Squishy was born on September 13. He weighed 7.6 lbs when he was born. When we left the hospital, he was down to 6.9 lbs. Two days ago, he was at 9.9 lbs. 🐷
Our baby looks like an old man with hair only on the sides of his head and his wrinkly forehead. 😅
He has such an expressive face. We love all of his funny looks. 😬
He doesn’t like tummy time on the bed, he rolls on to his back every time we do it. But he does enjoy tummy time on our chest. We hope that counts.
We’d like to think that he’s a happy baby. He smiles a lot when he’s asleep and when we’re breastfeeding. 😅 Lately, he’s been smiling at us when we talk to him.
Squishy inherited his father’s superpower: he poops round the clock. He startles himself when he farts (it’s the funniest thing!). He enjoys peeing and projectile pooping when we change his diaper. He also burps like an old man. 😅
He used to HATE baths. But he’s slowly starting to enjoy it. He coos calmly while we bathe him. But he still freaks out when we transfer him from the tub on to the towel. 😅
Week 3 started off with my mom suddenly telling me that she wouldn’t be able to come over for a couple of days. She had a cold and we couldn’t risk exposing Squishy. It was too late to make any other arrangements, so I told Mikey that we would be fine.
Even though my Mom didn’t really help with Squishy, it was a safety blanket of sorts to have her around. I was a little nervous about being alone with Squishy all day, but I was slowly starting to gain confidence.
I was starting a simple routine with Squishy that made it easier for my brain to handle the unstructured days. The routine was: Make sure he has a clean nappy on, try to feed him, burp him, and put him down for a nap. Repeat routine when he wakes up.
There were days when it seemed like he didn’t want to sleep at all. He was just fussy (we’d keep repeating the feeding-burping steps). And these were the challenging days because after very little sleep from the night before, I needed him to nap at least once in the morning so that I could nap too. That morning nap
makes me feel human again.
Squishy also naps best when he sleeps on me. Even if we get sweaty sometimes. It’s one of the best feelings in the world, holding your baby in your arms while he sleeps. ❤️ But in the afternoon, this becomes a bit problematic because I need to do other things—like eat or go to the bathroom.
I read online that it takes babies about 20 minutes before they go into deep sleep. Before that, any movement can easily wake them. So I’ve been trying this thing where when he falls asleep after feeding/burping, I hold him and sit still for about 20 minutes. When I try to move his arms a little and they seem limp, I slowly transfer him into his crib (much easier after Lola got him a co-sleeper). So far, it’s been 75% successful. It usually buys me an hour or so of hands free time!
(I have to admit though, sometimes I just let him nap on top of me the whole time in the afternoon. Even if I’m wide awake. I just kind of sit there in bed and inhale all of his goodness. ❤️)
There was a night or two where he wouldn’t go back to sleep and he just fussed from 2 AM onwards. Those nights were difficult. Whenever that would happen, I would wait for Mikey’s alarm to go off and I would ask him to change or burp Squishy before getting ready. That way, I could try to recharge a bit with a 5-10 minute catnap (20 minutes of Squishy decides to pee/poo on Mikey while being changed. Hehe).
When Squishy isn’t sleeping or fussy, there are a few stretches a day when he’s just awake. There isn’t much you can do with a newborn, but I try to just make eye contact with him and talk! Or I put him on his rocker and read to him. Sometimes we have supervised tummy time (but this doesn’t really last so long because he gets annoyed at me). He isn’t interested in toys yet though. When I assembled his gym and put him under it, he just cried. Maybe we’ll try again later. Haha.
By Thursday or Friday, Mikey notices that I get loopy. The compound interest of sleepless nights and relentless feedings catches up with me and he can tell. There’s no enthusiasm or sense of wonder in my voice and I become overly paranoid about every little thing that might be wrong with Squishy. It’s clear that I’ve reached my quota of talking to a baby all day and I’m in desperate need for the weekend when Mikey can keep me company and help out with Squishy. God bless weekends.
