Separation Anxiety

My son Hadi is starting his first day of infant care tomorrow and i’m starting to feel the jitters. I’ve tried to prepare him for it by introducing the bottle, attempted some sleep training and trying to get him to accept the pacifier. Luckily he accepts the bottle on the first try. Phew. But I gave up on sleep training. The pacifier is still a work in progress. I was initially against using the pacifier, but it’s really easier said than done. My intention right now is to train him to self soothe so that he can adapt well and be independent at school. He sucks his fingers, but sometimes it’s still difficult for him to fall asleep and I always had to resort to latching. Boobs are still the number one solution to all his problems. I never knew that we need to “teach” babies how to use the pacifier. I thought they will all instictively suck on it. But no. Right now, Hadi can suck the pacifier only for a few seconds before it falls back out of his mouth. I am not super determined to make him accept it, but we’ll see how it goes.

I will be returning back to work 2 weeks after his first day at ifc. Dreading it because there will be changes to my jobscope. Part of me feels cheated, discriminated and taken advantage of, for having something like this to happen during my ML. But on the other hand, change might be good for me at this point in my career. I don’t even know if this job is a career in the first place. But I need to stay employed right now, or we will lose the $600 subsidy for Hadi’s ifc.

These rojak emotions have been creating doubts in my head. Was it right for me to split my ML? Should I have taken no pay leave to stay home longer? Or should I have gone to work earlier to “save” my career? Will my BM supply drop when I return to work? Was it the right decision to send him to ifc? I guess i’m slowly digesting the fact that I will no longer be the sole caretaker of my son. Other people will be the ones feeding him, bathing him, putting him to sleep, playing with him, reading him a book, and entertaining his antics in the day time. By the time I come home from work in the evening, will he still be awake to spend time with me? Or will I just put him on the rocker while I busily do household chores, prepare his milk for the next day, packing and unpacking his bag? Once he has a growing attachment to his new caregivers, will he then be less attached to me? It’s probably the impending separation anxiety doing its thing to my head, after taking care of Hadi alone at home all these time. Each time these doubts and guilt creep in, I just need to push it away and keep reminding myself that i’m doing what’s best for my child.

These 11 weeks of spending 24/7 with my son has been truly the best time of my life. I’ve really really enjoyed motherhood and breastfeeding. Learning the ropes of parenting with hubby, bathing a baby for the first time, studying his cries, discovering his patterns and antics, counting his wet and poopy diapers. Everything was an enjoyable adventure and definitely one of the fondest memories we ever made. And when hubs returned to work, it was just me and my son all day everyday at home, doing nothing but just bonding, eating, sleeping and getting to know each other. If I could do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat because it was so special. It’s about to end and I don’t know if I will ever get the opportunity to be spending this much quality time with him again.

It’s a crucial time to gather all my emotional strength and deal with a new set of challenges now.

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My hospital bag

Typing away at this ungodly hour of 2.37am because I can’t sleep. I just had quite a disturbing phone call with my boss this afternoon (I’m still on ML btw) and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Will write more about that another time.

What was in my hospital bag:

Clothes: Tudung instant, serkop, compression socks, cardigan, a dress for going home, nursing bra — I feel like the clothings I brought were too ‘just enough’, but that is probably because we did not expect to extend our hospital stay by 2 days. So I could do with an extra pair of socks and tudung instant since we had visitors coming every day. Also, I ended up not using the dress to go home, but wore back the shirt and pants that I came to hospital in, since it was still clean. I initially chose to bring a dress, just in case we ended up with a C-sect and cannot wear pants or something because of the stitches. But I had a normal delivery and decided not to wear the dress because I was going to carry my baby the whole time from the hospital, to my dad’s cab, to home, and I was worried of tripping over my dress since I need to hold my fragile son carefully with both arms so I got no extra hand to hold my dress properly as I walk or go up and down some stairs or steps. Hahaha paranoid much?

