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Tuesday, 12 November 2019

The Mommyhood Series [vi] - Birth by Caesarean




After the endless shopping that we were doing (read more here), we finally gave birth.

The day has come. I was 2 days away from my Estimated Due Date (EDD), but there was no sign of dilation and my water bag didn't burst. Also, because I am petite and Baby was getting heavy at 3.5kg), the Doc was worried that it would take me 24 hours at least, to deliver by natural birth. And that's if all's safe and well.

Therefore we consented to Caesarean surgery this fateful Saturday. Spent the morning getting busy with viewings so I wouldn't be nervous about the surgery. The procedure was scheduled for late afternoon but I was advised to check in 3 hours early to prepare.





By 9.00am that day I was to start fasting. Ok, not really fasting but I couldn't take meals after that. I had to stop fluids intake by 1300 hours.

After settling registration at level 1, Thomsom Medical Centre, they brought me to the 2-bedder ward I have chosen. I changed into a dark maroon gown, and they injected something into my anus to induce passing of motion.

I took a rest and the nurses came for me half an hour before the surgery. I was brought to the operating theater and met many people who said hi along the way- everyone asked for my full name and NRIC number, I had to repeat myself at least 6 times.

Then I finally met my Anaesthetician who prepared me for 2nd strongest dosage of Epidural. They did the Jab, waited for it to settle, and then tested my reaction. When they were certain that I was numb enough and ready, my Gynae performed the surgery.

I was very nervous, to be honest. Millions of thoughts raced through my head - would the surgery be all right ? Would Baby be fine? Would it hurt? Would I over bleed? Would there be complications? Would I die? Was my Will updated? Have I done my last insurance nomination?

The Hubby changed into some protective garb and was seated beside me holding my hand.





I felt some tugging and all but no pain at all. Then I heard the Doc saying "Its done", followed by a loud wailing. Baby was out. We were both safe and sound.

They brought Baby to the corner to clean up and take measurements of her head circumference and length. In the meantime, the Doc stitched me up.

The tiny purplish being that was my daughter was then carried over to me. She stopped wailing the moment she was in my arms, probably recognising the heartbeat shes been listening to for the past 9 months. The nurses helped us to take photos - our very first family portrait.







I had handed over the kits for Stem Cells collection and Cord Blood collection by Cryoviva, so the operating theater crew informed me they would send these to the labs for suitability testing as well. Personally I believe very much in cord blood banking - it's like another layer of insurance for the child. Other providers include Singapore Cord Blood Banking, Cordlife and Stemcord.

I was brought to a holding ward to be monitored- to ensure there were no complications, and that my blood pressure was normal.




Then they returned me to my ward on level 3, where I could rest. For the first night , I couldn't ingest anything so was put on drip; nurses monitored my blood pressure and temperature every hour. They also came around to help clean my body, bring painkillers and change my maternity pads. I slowly regained sensation in my lower body, and was encouraged to wiggle my feet more. I didn't get much sleep between the monitoring, medicine, changing of pads and breastfeeding Baby.

My Doc came to check on me at 7.00am the next morning, and the Paediatrician came shortly after, to tell me about Baby's health status. Breakfast was served. For the meals over the next few days, I chose Congee for  breakfast mainly, and Confinement meals for lunch and dinner. For lunch and dinner, you have a choice of Confinement, Western, Asian, Local cuisine etc to choose from.





Friends and relatives came to visit, and Baby was carted over whenever it was time for her to feed.

The wound hurt whenever I tried to get out of bed (so I was advised to roll over to the side and slowly get up sideways). They wrapped a Binder (SGD$59.00) around me - it was supposed to help with the wound and keep the wind out.





For Caesarean, the wound (later a scar) would be at the navel around, around 7-8cm long. I had to be hospitalised one more day, compared to 3 days if by natural birth.

Give baby a name. We would need to register their births within 14 calendar days and no later than 42 days. Registration can done at the hospitals they are birthed at, Immigrations & Checkpoint Authority (ICA) or online. You can also do so by downloading the "Moments of Life" app.

Finally, time for discharge we had to settle the bill at level 1. Remember - hospital bills and doctor's fees are separate amounts. Whenever you see comparison charts showing fees of giving birth in various hospitals, bear in mind that these are just hospital charges. Doctor's fees and anesthetics fees will double that amount.

