The Fourth Trimester.

In my opinion, having a baby and giving birth is the easy part of becoming a mother. Nothing prepared me for the bumpy, shocking and utterly exhausting journey that is post-pregnancy. I was physically drained and living away from family made things emotionally difficult.

The first few days after giving birth were euphoric. Inman arrived as a beautiful and healthy baby boy. Although I got no sleep at the hospital (nurses come in and out all the time, Inman is forever hungry etc.), I wasn’t all too bothered by it. After all, I was giddy with excitement and uh maybe painkillers had something to do with it too hollllaaaa.

Angelic baby! What a view!

It’s funny because I had a natural birth, no epidural so I felt it ALL. Right after Inman was born though, the nurse offered me painkillers to manage my pain and I’m like, “YES PLEASE GIVE ME ALL THE PILLS.”

Happiest day of my life!
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Happy baby and drugged happy mommy!

I feel like nothing ever prepares you for the woes of post pregnancy! No one told me that my vagina was going AWOL after undergoing natural childbirth. Maybe it’s because I had an episiotomy that needed two stitches (yeowch!). On hindsight, I should have seen it coming but you never really know how something feels until it happens to you. The moment I realized that my vagina (and basically EVERYTHING down there) was AWOL was when the nurse asked me to pee before we left the delivery room. I had been hooked up to an IV and 1 litre of fluid entered my body so there shouldn’t have a problem peeing.

It was horrible. I could not pee! My brain was sending urgent signals to my body to pee but nope, everything down there had shut down. I was offered a catheter to empty my bladder but foolish me refused it. I was convinced that I would pee naturally.

My advice to any mommies-to-be out there, don’t be like me. If you really can’t pee after giving birth naturally, just say yes to the catheter! I thought it was going to hurt like hell but it was sweet, sweet relief . It honestly felt easier than peeing. Sigh…never take your body for granted. It really sucked not being able to pee or poop easily. That was my numero uno problem at the hospital after giving birth. Well, that and trying to figure out how to swaddle Inman! I think every nurse that checked on me in the hospital got frequent updates on how much I pooped or pee-ed hehe.

We eventually had to to leave the hospital. It was nerve-wracking because I felt safe at the hospital. There are so many knowledgeable people there! Lactation consultants, pediatricians, nurses 24/7 helping me manage my pain and if anything was wrong, I was in good hands! Discharge day eventually arrived and I’m thinking, “Yikes, I’m not prepared!!!”

Extremely exhausted but excited to go home!

It was odd that we were going home with Inman. It was just Claude and I for so long and now we had a new person joining our clan.

Thankfully, Inman’s two weeks early arrival ensured that my in-laws would be around with me post-pregnancy. My family would be flying in from Singapore to be with me for a week plus after my in-laws leave. I had a tremendous amount of support pre and post-pregnancy. Without it, I am pretty sure my brain would crash and burn from all the incessant worrying. Claude and I are first-time parents, which meant that we did not know what we did not know and what we knew was probably not enough to declare that we know it.

I still remember that the first night back at home was rough. I wasn’t taking the prescribed painkillers (me trying to be a trooper haha) and suddenly, it felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders.

Everything was incredibly overwhelming. I was sleepy and in pain.

I thought I had prepared for everything but I was thrown off. Our bedroom had a bassinet, mini crib and pack and play but I didn’t know which to put Inman in! Nothing seemed convenient for me. He was cluster feeding which meant that he wanted to nurse almost every hour or more. I was overjoyed to have Inman but oh my god, it felt like torture. I was running on fumes.

Worse still, I was trying to get comfortable with breastfeeding but sitting on my bed hurt my episiotomy stitches. I would prop up pillows but would gradually sink into them which caused my back to hurt. Claude was trying to help me by bringing in two different chairs for me to breastfeed in but that didn’t work. Our bedroom was a mess and I was an even bigger mess.

Everything got too much at one point and oddly, my mom called me at that very moment. I picked up her call, said hello and immediately had a breakdown of the century.

