Thursday, 31 January 2013

Surviving the first week of motherhood - An honest confession

I am going to state the obvious - having a newborn baby is really hard work! Everyone knows that but you can only fully grasp it until you go through it.

This beautiful newborn baby is your source of joy and delight and every moment you get, you spent admiring him and cuddling him. However, he is also your source of sleep deprivation and fatigue. Every thing revolves around his feeding schedule and in between that, you have dirty nappies and trying to putting him to sleep.

We spent three days at the hospital and because I had some drugs during labour, my baby was very sleepy on his first day. Without a doubt, I was still wearing the effects of it too. As a result of that, he wouldn't attach and the midwives helped me express milk. He slept well because he was also still sustaining himself from the reserves he got whilst still in the womb.

On the second day, he started to breastfeed very well and the midwives and us were thrilled! On our last day at the hospital, we noticed he had jaundice and because of that, he was very limp, drowsy and wouldn't wake up to feed. My heart broke to see my little baby so weak and not wanting to feed :(

When he came home, his feeding was so erratic. He would feed very slowly, fall asleep and I would have to wake him up then feed again. I would then put him to bed thinking he was done only to wake up to his cries 15 minutes later to feed again! He also didn't have many dirty nappies which was a bit of a concern. In addition to that, he had lost a significant amount of weight. He was already so little when he was born and now to lose more weight just made me worry. I was so exhausted from all of this.

The next day, a midwife from the hospital came to visit us and she gave us a plan to help get rid of his jaundice - more feeding! It was already so difficult to feed him and she's asking us to feed him more to flush the jaundice out! Anyway, we followed her plan and tried to rest as much as we could as we were simply exhausted but we didn't have much time for it.

The following day, another midwife visited and she broke the good news to us - our efforts had worked and bub had put on a good amount of weight! He was feeding frequently and was no longer limp and drowsy from the jaundice. However, he still has jaundice but it was starting to fade. Frequent feeding is good and bad news - good that we are flushing out the jaundice, bad because mummy cannot get any sleep! I guess this is what sacrificial love means. You'd do anything for your baby even if it means, not sleeping.

Two days later, the first midwife came back and reported good progress with the bub. Isaac is starting to get into a more regular feeding/sleeping routine and has lots of dirty nappies and his jaundice is subsiding. Ah, what a relief :)

We also had a nice talk with the midwife about the baby blues and postnatal depression especially after my mum and dad leave and Ken goes back to work and it'll just be me and bub at home alone. She was very encouraging and told me to join a mother's group, to do what it takes to stay healthy mentally and emotionally. Having a baby was quite a traumatic experience for me and I needed time to get over the birth itself. The few days before the contractions came seemed like a blur and then all of a sudden, my life now seems so different. I needed to piece everything together. Perhaps the drugs made it harder too as I was so drowsy during labour and after. It also didn't help that I was stuck in the hospital room which was always so dark and didn't go out for 3 days. It was only when it was time to go home that I felt the rays and warmth of sunlight on my skin and a breath of fresh air. The trip home felt like a trip home from the airport after going on a long holiday. It was only 3 days, but it felt much longer..I had lost track of the days. It is tough when you go through something so spontaneous and then before you try to come to terms with the events that have happened, you're thrust into the responsibilities of motherhood without stopping.

It is now one week since my darling baby was born, it has been really rough, I don't even know how to describe it but I am proud to say that I am starting to get a hang of it. Just starting...I'm still very tired and the baby follows you everywhere you I need as much encouragement and support that I can get from everyone. It's a funny feeling having so much love for your baby but also just trying to keep up with his demands. I know I can do it..I have to!


  1. hey joy!
    i've been a long-time stalker of ur blog.. i like reading blogs. (: congratulations on the arrival of isaac!! don't worry... u'll do just fine! the 1st month is always a bit of a blur... but u learn along the way and there aren't really any rights and wrongs in mummy-dom.
    do take care of yourself and rest whenever u get the chance!
    god bless.
    ivy, ian and all the little songs. (:

    1. Hi Ivy! so nice to hear from you. Thank you for the encouragement and congrats on baby no.2! Baby boy or girl?

  2. Hey Joy! Congrats on ur baby boy, Isacc! He is so adorable! My baby girl decided to come out to say hi to us at week 35, she is tiny but glad she is healthy! I totally understand the crazy feeding times. Mine decided to drink non-stop at night! I read it could be growth spurt too :) Enjoy motherhood!

    1. oh wow 35 weeks! congrats!! saw her pic on fb. she's sooo cute :P so our bubs are less than a week apart. awesome! hope u r surviving motherhood :P