Week 3 ended with another visit to the pediatrician. Squishy is now 9.9 lbs. 😅 The Doctor said it was okay because we were exclusively breastfeeding. He also had another vaccine shot. I couldn’t watch, but Squishy was so brave. He cried for like 5 seconds and when the doctor picked him up, he was fine.
I was a wreck at the beginning of week 2. I remember the first day so vividly.
I just came off of another sleepless night and it was my first all nighter by myself. Mikey had work the next day, so I wanted to let him sleep. We were also trying this new thing where we all slept in the living room because it was difficult for me to get on and off our bed. It was a disaster.
It was 5 AM and I had been up since 1:30 AM. Mikey’s alarm clock had gone off and I was desperate for someone to talk to (and for some sleep). But I knew that he would have to start getting ready to leave soon.
I was holding a crying Squishy in my arms, walking around our house like a mad woman, trying to calm him down, when Mikey found me. He was dressed and ready to go to work. I put Squishy down on our bed and I hugged him goodbye. And then I started sobbing. I was so scared of being alone. I didn’t know if I could do it. I tried lying to Mikey and I told him that I was okay. Of course it didn’t work. I was clearly having a breakdown of sorts.
I reassured him that it was okay to go because my Mom would be coming to help out soon. (My Mom was coming, but she doesn’t know how to help with the baby. So she mostly cleans and cooks.)
When Mikey left and I was alone with Squishy, I picked him up again and I continued to sob. I talked to him and gave us (me) a pep talk: “we’ll be alright, won’t we Squish? We can do this? Right?” Then I proceeded to beg in between sobs: “Momma really needs to sleep. Can you please give me 30 minutes? Please?” Miraculously, when I put him down on our bed, he laid there with his eyes wide open and just stared at me. I laid down next to him and closed my eyes. When I opened them again, it felt like I got a 30 minute nap (it could’ve been 5 minutes for all I know) and Squishy was just there, cooing contently next to me.
When my Mom arrived, I had to pretend that everything was okay. And it was actually easier during the day because Squishy slept for longer stretches, so I would sleep with him. But because I was a mess when he left, Mikey decided to leave work early. When he told me this through text, I sobbed again.
Basically, Week 2 was the peak of my baby blues. I was crying a lot in the hospital. I was emotional over every setback. But Mikey leaving for work really stressed me out (that, and the post Surgery pain plus sleep deprivation).
It was so bad that one afternoon, I was looking at Squishy and for some reason, I thought of the scene in Dumbo where the Mommy elephant lashes out in the circus because the clowns and audience made fun of Dumbo’s ears. She eventually gets tied up and thrown in a jail-cage. Dumbo finally finds her and she can only reach him with her trunk through a barred window. She carries him on her trunk and sways him while the song ‘Baby Mine’ plays in the background. I looked at Squishy as the scene played in my head and I started sobbing! I thought: I totally get the mommy elephant now! I would do the same thing!
When Mikey got home from work, I wanted to tell him all about it in a light-hearted-ha-ha-your-wife-is-so-hormonal manner. But Mikey has never seen Dumbo, so I had to describe the scene to him in detail. As I was describing it, I kid you not, I start sobbing again! I tried to control it but I couldn’t! Mikey just stared at me in disbelief. I was trying to poke fun at myself but my hormones decided to make a repeat performance.
To make matters worse, later that week, I played a YouTube video of ‘Baby Mine’ to try to help calm Squishy down (I had been singing it to him all week), but when I found one with the same Dumbo scene, I watched it and started sobbing again. Mikey thought that something was seriously wrong when he found me sobbing in bed, holding Squishy in one arm and my phone on my other hand. I explained that I accidentally watched the Dumbo scene again. He didn’t even try to hide his laughter that last time.
Week 2 was capped off with my first postpartum visit to my doctor and Squishy’s first visit to his pediatrician.
I must have looked horrible (or maybe my nurses reported back that I was weepy a lot during our hospital stay) because my Doctor took some time to explain baby blues to us and even shared her own personal experiences with it. After talking to her about it, I felt a million times better.