I remember feeling reluctant to ask for help because I felt bad asking for it. I was trying not to inconvenience anyone but I eventually realized that my family was there to help. It has always been hard for me to ask for help. I always forget that it’s okay to do so. My body was weak and I had no idea what I was doing. Even changing a diaper was a daunting task.

It’s funny how people say that women have a natural maternal instinct. I really don’t think I did. I had to learn from all the mommies that lived with me during the first few weeks of Inman’s birth. My mother-in-law and sisters-in-law helped me recover from the initial exhaustion of birth. I still recall being able to stay in bed and rest as they enjoyed Inman’s company and passed him to me whenever he needed to breastfeed. Thank goodness my mother-in-law stayed with me for two weeks after I gave birth. She was a lifesaver!

Inman and Kiki!

I tried doing normal stuff, like getting up to make breakfast and doing the laundry…you know, household stuff. But I was weak and tired! Inman woke up often to feed. The days of sleeping a 2 hour stretch was now nothing but a fond memory. I had read about how mommies lack sleep and saw how my sister did not get enough sleep as a mom but I truly did not expect it to be so TIRING.

I was deep in what is called the Fourth Trimester. It was hard for me. Every woman experiences it differently though. My body felt different, it is so weird to be carrying a baby for 9 months and then poof, baby is out. Plus, now I was responsible for everything Inman needed. My tummy also felt weirdly empty.

Lucky for me, my family flew out to meet Inman. My mother and sister brought me a bunch of stuff from Singapore to help me postpartum. It was just so nice to be with my family again. I grew up in a very noisy household and there was ALWAYS someone at home to talk to. It made me very happy to have so many people in my house. I was very worried that Inman was coming home to a quiet household that lacked the ‘family’ vibe. My niece and nephews also managed to meet Inman which I am forever grateful for. It really made me so happy that the kids were around. It is hard to explain but now my home feels more like a home because my family has visited me here. I still feel my parents aura around my home.

My handsome nephew Ayden and tiny Inman!

I remember my mother helping me bath Inman and my sister helping me cut his nails. My sister has three kids and she is a super mummy! She knows how to do everything and that helped me relax. I would be so lost trying to navigate motherhood without being able to observe seasoned mummies taking care of my baby Inman.

So happy they came to visit!

Everyone had to leave though, which made me sad. The first week of being alone with Inman was a weird mix of elation and sadness. I definitely had a case of the baby blues. My mood waxed and waned. I was extremely overjoyed by Inman. He is such a perfect baby. I would feel full of joy until a wave of sadness would wash over me. My mind would ask, “Why did you have a baby so far away from family?” I had moments of intense worry about Inman being so far away from his cousins. I still sometimes think I am crazy for having a baby when I’m living so far away from family.

Having Inman has taught me so many things. I think motherhood does that to you. Inman turns 3 months in two days! I say this a lot but time really does fly. There are days when I still cannot believe that I have a son. The fourth trimester is about to be over for me. For now, Inman had reduced his night feedings to only once at 3/4am and I couldn’t be more thankful. I’m always grateful for any sleep I get because I know there will be sleep regressions coming soon!

I am happy and grateful for my little family. The Fourth Trimester was tough for me. Claude helped me through it. I was simply trying to survive. He would make sure I was fed and that I got to sleep. Inman really is a good baby. He made it really easy for me and again, I am grateful. Although I miss living near family, I know now that I have my husband and my son. And that is more than enough ❤️

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My Birth Story.

It has two months and 12 days since I gave birth to my lovely baby Inman. I cannot believe how fast time flies. It really flows like sand through my fingers. I can hardly find the time to write about my birth experience. Days are now filled with baby!

Baby Inman was born at Winter Park Memorial Hospital on the 19th of April 2018 at 2.10 am. He was a cute 7 pounds and 3 oz (3.31kg). I couldn’t believe my body actually created a baby!

The day he was born came across as a surprise. My due date was May 1st 2018 and I had absolutely no idea I would go into labor when I did. I was swimming on the day that I would experience the most insane but satisfying sensation of my life. Blissfully unaware would be the best way to describe me that day. After a nice swim, I showered and noticed that I was spotting just a little bit. It didn’t really bother me because I felt great after a swim. The only difference would be that my legs were feeling a little heavy and my back was a teensy bit sore. That really should have been a hint that I was about to give birth but I was not bothered at all.

