Saturday, February 09, 2008

And Baby Makes Three

I didn't expect it to be this tiring.

I wish I could say that the minute they laid my son on my chest, in full bloody glory, I was totally in love. Instead at that moment, all that I could think of was 'why wasn't he crying?'I remember Blake's babies who made 'sweet moans, sweeter smiles'.

A fear gripped me that something was not quite right. My baby, born through assisted delivery, was vaccummed out on Monday, 21.1.08. He spent the first 3 hours of his life in neo-natal intensive care (NICU) due to lack of oxygen. Once out of NICU, he wailed his chest out into his mummy's heart.

A strange hollowness gripped me the minute he was born. I feel emptied out, as if some part of me had been ripped away. Pregnancy, though accompanied with a steady stream of whining and winges, had been incredibly fulfilling. I felt that my body had reached for its own rhythm, as a vessel carrying life. The baby in my tummy shared many little secrets and we both kept each other company throughout the major upheavals of those few months.

Once he was delivered, for the few hours that he was placed in a glass incubator, I was strangely detached. As the epidural slowly eased off and I could feel my legs again, I felt that the baby was no longer mine. We couldn't share secrets anymore. It didn't help that a steady stream of visitors popped around to claim their stake on him.

The hospital stay was a blur of distress. I was exhausted from the whole labour process and when the baby was put to breast, he didn't latch on. I didn't lactate for a good 5 days which was a greater source of stress as I had been quite intent on breastfeeding him exclusively. We had to use formula which broke my heart into many tiny pieces. Even now, he is still on supplement though I try to pump as much a possible to increase my supply. Then there was the first few times that I tried to pacify him and he continued bawling, I felt personally rebuked. I had never felt like such a failure before.

But I am being pragmatic about it now. I do what I can do, and beyond that call for help. M has been a hands-on dad and I don't think I would have survived the first two weeks without him. There will be days when this whole motherhood thing is going to be more fulfilling than others and I must allay self doubts. Granted, I am never going to be one of those militant soccer moms, will go on to make loads of mistakes and am often clueless as at what to do.
But so what? If there is such a thing as pure love, then I am experiencing that every day. That and those 2-3 hourly feeds.
(oh yeah, he is going to be Baby S on this blog).