A Singapore father's diary: And Then There Were Three
Hello, my name is John Ng and I am a new father. It's amazing how many affirmatives can occur over the course of 18 days. Somehow, we have survived, unscathed and are quite well.
Hello, my name is John Ng and I am a new father.
Levi Benjamin Matara-Ng was born on 17 March at 4.32pm via a caesarian section. Michele is recovering fine and at the time of writing, her stitches have almost recovered and is moving around our home freely. In fact, the three of us went out for the first time yesterday afternoon, had lunch at the local mall and did some shopping.
Life back to normal? Absolutely not.
It's amazing how many affirmatives can occur over the course of 18 days. Before the 17th of March, I knew next to nothing about babies. Today, I'd like to think I'm a veteran of a long and drawn out war with a crying, hungry enemy hell bent on destroying everything my wife and I knew. I don't know what sleep is anymore and the sanctity of our quiet abode is shattered by the regular bombings made by the enemy. Somehow, we have survived, unscathed and are quite well.
This is also the last episode of this wonderful series.
I have thoroughly enjoyed writing for theAsianparent, entertaining you readers and at the same time learning something about myself as well. It seems almost unreal that not six months ago I was a ship floundering at sea with a shipment of important cargo on board. Now, I'm still floundering but at least the cargo has been unloaded.
After being in labour for almost 17 hours, Michele was wheeled into the operating theatre. She simply wasn't dilated enough (4cm) and prolonging the labour might harm both mother and child. The pain was simply too much for her and after fighting the pain for six hours, she opted for an epidural. We were both still hoping for a natural birth but when it became evident that wouldn't happen, we stuck with our birth plan and opted for a Caesarian delivery.
Michele was wheeled in first to be prepped up. I was ushered in about five minutes later. The room was cold, clean and needed a feature wall colour. I was calm, or at least I thought so. Anxious and relieved, Michele shedded a tear. I could only stroke her hair and kissed her gently. I did not show it, but I was close to tears myself.
Our obstetrician yelled out, "John! Why are you still sitting there! Take out your camera and start taking pictures already! Your baby is here!" For sensitivity purposes, I have left out the gorier and bloodier pictures of Levi being delivered. However I simply had to include this picture. Levi was crying within three seconds of delivery.
Our anesthetist Alistair took this picture for us. He had grabbed the camera from me. "Mate! You're not taking them quick enough!" What great service they provided. Photography and surgical procedures!
Levi was whisked away to the far corner where our pediatrician Noel gave him a quick check. A quicker clean by the accompanying nurse and an even quicker first injection followed. Vitamin K is given to all newborns to prevent serious bleeding.
My first full glimpse of my child, all wrapped up warm and tight. The surgical team's patching up Michele furiously in the background. Michele couldn't stop laughing and crying. Our first family picture. Thanks to Alistair again.
We stayed in the hospital for six nights, during which we got pretty acquainted with the staff. Speaking of getting acquainted, Levi didn't wait to tell us what he thought of regular sleeping hours. I got about 18 hours of sleep in those six days.
We also experienced first hand the power of a newborn's cry. Levi let shrill his first bellow of discomfort within an hour of birth. The first two nights were very memorable. Michele and I were looking at each other, completely exhausted, looking lost. Over time, we got into a rhythm and found a routine.
On 22 March Michele was allowed to check out of the hospital. She had recovered sufficiently to walk around gingerly and was dying to get out. Here's Levi and Michele in the back seat of our car. Homeward bound we are!
In the 13 days since Levi came home, Michele and I have developed a quasi-routine revolving around Levi's sleep patterns. We have noticed he's far more settled in the day, so Michele tries to get as much rest when the sun is up and about. Thankfully both our mothers are around to assist, or Michele wouldn't be able to cope. Unfortunately, I have to work in the day so my evenings are less about sleep and more about nappy changing, settling Levi to sleep and dozing off while he's in the crook of my arm.
We're still new parents, and we're finding out more about Levi and ourselves as each day and weeks go by. 13 days have passed so quickly and I hate to think of what I might have missed when I'm asleep or out at work. Before long, Levi will be more responsive to light and sound, start talking to himself and shoving things into his mouth. There will be things Michele and I won't be looking forward to, but everything pales in comparison to the joy and pleasure he has given and will give us.
Fatherhood is indeed a very liberating experience. I'm only new at this and will admit to never having changed a nappy before the birth of my child. Now, I'm a pro at everything-a-father-should-know-at-one-month. I can't wait to find out what else fatherhood has in store for myself.
I look forward to sharing more of my stories and thoughts with you readers. It has been lovely writing for such a patient audience. I hope to return to theAsianparent with another series, but that depends entirely on my work schedule. I mean, between a day job, a newborn and a family life, who knows how much time I can squeeze in to write?
Editor's Note: This is part 7 and final part of the pregnancy diary series.
Part 1: Trying to get pregnant
Part 2: We are pregnant
Part 3: The first ultrasound
Part 4: Baby gender
Part 6: Waiting for the birth
Part 7: Baby is born