What you should expect in your first month with a newborn

The story of my first-month being a mom to my little Kerrigan

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 (gently of course) 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 sleeps and feeds, hoping everything was well and cosy.

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 dark blob of skin and fat. I think it would have been depressing if I hadn’t prepared on the physical changes. 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 needed it the most. 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 one but the actual day itself.

A look back to a Welcome Party we had for our little Kerrigan.

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 baptism of fire 🔥

On the night that I gave birth, I woke up in the middle of the night to feed my newborn. 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 in a trance. I needed a good long sleep or maybe a couple of days of rest or an hour-long alone time to catch up with my new reality. Or perhaps 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. There should be 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 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 about how exhausted you would be 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.

My newborn spent dinner time with her other side of the family.

I was there acting as if I know what I was doing, and the truth was it felt that I could 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 your 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 quickly kicked in. I got up, stayed up and checked to see if ‘she’s okay and that that’s the only time I needed to begin the transition. From a person solely responsible of myself and maybe a few stuff, I turned into a mom ready to save the day for my little girl every time.

There were instructions on how to feed, bathe, and care for the baby. BUT nothing about how exhausted you would be when you become a mom.

rooming-in-with-newborn

As we were heading to our recovery room, I remember looking at her, wondering if she was safe and comfortable. Kerrigan was 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 “rooming-in”. Babies are no longer placed in a nursery with other babies, unless of course if the baby needed extra caring.

A few hours after giving birth

My family greeted us in our hospital room. Everyone was very excited to see Kerrigan. My sister, who was with me during labour asked if it was okay to take a photo of Kerrigan. And she probably posted first instead of me. I didn’t really have a plan on how to introduce my new baby. So, I didn’t have much headspace to think about it.

I was still very energetic even after a whole night of labour. I would look at her worried that she might be taken. It’s crazy I know, but some moms indeed tend to become paranoid, especially when you are a first-timer. Later that day, I became at ease because of the excellent care I received from the hospital, and because I was just too exhausted even to worry. I think 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, 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 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. I didn’t sleep very well that night, or I didn’t sleep at all. I was 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 tricky at first, but eventually, we got into our groove. JC was looking after us as we carried on our first evening feeding. I was 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 labour 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 thrilled 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.

To be continued.

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