Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Month 1 Week 2: Growth spurts?

B is finally napping after what feels like an eternity!  He's been feeding almost every 2 hours or less since last evening.  Argh.  Our next weigh in is not till early Jan, but his 6 weeks photos reassure me that it's not just my hands getting tired from carrying him around, he IS getting chubbier!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Month 1 Week 1: My amazing new job

At work, we just launched our last campaign of the year "The Amazing Everyday." While I've missed the team and our hive of activity, everyday has also been amazing in my new job at home aka motherhood.  The past few weeks have been quite a blur but my live-in helper and (virtually live-in) parents have helped transform many potentially difficult and dreary days into simple yet amazing ones.

Mommy lessons:
  1. Happy mom = happy baby. Don't forget to take care of yourself! Nap whenever he does. Leave him with other helpful hands in between those marathon feeding sessions or let him cry just a tad longer so you can take a quick snack, shower or face scrub    
  2. The 5 S system. Forget the 6Ms and 4Ps from biz school, learn how to calm a crying baby by simulating the womb environment via Swaddling, lying on his Side (left) or Stomach, Shushing sounds, Swinging and Sucking 
  3. Breast is best BUT it comes with lots of blood, sweat and tears (plus round the clock nursing and pumping sessions)!  Don't let the "breastfeeding nazis" guilt you into thinking you're a bad mom if things go awry or you need the occasional relief bottle from being a lean mean milk machine
Baby milestones:
  1. Just when we thought we cracked his cries, he added baby talk sounds like the pre-poop "aaaah" whimper.  And speaking of poop, the oil-on-cottonbud-up-the-ass trick works to help get all that "curried yogurt" flowing ;P
  2. Who's your mommy? He distinguishes sounds and scents, tracks with his eyes, and (mostly!) calms down now when we bathe him or change diapers 
  3. Tummy time progress! He lifts his wee head and turns side to side on his own.  It tires him out though esp. as his head seems to have grown faster than the body (newborns develop top down). Over time, as he gains strength and practice, this should get easier ... and fun!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving (and my birthday present!) came early

Week 39 is here and guess what? It's baby's Day 1! B arrived at 6:15am, November 13 2011 on a glorious Sunday morning. Measuring 3.15 kg weight, 53 cm length and 36.5 cm head circumference (that's 7 lbs, 21 inches, 14 inches for you Americans!), he's a beautiful long limbed, big headed baby boy :).

It's our last night (of peace) at the hospital and I'm taking this opportunity to update this blog while hubby rocks our just-breastfed-now-drowsy babe to sleep.

What a past 48 hours it's been--

Saturday, Nov 12:
930a - Mucus plug passed. The bloody show is here! Spotting throughout the morning.
11a - At our regular CTG scan, doc says "labour is imminent"
3-6p - Contractions increase in frequency and intensity, going from 20 mins apart to regular 5-1-1 (5 mins apart, lasting just about 1 min for 1 hour)
630p - After holding out as long as we can at home, we check in at the hospital delivery suite
7p - CTG scan confirms cervix is fully effaced, 3cm dilated, regular contractions every 4 mins
730p - Doc is informed and advises no dinner for me, only one hot drink aka Milo (note to self: EAT before going in next time!) before running an enema
10p - After 7 hours of contractions, I wimped out and asked for an epidural (in hindsight, this was a blessing, as my active labour lasted for a loooooong time)
1030p - Epidural hooked up. Why didn't I take this sooner?!
1110p - Doc breaks my water bag and finds some meconium staining.
1115p - Syntocinin (oxytocin) drip prescribed to help the contractions along just in case the baby is in distress due to the meconium

Sunday, Nov 13:
12-4a - I slooowly progress to the transition phase. Numbness sets in below my hips. Pheew. Meanwhile, hubby checks up on the pending Michigan-Illinois college football game
430a - 9 cm dilated. Almost there, nurses adjust the epidural and oxytocin levels so that I can feel more in preparation to start pushing
530a - Push! Push! Push! Phase 2 delivery starts
610a - Head is visible. Doc comes in with forceps to help get his (big!) head through
615a - He's here. Tears. Cries. Shaking. WOW.

Mom got stitched up. Babe got sent to the ICU for a few hours observation. Hubby chats with the pediatrician. Everything since has been one amazing ride.

Thank you all for the love and support. Let the (REAL) journey begin!

PS Do check my Facebook account for photos as I've removed them from the blog to maintain privacy.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Week 38: Showtime?!

I've been reading others' birth stories lately and while each one is truly amazing, they're also unique - with signs/stages of labor happening anywhere from several weeks to several hours, some felt not at all, some all at once! 

So far, my pre/early labor symptoms seem rather staggered. While this prolongs the anxiety (and excitement!), it's also manageable and has bought precious time for me to get "ready." Just this week, I had a day of severe bladder pressure, diarrhea and constipation; a burst of restless energy for ~48 hours after, sharp abdominal cramps last night, and then this morning --- the much read-about bloody show!

Doc is back just in time evidently.  At our scheduled CTG scan today, she said labor is imminent but sent us out to observe any bleeding and of course, timing of contractions. After that, I snuck in a nice lunch with the hubby, cut my hair and removed my toenail polish (hah, yes important stuff!) before I couldn't take it anymore and headed home. So far the pain recurs every 5-10 mins, lasting 30-45 sec .... but don't feel anything like those Braxton Hicks contractions!  More like major period cramps? Argh.

