26 July 2018

My Baby Blues Story.

This is a story that I thought will take me a longer time to write, and share with the world - but who am I kidding? This space gives me the kind of relief a human cannot.

Earlier on, I have posted on The Birth-Day Story of Alex Koay - details of what happened and stuff. So please head over there and read . Heh.

The moment Alex was brought out of me, I felt immediate relief of weight (like literally kilogram kind of weight) off me even though I was numb from chest down. Then, when I finally heard his scream and saw his tiny body, tears rolled down my cheeks - which was totally unexpected.

I didn't expect to cry because I didn't think that the whole situation would get emotional, then again he was in me for so long and it almost felt like I didn't want to be separated from him. That and also because it was surreal that this tiny human is ours to have - forever.

So that's why there were tears.

I looked at Adrian and saw the widest smile on his face and he was just so into the little man that I didn't think he noticed my tears - which was totally fine because I was a bit shy then. Heh.

I spent an hour in a recovery room alone before I was wheeled into my room to see the husband and the baby, and I believed that was when I started feeling different.

After breastfeeding Alex for the very first time, I was convinced that the 'different' feeling that I was having was not normal - like I did not expect to be feeling this way right after delivering a baby.

It felt super abnormal and so not 'me'.

I was worried but I was also a lot of other things - tired, in pain, sad and angry.

Where is the happy in all that? I could not even smile genuinely (if I may say that) throughout my days in the hospital. It was just weird. I mean, having a baby is a happy event but I was not feeling it. I was not celebrating it like how Adrian was and everyone else. I felt alone and weird out.

When we were finally home, I realized that these feelings remained and didn't like fade away. Initially, I thought that it could be just the hospital stay that made me all gloomy and emo.

But I was wrong.

I kept it to myself for the first week but because it was eating me up, so I decided to share it with Adrian first, and then Rachel later on. I think both of them got worried but I assured them that it wasn't postpartum depression #doctorkhoo

I googled and self-diagnosed (heh) that it was not postpartum depression, but a thing called baby blues - the mildest form of postpartum depression.

Sure I've had my fair share of mood swings and all, but these mood swings were different and slightly more extreme. When the baby goes to sleep, I googled and read up more and I remembered being so desperate to get out of this baby blues so badly that I kept asking Adrian (everyday) if I am going to be 'me' soon, and everytime he would put his hands on me and pray.

These are some of the things that I had while having the baby blues:
  • I had no appetite to eat and could go through the entire day not eating anything or drinking anything. It was really bizarre because I was breastfeeding and it was supposed to make me hungry. 
  • I was really tired but every time I closed my eyes, I would wake up almost immediately again. 
  • I would cry for no reason at all - hated this the most. I would be feeding Alex and crying at the same time. One time, all it needed was a look at Adrian's face and tears would roll down. 
  •  I was feeling somewhat angry - that Alex gets hungry every 2-hours and it was really tiring. It made me feel like a horrible mother for getting angry that my son needs to drink milk. 
  • I was not myself (at all) and struggled with that the longest of all symptoms. Everyday I would try things that I normally do just so I can 'find' myself again. At the end of confinement's second week, Adrian took me out on a dinner date and that made me feel better - for that day only though. 
It was said that baby blues usually will end after 3-weeks to 4-weeks so I was looking forward to that. I was determined to get out of this hole soonest possible. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel - I was just too impatient to get to it. I didn't want to walk, I wanted to sprint but no stamina so how. Heh. 

In Alex's first month of life, I could not bring myself to bond with him like how I would love to. I just could not enjoy being a mother because I was not in the right place. Definitely not in the right mind as well. That probably made things worse because I so badly wanted to but I could not. 

I did not want to lose 'me' so we decided that leaving the 'confinement home' after 2 weeks should do us some good. We went back to our house and I started to feel better. 

Then, there was another thing that bothered me on a daily basis - breastfeeding.

This is one of the toughest thing to do in life seriously. It was one of the factor in my episode of baby blues I think.

I was feeding Alex directly and pumping every few hours but I would always still get plugged duct and that hurts like mad - the blocked duct's pain can last for an entire day and it's just insane. Most nights, I could not lie on my sides because it would hurt the boobs - it's crazy. At one time, I was afraid of sleeping on the bed that I almost sit-sleep on the couch.