Sanitary pads, disposable underwear — The hospital provides pads and disposable underwear. The underwear is those paper-ish kind that doesn’t hug your butt. My mum calls it seluar dalam bubble. Not the most comfy, but my whole body was physically uncomfortable post-labour anyway, so I just used it the whole time. The pads were also the weird one that comes with loop strings, so whatever la, I pakai je.

Breast pads (2 pairs) — I wasn’t sure if I needed this in the hospital or not, but 2 pairs was just nice, especially since I started leaking BM on my 2nd/3rd day post-partum.

Food: Biscuits, kurma drink, a straw, H2O, zamzam — These were all for the labour, which I was glad we brought especially since labour was quite long.

Nursing cover — Ended up not using this at all, even though I should have, because BF-ing was still new to me and I don’t feel like having to learn to manoeuvre all the latching and holding of baby under a nursing cover. So every time I had to BF my son, I just asked the guy visitors to leave or sit outside the curtain.

Birth balms — I bought a birth pack balms set from Aafiya Essentials. Bf used mainly just the birth balm to massage my back when I was managing the contractions. I used the deep breathing roll-on oil too, when I could still manage the contractions on my own at home. It smelled nice, but I hardly notice whether it helped or not. I ended up not using the birth cream much, and did not even touch the perineum spray because I did not tear much.

For baby: 2 rompers, hat, mittens, booties, swaddle, washcloth — We brought 2 rompers because I couldn’t decide on one lol. Since my baby came out pretty petite, we just used the smaller sized one on him. NUH’s swaddle has a hood that covers baby’s head, so luckily we didn’t need to bring extra hat.

Toiletries and makeup — Soaps were provided by the hospital, but I didn’t use them. Glad we brought our own toiletries especially shampoo and conditioner since I am more fussy about hair. Thinking back, I should have made an effort to at least put on some decent face powder and concealer when visitors came instead of just being bare-faced. But feeling sore all over and with the hideous post-partum belly, I couldn’t be bothered with my physical appearance. I only put on makeup when going home, to take proper photos with my baby.

Charger — We brought a 2-in-1 charger head that can plug in 2 wires. But we should have just brought 2 charger heads for me and bf for convenience. With me on the bed and him on the sofa and the power point locations being relatively far, only one of us gets to charge and use the phone at same time.

Telekung and sejadah — Useful for my visitors too!

Milkup candy — I started taking these as soon as I gave birth because I was worried my milk will kick in quite late. But I got engorged soon, so I stopped when we got home. I’ve been struggling with blocked ducts for awhile now and have had mastitis twice so far. Should I have taken it in the first place? No idea.

Others: X-ray, documents, receipts and reports from antenatal visits — My x-ray was useful for the anaesthetist who administered the epidural so he could see where my implants are. We were told to bring the rest of the documents and receipts but ended up not using them at all even for the medisave claims because NUH has our records.

For hubby: clothes, jacket, white cloth for placenta burial — Because of the extended hospital stay, the clothes were not enough. We had to go downstairs to Uniqlo to get more shirts for him.

 

What I wish I had brought

Slippers — I only had my flats the whole time. Not sure why I didn’t think of bringing slippers or sandals instead. Probably the pregnancy brain was to blame. Those uniqlo lounge shoes would have been nice to have, although it would be bulky.

An extra set of top and pants for going home — Like I mentioned just now, should have brought this for going home instead of a dress, provided it was a normal delivery.

Pants! — This is the number one thing I felt bummed for not bringing because the patient maternity dress was only covering just below my knees! Luckily I had a cardigan to cover my aurat for the top half, but I only had one pair of pants to wear when male visitors are around. Luckily I didn’t stain it at all. But still, should have brought more.

Haakaa and BM storage containers — If I knew my supply would kick in so soon, this would have been useful especially since I was leaking. The extra BM could have been used to top up feedings to help clear baby’s jaundice.

Velcro corset — To hide the hideous post-partum bump which looks like I was still 6 months preggy.

3-in-1 hot drinks, a mug and instant noodles for hubby — We were provided with hot water every day and there was also a microwave in the ward pantry which we could use. So bringing this would have been nice, especially instant noodles for late night supper.

