I have a confession to make, I must admit I have been feeling broody lately. Especially when I see tiny baby boys. I melt on the inside and if the baby belongs to a friend of mine, I have to spend some time holding him. Aaaaah, that new baby smell . That experience of enjoying the cuddliness of a new-born baby, is almost enough to cause amnesia. The kind of amnesia that almost completely erases the experience of the first few months of parenthood. I said almost. A few hours later after the newborn novelty has worn off. It all comes back to me, and I literally have a conversation with my ovaries.’ Stop it DON’T even think about it!’ I am definitely not ready for another one, at least not yet.
Lets throwback on my birth-day , and I will show you exactly what I mean.
DISCLAIMER : I will get descriptive. You have been warned
I had a natural birth which I am thankful for, yes I am. However the pain is unbearable. Forgive me but I will have to use CAPS in this section just to emphasize what it felt like.
My water broke early and after waiting for a whole day, my OB-GYN advised us to allow him to induce labor. The pain is indescribable. I remember the hospital nurse explaining what would happen as she attached me to the drip. I remember her saying it would take about an hour for the drugs to take effect. LIEEEEES! I remember distinctly feeling the drugs coursing through my body and the contractions starting instantly. Nothing prepares you for that. If labor progresses as it should, there are breaks between contractions where a mother can take a breather untill the next contraction. There was no such break for me. The contractions are seconds apart, and so is the pain. I had an amazing midwife/doula who helped me through breathing exercises that helped. But still , THE PAIN. Lucky for me my labor only lasted four hours .but still, THE PAIN.
Thankful for small mercies, therefore Taji was tiny so I didn’t tear and therefore I didn’t need stitches afterwards.
As a new mum I shed a lot of tears and still feel sad to date that I was unable to breastfeed my daughter for at least the first year of her life. I had so much milk after birth, it was so much I had to keep changing my hospital gown every few hours as I overflowed. During my hospital stay the nurses literally used to drag my nipples and place them into her mouth to show me how to feed her. It was degrading and painful and never seemed to work. She would suck for a few seconds and then cry and cry for hours until she fell asleep. I remember one nurse telling me it was my breasts that had a problem and after fashioning a plastic syringe to her liking, she used the air vacuum to repeatedly pop up my nipple. The discomfort is out of this world.
Nothing worked, she just never did latch properly . When we got home I started expressing milk and feeding her with a bottle. The poor thing hungrily finished it up. During our first Doctor’s appointment she had gone down to two kilograms. The milk I had wasn’t enough, she kept losing weight and eventually we bought formula and never looked back. She drank expressed breast milk for two months and then I went completely dry.
In hindsight I took the whole breastfeeding experience for granted. I didn’t think she would ‘reject’ her food.Maybe I should have fed her with a cup and spoon, no one told me that. I will get a lactation consultant next time around , who knows maybe It may help.
3.Growth Spurts /Sleep deprivation/ Teething , they all happen together.
In my experience from around four months, we never seemed to sleep normally again. Once we introduced her to formula she slept well, from 11pm to around 6am. After four months sleep became elusive until around 9 months. I do not know what happened.My husband will tell you I should have let her cry. ( He blames me for her bad sleeping habits ha-ha). I even attended a sleep seminar (ha-ha let me laugh at myself). Nothing worked and eventually she set her own sleep schedule. She is asleep right now, on the sofa . She had slept an hour ago and then woke up. It seems to me she stays up for her dad and rarely settles down until he comes home ( ha-ha it is your fault George). All I know sleep deprivation drove me up the wall. Days merge into each other and the exhaustion never ends. Even when she would sleep through the night the sleep was never enough. There was so much ‘sleep backlog’ to catch up on.
One day she will sleep at normal hours , without waking up even once until then we trudge on.
Taji was born in a private room in a private hospital. The labor ward had amazing nurses and my doctor and mid wife were the best.I loved my experience . After birth I was moved to my own private room. The nurses there were the worst. I learned later that new mothers are supposed to get a chance to rest and recover from birth as they keep the baby in the nursery. She was with me throughout . I never did get to sleep anyway. The nurses during the night shift would blast loud reggae music for hours on end. It wasn’t until my husband complained that they would turn it down.
Secondly , my OB-GYN cleared me to go home after two days.The hospital pediatrician who was present at birth did not clear Taji for discharge. Apparently they had sent a culture to the lab that would take 36hours for results to show . She was concerned that Taji may have an infection. We had no reason to not trust her judgement. We ended up staying from Tuesday to Saturday. During this period we never got a full report as to what was happening. It was a cat and mouse game with the nurses and pediatrician who changed with every shift. One would tell us the results were out , the other would say they were not ready. Eventually my husband , the poor sweet man who had been spending the night on the little sofa in my hospital room to give me support as I tried to breastfeed , finally demanded to see the results and suddenly they were ready and voila the culture showed that there was nothing to worry at. Ofcourse by then my maternity cover had been depleted .
