Experiences of a Second-time Mom: Delivery, Breastfeeding & Confinement
Here I am into the third week of the Chinese 30-day confinement feeling the need to pen down some thoughts and events for keepsake. Pardon my lack of sobriety if my writing appears strange.
The Birth of Peter
With Hannah, it was the appearance of ‘show’ (the discharge of bloody mucus plug from the cervix) that signaled us that I was about to go into labour. With Peter, my water bag broke around midnight while I was already in bed but awake. I felt a pop in my belly and thought “hmm, water bag?” but was too lazy to get up. Then I felt what I thought was the initial but real labour contractions where a mild ache was felt on the back. I began to feel slight dampness on my shorts and decided that I better get up to confirm my suspicions. True enough, I was ‘leaking’ on my way to the bathroom and when I stood in the bathtub, the water gushed out. I panicked. I quickly rinsed myself clean and woke Yang up. We started getting ready our bags and Hannah in 20-30 minutes and called a cab to go to Thomson Medical Centre where I was to delivered Peter.
After checking that my cervix was dilated 1.5 cm, the nurse on duty admitted me into the birthing ward. When the contraction pains were reaching my endurance threshold, I asked for the epidural to be administered. The process of administering the epidural this time was significantly more uncomfortable. And I experienced one side effect of vomitting. Other than this, the rest of the labour process was just lying in bed waiting for the contractions to cause the cervix to dilate to 10 cm before pushing the baby out. My gynae was out of town and he had arranged for a replacement gynae in his absence to deliver our baby. The replacement gynae was a friendly Dr Lawrence Ang and he arrived around 6-7 am to check on me. He remarked that the dilation process was fast and the cervix soft and that I could push the baby out soon. By 9.13 am, Peter came into the world with just a couple of pushes and daddy was put on the spot by the doctor to cut his umbilical cord. And I thought we might have a casaulty after that. Lol. :D
Well, I thought I got it right the second time. Despite my great weakness straight after delivery, I opted for total breastfeeding during my 3-day stay at the hospital. With what my episiotomy wound, vomitting and general tiredness from labour, I breastfed Peter and his suction was good. But once we were home, my supply couldn’t keep up with his demand during the rest of week 1 and I resorted to supplement with formula milk. Big mistake? Peter started preferring formula because it required less effort to suck. My milk supply has definitely improved from Hannah’s time but Peter has a bigger appetite. He is a strong boy too. Sigh, I guess my breastfeeding efforts will diminish over time again.
We got a different confinement lady (CL) this time as the previous one was unavailable. I prefer the current CL because she doesn’t impose the traditional Chinese confinement practices on me, was flexible in the choice of ingredients used for dishes and wasn’t constantly wanting to engage me in chatting. We got one domestic incident though. She chipped the tip of our precious Japanese hand-made chef knife by using it to separate frozen meats. At least she didn’t melt our stove area which the first CL did. Lol. :)
I’m thankful that my parents in-law have been very helpful in buying and bringing foods and fruits on a weekly basis for my CL to cook or prepare for my meals. My mom has been coming over too and didn’t utter a word about following the dreaded confinement practices or questioning the CL about me. I confess that I still feel quite stressed out whenever she pops by during this period.
Throughout the pregnancy, we were concerned about the effects of Peter’s single umbilical artery (SUA) on his health. He was given a clean bill of health by his pediatrician on the third day after an ultrasound check on his two kidneys. Really thank God for a healthy baby boy.
Thank God too that Peter was born after the terrible period of haze in Singapore where the PSI soared to 400. The air is definitely cleaner now for breathing. :)