Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Beginnings of Motherhood: The Baby Blues

During my pregnancy, I strongly believed that as soon as my baby came out, I would forget every pain, every hardship that I went through to bring her out into the world. I thought I would love her instantly, bond with her as soon as I saw her. I had all kinds of positive ideas - she would be fully breastfed, I'd be environmentally conscious and use reusable diapers, I'd give birth without any painkillers, that I'd upload photos of her on facebook for all my friends to see as soon as I could, that I'd announce her birth immediately.

I later found out how optimistic and idealistic I was with those beliefs and intentions.

The first couple of weeks were hard. For me, for my hubby and for my mother.

I didn't immediately establish a bond with my baby. In fact, I didn't know how I felt about her. The night of August 10th, when the nurse wheeled her in for the first time to let me feed her, she wouldn't latch on. She just cried and cried until the nurse left me with her. I was in pain, my hormones were still unstable and I was close to tears, worried sick that my baby didn't want me. The next day when someone finally helped her latch on to me, I was still too much in pain and too overwhelmed at everything that was happening to really register my own feelings.

Everyone else expected me to be happy, so I pasted a big smile on my face whenever anyone came to visit and acted the part of the beaming new mommy.

It was only when we brought her home that I started feeling like the worst mother in the world. I think it's safe to say that the first two weeks were really hard for me, my husband and my mom (who was around to help me during my confinement)

My breastfeeding plan wasn't going all that well. I developed sore and cracked nipples very quickly (the lactation expert thought that the latching might have wrong but when they saw how my baby latched, they admitted that it was fine.) My breasts became engorged really badly despite feeding Hana on demand, and it was so painful that I started getting scared whenever I heard her cry. For the first 5 days, I slept all day and all night, only waking up to feed her, and only taking very small quantities of food. My mother got a little worried, I think, because breastfeeding meant that I needed to take in enough food to keep my energy up AND feed the baby at the same time but I could only take in bits at a time.

On the fifth day, I cried whenever Hana needed to feed. She would latch on for at least 40 minutes and a time and be crying and rooting half an hour later as opposed to every 2 hours! At this point, my nipples were raw and so cracked, and my breasts were so engorged that a mere touch would send me almost to tears. Sangat sakit.

Worse was how I felt about my precious little bundle. I just couldn't feel that love that people say mothers felt towards their kids. I felt detached from this cute little baby who depended on me. I missed the little bump in my stomach. THAT was the Hana I knew, not this crying bub who made me cry whenever she got hungry. I was scared of my own baby.

I broke down in front of my husband and told him how I felt, and, like I said, feeling like the worst mother in the whole wide world. I thought I was going crazy because all I wanted to do was cry. On one hand, I couldn't figure out why I didn't immediately fall in love with my baby, but on the other hand, I was scared stiff that because I seemed so ungrateful, god would take this little gift away from me. Later on, I found out that I probably had the baby blues.

I started feeling a little better when my husband came home one day with baby formula. Apparently, he had a discussion with my mom and they decided that it might be best to supplement Hana with formula while my nipples healed. At the same time, a confinement lady came and helped me massage the engorgement away.

That was when I found out that although I had a high supply of milk, my baby just wasn't getting much. During the time that Hana was on the formula and my breasts were less engorged, I pumped and pumped for 40-45 minutes at a time each and could only get meagre amounts. Even when doubled, it's still very little and it was possible that Hana wasn't getting enough which was why she got hungry so quickly. Whatever I managed to express in a day could maybe feed her once or twice and that was it.

With the pain and the unsettled hormones, I actually gave up on breastfeeding. It's still a very touchy subject with me and I feel like slapping whoever asks and questions my decision. Mothers kept saying they knew what the pain was but EVERY EXPERIENCE IS DIFFERENT and I don't think anyone has the right to judge me.

My baby blues lasted about a week and a half and after I stopped breastfeeding exclusively, it started getting a lot better. I held my baby a lot more, missed her when she was in the other room and started feeling the love towards her. I guess it was there, it was just a bit delayed.

Now I look at her and I feel a little guilty for the way I felt. Thankfully, Epol and mama were there for me all the way, and was totally supportive of every decision I made. They let me know that the way I felt wasn't my fault, that maybe Bf-ing wasn't for me, that how I felt in the beginning was something a lot of mothers went through.

I really don't know how I could've gotten through everything without those two (and my sisters who also went through sleepless nights to help out). They're all truly God's gifts to me.

I suppose what I really want to say is that it's normal not to feel an immediate attachment to your baby. It's easier for some than it is for others, and although I learnt it the hard way, I thank Allah every day for giving me Hana and my family.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My Experience at Pantai Medical Center, KL

Disclaimer: This is my own personal experience and thoughts and may not represent the general consensus. Also, it's recently come to my attention that this post has been linked from another blog. Those of you who got here through that blog, HI! I've edited the post a little so that it wouldn't seem to crass (I wasn't in a very good frame of mind when I wrote it)

Also, I've since changed my perception of the hospital when I had my second baby. You can read my latest review HERE It's a long post since I included it with my experience having my baby, but you can skip that and scroll down to the bottom where the review is. Happy reading!

I'm gonna go according to the issues I had.

1. Admission and Labour Suite
I was impressed, since my admission was prompt. They immediately gave me a room and it didn't take long for my husband to register me downstairs. The labour suite was also quite impressive, big and spacious, and the best part was that they allowed husbands and moms in.

