July 31, 2009

My birth story

(This post contains some graphic photographs. Read on only if you won't faint at the sight of blood.)

July 22, 2009
I woke up at 4.45am for a pee, and when I went back to bed, I suddenly felt this rather strong contraction. I waited for the second, and the third, and the fourth…just to be sure that it's no false alarm again. By then, the contractions were coming fast and furious, about 3 – 5 minutes apart. I quickly woke hubby up, and a moment later, we were on our way to the hospital.

I settled into the labour room at about 5.30am, while hubby sorted out the admission. The midwife performed a vaginal examination, and it was so anti-climatic when I was told that I was 5cm dilated. I mean, it's been a whole day since I was at the obstetrician clinic and I was still ONLY 5cm dilated??!! Anyway, I was strapped to the CTG for foetal heartbeat monitoring and I asked for it to be removed the moment it was done, as I wanted to remain mobile for as long as possible. The contractions were quite bearable and I tried to cope by changing positions, and some relaxing music on my discman (not iPod unfortunately, haha!).

At about 7.15am, the contractions were becoming very intense and I felt the urge to bear down. Another vaginal examination revealed that I was already 7 – 8cm dilated. I asked if it was too late to ask for pethidine, and there was a chorus of YES! They offered me gas and it did take the edge off the contractions. My obstetrician arrived shortly after and I was already fully dilated by then. However, it appeared that the baby's head hadn't descended low enough.

Strangely, at this point, the urge to push had totally dissipated, so I had to just push whenever I felt a contraction coming. I had forgotten how to push effectively and after several waves of contractions, I still couldn't push baby out. By then, I was already feeling rather tired, and my obstetrician asked if I wanted to try vacuuming. I asked to take a short rest and after 2 – 3 waves of contractions, baby finally made her appearance at 7.45am.

Baby was placed on my chest immediately after birth while the nurses placed a suction tube into her mouth and nostrils, and throughout the second stage of labour when the placenta was being delivered.

Placenta and umbilical cord - organs that provided sustenance for baby for the past 40 weeks

Shortly after, the nurses wrapped her up and checked her weight, etc. before passing the baby back to me. I put her on my chest and she immediately suckled like a pro.

Vital stats: Weight - 3.7kg, Length - 52cm, Head circumference - 34cm

Back in mummy's arms

In fact, she suckled twice before I was transferred to the maternity ward at 10.15am. Baby was then cleaned up in the nursery and checked by the paediatrician.

All cleaned up and fresh like morning dew

Flowers from papa and Yiu Yiu

Overall, I had a wonderful, drug-free birth experience, just as I had always wanted it to be. I was alert throughout the whole birthing process, including stitching of the episiotomy, save for a few moments of grogginess after inhaling too much gas. I even had breakfast in the labour room after the birth, and received my first visitors in my room at 11am.

It was very different compared to my first birth where I was induced and had pethidine injection. The pethidine made me really sedated and I was basically drifting in and out of consciousness, not to mention the nausea that followed. The way they handled the baby after birth was also very different. Yiu Yiu was taken away for cleaning up the moment she was birthed, even before I had a chance to look at her. If I remember correctly, I didn't even hold her in my arms till I was transferred to the maternity ward – but then, I'm not sure if it was due to my semi-conscious state. The only memorable part about my first birth was the ease of pushing Yiu Yiu out – she was out with just two pushes. But then, she was only 2.5kg at birth, compared to her sister at 3.7kg.

July 29, 2009

Days leading up to the birth

Saturday, July 18
Term +1. I was already 2.5cm dilated but surprisingly, there are no contractions at all. ZILCH!

Monday, July 20
Had lunch at Jaya One and swung by my obstetrician's clinic to ask if it's OK to wait another week before induction. He advised against doing – his reasons being baby will continue to put on weight and I may have difficulting delivering her. Furthermore, the risk of stillbirths increases with each week post-term. He also told me that the theory of +/-2 weeks was derived before the advent of ultrasound scanning to determine gestational age, and many O&Gs do not subscribe to that anymore since ultrasound scans these days provide an accurate estimate of gestational age. I decided to heed his advice, as just last year, a colleague lost her stillborn daughter, who weighed 4.5kg.