There is a cap on how much you can pay out of MediSave. If you are applying for the Baby Bonus, $8000 will be credited to you within 3 weeks of application.

You may feel odd as you start walking. I felt like my insides were all jingly and loose. My Gynaecologist explained that it was normal - my organs were all stretched during pregnancy, it would take some time to regain normalcy. The Binder would help alot.

All the best for your birth journey.






Backtracks

(vi) The Mommyhood Series (iii) - Post Natal Massage by Schone Mama @ Takashimaya
(vii) The Mommyhood Series (iv) - The Accidental Babymoon (Pregnancy Travel Guide)
(viii) The Mommyhood Series (v) - The Endless Shopping List







Thursday, 5 September 2019

The Mommyhood Series [v] - The Endless Shopping List

Part 4 of The Mommyhood Series (read more here) highlights the importance of pregnancy travel guide and my accidental babymoon in Taiwan. Now we move on to the endless things to buy in preparation for the arrival of the little bundle of joy.

What is this pregnancy shopping list that I had to be prepared for?





Well, don't get excited just yet. It's not your favorite fashion brands like Chanel and Dior; it's not your favorite skincare brands SK-II and Lancome. This new shopping list will feature brands you will start to get used to - do the names Pigeon, TollyJoy, Dr. Brown, Hegen, Tommee Tippee, Philips Avent, etc. ring a bell?

No, well, they soon will.  Here goes the shopping list:






BABY CLOTHES & ACCESSORIES
  1. Baby Rompers (x10 sets - because you need to change at least twice a day)
  2. Long-sleeved Pajamas / Rompers (for sleeping)
  3. Baby Blouse & Pants sets (in place of Rompers)
  4. Booties aka baby socks
  5. Baby Mittens (very important-  to prevent their long nails from scratching their face)
  6. Baby Bibs (for feeding use)
  7. Handkerchiefs
  8. Swaddle (for sound sleep - check out Love To Dream or SwaddleMe)
  9. Receiving Blanket
  10. Beret (keeping their bare heads warm in cool places)








BABY BATHING NEEDS & ACCESSORIES
  1. Baby Bathtub
  2. Wash Cloth
  3. Towels
  4. Natural Sponge (in place of wash cloth)
  5. Baby Shampoo
  6. Baby Body Wash
  7. Baby Lotion / Moisturiser
  8. Baby Powder
  9. Nappy Rash Cream
  10. Eucalyptus Oil or Ru Yi Oil (for soothing babies against wind in body)
  11. Baby Mouth Wipes (important, to prevent ulcers or thrush)
  12. Mini Cotton Buds (for cleaning her nostrils)







BABY SUNDRIES
  1. Disposable Diapers (x2 packs at least - they change up to 12 diapers a day!)
  2. Cloth Diapers (in place of disposable diapers)
  3. Nappy Liner
  4. Nappy Pin
  5. Cotton Pads or Cotton Pads (cleaning the dirt between the folds of baby's privates and butt)
  6. Baby Wet Wipes
  7. Changing Mat
  8. Baby Nail Clipper (check out TollyJoy, Pigeon or Nuk)
  9. Baby Nail Scissors
  10. Thermometer (everyone recommends Braun, though some says a basic "underarm thermometer works better)
  11. Pacifier
  12. Baby Laundry Bag (so as not to mix with adults' clothes)
  13. Baby Laundry Detergent
  14. Baby Bottle Cleanser








BABY NURSING NEEDS
  1. Milk Bottles for feeding
  2. Teats for Milk Bottles (different openings for different ages)
  3. Tiered Milk Powder Container (check out Pigeon or TollyJoy)
  4. Electric Bottle Warmer
  5. Bottle Sterilizer (check out Pigeon and Philips Avent)
  6. Nursery Bag (like Jujubes or Anello)
  7. Fridge-To-Go or any other cooler bags
  8. Electric Breast Pumps (check out Hegen, Medela, Spectra or Ardo)
  9. Silicone Manual Breast Pumps (check out Hakaa)
  10. Milk Storage Freezer Bags
  11. Milk Storage Bottles
  12. Bottle Brush
  13. Teat Brush
  14. A tray or rack to place stored milk bags marked with dates of pumping
  15. Rid-Wind Baby Drops or Gripe Water
  16. Nursing Pillow (check out My Brest Friend)