Can you spot my belly?

It’s funny because when I was leaving the gym, a woman at the gym jokingly said, “Don’t be delivering baby here!” Who knew that she was actually right? I would actually give birth that very night (well more of early next morning but oh well).

From then onwards, it felt like I was lugging tons of bricks as legs and my lower back was getting increasingly sore. The thing is, I never felt that way throughout the whole of pregnancy. Now, you would think that because of that, the new sensations would trigger an alarm in my head! Nope…I simply thought, “Oh hey, I’m finally feeling some pregnancy soreness!” How silly! Well, I was mega hungry after swimming so Claude brought me to Rubio’s Coastal Grill and I ate my favorite California Bowl with Shrimp. I still remember loading up on jalapenos and scarfing it down. I was ravenous!

Throughout the meal, I still felt relatively good and told Claude that I wanted to walk around. I didn’t know where I wanted to go but I knew that these brick heavy legs needed to move! I remember asking Claude if we could go to a shopping mall that was 40 minutes away so I could walk walk walk. Thank goodness we did not do that. That would have been a bad decision haha. The hospital we were delivering at was a mere 8 minutes drive from our place. If we had gone to the shopping mall…….yikes I don’t even want to think about it!

Anyway, after my very yummy and filling meal, we headed home and that’s when things started progressing. My intention was to labor as much as I could at home before heading to the hospital. The advice from my doctor was to observe the regularity of my contractions and go from there. It was my first pregnancy so supposedly things are supposed to take time. I also did not want to go to the hospital simply to be sent home. The thing about pregnancy is that you can’t control anything! So everything that happened from then on simply….happened. It really felt like my body took over and my consciousness was being taken for a ride into Laborville.

I was chilling out at home on my chaise lounge when I felt the contractions start to kick in. It was Claude who told me to start timing my contractions. I remember telling Claude, “Nah, I just need to lie down or sleep.” How silly I was haha.

Well, I started timing my contractions at 6pm and oooh they were regular. Claude poured me a bath to relieve a bit of the back pain I was experiencing. I ate a banana to load up on energy just in case I was about to deliver that night. The contractions were beginning to get regular and lying down was not doing much. I think the point when I knew that baby Inman was preparing his grand entrance into this world was when I found myself in cat and cow pose on my carpet. I grimaced as I looked up at Claude and said, “I think this is going to hurt.” We laughed when I said that! No truer words were said!

Oh, I forgot to mention that I hadn’t packed my hospital bag! In the midst of timing my contractions, I was rushing to pack it! Don’t be me. Pack your hospital bag way in advance. I will say though, packing my hospital bag at the last minute forced me to pack the essentials and I didn’t bring the whole house along with me. Anyway, it was 7pm when my contractions were regular and sustained. Claude was ready to drive to the hospital. I, however, was not. Somehow my disillusioned self wanted to take another bath. So I jumped into the bath even as Claude urgently told me, “Sayang, we need to go to the hospital now.”

I have a pretty high pain tolerance. The contractions were not painful…they were mega intense short lived cramps? I really have no idea how to put it in words. They didn’t last long but when a contraction happened, it was all I could feel. That was when it finally dawned upon me that it was time! I could not carry on a conversation and it suddenly felt like Claude was talking too much when he really was not. i finally fished myself out of the warmth of my bathtub and got dressed for the hospital.

I do not remember the 8 minute drive to the hospital. My contractions were coming in quick and heavy. All I could focus on was breathing through it all. I wonder how I even walked into the hospital. Like I said, my body took over! We finally got to the labor ward and once we checked in, I sank to my knees and pretty much squatted there for 5 mins or so.

The nurse checked me out and I was 5 cm dilated! I was admitted and eeeks, things started to get real. I could not believe I had to give birth! It’s weird because when you’re pregnant, you know you have to get the baby out at one point. You don’t really think about it though, at least I didn’t. I just knew it had to happen at some point. The reality of it all dawned upon me when I was in the hospital gown, walking up and down the hospital hallway. I was breathing through the waves of painful contractions and wondering to myself, “Ah crap, this really hurts.”

