Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Memoirs of a (youngish) mother

I have never been clucky. When I was about to hit 30, my biological clock didn't tell me it was time to procreate, it told me it was time to go to Cuba! So I understood the shock (and perhaps even horror) that some friends expressed on finding out I was knocked up. One friend literally fell off her chair. Literally. I'm still not quite sure how it happened, but as I was saying, she was really quite surprised. To say people didn't see me as the maternal type would be an extreme understatement.

But I knew I loved Lagi, pretty much as soon as I was pregnant. 11 weeks in, I had a nuchal translucency test. What can I say, I am an A type personality. I need to know everything that pertains to me, and the pregnancy was pertaining to me like a mother.... When they told me Lagi had a 13% chance of having down syndrome, I broke down. I knew in that moment just how much I already loved him, peanut that he was at that stage. I had been kind of blase' about the whole thing up until then. Maybe it's some kind of unacknowledged superstitiousness- you don't want to feel too happy, just in case. I know 13/100 doesn't seem that bad, but the normal odds for a woman my age was supposed to be 1/233 or something like that, and that made us HIGH RISK. The doctor broke it to me sympathetically (which is why I knew it was VERY bad- as we all know doctors are normally trying to hurry you out within 15 minutes, so they can hustle the next patient in- ka-ching!). After crying and calling my parents, I immediately launched into research mode. Because when you're a lawyer like me, that's what solves everything. Researching and reading (frantically). I comforted myself that the nuchal test, which consists of blood tests and measuring liquid at the back of the neck, probably didn't have many Polynesians in their samples. Sure enough, when I had the amnio (A type personality remember, there was never really a question) it turned out that my little munchkin just had a thick neck. The 23rd chromosome was A ok!

When Lagi was born I felt overwhelmingly possessive. Is that love? It certainly was primal. I wanted the doctors to give me my baby. Immediately! I wasn't even that keen on his father holding him (which was just delaying him being given to me, in my opinion). When they put him in my arms, my overriding thought was 'MINE!' Those hormones are pretty damn powerful. Looking back, I'm not sure how else you survive those first few weeks, let alone maintain your sanity. But at the time (again crazy powerful happy hormones) I was ecstatic despite the exhaustion!

Even during the 'feeding frenzy'. Yes, I know, when I heard that term, the day after Lagi was born, I thought (I'm a diver and have seen a few in my life) 'Surely it won't be that crazy'. That night, Lagi proved just how accurate that term was. It certainly felt like Jaws- 'da dum, da dum, da dum'. Despite his lack of teeth, Lagi managed to cause some serious damage. Now I don't blame my sweetheart. He was HUNGRY. And not just hungry, SAMOAN HUNGRY!!! And my milk (or more accurately his milk) hadn't come in yet. Here's the thing though, despite the lack of sleep, despite the pain that could only be described as excruciating, the thing that was the hardest, the thing that was heartbreaking, was not being able to give my baby what he needed at that moment.

I was only in hospital a few days. My love wasn't allowed to stay over night. At the time I found this very hard, but in hindsight it probably was very good for our relationship that he got to go home and sleep (so he could come back and cater to my every whim the next day). I live in the inner west. It's a popular and populated area. The ward at RPA Hospital was completely full to bursting, and the buzzers for the midwives went off all night long (though I would have slept through a fire alarm if my little gremlin had let me). My hat is off to the midwives at the hospital, who tried their very best, but it was obvious their numbers hadn't boomed along with the population and they were obviously understaffed. Suffice to say I wanted to go home.

When we brought Lagi home, it was in Moana the mini (because that's how unprepared we were/ are). Fortunately at home there was that wonderful thing- FAMILY! I will forever be grateful that my parents came all the way from Japan to welcome Lagi into the world. Because it meant they were also available for assistance that went well beyond adoration.

So that is the very first chapter. It seems strange not to finish a story, but I guess that's the awesome thing about being a mum, there's always something to look forward to, there's always another chapter to write. I may be able to do that, at some point, in between the normal joys of motherhood. Even though I've never ever been clucky.

3 comments:

Goddess said...

wow - welcome to the world of insomniac samoan bloggers(majority with a baby hangng off their skirt or lately, their susus), i love your writing...thanks for the entertainment...and please dont let your baby get in the way of your blogging! lol...alofas!

Teine Samoa said...

Thanks Goddess, I'm an insomniac (well that is kind of enforced cause of my little gremlin) and I'm Samoan, so I should fit right in! LOL!!! Your blog helped save my sanity when susu-ing all night, every night- so a genuine THANK YOU!xxx

Fotu said...

Hi Sisilia! As Goddess said, welcome to the Samoan Mommy bloggers club. Lol Love the blogs - I can totally relate! See you on the blogosphere! :) Alofas to you & little Lagi!