BABY BEDDING NEEDS
  1. Baby Cot (with a good, flat and straight mattress)
  2. Baby Play Pen (in place of, or in addition to the cot)
  3. Mattress Sheets / Crib Sheets
  4. Disposable Waterproof Sheets (in case she pukes or pees on the bed)
  5. Blanket or Comforter
  6. Mosquito Net (optional)
  7. Baby Monitor
  8. Chest Pillow (made of pea husks)
  9. Anti-vomit wedge Pillow
  10. Mini Bolster & Case
  11. Mini Pillow & Case (not for newborns yet - wait for their necks to be strengthened)
  12. Night Lamp (keep it on in a dark room)







MATERNITY NEEDS
  1. Nursing Bra
  2. Breast Pads (washable and disposable applicable)
  3. Nipple Shields
  4. Nipple Cream
  5. Epsom Salts (to soak in the event of blocked ducts)
  6. Maternity Panties
  7. Stretch Marks Cream
  8. Maternity Pads
  9. Stomach Binder
  10. Abdomen Support Belt
  11. Nursing Shawl
  12. Disposable Waterproof Sheets (in the event water bag bursts or we deliver on the way to hospital)
  13. Tights for Blood Circulation (to aid circulation after epidural)
  14. New range of Skincare products that are pregnancy-friendly







OTHERS

  1. "Baby On Board" sign for vehicles
  2. Baby Car Seat (note there are car seats for different baby age groups)
  3. Baby Toys
  4. Stroller / Pram
  5. Baby Carrier or Sling (check out Ergo-Baby, Manduca or Tula)
  6. Baby Walker
  7. Teething Toys
  8. Confinement Tonic and Bath Herbs (details will be out in The Mommyhood Series vii)























Wednesday, 28 August 2019

The Mommyhood Series [iv] - The Accidental BabyMoon (Pregnancy Travel Guide)

After enjoying a good Pre-natal Massage and Pure Organic Facial, as mentioned in the last chapter of The Mommyhood Series (click here to read more), I headed for a trip to Taiwan with Hubby, my best friend and her hubby.




This trip was discussed and planned more than a year ago, and has somehow become my accidental babymoon now that I was expecting. I was 1.5 weeks shy of 7 months into my pregnancy when the trip commenced in April.

About 1 week before travelling, the gynaecologist examined me, and then issued a letter to certify that I was fit for travel. This letter is very essential especially if we are above 20 weeks pregnant, mainly for health reasons.






TRAVEL INSURANCE
Take note that your travel insurance does NOT cover pregnancy and its related medical fees (hospitalization, surgery, GP consultations or purchase of medications). Your private MediShield plans do not cover pregnancy complications as well.

For pregnancy-related coverage, you'll need to get either:
  1. maternity insurance by a local insurer, such as AIA, AXA, Great Eastern, Prudential etc. The extend of coverage would be anything from $5000 to $20,000; or
  2. international health insurance with pregnancy coverage, such as MyHealth, Worldcare, Allianz, Bupa, Cigna, etc. These offer pregnancy coverage including your consultations, vaccinations, delivery and complications etc, up to millions of dollars, depending on the package you choose. The only 2 drawbacks are that premiums are exorbitant, and you need a waiting period of 9 months.


Speak to individual insurers to find out more (the above is just a guide).





MEDICATION
Prepare pregnancy-friendly medicine for the trip, in the event we fall sick and there are no hospitals or clinics nearby. Simple ailments such as fever or tummy aches warrant for Panadol and Po Chai Pills, both safe for pregnancy (please double check with your gynae as each person's body is different).




The Do's

  • Book flights in advance and select a comfortable seat with good leg space. 
  • Pack shoes that are comfortable for walking.
  • Have your gynae's number on hand to call in case of abnormalities (i.e. blood in urine).
  • Avoid food that's too exotic or prepared in an environment that does not appear very hygienic.
  • Beware of slippery surfaces (outdoors during rain or snow;  bathroom floors, etc).
  • Bring antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer (personal hygiene is very crucial).