I started feeling fairly regular contractions, 20 – 30 minutes apart at 8pm, increasing in frequency to about 10 – 15 minutes apart by 10pm. I was quite sure I would need to go to the hospital soon, and was contemplating whether I should call my elder sister, who's staying nearby, to stay the night in our house and watch over Yiu Yiu, just in case we needed to go to the hospital. But then, I fell asleep and nothing happened.

Tuesday, July 21
I got a little worried over the lack of action last night, despite the earlier contractions and sms my obstetrician early in the morning. He asked me to see him in the clinic just to ensure that everything is OK. Surprise surprise, I was already 5cm dilated, and I'm still perplexed at the lack of contractions.

I had taken leave as there was a fire drill in the office and since hubby is also on leave, I suggested we go shopping, hoping that the walking will help to speed things up. We even caught the 11am Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince early bird show, my first movie since Kung Fu Panda a year ago.

We had already made arrangements for Yiu Yiu to stay overnight at the babysitter's house, as we had to be at the hospital at 7.30am the next morning. I felt guilty for leaving her at the babysitter, for i should be spending more time with her, today being the last day that I'm exclusively HER mum. From tomorrow onwards, she’ll have to share her mum with her mei-mei. We visited her in the evening, and out of the blue, I thought, "What the heck! We can always send her to babysitter early tomorrow morning before going to the hospital." I asked if she wanted to go home with us, but she said, "It's OK mummy. I stay here tonight because I listen to you." Ha ha…as if, I guess it's like an adventure for her, because even yesterday, she asked if Apek (that's babysitter's hubby) will be sending her to school.

Back home at night, I just rechecked my hospital bag to ensure everything is packed. And there were still NO contractions.

July 27, 2009


I was fit to be discharged from the hospital the day after I gave birth. Unfortunately baby's bilirubin level was 166, with the normal being <150. hubby's birthday at home instead of at the hospital. Anyhow, the paediatrician advised that we continue phototherapy at home for the next three days, so we rented a home phototherapy machine.

We just came back from a visit to the paediatrician to check her bilirubin level. Unfortunately it has risen to 220 but the paediatrician is not so concerned as today is already her 6th day. Nevertheless, he advised us to extend the phototherapy for two more days and check her bilirubin level again on Wednesday.

And mummy has to endure two more days of hot stuffy room in this sweltering weather as we were advised by the phototherapy folks against switching on the air-conditioner when the machine is switched on, as it would be too drying on baby's skin. But that's OK...I just hope her levels will be back to normal by Wednesday.

Updated (Wednesday, July 29, 2009)
We went to the paediatrician again to check on baby's bilirubin level, and to our dismay, it was still hovering around 220. But since it was already her 8th day, the paediatrician wasn't too concerned and even told us to return the phototherapy machine. He said we just need to sun her twice daily over the next few days – between 8.30 – 9.00am and 4.30 – 5.00pm. We'll need to check the bilirubin level again next Monday.

July 24, 2009

Hubby's birthday

Today is hubby's birthday. And his birthday present?

His newborn daughter and her mummy came home from the hospital to spend the day with him.

P/S: Yes, I finally popped. Will update more when time permits.

July 21, 2009

Bento post #96 – #100

Here's what Yiu Yiu took to school last week:

Monday – flower-shaped Gardenia Butterscotch bread with home-made meatballs and mangoes. The box came back with the meatballs and mangoes untouched.

Tuesday – chicken floss onigiri with butterfly-shaped pear slices. I hadn't bought any seaweed so my onigiri had to do without its "clothings". Haha! As suspected, she finished all three pieces of onigiri, coz she loved chicken floss and white rice. She can just have a full meal of plain white rice, if we don’t insist she eats them with other accompanying dishes.

Wednesday – half a chocolate-flavoured mantou, two sausage man (idea from here), and butterfly-shaped guava slices. I only gave her half a mantou as I knew there's no way she would finish one whole piece, but even then, I was proven wrong!

Wanna see how the bento box came back?

Tell me, how not to be "sakit hati" (heartache)? She just scraped the surface of the mantou and ate one of the button mushroom. The half-eaten sausage was my doing...I took a bite before the thought of taking this photo as evidence struck me.

