2020 is a special year - and at Hegen, we want to start it on the right note by acknowledging the people on whom our business is built: mothers. Every month this year, we will feature a mum whose whose story we will share in the hopes that their diverse stories of birth, breastfeeding and parenting will inspire your own motherhood journey.
To kickstart the series, we present to you a very dear member of the Hegen family – our very own Admin & Quality Executive, Cheryll Arayon – as our January Mummy of the Month!
Here is Cheryll’s story...
The Miracle Baby
I was told by my gynaecologist that my baby’s umbilical cord was wrapped thrice around his neck and if I had gotten to the hospital any later, he might not have made it. So I would say that my baby is truly a miracle baby.
I am Cheryll and my baby’s name is Gilby. He was born on 3rd July, 2018 and is now a super active, energetic and healthy 18-month-old baby!
That Fateful Night
I visited my gynaecologist in late June 2018 and was told my due date would be anytime from 2nd July to the 3rd week of that month. True enough, 2nd July came around and I started feeling cramps in my tummy. I didn’t think much of those initially until I experienced a bloody discharge. That was when I started to panic and felt like “I’m going to give birth anytime soon!” I called my gynae but she advised me to stay at home and just observe further. The cramps got worse, the pain became unbearable and that very night I had to ask my family to bring me to the hospital.
I almost gave birth inside the car on the way there! But I kept on praying and telling myself that I would make it to the hospital in time to deliver. The moment I stepped into the emergency room, my water bag burst and I shouted for help as it felt like my baby was coming out that very moment! The nurses assisted me and checked on my dilation status and I overheard them saying that they could see my baby’s head. Everybody in the emergency room panicked and quickly rushed me to the delivery room.
The last thing I remembered was my gynae asking me to “push” and soon after, emotions took over as I heard my baby’s first cry. We stayed in the hospital for a week because Gilby had to be in the NICU. They needed to administer antibiotics as he had ingested meconium in the womb.
The Gift of Breastfeeding
I started breastfeeding Gilby since birth because nothing beats a mother’s milk for her own baby. It is full of antibodies that can help to protect the baby from any infection. On top of that, you get to save money and time and can give the baby a healthy start in life.
The physical contact between myself and Gilby during nursing helps with mother-child bonding and also gives the baby a sense of comfort and security. Unfortunately, my breastfeeding journey lasted for only two months as I had to leave him behind to pursue work in Singapore and could not continue this treasured experience.
The Struggles of a Mum Working Overseas
It was a very tough and difficult decision – one that I struggled with for a long time. I first made the decision to continue working in Singapore when I was on leave preparing for Gilby’s delivery. I knew that would have allowed me to give him a better future. But when I gave birth to him and saw him for the first time, I had second thoughts and really wanted to stay behind to care for him. It took me another two months before I mustered up enough courage to pursue my dream and ambition of providing him a better future.
Leaving Gilby behind and being away from home is one of the toughest decisions I have made in my life. It breaks my heart every time I see a mother and baby together as it would remind me of Gilby. Every day is a struggle being apart from him but I would tell myself to be strong and fight my emotions to make my dreams a reality through hard work. I always make it a point to video-call my family every day so that I can see Gilby and talk to him. Many times, my family would get annoyed with me because I tell them the same things almost every day: make sure to feed Gilby his milk on time, give him his vitamins, change his diapers, visit his paediatrician, among many other things.
I only see Gilby twice to thrice a year now when I get the chance to fly back home over a long weekend or during public holidays. There are days when I wished I had stayed and breastfed him longer as now that I am away, my milk supply has also stopped and I can’t breastfeed him even when I am with him. Each time when I have to return to Singapore, I remind myself that I am doing this to give my family and especially him, a better future.
The Difference Hegen Makes
Hegen has played a big role in my life and Gilby’s. It was the very first baby feeding brand that I introduced to my little one. I tried other feeding bottle brands but only the Hegen ones worked for us. Gilby has always had difficulties latching onto any teat with the exception of Hegen’s. So I stopped using other brands even though I only owned two bottles! I would have to quickly wash them every time he finished drinking his milk so that they can be reused.
Hopes for the New Year
My wish for 2020 is a simple one. I would like to have more time to bond with my family – especially Gilby of course! And I hope that this year is filled with happiness, success and good health for everyone!