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The Start of Being A Single Mom

Grace is a single mom who faced a lot of difficulties but chose to fight and with the help of love ones.

I never thought I will get a lot of struggles after I gave birth. Well, some will say that I didn't give birth but instead I have undergone an operation which is the Cesarean Section. Whatever you call it, it doesn't matter. I still got a kid out of my belly. I never expected the pain after that and the pain relievers will not last long.

After being in the recovery room for hours, I was moved to a semi-private room which was free(thank God) and after a few minutes, my newborn is beside me. I think all moms will agree that once you have a baby, he or she will be the most beautiful or handsome kid in the world. And boy, he is handsome. I was excited to go home and be with my baby but I never expected that we still need to stay in the hospital for a few more days.

I just want everyone to understand that here in our place, our Department of Health is promoting Breastfeeding. We will need to try every option to make sure we breastfeed our baby first and if it will not really work due to unusual conditions we can then resolve to formula. So for me, I was having a hard time getting my milk out. The nurses helped me and my baby breastfeed but with me having no milk coming out and my baby not trying to feed, it was a problem. In addition to that, my baby also has a low birth weight. It was 2.4 kgs. Normal birth weight should be 2.5 kgs.

I was worried because the nurse told me that if my baby will not learn how to suck or breastfeed, he will be confined in the NICU for a week for observation for sepsis. The problem is my baby won't really suck because no milk is coming out of my breast and as a first time mom, I don't have any idea on what to do. I do have my mom beside me at the time, but she too doesn't have any idea since she never got this kind of problem before. So instead of staying there for just three days, it will be more than a week and my budget for this will not be enough.

Some might be wondering, where is the dad? Well as mentioned I am a single mom and the dad never tried to see his son starting the day he was born so(this might be or another article). I already can walk slowly and can visit my baby in the NICU which is I can say far from my room but I still can't get my milk out. Most of the nurses I asked said I should just continue having my baby suck at my breasts and it will naturally come out but I tried for one whole day but still not working. I already want to cry that time because I know my baby is already hungry and I was just asking some of the mothers to give some of their milk to my baby. It was actually also not advisable because basically, it is coming from a different mother and bacteria.

This is where I am already so helpless, I really don't know what to do and the nurses I talked to are no help. They just kept telling me to continue breastfeeding. Night time comes and I need to go back to my room and leave him without milk. They really don't allow having to feed him formula. Like what other choice do I have?! Before leaving my baby, the new nurse on duty that time didn't know what was going on and asked me where was my breast milk. As I told the other nurses, no milk is coming out. And that's where this nurse told me that they have a breast pump at the back. THEY.HAVE.A.BREAST.PUMP. And no one ever told me about that!

Please understand, I am a new mom. This is my first baby and even though I researched a lot and read a lot about being a parent, there are still a lot of things I do not know and do not understand. Please also know that my mom doesn't also know about these things because it was completely different during her time. She never got any issues about breastfeeding and the only breast pump she knows is the manual old fashioned breast pump.

So going back to that breast pump they have, I was thankful this nurse also helped me out on how to use it. They have this Medela Symphony Plus Breast Pump that was really helpful. Turns out, my colostrum was so sticky that my baby cannot really suck it out. I tried to pump as long as I could even when it was already midnight and my mom was still waiting outside the pumping area not knowing what was happening to me. I gave what I pumped to the nurse and even though it did not reach 1 ml the nurse said it was enough because it was the colostrum and my baby can survive the night.

I barely slept that time because I was excited to finally breastfeed my baby with milk coming out. I was so early that morning and was the first one to come to the NICU. And that was the time everything got better. He started to gain weight and after 2 days in the NICU, we were moved to this room where all those babies who are in recovery after in NICU stay. It's a wide room with lots of beds and the only people allowed to stay are the mothers and the babies. So if one baby cries, all the baby cries. I think this is because we can't afford to get a private room since I was already discharged and this was actually required by the hospital. We just need to stay until he finished his antibiotics and make sure he continually gains weight.

The doctor's recommendation was actually to let us stay for another week at that time to continue observing my baby but sometimes it feels like this is where they just want more money so my parents talked to another pediatrician, the one who assisted me during my baby's first day. My baby was already doing well and was already near 3 kilos for just a week. Thankfully, this doctor understood and since the baby doesn't have any other complications, we were allowed to go home the next day.

I am not even sure if you understand this or not but what I am trying to say with all of this is, it never started easy. I never had any support from the father even during pregnancy and that's another story. But I am still here. Baby's almost two and very energetic. I did have a lot of doubts with myself during pregnancy. Depressed, anxious and not sure of myself but with the help of my friends, parents and my sisters, I was able to get through this. I may say that this kid even saved my life.

I want to know your experiences and struggles with having your first baby and how you handled it. I know that there are a lot of moms out there that might be also searching for help and you can share or ask in the comments. To all the moms out there, YOU ARE AWESOME!

© 2019 Grace Joy Brown

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