Archive for July 2010

Nursery rhymes

July 29, 2010

One of the things I enjoy about having a baby is being able to revisit the songs I sang as a child and sing them now to Bean as I rock him to sleep.

小白船

小毛驴

30 days later

July 25, 2010

A month ago today, I had the fetal heart monitor strapped to my belly while inhaling Entonox as each contraction intensified. The gas made me feel so high and dizzy that I felt completely detached from my body. I could still feel the pain but it didn’t bother me.

In the afternoon, after the second epidural took effect, I could finally manage a weak smile. My syntocinon drip to induce labour was increased to 4ml and while that really increased the intensity and frequency of my contractions, it still that didn’t help to effectively dilate my cervix. At 11pm, the ob/gyn examined me and said I was only 6cm dilated. Stating “failure to progress” and emphasising the need to get the baby out quickly and safely, he and his team prepared me for theatre.

After 11 hours of labour, Bean arrived! This picture was taken about half an hour after he was born. He looked so pale and his hair was still covered in waxy vernix. He was very dopey as a result of all the opiates I was given for pain relief. I saw him, held him and cried.

The midwife helped me to express a few drops of colostrum for him to take in and also fed him a small bottle of formula. A healthcare assistant gave me a quick wash and helped me put on my nightie before we were wheeled to the maternity ward. It was 4am before we finally settled down and 24 hours since I last had any food. I managed to send a few text messages to friends and family to inform them of the birth before finally dropping off to sleep. Barely two hours later, I was woken by Bean’s hunger cries.

It’s hard to believe it’s already been exactly a month since Bean was born. Look at him now! He almost looks grown up in this picture. He’s transformed from a grey and lifeless baby who came into this world in a cold operating theatre to a cheeky, lively boy who yells and howls and loves falling asleep in our arms.

I remember when I first got home from the hospital I cried and wondered how we were going to get through the weeks. It was just SO tough! In the second week I cried and doubted I could persist with breastfeeding – I didn’t like it and it always left me feeling so sore. In the third week I cried when R had to go back to work because I was exhausted and didn’t feel I could cope on my own (even though I have my Mum around).

In the fourth week I am still absolutely shattered – I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since 24 June and in the day I am so preoccupied with the baby there’s hardly time to rest properly or do anything else. I have never felt so tired in my life. BUT, I am feeling a lot more confident about caring for him and am now really beginning to enjoy mothering him now that he is increasingly able to interact with us.

Today, Bean turns a month old. I am officially out of confinement. Bean is rapidly outgrowing his outfits. Amazingly I am still breastfeeding.

I don’t know what to say apart from: what a long way we have come.

Apologies for the suspense!

July 20, 2010

Sorry I lied! I’m not going to reveal Bean’s name here but instead I will be doing it in a more personalised way so keep a lookout for snail mail in the coming weeks.

Bean is an animated, whiny baby who loves his milk and gets red in the face as he screams the house down if he doesn’t get his food fast enough. He’s also great at farting and pooping. At 3 weeks, he can hold his own bottle at times (!), suck his fingers loudly when he’s hungry and hold his head up briefly. He is also VERY strong for a newborn and can deliver painful kicks and punches.

R is back to work this week so I’m finding it really, really hard to cope. It’s like working both day AND night with hardly any breaks or time to myself. Last night I was so overcome with exhaustion I sobbed myself to sleep.

Still, there is so much we have to be thankful for. He was diagonsed with positional talipes or more commonly known as club foot when he was born, probably because of the way he laid in the womb. We were told he needed physiotherapy but within a couple of weeks – probably thanks to his constant kicking – it had resolved on its own.

He also had to endure getting a needle stuck into his tiny little hand to get bloods for a thyroid function test because I have a thyroid condition. Amazingly he was well-distracted by sucking on glucose syrup throughout the ordeal and hardly cried. His test results are normal and I can’t be more relieved to know he hasn’t inherited my medical condition.

Bean will be celebrating his first month this Sunday with a small tea party with R’s family at ours. I have no idea how we’ve managed to survive the past weeks with so little rest but it’s really amazing to see how much he has grown.

I’ll leave you with some of my favourite pictures while I try to find time to get the mail in the post to you.

Please donate

July 8, 2010

Bean, the great thinker. Dreaming of milk more like.

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To those of you who have come to see us and sent us presents and cards, thank you very much!

To our friends who are thinking of buying the baby a gift, we would like to request that you make a donation of any amount, to Save the Children UK instead, because Bean is already such a blessed baby who has access to lots of milk and clean clothes, so we would really like to do something for the many other children in the world who aren’t as lucky. Greeting cards however, are more than welcome.

Click here to donate. Thank you!

In the next entry, we shall reveal his name, so stay tuned!