During our pediatrician’s visit, we learned that Squishy gained weight! He was 8.15 pounds! He was born at 7.6 pounds, but by the time we left the hospital, he was only 6.9 pounds (apparently, it’s normal for babies to lose 10% of their weight during their first two weeks). He gained 1.25 pounds in 6 days! The Doctor was pleasantly surprised because she expected him to lose more weight! It meant that the breastfeeding was going well. On top of that, his jaundice was in control and we didn’t need to sunbathe him anymore (this was a pain because there was very little morning light in our apartment).
So, while we had a rough start for week 2, I suddenly felt like it was all worth it because Squishy was doing great. ❤️
Afterthoughts: This whole experience has made want to lobby for the extension of paternity leave. 7 days really isn’t enough. I’m fortunate to have a husband who makes an effort when he gets home from work and devotes his time to us on the weekends. But I would totally understand fathers who are too tired from the daily grind (especially with our traffic situation) to actively engage and form a bond with a fussy newborn.
We spent the first four days of Squishy’s life at the hospital. Looking back now, it’s a bit of a blur. I mostly felt like a useless potato on the bed during the first day. I wasn’t allowed to walk at all during the first day because of my catheter. Mikey was up and about and learning everything he could from the nurses. He was getting valuable supervised training from them and all I could do was sit and watch. I was desperate to be able to walk around and take care of Squishy.
But I had something important to do before I could start walking: I needed to fart. I was told that I could only start eating if I farted. So I drank prune juice and waited to toot. I eventually farted and I felt like a success. But I was still pretty useless. I looked like a beached, unkempt whale on my hospital bed.
They only had use for me when Squishy seemed hungry. Thankfully, at first, it looked like I had an OK supply of colostrum! My boobs felt swollen and when I tried hand expression (just to check), I expressed drops of clear liquid. It was a hallelujah moment! Many people in my family were skeptical of our choice to breastfeed because many of them had negative experiences with it (mostly lack of supply).
While Squishy needed to learn how to latch well, he seemed like gung-ho eater, so he tried over and over again in between crying. Mostly, I needed to help fit my areola into his mouth by squeezing it “just like a hamburger” (our lactation nurse’s words, not ours).
Some time during the second day though, Squishy would cry when we tried to feed him and both of Squishy’s grandmothers felt like he wasn’t getting enough milk/colostrum from me. A team of doctors, nurses, and lactation specialists came in to try to help and I felt like a failure because I couldn’t feed my child. The doctors and nurses and specialist told us that the only way you can tell if he’s getting “enough” is if he meets the minimum number of diaper changes per day (which at that point was one poopie diaper and one pee-pee diaper). We were kind of freaking out because he hadn’t peed yet that day. But there was still some time, so we waited. Eventually, Squishy wet his diaper.
I remember feeling like such a failure during this time. When everyone was gone (except Mikey and Squishy of course), I would look at Squishy’s first photo, stare at his fat face on my phone, drink my soup, cry, and think: “you’re such a perfect baby. You deserve a better mommy.” Mikey caught me and reassured me that we were doing everything that we could do.
So, we kept on going. I drank my Mega Malunggay pills three times a day, I drank all the malunggay soup my mom brought me, and I drank Traditional Medicinal’s Mother’s Milk tea. (Eventually, by the third day, I noticed that I had wet spots in the chest area of my sweater! And when I tried hand expression, creamy colored drops came out. My milk had finally come in! I cried when I saw it. Another hallelujah moment.)
24 hours after my c-section, they removed my catheter. I was told that if I didn’t pee in a couple of hours, they would have to re-insert it. I drank all the water I could. But I was glad that I could finally start walking around! The first few steps were the hardest. My legs felt like dead weight and my surgery wound made it difficult to bend and shift positions (ex: lying down to sitting up or getting into bed). But I was determined to get better so that I could be more useful. Eventually, I felt the urge to pee, so a nurse and Mikey helped me to the bathroom. It was a bit awkward to pee in their presence at first, but my crafty nurse turned on the bathroom faucet, and then I started to pee. I changed out of my adult diaper (which I hadn’t even noticed I was wearing until that point) to fresh underwear and a maternity napkin. I instantly felt better. In fact, I had Mikey help me spray on some dry shampoo so that I could fix my hair a little. I was slowly feeling human again.