The Don'ts

  • Excessive cold drinks.
  • Thrill rides (we visited a theme park with exciting rides)
  • Exertive sports
  • Over-buy infant clothes for 0-3 months old
  • (Babies outgrow clothes like crazy).
  • Be too stressed out during the trip (i.e. hectic schedule by package tours).
  • Carry heavy stuff (let the porters handle your luggage).
  • Visit very crowded places where you might get bumped into alot.
  • Go for full body massage or hot springs (the latter is an enjoyment in Taiwan where we went; I had to skip it).

For the next series, we shall take a look at the endless shopping list to prepare for, for the arrival of the little bundle of joy.



Backtracks









Wednesday, 21 August 2019

The Mommyhood Series [iii] - Pre-Natal Massage & Organic Facial by Schöne Mama @ Takashimaya [Sponsored]



391 Orchard Road #05-20 Ngee Ann City Tower B, Singapore 238872
Tel: 6904 5448




In my last chapter of The Mommyhood Series, I shared about my pregnancy journey (click here to read). Today, I would like to share my experience at Schöne Mama for their Pre-natal Massage and Pure Organic Facial (worth SGD$275.00).

With a name like Schöne Mama, I was surprised that they originated from China, and it means "美丽妈妈" (beautiful mother). Schöne Mama started in 2005, specialising in post-birth recovery services, and it has more than 300 outlets worldwide today. The first Singapore outlet was opened in 2016, receiving raving reviews since. I was psyched to have the opportunity to try out their services.





The outlet at Ngee Ann City is located on level 5, done up in pristine white with dashes of blue and green. The consultants and therapists were all experienced and friendly, having many years of experience in their respective trades.

After a consultation session answering questions regarding my lifestyle and pregnancy so far, the Pre-natal Massage commenced. It was a one-hour full body massage starting from the feet to torso to head. My masseur was a bubbly Thai lady in her late 40s or early 50s.




The Pre-natal Massage was very comfortable, using only plant-based natural oils. It aims at helping to relieve body aches, improve skin elasticity, strengthen back muscles, promote relaxation, improve overall wellness and most importantly, reduce water retention.

Following that, I enjoyed a 30-minute Pure Organic Facial using products with natural ingredients such as Centella, French Musk Rose Oil, etc.





It was soothing and very enjoyable as well, resulting in a glowing complexion at the end of it.

My treatment concluded with a nutritious bowl of some grains with red dates, for nourishing the skin.




Overall, I had a wonderful time here, feeling pampered and beautiful as a mom-to-be. Their professionalism and friendly service was very heart-warming as well. Thank you Schöne Mama for the excellent treatment.


Backtracks

(i) The House-Hunting Series
(ii) The Honeymoon Series
(iii) The Nuptial Series
(iv) The Mommyhood Series (i) - Receiving The News
(v) The Mommyhood Series (ii) - My Pregnancy Journey







Sunday, 11 August 2019

The Mommyhood Series [ii] - My Pregnancy Journey




In my last entry - the first chapter of The Mommyhood Series (read more here), I talked about how we discovered we were expecting a baby girl. 

My visit to the Gynaecologist's confirmed my pregnancy, and baby was 12 weeks' old by then. We were to have an Autumn baby; how exciting!

I saw Dr. Paul Tseng first, but later switched to Dr. W. H. Kee. During each visit, he would monitor my weight and blood pressure, do the necessary scans so we could see that Baby was healthy; and share stories as well as advice on what to expect during each stage. From 20th week onwards, I also had to do urine tests during each visit.




I could say I breezed by my first trimester since it was already over, and I didn't feel anything. Or rather, whatever uneasiness I felt were linked to my hectic schedule during the past 3 months (recap for those who didn't get to read my past entries- I was taking the property exams, shifting house and went Melbourne for 2 weeks back-to-back).

I didn't have much cravings for food; I think I had more cravings before pregnancy, Haha. I still enjoyed cakes and pastries a lot, just like pre-pregnancy days.

I also had to consume at least 8 to 10 glasses of fluids a day. Ideally, these fluids could be plain water; but if that's not possible - soups, caffeine free tea, juices, water-rich fruits etc all contribute to our liquids intake.

