Tuesday, 22 November 2005

Week 29 - Getting all geared up



This week, we decided to take stock of all that we have ready for the baby and also my emergency bag to the hospital. We've been really lucky as my sister, aunties and friends have been giving us some items to start us off:

1. Baby crib - loan from friend
2. Bath tub - from Sis
3. Pram (upcoming Christmas present from Sis)
4. Three bouncers - have not seen any of them yet to choose
5. Almost 120 cloth diapers (hand-me-downs from Sis, friend and auntie)
6. A mini wardrobe for the newborn (hand-me-downs from his cousins)
7. Bottles and bottle warmer from Sis
8. Pillow and bolsters to be sewn by Grandma

Don't we look all set for his arrival already?? I had a good time looking through the old baby clothes - they are very sweet looking coz they are so cute, tiny and soft. After we ran through this inventory, we went out shopping for some stuff to supplement these:

1. 3 new suits - blue, white and yellow with some fav cartoon characters i.e. Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse.
2. Bath towels and hankies
3. Grooming products for this could-be metrosexual
4. Nappy liners
5. Rubber sheet
6. Rubber pants
7. Cotton for cleaning

I wanted to get more clothes and also some soft toys but Hubby reined this shopaholic back to earth to hold on till later. We also got some stuff for my hospital bag (not so fun stuff so not worth mentioning here!).

Now that we've got some things started, I'm a bit more relieved now esp since walking too much is a problem that we may not have the energy to look for them later.

Next week, we'll be bucking down to practising breathing exercises and coaching strategies for the labor room. A friend lent us a book on Lamaze so I'm all set for being armed and ready for the big day!

BABY NOTES: Your baby is now about 10.4 inches from crown to rump, or a total length of about 16.7 inches from head to toe, and weighs about 2.7 pounds. He or she continues to be active and grow; however, you may be feeling fewer kicks and punches. This is because even though your baby is getting larger and stronger, he or she also has less space in which to gain momentum for these movements.

Your baby's brain is developing billions of neurons (important for later learning) at an amazing rate no wonder her head is getting bigger now! To meet his nutritional demands which peak this trimester you'll need plenty of protein, vitamin C, folic acid, and iron.

His bones, in particular, are soaking up lots of calcium now, so drink your milk (or find another good source of calcium, like cheese or enriched orange juice). And get enough fiber in your diet to help prevent constipation, which can lead to hemorrhoids, a common occurrence in late pregnancy.

Wednesday, 16 November 2005

Week 28 - Welcome to the Third Trimester!


Welcome to the 3rd trimester

It's hard to believe that I'm now in the 28th week of pregnancy - time has really flown by and we've got to prepare for labor and delivery soon. I'm in a half-and-half situation now where I'm sorry that it has been so fast but also excited that we're going to see the baby soon.

It's weird but I actually miss the early days of seeing the little "bean" grow through the ultrasound scan, to the surprise of seeing a baby form later and also the first little flutters and sensations. At the same time with the delivery date crouching nearer and nearer, the fears and worries of D-day are beginning to take on very realistic forms too.

Firstly, I am very surprised by the change from the 2nd trimester to the 3rd as I can literally feel my energy levels dropping gradually, the weight of the baby increasing and the accompanying strain on my ankles and spine.

I'm really glad we got all the house stuff out of the way before all these changes took place. Initially, I could cope with standing to prepare and cook a meal but now I've got to do them sitting down, which is good anyway since I read that standing for long periods may trigger a premature delivery.

The fun part though is that the baby is now actively rockin' and rollin' in my stomach - his punches and kicks are more energetic and forceful now and a new sensation is his rolling around inside.

It's really weird and I felt the urge to hold my stomach when he did that initially as it's quite a big movement sort of like a cement mixer turning around! And he doesn't seem to mind Papa's hand anymore coz he still goes on with his kicking and punching business regardless of whose hand it is or he's finally buddied up to him.

Another cute (though initially scary) development is that sometimes his position ends up with his hand or leg appearing as a little bump on my stomach. When that happened initially, I was surprised to feel a bump and rubbed it gently, asking him if it's his little hand or leg. I was quite glad when he shifted again and the bump disappeared coz I felt that he was stuck in some ways. Phew!

I asked Dr about it and he assured me that it was alright. Good news is that he's now in the cephalic position (head down) though it'll be another 6 weeks before he settles down in his final position. I keep telling him to be a good boy and to swim down and not up ---- I hope he can understand half the nonsense his Mum tells him.

Another piece of good news is that Dr will be on call during the Chinese New Year week! This is a major relief off my shoulders as I couldn't bear the thought of being delivered by a totally different and strange doctor after seeing this kindly, familiar one for months.
Of course Dr Ng himself was quite sad about this as he planned to go away with his family but he was quite smiley when he told me about it and probably got frightened when I exploded on him.
I felt so bad about being happy that we plan to give him a nice little homey Christmas hamper as a sign of thanks and appreciation. Hopefully, my good-intentioned baking plans will turn out decent...

BABY NOTES: Your third trimester is starting, which means both you and your baby are in the homestretch! With his eyesight maturing, your baby can actually see light through the womb and will even turn toward a light now. You may start experiencing more uncomfortable symptoms, like restless legs that make it hard to sleep at night. Soon you'll see why it's all worth it, though! And if you haven't already, it's time to nail down your maternity leave plans.

