This post is a continuation of my initial post, which I wrote a few months ago, about my whole pregnancy experience. That post can be read here. However, because my initial write up was getting too long, I decided to break it into parts, of which this post is part two to the series (and hopefully the last, depending on how much I’d like to share with you all).
Anyway, I’m not going to focus this post too much on the whole birthing experience by itself, because I’d hate to scare those who have yet to experience it, but I will share some details of the experience for as for me, personally, it was very memorable and surprisingly quite pleasant save for a couple negatives, of course.
I was very fortunate when I went into labour; I was on my way to my usual prenatal weekly check-up with my OB GYN, and I was just about to head out the door to my car when it happened. Very luckily, my husband, mother-in-law and my sis-in-law were home, so I wasn’t dealing with the situation all on my own. Also, what surprises me, even till this day, is how damn calm I was when it was all happening! The nurses who later checked my blood pressure were also shocked that I was so relaxed and taking it easy, when most women during labour go into total panic mode. I guess I’d mentally prepared myself for this day and being a naturally reserved, laid-back and calm person, it was definitely all in my favour.
As soon as I arrived at the hospital, there was no waiting period or anything; I was quickly rushed into a very nice, bright room with huge windows. (For those who know me, I am absolutely crazy about rooms that have beautiful scenic views, and to be admitted to a hospital and being put in a room with a beautiful view definitely made the experience all that much more memorable.) Also, the nurses who took care of me were such dolls! I especially clicked with this one nurse, and because I will not be sharing her actual name here, I will call her “Amanda.” Anyway, Amanda was young, about 23-24, and had just finished her training as a nurse. And I knew this ‘cause when she was attaching the IV into my hand the first time (which, by the way, she did an amazing job, considering she was only a newbie), she was being monitored and tested by another, more experienced nurse, who was also a real sweetheart.
So, anyway, not too long after, Amanda and I started to make small conversation. I could tell she was the more quieter and reserved type as compared to the other nurses, who kept cracking jokes (and I think they did that on purpose, so as to distract me, so that I wouldn’t have to focus too much on the pain from the contractions and the fact that my baby was coming out soon). She started telling me a little about herself, how she was born in Guyana and moved to Canada when was about seven years old. She also told me how she’s the only woman in her family who has managed to attain her bachelor’s degree and go on to become a Registered Nurse (RN). It’s always amazing when I listen to women relay their personal and empowering stories to me – the best part was when she told me about her fiancé and what an incredible man he was and how much he supported and encouraged her in every step of the way. I guess that was where we could totally relate to each other, at a deep level: we both were strong-willed, independent, bold and seemingly accomplished women in very healthy relationships. Most people don’t realize what a huge difference that can make, especially when we come from a society where most (not all) men don’t support nor encourage their women to achieve their highest potential, if any.
We then talked about the injustice our women are facing back home. I was surprised to learn that she, too, comes from a society where women are considered “worthless” and more than often looked down upon (her ancestors are of African background, by the way, but her family is from Guyana). It was just so nice and refreshing talking to her, while in the midst of all the chaos I was experiencing. I just couldn’t believe how much we had in common and how beautifully we connected, both personally and intellectually.
Amanda was definitely the highlight of my birthing experience, but unfortunately, her shift ended several hours before I was due (my readers need to know that I was in labour for 14 hours; apparently that’s normal for first-timers *shrugs*). I was also hoping to see her the next day, but sadly, she was off that day and I only stayed overnight and was on my way home the next day. She was a beautiful soul and I will never forget her and the wonderful conversations we had.
As for the birthing experience itself, well, it was painful yes, but nothing and I mean nothing compares to the pain I felt during contractions. Now I don’t want to scare my readers who’ve yet to have kids, but if the nurses offer you the epidural, take it! Do not delay it! And I mean it when I say that. I made the mistake of delaying it, thinking that I would be able to manage without it, but it just made matters worse. It got to the point when the pain became almost unbearable. Also, unfortunately, there was only one doctor that day who was providing the epidural, so I had to wait (around 45 minutes) until I was given the drug. And believe you me, 45 minutes may not seem too long, but when you’re in so much pain, those 45 minutes seem like 45 years! So, yeah, make sure you take the epidural, else you might as well be in hell. I thought I would be able to handle the pain, considering that I am good with pain and have been able to handle injury pain in the past, but gosh, contraction pain is something else! To even describe it would be like describing the colour red. But, for argument’s sake, imagine the worst period pain you’ve ever experienced, now multiply that by a 100 – yup, that’s how bad it is. However, the epidural is a lifesaver – a huge lifesaver! It makes you completely numb from the waist down; to the point that you don’t feel anything anymore. It’s incredible. And even though I hate drugs/painkillers and usually avoid it, taking the epidural was the best decision ever, else heaven knows how I would have survived that horrific pain. Ugh.
As soon as Zohal was born and the doctor placed her in my arms for the very first time, I truly felt like I was dreaming. She was so tiny; so beautiful; so perfect – so amazingly perfect. I almost felt like I dreamt the whole experience: pregnancy, birthing and holding my beautiful, healthy daughter in my arms. Honestly, words cannot describe the feeling of holding your child in your arms for the very first time. And, mind you dear reader, Zohal wasn’t super tiny either; she actually weighed 8.2 pounds – a big baby, but of course, not too big. She was also born half an hour before midnight, and had she stayed in a little longer, her birthday could have been delayed till the next day. But all went well, thank goodness.
