We did this photoshoot to celebrate one week together, kudos to our awesome friend @sreyasi_nc
Today, April 17, was the estimated ‘finish line’ of my pregnancy. But… it turned out the little one got too impatient inside my belly and decided to greet the world exactly 2 weeks earlier. Not that I complained 😉 At that point I was actually urging him to come out ASAP because, my belly looked like it was about to explode, the heartburn became too much to handle and I was worried that he would become too big for the birth.
The Birth — April 3, 2020 — 02:30 AM
Three weeks prior to that, we registered the planned birth at the chosen hospital, so we wouldn’t be bothered by administration stuff on the big day. This also included a consultation with an anaesthetist, who told me that due to the metal rod on my back, I won’t be able to get spinal and epidural anesthesia. That means, there are only two birth options for me: fully awake without epidural or fully asleep for C-section (with general anesthesia). I couldn’t decide right then that I want a natural birth (coz’ of course I got scared), so the hospital scheduled another appointment on April 3rd (ha!) to come up with a definite birth plan.
On April 1st, we had an appointment with my ob-gyn for a regular check-up. Besides getting the perfect shot of his face on the ultrasound (for the first time!), “Everything looks prima!” said my ob-gyn. She told us to get prepared since the baby could come anytime in the next days. As if on cue, the next day I started feeling that I was ‘leaking’. We asked our Google home, how to check whether my water has broken. Google told me to lie down for half an hour, and if I feel a gush of water when getting up then it really is my water. After waking up from a short afternoon nap I felt water flowing out, so we rushed to the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital around 5pm, and then 9.5 hours later, Aidan Bayu was born 🙂 I lost track of time in those hours so I don’t know exactly how my labor progressed, but I remember bits and pieces of it. I remember panicking about losing a lot of water, and that it turned green (because the baby started pooping inside). I remember feeling so stressed because I had to deal with my contraction alone during the first hour (due to the stupid corona virus). I remember getting a painkiller, then bouncing on a birthing ball, then taking a warm bath in a huge tub (provided in the hospital), to get through the pain. I remember the bear being a silent yet soothing company through all of that, holding my hands, massaging my back, or putting a cold compress on my neck 🙂 I remember the warm bath worked like a charm, because after only ~1,5 hours I was 8-9 cm dilated. I remember inhaling a laughing gas until I was fully dilated and the baby dropped, ready to go out. I remember the midwife taking the laughing gas away from me because it was time to push, and I was like, “Nooo… give it back…” 😀 I remember pushing and pushing, feeling the intense burn, touching the baby’s head, then pushing some more. Until he’s finally out. I remember feeling superbly great and relieved when I first saw him, and heard his cry after 3 seconds… I did it 🙂
He’s almost 3.3 kg, 50 cm, and is relative macrosomia (big baby) for my petite body. So, note to anyone (and self) who visited a newborn and said “Oooh, so small!”… “Don’t say that to the person who just pushed him out” (quoting Amelia on Grey’s Anatomy S16E21).
The Corona Effect
When my institute gradually started to impose the work-from-home rule, I was the least affected because my maternity leave has started anyway. However, when the global pandemic was declared, and travel restrictions were imposed here and there, there was no other option than to cancel my family’s trip to Germany (even though tickets were booked, visas were approved). I was very much looking forward to having my mom around for the life-changing first months, but… that has to wait 🙁
Despite having my water broken, when we arrived at the hospital I wasn’t yet in the active labor phase. So the midwife sent us to the Wochenbett station, the maternity ward where mothers and babies spent several nights after labor. However, new hospital rules due to COVID-19 prevented even partners to enter the station. So I ended up suffering alone while the contraction was getting stronger. After an hour, I couldn’t bear it alone anymore so I headed to the Kreißsaal, the delivery room, where partners are thankfully allowed to enter. While waiting for the bear to come, one midwife offered me her hand, while saying, “It’s okay, you’re not alone” 🙂
After the delivery, once it was time for me and baby Aidan to move to the maternity ward, the bear got kicked out 🙁 The two of us then spent 3 nights together, without any visitors allowed, not even the father. The nurses helped a lot on the first day (I couldn’t even get up by myself to go to the toilet), but after that, they showed us how to change diapers, nursing, etc., then moms were supposed to take care of the babies themselves. In hindsight, that was the perfect chance for me to bond with Aidan, without any distraction. But… to do everything alone, while still recovering from the postpartum pain was… challenging.
On the last night at the hospital, we got new roommates: a new mom who was constantly on video call, and her baby who was constantly crying (it turned out the baby has some health issues 🙁 poor mom). We could barely sleep that night, so I was so thrilled to finally go home the next day. However, the stressful night before drove us both over the edge, so our first night at home–just the three of us–was a disaster, and I cried my heart out. Things got better as we navigate through this new course of life, but still, a simple decision to give additional formula milk (to boost his stagnate weight) could make me cry from feeling like a failure.
Of course there were happy tears too, which happened when I held him and he looked at me while I was singing the songs I used to sing to my belly… I just couldn’t believe that he’s out 🙂
The Big Change
I love routines, they keep my grounded. Even though pregnancy changed my routines slightly, I was still the one in charge of my time, my schedule, my plans for the day. Now, with this little big change, I feel like I’m not in control anymore. People advise me to also sleep when the baby is sleeping, but then I spend all of my waking time: nursing, soothing him, (assisting in) changing his diaper, and of course taking care of my basic needs (food and hygiene). Note that currently my load on household chores is close to zero due to my limited mobility. But even then, there is barely time for myself, for example, I finished this blog post in a week!
Now that his schedule is getting more predictable, I’m trying to be more efficient in managing my time, trying to squeeze in as much productivity as I can while he’s sleeping during the day. His arrival is definitely the biggest change in my life, as well as in the cat-and-bear’s dynamic, but I’m quite sure we’ll manage 🙂
Welcome to the world, Aidan! Please be patient with us… we’re newbies! 😀