14 December 2021, by Thia Zhixin

Welcome to the World, Baby Gemma

It’s been a while, and yes, baby Gemma is here! She’s already over a month old at the time of writing this post. I’ve completely forgotten what sleep is! Time does fly.

It wasn’t too long ago when I was feeling rather panicky about the whole rushing to the hospital due to labour pains situation that my husband found time to practice/rehearse with me on when it does happen. The hospital bag has also been packed way in advance! And oh just a suggestion, pack in your make-up if you want to! You have some time before labour to doll yourself up, just for the fun of it, and especially when your husband is over ambitious and would like to take a few hundred photos for keepsake.

I was induced at Week 39 on the 4th of November. Our gynae told us that our little one is mature enough to arrive, and was asking if we would like to choose a date! So all the preparations and rehearsals were not needed in the end! We had a quick breakfast before checking into the delivery suite at 8.30 am.

Our gynae arrived shortly and I was only 2cm dilated. She burst the water bag and did a cervix check which was, I’m not going to lie, the most painful part of the whole delivery. Probably because epidural has not been given at this point yet. But well, it did go swiftly and it was now just a waiting game.

The anaesthetist then came to administer the epidural at around 10.30 am. I was given a low dose just so that I could still feel something to aid in the pushing during delivery. I could slowly feel my legs becoming numb and heavy, but I could still feel my toes! It was an interesting sensation. Quickly did a google search to understand why I was shivering slightly and it’s just a minor side effect of the epidural. I’ve heard of stories where mummies were having adverse reactions like puking etc. So I guess I was pretty lucky that mine was quite minor.

And so, we waited. Waiting for the magic number 10. 10cm dilation that is. But we were surprised that it wasn’t too long a wait in the end.

The nurses came to check on me at 3 pm and I was finally 10cm dilated. I was having strong regular contractions in 1-2 minutes intervals. Oh, and there are many apps available that you can download for you to check on the duration of your contractions to better gauge when your body is ready to deliver the baby.

They called for my gynae and proceeded to set everything up. The nurses had a procedure of how to proceed with the delivery, and before you know it, I was already in position. My hubby wasn’t even sure if this was time as the nurses all knew what to do and was just so swift in their execution haha!

To be honest, it was a pretty scary experience for me as I didn’t know what to expect, let alone know what to do when they say push. I guess it is the same feeling any first-time mom would be experiencing. Some people say the pushing part can be executed like doing crunches, and not exactly pooping it out. But my gynae told me to push like I’ve never pooped in my entire life. So ok, let’s just do anything I can to force it out I guess haha! I was afraid I couldn’t feel anything due to the epidural. We saw the baby’s head after a few pushes.

And Baby Gemma was finally here! It was quite similar to what you would see in the movies. Feeling emotional, cutting the umbilical cord, putting baby on me to latch. It was a nice feeling, with my husband looking so happy and proud, I felt really good!

I started on my confinement upon discharge from the hospital. We got a confinement lady as we don’t have a helper nor do we have any experience in caring for newborns. My confinement nanny helped with feeding and bathing Baby Gemma, cooking for my husband and me, and basic household chores. Her help was much needed as I had to recover and needed plenty of rest due to the soreness from the episiotomy.

There were many practices and myths which I have heard throughout the 28 days of confinement. One of which was not to shower for an entire month. However, it is perfectly fine to do so provided you dry yourself immediately after a warm shower. I blow-dried my hair immediately and also avoided bathing late. My gynae did mention that it is ok to shower and keep the wound from the episiotomy clean and wash as per normal too.

I had red date tea and herbal soup daily as it helps in birth recovery and keeps the body warm. Cold drinks and cooling food are not recommended during confinement.

Here’s to 3 hourly feeds and diaper changing! We’ve gotten quite used to it somehow. We were so afraid that after the nanny left, we would be so stranded not knowing what to do. But it’s not too bad as long as both your husband and yourself can set some form of a timetable to follow, and take turns to care for baby. And then we can discuss about longer paternity leave another time as that is such a controversial subject haha! But in my opinion, hubbies do and can contribute quite a bit to the early parenthood journey.

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