Tendency to feel more bloated was normal. I abstained from most carbonated drinks. Weight continued to increase by 1-2 kg a month (my own weight + baby's weight + water bag).




I was also advised to exercise at least 3 times a week - mainly walking and swimming. I could do Pre-natal Yoga but it seemed I could never find time for it.

Oh also, there's this saying about looking at photos of beautiful happy babies often, so that your baby would turn out this way, hopefully. Lol- so just toss genes out of then window and stare away at these pictures. They are cute to look at, anyway.

Talk to baby too! Educate it in its early stages by exposing it to nice music and your voice. You'll be surprised how it could actually understand, and absorb.




SECOND TRIMESTER
Second trimester was a little more challenging. I was adverse to a lot of smells, including skincare products that contain floral scents, chemicals, smell too creamy etc; I also grew adverse towards smells of my antibacterial hand-wash and washing detergents etc. Everything made me nauseous but the worst thing was that I couldn't throw up; they stayed inside me to haunt me, resulting in stuffiness around my chest area and headaches.

Also, I needed to look through the list of ingredients that went into the various skincare products, to ensure that they don't contain lead, butyl, propyl, paraben, sulfate, retinol, etc. I had to stop using anything that contained one of the supposedly-harmful ingredients.




I spent a bomb replacing skincare products - because I was adverse even to some of those organic / natural products. There was a lot of trial and error.  I even grew sick of my usual toothpaste!

And yes, I still used makeup during the course of my pregnancy because I believe there was no reason for me to become unattractive just because I was pregnant (light makeup is also considered a form of respect/ courtesy for clients in the business world).

I had to see the gynae on a monthly basis. On the 12th week, a series of tests were done on me - mainly health and blood tests. Mainly HIV and diabetic related. Remember that many women become diabetic during their pregnancy, or developed pre-clampsia (high blood pressure).

During the 20th week, we did the Chromosome Test to ascertain that Baby did not have any birth disorders or something like that. We also found out the gender by then - it was going to be a Baby Girl.

Body heat was another killer for me - I was constantly feeling so hot, I think it attributed to my headaches, need to defecate more than once a day, and even nausea. I needed the air-conditioner to sleep nightly too.

We started looking out for Baby Insurance, comparing quotes and coverage from different insurers. We settled on a certain established company that offered a comprehensive policy with competitive rates, covering an additional 22 baby illnesses, and has a beautiful facility for Mommy and baby to use for various activities. Insurance is very important- you  never know what happens in life.

Shopping for clothes was an adventure as the belly grew larger and larger and dresses  became shorter and tighter. I bought loose fitting clothes that I was confident of wearing even post-pregnancy.




By 26th week, the Baby's kicks should be more prominent and frequent. From here onwards, monitor their movements and ensure they are active. There are various methods to monitor and count their kicks - do some research on it.



THIRD TRIMESTER
They say this is this trimester where hormones run the wildest but I think I was fine. I felt that my temperament was worse during the first 2 trimesters, mainly due to the discomfort I felt.

Having insomniac nights or waking up in the middle of the nights was common. It upset me, but did not cause me very much discomfort in the daytime.




Diet-wise, I cut back on carbohydrates because by the end of the full term I gained 20 kilograms. My Gynae had wanted me to gain about a kilo a month so by his standard i was severely overweight. Other than that, I had a lot of fruit and proteins in my meals.

We should be attending some parental courses but never seemed to find time. Friends passed me some good books to read but I could not get started on them as well. Google became my best friend. I found myself constantly searching for "can pregnant women do / eat / drink xxxxx?"

Physically, the giddiness and adverse to scents lessened, but not completely.

My skin started to become more sensitive and itchy, especially the skin on my legs and ankles. I was fortunate that my face was fine - I didn't have super oily skin nor pimples popping all over.




My feet and legs became very swollen; shoes had to be expanded. I loved the 2 pairs of Ecco shoes I got as they were comfortable and looked good. Fortunately I did not have cramps which could be really painful. I did experience numbness in my hands and fingers frequently though.

I became heavier and clumsier. Certain chores that could be done in 5 minutes; I needed 10 minutes by now. I could not bend down or bend over. Getting out of bed required a lot of efforts. 




