I got induced for labour. It hurt. To hell and back. It really did. For 17 hours I toiled, I even begged God to take away my suffering. Finally, an episiotomy and drip later, at precisely 12.59pm on May 9th, my little minx came to the world, healthy and weighing 3.1kg.
One look at her and Jasmine it was. Princess, as beautiful as a dream, soft as a petal. So tiny, all I wanted to do was protect her and love her until my last breath. Intense. Daddy took many many photos and described to me how it all happened. He did not pass out. What a trooper.
I remember it like it was yesterday, yes cliché I know… but it’s really hard to forget the mixed feelings one gets when a doctor tells you that you are expecting a baby. When you least expect it. I’d been complaining about pain in my tummy and nausea for a few days. My hubby noticed I was too picky with food and I suddenly couldn’t stand the smell of boiling peas which had previously not been a problem.
So taking his advice I went for a checkup. The first doctor I saw looked at me and declared I had amoeba. A few days later after my ‘condition’ got worse and hubby dearest physically took me back to the hospital himself. I kept laughing and assuring him, not to worry because it was probably some bug that would clear within a few days. Deep inside though, my heart fluttered in anticipation.
This time they did a battery of tests and confirmed my hunch. I was confused, frightened and elated! In a span of seven minutes I called two of my girlfriends and told them. Then I rushed to town with no idea where I was going. I couldn’t believe it. I suddenly needed my mommy. Hahaha, the thought that she might not approve drowned that particular idea. I finally texted her two days later. “Don’t worry, I will walk with you.” That was her reply. Moms are the best!
Finally armed with assurance from both my mum and my then boyfriend, I started researching on all things baby. I was very excited and bookmarked baby centre and other pregnancy websites. I couldn’t stop browsing; it was an addiction, even in the middle of the night. I tried to eat right, but the nausea simply wouldn’t let me be. So I settled for digestive biscuits and yoghurt. What a combination!
One day my hubby brought me 2 liters of strawberry yoghurt, figuring he would satisfy my craving once and for all. The next day, that particular craving was gone and I suddenly hated yoghurt. Oh the look on his face! He still hates yoghurt to date, I have no idea why.
Month 7 finally arrived. Time for a scan! I was going to know the gender of my little baby who was by now kicking up a storm in my belly. Clearly a huge supporter of daddy’s football team! My sister Esther accompanied me, I needed someone to help absorb the excitement I was feeling. The doc squirted cold gel on my belly and my baby kicked again. I guess picking up on mama’s adrenaline.
A girl!!! Exactly what I had hoped for and I started shopping immediately. I dreamed about a tiny version of myself and how much fun we would have together. Her Dad was also excited especially about the joy of feeling little missy kick. And yes – we had a really long list of names. I however knew exactly what I wanted her to be. Royalty. Thus the names Jasmine and Eleanor remained.
I looked forward to my due date confirmed for April 25th. I was also pretty tired at month 9 and couldn’t wait to hold my little princess in my arms. The Royalty that she was, she made us wait for her post her due date. On May 8th it was time to evict our little tenant. I went to hospital with hubby by my side and made him swear to stay by me the whole way. Well, threatened really.
Both my moms were more excited than I was, first grandbaby syndrome.
After baby came, the first few days flew by in a buzz of night feedings, exhaustion, wailing by both baby and tired mommy and visits from friends and family. All this was so new to me, I felt overwhelmed and happy simultaneously. A cocktail of emotions.
When jasmine was 5 days old, I noticed something strange. She was throwing up and not passing urine. She was too calm and quiet. Something was wrong. My sixth sense flared up and warning bells sounded in my head. Hubby rushed us to hospital again. After a whole day of tests that involved pricking my little one’s delicate skin and attempting to catch some urine, I was utterly exhausted and emotionally drained. The results came out and the doctor announced we were going to spend 7 days inpatient.
