Have not been updating the website after giving birth because the tiredness is SO real! Many people have warned me about the tiredness after a baby is born but I was still unprepared for the scale of “shag-ness” until I experienced it myself. Omg. Before giving birth, I was physically tired from carrying Baby C in my womb. After giving birth, I am physically exhausted from the lack of sleep. Anyway, Baby C is 5+ months now and I shall share my experiences over the past 5 months.
There is a Chinese saying which goes “养儿一百岁，常忧九十九” i.e. You raise your kid for 100 years old, but you will worry about him till he is 99 years old. I beg to differ. Besides worrying about Baby C when she was still inside me, I started to worry about her since Day 1 of her life as well. The worry started when I was still hospitalised. As I read that newborns should generally be woken every 3hrs to feed in their first month of life, I woke Baby C at about 12+am on her first night as her last feeding was 9+pm on the previous day. However, before I even fed her, she regurgitated milk. This was despite the nurse burping her after her feed at 9+pm. I was told to skip the 12+am feed and try again later. However, after the nurse changed her, she regurgitated again. It was so heartbreaking for me to see my own baby regurgitate for the first time as I imagine she must have felt so uncomfortable. Before I woke her up at 12+am, Baby C was sleeping soundly. However, after regurgitating twice, she was fussing and could not fall back to sleep. As a first time mum, I felt helpless as I was unsure if 1) she was still full and uncomfortable and perhaps needed to be burped/ to regurgitate a few more times, or 2) she was hungry after regurgitating her milk or 3) she had wet her diapers and was uncomfortable. I pressed the call bell for help. However, 10 minutes later, an irritating looking nurse who was not looking after this cubicle I was in, popped her head in. When I explained I needed help to understand why Baby C was fussing every now and then, she looked at the then-sound asleep Baby C and exclaimed “ya, but now baby is ok already, right?” and left. I was speechless. First, she took 10 minutes to come. Second, she did not even hear my concerns. Baby C had already regurgitate twice and no one told me if this was normal or not. I was worried that Baby C was actually still very uncomfortable or even unwell. The only reason she answered the call bell was to silent it. I felt very helpless. After checking Baby C’s diapers and changing it, I recalled overhearing a nurse telling another mum opposite me that if baby still cries after pooping, it might be because they are still hungry. Hence, I tried latching Baby C again at 2+am. This time, she regurgitated not only from her mouth, but from her nose as well! I was so shocked and scared. I pressed the call bell immediately and then decided to walk out of the cubicle to look for a nurse myself since I was feeling very scared for Baby C’s health and did not want to risk waiting another 10min. Unfortunately for me, the only nurse who saw me was the same irritated nurse who dismissed me. This time round, without even taking a second glance at Baby C who had milk coming out of her mouth and nose, she “scolded” me for getting out of bed as it was dangerous for me to be wandering around. I too felt quite weak, perhaps from the shock of seeing milk coming out of Baby C’s nose and the lack of sufficient sleep, but what could I do? I had not carried Baby C in my womb for 40 weeks exactly for her to die or be warded in NICU from aspiration pneumonia (when foods get into lungs, causing lung infection)! The irritated nurse did not bother to follow me back to my bed and check Baby C. Instead, she got the nurse in-charge (IC) of my cubicle to come to me. The nurse IC scolded me for not burping Baby C properly and not telling them I did not know how to burp Baby C. At that point, I was feeling terrified and hence, did not recall that actually, I had told the two different nurses who attended to me that I did not know how to burp Baby C and that they all burped Baby C for me earlier at 9+pm and 12+am. While this IC berated me, my mind was focusing on my baby: what if she developed aspiration pneumonia from the regurgitated milk coming out from her nose? What if there was some sort of congenital deformity in her intestines such that her milk could not be digested, making her regurgitate milk 5+hrs after her feed? I felt so helpless and wanted to cry when the IC insisted on taking away Baby C to the nursery and asked me to sleep. How could I sleep when I was worried something was wrong with Baby C?! She finally said she would inform a doctor to review Baby C. After a while when she did not get back to me, I walked to the nursery to find out about Baby C’s condition. She was getting irritated by this time too and told me the doctor had not reviewed Baby C, who was already sound asleep then. She then reassured me that she would ensure the doctor reviewed Baby C and that she would bring Baby C to me when it was time for her next feeding (after the doctor reviewed and okay-ed it, I suppose). With that, I finally went to sleep after this long long day.
When I woke up at 5+am, I realised that the nurse did not bring Baby C to me nor update me about Baby C’s condition. I panicked and called for Baby C and wanted to know if she was ok. Thankfully, the nurse said Baby C was ok and ready to feed so I latched Baby C. Baby C looked milk drunk after her feed! <3 However, perhaps my milk supply was just kicking in and insufficient for Baby C, she kept wanting to feed every hour! I was confused. If my milk supply was so low and insufficient for her, why did she need more than 5+ hours to digest the previous night? Anyway, under the advice of the nurse, I latched her hourly based on her demand until 8+am when the morning shift nurse took over. The nurse IC of me during night shift had handed over that I was exclusively breastfeeding with no top-up of formula for Baby C. I was 100% sure that she made some nasty comments about me too as the attitude of the morning nurse was different from the previous day when I first reached the ward. She was much hostile and impatient, and kept “encouraging” me to feed Baby C formula milk. She explained that the way Baby C latched was wrong and if I continued, my nipples would crack and bleed. I was so angry and speechless because she saw me latch Baby C last night before she ended her shift. So many other nurses also saw me latch Baby C in the morning every hour and yet, no one bothered to tell me that my way of latching was wrong?!?! Why was that so? I did ask the nurses if I was doing it correctly and they said yes. Why was this nurse only telling me that my way was wrong when my nipples were already so sore and cracking? I was in so much pain from my cracked nipples and so angry thinking that all these could have been prevented. I had breast milk for Baby C and now I could not breastfeed her? Omg. I just hoped Sunshine would arrive at the hospital quickly to be with me and wanted to be discharged as soon as possible. However, I could only be discharged after a certain timing (2 or 3pm if I remembered correctly) due to their policy of monitoring mothers who just gave birth for x hours before discharging them.
In the meantime, I was reviewed by the lactation consultant who guided me on how to latch Baby C properly but also agreed that I should rest my nipples more. Hence, she taught me to hand express my colostrum and collect it via a syringe. Luckily, I packed in some sample nipple cream in my hospital bag. The free sample I had was mustela nipple cream and it was a lifesaver! I am not exaggerating nor am I sponsored to write this but I felt instant relief whenever I applied this nipple cream! However, though I felt better, I did still need to rest my nipples so I tried to hand express. Unfortunately, I could not really master the art of collecting the precious droplets using a syringe while hand expressing at the same time. Sunshine did help to collect the colostrum in the syringe when he arrived but the effort spent was way more than the volume collected. Lol… Baby C was hence cup-fed formula. For Baby C, the paediatrician cleared her for discharge. She also passed her hearing test, had some blood taken for blood tests and took her first BCG vaccination. Other than the horrendous experience I had the night before, I was still quite satisfied with the rest of my stay in the hospital.
Time passed slightly faster with Sunshine around and before long, we were finally discharged!