We know better now , if we do have a baby in a hospital next time we will have our own trusted pediatrician who will guide us through the process and if there are any concerns explain them better .
5. Domestic managers
My husband and I love our space and had decided that when the baby was born that we would survive without a live in nanny/house help. I was able to hire and train a young lady with the help of my mother in law. She would come early morning and leave in the evening. She was a good cook and cleaned the house well . BUT a month later she was giving me sob stories and asking me to lend her a huge amount of money. I declined, a days later she sent me a text asking me to give her some stuff from our house. I declined. Then I accidentally found out she was 6 months pregnant A Fact that she had not told me about during the interview .I then saw her with some of my stud earrings that I had put aside in a drawer as they were not pairs anymore. I did not feel like this was someone I could trust my child with let alone my house . She was gone . Since then we have not hired anyone on permanent basis. Maybe this year we will be lucky
When I look back at this collection of stories I am more amused than traumatized. We had a baby and survived through the grace and strength of GOD.
Maybe we will do this again.
First post of the year. I feel truly blessed to be alive to see another year come to be. I am not one for making New year resolutions because if anything 2016 taught me , it is that resolving to get through each day is enough. After all tomorrow is not promised, we only have today .
So ,it is 11.12 pm , the house is quiet save for the music i am listening to as i write. Hubby and Taji are asleep . It feels good to have a few minutes to myself. Our baby is now a 14 month old toddler, she has boundless energy . This week she decided to fully start walking. It feels surreal. In my eyes she is a walking,breathing miracle. My heart explodes with joy at-least 20 times a day as I reflect on just how much she has grown. I still have not mastered this motherhood thing.Let me show you just what i mean.
Pray tell, what does that even mean? I gave up trying to sleep train Taji. She has a mind of her own, and yes Mama doesn’t have the heart to let her cry it out. I tried everything, i read all the books and articles online. She sleeps when she wants and in our bed. DO not judge me , yes i see you, you with the perfectly sleep trained baby who sleeps in their own room. Move along , nothing to see here. I feed her, give her a bath, read her a story,pray with her, give her a last bottle for the day and put her down. Sometimes she sleeps sometimes she decides shes staying up until Daddy comes home. She then sleeps with us for about an hour then i put her in her bed.
I stopped feeling guilty about not having a sleep trained baby. I put her in our bed one exhausted night when she was teething and going through a growth spurt and she finally fell asleep. I figure she wont be with us much longer as she needs to move to the next room. Stay tuned, let us see how that goes!
Taji eats as she sits in her feeding chair. Thankfully she eats well. She is now fully weaned and eats whatever we eat, spices and all.Depending on her day to day appetite i will feed her three meals or smaller ones spaced out through the day. Including fruits and water to keep her hydrated especially in this hot January weather. We were lucky that she transitioned to whole cow milk without trouble , yes there was a celebration in our house when we stopped buying formula. Kshs 1050 per tin, how did we do it? God truly provides.
If you do not already know, Taji is a fully fledged daddy’s girl. She says mama maybe twice a week, and Dada 50 million times a day. The injustice ! Oh well. She now says Mama, Dada, pupu (when she poops) hi and ba-byeeee , and sings /hums along to her favourite YouTube videos. Our daughter is a dancer (yeah she got that from me, I had a short career as a dancer ha-ha). She can stand upright and now takes lots of steps around the house. At the rate she is going she will be running by the end of the month. My baby is growing up. Bittersweet.
My daughter loves people thankfully. Mama not so much. Whenever we go for social gatherings i struggle to keep up with the conversations. I used to be a social butterfly ,guess that happens when your daily companion is a baby. Social media doesn’t help ,i wistfully watch as all my friends go on with their lives. I miss having an ADULT best friend, one that i can call and go for coffee with and laugh as we catch up and talk about our lives.
So in a nutshell, that is where we are at. I have a happy healthy baby , a happy marriage and for that I am thankful for. I am praying a lot as I figure out the next step for me. I need to work on becoming whole , reconnect with the social being that I was, reconnect with my gifts that are meant to be shared with the world. Getting out of this mummy hole with my dark thoughts is proving hard. But I have made a few steps out and each day it gets better and better.
Thank God we made it.
Happy 2017 everyone.