Your baby weighs approximately 2.4 pounds and is about 10 inches from crown to rump, or a little under 16 inches from head to toe. He or she has been gaining weight steadily during the past 27 weeks as its stem cells develop into organs, blood and immune systems, and bones. From this point forward, your baby's weight gain will be due to increasing amounts of body fat. A quick way to predict your baby's birth weight is to average your husband's and your birth weights.


Tuesday, 8 November 2005

Week 25 - Going swimming

This week, our mission was to search for a great, big swimsuit that I would be comfortable and "alright" in (translation: not looking like an elephant/rhino/circus bear).

Since maternity wear nowadays are pretty decent, we thought buying a swimsuit would be quite easy...ha, ha, ha, what a big laugh!

The usual route of maternitywear shops turned out the usual pouchy pants, maternity blouses, dresses and low-heeled shoes and sandals. We headed back to the swimwear department and checked out the XL and XXL sized swimsuits.

I find it very ironic and painful that there are many designers out there (in Malaysia at least) who think that just because women are oversized at certain periods of their lives (for whatever reason), they would choose outfits that are brighter than Ronald McDonald's uniform and patterned with huge flowers/polka dots/stars or other equally ridiculous motifs.

Hello - just because our waists left us, it doesn't mean that our taste did too!

I was very frustrated that the slimming ones i.e. vertical lines, small prints, dark colors, one color were all only available in S, M or L sizes. So, slim people need more help to look slimmer?

Seriously, it seems like the XL and XXL ones were designed to make the person seem bigger! Or are they using reverse psychology to motivate the wearer to downsize? [GRRR...]

Thankfully, I found one that was OK and moved on with life. With the rain pouring down almost everyday, we kept our fingers crossed that Sunday would be the perfect day to go on my maiden swim. And it was!

I made sure to have a light snack an hour before and also did my warm-up stretches dutifully and we were off. Of course, we had to psych the baby up for this too and so told him,

"Baby, we're going swimming today, ok?" Duh...how obvious can you get, right? ;-) If our son shows up with a limited vocabulary, you know who's to blame.

The pool was welcomingly empty except for 2 little girls testing out their negotiation skills on their swimming instructors. After dumping my bag in the changing room, Hubby helped me to slowly lower myself into the pool (only 4 ft deep) and gain my footing.

Ooh, the water and buoyancy felt good!

Kicking off, I took my first stroke and almost drowned!!! I thought I could start swim again as usual but it turns out that 6 months of not exericising and having an extra package in your belly changes your body structure drastically. My obstacles were a) weak legs and b) the absence of stomach muscles and neck strain when coming up for air.

Plan B: I grabbed the kickboard and gently kicked my way across a small section. As breaststroke kicks didn't work, I resorted to freestyle kicks which were easier. Gently does it and I managed to finish 1 lap. I took a break and relaxed in the water.

I followed this interval and managed 4 laps then Hubby decided that was good enough for the first day. I thought that we'd only been there for 30 mins but we were actually there for a good hour.

The swim was great as I felt energized and jubilant for the next couple of days. Endorphins? Who knows? Baby was also ok throughout and after that - we were careful to check that his little kicks were as regular as before and thank God, they are.

The rain (and work!!!) prevented us from going again on a weekday but we're aiming for another session on the weekend. It's gonna be a regular workout for Baby and me!

BABY NOTES: Your baby weighs about 1.5 pounds and measures 8.8 inches from crown to rump. Your baby is becoming stronger as its stem cells continue to develop into bone tissue, and its bones become solid through a process called ossification. Your baby is probably becoming more and more active each day, and a moving baby is a sign of a healthy baby.

Wednesday, 10 August 2005

50 reasons to be glad you are pregnant

It could be the glorious 2nd trimester kicking in or it could also be helping someone else deal with their pains but I feel more upbeat about myself --- and also stopping to take stock and count my blessings.
Not in any juice to be creative now but BabyCentreUK has a list of 50 reasons to celebrate pregnancy so I thought it'd be fun to remind mums-to-be (including myself) out there that this IS a time to celebrate!
P/S After looking at some of the reasons below, it got me thinking about more serious stuff i.e. maternity benefits and also employment during pregnancy. Hmm...

50 reasons to be glad you’re pregnantWe all have moments when we think, 'Never again!' during pregnancy: perhaps morning sickness is making you miserable or you're 10 days overdue with not even a hint of a contraction. To remind you that being pregnant can be fun, we've rounded up some of the nice things about being an expectant mum. 

And why not share the things that have made pregnancy wonderful for you — just scroll down to the parents' tips box, below. 


1 Relishing the early weeks when only you and your partner know your special secret. [yes, this was pretty fun]


2 Knowing you've got nine whole months to plan, dream and fantasise[we've been doing this also but also fraught with worries. Hey, this is a first time for us ok!]

