16 June 2008

A Whole New Ballgame

No one told me post-partum was going to be so hard.

Having Vera in SCN was easy; the nurses took care of her, and I could rest between expressing milk every 3 hourly. Suddenly with Vera home, I had to wake up every night to feed her AND express milk. It was like going from the fire into the frying pan.

Thankfully, Ian's sister came to stay with us to help for 2 months. She did the 2am feed, while I did the 5am feed. Throughout the day, she helped with the cooking, feeding and playing with Vera. She was a godsend. I don't know how I could have gone through it without her.

Dealing with lack of sleep was one thing. Grappling with the blues was another.

Before delivery, I was pretty confident that I wouldn't get it. Wrong. Gripped with a sense of incompetency in handling a newborn and anxiety over coping with her crying, I succumbed to The Blues.

For no reason, I would start to cry. I'd feel really sorry for myself. I'd rant away at Ian. Then cry some more. I'd freak out when Vera's tube came out, partly because I hadn't mastered inserting it. "Why didn't you change her tube? See, now it's come out!" I'd belt out at Ian who was at work, even though he couldn't do a thing to help.

It reached a point when I knew I had to get some help. At least I knew there was a problem. I went to a gynae, expecting to get some medication to alleviate my constantly rapid heartbeat.

"I'm sorry," he said. "Any medication would affect your breastmilk, so I can't give it to you."

I had no choice but to deal with it. Turns out, having Ian's sis around was the best medication. I had someone to talk to about how to care for Vera, someone to show me how to pacify Vera (yes I was learning from her instead!), someone to keep a tab on my emotions.

In two months, I got better. I stopped crying spontaneously. I also got better at the tasks - especially tube insertion. Today, I've stopped feeling fearful and anxious about it. And that's a BIG improvement.

I can't say however that I'm all pro at pacifying her though. Patience has never been my strongest points. When Vera cries non-stop, it gets to me. And when I'm tired, it frustrates me even more. I still have a long way to go...

But all in all, the three of us must have done something right. Because Vera went from 1.8kg to 3kg at home! Doctors had told us it'd be months for her to even reach 2kg.

Vera has proven them wrong.

With lots of love and affection, even the frailest flower can bloom.