Pantang practices, Massage & Confinement Meal reviews

My pantang is officially over! Padahal we were not even strict about it. Living on your own during confinement has its perks jugak lah eh. No parents under the same roof to nag at me and impose all the macam-macam pantang rules hehe.

On the day after I was discharged from the hospital, I started my pantang proper by commencing my urut and confinement meal. My urut was by Ummi Shasha and confinement meals was by none other than Sizzling Dyyana!

For my urut, Ummi’s package was for 10 sessions and her price is very reasonable. It was the cheapest that I found actually. I heard about her service from bf’s friend who posted about how fast her tummy shrunk after giving birth, apparently because Ummi uses the traditional bengkung instead of just the modern velcro corset/waist trainer. And true enough, I could see a difference after just one session. By the 3rd/4th session, my tummy was already a lot flatter. Her package comes with the traditional bengkung, a velcro corset to be worn over the bengkung, pilis and tapel. The massage itself felt okay. It helped to clear more blood clots. It was the bengkung+corset combo that was the killer. I was advised to keep it on overnight, after she put them on for me in the morning. Most of the time, I ended up taking off the corset before I go to sleep at night and kept the bengkung on. At the end of the 10 sessions, she took back her bengkung but let me keep the corset. She asked me to keep wearing the corset every day until I return to work. I guess we really need to follow her advice for the slimming to be effective. I’ve been wearing the corset almost every day, along with a tapel which I bought in a jamu set from Al-Barakah shop and I’m still gradually losing weight now, although it is slowing down. Overall, her service is good and I would recommend her.

For Sizzling Dyyana’s confinement meals, I took up the 30 days package. Meals are delivered between 9.30am to 11am every Monday to Saturday, excluding PH. Every meal comes with rice, a meat dish, a vegetable dish and either 2 baked items or 1 baked item+longan red date drink on alternate days. Each meal is for lunch and dinner. For a small eater like me, I could share every meal with bf everyday. The portion is generous and the dishes are very healthy. They taste quite good for healthy food too. The meat dishes are mostly fish and chicken. There are meatballs and salmon once in awhile, and I even had unagi once. The mock dishes like mock green curry and mock lemak without santan are quite sedap too. She has quite a good variety of dishes, but even though it’s not very repetitive, I still get quite jelak of eating rice every day. I miss my noodles, pasta, spicy food and other seafoods like sotong and shell fish. Every one loves the baked items the most, obviously. It’s mostly lactation cookies, brownies, cheesecakes and buns. There was also churros once. Because it’s so sedap, they make your tastebuds feel less deprived. Service wise, it’s great that Kak Dyy sends out texts to inform us the menu of the day, together with the very descriptive nutritional information of each dish. I think my postpartum recovery and breastfeeding journey has been going on well partly thanks to her nutritious food. Would definitely recommend her and will engage her service again in future insyaAllah kalau ada rezeki.

I mentioned that I bought this jamu set from Al-Barakah. It comes with 2 bottles of jamu pills, pilis, tapel, param and a velcro corset. I’ve been consuming the jamu ever since my son’s jaundice is cleared. I don’t see much effect from it, but maybe it’s helping with my internal recovery which I don’t feel much lol. The pilis feels more berangin that Ummi’s pilis. But I don’t have much headache to begin with, so I only put it on a few times and stopped. I have no idea how to use the param properly. It’s basically just like a lotion with very slight heaty effect. I think it is supposed to relief muscle aches or something. But I don’t really like leaving lotions or creamy residues on my body especially now that I have a baby and need to maintain cleanliness and good hygiene standards. So I don’t use it. The tapel is the only one I’ve been using on my tummy consistently till now. Although it doesn’t feel as heaty as fresh tapel, some effect is better than nothing. Makes me feel like it’s burning my fats, so I always put it on underneath the velcro corset, although I will remove it after only half a day when the heaty sensation wears off. As for other pantang practices, some I still follow but some I don’t. I don’t wear socks at home much because the weather is too hot and I have sweaty feet. I dilligently avoided cold drinks and caffeine. I ate spicy food maybe once or twice and indulged in a couple of sweet treats once in awhile.