Then, on days when I slept in a little longer, I would wake up with engorged breasts that is also majorly painful. Not only that, it was a very demanding round the clock 'job' because you cannot miss a feeding or pumping time, if not sure pain for don't know how many hours. Basically, you cannot be lazy.

And I, I am the laziest person I know.

So every time I wanted to give up breastfeeding, I stopped and managed to convince myself to persevere through the pain. Then, this cycle will re-drama itself every single day.

One step at a time. This was repeated so many times everyday. From myself to myself and from Adrian to me.

But, after a month of breastfeeding, I decided to stop.

No more plugged ducts.
No more engorged breasts.
No more angry/sad-feeding time.
No more sleepless nights.
No more crying over painful boobs.
No more wearing the same t-shirt everyday because I don't feel comfortable wearing others that made me feel big.

Adrian can vouch for this - the day the milk dried up was also the day I was probably the happiest ever since Alex came. I was so relieved. Yes, I was feeling guilty and questioned myself the first few days if it was the right decision but I would rather be a present happy mom than an unhappy absent mom to my son, and wife to my husband.

For sure, it is a known fact that breast milk is the best, but guess what. Formula also best la okay. Not every mother can produce milk like those who can, or persevere through the pain and not-enough-sleep-nights. I feel my case quite sad because I was actually producing a lot of milk (sometimes I feel macam too much) that is probably why I get engorged boobs and plugged ducts so often. Heh.

But its okay. Next baby I try again. 

Because now when I feed my son with the bottle, I talk to him, sometimes I sing to him - I bond with him. When I was breastfeeding, zero communications please - I just wanted it to be over asap #beinghonestherenoshame

I am super thankful that both Adrian and Rachel was super supportive towards my decision because it was not an easy one. I needed Adrian to understand why I would want to stop breastfeeding and he did. I really did not want to be 'traumatized' by this first breastfeeding experience because I intend to breastfeed all my children (as long as I could).

Now, as we enter the second month, I can happily say that baby blues are no more, and I enjoy bonding with my son a whole lot more. I love this little man please. Now I can finally show it with my 'me' method. Not only that, I realized I became a better wife to Adrian (he better agrees with me hah). I was just so 'absent' in the beginning you know. Just not there mentally and emotionally.

If you are a new mom and you are going through this, please know that you are not the only one. 70% of new moms go through it and know that you will come out of it. Remember to have 'me' time during confinement period because you do not want to lose the 'me' in this new phase of life. Find time to go for a haircut or hair wash session or mani-pedi or dinner dates with your husband.

Being a mother is really a whole new level of life-changing experience. You cannot un-mother a mother. I feel so much stronger now that I am a mother - its like I'm not even scared of flying cockroaches anymore hah.

To all mothers (who breastfeed and formula-feed), we are champions okay. Pat yourself on the back please. If your husband is nearby, ask him to pat your back too heh. Every day should be mother's day because every day our child (or children) needs to see/hear/smell us before they fall asleep - we are on demand all the time 24/7 - no turning back.

To all fathers, thank you for being our strength and thank you for being present. I know many of you do not know what to do most of the time, but by being there physically and offering hugs and kisses (on a daily basis), you are doing way more than you know. So, continue to shower your wife with your love language - CC Adrian Koay - I have been craving for salmon and steak for the longest time already ya.. :)

Now back to reality/work. Work begins already because our Alex is already two months old.

Also, this website, Motherly helps a lot (even for men) - I read and watch their videos and it makes me feel co much better. So, do go and visit this website and go explore.

Other than all that, I am also determined to 'lose' this post-pregnancy belly (or pouch heh) be it via a healthier diet or exercise, so if you are reading this and you have successfully done it, please share with me your secrets! If you are also like me, at this phase where you want to lose that after-baby's-belly, tell me so we can do it together!

One of the things that I plan to do is to go to the gym with the husband (also macam dating time kan), but I am still recovering from the c-section scar so I guess exercise will have to wait. Heh. Just few days ago, my c-section scar started to bleed a little and even now. It must be from carrying Alex in his carrier too often. He is getting heavier now. Man.

So far, I've lost about 11 kg (total weight gained during pregnancy was about 14 kg), so I have about 3 kg to go. It's going to be difficult from now on because I am no longer breastfeeding and breastfeeding really helps in losing weight. Oh wells.

I've started the lessen-the carbs-diet, so let's see how that will go. Hah.

Till next time, bye now.