I was so broken. It felt like the end. I wasn’t even completely healed. I didn’t even understand what neonatal sepsis was. I prayed. I cried and had a sleepless night. I walked the halls of the children’s ward all night trying to get my little angel to sleep. It was a really eye-opening experience. I respect mothers for the pain they handle. On the 10th day, God heard my prayers, we completed the dose and we were released from hospital. But not without more confusing news. Jasmine developed Gastro Esophageal Reflux(GER).
This meant she couldn’t breastfeed without throwing up almost half of her food. At times she would choke in the middle of the night and scare the hell out of us. Yet, during the day she was the happiest little girl, smiling coyly and following movements with bright eyes. Yes people, we had a little genius in our midst. Those random happy moments are the best part of her growing up, in spite of the feeding challenges.
My favorite moment will always be her reaction to her first spoon of food. I’d cooked a lot of butternut. Everyone loves my cooking, I like to think so. Well, jasmine swished the food around in her tiny gummy mouth, gave me a come hither look, and as soon I was 6 inches from her adorable face, she spat it all in my face. The joys of parenting… Weaning was a lot of fun, experimenting with different types of food and recording her reaction to each.
I couldn’t wait to jump my next hurdle. Teething. The stage where beautiful babies turn into little drooling chipmunks, biting everything within crawling distance. Hubs bought teethers by the bale and placed them all over the house, everywhere you turned. Ok, I exaggerate. He took precautions.
And yes , there’s nothing quite as horrifying as teeth while breastfeeding. Nothing. You feed the baby while sucking in your tummy, ready to jump in case they clamp down. The upside of it, I worked on my abs.
When Jasmine turned 8 months, I attempted to start working out. Ok, jumping and dancing clumsily to zumba and taebo DVDs. Hmmm, all I have to say is, it takes 9 months to form a human, it definitely takes more time to drop the weight acquired. From a petite 58kgs and suddenly I weighed a whopping 84kgs. Hubby dearest told me to go easy on myself. I relaxed a bit and let nature take its course. All a woman needs is a good support system. Happy mama, happy baby, happy family.
According to baby centre, Jasmine should be in her crib by now and sleeping longer than 3 hours at a go. I felt she was ready, but we were too attached to her and she was too used to our warmth. She would wake up 30 minutes after going to sleep and I was once again exhausted with a persistent backache. So was daddy. We needed a solution. Fast.
Her doctor discovered she had adenoids that prevented her from sleeping for long. She recommended surgery. We were back again on the emotional roller coaster. The doctor called it a simple harmless procedure; I on the other hand couldn’t stop seeing scalpels in my dreams. The day of the operation arrived and Jasmine turned one year 2 days before the procedure. Simple adenoidectomy, the doctor called it. Joined by my close friend Leah, as well as my hubby and dozens of prayers from everyone, we were arrived at the hospital at 7 am. I dressed her in a little white robe that made her look otherworldly. I didn’t want to hand her over just yet. I couldn’t bring myself to give the surgeon my precious baby, over a white line I couldn’t cross. I was torn. I kept repeating to myself, “simple procedure, short procedure.” I think I was going mad.
Exactly 25 minutes and 2 cartoon episodes later, she was brought back to me. Alive. Well. Sleepy. irritable and angry. I was overcome with joy and all I did was hug her close to me promising to never ever let her go. 2 hours later she was back to her cheerful self. Oh what I would give to become a child again. She inspired me to get back up and move on quickly. Miraculously, within 3 days of the surgery, she slept for 7 hours straight. She no longer snored or jerked in her sleep. Both parents and baby were well rested and happy.
What a year it’s been. I have learnt so much about myself I didn’t know, how strong and protective of my child I am. What a brave girl Jasmine is, life handed her lemons from the start, but all we keep doing is making lemonade and having a jolly good time. Even now as I type this, she is in her crib and her own room fast asleep. I thank God for the far we have come. I am still looking forward to all the wonderful adventures we will have together. Mostly, what I really want for her is to keep taking things in stride, keep inspiring people and stay strong and happy. And I in turn will be by her side always, pushing her to be the best she can be.