Day 18

Its been 18 days since my baby was born. These 18 days, i am supposed to be resting and building back my energy and strength, especially from a c sec. Thank god for hubs and mom who have been around to take care of baby while i try to “rest”. but alas, thats not the case, because i am… theoretically supposed to be breastfeeding and establishing the milk supply. of course people say this is the hardest in the 1st month because thats when your body dont know how much milk is needed and hence produce as much. Only in the following months that the supply gets regulated.

So that explains the excessive supply i got. Maybe also cos of the boob size, which translates into many milk ducts, the supply was crazy. And because i am unable to latch, i exclusively pump, which means im literally stuck to my pump every 2 hours or so for 30 mins. And then i need to clean up and wash and sterilise the parts to prepare for next pump. Where did my “rest” time go? all to the pump. i dont even spend time with my baby! is this fair to me or her?

Over the days, i started to get tired and weary and perhaps dragged the pump time abit longer. well, its not intentional but i started to get engorged. BAD BAD engorgement. only mummies will know the meaning of engorgement. usually it will be just soreness, tenderness, boob getting hard, pain and just have to massage and pump out. But the worst i got was shooting pain, my whole boob was rock hard, it was swollen and red, just a light touch and i wanna cry, the armpit and arm was also getting hot,i was getting feverish and i was shivering even under the blanket in an non-aircon room. i thought to myself  “is this what death feels like?” . Seriously it was really unbearable. no matter what i did,… hot compress.. cold compress.. cold cabbage,.. hot showers… nothing helped.

i am all about ready to give up breastfeeding. of course alot of emotions running inside. did i try my best? is this all my pain threshold could take? could i not try harder? am i letting my baby down?

please do not doubt me when i say its really mummy’s guilt. all mummies hope to provide their baby the best. i was all ready to control my diet to continue breastfeeding even tho i really needed a beer now and then.

we went to a GP on sunday in desperate measure to get medication to stop the throbbing pain from the boobs. he did not want to prescribe lactation suppression medication initially but maybe i look as if i am in depression, he eventually did. But after googling, the medication did not seem very safe. In fact it was different from what some of my friends took when they wanted to stop breastfeeding too.

So since we were going to see the PD on Mon, we decided to pop by my gynae to get a prescription for the safer medicine. Not cheap but anything for my sanity. Actually the pd also said that nowadays the formula is made quite smilar to breastmilk so no problem taking formula milk as well. i just dont understand why people are so adamant about giving only breastmilk. I mean people make their own choices right.

It is a sign, because i needed to pump badly and when we finally found a nursing room, my pump decided to die a natural death and could not be switch on. sigh. Everything is just not to my advantage.

So anyway the decision was made to stop with hubs support. I took the first dose at 7pm on 23 March 2015.

It is still emotional for me when i look at my pump parts, when i look at the fridge and see the supply i built up is slowly decreasing.. soon we need to defrost the ones in the freezer… soon there will be no more breastmilk. It is depressing when i see the things we bought to support breastfeeding (ie breast pads, nipple cream, breast shields, extra flanges, extra valves), In fact we bought a smaller portable pump so i can use when we go out or when i return to work. It hasnt even arrived and i decided to give up breastfeeding.

I dont even know why i must explain to people why we made this decision. All the shit i get from people about not trying hard enough and that breastfeeding/breastmilk is good for baby etc. Its not as if we dont know. But its not all about the baby right? Mama is going into depression. Rather than resting or being stuck to the pump,i rather be spending time cuddling with my baby. The day that was the worst, i didnt even see my baby the whole day because i was in the room trying to unclog the ducts.

I been crying every day and in pain. Who can understand this? Who are you to question why i decide to give up bfeeding. It is not an easy decision for me as well. Of course i hope to provide my baby breastmilk. But at the expense of my sanity and opportunity cost of time spent with my baby?

I think things would have been different if the experience of breastfeeding was easier, and if the primary caregiver for my baby is my mom. But the primary caregiver when i return to work will be my helper and i definitey dont want my baby to be too close to her, and so i wanna spend allt he time i have now with my baby. i wanna see my baby milestones, i wanna be able to comfort her when she cries, i want her to know i am mama and im always here. Im not a mama stuck to the pump!