Omgd only 5 cm dilated zzzzz
Walk of pain

I decided to try for a natural birth because….well I have no idea why really. Just thought I would opt for it. I didn’t really obsess over a birth plan. All I wanted was a healthy baby in the safest way possible.

I was blessed with a great nurse and obgyn that were supportive of my desire to have a natural birth. They really helped me out! Claude was the real champ though. He held my hand all the way and his presence really calmed me down. I initially wanted to play music to keep me in a state of serenity while I was in labor. Thank goodness I didn’t. All I wanted while I was riding out the contractions was SILENCE.

Errr can this be over already.

The surprise of the night was when my mother-in-law and sister-in-law managed to fly in for Inman’s birth! It really helped Claude to have them there, I think everything was pretty overwhelming.

This was right after a contraction!

Anyway, my labor took about 7 hrs and I actively pushed for 20 minutes. Before I knew it, Inman was here!!! It was amazing. I felt no pain while pushing, it was crazy!

Here is Inman as a newborn.

Baby Inman

How amazing is he ❤️

I actually wrote this post a month ago and have saved it as a draft for the longest time. Now that Inman is 2 months plus old, I finally have some sort of a routine and predictability for my days. Motherhood is crazy tiring! And trust me, that is an understatement. Alright, shoot me questions about my birth experience if you like! I gotta run, Inman is hungry again!

The Waiting Game

Oooh…my back is beginning to hurt. Baby is getting heavy! I am one week and two days away from having a full-term baby (39 weeks of pregnancy)! It is wild to me that I am about to somehow get this baby out of my belly? My mind cannot seem to wrap itself around the reality of my body being moments away from going through labor. There really is no way to fully prepare yourself for this, I think.

Claude has been bringing me to the swimming pool a lot these past few days. It is funny because I’m pretty much just using a noodle to swim laps. The benefits are uncertain but at least I’m moving, which is good. Florida has also been having beautiful weather of late, which lets me enjoy the sun and get tan. Sometimes I do get a little self-conscious of my huge belly when I lay out in the sun! Pregnancy has caused me to get a really dark linea nigra (pregnancy line) which extends from my slight above my belly button to way below. I do wonder if people find it weird that I’m just lying around, presenting my glorious pregnant self to the universe. I think I just might miss being pregnant. I have gotten so used to being pregnant!

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Isn’t that belly so weird? I am going to miss it!

Now I find myself in an odd in-between phase of “oh yay I am pregnant” and “oh my I have to give birth soon”. I am waiting in quiet anticipation but it is the weirdest feeling to have no idea when my baby boy wants to enter this world! Preparing for his arrival has been fun though. Claude and I have honestly remained quite minimal, choosing to buy more baby clothes, toys, shoes and random silently manipulative cute baby stuff when he actually needs it. Plus, I have no idea what my baby boy’s style is going to be? It does not seem fair to dictate his fashion sense before he’s born! We did get a ton of baby clothes from lovely friends and family at our baby shower and I am infinitely grateful for that! It is nice to know that our baby boy is going to be dressed in clothes that were gifted with love. I think it’s a good way to start his first few months in this world 🙂

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Baby boy gifts from our baby shower! ❤

I have washed all of the baby clothes, crib sheets, cloth diapers and towels (yes Sheena, even the cute Lion towel you got for him!). There seems to be nothing to wash anymore….which makes me feel a little empty haha. I think this is because I have done all that I can do in preparation for my baby boy? One thing I have not done is pack my hospital bag. Which is bad. I will do it in the next few days and hopefully I do not go into labor before getting it done! It is interesting how my apartment has a different vibe to it now that Claude and I have been preparing for baby’s arrival. When you put it into perspective, it is basically a new person coming to live with us indefinitely! Claude and I have been so used to it just being the two of us. Having a baby is definitely going to change things. However, we’re trying to make sure that our relationship always comes first! Things are going to change though. I mean look, our baby boy already has two different areas to sleep in.

