I don’t know what was!!! By 1pm I told Hubby…that’s it….please take me out of the room and let us go get some painkiller…PLEASE!!!! After what felt like ages, the nurse came in to check my dilation, told me I was about 3cm and asked if I would like to wait before considering going into the labor room and get stuck there with the painkillers? I said NO! So off they wheeled me to the labor room to get me my epidural.

Somehow it took AGES to get things going, all the time I was breathing through my teeth and trying to preserve my dignity by not screaming. The nurse kept on saying “TAKE DEEP BREATHS” in her cool and collected voice which was starting to really piss me off then because I WAS IN SO MUCH PAIN AND I WAS BREATHING DAMMIT !!!!!!!! But of course I did not say it out loud. That would be rude, wouldn’t it? :P. The epidural took a while to kick in for me (WHY???????????????????!!!!) and I was still thrashing about in pain until at last about 3pm I was numb waist down. WHAT A RELIEF! It was a strange sensation, really. I could still wriggle my toes but could not move my legs. They just felt really really heavy. And my contractions were really peaking on the monitor but I was in la-la happy land. I managed to catch some ZZZZs till about 4pm when Dr Aida came in again and said I was fully dilated and ready to push wihin the next hour. Everything was looking good!

At half past 5, our good gynae Dr Aida strolled into the labor room in her jeans and T-Shirt, dropped her handbag and car keys on the side counter, washed her hands, put on some plastic apron thingy and came over and said “OK…time to push my dear”

I was lying there thinking…HUH? That’s it? No sophisticated set-up or anything? There were I think only 2 other nurses in the room who were going to receive and clean baby after. O-kaaay…..not the semi-chaotic scene that I usually see on TV huh…

Anyway, doc said to lift my legs up and get into position. Because they were so dead, one leg fell off the table. I had to sheepishly get Hubby to please hold it up. And then the pushing started. 1…2…..3 pushes…I was apparently doing great…until doc turned to us and said…

“Here’s the thing…your baby’s head is tilted”

Umm…okaaaay….

“I am trying to re-allign it ok so it will be straight and come out properly”

Umm……okaaaaaaaaaaayy…what else was I to say???

But after a few tries….still the same thing. Baby’s head was tilted towards my left AND stuck. G R E A T! Doc did not want to further agitate the situation as I was swelling at the perineum with my pushing with no results, and using forceps ain’t gonna help the little munchkin get out either. So we discussed briefly and decided a c-section would be our best option at that time to get baby safely out. Needless to say, I was a little scared and a little disappointed. Disappointed why? I don’t know….it just felt that way at that moment. But the good doctor reassured me, it was none of my fault and these things happen. How I love Dr Aida and her re-assuring ways! 🙂

So off to the Operating Theater they wheeled me, with Hubby following soon after in his cute green scrubs. I was wide awake thinking two things mainly;

ONE : Ok look at the bright side…I won’t have an episiotomy or a tear to deal with later…(Whoopee ??)

TWO: Oh crap! They are gonna cut me up….like FOR REAL….pretty soon!!!!!!

Throughout the prep and procedure, I was shivering uncontrollably from the effects of the epidural. That was unpleasant enough. And with the increased dose of the painkillers I was totally dead and numb from sort of lower chest onwards. I was quite worried WHAT IF THEY MAKE A BOO BOO AND I CAN FEEL THE KNIFE???!!!!

Thank goodness nothing like that happened and after what seemed like ages (although it was just 5-10minutes really), I heard my baby cry!!!!! It all happened so fast!! One moment it was all silent and all murmurs from the doc and attending staff. Next a little whitish baby was whisked out from what looked like somewhere at my navel, and brought to the attending staff. She was crying so loud!! And that shock of black hair!!! Our baby has hair!!! And when Dr Aida told hubby…”She’s ok…she’s fine…baby’s fine….baby’s ok” I started to cry. All the months of worries, and unspoken fears……….I just could not stop the tears. And a kind attending staff next to me helped wipe away my tears and softly said, “Your baby’s fine…everything is alright”. I cried even more!

I didn’t really get to see baby Madelyn properly in the OT…lying down with drips and needles stuck to my arms and oxygen in my nose didn’t exactly make me mobile. Hubby kept saying…”She’s so cutee!!”. 🙂

It felt like forever for Dr Aida to stitch me up…but she did a fabulous job…painstakingly tiny stitch by stitch while chatting with the nurse by her side on some stuff she bought over the weekend…all the while my uterus lying on my belly being stitched…..or so Hubby said.

So this is it…our journey as parents just started…..more to come later…

Happy Birth-Day my darling Madelyn!

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Introducing: Miss Madelyn Yeap Yu Lyn

And SHE is finally out! Our precious little Madelyn…5 hours of labor and a final finale of an emergency csect later, she finally made her appearance on 30th April 2010 at 5.56pm.

Madelyn Day 1

More updates on the birth and post-partum news to come…

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