Let's see how today goes... and wish us and our pumpkin luck!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Week 38: What a pain

I've been napping more frequently to shake off a recent cold.  Unfortunately, my occasional overnight swollen finger sensations morphed into carpal tunnel (tingling and numbness in my arms - hands, wrists and fingers).  This is mainly due to reverse gravity where the daytime fluid accumulation in the legs gets redistributed when I lie down.  At least my ankles and feet are swelling less since I stopped work!

How to alleviate these edema symptoms, be it overnight hand pains or daytime leg pains? Overall goal: Let blood and fluids flow as freely as possible!
  • Drink water early and often, 8-10 glasses a day to detox your system and minimize swelling.   Avoid caffeine, tobacco and excess salt 
  • Avoid long periods of standing or sitting. If you're on your feet a lot, wear comfy shoes (no heels), take breaks and have a seat. If you're on your butt a lot, take a 5 mins stroll every hour
  • Keep your legs elevated when sitting or lying down
  • Avoid tight elastic-top socks or stockings. Try support hose - full or knee-/thigh-highs that aren't tight on top 
  • Take frequent hand-stretching breaks - shake your hands and wrists out, squeeze a soft ball
  • Type gently with wrists straight and elbows higher than your hands
  • Try not to sleep on your hands. Use a pillow to prop up your arms, hang your hand over the side of the bed and shake it at night
  • If swelling persists for more than a day with no improvement overnight, let the doc know, explore braces or acupuncture

Week 38: The Man To Be

Some day the world will need a man of courage in a time of doubt,
And somewhere, as a little boy, that future hero plays about.
Within some humble home, no doubt, that instrument of greater things
Now climbs upon his father's knee or to his mother's garments clings.

And when shall come that call for him to render service that is fine,
He that shall do God's mission here may be your little boy or mine.
Long years of preparation mark the pathway for the splendid souls,
And generations live and die and seem no nearer to their goals,

And yet the purpose of it all, the fleeting pleasure and the woe,
The laughter and the grief of life that all who come to earth must know
May be to pave the way for one--one man to serve the Will Divine
And it is possible that he may be your little boy or mine.

Some day the world will need a man! I stand beside his cot at night
And wonder if I'm teaching him, as best I can, to know the right.
I am the father of a boy--his life is mine to make or mar--
And he no better can become than what my daily teachings are;

There will be need for someone great--I dare not falter from the line--
The man that is to serve the world may be that little boy of mine.
Perhaps your boy and mine may not ascend the lofty heights of fame;
The orders for their births are hid. We know not why to earth they came.

Yet in some little bed to-night the great man of to-morrow sleeps
And only He who sent him here, the secret of his purpose keeps.
As fathers then our care is this--to keep in mind the Great Design.
The man the world shall need some day may be your little boy or mine.
- Edgar A. Guest

Friday, November 4, 2011

Week 37: Stages of labor

Did our first cardiotocography (CTG) scan today which records/graphs the fetal heartbeat (cardio-, measured in BPM) and uterine contractions (-toco-, measuring the mom's abdominal wall tension in % pressure) during pregnancy via two transducers placed either externally or internally.

Based on today's 30 min scan, I'm still in pre-labor -  multiple short (<30sec), mild and irregular contractions with baby's heart fluctuating between 140-150 BPM.  Fetal activity remains frequent though the baby's growth is slowing a little (pheew!). These contractions should grow stronger and more rhythmic with increased cervical effacement (shortening and thinning of the cervix from 0-100%) and dilation (opening of the cervix from 0-10cm) in the next few days - see below. 

Doc is away this weekend but should (hopefully? better?!) be back when I enter the first stage of labor which begins with regular uterine contractions and is generally split in three phases: Latent/Early, Active, and Transitional. We'll check into the hospital when the contractions get to the active phase - regular 5-1-1 (5 mins apart lasting 1 min each over 1 hour) and my cervix widens to 3/4 cm.  This then widens to 8 cm (transitional phase) and finally 10 cm (second stage of labor) aka time to push and DELIVER!

Didn't manage to snag a picture of today's CTG - will try next week.  Meanwhile, here's an example of a similar early stage scan (minus the output row where I pressed a button to indicate any uterine activity):

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Week 37: Children Learn What They Live

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

-Dorothy Law Nolte

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 36: The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

Week 36: Gimme my coconut!

I was just wondering if I'll develop any more cravings in this last home stretch.  In the first trimester, it was tuna/sardines (and that one time near midnight where I HAD to have McD's Filet-O-Fish!).  This gave way in the second trimester to milkshakes - ideally fruit or if I felt indulgent, ice cream (esp. B&Js).  And now in my 9th month, it's coconuts! It basically started at a work meeting when our discussion moved from logistics to babies and how coconuts are great for pregnancy.  Since then, I've had this urge to drink coconut water every day and irony of ironies in tropical Singapore, fresh coconut juice is suddenly hard to find, even at the nearby hawkers center which has almost every single fruit  BUT young coconut!  Anybody with good suggestions on where to go?

ETA: Monday after I posted this, we found heaps of *very* young Thai coconuts at our nearby supermarket. Yaay!  Perhaps they all fell out early given the rain hence the mass supply.  Hmmm... any discounts for bulk purchases?

