DJ’s one month paediatric appointment was up. Yes, I had a one month old now. The time had just flown by….
We took him to the hospital (Kobby never missed a hospital visit even if he had work). We arrived and he put DJ down and undressed him to be examined. The nurses in there all watched in awe. “Wow you are very hands-on. We don’t see a lot of fathers like that” one said. We both smiled as if it wasn’t a big deal but I knew it was. One thing I liked about our generation was that unlike most of our fathers, most men in our time are more hands-on with their kids. I always knew Kobby would be that kind of dad but he definitely exceeded my expectations. I had learnt how to bath the baby from my mom and had started doing that whenever she wasn’t around and Kobby had also decided to learn. It was quite entertaining watching him bath the baby. So anyway, DJ got examined and was declared fine. He had healed very well in his belly button and his peepee after his circumcision. We were asked to come back on the 3rd of January for his 6 weeks weighing.
My bleeding on the other hand, had also stopped after 4 weeks. I was also healing pretty well. I could only see a small wound now and it was almost back to normal. This was the first time we were going to actually celebrate Christmas because the previous year Kobby had been admitted to the hospital and that ruined the entire period for us. This time, we went out to buy the tree, wreaths and the decorations for the house. I was so excited! We got home and I got straight to it. Within a few hours, I was done and I had also received a Christmas onesie I ordered from Maternity Solutions for DJ.
We had also scheduled a photo-shoot for DJ which I had planned months before giving birth to him. I had ordered a cute puppy outfit for him and a faux fur rug and the plan was for Kobby to use his camera to take the shots. However, after having him, we realized it wasn’t going to be that easy setting up a baby to take photos. We were going to need a professional for this one. As fate would have it, one day, I was scrolling through my timeline on Instagram and came across a sponsored ad by Elom Ayayee Portraiture and clicked on it. The baby pictures I saw were exactly what I had imagined for my boy. I called the number and she picked up. She sounded so pleasant. I immediately made up my mind she would do the shoot.
We set a date and time and took him to her studio in Labone. It was a lovely place and she had everything set up already- [A vibrating bed, a shusher, a small heater right by his bed to keep him warm and all the props for the pictures which were mainly scarves and head accessories. She was so calm and gentle with him and helped undress him, wrapped him up in one of the scarves and placed him on the bed. The ambiance was perfect and it put him straight to bed. In between the shoot, I had to feed him, so I did and she burped him and we went right back to shooting. He changed into his costume and other scarves and we were able to get really good shots. I absolutely loved every bit of the experience. We were called in after two weeks to view the slideshow of pictures and we made our selection which she printed and framed.
On the 21ST of December was Kobby’s nephew’s christening. We got ready for that and attended without DJ. My mom opted to stay home with him while we went. It was a brief ceremony and Kobby was the designated photographer who took the photos. After taking a look at the photos I realized I was HUGE!. Yes, I saw myself in the mirror everyday but these photos definitely made it unmistakably more apparent that I needed to work on my body. Well too bad because I was planning on eating my heart out this Christmas and worry about the weight later.
25TH December, Christmas Day! I woke up in such a good mood. We got DJ ready and put him in his new Christmas onesie. All these weeks, his skin had been shedding and finally it was all done, revealing his real soft baby skin which had now evened out. I had been religiously using the Aveeno lotion on his skin and the usual darkness around his ears had all cleared up. His hair was also growing fast and I was only applying shea butter to it but that was making all the difference. Kobby set up the grill and we had a mini barbecue. My brothers, cousin and her boyfriend and my mom came over and we ate and hang out. We left for dinner at Kobby’s aunt’s place and continued the celebration there. It was a very simple fun day.
The days that followed were a blur. We went to a bunch of places like the beach and the playground with Kobby’s nephews and niece. We couldn’t take DJ along as he was still too young. Work wise, I was still doing my kids party rentals which was going well because of the season and I was stilllll eating everything in my path. I had decided to start my official diet and work-out after my 6 week appointment when I’m given the green light by my gyno but for now I was eating without regrets. I still needed to breastfeed after all.