Even today, i feel quite sad and emo when i was feeding her formula milk. I feel emo when i see the colour of her poo changed. (feeding BM and formula, the poo colour will differ).

But i guess in the long run, this will benefit baby, me and even hubs.

so do not judge us. do not question us. this is our decision.

to mummies who are thinking of the same route as i did, i support you.

to mummies who manage to breastfeed successfully, i salute you.

to mummies who feed formula from the start, i respect you.



So im about 10 days into Motherhood. How has it been?

The first 4 days was a struggle to adjust to this new phase in my life. Basically being strapped up to the IV and having a catheter inserted and recovering from the pain from the c sec operation didnt allow me to have time to cuddle with my baby. Not to mention the lactation consultant came by everyday to encourage you to breastfeed. The stress of breastfeeding was crazy. Yes they were very encouraging and tried to teach the way to latch on baby and to continue to do so even though it may hurt at the start. But personally i felt that i wasnt ready and that the pain and immobility put alot of stress on me. Moreover, there wasnt any milk in the first few days. It was all colostrum which i know is good. By day 2, the hardest decision was to start her on formula milk. Because she is a biggish baby, her appetite also was big. I wouldnt say we had no choice. I know i could have persisted to latch and wait for milk supply to kick in. But that was really causing alot of stress and i know milk will not come in if i am stressed. The pain of expressing milk is also indescribable. With the encouragement of the nurses and lactation consultant, we managed to syringe out the colostrum to feed to baby.

Day 5, the milk supply was coming in. I could feel it in the boobs. The throbbing and hardening. I felt like i could bash my head.. it was also our first day back home, and the stress of settling baby in, and us getting adjusted to this new little human in our household was the priotity. I couldnt find the energy and time to figure out breastfeeding! But the pain was so annoying. Tried to pump out everything but because it was engorged, the milk was not coming out. I was starting to get irritated and i really wanted to give up. My friends (aka mama support group) encouraged me not to give up and it was always like this in the beginning but once i figure it out, it would get much better. I discussed with Hubs on the possibility of feeding baby Formula and me giving up breastfeeding. Moreover, i had difficult latching on so it was exclusive pumping for me. Firstly i couldnt get the milk out, it was so painful. Secondly, i didnt know if i wanted to be stuck to the silly machine every 2 hrs for 30 mins. I could have spent this time cuddling with my baby, no?

Hubs told me to try and to hang in there, and to give it a week or two. (sigh! if only he knew how painful it was). But okay, for baby’s sake, i will hang in there.

Things started to get better in the following days, i started to try various methods to relieve the engorgement. The best method was to use a hot towel to hot compress and squeeze all the milk out. Soon, with hubs help to massage, we managed to clear the engorgement. Next was to establish a schedule to pump out the milk. I wouldnt lie and say it was easy, but i guess its all about discipline. I now pump every 2.5-3hrs unless i overslept. and i manage to get about 90ml averagely per pump. It is not the best but at least at the moment i am keeping up with baby’s demand.

Yes things got better, we are adjusting nicely, we manage to get a pumping schedule going on, we are getting more sleep with the help of my mom who does the night duty. Im not sure how it would be like when the Hubs return to work next week, but i guess mummy instincts will kick in.

Alot of first’s for us, changing diapers 4 times a night, crawling out of bed to prepare milk for her, ensuring everything is clean, washing and sterilising bottles and pump parts – this is almost our daily life right now. But you know what? seeing her smile at us, that makes it all worthwhile.

I am also not being very strict on confinement. Mom cooks confinement food for me everyday – which includes alot of ginger, sesame oil, vinegar, tonic, herbs and lots of fish. I drink longan red date everyday, and abit of cheat drink is milo. I had my first shower on Day 3 when the IV was removed on my hand. Suddenly i felt like a human again. That shower was really needed to help me regain my sanity. I had my first hair wash on Day 5 and second hair wash on Day 10. I have a quick shower everyday with warm water straight from the shower, i use the lemongrass confinement shower gel though. I believe that hygiene is very important especially with the breastfeeding and bleeding going on. For the first few days, i also try not to have direct wind blowing at me, and i also wore bed room slippers. But with a crying baby and the busy day of making milk, the bed room slippers are now forgotten.

