the fourth month of maternity leave

helluuuu. once again, the month started out wonderful: Watermelon was smiling and cooing more, and even started to giggle! the first time i heard her giggle, i was like, “what is that sound? is that a new cry?” only to realise that ohhhh, she is laughing lah. (with her abah, who else? ๐Ÿ™„) (he wasn’t even that funny) (all he did was ask where she was) (and she LAUGHED!) (whuuud) (clearly she does not know who the funnier parent is)

also as usual, we ran into a rough patch somewhere in the middle of the month. her beautiful sleep habits got ruined. nooooo! on one bizarre night, she woke up at 3+ am for a feed and remained awake, chatting away. i was like hello??? it’s 3am??? normal people go back to sleep???

on other tough nights, she refuuuused to sleep or cried lots in the wee hours, which is not her usual behaviour. still don’t know what caused that. could have been a vaccination side effect; growth spurt; the infamous 4 month sleep regression; or very likely, all of the above.

but! to have a smiley and occasionally giggly baby is really sweet lah, masyaAllah. so i say this milestone overpowered the fact that she was fighting sleep like an MMA gal. 

things have suddenly improved dramatically and she’s sleeping for longer stretches than before. yay alhamdulillah, what a nice treat ๐Ÿค— though they say it ain’t over till it’s over, so who knows when things will change again. plus her next jab is coming up soon, so not looking forward to another regression  ๐Ÿ˜•

also, team work with the spouse and a sense of humour goes a long way during tough times!

other exciting happenings: i’ve been introducing dangling toys to Watermelon (e.g. the baby gym that i bought super early in my pregnancy) and it’s been lovely observing her stare up the toys before tentatively reaching out for them. she still hasn’t been able to grasp or appreciate the (non-dangling) stuffed toys i got her though. hopefully soon!

in spirit of our 2nd wedding anniversary earlier this month (yay!), i signed us up for a family photoshoot. and got myself a make up artist teehee. it rained lots on the scheduled day, though. i was facing the windows as my MUA @cleochangmakeup worked on me, watching as it poured outside. in my heart, i prepared myself for the worst: that the make up would be for nothing; that the money i paid her to doll me up would go to waste; that i would have to pay for a makeover again if we had to reschedule the shoot. but syukur alhamdulillah the weather improved, and so the shoot went on at Coney Island.


her latest thing, playing with saliva bubbles


the weather cleared up and we got to shoot against gorgeous light through the trees!


planting a giant yawn into my tudung. also, i got some babywearing shots done!


NG doing his funny thing to make her laugh ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„


two little kisses for our daughter!


her toes against the light ๐Ÿ’• so glad i rushed to wash this dress the night before

Mira from Tiny Toes (a spin off from Colossal Weddings) was absolutely lovely to work with. she works hard, she has a good eye for great corners to take photos at, and she gives simple and clear directions to help with the posing. will totes recommend to anyone looking for a maternity shoot.

ya actually her package is for pregnant mamas, but i ownself turned it into a family shoot coz i wanted nice photos of Watermelon while she’s still a tiny squish. and of me and NG while we’re young and healthy. hopefully these will make nice photos to look back on say 10 years from now.

what else … oh yes, i’ve been very anxious about whether i can pump enough milk for Watermelon once i return to work. i believe i have enough supply for her whenever we direct latch, but for some reason my body doesn’t seem to respond well to my breast pump. i mean, i see photos of filled-to-the-brim bottles of expressed milk, usually on those lactation cookie instagram accounts, and think to myself that my current yields are so far from that.

so i spoke to an experienced mummy friend and did some reading on Breastfeeding USA and lactation consultant Nancy Mohrbacher’s blog and learned that research has found that babies aged between 1 to 6 months drink on average 90-120ml of milk per feeding. this is a lot more doable, and means that i don’t need to pump full bottles (~150ml) per session. i guess i’m stressed because i don’t know what i don’t know, and i really hope that everything will balance out and work out perfectly. like maybe she’ll drink more whenever she’s with me to make up for any shortfalls in my pumping. above all, i just don’t want her to cry from being hungry while at infantcare, which would create undue pressure on her caregivers there and eventually, on me. 

as it is, mama kraken keeps giving me the Tepung Talk (milk powder talk) and i have to keep insisting that we’re doing fine. 

as for Korean dramas, earlier this month we watched Signal. omg omg omg it is SO GOOD. a little intense at some parts, the plot twists are riveting, and there’s real good acting everywhere. plus all the main characters are so likeable. so glad our friend recommended it to us. 

