….By the way, I was able to look at the clock when the baby was born, and even uttered, “12:10 am lumabas si baby.”
I was eagerly awaiting to see my baby, but I admit not as much as I thought I would. I was happy to hear his deep, loud cry, because I read that such cry is excellent and would increase his APGAR score. While some nurses/midwives were cleaning up my baby, some were also cleaning me up. I could feel the filth of my va-jayjay, because when baby came out it’s like a year’s worth of clotted menstruation came out of me too.
When I (va-jayjay) was clean and sewed up, I was moved to another clean bed (bless you Asian Hospital!), and then the baby was presented to me. While the nurse (? or was it the doctor?) was walking towards me with my baby wrapped in a blanket, my thoughts were running…I remember people telling me that upon laying their eyes on their newborn, they felt that every pain and every sacrifice were worth the tiny baby they see…as Alona (our helper) said: Nawala lahat ng pagod at hirap ko. So I was expecting this magical thing to happen, that upon seeing my baby, I’d fall in love at first sight and even shed a few tears. I was expecting that magical thing to happen when the baby was laid beside me, [I was] waiting…. waiting… waiting…and then it struck me: I WAS APATHETIC! I felt almost nothing! This is embarrassing but one of the first things that entered my mind was, “Oh no, why does my son look like this?!? He isn’t cute! Will he eventually get cute?” And then I was so lonely because I was daydreaming of having a really cute baby, to the point of thinking “All those hell months for an ‘uncute’ baby?” But to be fair to me (and to him), I appreciated his alabaster complexion and his cherry red lips. A nurse/midwife even commented that our son is maputi. And then Randy came to us, and one of the midwives/nurses took our picture. You might notice that my eyes were misty…it’s because I started feeling guilty why I didn’t feel that love for my baby at that time, and why I was obsessing about the way he looks instead.
Then I told Randy my concerns; I asked him whether he thinks our son is ugly. He said he doesn’t think so; in fact, our baby doesn’t look like regular newborn babies. He said that he’ll never mistake our baby for another because he looks different—cuter than your regular newborn. And then I asked him why I don’t feel this overwhelming love for our baby, and that I’m worried I won’t be a loving mother. He told me not to worry because you only usually feel the love after spending some time with someone…he doesn’t think that love comes automatically just because the baby came from me.
And then I started to get sleepy because of the anesthesia. Randy told me that he’ll proceed to our room (I was still in the birthing room) and rest there after he visits our baby in the Huggery (that’s what they call the nursery at Asian…our baby will stay there until before we leave the hospital to be monitored well and because the temperature there is regulated…good idea, because I was too tired to take care of him).
I slept for a while and then some nurses put adult diapers on me and changed my hospital gown. I then started feeling the hapdi of my slit-and-sewed va-jayjay (thinking about it even now makes me cringe). I was told I might have fever thus I should drink water and mefenamic acid. I was also told to massage my puson so the blood clot would flow out of me—I was to expect a feeling akin to a really bad menstrual cramps and that my puson will feel weird whenever I breastfeed but that that was actually good so the excess blood will flow out (I’m trying to be as detailed as possible here for the benefit of expectant first-time moms). And then I was wheeled to our private room. I’m not sure if it’s because of my previously-shot-with-anesthesia state or because the nurses who took care of me were really adept, but everything went smoothly. I was comfy all the way: no bad odor, did not accidentally hurt me, smooth transfer to another bed, smooth elevator ride, smooth everything! I felt like a pampered, spoiled princess who didn’t even have to lift a finger to change her clothes.
So anyway, when I entered our room, I saw Randy sleeping on a comfy couch; I asked him where our driver was and Randy pointed to our driver Juniper (his name is Jun, ay sorry, JHUN pala but I call him Juniper) wrapped in a blanket on the other bed (at si Randy ang nasa couch lang! Sosyal ka talaga JHUN!). Our room was really cold and the excellent nurses at Asian automatically adjusted the temperature and gave me a warm, thick blanket to make me comfy.
I don’t remember sleeping fitfully—I’ve always been able to fight off meds that are supposed to make me sleepy.
In the morning, I woke up but I still felt so tired. We were brought breakfast but I had no appetite. I remember eating only soup, and Juniper wolfed down my breakfast before he went home. Because there was a Miami Heat game that morning, Randy of course concentrated on that. I think I answered people’s text messages and opened my FB account. I also uploaded all of the pictures Randy took—I just uploaded everything because I was too tired to choose yet too excited to show off immediately. But I couldn’t stay long online or texting, because my eyes hurt. Actually, Randy’s friend told him that I should not watch TV or read for a week because doing so my vision might get impaired. Despite the fact that I don’t usually follow a non-doctor’s advice, I followed it because staring at something for a long time hurt my eyes. I just tried to sleep whenever I can.
At around 10 a.m., our baby was brought to us for breastfeeding. The midwife said that baby had to breastfeed already. I didn’t know how to do it, and I had no milk. This was another panic moment for me! There was a time when I know that my baby has latched on to my nipple (perverts, STAY OUT! I’m describing a wonderful moment here)…you would instinctively know it because you can feel your baby suck, and because it would hurt like crazy! No, it won’t just tickle you, it would hurt, really really hurt! By the way, people watching might think a baby has already latched when his mouth is open and a mom’s nipple is in his mouth, but only a baby and mom can know for sure whether baby has successfully latched or not.
I guess this is the last part of the When Fetus Ladaga Became Infant Ladaga series, but I will make an offshoot (naks! Mala-Private Practice out of Grey’s Anatomy) entry which is an entry solely about breastfeeding. This is a must-read for all first time moms who want to give up breastfeeding. :)
PS: My son eventually got cute after a few days. Today, he is at his cutest…in fact, I think he grows cuter and cuter as time goes by. Moreover, I already love my son so so so much. The “Paano na ang mga anak ko ‘pag nawala ako?” thoughts and the “‘Wag po, may mga anak po ako” pleas are not just cliched expressions…they are so real! I take care of myself more because I fear that if I die, my son might be kawawa in the hands of whoever…something that will never happen as long as I live.