From the delivery, you could say that I was thwarted and given a brief glimpse of how things would be in the future as a mother. Instead of the natural delivery I had in mind, I got an emergency c-sec after being induced twice and the long 24 hour wait since my water bag broke. Why the c-sec? Because my daughter was awfully relaxed in a complete breech position.
I went through the baby blues in the first week and later on the first month; I remember crying my eyeballs out non-stop whenever Nil had to go home to be with my parents. Although the hospital allowed husbands to stay and come in as and when they like, having my parents around meant that he had to juggle visits to the hospital as well as taking care of them. That coupled with the move stressed him out considerably, which left me alone to manage and cope with being a new mum.
While hospital staff were very helpful, patient and understanding (THANK GOD), it still didn’t stop me from feeling overwhelmed. I knew that part of it was hormonal while the other part of it was irrational but people telling me to just stop because it’s wrong was not helpful. When new mothers suffer from baby blues, the last thing they need is the typical “You should cry coz it’s unhealthy” – we know it; we just want someone to say “It’s okay, things will get better” no matter how shallow or superficial that may sound.
My first week at the hospital was basically me learning how to adapt to Eva – she was a sleeper and while some people may be happy to get one, I wasn’t because sleepers are just that; they sleep and don’t eat much. She was also quite content to sleep in my arms but not in her bassinet and was prone to fussing the moment the sun set. While we managed to get her to sleep in her own crib/moses basket, the fussing carried on well into the first month. At one point it got so bad that we had to break out the car seat and drive around just so she could get some much needed sleep. She was easily startled as well and that coupled with the fact that I was the only one in my house who knew anything about breastfeeding made things even crazier in the first month. The typical Chinese confinement of dressing in long sleeved attire in the middle of summer as well as being under house arrest didn’t make things better and sometimes I would stay up with Eva in my arms just crying.
Things went out of control in France – after we moved out of our Swiss apartment and down to Mazelgirard where Nil’s family home is. I broke down one night after Eva wailed and wailed non-stop. I had no idea what was wrong with her and to make things worse, the two of us (Nil and I) were stressed out over the move so my sis-in-law walked into the room (with me still crying with Eva) and offered to take care of Eva for the night (Nil was mortified to wake up to the sight of his sister comforting me beside him). For the first time, my daughter slept on her own in the dark. In a way, it showed me that Eva was just as stressed out as I was about everything and while I felt like a crappy mother in those initial days, I began to realize that I should maybe drop the comparisions and the worries, and go just with the flow. My negativity about being moved from Switzerland back to Asia and all the possible crappiness that was to come with the move not to mention my loneliness (Nil was staying at our Swiss apartment to handle the handover, clean-up and all) and overwhelming feeling of having to cope with all these things was being mirrored in my daughter and it was the last thing I want for her.
When we arrived in Singapore, we set about to making things better for all of us. We bought a vibrating bouncer which saved us during those fussy nights when Eva was suffering from jetlag as well (that meant that her witching hours were 3am onwards Singapore time!) and invested in a Baby Bjorn as I had read and heard that babywearing helps to settle a fussy baby without hindering the parent’s movement too much. It would seem that things got onto a smooth start and before we knew it, we were looking at a calmer, and well, much more rested baby who seemed happier. Just how much happier, well, we had no idea until she was more active and “awake”. All we knew was that the moment she could smile socially, we had people telling us that she is such a smiley baby.
I started feeling normal again as I could go out, run errands, do my own thing without having to struggle with a young baby in tow. On the breastfeeding front, we were both going strong and I was getting the hang of things – she was putting on weight and well, have a good time on/at the boob. It would seem that things were finally looking up but the smooth ride, you could say, doesn’t last forever.
To be continued…
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