Letters to Lorin: #4 – On Motherhood

8 Feb

Note:  This is the first draft of chapter 4 of Letters to Lorin.

Dear Lorin,

On the night of my 30th birthday, I was at the hospital having labor.  In the early evening, I had a “bloody show”,  an indicator that I was going to give birth soon.  I monitored my contractions and texted my ob-gyne.  We didn’t go to the hospital until I was sure that it wasn’t a false alarm.

I had been on maternity leave for over a week by then.  My first thought was that finally you’re coming out.  I was trying to be calm.  Your father looked nervous.  We were staying at my parents house.  They took us to the hospital and my mother stayed with us until I gave birth.

I had a normal, “painless” delivery.  It wasn’t painless at all.  The epidural only worked for a short while.  Anyway, labor pains started at 10pm and on Decermber 3, 2008 at 5am in the morning, you came out.  I only had to push several times.  I swear, it took the doctor longer to stitch me up than to coax you out.

When we found out that we were going to have you, we rented a condominium unit in Makati.  It’s where I work.  Your father was working from home by then.  He just got back from Saudi Arabia where he worked for about a year.

I had an easy pregnancy.   There were just days that I feel really dizzy.  I followed everything that the doctors told me.  I changed doctors when decided that I will give birth in Batangas instead of in Makati.  There were some laboratory tests results that caused us some worries.  But nothing really serious.

I never had a morning sickness.  I read books about pregnancy.  I stopped drinking coffee.  I usually have 2-3 cups a day.  I drank milk and took vitamins.  I ate lots of fruits and vegetables.  In the later part though, I started drinking coffee mocha but no more than a cup a day.

After the delivery, it was hours before I saw you again.  I was very anxious.  I wanted to see you and breastfeed you immediately.  I was scared and worried that they would give you formula.  I read a lot and learned about the benefits of breastfeeding.  I intended to breastfeed you exclusively for at least six months.   I let you drink on demand.  And my, how demanding you were.  I was sleep-deprived for months.

When you were 4 weeks old, we went to the pediatrician to have your eyes checked.  There was nothing wrong with them.  It was the color of your skin that she immediately noticed.  You had jaundice.  We were advised to confine you at the hospital.   I cried in the car on the way home.

I have been worried about it for several days but I didn’t listen to my instinct.  I realized I should have brought you to the clinic soon.   You were confined for four days where you kept under the lights of several fluorescent tubes.  Your eyes were covered the whole time to protect them.  I can see and feel your discomfort and I was racked with guilt.

The next time you got sick, it was shortly after we moved in to your father’s family home.  You had a fever of 38 degrees celsius.  I insisted that we bring you to the hospital.  I didn’t care if it turns out to be nothing.  I learned my lesson hard and was going to follow my instinct this time.

After my maternity leave, your father’s mother stayed with us for several days in Makati.  We didn’t have a yaya or maid or helper.  Your father was our sole caregiver.  He supported my decision to breastfeed you.  I pumped several times during the day, even at work.

It was totally worth it.  Except for a day or two of sniffles, you were very healthy.  You were so cute and chubby!  You were relatively easy to take care of.  You hardly ever cried at all when we were in Makati.  The neighbors wouldn’t know we have a baby with us if they didn’t actually saw you.

You and your father were set to go home and live in Batangas with his mother when you turned 6 months.  You were exclusively breastfeed until you were 5 months old.  Well, almost.  We gave you formula, no more than 20oz, during the time that you refused to take breastmilk.  It was called breast rejection and I read that it was normal.

I was paranoid mom.  We didn’t take you out of the house except for visits to the pediatrician.  I worried about you catching some disease.  The first time we took you to the grocery, you were 4 months old.  We went during the first hour where there were only a very few people around.  I was frantic with worry.  We left as soon as we paid.

Your father was the calm and collected one.  Well, except for that time that you took formula.  He was alone in the condo with you.  Right after drinking milk, you developed rashes all over your face.  You father called me at work.  I went home immediately and we brought you to the emergency room.  It was just contact dermatitis.  You gave your father quite a scare.

I only got to see you every weekend and once in the middle of the week after you and your father left to live in Batangas.  I endured it for 3 months before I quit my job.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  Not seeing you everyday and not knowing how you were.  I’m not worried that you’re not being taken good care of.  How could I?  Your father took care of you all by himself when were were in Makati while I go to work everyday, from 8:30am-5:30pm, 5 days a week.

I learned that all a baby needs for the first six months is just breastmilk.  Despite other people’s advice that you be given solids at 4 or 5 months, you started having solid food at 6 months.  Some people advice giving you water to drink too.  We didn’t listen to that advice either.  Early on, we stopped giving you vitamins as well.

When I stopped breastfeeding, and this is why I am really sorry that I didn’t aim for a longer goal, you started getting sick at about every two months.  You had to take lots of medicine.  Sometimes, you had to go through laboratory and diagnostic tests too.  I was in constant panic and worry every time you did.  By the way, you had complete vaccinations.  Just so you know.

Now, don’t let me start with potty training.  Ha ha.  I didn’t wait it out.  My youngest sister waited it out and your cousin just quit on her own and refused to wear diapers.  I read about how a child should be potty-trained by a certain age.  So I was really worried.  It’s one of the disadvantages of reading too much.

I only relaxed a little when you were past two years old.  Sorry, do I sound like complaining?  I am not complaining.  I was just such a worrywart.  That’s how most new moms are.

When you get sick, I no longer insist that you go to the hospital at once.  I don’t worry too much about germs and stuff anymore.  I don’t worry too much about you getting hurt.  When you were just learning to walk, I was so worried about you getting hurt.  I think that delayed your ability to learn to walk.  Sorry, Lorin.

But now, I let you run around.  I figure a few scrapes, bumps and bruises wouldn’t hurt.  It’s your father whose voice now constantly rings out loud with worry.  Ha ha.  I still worry about you.  I just don’t show it much.  I know that if I do, it will get in the way of you learning about life.



3 Responses to “Letters to Lorin: #4 – On Motherhood”

  1. Ara February 8, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Nice love letter Mommy Lai. I actually created a blog in 2010 where I can write ‘love letters’ to Miguel on a continuing basis. It was also sort of a journal on his growing-up years that he can read someday. Medyo nahinto nga lang ang pag-post ko dun pero sana this year matuloy ko na uli. =)

    • Laila February 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

      thanks mommy ara! ang galing ng timing mo, actually i’m considering creating a separate blog for my letters to lorin. please send me a link. i want to read it. =)

  2. Ara February 8, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    Here you go. http://miguisms.blogspot.com/ . I hope you enjoy reading it =)

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