A few weeks ago we spoke to an exceptional new mum, the courageous Tong. Baby Grayson was a considerable surprise for Tong, who had to face the unknown of a first pregnancy, birth, and new baby with her family thousands of miles away.
Handsome baby Grayson was born on the 6th of July, 2021. Tong is still adjusting to motherhood and in a bit of shock. She was still brave enough to be candid about her experience so far as a new Mumma. We are sure many new parents out there will relate to this M&B. story.
What was it like when you first discovered you were pregnant?
It was a shock as I was on the contraceptive pill. My husband and I had not planned to begin a family yet. So the only word to describe my feelings is shock. But, it's also something you have nine months to prepare for, so we had time to move from an apartment into a house and make sure we had everything we needed.
What were your biggest fears during the pregnancy?
My parents were my biggest fear. They are really traditional, and it took me three months to finally let my dad know about the pregnancy. It was my husband who let the ‘cat out of the bag’. I just wasn't courageous enough! It's funny how we carry around these feelings from when we were younger, but it
Did you keep the gender a surprise? Why?
No, we really wanted to find out if it was a girl. We thought knowing the gender would help prepare us for our shopping spree. Think of all the pink girly stuff, tutu skirts, and headbands! In the end, we got a boy! (haha)
What were the strangest things you experienced during your pregnancy?
Baby hiccups are a thing! It was a weird feeling when I felt them in my belly for the first time, but I did enjoy it - like bubbles popping. Cute!
Was there anything completely unexpected that happened during your pregnancy?
Not really, except I didn't have any food cravings at all. It was quite saddening because my husband had no chance to "service" me. He lucked out.
Did you have a home birth, natural birth, or cesarian? Was that planned/expected, and can you explain what that experience was like?
I had an elective cesarean. I was aiming for a natural birth from the very beginning of my pregnancy, but the baby was just too big. My OBGYN persuaded me to opt for the cesarean.
I found the cesarian to be a pretty traumatic experience. I had to have 17 local anesthetic jabs into my spine before I was numb enough to get the spinal jab. The bruises I got from those jabs were massive!
Who did you have there with you at the hospital?
My very supportive husband, Gareth.
Can you explain how that first moment with your newborn felt?
Surreal. I always had this image of myself crying when I saw my baby for the first time, but it didn't happen that way. I think I cried too much when I was poked with those needles, and I had no more tears left for the baby!
How long did you stay in the hospital, and why did you stay? (if applicable)
I stayed five nights, and it was all arranged and decided by the hospital.
What's it been like trying to create a feeding and sleeping routine?
Grayson has no feeding and sleeping routine as yet. He is very unpredictable right now. We are just trying to survive at the moment!
I know it's going to be hell when we implement sleep training. I am not looking forward to that at all.
Did you have family come and stay with you in those early weeks? If yes, what's that been like?
No, I wish I could have. My family are all back in my home country.
How soon did you feel up to having visitors, and were people pushing for that before you were ready?
I was ready about a week after we settled back home with Grayson, and everyone was nice enough not to push to see us earlier.
What unexpected things have you learnt about your little one already?
At 8 weeks old, Grayson can cry for hours and hours at the top of his little lungs! He is also a milk machine - constantly hungry! Having a baby is harder work than expected, but he's brought so much joy and love into our lives. He's very talkative, loves visitors (especially female visitors).
What strange advice were you given about pregnancy and motherhood—especially if it turned out to be true!?
I was told by some people that I should go to bed on time when pregnant. Otherwise, I will have a baby that doesn't sleep.
Oh dear, I wish I had listened - I am suffering the consequences now!
Knowing what you now know about motherhood, what would you tell your pre-baby self?
Enjoy doing what you love to the fullest. Never take your freedom for granted!
What advice would you give anyone who is planning or expecting their first child?
Think carefully, think twice, think thrice. It's not easy, I am still learning and not enjoying most of the time, but hopefully, one day, I will.
Which M&B. Nappy Bag did you choose? And why?
It was such a tough decision! In the end I went with Chloe - Caramel as I loved the colour and style. It's kind of more like a low, wide shape that I could easily organise things standing up inside.
Even though they're miles apart, Tong has been video-chatting with her mum twice a week for support. Her husband, Gareth, has taken the rest of this year off as leave to be at home with Tong and Grayson. Tong expresses milk and is breastfeeding twice a day. Gareth manages the other feedings with a bottle. They've also expressed that they didn't realise how much hard work having a baby is, and that they're even considering having a second child. What a team!