It was a little difficult to entertain visitors, but looking back, it forced me into a state of okay-ness. And I suppose that really helped me fake it until I was really okay. And it was therapeutic to talk about what we had gone through in a light hearted manner.
By the time we were ready to leave the hospital, I was anxious because I felt like we had just started getting the hang of taking care of Squishy. I wasn’t confident enough to do it without a nurse that we could summon with a push of a button. The night before we got discharged, I told Mikey: “if I can be better at just one thing each day, I’ll be okay.” He agreed that that was an attainable goal.
Transitioning from the hospital to our home was kind of jarring. The first challenge was trying to take care of Squishy without aggravating my operation wound. Our bed is quite high so I was in pain every time I tried to get on and off it. I was also in pain every time I tried shifting positions. I couldn’t even use our La-Z-Boy because it was too big for me. I ended up spending most of my time nursing Squishy on our couch. There was one disastrous evening when we transferred Squishy’s bed in the living room and we all slept outside (me on the couch, Squishy in his crib, and Mikey on the Lazy Boy).
The hardest part of the transition was getting used to sleepless nights. Squishy was going through some kind of a growth spurt and he would feed every hour. I’ve been sleep-deprived before, but all the times I pulled all-nighters in the past, there was always light at the end of the tunnel—sleep would come sooner or later. But with a new baby, I read that the light at the end of the tunnel will come anywhere between the 3rd-6th month (if at all). So I had to learn how to function with little or no sleep. Sleep deprivation makes everything worse. I remember feeling anxious, hopeless, and useless. I kept dreading the end of Mikey’s paternity leave. I would cry every time I would try to do something for Squishy and it would take longer because I was in pain. No one really warned me about this. Maybe my Mommy friends all had an easier time than I did? But I did find some comfort from people who wrote about having similar experiences.
Week 1 was really tough. It was messy, scary, and the opposite of glamorous. And I realized that the learning curve isn’t really a curve. It’s more like a perfectly shaped, really tall and wide volcano. And If I kept focusing on the uphill-ness of this volcano, then I would have gone mad. Instead, I force myself to focus on that one thing I could do better for the day. At the very least, Squishy deserves a Momma who won’t stop trying to be a better Momma.
Our two week old Squishy fell asleep on me again. It took me a while before I could confidently roll him on to our bed. It feels good to type. There’s so much I want to say about the last two weeks. But I have to pick up where I last left off. I’m just anal that way.
Before that though, I want to say that I’m in love with my son. But taking care of an infant while recovering from surgery and dealing with your hormones going crazy was is challenging. So before I go back to where I left off, I want to share an article that a good friend of mine (Hi Jaga!) sent me a day after I gave birth: Colleen Nichol’s Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me About The Darkness? This really helped me during my first week with Squishy.
On Monday, September 12, my labor began. Unfortunately, by the end of the day, I was only 1 cm dilated, so we were sent home and we were asked to come back the next day to re-assess.
Tuesday, September 13 was my 40th week. We returned to hospital by 9 AM and they gave me another internal exam. In an hour or so, my doctor decided that they would admit me and induce labor. At that point, I was already contracting, but they wanted to intensify it so that I could dilate some more. My doctor didn’t want me to go past 40 weeks because it would increase the chances of fetal distress or, because Squishy was already full term, he could also start pooping inside.
From the initial exam room (which was basically a bed and a chair with a curtain partitioner), we were moved to a nice, large room with a bed, a TV, a private wash room, and a fake lazy boy. There, I was hooked up to a fetal monitor to make sure that Squishy was doing okay and monitor my contractions. I was first given an enema. After a few minutes, I purged all that I could purge in the bathroom. It was intense. Mikey could hear me from outside.
