Motherhood Diaries: Baby Sleep struggles

It’s 2.35am, I am wide awake, the normal bone deep tiredness retreating into the distance for a confused change. I just went through a bizarre tussle with my 10 month old daughter, leaving me feeling somewhat lacking as a mother.

Basically what has been happening lately that gave rise to me feeling that I am failing as a mum is that bedtime has been mostly a struggle withour baby girl and I. Well, a “more-than-usual” struggle. I honestly don’t know how sleep training would work with a restless sleeper.

From the moment she turned 7 months, she would pull herself to stand in her crib-turned-play-pen and walk around in circles endlessly. So leaving her to sleep on her own in the crib doesn’t work as she will take that as permission to explore and play and perfect her walking skills through the night.

So now, in putting baby to bed, I would go through this long tiring workout juggling between backing her, bringing her down when she keeps wriggling.

To put her to sleep, picture backing a child and bouncing up and down on your heels to rock her to sleep…

If she is still awake an hour later, or as short as it takes for me to physically tire out, I proceed to use my breastmilk to make her fall asleep (yes, I know experts say this is a no-no but what is a fatigued mama gonna do?!)

Any little energy I have at the end of the day is spent putting her to sleep. Sometimes she falls asleep quite easily. But it is nights like this one that leave more of an impression. I had to Whatsapp call my husband in the living room to come bail me out.

I had woken up before 7 this morning with a determined zeal to clean (sweep and mop floors) our entire house in one day (we have a big house). Usually I do portions between two or three days. My mum and her helper had come over today and I used the opportunity to see my plan through.

My husband had come home by 9pm and hadn’t eaten his packed lunch yet so I didn’t want to disturb him till he had eaten dinner. I continued my efforts doggedly despite my aching legs and back and tiredness. At 10.45pm, I had to Whatsapp call him to come bail me out. I had just changed her poopy diapers and he met us splayed out on the bed, she had rolled over playfully on the bed. He picked her up and she docilely laid her head on his shoulder. I looked on in disbelief and felt a brief pang of disappointment at all the effort I had put in, including struggling to keep her head on my shoulder to sleep as part of my list of efforts of sleep routine. I turned off the lamp and lay silently on the messy bed so as not to make any noise.

Fast forward to now, I can’t remember if this is the first time she woke up since hubby put her to bed, but somehow this time she just would not suck and go back to sleep, though this happens a few times since she turned 5 months. I don’t know how this huge sense of frustration and anger came over me and I stood up with her and start forcing her head to rest on my shoulder and angrily hissing at her that its time to sleep. She obviously fought off my efforts and her whimpers woke my husband who normally sleeps through her middle-of-the-night-feedings. I got back into bed and tried giving her the breast to go back to sleep, but she is still awake and I’m feeling angry and frustrated and she is crying out. My husband gave up tossing and turning and just takes her from my arms and she quietens and falls promptly asleep as he rocks her. He keeps on his efforts for like 10 more minutes to ensure she is in deep sleep all the while I am feeling guilty at my anger and frustration and somewhat betrayed by how easily she has been falling asleep with her dad.

My husband lays her down and comes into bed..I reach out for him, he lays on his stomach, head faced away, arm squeezing mine and instantly falls asleep, unaware of the turmoil within me.

Wide awake and disconcerted, I pick up the phone and weirdly try to blog my feelings away to the calm whirring of our standing fan. The me of several years ago would bring out my well worn diary and write and write, trying to sort out my feelings, Literally pouring out my confused feelings till I fall asleep, emptied.

I guess I blow my nose a little bit noisily and our darling super light sleeper is up and standing, clinging to the sides of her cot, whimpering. I take her, bring her to my breast, she instantly falls asleep and all is right with the mother in me. Though I still feel the need to finish this blog. Whereas my thoughts were all jumbled off and I started going off on a tangent, which I erased… my head is cleared and I am able to recount this nights misadventure more clearly…for a fellow nursing mom’s reading pleasure as you chuckle and sympathize along with me.