NG had a super long 3 week reservist cycle this month. an interesting experience because (i) i practised driving after a long time, (ii) i practised driving with Watermelon alone behind, and (iii) his fixed schedule made me feeling feeling SAHM (coz normally, his work hours are flexi). verdict? i was motivated to be more hardworking and while it did feel nice, i’m not sure i have the sanity to be a full fledged SAHM. i got left behind alone with baby from morning till night for two days in a row and already felt burnt out and was whining ๐Ÿ™Š๐Ÿ™Š so here’s a salute to all single and stay at home mums!

the third month of maternity leave

so, the month started well: Watermelon was generally easy, and i was getting a better hang of things. we began to understand her different cries. she had a predictable poop pattern, which gave me a peace of mind when we went out, coz i only had to worry about wet diapers.

week 10 rolled by, and then the growth spurt happened. oh lordy. it was a huge test of my iman. instead of crying, she was freaking yelling the house — no, i mean the block — down. she fought naps. and refused to sleep in her cot, by waking up every 15-30 min in the early night ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

i raised the white flag and let her sleep in our bed again, after a month of her sleeping well in the cot. sigh! it felt like ten steps backwards into square one. plus i slept better as a heavily pregnant woman than as a new mummy squeezed into a thin slice of the bed, careful not to crush Watermelon into pulp.

thankfully the phase passed, and she returned to sleeping inside her cot. she still gets clingy and fussy every now and then, during which i try to be veeeery patient.

***

this month, we went out A LOT! for instance, after we collected her passport from ICA Building, we went straight into JB. and have brought her twice more, with mama kraken as well. also started doing morning stroller dates with mummy friends around bedok reservoir, i love love being there during off peak hours. such a luxury!

i feel like i grow a lot as a person whenever i bring my baby out alone. it pushes me out of my comfort zone, and i have to learn how to get comfy, fast. i also have to strategise about a lot of things that i never had to worry about pre-Watermelon e.g. stroller vs ring sling, back pack vs tote, etc.

the first time i brought her alone was to Tampines interchange. in the feeder bus on the way there, she already started crying in the ring sling. ooh, awkward… i tried to remain calm while eagerly anticipating for the bus to reach the interchange, thinking that maybe she preferred me to be walking. then i zipped around the mall running my errands to buy this, and to buy that. before long, she was wailing loudly again, attracting onlookers’ attention. so i popped by the nursing room before heading home. i was terrified of the bus ride back, and even contemplated walking home which honestly might have killed me given the shopping bags, but thankfully she slept throughout. phew! what a memorable first experience though.

the gahmen allowed open strollers on buses earlier this month, and so i tried it once. it’s still not very easy, because there was a medium sized gap between the bus and bus stop kerb. i froze at the exit doors, not knowing what to do. luckily this kind uncle who chatted me up about Watermelon also happened to alight at the same bus stop, and he helped me carry her stroller over. another phew! moment. that’s when i learnt that when i have the stroller, i have to be a bit more smiley and look more approachable and hopefully attract the good vibes of kind strangers who offer to help โœจ plus the moment i got home, i practised carrying the stroller with Watermelon inside lol. gotta know where to grip!

going out with baby alone sends my stress levels through the roof, espesh when things can’t go as planned. but once i’ve reached home safely, i think to myself: let’s do it again! it’s like a sick addiction.

we also brought her to watch a movie ….. Fast and Furious 8. our friend volunteered to hold her throughout the movie, a request that NG and i gladly agreed to. Watermelon slept through most of it, and stirred herself awake towards the end. she body surfed two bodies down to reach me. i was a bit gancheong trying to latch her swiftly in the dark, and alhamdulillah did not have to struggle much. so we survived the experience, but i’m not sure i would do this again.

***

i’ve also started pumping what i call freedom milk. each bag signifies my freedom to be away from baby. i’ve cashed them in for a movie date with NG (beauty & the beast — thought it was alright, like not much value add from the animated version? whoops), zumba sessions (just two so far — my postpartum fitness level leaves much to be desired) and the best one of all, a trip to the salon. woohoo! i really dressed up for this one, even though i was going alone. haha.

i guess i’m a little more used to pumping now, than when i first started out. i aim for once a day, though sometimes i miss sessions. or sometimes i don’t pump, and instead collect milk in my Haakaa silicone pump throughout the day.

bottle training went relatively smoothly, though i had to “downgrade” her teat from the 1 month old’s to newborn’s. all these from the Avent Newborn Starter Kit (Natural) which i bought from my first baby fair. i was worried i was introducing the bottle too early at 7 weeks, but on hindsight, it was a good time, otherwise a little late. i’m using the smallest bottle size because i’m paranoid about Watermelon swallowing too much air. plus i’m not the most diligent mama when it comes to burping the baby…

this month’s Korean drama pick was Hello Monster, mostly so i could watch more of Park Bo Gum. *melts into goo* well i quite enjoyed it, loved how the villains were smart and cunning, and a fair match for the smart policemen. 