Right now, I have been doing tangas, which is a herbal steam spa as an alternative to ganggang, courtesy of my mum. She helped to source for the ingredients and I just have to boil them in water on mornings when bf is around to take care of baby, which is mostly weekends. I loveeee the aroma and the fat-burning sensation, so I shall continue doing it for probably a few more weekends.

Now that pantang is over and my confinement meals catering has ended, I feel a little lost at trying to maintain a healthy diet for the sake of breastfeeding. Some days, my mum sends food over. But I still need to cook or get my own food most of the time. Cooking is going to be challenging especially since I am taking care of my baby alone on weekdays. So far, I’ve had KFC and Macs breakfast once. Such an epic fail. Will probably be struggling in this department for awhile, but I hope no matter what, my milk supply is maintained. I think I am almost ready to start working out and do physical activities too. Not particularly excited about working out, but I got at least 5kg more to lose to pre-pregnancy weight. Sucks that my weight has also started to plateau.. I read somewhere that breastfeeding burns about 300 calories per day. But I guess if I don’t watch my diet, it could be 300 calories out and 500 calories in.

Meeting Dr C for post-delivery appointment tomorrow!

4 Weeks of Post-partum and Breastfeeding Journey

I should probably change the title of this blog to Mum Bites now lol. It’s been officially a month since I became a mother. Where do I start.

Overall, I think it’s been quite okay so far. It’s a steep learning curve, no doubt, but I think we’ve been coping quite well despite living on our own with minimal help from our parents.

My son had jaundice and the doctors discovered that he was DCT positive, which happens because of a blood group mismatch between mother and baby. This condition makes him produce billirubin at a faster rate, which means it is harder for his jaundice level to go down. It was quite sad when we first discovered this, but the good thing is, it was detected early, before we were discharged. Because of this, he needed 48 hours of phototherapy. We decided to stay in the hospital with him, and that was why we only went home 2 days later than the supposed day. I was quite emotional during this ordeal, and it was so kesian to see my baby stripped down to his diapers, blindfolded, having to lay under the blue light in the fish tank without a mattress, and getting pricked every 12 hours for blood tests. Initially we asked for the phototherapy machine to be pushed into our room so that our baby can be with us, but his jaundice level was going down too slowly because we took our own sweet time to cuddle him during every feeding session. So after the first 24 hours of phototherapy, he had to be pushed into the nursery, and only sent to our room every 3 hours for only 30 minutes of latching. It was my first heartbreak as a mother. 😦 We had to go for regular polyclinic check ups after we got home, and in fact, the polyclinic just discharged him from jaundice earlier this week. So no more jaundice tests yay!

Anyway, because of his jaundice, the nurses said we need to keep feeding him more milk to flush out the billirubin. So on my second day post-partum, the nurses squeezed my 2 friends to see if my milk supply has kicked in or not. To my surprise, I had supply already! I had been latching my baby since our very first skin-to-skin straight after delivery and continued to latch frequently every 3 hours for stimulation, since I know it may take some time for supply to kick in. This was already quite challenging because jaundice babies tend to be very sleepy, so I had to keep waking my baby up to encourage him to keep suckling. And then this nurse taught me how to do hand expression (which felt so ouch!), and helped to collect the colostrum using syringes, to top up every feed for baby after latching. Tbh, I wasn’t even sure if it was colostrum or not, because it looks whitish like matured milk. So maybe my colostrum was already produced on the first day post-partum and consumed by my baby. The nurse encouraged me to do more hand expression by myself, but it was so tiring. She eventually came again to help me express more, and seeing how much I was able to produce quite an amount, she stopped giving me the 3ml and 5ml syringes, but gave me 13ml tubes instead! I slowly got the hang of hand expression and managed to collect one full tube to top up for every feed. In total, I managed to collect 4-5 tubes till we got discharged. I think I developed biceps from all those hand expression. By the third day, I started leaking every few hours. Oh yes, somewhere in between, we also had to supplement with a bit of formula.