3 Choosing maternity clothes — they've never been more practical or more sexy. [Uh, practical yes, sexy, not yet]
4 Now you've got the perfect excuse to pamper yourself — spending hours in a scented bath, enjoying a massage or rubbing soothing lotions into your growing bump. [Yes!]
Maternity rights in the UK are getting better all the time. Now (from April 2003), new mothers get six weeks on 90 per cent of their pay, followed by 20 weeks at £100 per week. For those with more than a year in service at work, there are an extra 26 weeks of unpaid leave available. [We Malaysians are still a few steps behind our sisters in advanced countries as our maternity leave is less than 90 days recommended by the Intl' Labor Organization. Check out ClearingHouseatColumbiaU and UNDP

6 You can join an 
antenatal class and find a whole new bunch of friends (and don't forget our BabyCentre birth clubs -- another great way to meet people due at the same time as you). [Once I get my act together, we're gonna sign up for one soon. Can't wait to meet other first timers too =)

7 For once in your life you need to get heavier — pregnancy is Nature's way of making you feel good about putting on weight. [Oh, yes, nobody frowns or questions you if you're nibbling a plate of choc chip cookies or even dare ask for a piece! tsk, tsk...selfish mum?] 

8 If this is your first baby, enjoy the next nine months sleeping late at weekends -- you won't get many chances later on. [I have to admit another nice perk]

9 At last you've got the bosom you've always wanted, which means you also have... [Err...no comments on this]

10 ...a great excuse to buy lots of pretty new bras. [True for some people I know]

11 From now on and until your baby is a year old, you can get free dental treatment — phone your dentist now! [I don't think this applies to us here either]

12 At last you'll have something more than potplants and cats to care for and nurture! [Aiyo...should I share that all my potplants have died slow, painful, parched deaths??]

13 Suddenly you'll find you're getting lots of extra attention from parents, aunts and uncles -- not to mention your partner. [Yes, this is true though I've not been very good company to anyone actually. And that's because the nausea sort of discourages u to talk and that's really odd for a chatterbox like me! Please if u see me with hardly a word, it wasn't me!]
 14 You may find you develop a closer relationship with sisters, cousins or friends who are parents themselves -- congratulations, you've just won free admission to the parents' club! [I'm extremely thankful to my ex-colleague who has been a great blessing to me. She was very excited at my news and has been a wonderful listening ear, gentle advisor and altogether a truly great friend! And now, this blessed lady is givine me 3 bags of her maternitywear on loan...great savings for me since I'm looking at unemployment for many months down the road]
15 Telling your mum, dad, sister, brother, aunt, dog the good news and watching their faces light up. [This has been hilarious/peculiar for us since in Asian culture, people are more cautious when you're still in the 1st trimester but I totally understand this since we're cautious ourselves too]
16 New talents! Whether it's knitting bootees or assembling a flat-pack cot, you'll suddenly find yourself trying out all sorts of new skills. [Uh, not yet! Another pantang-larang (taboo) for us before the 7th month, if I'm not wrong i.e. only look for baby stuff later]
17 Suddenly you'll feel a new appreciation for your own mother and all she went through having you. [This is definitely a new discovery alright and a refreshing look at my mum]

18 Decorating the nursery -- one of the most exciting things you'll ever do. [Soon, baby, soon]
19 Feeling those first fluttering kicks and thinking, 'Is that what I think it is? Or is it just wind?' [One of my co-workers in her 5th month actually giggles when that happens coz it's ticklish. I felt a flutter once and I found it weird! Where, oh, where is my mothering instinct?]
20 Feeling OK for sending your partner out for chicken tikka masala followed by double-choc chip ice cream. [Nolah, the poor guy has enough to do without these weird demands. But he's been putting on some weight eating most of my leftovers!]
21 Your parents digging out your old cot or pram, which they've kept safely all this time 'just in case'. [Uh, definitely not, since they sort of gave up that we're EVER going to settle down and have kids. Of course they knew about the thyroid problem so the news was quite a pleasant surprise. I just wonder if my old granny knows about it yet...she thought I had twins when I told her about someone else]
22 Going for healthy walks with your partner and getting fresh air in your lungs because it's good for you and good for your baby. [We'll do this when the 5th month comes along]

23 Enjoying the 
extra-vivid dreams you get in late pregnancy — and laughing about them with your friends. [I've actually been having some seriously weird dreams so not sure if these are the same ones?]

26 Writing a pregnancy diary for your baby to read in the future. [Yeah, we've been keeping one of those and also a scrapbook of the ultrasound scans. We're due to see the doc in 2 weeks and hope to be able to know what 'IT' is!]
27 Getting someone to take photos of you smiling over your enormous bump so that, one day, you can look back and be amazed you were ever that size. [Oh, I can assure you that R has been having a lot of fun doing this]
28 Finding out how many people there are out there ready to care for you -- doctors, nurses, midwives, health visitors, breastfeeding counsellors... [So far, one doc and his bevy of nurses]
29 Lying in bed with your partner's arms around you and your bump, knowing that love has created a new life. [Yes, another blessing to be thankful for is my dear, dear hubby!]
30 Enjoying indulgences, such as evenings out, weekends away and anything else you might not be able to do so easily once the baby arrives. [Oh, we're looking forward to one of this soon alright]
31 Knowing that from now on, whatever happens, you'll never be bored again. [Yes, we talk about it every time we see anyone with kids. You might think I'm nuts but I actually think it'd be fun to have 2-3 kids becoz they're fun to watch during their interaction with each other - even Lynette's twins on "Desperate Housewives"]
32 Making new friends whenever you go shopping — everyone has a pregnancy story to share. [Not really coz most of the ppl I've met so far are as equally grumpy as I am! ha ha beware the pregnant lady!] 
33 You can spend whole evenings debating whether to call your baby Hermione or Cleo
patra, Fritz or Stanley... (don't forget to try our BabyCentre baby namer if you get stuck!) [Yeah, I've got Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Britney, Shania, Jose, Roberto Carlos suggested by SOMEONE...]