Day 10 thoughts : I think family support is very important, and more importantly, it is very good to talk to your husband and let him know how you are feeling all the time. It is good to have communication and discuss on issues. I broke down twice from all the trying to make milk and thinking i am an inadequate parent. I am also very lucky that Hubs have been very hands on and when i cannot carry babygirl because of the pain from the wound (yes its still hurting today!!), he takes over the cuddling and burping. Im sure he will be more tired than me when he returns to work, but thank you Hubs for being the best daddy to our babygirl.


E’s birth story

Just so i dont forget the wonderful experience we been through on the day of her birth, i figured i should pen this down before it all gets blurry.

7 March was the scheduled day of appointment for us to see Dr Siow. In this appointment, we would already been 39 Weeks 5 Days into the pregnancy and Dr Siow would check if the cervix is open and we will be doing the usual CTG to check for contractions.

By this time, Hubs and i have already been waiting for baby to make her appearance over the last week and truth be told, we were getting abit impatient. Hubs was excited and anxious to meet his princess, and i was getting heavy and tired from all the pregnancy weight and not knowing when the labour would start, i was getting restless and unable to sleep well anyway.

8.30am : Arrived at Dr Siow’s clinic

8.45am : Strapped up to CTG – monitored a few regular contractions which i didnt feel a thing, but it was showing on the scan.

9.00am : Dr Siow checked my cervix and declared that the “door is not opened”  and that baby is quite high up, perhaps because she is a biggish baby. He figured that maybe because of her size, she was not able to come down thru the birth canal. My blood pressure has been increasing over the last few gynae checks so he also suggested that we should try to get her out soon. Proposed to either induce labour or c sec on 9 March, Mon. At this point, Hubs and i were getting anxious. Although we had discussed this a few times, but it seems that the decision was hard to make when we had to. We discussed that if we were to go through induce labour, i would have to go through the pain of natural delivery and in the event that it does not work out, i would be going through emergency c sec which then hubs will not be able to be in the op theatre with me. But we also discussed to go through an elective c sec, hubs will be able to witness the birth of our baby BUT the recovery and pain of the operation will take longer, and moreover, our initial birth plan was to do natural delivery WITHOUT epidural. So this was all going way out of our plan!

We discussed with Dr Siow on the possibility of then doing the elective c sec earlier, since we were already getting impatient and no point waiting any further if we have decided on the c sec route.

Dr Siow suggested Monday, but we asked if possible to do on the next day (Sunday). And then i just asked if we could do it on Saturday itself. So this impromptu decision was made and honestly i felt a sense of relief that hey finally this is happening, we are going to see our babygirl soon. The clinic staff made arrangements with the operating theatre, anesthetist, pediatrician and unfortunately the op theatre at our chosen hosp – Mount Alvernia was fully booked till Tuesday!! As Dr Siow’s clinic is at Gleneagles, he suggested for us to be admitted to Gleneagles instead. (Way out of our plan and budget!!).

After all the arrangements were confirmed, we were told to admit to Gleneagles by 12pm. As it would be a elective C sec, i had to fast. No more food and drinks till after the operation. Elective C Sec was scheduled to be at 4.00pm.

OMG this is really happening. I was feeling rather excited but flustered. Honestly i have not stayed in the hospital before and i have not gone through any surgery in my entire life. i was very nervous because i have read up alot on natural birth and not much on c sec hence i was really thrown off my comfort zone.

10am : We drove home to drop off the car, and pack our stuff and grab the hospital bag.

11.00am : Took my last shower, packed the last bits, called a cab.

12.00pm : Cab arrived and we made our way to Gleneagles.

12.30pm : Admitted into Gleneagles, Bed 524. We requested for single bed ward as i was hoping hubs could bunk in with me (i secretly didnt want to be alone!). There wasnt any available single bed at the point of admission but they said probably after my operation, they would transfer me. My mom was with us and my in laws came shortly after. I was glad to have this family support as i was really quite nervous inside. Things were happening so fast that i didnt have the time to feel really scared, we were running on adrenalin at this point of time.