For now, I will try and resume as much needed rest before she wakes up for her next midnight breastfeed…

Dear nursing mother…or nursing father (as my hubby and some men I know would passionately argue for…)Please would like to hear your stories as well as moments of frustration u felt in your journey into parenthood. Where there certain vivid circumstances that occurred which left u feeling less than or lacking as a parent?

What lessons have you learnt from being a parent?

Sleeping “like a baby” in the wee hours of the morning…and yes, she sleeps most soundly in our bed

May God comfort the weary soul

If words could adequately describe
My bone-weary, battle-bruised exhaustion,
Eyes tingling and heavy from shedding an ocean of tears;
Head cobwebbed from a night of constant interrupted sleep;
Body weighed down from physical exhaustion,
Heart crushed and aching,
Soul quietly fading

All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort.

He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 TPT

The day barely begun, already I have been through the emotional rollercoaster and back. I swore I will respect myself today. No more begging and groveling, no more chasing barefeet and bare-soul. God, I asked him for some mercy but Your Word says You are the Father of tender mercy. Wrap my battered soul in Your arms of endless comfort. Gone are the days I could spend wallowing in shame, regret and self-abasement. As a mother of a suckling babe, please help me to be stronger, a warrior in this area of weakness.

Almost instantly you send me your answer, as she raises her adorable doe-eyes to mine, lips smack in satiated satisfaction, she flashes her one-cheeked dimpled smile and utters her good morning in her own language “aaeesh ba ba ba ba…”.

You are a God who answers prayer. Your answer was already lying within my arms as I wrestled the emotions within. Help me to forgive and to love the way You love me. Unconditionally. With patience, kindness, and perseverant endurance.

Today Lord, I chose to turn to you instead of wrapping myself in my present circumstances or lack thereof. Help me Lord to do so even as I am tempted to fall into old habits.

Thank You Lord for your many blessings. The cool breeze sweeping through the room, bringing comfort to my weary head. Thank you God for the divine gift of motherhood and the seemingly bottomless reservoir of strength you provided along with it. With the challenges of keeping charge of an active little gymnast, you have provided the grace and strength. With all I have been through and all that I am going through, I know that You are God.

Thank You for the promises in your Word: I choose to trust that You will work all things out for my good. Thank you for the plans you have for me to prosper me and not to harm me. Thank you that though I walk through the waters, you will not allow me to drown. Even amongst the blazing fires of suffering and trials, you will not allow me to burn.

Thank you for the gifts you deposited in me. I know the present trial is to push me to reach within myself and tap into dormant gifts and use them to shine for your Glory and to testify to your mercy, comfort and unending goodness. Free me of this fear-mindset that has held me back for far too long. I choose to walk in confidence and boldness of the calling you have set before me. Thank you that You are my strength in the areas of my weakness. Amen

Head faintly throbbing,
Eyes still tingling and heavy,
Ears ringing with squeals and baby babbles,
Stirrings of hope rising in this tired soul
Sunlight streams through the netted windows
Filling my world with a warm, comforting golden hue,
Reaching down into the reservoirs of strength,
I rise up to face the day

If troubles weigh us down, that just means that we will receive even more comfort to pass on to you for your deliverance! For the comfort pouring into us empowers us to bring comfort to you. And with this comfort upholding you, you can endure victoriously the same suffering that we experience. Now our hope for you is unshakable, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings you will also share in God’s comforting strength.
2 Corinthians 1:6‭-‬7 TPT

Teen dealing with life change: CML, Processing and 2nd Opinion

I just did not know how to process this abrupt halt to life as I knew it. I had worked so hard over the past 2 years for this IB Diploma, accepted by European and UK universities. I had handed in all my papers, research papers, clocked in my CAS 150hours outside of school time, finished two years worth of coursework. And I was supposed to stay home, play sick while I was supposed to prepare for final exams?

The only place I could go to was the Beijing Teaching hospital and I had to wear a mask to protect my fragile immune system. Thankfully I didn’t have long to mope about at home, bolting myself behind my bedroom doors so I can have the freedom to mope and regret this new life turn. To those at home, I tried to maintain my cheerful attitude but couldn’t help to snap out at being treated so vulnerably.