34 Imagining what he or she will look like. Your sweet little ears, of course, and his sexy eyes! [Lots of inside jokes and cracks about this! Sorry, cannot postlah]
35 Dreaming about, "My daughter the prime minister/pop star/brain surgeon." [Uh, no, no visions of grandeur yet...]
36 Looking at your growing bump in the mirror and realising there's a person in there! [Oh, no, we realized when we saw the last ultrasound]
37 Making out a squirmy outline on the ultrasound monitor. Asking for the pic to take home and pinning it up next to your work station, or just keeping it in your bag to sneak looks at. [I've been meaning to show them to co-workers but I just keep forgetting. Will do that soon...]

38 The expression on your partner's face as he sees the test strip turn blue, looks at your growing bump or feels the baby kicking. [Let's not go back to that episode]
And all these other perks to come later...
24 Feeling a little pair of heels prodding under your diaphragm and knowing you'll soon be meeting the little person they belong to!

25 Choosing baby clothes — or just phoning round for all the catalogues, leafing through them and planning what you're going to buy.

***Hey, what happened to 26-38???***
39 Buying that first little cuddly toy for your baby, not somebody else's.
40 Making that phone call to your partner to tell him that — we're off! — labour has started

41 Trying out all those exercises you learned at 
antenatal class and finding out that they actually work! 

42 Being held and supported throughout a contraction by your partner/midwife/labour companion and knowing that you can trust them totally.
43 Finding out, as the contractions get tough, that your repertoire of swear words is far more extensive than you ever realised!
44 Making an informed choice about pain relief and finding that it's right for you at that stage in labour

45 That huge rush of pleasure and relief when, suddenly, all the pain and effort stops.
46 Looking into your newborn's eyes and falling utterly in love.

47 Watching your partner kiss the midwife, the doctor, cleaning lady, delivery man and anyone else he can find because his joy and pride are overwhelming.

48 Opening a bottle of bubbly to celebrate, whatever the time of day or night.

49 Making all those phone calls to announce the arrival. Telling everyone the news and hearing the excitement in their voices.

50 Waking up to see your baby sleeping next to you and thinking, 'Wow! This is real. I'm a mum!'

Monday, 8 August 2005

Week 15 – Hunt for the Chinese Confinement Lady

When one of my close friends found out about the pregnancy, she suggested that I start my search for the confinement lady (or CL) soon. I remembered her own search for this Very Important Person herself last year - she had to dial up to 10 friends for contact numbers and even called up CLs based in KL to enquire! Lucky for her, she found this nice lady from Ipoh who speaks English and Cantonese.
Confinement refers to the Chinese practice of keeping new mums 'confined' to the home for 30 days (up to 40 days) and a stay-in lady takes care of both her and her baby's needs.
During this time, she cooks the confinement dishes (for samples, check out Kuali), advises you on R & R and also helps feed, clean and soothe the baby. The going rate for CLs now is RM2,500-3000. Some info on the confinement period at ChinaTownSdyney As our baby is due on Feb 4, which is incidentally the seventh day of Chinese New Year, people warned that the CL may not be able to commit or may even ask to be paid double. I was worried because I need during the one month: My mum isn't strong enough to help out and my mum-in-law stays across the China sea! We don't plan to hire a maid for the long-term so we didn't want to go through the works of getting one now. And so the frantic calls begin... Candidate #1, My friend liked her soft, gentle ways, great hygiene, common-sense approach (read: not too traditional) to taking care of the mum/baby and she was quite helpful around the house. Furthermore, as she also spoke English, communication was clear between the two of them. Another plus point was that she would cook a soup in addition to the regulation chicken & ginger dishes. Lastly, she didn't believe in waking the baby up at 3.00 am for a feed even if the baby was sleeping soundly! I've heard that if you do this, then the baby will get used to this routine and not adopt a regular sleeping pattern. Candidate #2 - I got this contact from a friend but I was quite wary about calling her as her asking price is RM3,000 and she flatly refused to cook for hubby or do laundry (no to even loading the washer/dryer). Secondly, she's frequently asked to be CL to Chinese families living abroad and has been to Canada, the UK and also the US. This friend warned me she has extravagant tastes when it came to buying food or stuff for the household. This warning also came with the info that she would charge extra RM400-500 for any additional task given to her. Candidate #3 - Another friend's contact though she said to only call her as a last resort because she is a) ultra traditional b) slovenly and c) rough with the baby. If these 3 winning titles were not enough to scare us, her military attitude of scooping up the baby from its blissful sleep at 4 hour intervals for feeds definitely set us against her! Candidate #1 kept me on my toes for almost a month as she was busy with a lady in KL and pondering on whether she wanted to take up my offer for early Feb. But, rejoice! we finally got a call from her one fine day and she AGREED. Phew, that's one more thing off our minds... BABY NOTES: Your baby weighs about 3 ounces and should be about 5 inches in length. Your baby's heart is growing strong and even though it is little, it is pumping between 20-25 quarts of blood every 24 hours. By the time you are ready to deliver, your baby's heart will be circulating up to 300 quarts of blood every 24 hours. At around the 15th week, a pattern for their future hairline develops. It can take quite a bit longer for some babies hairline or even their hair, to "fully develop".