Zohal is now four months old. Four months! Wow. And to think she’s grown and changed so much these past few months. She literally grows overnight! I clearly remember when we first brought her home. Both Abaseen and I had no idea what was in store for us. We’d read books/articles and watched countless YouTube videos on babies and what to do when they started getting fussy and cried non-stop, etc. However, Zohal was anything from what we’d expected. She was nothing like those annoying, overly fussy babies that you hear/see/read about in books and TV. As a matter of fact, she was and still is the most sweetest, quietest and dare I say, easiest baby ever.
I admit, though, that the first three weeks were a little difficult. Since she was still a newborn, she couldn’t tell day from night, so she’d be up pretty much around the clock. To all you mothers-to-be and those who’ve yet to have kids, just keep in mind that the first few weeks of taking care of a baby is the hardest – this is the time when the new mommy barely gets any sleep. I remember how incredibly sleep-deprived I was and was wondering whether it would be like this for a while. Fortunately, once she turned around 2.5 months, her schedule started to get better. She started to sleep longer stretches at night. In the beginning, she’d feed every hour or two, but as she got older, her feedings lessened at night, but increased during the day. Also, Abaseen – the darling technology junkie that he is – installed this AMAZING app on my phone called ibaby – okay, seriously, if you plan to have kids or already have a newborn, make sure you get this app installed on your phone. Like now! It’s the best thing ever. I don’t use it anymore. I actually stopped using it as soon as Zohal turned two months. However, it was extremely useful the first couple of months, especially the first few weeks. And being a first-time mommy, I was super paranoid and desperately needed to make sure that I monitored Zohal’s feeding and sleeping routine, as well as how many diapers she soiled throughout the day. You see, in the beginning, one has to make sure to monitor these things to ensure the baby is healthy; otherwise, if the baby isn’t eating enough and her stools aren’t a certain colour or if she doesn’t wet enough diapers, then there is probably something wrong with her and it’s best to take her to a doctor as soon as possible. Very luckily (knock on wood), I didn’t have that issue with Zohal. And ibaby definitely made my life that much easier.
Once I got used to Zohal’s cues and her eating, sleeping and pooping routine, I stopped using ibaby to monitor her. Also, around three months, her schedule became quite consistent. She’d feed every few hours, nap a few times throughout the day, and then around 10pm, sometimes 11 pm, I’d finally put her to sleep and wonderfully she’d sleep through the whole night, only to wake up a couple times – around 6 am, and then around 10 am – to feed. This was also around the time when I finally got to catch up on the much-needed sleep that I’d been deprived of in the early days when she was born. It truly is amazing seeing the transition and the drastic changes in her schedule. And all within a span of only four months!
So, what’s it like being a mommy so far? Simply put: it’s the hardest job I’ve ever done, but I love it. I absolutely love it! I love that I can provide for my baby – feed her, bathe hair, change her – something that I thought I’d never be able to do. It’s strange. Before I became a mother, I always found motherhood extremely difficult to comprehend. There were even times when I’d dread having my own baby some day, perhaps thinking that I’d fail at it. But, now that I am a mother, I feel like such a natural at it. I guess they say that the maternal instincts kick in as soon as you have baby, and I truly feel like that has indeed become the case with me.
The most brilliant part about motherhood is experiencing firsthand the growth and physical as well as mental development of your child. I look at Zohal now and can’t believe she’s the same little helpless doll I’d first brought home – she was so delicate and often swaddled snuggly, sleeping for pretty much 16-17 hours of the day, waking up every two hours in between to feed, of course. However, now, she takes a few naps during the day – say about 2-3 – and holds her head up firmly without any support anymore. She also moves her head to look at things, smiles, giggles, and reaches out and grabs stuff. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that she’s uber curious and literally puts everything into her mouth. It’s absolutely adorable.
Every single day, I feel like she surprises us with something new. Like a week or so ago, she was okay with strangers and would smile and giggle at everyone, but this week I noticed that she’s beginning to become more picky and refuses to be held/carried by people whom she doesn’t feel comfortable with. She even starts to cry when Abaseen or my mother-in-law takes her out of my arms; it’s almost like she prefers that I hold her, ‘cause she feels the most relaxed and comfortable with me. And, that, dear reader is a powerful feeling; the fact that this beautiful child chooses to be with me than with anyone else; the fact that she’s already showing love and affection towards me; and, the fact that she recognizes that I am her mother.
Zohal is definitely a very bright baby. She also seems a little ahead for her young age; she’s certainly taller than most babies her age, and she’s also doing things that most babies don’t do until they are five or six months old. She’s beginning to stand on her legs (not by herself, of course). She’s also started to form interesting sounds that sound like “Maa maa” but I know she’s not really saying “mama” or talking just yet. Gosh, wouldn’t it be amazing if she started talking already? Heh. But, I know there is still time in that. And, I’ve all the time in the world for her.
Babies are truly amazing little creatures; the growth spurts and milestones are what make it all very worthwhile. I actually have onesies and sleepers, which used to be all loose and baggy on Zohal, that don’t even fit her anymore! And it shocked me ‘cause just a month ago, they hung off of her body. However, now they either fit very snuggly or don’t fit her at all.
Anyway, there are lots to say and lots to write on Zohal’s incredible development. And I hope that, if time permits, I will continue to update my readers on the new milestones that she’s achieved and will achieve in the coming months. I realize it’s become very tough to blog, as late at night is the only time I can do such things, besides taking care and spending time with Zohal. So, please bear with me, dear readers. I am at an incredibly amazing point in my life right now and I definitely want to savour it and enjoy every single waking minute of it.
In the mean time, stay tuned and thanks so much for taking the time to read my blogs!