Then the nurses came in to try to set up an IV line. I hated that IV line. They tried inserting it in four different veins. The nurse even told me that I had “bad veins” because they kept collapsing. I was offended because it’s not like I could do anything about it! Finally, a resident came in and found a vein that didn’t burst. It was so bad that a week after we got out of the hospital, my hands were still bruised from all the poking.
After they inserted the IV line, they put me on fluids (I was not allowed to eat or drink anymore) and they also put me on oxytocin. The oxytocin was used to help intensify the contractions—and boy did it work! I was contracting like nobody’s business.
[Squishy is now 3 weeks and 2 days old, and I have not finished this post. Haha.]
The contractions were actually very manageable. What was really painful was the internal exams they were performing every hour. When my doctor did the internal exams during my check-ups, it was never that painful. But when the residents performed it, I would almost tear up because of the pain. The internal exams is what actually prompted me to accept their offer for an epidural at around 4 PM. After already going through several painful exams that day, I didn’t want to feel another one!
The epidural procedure was pretty quick. They wheel you into the operating room and the anesthesiologist asks you to go into fetal position and they inject you with local anesthesia. This is the only part of the procedure that you feel. It was scary because at the end of the procedure the doctor told me not to move around so much so that the epidural line won’t fall out. It was a bit tricky to find because of my bad veins again. Sigh. After they gave me the epidural, the resident also popped my water bag. I didn’t feel a thing, but I heard a lot of water fall into a basin. The good news was that the water was still clear, which means Squishy didn’t poop yet.
By the time they wheeled me into the room again, I couldn’t really feel my contractions anymore. There was a bit of pressure every time I had one, but it wasn’t painful. The internal exams were still a bit uncomfortable, but at least it wasn’t as painful as it was before.
By 6 PM, my doctor came back to visit me and check me out. At this point, I’m 5 cm dilated, but Squishy wasn’t engaging at all. In fact, I think I could still kind of feel him in my ribs. My doctor told me that if I didn’t show any signs of progress (dilation-wise and Squishy’s position) by 7:30-8:00 PM, we should have a c-section instead. But we would give it some more time because she really wanted us to have a “trial by labor”. It sounded like something out of Game of Thrones. We trusted our doctor, so we didn’t contest her plan. At this point, I wasn’t sure what to hope for anymore. I just wanted to see Squishy.
By 7:00, the doctor came in to check up on me again and nothing changed. I was still at 5 CM and Squishy refused to engage. Later on, I read in the official medical records that we had a c-section because there was an “arrest in decent”. It was official, we were going to have a c-section (and we were definitely going to see our baby boy before the day ended!).
Unfortunately, Mikey wasn’t allowed in the operating room. I always imagined meeting Squishy for the first time with Mikey by my side. I was fighting back tears when they started wheeling me out. Mikey kissed me and gave me a see-you-later, he seemed so calm.
The nurses wheeled me into the operating room. It was so bright. The doctors were chatting about mundane things like what size gloves this one doctor was using and gossip about another doctor who wasn’t there. It was just like Grey’s Anatomy. They all seemed so chill. It was the anesthesiologist who kept talking to me. At first she was explaining what she was doing, and then she tried some small talk (which I wasn’t really in the mood for, but I politely answered because she controlled the drugs). The moment she injected the anesthesia, I started shaking uncontrollably. But apart from that, I didn’t have any other reactions. The nurses and the doctors prepped me and before I knew it, they had started operating already. There were some parts of the operation which stung a little and when I told the anesthesiologist, she would adjust the dosage. I could feel them pulling and tugging. And when they pulled Squishy out, I heard his magnificent cry.
He was absolutely perfect. They brought him to me so I could see him. He was so chubby and so white! They also put him on my chest and let him suckle. But all too quickly, they took him back. Not in vain though because they took him to Mikey. I’ll let him tell his story of meeting Squishy for the first time. ❤
After two days of labor, two bruised up hands, and an operation, our son finally arrived. Squishy was here. And it was all worth it.
I hope to be able to write regularly again. Squishy and I are still figuring out our groove. But It only took me two weeks to finish this one post! Maybe the next one will take me one week!