Wednesday, 3 August 2005

Week 14 – Life changes…

Starting out on this post, I'm reminded of a dinner gathering I attended some years back with a few colleagues:
  • a young married couple (ha, ha, us!)
  • a newly married couple whose wife was 2 months pregnant
  • a married couple with a 1 year old son
  • a young, very happy-go-lucky single person
Since it was potluck, the party started off on high spirits as everyone was piqued by one another's culinary skills. The party continued with everyone tucking into the food, drinks and also active catch-up chatter but things started to wind down when almost all the food was consumed. It was only 9 pm but the 1 year old kid started to get cranky.

Then, the pregnant pregnant lady had to go out the balcony for some air. The little boy's poor parents were actually midway through dessert but his Mom hurriedly shoved in the last bit of fruit and picked him up while Dad started saying their apologetic good-byes.

 In a flash of 2 minutes, they had bundled up their stuff and left quickly with the rest of us to deciding if we should pick up where we left off or get ready to go home too. The pregnant lady was the most flabbergasted by this sudden turn of events and commented wistfully, "It's amazing how much your life changes when you have a child."

 Well, this flashback pretty much sums up the mood I'm in nowadays. If Blogger allowed emoticons to mark posts, I'd definitely choose the one with the lemon-sour face...

I have to REALLY confess that I'm NO saint and this is what makes me appreciate my dear husband very much nowadays because I am not myself - I have become *Godzilla*.

Firstly, the morning sickness (HUGE misnomer since it occurs any time of day) really throws you out of whack - in the first couple of months, I felt comfortable with a boiling cup of Milo/soup every time I felt hunger pangs but lately, it's like "I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT!"

 We thought we had our routine down pat, with meals prepared in advance of that 3 hr intervals but no, I'd still feel queasy and bloated. My food choices are limited to bland home cooked foos. We've tried KFC's, McDonald's, Nando's, Italian food, Sushi King but with disastrous results so it's back to healthy eating.

 Then, there's this metallic taste in my mouth. Brushing or mouthwash is useless. I'd suck sweets/assam (there's a very rich man name Uncle Mo out there) and what-not till the roof of my mouth is sore, yet the metallic taste stays.

Ugh... Next, are the changes in bodily functions. Ok, I read 3 pregnancy books including the famous 'What to Expect When You're Expecting' Still, nothing prepares you for all this eat, vomit, pee, sleep, eat, pee pattern. Yes, if eating doesn't occupy the waking hours of your day, then the trips to the toilet will.

 I try to find the comedy in all this but it's frustrating when you come back dead tired from a day's work and all you want to do is go to bed but you've got to feed yourself first. You can't go to sleep immediately so I'm propped up on a mountain of pillows while I let the food/gas settle down. Just when it's settled down, 1.5 hrs have passed and whaddaya know, you're hungry again!

Many a time, I've literally crawled into bed after a meal and dropped off to dreamland the minute my head touches the pillow. Then, you wake up a couple of times during the night to pee. During these visits, I try to move really slowly so I won't burn so much energy that I'd feel hungry --- ahh, the horror of those midnight/twilight snacks!

 When we first started noticing the bulge and all was still under control, we found it cute and even make friendly jokes with the 'pea'. Now that the bulge has grown (it's supposedly the size of an apple now), so have I and with this comes the depressing reality of ALL your clothes do not fit!

 It was already hard for me to find clothes before but now, it's downright depressing when you're faced with racks of clothes but nothing fits either your size/taste/budget. For this transitional period, the baby gurus advise getting clothes a size larger than normal and I've discovered something about Plus-sized clothes: the general belief (a fallacy) is that plus-sized women don't wear tank tops or shorts??

 It was amazing coz we only found racks of long-sleeved/3 quarter sleeved shirts/blouses in hideous brights or prints. There's an untapped market out there. To survive this period, I've been wearing the Man's t-shirts and polo shirts.

Thankfully, during the start of the mega sale, I managed to get some 'cute' t-shirts (AKA hideous) for home and a couple of shirts for work. At work, I've got comments like, "You don't look pregnant when you wear this" and "You look really pregnant when you wear that" so I think the euphemism used for "fat" is "pregnant".

 Of course, my loyal and endearing husband thinks I'm cute in my new shape but it sure takes a lot of getting used to - I'm beginning to understand why those newspaper ads of Marie France Bodyline and Mayfair have a regular horde of postpartum women as their satisfied customers.

I'm truly envious of women who stay slim during their pregnancy where only their bellies expand and the rest of their body stay the same. In the past, I've raised my eyebrows at pregnant women dressed in spaghetti straps and other flashy clothes.

Now, I totally understand why they do it - WE NEED TO LOOK AND FEEL BEAUTIFUL. Please forgive me if you see me parading in a spaghetti strap or God forbid, halter top --- I am delusional and hallucinatory.

 Another new (un)welcome change is body heat. When I was earlier given progesterone to prevent an abortion, I felt a surge in my body temperature and sweated buckets unless I was right under a fan in a sleeveless, thin blouse. Now, my body temperature changes like a reptile! I don't bother trying to figure it out, I just go with the flow.