On other fronts, this was a really bittersweet week. First week easing into domestic-mom-life with our live-in helper and my last week in the office prior to maternity leave amidst an ongoing reorg. The "J" in me questions the lack of concrete plans while my "P" is excited about the future ahead.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Week 35: Countdown

Queen B happily showing her baby bump in her latest music video: Countdown!

My baby is a 10 
We dressing to the 9 
He pick me up with 8 
Make me feel so lucky 7 
He kiss me in his 6 
We be making love in 5 
Still the one I do this 4 
I'm trying to make us 3 
From that 2 
He still the 1

There's ups and downs in this love
Got a lot to learn in this love  
Through the good and the bad, still got love
Dedicated to the one I love, hey

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Week 34: Darn hormones

I tried to finish up our nursery with the necessary art and electronics. Just when I took everything out, I realised I was short of 2 D batteries for the crib mobile, 3 AA batteries for the baby monitor, and a new frame for the main wall painting.  Then I got upset at myself and everyone else who basically came in commenting "Why are you doing this yourself?  Do we really need xyz?" etc. 

Sigh. I totally blame today's mood swings on these pesky things called hormones:

Anyways, it's Sunday night, and time to relax before my last 2 weeks at work.  The nursery will just have to wait.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Week 33

  • First baby laundry.  Gosh, those booties and mitts are soo tiny!  Need more clothes pegs.
  • Hospital bag packed. Call it paranoia or intuition, I still expect to deliver early...
  • Helper's room cleared out (almost).  House will be clean again this Sat onwards. Yaay.
  • Confinement catering ordered.  Better stock up on other food before I go all home-cooked Chinese!
  • Baby's hyperactive just before it rains heavily at dawn.  Awesome little weather man.
  • Fluid retention, mainly in my hands. Last time I got carpal tunnel was years ago when I played the cello .... this time, my fingers are so swollen I can't even remove my ring.
  • IKEA left out 2 screws.  Gotta wait to enjoy that Poang armchair and set up nursery.
  • Major reorg at work.  Worried about my team while I'm gone.
  • Hot mama!  First time my body temp's higher than hubby's.  Thank God it's been relatively cool (and wet) lately.
  • Baby's hyperactivity while reassuring, wakes me at ungodly hours!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Week 32: Know your contractions

Contractions feel like a cramping or tightening sensation that starts in the lower back and moves around the front.  As these tend to be universal signs of labor, most first timers (like hubby and I) easily confuse Braxton Hicks with true labor contractions -- and get alarmed when these suddenly occur.  The main difference between them is the frequency, duration and severity of the contractions.

TRUE labor contractions continue no matter what you do. They come at regular intervals and get closer together, longer and more painful as time passes.  Hence the popularity of epidurals these days!

FALSE labor contractions are named after Braxton Hicks, the doc who discovered that some pregnant women actually felt contractions way before actual delivery. These are thought to be an aid to the body in its preparation for birth and tend to be unpredictable and uncomfortable. They can be managed by:
  1. Drinking up
  2. Breathing rhythmically
  3. Lying on your left side
  4. Changing positions or moving around
  5. Emptying that bladder - make that effort for the 1tsp of pee. Again.

Week 32: Chubby monkey

Little guy's on track to be a chubby one when he pops!  Based on last week's growth scan, doc predicts his EDD weight between 3.5-4 kg.  Yikes. We'll track his growth weekly and review any "actions" once I'm full term, i.e. epidural (if I had doubts before, this looks more likely now), early induction and/or assisted delivery. Why this growth spurt?  Since my own weight gain's on par (12 kg at that time), doc joked that I just have an efficient placenta. Heh :)

Meanwhile, better set up our nursery, pack that hospital bag and review those labor and contraction notes sooner than I planned!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Week 31

The work week was exhausting.  Saturday ended up being rather stressful.  This Sunday, I tried to regain some sanity by listing out what needs to be then when for the next few weeks before full term (week 37 onwards) and put this digital post-it on my laptop homescreen. If little guy decides to show up early, then it's HMG mode -- Help me, God!

Being pregnant IS a joy and a blessing.  I wouldn't change this no matter how overwhelmed or frustrated I've been lately.  I suspect the hubby might think differently though - he just read a book called "Pregnancy Sucks - For Men" ;)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Week 30: Hive of activity!

It's tough to sleep comfortably through the night, though baby and I are enjoying hubby's daily massage before bed. Work is also chugging along - with 7 weeks to go before my maternity leave, I'm inundated by stuff to settle and transition with my team and bosses. At least this weekend, we snuck in some pre-baby "us" time in between family dinners, baby shopping and more domestic helper interviews. 

Despite all the hectic-ness outside, the best is still what's developing inside. Month 7 check up went well, baby's in the right spot (head down, bump front).  His head won't engage till a few more weeks but doc predicts a normal delivery for us. We're scheduling a growth scan and Glucose Tolerance Test in 2 weeks - the latter at my prompting b/c the baby seems quite large, even though there's no major weight gain, diabetic history or symptoms on my end.