From Bean to TinTin

July 5, 2010

Sorry I haven’t been writing. Two days after this picture was taken, I went into hospital.

And gave birth to TinTin!

I always knew my son was going to be famous!

The birth story

I started to lose bits of my mucus plug – a jelly like clot which seals the cervix to prevent infection of the womb during pregnancy – on Monday 21 June. This was one of the first signs of labour. By Wednesday, braving mild contractions, I was at the supermarket stocking up the fridge and picking up bags of cotton wool balls and a baby bath. Paracetamol worked to keep the pain at bay until the evening where the pain had gotten so bad that I had to sit in a hot bath through the night to relieve the agony.

The midwife came to see me at 7am on Thursday and sent me on my way to the hospital as I was already 4cm dilated. I was really pleased things were moving along so quickly. However, they soon discovered my temperature was high and climbing despite being given paracetamol to lower it. Suspecting I had an infection of some kind, I was then put on an antibiotics drip.

For hours afterwards the fever persisted and the cervix showed no further signs of effacement although my waters were broken and I was given a drug to induce labour. Inhaling Gas and Air (Entonox or Laughing Gas) provided enough pain relief for me in the beginning but as the induction drug took effect, I began experiencing more intense contractions. The anaesthetist came to give me an epidural. I found it almost impossible to bend forward and sit VERY still so that they can inject a sharp needle into my spine, when searing contraction pains rippled through my body. But if I had moved or twitched they could have injected me in the wrong place and cause paralysis.

In the end I had progressed so little by 11pm and with my fever, the doctors felt it was necessary to perform an urgent c-section to deliver the baby. The baby’s head was still not in the birth canal and he had pooed in the amniotic sac, which suggested foetal distress. It was a disappointing outcome for me as I had hoped to have a relatively drug-free natural birth as far as possible (I ended up having two epidurals [one didn’t work] and a cocktail of other drugs).

I was first catheterised as I hadn’t managed to go to the toilet for hours. As the nurses and anesthetists prepared me for theatre, I felt cold and nauseous. I was given an antacid to neutralise my stomach acid in case I threw up, because I hadn’t had anything to eat and drink now for more than 12 hours. On top of my epidural, I was also given a spinal block to numb my lower body and morphine for the pain. I had tubes inserted into veins in both my hands to pump in an endless stream of drugs. Shivering uncontrollably on the operating table because of the effects of the drugs, I begged the staff through chattering teeth to give me a blanket to warm me up, which they very kindly did.

After 11 hours of being in labour, Bean arrived on Friday 25 June, weighing 6lb 13oz (3.11kg) at 00.28, four minutes after the first incision was made. I remember it was so quiet when he was born and I wondered why he hadn’t cried. Then I heard R whisper, “Oh shit!” and I started having horrible visions that it could have been too late. I was told he was grey and floppy when he came out but he quickly pinked up after the pediatrician cleared his airways and gave him a good rub.

The operation took less than an hour from start to finish and although I was awake throughout the whole process, I was terribly dazed and lifeless. I remember turning my head around to see R in theatre scrubs and holding our son but I didn’t feel anything or get emotional like I always thought I would. I just laid there feeling so weak, tired and helpless.

When they finally wheeled me back to the room so the baby can be checked over by the midwife, I saw R and my mother caressing him while he laid under a heated lamp. That was when I burst into tears. I was just so relieved it was all over and I finally have a baby boy.

We both stayed in hospital for three nights. The doctors wanted to make sure my wound was healing well and that my temperature was back to normal while the midwives wanted to know I was competent enough to breastfeed the baby before we went home. The first day was especially difficult because I was still attached to the urine bag and a drip which meant I couldn’t feed or change him. Plus I felt so sore I had trouble getting out of bed unassisted and walking around. But then things got easier after the tubes and catheter were removed.

Back home, I still needed help with personal care such as showering and getting in and out of bed. I was also feeling quite blue because I was still harping on the fact that I didn’t manage to have a natural birth. This, coupled with learning to cope with a new baby, has led to a stressful week peppered with tears. But now as we progressed into the second week, I have recovered well enough to be as mobile and independent as I used to be and we are getting a better understanding of the baby’s habits and temperament. I am also starting to put the disappointing birth experience behind me and instead enjoy being Mum to a floppy red lump who loves milk, hates being naked and farts loudly.

It’s such hard work – I am typing this at 11pm, after spending the whole evening trying to feed and settle him without much luck till now. But at least when I turn out the light later, I can comfortably lay flat on my back, not worry about having to go to the loo a million times during the night, toss and turn around in bed with ease, no longer need four pillows to prop me up, and slip into relaxed, deep sleep… until the snuffling, whining  and crying begins.