Sometimes, I feel sweaty after a bath but I could also feel frozen after one and would bundle up in a sweater, track pants and socks only to peel them off hurriedly 30 minutes later. In the office, I'd be quite comfortable at 24 degrees C but after a while, my shirt is plastered to my back and I need to switch the temp to a low 20 degrees Celcius, which sets my co-workers sneezing their heads off.

You can only imagine the laundry count during the weekends when I'm at home the whole day. To top the list would be the exhaustion. I read that a woman's body's changes fast to accommodate the growth of a baby i.e. the uterus expanding, the placenta developing and the baby's cells building and so we use up more energy than that burned by a marathon race runner.

I find this change the most annoying as I'm used to walking fast and having loads of energy to do anything I wanted to i.e. work (pathetic I know), shop, browse in a bookstore or watch hours of TV. 

Nowadays, I get tired after walking around ONE shop floor for about ONE hour, or barely surpassed one rack of books and most amazing of all, missing lots of my favorite sitcoms, mini-series and cutting down on the no. of DVDs I've been buying.

I was quite excited to see 'Desperate Housewives' coming up in July on Astro but believe it or not, I've missed the first 4 episodes. Would you believe that I followed 100 over episodes of the long-playing 'Manchu Princess' Cantonese drama serial!

In the bigger picture, my life seems to have slowed down drastically and I think even my brain works slower now esp when faced with a fast-talking person. Can you guess that we had planned for another holiday, to take up dancing lessons, take road trips on weekends, do more sports to get toned bodies and a million other things when I finished my masters' degree?

Now, all these plans are shelved indefinitely! I'm most impressed with how well my husband is taking this 360 degree turn in life.

I hope that I have not scared anyone thinking of having a child. Please don't be afraid. This is one frenetic post by a hormonally-imbalanced pregnant woman (in her 14th week) anxious for the all-you-can-eat period of the 2nd trimester.

 I promise - the minute I can eat like a normal person, it'll be blue skies again! :D

Week 12, 13, 14 – Baby notes



Week 12: Your baby weighs about 14 grams and is about 2 1/2 inches in length. Your baby has reflexes and begins to have activity in the digestive tract. Bile is now being secreted and these types of developments are to prepare the baby for life outside of you. Stem cells, the "mother cells" that reproduce to become heart, brain, liver, bone, blood, nerve, and immune cells, continue to differentiate into cells forming your baby's major organs.

Although your baby's brain continues to grow, its components now have the same structure as when your baby is born. If your OB or Midwife uses a "doppler," you may be able to listen to your baby's heartbeat. This may be the sweetest sound you have ever heard. Most new moms are amazed by how fast the heartbeat is.

Week 13: Your baby weighs about 1 ounce and is about 3 inches in length. Your baby's digestive tract continues to develop as inside the intestines tiny villi (hairs) are forming. These villi will assist in moving the food through your baby's digestive tract. The pancreas has begun producing insulin and within your baby's mouth, all 20 teeth have evolved but of course are not visible. (That would make predicting orthodontist bills way too easy?)

Week 14: Your baby weighs about 2.25 ounces now, and should be about 3-4 inches in length. Your baby's bladder begins functioning and believe it or not, actually begins urinating. In fact, although doctors are not really sure of how or where your baby's urine is produced it is a component of the amniotic fluid and is continuously regenerating itself every 3-4 hours.

Wednesday, 6 July 2005

What to Expect: Eating Well When Expecting

Now that we know we are pregnant (10 weeks), we brace ourselves for our new routine in the 7 months ahead.

Here's our "exciting" routine on normal working days:

5.00 am Wake up
- a healthy breakfast of half-boiled eggs or oatmeal with fruit and a hot drink
- steam rice, stir fry a vegetable (spinach, brocolli, lettuce or mixed) and a main dish (steamed fish, meat/ chicken with soy/ black pepper sauce, or some other stir-fry or slow cooker soup
- iron clothes - primp & preen

7.00 am Leave the house - pack for 8.00 & 10.00 am snacks (protein-rich bun or salt-free crackers with a hot drink)

8.00 am Morning snack

10.00 am Mid-morning snack (I'm not joking!)

12.00 nn My delicious (ahem! ahem!) home-cooked lunch
6.00 pm Leave work (with laptops to check emails later ok) - fry vegetables for dinner, heat soup etc 7.00 pm Dinner
9.00 pm Supper - Bedtime

On weekends, we go out for breakfast of either koay teow t'ng (rice noodles with soup), loh shee fun (another rice noodle variation), pan mee (wheat flour noodles) or eggs on toast.

After that, we spend slow & easy days at home, recuperating from the work week.

It's true, ALL pregnant mothers do in the first trimester is eat! LOL

I'm afraid poor Hubby has his work cut out for him as laundry and dish-washing continue while marketing is an added chore besides the regular run around the banks and post office.

 We're food lovers but never before have our lives been organized around meal-times (and my gnawing hunger) than now. This growing baby places timely demands that I need to eat at 2-hr intervals...gas & indigestion threaten to overwhelm us should we be but a few minutes late!

 All this sounds incredible but it's true and to our relief, other pregnant ladies shared similar experiences. I'm looking forward to the second trimester when things ease and it'll be stable enough for me to get some exercise.