He always seems so shy, peaceful and angelic when we do our ultrasound scans.  However, when the little guy's awake - it's like he's practicing kungfu!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Week 29

Parents left for a few weeks and alas, hubby's eye injury took a turn for the worse so he's back on MC and stuck at home alone.  Spent the week juggling work, errands and babysitting my two guys - the hubby and little one.  With 8 weeks to go before my maternity leave, there's suddenly so much to sort out beforehand.  If this even hints at a full-time mom's life, I could definitely use help at home!

My weekend routine lately: Quiet time over breakfast, catch up on reading, et al. Saturday: Prenatal pilates class, our hospital antenatal course (today's topic is breastfeeding!) and family dinner.  Sunday: Church and if there's time (or energy left), interview potential domestic helpers and shop for baby stuff - next up: Baby proof furniture as most of our stuff will be moved to my parent's place nearby. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Week 28: Cramps and dreams

Tossing and turning, lower back aches, hyperactive baby in belly, sudden leg cramps ... and dreams!

Best dream to date: I was having a really short labour, our baby boy came out and started speaking to us.  Heh. This beats my giving-birth-to-aliens dream hands down. I also found some hillarious illustrations on expecting fathers' dreams -- see right :)

Meanwhile, some tips for those nasty leg cramps:
  • Avoid standing or sitting with your legs crossed for too long
  • Stretch calf muscles regularly - upon waking, daytime, before sleep
  • Rotate ankles, wiggle toes when you sit, eat, be a "couch potato"
  • Take a walk every day, unless you're on bed rest
  • Avoid getting too tired. Lie down on your left side to improve circulation to and from your legs. However, if baby feels cramped on the left (and kicks/punches you!), switch sides as needed
  • Stay hydrated during the day by drinking water regularly
  • Try a warm bath or massage before bed to relax your muscles

    Saturday, August 20, 2011

    Week 27: Old Wives Tales

    Evidently, they're right so far about me and the little one!  Then again, it's a 50/50 probability, eh?
    1. Linea Nigra (belly line pigmentation due to hormones):  Pubic to belly button only - Girl. Pubic all the way to lower rib - Boy.  Verdict:  Boy
    2. Carrying position (own body, baby's position):  High, sideways (weight around hip and bum) - Girl. Low, front - Boy.  Verdict: Boy
    3. Mom's skin: Soft - Girl. Dry - Boy.  Verdict: Boy
    4. Mom's hair: Thin/Dull - Girl.  Full/glossy - Boy.  Verdict: Boy (but my hair's always like this!)
    5. Food craving: Sweet - Girl. Sour/Salty/Proteins - Boy. Verdict: Boy (again though, that's my preference too)
    6. Early morning sickness:  Yes/Bad - Girl. No/OK - Boy. Verdict: Boy
    7. Feet vs pre-pregnancy:  Same - Girl.  Colder - Boy.  Verdict: Boy 
    8. Baby's heartrate (changes by baby's age and movement): Above 140 bpm - Girl.  Below 140 bpm - Boy. Verdict: N/A. (Between 120-160 bpm is good)
    9. Math: Time of conception + Number of month conceived: Odd - Girl. Even - Boy. Verdict: ?!
    10. Movement of (dangled) wedding ring over belly: Pendulum - Girl. Circles - Boy. Verdict: ?!

    Week 27: Down to the last trimester

    Yikes! Third trimester is here. Where has all the time gone?!

    We're making good progress towards relocating my parents here.  That said, some logistics can only be sorted out in order: Making room for our live-in helper, shifting some of our furniture to my parents' new place nearby and setting up the baby nursery. Maybe we'll do an IKEA run next week?

    I officially applied for maternity leave from work - 3 months off followed by a 3 day flexi-work week for 2 months.  One colleague gave me a new baby bottle steriliser once I start mixing breast and bottle feeding upon my return to work. Thank God for a supportive work-life environment, friends and family! 

    From now on, I should gain a pound or ~500g a week which puts my final estimated weight gain at 13-14 kg - on par for most Asian pregnancies.  I haven't done a glucose screening test yet (supposedly done between weeks 24-28) as my regular urine tests have been normal so far. Will check with the doc on that.

    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    Week 26: Checking the checklists

    The maternity checklists available these days give me a (temporary?) sense of sanity and progress about our baby/parent preparations, esp. with the pending 3rd trimester.  Time flies!  This week, I discovered a comprehensive pregnancy checklist from The Bump -- part of the same umbrella site we used for our wedding 6+ years ago, The Knot. Pretty cool.

    Notable checks for this week:
    1. Long term visit pass for parents - Application sent and under review.
    2. Accomodation for parents - Rental bid accepted. Letter of Intent received.
    3. Baby crib and mattress - Thanks, Kenny! 
    4. Newborn suits/hats/mits/booties/bibs/sleeping bags/blankets - Yay for friends, Mothercare and Kiddy Palace
    5. Upsized exercise tops, dresses and work pants - Sales at Vivocity, Novena and Marina Square :)
    6. Little one is ACTIVE.  Hmm... many sleepless nights and days ahead?
    Our hospital antenatal class just finished part 1 of physiotherapy with the highlight being the massage section. Hubby now knows how to give great back massages. No more excuses ;)  Also, I have somehow developed the biggest bump in my prenatal pilates class.  How did this happen?!

