Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The First Month

It's been a month now and I see myself failing... a huge disappointment. I am falling apart and nothing in my life is going right... wait, just kidding hehe. I'm just being ridonculous. My head is cloudy from sleep deprivation so forgive me. But besides that, I have never been actually happier. My baby turns one month today! Yey!

A month has quickly passed since Darla came into our lives but I can still vividly remember our Day 1 at the hospital. A couple of hours after my recovery from operation, we were reunited in the hospital room, savouring the moment, skin to skin. While she lay contentedly on my chest feeding like a sweet angel when she needed to, I can't help but feel sorry and a little smug maybe, to the mom and baby next door. All through the night her baby was unsettled making her mom exasperated.

Contentedly taking selfies with mommy 😍

In the morning I was proudly telling Lolo and Lola how well behaved Darla was as I sent them a video of her on the cot quietly observing her surroundings. I was telling Daddy how lucky we were to have such well behaved baby who let us have our coffee and cakes in peace. Later on I would realise that I was none the wiser.

Such a sweet baby 💗💗💗

When Daddy and the girls left us that night, I never knew that I would be in for the first shock of my motherhood life. At 2am, Darla woke up from her deep sleep to feed and I thought it should be a breeze just like last night. Boy, was I wrong!

She would fall asleep while I nursed her, but everytime I tried to lay her down on the bed, she'd start crying. She wouldn't go back to sleep no matter how much I cradled her. The only thing that would soothe her was breastfeeding. So from 2am onwards, it was a cycle of feed-sleep-cry repeat. Shamefully, I realised I was the exasperated mom now. 

As the sun started to rise, I began to doubt my motherhood skills. I wondered, had I really raised 2 girls before? First, I began to doubt whether I had milk to satisfy the baby. Then, I began to doubt if I was capable of breastfeeding at all. Never mind exclusively breastfeeding! 

By morning I raised my white flag and begged for the nurse to give my baby formula milk. Only after that did she finally settled down, and I swear before going to sleep, Darla looked at me to say, "You spoke too soon, mommy!"

Next thing, I was on the phone with my husband, crying partly because I was feeling sorry for starving the baby through the night and partly for my nips which were severely cracked after the cluster feeding (as termed by the nurse). While the nurses changed shifts, I overheard them saying, "...baby's 2nd night. She is unsettled and has been cluster feeding through the night. Mommy is upset and crying." I cringed with embarrassment. 

I learned afterwards that babies were generally quiet on the first night because they were tired from all the crying. Second night is when they start to get unsettled. There were more lessons to be had after that, especially with breastfeeding, which was the next struggle. 

Breastfeeding had become torturous after the cracked nipples. Nursing the baby was far from the perfect picture of mom and baby eye to eye smiling as they create a happy bond between them. The reality was: me getting a grip as baby sucks... literally. The whole feeding session I would dig my fingers through the pillow, my toes would curl down and my body trembling from the excruciating pain. This is not hyperbole btw. Breastfeeding journey deserves a post of its own.

Smile to mask the pain! OUCH!

Finally, it was time to take the baby home! I felt an involuntary smile on my face while we walked out of the hospital. The girls were very happy to welcome Darla home.

Welcome home Darla!

In a matter of weeks time, Darla grew from newborn to infant. Her 0000 onesies were too small by week 3, and everytime I would put on one that no longer fits, I would exclaim, "she's a big baby now, Daddy!"

I also noticed that my arms start giving in as she becomes heavier each day and so every time I cradled her I would say, "Daddy, she's so heavy now!" That's how proud I was of every inch and gram she gained. :) 

Everyday, Darla shows her development: longer eye contacts, responding to the sound of her milk bottle, smiling not only when half asleep. She surprises us with new facial expressions too.

Mommy do you really know what you're doing? 😬

Indeed, it's been a month. A month of trial and error, guessing game and coping up. I can't really say it was a long or quick one. Some days, it would be a breeze and the day would seem to just pass by. Most nights were difficult though, especially when she cluster feeds or comfort feeds. Mind you, the nips have become tougher as the days went by hehe. 

And so today, as she turns a month old, we will celebrate the milestone of her transition from newborn to infant. We also celebrate the many hurdles we have overcome. But most of all, we thank God for giving us this precious tiny life. We hope and pray that one month turns to 6, then a year, then years... It will be a journey of more learning and experiences, and of many more sweet memories to treasure and look back to, God willing.

News Flash: The Royal baby born on the Royal Wedding Anniversary turns 1 month! 😍

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