|My little munchkin. I just realised that I still have that wrapper that’s lying behind her… wow!
After the shaking, screams and sobs that characterised ,my childbirth, I could not wait to hold my baby in my hands. That was enough compensation for the ordeal I went through. I heard her tiny but tough cries as the midwives cleaned her up and clothed her. I lay on the sturdy delivery bed, slowly recovering from my ‘near-death’ experience. As my shaking body became stable, I was eager to see what my seed looked like.
Finally, a grinning midwife brought her to me. I held her and thanked God for blessing me with a child. I prayed that she will lead a life devoted to the Lord and fulfill her purpose on earth. After my significant prayer of dedication, I began watching a movie titled- ‘New Baby Part 1.’ She was a beauty to behold. Clad in a machine crocheted ensemble, her pink face spoke innocence, quietude and piece. The joy that filled my heart to have been able to bring such comeliness to the world was immeasurable.
The hurdles of the first
trimester were over. I was ready to face my new life as a mother. I was moved to the maternity ward, where the hospital stench that was undesirably present in the delivery room failed to show up. I was rather hit by the sophisticated smell of food in the air. I settled into a rigid hospital bed that was offered to me at the end of the room. It was the last empty bed standing. That was evidence that several women chose to be busy with their partners at the same time of the previous year. The result- several simultaneous births and a filled-up hospital wing.
I saw a new mother continuously stare at her new baby. She was definitely in love. Where two or three women are gathered, there is always a drama queen. This time, the crown was on my bed neighbour’s head. She took a large piece of wrapper and tied her tummy firmly as though she was on a mission to end her life through a nonsurgical imposed tummy tuck. She whined about how her husband wanted her to keep tying her tummy so she could be in shape. She kept chewing different kinds of food as she paced in the room as though she was searching for something.
I had planned that I will eat anything and everything to revenge on all those times when I failed to eat due to pregnancy-induced nausea. However, the stress from childbirth left me with a repugnance to food and some sickness in the pit of my belly. Food was not even the last thing on my list. It was out of the list. Sleep was the first item I needed to check. My body was weary and I badly needed to rest.
My mother quickly brought a cup of Ovaltine and milk for me to drink. I refused, saying I wasn’t hungry but she insisted, stating, “You need something in your stomach so you can feed the baby.”. I succumbed and gulped down the beverage. That was my initiation into the fattening sessions new mothers go through after delivery. Shortly after tea, I was offered Pepper Soup. After Pepper Soup, it was Rice and Stew. They kept telling me how a full tummy was essential for a decent flow of breast milk. Enemies of progress
The aunties, uncles, friends and well-wishers that kept coming to see me made it impossible to close my eyes in a sweet beauty sleep. As I lay on the bed in the faded hospital gown, I felt how post-partum bleeding soaked the heavy pads I worn and drenched the white hospital bedsheet. It was a great discomfort. The bed sheets were eventually changed.
I had read in the pregnancy books (I read lots of them) that breastfeeding within the first hour of delivery was important so I expressed a desire to breastfeed my baby. My pastor’s wife, who was tending to me brought my baby to me so I could feed her. I tried to practice what I had rehearsed by watching other mothers. However, I failed to get my baby to latch on properly despite her moving lips that were searching for the boobs. My pastor’s wife came to my aid and tried to place my tiny nipple into my newborn’s mouth. As she struggled with me, an elderly woman in the ward joined her. She seemed like one of those women who knew everything about childbirth. All three of us battled frantically to enable me breastfeed for the first time as though we were trying to solve the crisis in the Middle-East. In the end, the tiny lips began to suck and stimulate the flow of colostrum.
I stood up to take my first bath after delivery. That enabled me assess my after-pregnancy body. My pregnant elephant ankles were still there. My tummy looked semi-pregnant. It was like the mid-wives forgot my daughter’s twin in there. It was depressing to look at the whale I had become but my baby was so worth it. After my bath, I wore a nightgown as the custom of postpartum women in Cameroon is. Then I settled in to snuggle with my baby.
Watch out for my next post still on the postpartum experience. That experience is a handful. Got something to say? Please comment below. I love you!