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Week 25: Rash :(

    Uck. So that itchy belly has transformed into a nasty body rash.... I seem to have an onset of PUPPP or AEP.  May need stronger anti-itch lotions soon!
    • PUPPP affects first pregnancies in the 3rd trimester, ~1% of women
    • AEP affects women with a prior history of topical excema
    • Starts out in the abdomen, i.e. close to where stretch marks would be
    • Doesn't involve the belly button
    • Spreads to thighs, butt, breasts, arms, necks, limb joints
    • Harmless to mom and babe - just ridiculously annoying!  
    • Most severe itching lasts < 1 week (please....)
    • Resolves 1 to 2 weeks after delivery (sob!)
    • Cause unknown.  Likely due to inflammation from damaged tissue from the expanding abdomen. One study suggests that male fetal DNA acts as a skin irritant (aiya, my baby boy!)
    • Treat with steroids - creams/ointments/oral
    • Antihistamines are not as effective but help with sleep
    • Avoid things that normally make you itch (e.g. no seafood)
    • Avoid hot showers and baths, rinse off well, towel off lightly
    • Apply mild soap, unscented moisturiser - preferably oatmeal based
    • Wear loose cotton clothing
    • Avoid going out when it's hot (er, that's like everyday in Singapore)

      Sunday, August 7, 2011

      Week 25: Where's my belly button?

      This week has been all about the belly :)

      My belly button popped! I've been feeling like the last (wo)man standing in our prenatal pilates class, so I now wear my tight tops with pride. It's also kinda nice to be able to "thoroughly" clean my belly button now after all these years...

      I can also start to tell when our little one is upright (aka in breech position). The skin's really taut above my belly button to make room for the head "lump" and that's when I have difficulty breathing and can't eat too much at one go - else, heartburn ensues. Learnt that lesson while having Thai for dinner!

      Due to the heat and expanding abdomen, my belly has started to itch like mad. Seeking solace in oatmeal lotions (Aveeno), keeping cool with the fan or AC, and taking antihistamines (chlorpheniramine) so I can sleep easier through the night.

      Last but not least, my belly appears to be public property. Everyone touches it! Which is OK so far for me unless they have really hot or clammy hands ;0

      Saturday, July 30, 2011

      Week 24: Back to basics

      The angmohs really love their medication to stay healthy:

      But when the going gets rough, the best medicine is still REST and ....

      Wednesday, July 27, 2011

      Week 24: Pregnancy insomnia?

      I don't need an alarm clock. Baby's moving regularly and I'm turning every 4-5 hours each night. Unfortunately when I'm up, it's tough to get back down, esp. when the hubby's snores seem louder than ever now and my mind is on overdrive. While some might say this is good practice for the sleepless months after birth, I say, noooo.... shouldn't I be getting as many zzzzs as I can NOW?

      So... in my quest to go back to sleep, here's my insomnia-induced blog post:

      1) Go to bed drowsy - bedtime snacks, warm showers, mindless reading/surfing
      2) Avoid caffeine/lots of water/exercise/too heavy or spicy meals in the evening
      3) No serious discussions before or in bed with the hubby (!)
      4) Jot down thoughts and to-dos (think wand and Pensieve)
      5) Relax, do Kegels or pray before sleeping
      6) Regulate your sleep and wake cycle
      7) Keep the bedroom cool and ambient - no bright lights, TV or laptop
      8) Get up if none of the above works and blog :)

      Friday, July 22, 2011

      Week 23: Just to make it today

      I woke up early one morning and rushed right into the day.
      I had so much to accomplish, I didn't take time to pray.
      Problems tumbled about me and heavier came each task.
      Why doesn’t God help, I wondered? He said, “You didn’t ask.”
      I wanted to see joy and gladness. But the day toiled grey and bleak.
      Why doesn’t God help, I asked? He said, “But you didn’t seek.”
      I wanted to come into God’s presence, I tried all my keys in the lock.
      God gently and lovingly chided, “My child, you didn’t knock.”
      I woke up early this morning, and paused before entering the day.
      I had so much to accomplish, I had to take time to pray.

      Monday, July 18, 2011

      Week 22: It ends here

      Caught Harry Potter's final movie installment - The Deathly Hallows (Part 2) - last night. I remember watching the first movie 10 years ago with the then-boyfriend-now-hubby. Just like the actors and actresses on screen, we've both grown up since, hopefully in many ways beyond just our age, and are approaching the end of our book series - the married-with-no-kids life :)

      Here's an amazing fact from my weekly pregnancy e-newsletter: If your baby were born prematurely this week, he would have between a 10 and 20 percent chance of survival (higher with intensive care). With each day that your baby stays in the womb, his survival rate increases 3 percent.

      Thursday, July 7, 2011

      Week 21: Maternity mocktails

      All work, no play and no alcohol makes for one helluva dry week! Argh. When the dust settles somewhat or 3rd trimester kicks in, I should get my momma friends over for a sparty (spa party) with some classic maternity mocktails and milkshakes!

      NYC Maternitini
      Mix it up: In a chilled cocktail shaker, mix 1 1/2 ounces of raspberry sorbet, 4 ounces of freshly squeezed orange juice, and a squeeze of lime. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with a lollipop or rock candy.

      Bouncing Baby Bellini
      Mix it up: Stir 2 ounces of chilled peach nectar with 2 ounces of nonalcoholic sparkling wine (or sparkling apple cider). Pour into a champagne glass and add a splash of grenadine. Garnish with sliced peaches.