 It's a demanding routine that needs careful planning and execution but we're into our second week now and all has worked like clockwork, except on days when Hubby needs to stay back for meetings. On those days, I scavenge my biscuit tins for snacks that will stave my hunger pangs until we get home for dinner --- or we rush to the nearest restaurant for a quick instant meal.

 One favorite dish is black pepper venison, which I've not particularly liked previously but now that I'm pregnant, I seem to have grown fond of red meats and less poultry & fish. Hormones at work? 

Hubby has taken on this new role with much chivalry, enthusiasm and his usual easy-going smile (I'm proud to report!). He's amazing at making his wife very comfortable and has also stocked the home with loads of food this expectant mother can munch on when needed. I'm also impressed with his estimation skills while marketing because initially I'd argue with him that he's got too much meats and vegetables but in the end, we end up finishing them.

 Furthermore, he's tried his hand at gutting fish like the bawal putih (white pomfret). I'm afraid pregnancy makes me queasy... I'm proud of him because most men recoil at the sight and smell of blood (esp during storytelling sessions of labor room adventures).

Surprisingly, Hubby has been bragging about it in the office to his male colleagues! Well, I'm glad he's got a bunch of male friends trade stories with on the new pains of living with his pregnant wife. 

Having been out of touch with cooking for years, it's quite fun to getting acquainted with the kitchen utensils and condiments. So far, I've tried stir-fry vegetables, steamed fish, fish with taucheo (fermented soya beans), meat with soy sauce, herbal chicken soup, ABC pork ribs soup and Malay-style chicken soup.

Poring over cookbooks and online sources (eg Kuali at the Star Online) for more ideas on stir-fry and soups - found some more tasty recipes which I can't wait to try out. Some of my colleagues have also suggested tried-and-tested homemade dishes.

There are also some fantastic resources on Chinese stir-fry on the net (if anyone is interested):
- ChineseCookingBasics (Chinese Cooking 101)
- Chinese Stir-fry Recipes (a plethora of recipes to tempt your palate).

 All these additional meals have made most (if not all) of my skirts and pants unwearable esp since they do not have elasticized waists. Last weekend, I was given strictly only 1 hour (by Lt. Gen. Hubby) to shop for maternity pants.

Thankfully, the maternity sections had a selection of work pants, besides the tons of flowery, ribbon-y, bow-y and lace-y maternity dresses.

Feminine dresses are kind of cute but at 2 months, I'm not ready to wear them yet and will bide my time till later when I'm obviously pregnant. Even then, I'm not sure I'll go for the ribbon-y or flowery types ;-)

Hmm...I'm sure the doctor will comment on my weight gain at our next visit!

BABY NOTES:Your baby now is somewhere between 1 and 1 1/2 inches in length and probably weighs about 4 grams (which is about the same weight as 4 paper clips). In terms of physical development, your baby has toes, eyes that are usually open, and ears that are completely formed. Your baby now has lips and the genitals that are becoming more clearly defined. The little pollywog you have inside loses its "tail". This is what is termed "the fetal period".

Tuesday, 5 July 2005

Week 10 - Bumpy road ahead

Now that we know we are pregnant, we brace ourselves for our new routine in the 7 months ahead.

Here's our "exciting" routine on normal working days:

5.00 am Wake up
- a healthy breakfast of half-boiled eggs or oatmeal with fruit and a hot drink
- steam rice, stir fry a vegetable (spinach, brocolli, lettuce or mixed) and a main dish (steamed fish, meat/ chicken with soy/ black pepper sauce, or some other stir-fry or slow cooker soup
- iron clothes
- primp & preen

7.00 am Leave the house
- pack for 8.00 & 10.00 am snacks (protein-rich bun or salt-free crackers with a hot drink)
8.00 am Morning snack
10.00 am Mid-morning snack (I'm not joking!)
12.00 nn My delicious (ahem! ahem!) home-cooked lunch
6.00 pm Leave work (with laptops to check emails later ok)
- fry vegetables for dinner, heat soup etc
7.00 pm Dinner
9.00 pm Supper
- Bedtime
On weekends, we go out for breakfast of either koay teow t'ng (rice noodles with soup), loh shee fun (another rice noodle variation), pan mee (wheat flour noodles) or eggs on toast.
After that, we spend slow & easy days at home, recuperating from the work week.

It's true, ALL pregnant mothers do in the first trimester is eat! LOL

I'm afraid poor Hubby has his work cut out for him as laundry and dish-washing continue while marketing is an added chore besides the regular run around the banks and post office.

We're food lovers but never before have our lives been organized around meal-times (and my gnawing hunger) than now. This growing baby places timely demands that I need to eat at 2-hr intervals...gas & indigestion threaten to overwhelm us should we be but a few minutes late!

All this sounds incredible but it's true and to our relief, other pregnant ladies shared similar experiences. I'm looking forward to the second trimester when things ease and it'll be stable enough for me to get some exercise.

It's a demanding routine that needs careful planning and execution but we're into our second week now and all has worked like clockwork, except on days when Hubby needs to stay back for meetings.

On those days, I scavenge my biscuit tins for snacks that will stave my hunger pangs until we get home for dinner --- or we rush to the nearest restaurant for a quick instant meal.

One favorite dish is black pepper venison, which I've not particularly liked previously but now that I'm pregnant, I seem to have grown fond of red meats and less poultry & fish. Hormones at work?