2. Professionalisme (Nurses)
A nurse came in while my husband was downstairs, in order to take my particulars. Maybe it was the lack of sleep for having to take the graveyard shift but I found her to be unprofessional. She asked me for my height and I only had it in feet and inches while she wanted it in cm. When I told her 5 feet 4 inches, she looked at me like I was stupid and was like 'Huh?! CM!". I glared at her and said "KIRALAH SENDIRI!"
She also tried to make an issue over the fact that I didn't know the rhesus of my blood type. It was only when the senior nurse who was also in the room glared at her that she decided it wasn't an issue and said "ok, tak apa".

I also had issues with another nurse (I blame the hormones and her quite horrendously loud voice). She wasn't very sensitive to my needs either, I felt. Having her around stressed me out even more in the delivery room and I felt that it wasn't a healthy thing for me to go through.

Later on, after the delivery, I found that most of the nurses in the maternity ward were not very helpful or sensitive to the fact that we were first time parents. No one bothered to teach us anything, including how to make sure the latching is proper during breastfeeding (which lead to some complications for me later on). We basically left the hospital totally clueless as how to do anything.

Although to be fair, at one point, two student nurses came in to clean my stitches and taught me how to do it myself at home. They were friendly, professional, informative and very courteous.

3. Professionalism (Doctors)

I had been going to this OBGYN since the beginning of my pregnancy and he was usually ok. I was shocked when, during the delivery, he kept shouting "berak! berak macam 10 hari tak berak!" Professionalism? ZERO.

The funny thing is that I've read ALL good reviews about this Dr. Tak pernah ada bad review. e.

Now for the PEDIATRICIAN - I wasn't impressed. Batang hidung pun tak nampak throughout my 3 day stay at PMC. Whenever my Hana had to go for any tests, we had to ask for results from the nurses later. And after that, when I took her over to his clinic for her jaundice checkup, he left me standing, holding my baby. VERY cold, langsung tak macam other paeds. I'm definitely not taking Hana to him for her booster shots.

4. Food

Not bad I suppose. Boleh lah, hospital food kan. They've got pretty good choices. No complaints there.

5. General Service

Pretty good, most of the general workers (the people who send the food, cleaners, etc) were nice and polite.

6. Discharge

Again, no one bothered to tell us anything. A nurse came in with a bag filled with baby stuff, complimentary from the hospital. However, she failed to mention that there were meds and we only discovered those on the second day after we came back, after I had suffered one day of being in pain without painkillers or antibiotics.

7. Overall

For the amount we paid (4k+) I was not very impressed.

p/s: for a so-called "baby-friendly" hospital, only block C has changing stations or nursing stations. When I brought my baby over for her jaundice checkup at Block A, I couldn't find a place to nurse her or change her diapers. FYI, Block A is located quite a distance away from the other blocks. And since I came for the checkup only 5 days after I gave birth, I was in no position to rush over to another block to nurse my baby when she started crying so I had to sit in a corner so other people wouldn't see.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hello Hana :)

Name: Hana Amira
DOB: Wednesday, 10th August 2011, 1.52pm
Weight at birth: 2.86kg

Chronology of Events:

I started feeling very mild contractions on the 9th in the late afternoon, only I didn't know they were contractions at the time. We had friends over for iftar that day, and we joked around about how the baby might come while we were eating. I started timing the pain, and they seemed to come at regular intervals but I couldn't be sure, and since they weren't all that painful, I thought that maybe I had a case of wind. After saying goodbye to our friends, we cleared up and went to sleep.

3.00am - I woke up because the pain was more intense. I still didn't realise they were contractions. I thought I ate something bad and had to go to the bathroom, but then I noticed period-like blood, and then it hit me that this was it. I woke Epol up and we got ready and took off.

4.00am - I was admitted to the labour suite of Pantai Hospital, KL, at which point they started monitoring my contractions and the baby's heartbeat.

It's all a blur between then and the actual delivery. I remember certain events, but I don't remember the time they happened. There was a lot of pain involved. And some rage on my part. But basically -

My mom arrived, and I was in too much pain at that point, so they gave me a jab and I drifted in and out of sleep. My personal view is that the jab did absolutely nothing to ease any of the pain, it just made me sleepy and drowsy.

The doctor came in at some point and saw that I was in a lot of pain, told the nurse to give me the Entonox. She handed me the thingy and told me to just inhale whenever I felt the contractions.

After a few hours of inhaling, and the gas not helping at all, I asked if it was too late to ask for an epidural. Obviously, it was too late because I was around 8cm dilated at that point. I was in so much pain that I was delirious. I found the nurse super annoying because my body kept telling me to push, but she was telling me (in her obnoxiously loud, bingit voice) not to. I yelled at her, and then she thought to check the Entonox.

As it turned out, I had been inhaling NOTHING for the past few hours because the genius nurse who handed me the gas thingy had not switched the damn thing on. Not only was there not painkilling gas to help me, I was also operating on less oxygen sebab I literally had the thing plastered to my face the whole time in anticipation of the contractions.

So she finally switched it on. But it also did absolutely nothing for the pain. Lol.

At around 1, I was fully dilated, and although the doctor hadn't arrived yet, he gave the go ahead for the nurse to get me ready and prompt me to push, since I kept pushing before I was ready.

As it turned out, the lack of food and oxygen meant that I had absolutely no strength. The doctor could see the baby's head coming out when I did push, but then when I stopped, she'd go back in. They put the heartbeat monitor back on, which showed that my baby's heartbeat had gone below 100 bpm, obviously not a good thing.

At that point, the doctor decided to vacuum her out.

When they finally put her on my tummy, I was too stunned to realise what was going on until seconds later.

But Alhamdulillah, she came out perfect, safe and sound, no thanks to her mummy yang takde energy langsung ni! :P