I tried my best to reach out to a few of my closest friends to share the real reason why they aren’t seeing me in classes. Also my friends in my previous school whom I am bonded with more closely had come to visit me in hospital to meet a brave and smiling face. I didn’t know when I was initiated into the world of dark humour as a phone call to a friend who had relocated to Hong Kong proved. I had tried to crack jokes and shine a positive light on things when her laughter suddenly turned to sobs. Oops…my jokes might have gone too far. 

My close friends started to see me as this strong warrior where inside I was falling apart. The world as I knew it had changed. I mean everything was exactly the same, but just the thought that my future was snatched away from me without a single heads up…..

At the age of 17, I could still rest in the safe comfort of my parents doing all the worrying and researching and finding out my available treatment options. It was through my experience, I realised how blessed I was. My dad found favour with his bosses who pulled strings to get me immediate medical attention worldwide. Even in those moments of silent tears, heart wrenching sobs and shouting into my pillow or wadded up towel “WHY GOD??? WHY ME??? WHY NOW?? WHAT DID I DO WRONG?? ARE YOU PUNISHING ME FOR BEING BAD???”

I listened to Christian songs, I clung unto with dear life to verses my parents shared with me to encourage me: 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

 

 That means, God did not give me CML to punish me, no matter go through, we shouldn’t see it as bad karma or universe hates us, or there is no God. God is good, and God is love. Many times, I would struggle with how if God is good, bad things can happen to a girl who tried her whole childhood to be on her best behaviour, loved God and wasn’t afraid to tell her friends about God and even risked social exclusion. I would cry and cry in my room, the only place I could honestly deal with my situation, and after each time, it was as if invisible arms cradled me close and soaked away all my tears and negative feelings weighing me down. I would feel comforted, and the truth of God’s word would be revealed to my mind, reach deep down into my soul. I was assured, over and over again throughout each consecutive year that anything that happens to us, God will work it out for our good in the end:

And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.

ROMANS 8:28 AMP

I listened to Lynda Randle’s song “God on the mountain” over and over, repeating those words with every shred of faith I had accumulated over the years of my childhood “For the God of the mountain is still God in the valley, when things go wrong, He’ll make them right. And the God of the good times is still God in the bad times, the God of the day is still God in the night.”
Insert YouTube clip

So many Christian songs ministered to me and I played certain tapes from my childhood Kid’s praise and Sunday School sing a long over and over again. There were countless times I felt no one understood, it felt like the end of my life as I knew it. More scientific research on the internet brought more hopelessness as the only cure to this CML (Chronic Myelogenous Leukaemia) was a bone marrow transplant, then again, one might not always survive it with a 50% chance of graft Vs host infection.

When my parents shared with me that my dad’s NGO had arranged a short term trip for the whole family to travel to Thailand for a second opinion, hope rose within me like a sleeping giant. Perhaps these Chinese doctors were wrong….perhaps what I have isn’t as terminal as CML. Even if I did have it, between my parents and two siblings, I should be able to get a genetically matched donor for bone marrow cure right? 

Five suitcases packed, we traveled to Bangkok, Thailand. After meeting a highly recommended doctor in my field, I went through another series of tests and confirmed the initial CML diagnosis. Each member of my family were also tested as potential donors. 

In between waiting for test results, we explored the city around us,and I took comfort in similar cuisine to my motherland of Malaysia, explored night markets and got some beautiful fabrics for wrap skirts. Watched movies back at our room, and tried to browse the net in the internet cafe next door. Parents insisting on a healthier diet, my initial protests aside, I settled in to enjoy their tropical fruit, fruit juices…their fruit selection so similar to my motherland of Malaysia:

The results back, but none of my parents and brothers were a close enough match to be a good donor for a bone marrow transplant. 

Rainy Season: A typical day

Dear Diary,

It is day 2 posting on WordPress since I opened this account. After 2 months of scouring the data bases of Google & YouTube, shadowing various bloggers & YouTube channels, desperately searching for any and all knowledge about how an average blog & YouTube channel operate, I finally summoned the courage to start the Dew Diary.