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How funny! I really cannot wait for the day my baby boy arrives ❤
On a completely different note, Claude and I have somehow been watching golf tournaments lately. We’ve bought $1.99 putting golf clubs for ourselves and are going to the putting green to see if we have any skills. This is a pretty random thing to decide to do. I like it though, it gives us a reason to be outdoors and I might discover that I missed my calling to be a pro golfer! Maybe I can “drive for show and putt for dough” one day. You never know! That’s what makes life so grand ❤

The Journey Begins

How cool is it that the first post on this blog instantly gave me such an apt blog title! Indeed, the journey begins for me (and Claude). I still cannot believe that we are about to have a baby boy. I wish I had started this blog sooner but it was kind of weird how my pregnancy started without much to talk about.

I had no morning sickness, no aches whatsoever and my food cravings were confined to the occasional sudden desire for french fries or citrus-y fruit. This is my first pregnancy so my baby belly did not show until the very end of my second trimester. I continued teaching yoga and even took on a part-time retail position (earn extra buckeroos while preggo) throughout most of my pregnancy. It was a very quiet pregnancy and I think my baby appreciated the peace of my womb.

Staying active has really helped me through my pregnancy. This is not conclusive but I truly believe that being active has prevented me from having painful back aches and soreness. More importantly, I have yet to experience swelling of any sort. I say this because there was a time when I did not go to the gym for a week and the consequence of that was swollen feet and a general feeling of fatigue. Once I popped back onto the trusty elliptical machine at the gym, I gradually felt better both physically and mentally.

I sometimes stare at my belly in wonder. It seems inconceivable that there is a living and breathing baby in my belly! I know that seems weird to say but it is really how I feel. Throughout my whole pregnancy, I’ve only had three ultrasounds and never had the fancy shmancy 3-d or 4-d ultrasounds. So aside from the fact that my belly is increasing in size, I have no other indication of carrying a baby in me. Okay, my boobs are increasing in size too but hey, it could just be my boobs finally arriving hehe.

In all seriousness though, it is interesting how my body seems to know what it’s doing. Granted, I am supplementing it with prenatal vitamins and a good diet (hopefully) but it truly is magical how my body is able to grow a baby.

I love my body. Always have.

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Two days before I reached 37 weeks of pregnancy!

Now that I am at my 37th week of pregnancy, sleeping has become slightly difficult. I have always been a side sleeper so that makes me lucky because I do not have the habit of sleeping on my back. Expecting mommies are discouraged from spending a prolonged amount of time on their backs as it compresses a certain vein that can then decrease their blood pressure (I think). My humongous belly is heavy when I lay on my side and I now use 5-6 pillows to gain some semblance of comfort. Honestly though, I still do not feel much discomfort and pain. This makes me grateful and thankful for my body.

The nesting instinct has awoken in me. Somehow along my pregnancy journey, I made the decision to dabble in cloth diapers. I did a lot of research, considered how much time I would have on my hands and my mind went, “yes, yes, we should try cloth diapers”.  That is why today found me washing and prepping a bunch of different styles of cloth diapers. It’s funny because I remember feeling happy and satisfied when the laundry was done. Everything was just clean and in order, I liked it. I enjoy doing laundry in general but washing stuff for the baby makes me extra happy. So, now I have washed everything for my baby boy and I am feeling a sense of accomplishment.

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Green Mountain Diapers (a variety of styles) and Thirsties Duo Wraps!
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Such cute prints!

Appointments at my Ob/Gyn are now a weekly occurrence and so far everything seems good. My Group B strep test was negative, iron levels look good and I passed my glucose test too. I am always trying to stay positive for my baby boy and honestly for Claude too! It is surprising because I have not had any awful pregnancy breakdowns (maybe the occasional cry) and I truly believed I would have a bunch of those. Lucky Claude hehe 🙂

Yesterday, we settled who our pediatrician was going to be and verified our insurance at the hospital we will be delivering at. I also managed to get an estimation of how much everything would cost ($$$$) and so far, we are doing well. All that I can control is going smoothly so far! Makes me feel calm and organized!

Now if someone could just ensure that I have a natural, pain-free pregnancy…
Hehe I kid. That is the part of pregnancy I can’t control, so I am letting go and hoping for what is best for baby boy and me ❤