Hubby has taken on this new role with much chivalry, enthusiasm and his usual easy-going smile (I'm proud to report!). He's amazing at making his wife very comfortable and has also stocked the home with loads of food this expectant mother can munch on when needed.

I'm also impressed with his estimation skills while marketing because initially I'd argue with him that he's got too much meats and vegetables but in the end, we end up finishing them.

Furthermore, he's tried his hand at gutting fish like the bawal putih (white pomfret). I'm afraid pregnancy makes me queasy...

I'm proud of him because most men recoil at the sight and smell of blood (esp during storytelling sessions of labor room adventures).

Surprisingly, our friend has been bragging about it in the office to his male colleagues! Well, I'm glad he's got a bunch of male friends trade stories with on the new pains of living with his pregnant wife.

Having been out of touch with cooking for years, it's quite fun to getting acquainted with the kitchen utensils and condiments. So far, I've tried stir-fry vegetables, steamed fish, fish with taucheo (fermented soya beans), meat with soy sauce, herbal chicken soup, ABC pork ribs soup and Malay-style chicken soup.

Poring over cookbooks and online sources (eg Kuali at the Star Online) for more ideas on stir-fry and soups - found some more tasty recipes which I can't wait to try out. 

Some of my colleagues have also suggested tried-and-tested homemade dishes. There are also some fantastic resources on Chinese stir-fry on the net (if anyone is interested):
- ChineseCookingBasics (Chinese Cooking 101)
- Chinese Stir-fry Recipes (a plethora of recipes to tempt your palate).

All these additional meals have made most (if not all) of my skirts and pants unwearable esp since they do not have elasticized waists. Last weekend, I was given strictly only 1 hour (by Lt. Gen. Hubby) to shop for maternity pants.

Thankfully, the maternity sections had a selection of work pants, besides the tons of flowery, ribbon-y, bow-y and lace-y maternity dresses.

They are kind of cute but at 2 months, I'm not ready to wear them yet and will bide my time till later when I'm obviously pregnant.

Even then, I'm not sure I'll go for the ribbon-y or flowery types ;-) 

Hmm...I'm sure the doctor will comment on my weight gain at our next visit!

BABY NOTES:Your baby now is somewhere between 1 and 1 1/2 inches in length and probably weighs about 4 grams (which is about the same weight as 4 paper clips). In terms of physical development, your baby has toes, eyes that are usually open, and ears that are completely formed. Your baby now has lips and the genitals that are becoming more clearly defined. The little pollywog you have inside loses its "tail". This is what is termed "the fetal period".

Wednesday, 29 June 2005

Week 8 - Bunny Baby

Well, we had scheduled an ob-gyn's appointment last weekend and was just biding our time while we waited for confirmation from the good old doctor. Unfortunately, ignorance is not bliss and we found that out the hard way. 
 
A day before the doc's appointment, I discovered some spotting and immediately panicked as I'd read that any bleeding in the first trimester (3 months) is NOT good. We immediately called up the doc and thank God, he could see us within the hour. 

He confirmed the conception and also our fears that the baby (or fetus as he called it) had a weak heartbeat and was also very, very tiny...just 3.7 mm for 7 weeks old.

I was incredibly guilty as I'd succumbed to the temptation of rojak and just remembered that I'd eaten some sengkuang (known for its cooling properties).

Also, the week before I'd been doing the regular housework of doing the laundry and boiling water, which all included some lifting and tugging.

The doctor ordered 3 days of bedrest and I took another 2 days off, not wanting to risk anything. My Mum helped a lot by ensuring that I had wholesome, nutritious meals and soups during my week's stay with her.

And I also tried very, very hard to do what friends had advised: no walking unless necessary, no driving and also resting as much as possible.

We're happy to report this week that the baby has grown to a good 12 mm but the danger is still not over until at least another month. Thankfully, my boss & a few colleagues (in the know) at work have been very supportive of my new regime.

Hubby and I devised a whole new routine of driving me to work, preparing meals and also all other housework that would still keep my walking and moving about at a minimum.

He's been a great hubby - putting in extra time and effort to reorganize the home and kitchen so that everything is within my short reach without my needing to lift anything for use. And he's also had to do all the marketing and even tried his hand at cooking veggies last night. I'm so proud of him!

This new adventure has brought us closer together and also got us re-evaluating a lot in our life. And I've also taken on a whole new appreciation of my parents' (esp Mum) sacrifices now that I've got to grapple with morning sickness and the growing challenge of having a baby. With fingers crossed, we hope to cross this hurdle safely this upcoming month.

BABY NOTES:An ultrasound done of your baby at this stage should show a fluttering heartbeat. Your baby is three-quarters of an inch long about the size of a grape. The liver is churning out large amounts of red blood cells until the bone marrow forms and takes over this role. Week eight marks the beginning of a very busy developmental stage. The face continues to change as the ears, eyes and the tip of the nose appear. The intestines start to form in the umbilical cord. Your baby's teeth develop under the gums.

(Week 9) Your baby now has elbows and is somewhere between .51 and .66 inches in length. And your baby probably weighs only 1 gram. Your baby will now move if touched through the wall of your uterus, and can also move on its own. In terms of physical development, sex organs (Gonads in males, and Ovaries in females) are becoming evident. This is the week your baby can officially be called a "fetus", which means young one.