Been an avid Diary Keeper for most part of my latter teen years, I have to bashfully admit I only clocked in entries to record momentous life events, or attempt to empty out my deepest anguish, pains, regrets, on paper. There are times even the closest confidante can never understand what you are going through and seem to get peaked when their bubbly optimistic, always-smiling friend shows them their human, bitter side. So, as a service to humanity, one must attempt to bottle the more cynical feelings of disappointment / reality checks into words and transfer them via ink unto pages seen only by a future me.

Aha!!! This post meandered it’s way into the more melancholy side of yours truly, who sits here with pad in hand, cross legged on a yellow furred sofa, as rain drops fall steadily all around my cocoon. My market produce lay forgotten in bowls on the floor and side tables, my previously energetic intentions of storing away and cooking pounded into nothingness with each roar of thunder.

A sneak peak from the safety of my slightly ajar door shows this view:

A mere 4 hours prior, the warm golden sun rays shone through darkening grey edged fluffy clouds in the silver sky backdrop. I had just gotten breakfast and a packed lunch for my husband and seen him off as he left towards later half of the morning. Checked my wordpress for my first ever friend, who inspired & encouraged me to analyse the effects of the tropical climate on my mood and creativity.

Suddenly, been more aware of my surroundings, a lightbulb, a Eureka like experience, turned on in my soul, said good riddance to the meek onyinbo (white) insecure iyawo (wife in Yoruba, one of 3 main languages in Nigeria). I noticed my heightened, more bubbly energy this morning was further fueled by the golden interior light of our marital home, a peek outside the windows revealed brilliant sun rays shining down from a rain laden, grey-fluffy clouded sky.

Palm tree

Our touch of tropical paradise

My years of experience here a hurried reminder that the weather could turn on me any moment, my lack of fresh farm produce prompted me to start packing for a quick dash to the nearest market locale. An umbrella…check; recyclable shopping bags…check, a water bottle for my trek to the main road…check; money and house keys….check check! My fledgling blogger instincts had me dashing back to the house for my tablet…the only portable camera source I have. All my research, tips & hacks on starting a blog on a budget (make best use of what you have!) came flooding back to me!

For first time since I got married a few months ago, I did not want to hide my “white ” skin wrapped around my head and shoulders like a shawl, makeshift hijab. I didn’t want to draw any more undue attention to people from afar as I made my way through the dirt roads of this more rural part of town to the main road (mini express road leading to the next town in one direction and to the city center in the other direction). So I would endure stuffy heat, just for the covered protection and my mind would take comfort that I could sneak through the neighbourhood and market undetected until people caught a closer glimpse of my face.

I made my way carefully through the dirt roads, rain and mini streams eroded the paths further that it was uneven and any wrong step I may slip or lose my footing.
Now that I wasn’t rushing through the neighbourhood, with my head down, flying as fast as my feet could carry me, I admired the tropical foliage, make shift farms (of maize, Coco yam, different leafy greens) on undeveloped plots of land & the neighbour’s mini gardens surrounding their fences.

I will continue my adventures at the market in another post…stay tuned

On Becoming Mrs Dew

Dear Diary,

Today marks a milestone, an anniversary, a time to reflect and be grateful for one of the main blessings of my life

I found love at a point in my life where I was focused on anything but finding a man. I thought I was in a temporary location and was looking forward to starting my career after finally a bachelor’s degree in HR Management.

But found love I did, the kind I only read about in books: “love at first sight”…a tall dark handsome intelligent man with a heart melting smile sauntered into my life. He gently pushed through my defense barriers, asking for a chance to defy my assumptions and started on the journey in winning permanent access to my heart. 

Love, not just the feelings of attraction, tingly sensations, and wild romance. But the 1 Corinthians 13 kind, the Love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes for and believes in the best. Love that is tested, tried and found pure and willing to nurture, grow & develop.

We celebrated 4 months of married life yesterday. An adventure, a new phase of adventure with my lover and best friend. It has been one lesson of love after the other. Marriage is where dreams and expectations clash with reality. But we fight to make our dreams into reality. 

#blushing #bride #tbt #anniversary #gloriousday #bridalgown #bouquet #firstpost #blog #pearls #blogger #fblogger #wedding #DIY #Fashion #designer #handmade #embroidery #sewing #remake #gown #bridegroom #tuxedo #bellanaijaweddings