Thursday – she's been bugging me to cook some macaroni and cheese for her, again, under the influence of Barney shows which she watches during our daily commute. In one particular episode, Baby Bop prepared a picnic of macaroni and cheese for BJ and their friends. So this obliging mummy bought a can of cream sauce and cooked tuna penne (I didn't have macaroni at home) for her. Apparently she didn't eat a single bite, though she finished the watermelon. Should I be more "sakit hati" over this, or over Wednesday's bento?

Friday – Gardenia Butterscotch bread again, this time in the shape of dolphins and a heart, with a flower-shaped hard boiled egg, and orange pieces. The hard-boiled egg, as usual, didn't turn out nice as the egg was too small for the mould so the shape wasn't imprinted well. In the pink bottle is some soya sauce for the egg. She finished the egg and orange, but proclaimed her dislike for the dolphin bread. Can't believe this was my 100th bento box for her!

July 19, 2009

My baking experiment, after umpteenth years

I used to bake and cook a lot when I was younger. Mum was a homemaker until I was in Standard Three, when she had to work to supplement the family's income. So the responsibility of cooking for the family fell on me and my sisters. And I took Domestic Science as a subject for my SRP (the equivalent of PMR now) exam so I learnt cooking, baking, sewing, etc in school from Forms 1 – 3.

As a teenager, I enjoyed trying out new recipes when preparing dinner dishes, and loved to bake during the weekends too. Back then, there was no electric mixer, or rather, we couldn't afford an electric mixer so everything was done by hand. So you can imagine how tedious and how long it took, to manually cream butter and sugar for cakes, prepare dough or batter. But ever since I left home for university, I had not baked a single thing.

Since Yiu Yiu started school, I've been thinking of baking cupcakes, muffins, etc for her bento box. But we didn't have an electric oven until recently. And since there's a comb of over-ripe bananas at home, I decided to bake banana cake. So after my visit to the obstetrician yesterday, I went to shop for baking supplies, and started my project soon after reaching home.

Mashed banana, flour with bicarbonate soda and baking powder, egg, creamed butter and sugar

Ready for the oven

The finished product - looks OK right?

There was extra mixture after I had spooned them into the 12-cavity muffin tray, so I baked the rest in a loaf pan. The results – I ate two slices cut from the cake baked in the loaf pan, and they tasted like, well, banana cake, but were slightly moist. I didn't try any of the cupcakes, but hopefully those would be drier since they were baked with smaller amount of mixture.

July 18, 2009

Term +1

It's funny how everyone tells me that second birth will normally be early, and I had actually mentally prepared myself for an early birth. However, July 17 had come and gone, and yet, there are still no signs of baby. She's probably too comfy inside the womb and wants to stay on a little longer.

This morning I went to see my obstetrician as he wanted to make sure that there's still adequate amniotic fluid, and that baby is still thriving well. Everyone is still in good order and when he checked my cervix, he asked if I was sure I wasn’t having any contractions yet! Apparently my cervix has effaced. Embarrassingly, I don't quite know how normal labour contractions feel like, as Yiu Yiu was born after an induced labour, as I developed pre-eclampsia and proteinuria towards the last two weeks of pregnancy. I did feel some tightening this morning, but I brushed it off as baby moving vigorously in the limited space of my womb.

Anyway, he booked me for induction of labour next Wednesday – that's the day he performs all his planned deliveries, either via Caesarean or induction - if things are not moving along. However, he is confident he'll see me in the labour ward before Wednesday. I certainly hope so.

For the record, baby weighs 3.4kg from the scan (Yiu Yiu was only 2.5kg at birth), and mummy has put on only 11kg. However, I started at 6kg heavier compared to my first pregnancy. I'm hopeful that with breastfeeding, I'll be able to lose all these excess weight in the next couple of months.

July 16, 2009

Drawing and writing

Yiu Yiu used to doodle a lot, but her drawings were most incomprehensible. Since attending art classes a month ago, I noticed that her drawing has indeed improved quite a bit. Not bad, considering she has only attended maybe four classes. This is a picture of some flowers she drew several days ago. The biggest one is papa flower, followed by mummy flower, Yiu Yiu flower and baby flower.

And this is a sketch of me which she just drew. She said it's a picture of me when I was young, thin and pretty! So does it mean I'm now old, fat and ugly? Ha ha! Pardon the stickers around the picture – she simply grabbed the nearest book, which happened to be her sticker book, and sketched the picture.

