the nesting instincts are strong, very strong at the present moment. I’ve been hiding in my nest the last couple of weeks. besides eating & sleeping, I’ve just been cleaning, decluttering, organising, packing…and feeling anxious & overwhelmed about preparing the nest for the new little birdy. tiring to be doing all those things when you’re carrying an extra 8kg around, but the feeling is oh-so-satisfying when the oven, fridge, countertops, cabinets, walls look like new again!! I can’t stop!!!
there had also been a few moments where I suddenly had cold feet, having thoughts like, “oh crap, what have I gotten myself into?!!” or “oh man, there’s no turning back now!!” which sent me into slight panic mode. *0*
and then i’ll start to go down memory lane of how a terrible wreck I became after the 1st childbirth & having shivers down my spine. mixed emotions were bombarding me: grateful for the precious gift of life in my arms, raging hormones, delighted in bonding with the tiny life I’ve been given the privilege to bring forth, scary postnatal blues, marvelling at the miracle of life God has made, fear of not being a good mom, excited to get to know the new family member, pain in the recovery process…
yes, i’m feeling anxious about the thought of being cut up again the 2nd time (it was pretty traumatic for me the 1st time, and although I should feel better about it this time since its a planned op & I know what to expect, but still it gives me the jitters). but what really scares me is what comes after that.
following from my previous post about the kid’s birth story..i remembered feeling so scared as I was pushed from the delivery suite to the operating theatre, feeling even more frightened when I could feel slight sensation of being cut open & the yanking & the sewing up. but I was encouraged by the calm disposition of the husb who stayed by very close to me throughout the surgery. and I knew God’s peace reigned. and I was very focused in meeting the additional love of my life. when I was shown the little bundle who was looking so contentedly peaceful & happy, I forgot all the disappointment, pain & fear.
pain & fear came back quickly as the little bundle was whisked away from me & I started to feel pain as I was being sewn up. then as I was pushed out of the theatre, I started experiencing the side effects of the whole trauma, my whole body was shaking uncontrollably & my limbs were jerking madly & I felt like puking..as the epidural started wearing off, it kick-started the nightmare of pain that was to follow for the next 2 weeks or so.
and then there was breastfeeding; not a walk in the park at all. although I was told the bubs was excellent in sucking but I had all sorta of issues: improper latching, wrong positioning (partly cos of the wound), blocked ducts, etc. with the long delivery, traumatic birth, disappointment, exhaustion & pain, the supply just didn’t seem to satisfy the seemingly ferocious appetite of the thriving bubs. to cut the long story short in my breastfeeding journey, I made countless trips to the lactation consultant clinic for the 1st month & called her umpteenth times on the phone. at the end of it, she said, “darling, we’ve tried all we could to increase your supply, but your body is just too exhausted & you’re too stressed up, you need to relax, just do what you can, supplement is fine”. I was devastated, another huge disappointment. I couldn’t give the best of the best to my baby. I had to feed something else that’s ‘manufactured’. why? I tried so hard, I was so hardworking even tho’ I was dead tired, I pumped every 2-3hrs even though it hurts like crazy, I took fenugreek, I boiled green papaya fish soup, I drank lotsa water. I still wanna latched even though my nipples were cracked & bleeding, even when I cried in pain everytime I fed. why did I have to compromise what i’m feeding into the tiny body of my son? another failure I felt as a 1st-time mom (again the messages you get from reading stuffs). of cos, that was the then hormonal-postnatal-blued me feeling & thinking.
the blues hit hard when I was discharged: feeling lousy about my body, feeling pain all the time, gulping painkillers, the inconveniences of certain confinement practices I had to follow (I secretly didn’t mostly, like washing my hands with boiled water!), generally feeling sweaty & warm all the time, feeling lousy with swollen feet, walking slowing, pain going to the toilet, engorged breasts & cracked, painful nipples, pumping, latching, feeling incompetent as a new mom, sobbing for no reasons, feeling moody & low most of the time…oh, the dreadful list can go on & on…
what contributed to the stress & exhaustion further was that the bubs didn’t manage to gain back even his birth weight at 2 weeks (which is a huge concern for newborns). he had to go back to the hospital after discharge for a couple of days’ stay cos of high jaundice. then we had to go back & forth the hospital several times during that 1st 2-3 weeks becos of the weight gain, stayed another couple of days for observation. eventually, he had his 1st x-ray, and a procedure where water was passed from his anus through his small & big intestines. culprit: some meconium was stuck in his small intestines & water helped to clear that out. as I sat outside waiting for the whole procedure to end, sobbing & wondering why my new baby has to go through this at 2 weeks young, I felt lost as a mom, again. even though its just a simple procedure, not an op, its enough to strain his tiny body becos he was so young, so he was put off milk & put on drip at the NICU for about another 3-4 days. the needle tat poked through his veins was more than twice the size of his little hand. no words to describe the heartache that I was experiencing.
it took me 3 months to have the 1st day out on my own – and that was initiated & arranged by the sweet husb who thot it’d do me good to have some time out on my own. he arranged a date with a good friend & sent me off in a cab while he took on the responsibility of caring for the 3month old. I freaked out at 1st, I was like, “where am I going? what am I gonna do? you mean you guys are not going with me??!” oh silly silly me. and it took me almost 6 months to get back on the online world of fb, blogging & emailing, & surfing…
don’t get me wrong, while I feel lousy being a new mom, I was enjoying the new bubs very much, I never knew I could love so much & care so much. and there is nothing that I would give for having this experience. but the postnatal blues were real, intense & scary. there were times where I could stop midway to the bathroom & just stood there crying, feeling awful, not sure for what. there were times where I left the bubs crying his lungs out in his cot while I hid myself under the covers & sobbed, feeling lousy that I couldn’t soothe him, wishing his crying would stop & hating myself for being such a bad mom. there were times where I wished that the ground will open up & swallow me in so that I can be in absolute silence. some days where I felt so lethargic & depressed that I would shut myself in the room & laid in bed all day, not wanting to talk to anyone, or do anything. just shutting myself out to the world. wished that I could shut me out too. I dun really know when & how the blues ended, but it must’ve lasted at least 3 years, manifesting in varying degree & manner. I never expect the postnatal blues will hit me so hard, but it did. and i’m glad I came out of it.
what really helped me from sinking into the dark pothole of depression is that I have an extremely supportive, sensitive & loving husb. and he has been such a hands-all papa. I thanked God so much for him. if not for his calmness, loving actions, constant reassurances, unconditional acceptance & strong support, I would have crumbled.
God has given an angel baby in the son. from 3 months on, after his reflux & colic was gone, caring for him was such a breeze. he happily chat himself to sleep, he amused himself with the wall decals in his room & delighted in the swaying plants when I put him on the couch. he goo-ed & gah-ed with his softie friends & easily entertained himself for a good 1/2hr at least. and being with him was such a great delight. he chuckled so much & blabbered happily so much, his joy was just exuberant. in all, he feeds well, sleeps well, plays well, laughs lots, chats lots & brought me so much joy beyond what I can contain.
and then there are some friends whom I could text & call, anytime of a day, when I felt lost, lousy, weepy & very blue. they had been a strong pillar of support, constant reminders of how capable a mom I can be, voices of empowerment that built me up slowly, but surely.
last of all & the most important of all, the anchor that holds me firmly to the ground & not let the storm & waves swept me away, is my Abba Father who stays ever so close to me. carried me, embraced me, held my hand throughout this difficult period. then, now & always.
And I know and I know, this time with SB, I can continue to place all my anxieties, blues, concerns at His feet. and my hope is in Him, who never fails.