On the 4th day post-partum, his jaundice was finally low enough for us to be discharged. As soon as I reached home, I felt so engorged and there was this significant lump on my left side, which still exists today. I tried to remove it using hot compress, massaging firmly, combing it and I even called a masseuse twice. It shrunk one or two times, but it is still there right now. The only thing left to try is lecithin, which I will hunt for soon. I actually took milk up candies on the first few days in the hospital, which I stopped as soon as I got engorged. My mum came over with food that afternoon when we reached home and helped to give my baby his first bath and I took a video of it for my reference.

By the time my confinement meal catering and urut started, mum has gone back to work and we were more or less on our own. We had to be independent, but it was fun to take our time bonding with our baby and getting to know him. His cries, his facial expressions, his first smiles, his patterns.. I also started using the Haakaa and build up a stash of frozen breast milk. About one week later, I started pumping using my S9+ once a day in the morning. Somewhere in between learning and discovering all about breastfeeding, I also found out that it is normal for mothers to have quite an oversupply problem during the first few weeks because the boobs will just keep producing milk and takes time to regulate supply according to baby’s actual needs. So I stopped taking the lactation brownies and cookies for awhile too, unless I feel like having a treat, because Mamalait’s ones are so sedap.

On the 3rd week post-partum, that lump got bigger, so I called a masseuse for a breast massage to help to clear it. The massage was quite painful, and she said we usually need 2 sessions. So I did a second session a few days later and that lump is still not cleared. “It will take some time,” she said. Mind you, each massage session was $150 and the second one was much more painful. The massage really helped to clear the other blocked ducts, so it was quite helpful afterall, but just not with that one particular lump. I also don’t have any fever/runny nose or other signs of mastitis, so I didn’t see a doctor although I have no idea for how long I am going to let this lump be.

My freezer is one quarter filled with my frozen stash now, and baby looks like he has been drinking well. My left friend might be slightly cracked since it is bigger than my right friend and because I try to latch on the left more because of the lump, but it’s bearable.  Baby has been pooping quite regularly and gaining weight steadily too. So other than the lump, I would say the whole BF-ing journey has been going smoothly, and definitely better than I expected. I even bought a Spectra hands-free set and a sterilizer, which I initially thought was unnecessary but I eventually got sick of doing it the manual way using boiling water.

BF-ing is tiring, tedious (so many pump parts to wash and sterilize omg) and can be painful sometimes, but I really really enjoy the bonding. It’s totally a love-hate relationship, but I wouldn’t trade anything for it. It’s such a priceless feeling, knowing that my baby depends on my body for survival. And let me just say again, the mother-baby bonding through breastfeeding is unmatched compared to anything else in the world. The eye contact, the adorable way his jaw chomps down on me, the way he falls asleep on me, the milk coma expression, his little coos. Haiz.. 🙂

We have decided to send our son to infant care in January, so the current project is to introduce him to the bottle the correct way. Once I start working, I still intend to latch him for evening/night feeds, so we are currently researching about paced feeding, which is a method of bottle feeding that can help to prevent nipple confusion or prevent baby from preferring bottle over boob. He just had his first bottle feeding just now by my husband, and I felt sad that I was not the one feeding him. It feels as if he has a new mother. We tried giving him 60ml of fresh BM only and he finished it in no time because it wasn’t enough. So we latched after that. 🙂

My baby just turned one month old today and omg he is growing up super fast! We just had his Majlis Kesyukuran yesterday to officially introduce him to our relatives and friends. I already miss how little he was when he was just born. It feels like he’s no longer a newborn. I remember how easy it was to hold him using one arm while breastfeeding. But now I need to support him with both hands. He must be about 3.5kg by now, compared to his 2.7kg birth weight. His eyes are able to focus on moving objects now. His legs are getting stronger since he’s starting to stand and support his body weight. His kicks are so powerful. His hands can pull down my coli aggressively when he’s hungry. His neck can now lift his head when he’s on his tummy, although it’s still a little unstable. Overall, he’s quite a manageable baby. He sleeps better at night, and likes to keep us busy in the day. He is also very manja and demands to be carried and cuddled most of the time. Sometimes, he even demands a feed almost every hour. There are easy days and challenging days. We are learning a lot as we go along, but it’s been a great journey so far. I’m happy (and surprised) to say, I am actually loving and enjoying motherhood. 🙂