She has recently also taken an interest in learning to write her name, an influence from the Barney CD which she watches during the daily journeys to kindy in the morning and back home in the evening. Notice the four boxes beneath her name? Again, one box each for papa, mummy, Yiu Yiu and baby.

July 14, 2009

Of marriage, babies and career

We were on our way to attend my classmate's wedding dinner when she had this Q&A by herself.
Why your friend wants to get married? He wants to have baby like you ah?

While patting my tummy…
Mummy, when I grow up, I get married and have baby like you.
Phew!!! Lucky she gets the sequence correct. Let's hope she keeps to this sequence when she grows up.

While discussing sleeping arrangements…
Mummy, now I sleep with you and papa. When I grow up and get married, I'll sleep with my husband.

What she wants to be when she grow up…
Yiu Yiu: Mummy, when I grow up, I want to become a doctor.
Mummy: Wah, you want to become a doctor ah? Then you must study hard, you know.
Yiu Yiu: Why must study hard?
Mummy: Then only you can go to university and learn how to become a doctor.
And so these days, she'll tell me that she needs to study hard so she can become a doctor.

But sometimes…
Yiu Yiu: Mummy, why do I need to study hard?
Mummy: So that you can become a doctor when you grow up.
Yiu Yiu: No, when I grow up, I want to become a mummy like you.

And yet at other times…
Mummy, when I grow up, I want to become my colleagues' colleague.

July 12, 2009

Bento post #91 – #95

I keep complaining that Yiu Yiu never eats the food I prepare for her at school, preferring instead to have the biscuits given by the kindy, and yet, week after week, I still wake up early to prepare food for her, much to hubby's amusement. So here's what she brought to school this week:

Monday – pan-fried chicken drummets with slices of jackfruit. She finished the jackfruit at school and only nibbled on one of the drummets.

Tuesday – a simple soya sauce noodles with french beans and carrot cut-outs, and the last piece of jackfruit. She told me that she finished the noodles, had the french beans with her lunch at babysitter's but didn't eat the carrots.

Wednesday – two pieces each of potato wedges and chicken nuggets, and some rose apples. In the blue strawberry container is some tomato ketchup. She loves ketchup so I was hoping that the ketchup would be the incentive for her to finish the wedges and nuggets. She did finish the wedges at school, but left the nuggets, complaining that they were hard. I don't quite understand, coz this fresh batch of nuggets were made with minced chicken meat, so they shouldn't turn out hard. Perhaps I had overcooked them?

Thursday – being a little lazy to prepare much, I just stuffed some chicken floss into a pita pocket, and threw in some rose apples. As expected, she dug out the chicken floss, and left the pita bread, complaining that it had turned hard.

Friday – instead of giving her just hard boiled eggs, I thought I'd make an omelette with french beans, carrot and cheesy sausage. She woke up while I was cooking and when she saw the omelette, she immediately said she didn't want them :-( I packed them off for her anyway, with some bear-shaped guava slices, in the hope that she'd at least take a bite or two. But when I checked with the babysitter, again, my efforts were in vain.

July 10, 2009

Spending time with cousins

Another thing that Yiu Yiu has been talking about lately is how long it has been since she last went swimming at 大姨姨 (my elder sister) apartment. On Sunday, together with mum, elder sis, and younger sis and her family, we made a trip to Nilai Memorial Park to pay respects to dad.

And when we got back, the whole troop went over to elder sis's apartment for a dip in the pool. The children (Yiu Yiu, Yihao & Xiaoyu) enjoyed themselves tremendously splashing in the water, so much so that they refused to leave the pool even though they were visibly shaking with cold.

Yiu Yiu with 小姨姨, 大姨姨 and Xiaoyu

I love these happy shots of her

The hyperactive threesome skipped their nap that day so by the time we went out for dinner, Yihao and Xiaoyu had knocked off, but my energizer bunny was still going strong, and only finally fell asleep close to her regular bedtime.

July 07, 2009

Quick outing at TTDI park

I thought Bagan Lalang would be our last outing with Yiu Yiu before mei-mei joins the family but turned out, we went for another quick outing at Taman Tun Park last Saturday. It's been a looooong time since we went there and out of the blue, Yiu Yiu said she wants to go to the park to play sand and water. Hubby was having a guys' day out, and since I'd plan to have dinner outside with Yiu Yiu anyway, I obliged.