Time flew by and it was time for my 6 week appointment as well as DJ’s. My gyno examined me and was impressed by how well I had healed. Infact I was also shocked at my results. I had been advised to do the sitz bath for just 30 minutes a day but I was doing a total of two hours a day- an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. I was also checking with a mirror and I was amazed! The wound had completely healed and sealed leaving no scar. None at all! –[A perfect description would be, getting a cut on your finger. The finger usually heals leaving no scar]. That’s exactly what had happened. The stitches had also been absorbed and were not there anymore. It actually looked EXACTLY like it did before and it seemed like a miracle. God really designed the female body so perfectly to accommodate all these and yet I questioned him time and time again. Listen, if someone had told me, the day I gave birth, that I would go back to normal, I would’ve laugh in their face. It seemed impossible. I had no words. I now understood why women “forgot” the experience and did it over and over because there was literally no evidence down there to prove that I had pushed out a baby. It was incredible and now I’m rambling but you get the point.
After the examination, he spoke to us about birth control and protection and simply said “You know it’s important to put measures in place if you don’t want to have another baby right away. Once you have your period, you run the risk of getting pregnant so read more about some family planning options and choose one” he advised. We both smiled and nodded. What I still don’t get is why all of these years, these drugs have been made for JUST women and none at all for men. It buffled me. The only preventative method for guys was condoms and vasectomy? Really? In this day and age? Meanwhile the side effects for most of these drugs and coils and injections were so damaging. My mother told me about how she took birth controls right after the birth of my brother and couldn’t bend her knees for 3 years! Throughout this time, she never had her period so she couldn’t have another baby till after a good 5 years she finally did. It was insane. It wasn’t helpful that she couldn’t remember the name of the drug either which made me very weary of these contraceptives.
We sent DJ for his appointment as well. He got weighed and it was an alarming 5.1 kilos. At 6 weeks? How did he leap from 3.1 to 5.1 within that time? I asked the pediatrician whether it was normal and his response was “Well babies usually double their weight at 6 months and he is already a kilo away from doubling his so you can assess that for yourself”. Hmm I decided I was going to really monitor his eating now. We were still combining breastmilk with formula and we were not strictly following the formula feeds per his weight. We were feeding more than was prescribed and that was definitely a contributing factor. We had now changed his formula to Aptamil which he seemed to be enjoying.
Once we got home, I decided to get more serious about breastfeeding. I had tried everything people had told me had worked for them. Palm nut soup, moringa, fennel tea, mashed kenkey, etc and I still wasn’t producing enough milk! I found these organic Mother’s Milk supplements online which were supposed to boost the supply of breastmilk. It was being sold by a lady I knew and I asked her about it. She said she had used it and it had worked perfectly for her after her C-section. That was all I needed to hear so I bought it and used it for about a week. Previously, I would go to bed with breast pads and wake up and it would be soaked but now after taking these supplements, they were completely dry. My milk production was rather decreasing and eventually stopped one day. A few days before, I had stopped taking the supplements and yet there was no improvement. What I had failed to realize was that, everyone’s body reacts differently to different things. Mine just didn’t react well eventhough I had read rave reviews about this same product with people testifying it had worked for them. I felt immense guilt even though it wasn’t my fault, but I knew at this point, he had to continue with the formula because he was taking more of that anyway.
After being hard on myself for days, I came to the realization that the most important thing was that, he was alive and well and wasn’t sick. He actually liked being bottle fed and has never rejected the bottle. He was still growing up well and reaching his milestones and I needed to be grateful for that. I even spoke to some of my mom friends and realized most of them had been combining as well and here I was thinking I was all alone in this struggle. People are usually quiet about it because first of all, it’s really no one’s business and secondly society has conditioned our minds to believe we aren’t good moms if we feed our babies formula. However, here is a situation where I had tried EVERYTHING and was left with no choice. I was finally able to rid myself of the mom guilt and see the bigger picture; a healthy baby boy.
Now it was time to make sure I didn’t make any more babies before I was ready. Ha!