2.00pm : A Nurse came in to help change me to the hospital gown and get me prepared for the operation. Temperature taken, blood pressure monitored, Baby heartbeat was recorded.

I felt abit emotional at this point of time, this baby which i have been carrying inside me for the past 9 months was going to be delivered. What would she look like? How would she be? Will she have alot of hair? Will the delivery be smooth and good?

I felt her kicking inside me, and i know i was going to miss that.

3.00pm : The operating theatre staff came and transferred me to the bed to be wheeled to the operating theatre. They also wheeled a baby bed for Hubs to push alongside with me. I felt so emotional as they wheeled me away and i waved bye and see you later to my mom and in laws. I was sooooo scared but excited to see my baby girl. I AM GOING TO BE A MOTHER!!!

330pm : Waiting in the waiting area at the operating theatre, Hubs was given scrubs to wear, and i remember the nurses coming to verify my information many times. The anesthetist came and briefed me on the spinal jab which will numb my lower half of body so that the operation can take place.

3.45pm : Hubs was told to wait at the waiting room while they pushed me in to get ready for the operation. I was transferred to the operating table, the half screen set up, was then given the drip on the hand, blood pressure and ECG was put on to monitor my heart rate, and finally was given the spinal jab. It is different from epidural but it is also a jab which goes into the spinal to numb the lower half of the body. Dr Siow came in shortly and started pinching my belly asking if i could feel it. He also inserted the cathether to clear the urine. Soon i cant feel my toes and soon i cant feel his pinching. This feeling was rather scary actually, not being able to feel my body parts.

4.00pm : The operation started and Hubs came in to sit beside me. I was so relived to see him. Before this i was all alone in the cold cold room, not being able to feel my legs and having many people attending to me and treating me like a piece of meat. I asked if the operation has started and in fact Dr Siow has already made the cut in my belly. I couldnt feel it! Amazing. There was alot of gushing of water and suction sound. The next thing i knew, Dr Siow said there was going to be abit of tugging and err actually it was a hell load of tugging, i felt like i was being pulled apart just that i had no feeling.

4.10pm : The Anesthetist, at Dr Siow’s instruction, walked behind my head and started to push my belly from my chest down. It was a hard push and i felt a gush and a sense of relief and the next thing i heard my baby cry. My tears flowed down and i was trying hard to control because Dr Siow was cleaning up and sewing me up. Hubs gave me a kiss and went over to see babygirl getting cleaned up. The nurse then wrapped baby up and brought over to me. She looked so beautiful i couldnt believe she is mine and that she came out of my belly. She was a whooping 3.71kg! Hubs then left with the baby and nurse to get her measured and cleaned up while Dr Siow started sewing me back up. At this point, i was starting to get drowsy and sleepy. I think the multiple medicine was making me woozy.

5.00pm : I think the sewing completed at this time, i was already so drowsy that i couldnt keep my eyes open. I was pushed to the recovery area to monitor for an hour, and i dont remember anything except thinking where my baby was and how is she.

6.00pm : The nurses wheeled me back to my ward and hubs was actually waiting for me outside the operating theatre but i was so woozy that i didnt even realise that he was there. Once we returned the ward (lucky there was a one bed ward available!), hubs went to get baby from the nursery. I still couldnt feel my legs and it was really uncomfortable. The moment i saw my baby, i felt like crying again. How did we manage to create such a amazing human being. Just that morning, we went for our gynae check, and now she is in our arms.

The next few hours that followed was trying to get my legs back, that took about 6 hrs, and then because of the drip and cathether, i was not mobile at all and i couldnt cuddle my baby. The wound was also started to hurt and i had to take quite abit of medication. I was told to try to stand up the next day to walk.

Day 2 : They came to remove the cathether and i was supposed to try to walk and try to let the first pee out.

Day 3 : They removed the drip.

Day 4 : Discharged!

It was overall a very overwhelming experience that im glad all of us came out of it safe, healthy and happy.

I will write again on how i feel about being a mother now in the next post!