We arrived pretty late so she only got to play for about 40 minutes before we had to leave as it was getting dark. Anyway, she left the park a happy gal, even though the stream was pretty dry that evening.

July 05, 2009

Bento post #86 – #90

Bentos for this week:

Monday – I would normally fry whatever leftover rice accumulated over the week during the weekend, so if Yiu Yiu ever gets a fried rice bento, it would be Monday. Gave her two slices of rose apple for fruits.

Tuesday – mum bought some chicken floss during our trip to Tanjung Sepat/Bagan Lalang last weekend and I was surprised that Yiu Yiu liked them. So I decided to make some chicken floss bread roll for her. It's been some time since I last rolled bread so it turned out rather visually unappealing. At the side were some slices of rose apple. Babysitter said she wasn't interested in the bread, but simply dug out all the chicken floss.

Wednesday – chocolate chip muffin with chicken home-made chicken nugget, a fresh batch I made over the weekend. Still had some rose apples so off they went into her bento box for some vitamins. The box came back with the nuggets untouched, and maybe only one or two slices of rose apple eaten. Rose apple used to be one of her favourite fruit but I noticed that she wasn't very keen on them the last two weeks.

Thursday – she came home the day before with a red bean pau from the babysitter, and said that she wants to bring it to school the next day. So it was a quick steam of the pau in the morning, cut it into half and packed it into the bento box for her. Added two cheesy sausages for protein and guava slices for fruits, both of which came back untouched.

Friday – orange flavoured muffin and home-made fish fingers. Mum gave us some jackfruits, which she loved so packed one piece for her. Save for the jackfruit, the rest came back untouched, yet again.

This week was kind of a record breaking week, coz usually, even if she can't finish the food in school, she'd at least eat them at the babysitter's. But this week, for several days, so many things came home untouched. I'm getting truly disheartened that all my efforts are going down the drain and am seriously contemplating taking a break from packing food for her. I told her several times over the weekend that I won't pack food for her next week but she wasn't too happy about it. So, the million dollar question is – to pack or not to pack?

July 03, 2009

All ready for the big day

The clothes, traditional cloth diapers, mittens and booties, handkerchieves, bibs, and bouncinet nettings have all been washed…

The presents (from Yiu Yiu to baby and from baby to Yiu Yiu) are wrapped up…

Shopping is completed for miscellanous small items like cloth diaper fasteners, waterproof mattress pads, disposable diapers, cream for nappy rash, wet wipes, cotton, etc.

The hospital bag is packed…

A selection of names has been chosen…

All that's left now is counting down the days…

July 01, 2009

Weekend outing at Bagan Lalang

It's been some 10 months since we last went to Bagan Lalang and since Yiu Yiu's art class on Saturday was canceled, we decided to make a trip there. We started with a late seafood lunch at Ocean Restaurant at Tanjung Sepat, our regular haunt whenever we go there. It's located just beside the famous Lover's Bridge, so we didn't miss the opportunity to take some shots there as well.

Fishing boats lined up at the river mouth

We then proceeded to the Bagan Lalang Beach, and it was almost 3.30pm then. It was low tide and the beach stretches out as far as the eyes can see. Since there wasn't any water, Yiu Yiu was contented with flying kites and playing with sand. We forgot to bring along her sand toys, and she fussed a little about it, but all is promptly forgotten the moment she sat on the beach and started digging with her bare hands. I didn't quite notice it before but the sand at Bagan Lalang beach is so powdery fine. Hubby practised his photography skills using the Canon 450D, while I was also clicking away with my Olympus compact.

Yiu Yiu busy manouvering her kite, while Papa was busy snapping away

Doing a split in the sand

She finally couldn't resist and asked to walk further out to where patches of water could be seen.

Walking out to the water...see how far the beach stretches out

Finally, I can splash some water

Along the way, we saw so many tiny crabs and snails.

After washing her down with bottles of water that we brought, we left at about 5pm. Next time, we should make a point to go there before noon, when the tide is high so at least she gets to play in the water. Anyway, this will probably be our last family outing as a threesome (not literally though as mum came along) before she has a mei-mei joining her in these outings.