      Pregnan-Sea Breeze
      Mix it up: In a shaker with ice, combine 3 ounces of cranberry juice with 3 ounces of pineapple juice. Strain the mixture into a tall glass. Finish with a splash of 7 UP and garnish with a sprig of mint and strawberries.

      Raspberry "Hot Flash" Cooler
      Mix it up: Wet the rim of a martini glass with a lime wedge, then dip the glass in sugar. In a shaker with ice, mix 1/2 ounce of crushed fresh or defrosted raspberries with 1/2 ounce of fresh lemon or lime juice, plus 1 ounce of pineapple juice. Shake the mixture, then pour into the glass, straining out the ice and crushed raspberries. Top with a splash of sparkling water and add a spear of raspberries.

      Next Generation Ginger Soda
      Mix it up: Peel a ginger root and cut into pieces. Marinate them in an 8-ounce glass of soda water for a few hours. Strain 1/2 to 3/4 of the ginger mixture into a tall glass with ice. Top it off with a splash of Sprite (or caffeine-free Coke, for color). Garnish with a slice of starfruit and a lime.

      Mama Mango Margarita
      Mix it up: First, make a simple syrup by heating 2 cups of sugar with 3 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Chill. Fill a blender or food processor with ice. Add a cup of fresh or defrosted mango. Add 3 ounces of the syrup and 1 1/2 ounces of freshly squeezed lemon (or lime) juice. After blending, add more syrup to sweeten, if necessary.

      Wednesday, July 6, 2011

      Week 20/21: Cute as a button

      Little one was rather shy during his first 3D ultrasound scan but we managed to get this almost-full view in. Thank God all is progressing well - placenta, amniotic fluid and cord vessels; baby's head, nervous system, chest, abdomen, limbs... and yup, he's definitely still a boy! Gestational age is around week 20 and 21 so EDD remains sometime between mid to late November.

      Here's the first "snapshot" of our Thanksgiving bundle of joy :)

      Monday, July 4, 2011

      Week 20

      It's been pretty much routine sleep-eat-work-eat-sleep. The highlight (or rather, lowlight) being a nasty bout of allergies - mainly a runny/blocked nose - since Thursday night. Called the doc on Saturday morning for some pregnancy-safe antihistamines. She suggested chlorpheniramine which cost peanuts from the nearby pharmacy AND worked beautifully, except that it knocked me out pretty good! As hubby had also just completed his Lasik operation, we both ended up recovering at home and eating home-made chicken soup most of the weekend. On the plus side, after a string of busy days, we both got some R&R and felt the baby kick several times! On Sat afternoon, we also went for part 1 of our church's Christian parenting course though honestly, I was so groggy from the meds I barely remember most of it. Thankfully, hubby took copious notes :)

      Oh yes. Happy Independence Day, America!

      Saturday, June 25, 2011

      Week 19: The other baby

      Little one was eclipsed by the announcement of my other expectant baby-at-work this week (see below!). Lots of back and forth between campaign research tests and follow up, global and regional management meetings and a tight conference schedule of demos, interviews, events and post-launch tracking...  Despite all that, it was great to spend a few moments each night just reconnecting with our baby boy, and feeling his tiny movements inside.

      Saturday, June 18, 2011

      Week 18

      Happy Fathers' Day weekend!  Hubby has been thinking more about his pending fatherhood. Pray that the start of our parenting journey together will be filled with joyful (and not too anxious!) preparation... 

      Second trimester blood test results came back normal for the baby - hooray! I was diagnosed with Group B strep early on during the placenta tear scare so will follow up with the doc at our next checkup on this. I've finished the course of oral antibiotics so far, though we've also talked about another round via IV during labor.  Meanwhile, work has been keeping me busy and the rains (and nearby floods!) have kept me indoors, so prenatal pilates is proving to be my only regular exercise these days.  Rather enjoying the "support group" so far.

      Food of the week: Tie between apple pork ribs soup and beef brisket claypot - served home-style at Manhill Restaurant in the company of good friends.

      Sunday, June 12, 2011

      Week 17b: Enlightened confinement

      Mom sent me a good article about new confinement practices among the Chinese.  Pheew. Modern moms are enlightened! Excerpts below.
      In medical terms, the confinement period is known as puerperium, the period of adjustment after childbirth during which the mother’s reproductive system returns to its normal pre-pregnancy state. It generally lasts six to eight weeks and ends with the first ovulation and the return of normal menstruation.

      With increased information and awareness about health, nutrition and breastfeeding, current confinement trends have certainly become more progressive. For one, a mum who breastfeeds knows the need to consume a variety of foods that provides adequate nutrients, and avoid or limit substances like alcohol and caffeine.  Modern lifestyles and working mothers also mean convenience is key in shaping trends.  Modern confinement practices emphasise rest, a balanced, nutritious diet and good hygiene.