Despite my heavy weight and I was close to my Estimated Delivery Date ("EDD"), I was still actively going around appointments and events. 6 days before the actual EDD, I could still find a nice evening gown to wear for a gala event (see picture at top of post).

Gynae visits became a weekly affair by now.

By last few weeks we should start feeling contractions in the womb. The initial contractions would be so mild, we'd often confuse it with Baby's kicking. Then they get more intense. Doctor advised keeping in my bag a change of clothes, disposable underwear, maternity pads and a disposable sheet in case water bag burst while I was out.

We were also advised to pack the Hospital Bag and put it in the car, to prepare for Baby's arrival anytime. The bag should include supplies I would need for hospital stay, clothes for Baby, etc.




Emotionally, oh well, keeping busy is vital. It adds meaning to life and prevents us from over-thinking. I did have my moments of paranoia fearing that my hubby might have another hunny- so trust and communication are very important.

By now you would also realise that everyone around you is dishing out advice on what to do and what not to do during pregnancy. I dislike especially the superstitious advice that have no basis - I walked around a funeral parlour pretty often lol. It's all in the mind and heart. Everyone means well, but take all advice with a pinch of salt. Someone would tell you to take more bird's nest whereas another would ask you to abstain from it. Let's just say that each mother's body and baby's body are different; take everything in moderation.

Don't give yourself too much stress. The way we feel affects our babies greatly. Enjoy the pregnancy journey while it lasts.

My next chapter of The Mommyhood Series would focus on Prenatal Massage and Facial by SchoeMama @ Takashimaya. Keep a close lookout for it.




Backtracks

(i) The House-Hunting Series
(ii) The Honeymoon Series
(iii) The Nuptial Series
(iv) The Mommyhood Series (i) - Receiving The News






Wednesday, 31 July 2019

The Mommyhood Series [i] - Receiving the News



With the end of my House Hunting Series (click here to read more), the next step should come naturally - family planning. Or rather, it has always been in the pipeline. Me being a systematic person, I needed the step-by-step of marriage, honeymoon, new home before baby(ies).

We started trying shortly after securing the new home. From friends' experiences and my own perception of our lifestyle + my body (stress resulting to irregular menses), I estimated at least 6 months before we might get any results. I prayed we didn't have to resort to Intro-vito (IVF) or TCM, etc.




So life went on a hectic pace - me studying for and taking the RES exams, us packing for moving house, us packing for a 2-week Australian trip, and my usual wine sessions with friends. The missed menses, slight weight gain and short tempers were all attributed to these hectic activities, of course.

I returned from Australia in mid-November. The trip itself was okay - I ate and drank whatever. Toward the end of the trip, I began to feel somewhat unwell. The unpleasant feeling got worse even when we returned to Singapore. I began to feel strongly adverse toward a lot of things such as Ramen, red wine (!!!), etc; and my sense of smell sharpened immensely. I even began to feel giddy or headache towards a lot of things - like smells I was adverse to, bright lights, small fonts, etc.




Hunger pangs also prevailed - in Australia I had attributed them to queasiness, but now I began to have my sneaking suspicions. Bought a couple of pregnancy test kits to satiate my own curiosity. Then went to see a doctor to ascertain that I was pregnant.

Researched for good gynaecologists and asked friends for recommendations. Settled on a seasoned doctor from Thomson Medical Centre, and made an appointment to see him.

Although we were prepared for this pregnancy, the news still took us by (pleasant) surprise. It felt surreal having a little life-form within me, its survival dependent on me wholly. I also began to worry for its health because I drank a fair bit of red wine and ate sashimi in Melbourne, when the tiny baby would have just begun to form.




Other than that, we began to wonder what to buy for the baby, what were the changes needed to be done around the house to welcome this additional member of the family, how we were going to break the happy news to our families, what kind of parents we would be, and what adjustments we needed to make to our lifestyles to accommodate this new member.

The next chapters in The Mommyhood Series will document the 9 months pregnancy journey, including gynae visits, tests to be done, changes, the delivery process itself, and the amount of shopping, etc. Stay tuned.



Backtracks
(i) The House-Hunting Series
(ii) The Honeymoon Series
(iii) The Nuptial Series