January 5th marks my first month as a mom to Little Kerrigan. In those full solid weeks I got to stare at her as I feed, bathe, clean and hug her while trying to figure out how something so little and cute happens to be my daughter. And yes the silent moments I’ve had with her were usually spent just looking at her while she sleep and feed hoping everything was all well and cozy.
The first two weeks was the toughest! I remember being swollen from my ankle to my face at least five days after giving birth. My tummy was just a darkened blob of skin and fat. I think it would have been depressing if I hadn’t prepared on the physical changes that I’ll be going through but I guess there’s nothing more challenging than enduring the “no-joke” sleep deprivation that I had to go through on those days that I most needed to sleep. There was no preparation of whatsoever on the first night with my baby, no classes or seminars will ever give the real life experience of what it’s like to be with your little love but the actual day itself.
I woke up in the middle of the night to pick up my newborn Kerrigan to feed her on the night that I gave birth to her. I was supposed to feel exhausted but I don’t think I have absorbed the changes in my life yet nor the fact that I just gave birth. It didn’t exactly felt like I was dreaming but somehow it felt unreal as if I was on a trance. Clearly, I needed a good long sleep or maybe a couple of days of rest just like when you’re healing from sickness of some sort or even an hour-long alone time to catch up with my new reality. Or maybe a briefing of what just happened and what will come next after I take the baby home. I think it should be part of every maternity program to have a briefing or a recap of what just happened that I’ve finally given birth, that I am a mom, It will help first-time moms like myself, absorb the entire experience and to figure out where and what to do from that point on. Yeah! There were instructions on how to feed, bathe, and care for the baby BUT nothing on how real exhaustion is when you become a mom. After I have given birth, I quickly realized that it isn’t meant for new mom’s to rest or at least not for me. I was there acting as if I know what I was doing and the truth was it felt that I can do it all. No matter if I was too sore to get up or to sit down, I had to be there for her. It was not a time to slack off, to excuse yourself because you’re just too tired. It was a “do-it-right-now” moment. It didn’t matter if it was my first time because the mom instinct instinct in me quickly kicked in. I get up, stay up a all the time for a little while and would check to see if she’s okay and that’s the only time I needed to begin the transition. From a person solely responsible for myself and maybe a few stuff, I’ve become a mom ready to save the day for my little girl every time.
On our way to our room from delivery, I remember looking at her as our nurses wheeled us to our room. Kerrigan was placed in a clear plastic bassinet with a small mattress beside me. We were already together right after I gave birth to her. They call it as “rooming-in”. Babies are no longer placed in a nursery with other babies, unless of course if the baby needed extra caring.
We were greeted by my family in our hospital room. Everyone was very excited to see Kerrigan. My sister who was with me during the most hours of my labor asked if she’s allowed to take her photo.
I was still very energetic even after a whole night of labor. I would look at her worried that she might be taken. It’s crazy I know but it’s true some moms tend to become paranoid especially when you are a first timer. Later that day I became at ease because of the wonderful care I received from the hospital and because I was just to exhausted to even worry. I dozed off a few minutes after we were brought to our room.
The truth is I was still light-headed and a bit high from the birthing experience. I didn’t much have time to process my “New Reality”, that I became a mom on Dec. 5, 2015 at 7:26 am on a Saturday. Kerrigan was 6 lb. and 3 oz. All along I thought her weight was already too heavy, plus the fact that I’ve become bloated on the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I really thought she was a bit fat. But when I saw her, she was skinny, tinny, and was a bit swollen from her 9 month amniotic fluid soak. And it’s true, for me, she was the prettiest little human being the most beautiful thing that I’ve created yet. I didn’t sleep very well that night or I really didn’t sleep at all. I was really thankful that Kerrigan did well on her first day. Sure she cried for a while, nursed and fell asleep right after.
I breastfed her and it was tedious because latching was quite difficult at first, but eventually we got into our groove. JC was looking after us as we carried on our first evening feeding. I was just doing what I was supposed to do then I realised I was getting good at it. Everything became very intuitive that although it was my first time I was just there acing it as if I’ve been taking care of a newborn for a long time.
Believe me the labor and delivery experience was incomparable from the pregnancy journey. It was a whole lot different experience but all the same they were happy ones. Giving birth to a child was already a huge challenge until I had my first night as a mom wherein I had to look after my baby and feed her when she got hungry. But it was a new role that I am very happy to do. She was so little but she was my responsibility since the day I figured I was carrying her. She is a responsibility I was happy to take. She is our little Kerrigan.