      Many traditional habits are no longer blindly followed [as] mothers are more educated and will ask the logic behind each practice. For instance, 20 years ago, mothers were encouraged to eat one whole chicken a day to regain their strength.  No fish or vegetables were allowed, [curtains were] drawn at all times to avoid any draft, mothers were prevented from watching TV or reading lest their eyesight weakens later in life.  A woman should also refrain from taking a bath for the first 30 days after childbirth.
      Women these days are not so old-fashioned and can accept new trends.  Now, after 12 to 14 days when lochia discharge stops, mothers can [take a shower/bath/hair wash]. In addition, mothers need to be relaxed, comfortable, consume enough nutrients to breastfeed successfully and also prevent post-natal depression. [Given] our weather, air-conditioning and fans are necessary as long as the air flow is not aimed directly at the mother. Mothers are also watching TV, surfing the Internet and reading during confinement.
      In the first two weeks of confinement, a mother should take foods that are mildly nutritive while in the last two weeks, stronger herbs to revitalise the body. [Avoid vegetables] that are ‘cooling’ or cause ‘wind’ in the stomach [and go for greens] like kai lan (kale) and French beans ... fried with ginger and sometimes minced meat. However, the basic practice of consuming ginger, sesame oil, red dates drink and herbal soups remains.

      Saturday, June 11, 2011

      Week 17a

      Hubby's been complaining of the heat so this week's soup is especially for him:  绿豆汤 - green bean / mung bean soup, served chilled.  Since our babymoon, I've also decided to swim more (when it stops raining, that is) now that our condo pool is finally "fixed." I do feel quite self-conscious about my body lately though - definitely look forward to start my prenatal pilates class on Monday!

      Meanwhile, received a confirmation email for our childbirth education classes in August (starting week 24 onwards).  The Parentcraft Centre also included details on confinement nannies trained by the hospital plus home delivery/catering options.  Gotta admit the sample menu (see below) looks terribly UN-appetizing even if it's 100% nutritious for recovering moms.  Maybe I can convince folks to join me on those liver/kidney/ginger days - misery loves company, right? =8

      Wednesday, June 8, 2011

      Week 16b: Quickening!

      Back from our anniversary/babymoon - local food, fun at the beach, frequent naps in the shade, and wonderfully attentive hotel staff, esp. when they found out I was pregnant. Highlight of the trip was feeling our baby flutter while lazing by the pool! It's like tiny bubbles, butterflies or those spa fish in your tummy :D

      Monthly baby checkup before we return to work tomorrow: Still a boy, spine and organs developing well, fetal measurements and both our weight gains on track. Also caught baby upside down for the first time on ultrasound -- guess he's been living it up too inside mommy this past week!

      Thursday, June 2, 2011

      Week 16a

      We're off to Langkawi to celebrate our 6th anniversary and expose our little one to Malaysia, truly Asia :)

      Can't wait to reap the rewards of our first baby-related shopping last weekend - comfy tops and dresses, plus storage bins for the wardrobe I can't fit in anymore which will help clear space for all the new baby stuff to come. Here's my WIP first-time checklist, culled from various sources ( Mothercare,, etc.). Any recs on where to buy or borrow, do let me know!
      1. Infant car seat (best models recline when detached, allow the baby to rock or bounce)
      2. Wearable soft carrier (sling designs make nursing easier - kampung style!)
      3. Crib light
      4. Cot, mattress and bedding (IKEA?)
      5. Changing mat
      6. Extra pull out bed (for storage, convertable into a kids bed - IKEA)
      7. Baby sleeping bag or blanket
      8. Baby swing
      9. Diapers, diaper disposal method and diaper ointment (loads and loads of nappies!)
      10. Baby bathtub and tub seat
      11. Baby toiletries (hooded towels, baby shampoos, infant nail clippers, soft hairbrush) 
      12. First baby clothes
      13. First baby toys and toy bar
      14. Baby listening monitor
      15. Feeding equipment (bottles - Nuk?, steamer)
      16. Stroller (for later - McLaren)
      17. High chair (for later - IKEA)

      Saturday, May 28, 2011

      Week 15b

      Back from Sydney - brrr, it's colder than I thought! We braved the rain to walk down Market St, eat at Darling Harbour and catch a ferry ride to Manly. I'm also starting to show but not enough to benefit from "royal treatment" :( While friends now guess I'm pregnant, incl. a few colleagues, most ang mos still find me Asian thin and my flight co-passengers were clueless when I couldn't lift up my carry-on suitcase. Hmmph. That said, thank you, SIA Singapore Girls.

      Look forward to our anniversary retreat next weekend. Also really miss the parents, thought of swinging by home to visit for a few days but our schedule seems too tight. Counting down the days when they return in a few months.

      Back to my weekly home soup routine. Now cooking: 红豆汤 - Red bean soup.

      Friday, May 20, 2011

      Week 15a

      This week just flew by. Work, dinner with parents, rinse, repeat. Turned down an exec ed director training course in China/USA because the dates are too late in the pregnancy. No luck taking leave this week with all the developments at work though I managed to bring parents to a mid-week evening show of Shakespeare in the Park - Macbeth. Kudos to the Singapore Repertory Theatre cast ... and dad for staying awake the whole time! ;) Flying out to Australia next week. Hope all goes well!

      Soup of the week: 花生汤 - Skinless peanut soup. Family favourite though hubby can't drink it without 油条 - crispy fried (and oily) "breadsticks"!

      Saturday, May 14, 2011

      Week 14

      Brought the whole family here to see the Lion King musical last night -- the kids running around made me rather wistful, on top of mom's last week coming up. Also still recovering from a cold which I caught from work, hope to kick it completely over the weekend. On a lighter note, trying to cook/eat at least one homemade soup every week of the pregnancy through confinement.