The Labour Story

22 Oct, Monday

On my 39th week check up, I asked Dr C to postpone the membrane sweep to the following week because I was determined to let the labour to start naturally. And true enough, the first sign of labour came exactly on the morning of my EDD on 22 October, which was a Monday. I had a bloody show. Texted bf, but I told him to stay at work because I still feel okay and I wanted to wait for more signs. But he told his colleagues that he will be leaving the office after lunch, and then they all kanchiong and asked him to go home straight away. By 11am, he was already home, which just made me more nervous. We started packing the last few items into the hospital bag. That afternoon, we went for a walk at the airport to bring the baby down.

23 Oct, Tuesday

More blood and mucous plug came out. I also felt cramps like I was having my period. But still no further signs yet. So we went out for lunch at Pasir Ris and walked around Pasir Ris park. We actually got ourselves 2 venti-sized starbucks drink. So guilty! A friend of mine randomly texted me to ask whether I have given birth or not, and I told her about the bloody show. She said it will take some time. And in my heart, I was like WHAT! I thought it should be anytime soon already. Ugh.

24 Oct, Wednesday

The first real contractions started at 3am. I couldn’t sleep well from then on. But still, I knew it was early labour since it was manageable. My parents became more excited and dad wanted to send me to hospital straightaway, but I told them not yet. Bf managed to persuade me to go downstairs for more walks although I really didn’t feel like it. We even went to my parents’ place. By night time, I could feel the contractions getting stronger, but it was still bearable so I knew it was still going to take some time, which just made me more impatient. I kept bouncing on my yoga ball the whole night with Surah Maryam in the background and did not managed to sleep much at all except for 5-10 minute winks in between contractions.

25 Oct, Thursday

Mum texted me at 4am, around the same time bf woke up. We agreed to go to the hospital, since I already started groaning in pain, although the contractions were still not very consistent at 5 to 15 minute intervals. And so my dad came over after subuh and sent us to NUH. We reached the delivery suite at about 6am. The resident doctor did a VE on me, and I was 3cm dilated at 6.20am. My water bag still has not broken yet, and they said it was still quite early, so we were sent up to the maternity ward. I don’t know why I agreed to be pushed in the wheelchair although it was veryyy uncomfortable to be in a sitting position during each contraction. Turns out the delivery suite and maternity ward was quite far apart, so in my head, I was thinking to myself that I better tell the nurses early when I’m about to give birth so that they can quickly send me back to the delivery suite. If I say too late, I scared I ter-give birth before we can reach the delivery suite pulak.

Reached the maternity ward at 7+am, they gave me breakfast. Bf managed to go downstairs to get some food for himself too. After our meal, I wanted to take a nap since I haven’t slept since the day before. But the contractions became stronger and stronger, one after another. Bf kept massaging my back. By 11am, I couldn’t take it and asked to be sent back to the DS for laughing gas.

11.45am: I insisted on walking by myself. But what was supposed to be a 5-minute trip, turned out to be like 20 minutes since I had to stop every time a contraction came. Reached the DS, I was given the gas, which was effective only for awhile. I was 5cm dilated. Active labour got me quite excited!

2pm: The gas was no longer working. I was half screaming in pain. I kept tensing up and could no longer apply the correct breathing techniques to manage the pain. Bf has been massaging me non-stop for 3 hours and missed his lunch. He looked visibily very very tired and at that moment, I felt soooo kesian for him and I knew I couldn’t go through labour if my husband was burnt out. So I caved in and asked for epidural, even though I wasn’t sure it was possible.

2.30pm: Epidural was successful! It kicked in within 15-20 minutes. And I had a nice longgggg nap. Asked bf to rest and go out to get food, but he refused to leave my side.