      Up next:
      黑豆汤 - Black bean pork ribs soup with red dates. Excellent source of protein+fiber+iron+antioxidants. Mom insists I MUST add soya sauce, not just salt -- to do grandma's recipe justice. I think it's the aging taste buds. Heh.

      Monday, May 9, 2011

      Week 13

      Nuchal scan at this week's regular ultrasound check came out normal, far below 2.5mm, so we opted not to pursue further tests. Also spotted a little stub between the legs -- looks like we could have a boy! Signed up for the hospital's antenatal package till delivery as well as prenatal pilates classes. Doc also cleared me for travel - so we're going ahead with my work trip and our anniversary plans.

      Mom's been with us for over a week now. Homecooked dinners after work = Yum!

      Friday, April 29, 2011

      Week 12

      Midweek lunch chat proved TMI as colleagues shared about friends whose baby fetal hearts stopped beating past the first trimester. Seriously people, there are some things pregnant moms don't want to hear about -- unless necessary.

      Later that week, turned down one job offer but got offered another with less travel/ operational biz and more team management/coaching. Thoughts are scattered. In quiet moments, remind self to think positive, enjoy the present, look forward to the future and trust God to take care of everything in between.

      Thursday, April 21, 2011

      Week 11

      Worst of the nausea has subsided despite the exhausting work week. Need regular meals and frequent snacks else I'll wake up hungry esp. at ungodly hours, get queasy or dizzy. Sugar cravings kicking in: Yogurt. Beans. Ice Cream! Feel like a cookie monster.

      Immensely relieved it's the long Easter weekend and parents visiting next Friday. Also, hosting a friend's farewell BBQ which could turn into an outdoors board games night this Saturday. Fun.

      Saturday, April 16, 2011

      Week 10

      Best ultrasound so far: Fetus almost tripled in size. Saw tiny wriggling arms and leg stubs. Heartbeat galloping away. No visible spotting or tear left in placenta. Life is awesome. God and creation are awesome.

      Busy work week ahead. Slept all weekend to stock up energy reserves.

      Sunday, April 10, 2011

      Week 9

      Raging hormones, lost appetite, dry heaving, fatigue - esp. in the evening. When will this end? Newfound RESPECT for all pregnant + working moms. Pissed at folks telling me I'm not eating enough. I'm trying, dammit!

      Tuesday, April 5, 2011

      Week 8

      Embryo crown-rump length (CRL) 1cm, heartbeat 170 BPM, estimated due date (EDD) in November. Our "cashew" lives. Tear is healing. Thank God despite nausea that's almost all day and night.

      Tuesday, March 29, 2011

      Week 7

      Bright red bleeding after a long Monday at work and late dinner. Doc confirmed placenta tear, 1 week bed rest, no work, no activities. Got a progesterone jab and twice daily doses of Duphaston. Home alone with my thoughts and the internet. Nausea, back aches and pelvic cramps starting. Horrid week.

      Thursday, March 17, 2011

      Week 6

      First ultrasound confirms a tiny gestational sac in the right place. Dream about giving birth to aliens. Note to self: No more scifi before bedtime.

      Start folic acid supplements and mommy diet adjustments (aka no alcohol, no sushi or raw meat, no soft cheese. More calcium, iron and folate rich foods, Vitamins A and E, potassium):

      Sweet potatoes
      Cooked greens (such as kale, collards, turnip greens, and beet greens)
      Winter squash
      Tomatoes and tomato sauces
      Red sweet pepper

      Fortified ready-to-eat cereals
      Fortified cooked cereals
      Wheat germ
      Red, unrefined rice

      Cooked dry beans and peas (such as pinto beans, soybeans, white beans, lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas)
      Nuts and seeds (such as sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, and peanut butter)
      Lean beef, lamb, and pork
      Shrimp, clams, oysters, and crab
      Halibut, cod, rainbow trout, herring, sardines, rockfish, and yellowfin tuna

      Honeydew melon
      Prunes or prune juice
      Oranges and orange juice
      Red or pink grapefruit

      Tuesday, March 15, 2011

      Week 5b

      Early Saturday morning. Hubby mumbles in his sleep "did you take the test yet?" I do (again) and much rejoicing ensues. Called mom to wish her a very happy early birthday gift. By coincidence, we ended up visiting the very hospital where we'd like to deliver in for hubby's Lasik assessment appointment later that day. Joined their maternity tour to check things out while waiting (forever!) for him. Liked what I saw. All the women on the tour had clearly pregnant bellies and were giving "skinny" me funny looks. Haha.

      Took a second pregnancy test a few days later. Silly but reassuring to see the positive result :)

      Tuesday, March 8, 2011

      Week 5a

      Breasts tender. Randomly cry over P!nk's Fucking Perfect to world news on TV. Slight queasiness but brush it off as after effects from that crazy Cylon coaster ride last weekend. Getting suspicious but make myself wait till the weekend before testing again to manage disappointment.

      Wednesday, March 2, 2011

      Week 4

      Missed period. Alas, pregnancy test is negative. Sigh. Another month gone. At least there's the hubby's theme park birthday to look forward to this weekend.