4pm: 7cm dilated. Doctors said it was progressing quite slow, so we agreed to break my water bag. Somewhere around this time, the baby’s heartbeat kept dropping randomly. So they gave me oxygen and asked me to lie on my left. I think they wanted to give me pitocin to speed up the labour too, but it was too risky. I continued my nice long nap.

7pm: Baby’s heart rate kept dropping again. Before this, we managed to reject male doctors but by this time, the only doctor available was a guy and it was quite an emergency. So he checked me and I was 8cm dilated. Nobody had any clue why the baby’s heart rate kept dropping and nothing seemed to help anymore. Dr C came in around this time too. Because we were worried for the baby’s safety, she offered either an emergency C-section, or an assisted vaginal birth since I may not be able to push well due to the epidural. Obviously we would rather go for assisted birth. She also asked if I was okay with an episiotomy, just in case. I said I want to avoid it if possible.

Since I was 8cm, Dr C reached inside me and tried to stretch my cervix to 10cm. Surprisingly, it worked!

7.35pm: 10cm dilated. Midwives were called in to prepare for labour. We did some practice pushes and suddenly baby’s head could be seen already! Dr C even encouraged me to reach down and touch his head. It felt so moist and soft, like jelly! We did several more pushes. The male doctor and the midwives were also pushing my belly down super hard.

7.53pm: Post-maghrib, on a malam jumaat, my baby was born, alhamdulillah! No episiotomy needed after all. It turned out that the umbilical cord was wound up around his neck, so Dr C quickly removed it. This was probably why his heart rate kept dropping. But alhamdulillah, he was well and healthy. His skin was very fair and clean too. We even managed to have delayed cord clamping for 7 minutes. Placenta was also delivered naturally. I had very minor internal tears which took a few stitches. Apparently Dr C kept stretching and massaging me, which really helped to avoid a major tear. Bf managed to take a short video of our baby’s first cry, and I still cry whenever I watch that video from time to time.

We had skin-to-skin and I noticed my baby was showing signs of rooting, so we quickly tried to get him to latch on me with the help of the midwives. MasyaAllah, he is such a natural pro. From being wide awake and alert after birth, we watched him slowly calm down as he laid on me and listen to my heartbeat. We took our own sweet time bonding with him, that I still haven’t touched my dinner by the time the nurses wanted to bring us back to the maternity ward although I haven’t eaten since breakfast. So we asked for more time and I gobbled down my food just so that I can quickly get back to cuddling and staring at my baby.

Almost 2 hours after labour, the epidural still have not faded yet, so I struggled with the nurses trying to move myself from the bed to the trolley. My leg even accidentally fell and hit one of the poor nurse since I couldn’t control it. So sorry, makcik. By 10pm, we were back in the maternity ward.

And that’s my labour story. Alhamdulillah, I couldn’t have done it without His help and my husband, who did not eat or rest for more than 12 hours on that day. Was I upset that I didn’t have my natural birth as planned? Initially yes. I can’t deny I was slightly disappointed for resorting to epidural. But I’m glad I took it anyway. I had not slept since the day before. If I did not take epidural and have that nice long nap, I probably wouldn’t have the energy to push. That epidural is probably the best medical invention ever. But I really salute all mums who went through natural labour without any interventions. I was also very lucky that there were no other complications and that we managed to escape Dr C’s suggestions of emergency C-sect, assisted birth and episiotomy! Her skills were also really impressive. Bf and I agreed to go to her again for the next one (HAHAHA).

We had an unexpected extended hospital stay due to baby’s jaundice which required 48 hours of phototherapy. But alhamdulillah all is well now. I really enjoyed my stay in NUH. The doctors, nurses, midwives and anaesthetists were all so nice and lovely. They took care of us really well. There’s just something nice with the way they talk to patients, that makes me feel so comfortable instead of making me feel like a sick person, if you know what I mean. So respectful too. Without a doubt, I would love to return there again for the next one, insyaAllah. 😀

Will write more on my breastfeeding and post partum journey soon, insyaAllah.