all in all, the month started well but sadly could not stay that way. moments, whether bad or good, pass quickly. some days i’m like “yeahhh i did it!” and other days i think i’m not going to make it as a new mum. motherhood is a tough teacher … it makes me sad and bitter sometimes. i know i’m not alone but yet, i feel alone.

picking up her infantcare registration forms earlier this week gave me a jolt, though. as tough and rapidly changing things are, it’s not going to be easy going back to work and being away from her for most of the day either, so i better appreciate and enjoy all of this. we’re only in her third month of life, and i’m already missing the first.

the second month of maternity leave

i was hoping that the second month would be easier since i already have one month experience, but no. our second month was as hard, or maybe harder.

some highlights / lowlights:

1. had to settle my own meals. my confinement food catering ended, so in theory i had to start cooking my own meals. in practice, i ordered some meals online, or NG cooked for us, or we ate out. haiz. i’m not the sort to be excited or curious about cooking, and to be honest the kitchen terrifies me. so there is a huge inertia for me to cook. i’d love to cook malay dishes, but i look up the recipes and get turned off by the long list of ingredients … some of which i don’t recognise, heh.

recently, Aida Azlin shared in one of The Shawl Label’s love letters that she wasn’t a good cook when she first got married, but she cooked consistently and eventually got better. reading it gave me some motivation to cook even if i suck at it. i can learn from my mistakes as i try to cook more, so hopefully i’ll get better. in time for ramadhan, especially.

2. babywearing begins! and not to a good start. Watermelon continued crying when i put her in my stretchy wrap on one particular clingy and tough day, and i felt horribly frustrated and paralysed. so i called a babywearing consultant, Nurjanna Ng from Jars of Fluff to my house for a 2h session. she taught me how to wear a stretchy wrap, ring sling, and how to do the FWCC on a woven wrap. she is suuuper nice and friendly, and i really enjoyed our session. i’ve tried watching YouTube videos, but having someone to guide and critique my attempts was so much better. after our session, i sent her photos of my ring sling attempts (it’s harder than it looks, boo) and she gave helpful pointers on how to improve. so i highly, highly recommend her services ๐Ÿ˜Š

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tahnik, aqiqah & majlis kesyukuran

tahnik & cukur rambut – applying honey into newborn’s mouth & first shave of hair

we did her tahnik at home when she turned a week old. we got Uztaz Abdul Aziz from Darul Ghufran Mosque to help shave her head and feed her some honey. he then estimated the weight of her hair and the corresponding donation amount, and we passed him the money to kirim to the mosque for administration. since Ghufran is raising funds for their re-construction efforts, i thought we could have donated to them instead. however, one thing we learnt is that donations from tahnik must go to the poor.

anyhoos it was a good session coz we also chatted on the origins of the sunnah, and discussed tips to help make her hair grow faster hee. we also sought his help to confirm how to write Watermelon’s name in Jawi for her birth certificate registration. luckily i didn’t make my own attempt, i would have been sooo wrong!

here’s an IG story that i wanted to share here coz y’all get watermelon references, and some photos of the tahnik. alhamdulillah Watermelon slept through the shaving until she got jolted awake by the sweet sweet honey.

aqiqah – sacrifice of animal on the occasion of a child’s birth

for aqiqah, also done on her one week, mama kraken helped arrange it through a relative who has contacts in Cambodia. they were erm, very enthusiastic. they promptly sent us photos to show the sacrificed sheep, and also the subsequent meal session organised for underprivileged kids. the funny/cute/not really cute thing is that in each photo they had a placard with Watermelon’s name on it and … blood splatters! keeping it very real ๐Ÿ˜ณ

majlis kesyukuran

we also held a majlis kesyukuran for family and friends on Watermelon’s first month anniversary. it’s an idea we’ve toyed with for months, and also meant it to be an open house since we’ve not invited relatives over yet. it was purely a makan-makan session with no marhaban since we already did the tahnik and cukur rambut earlier.

wellll as hosting open houses go, it was pure madness for NG and me! tried to catch up with guests as much as possible, but even then i’m sure there were some who fell through the cracks ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

thankfully Watermelon was not overly fussy during the event though i felt bad that her feeding times were delayed. after latching her in my room, i’d throw on my nursing cover and go back outside to catch them guests. think she was so tired that she would fall asleep immediately despite me being sweaty and the warmth from the crowd.

alhamdulillah, although the idea was to share some rezeki with guests out of gratitude that Watermelon has been safely delivered, our guests shared rezeki with us instead โค may Allah swt multiply their rezeki back! aamiin.

oh yes and i got to order a huge 10 inch thai iced milk tea birthday cake for NG and some chocolate/salted caramel pods from my baker friends. love it when i have an excuse to order sweet treats heheh.

regret not taking a family photo with NG and baby before the event started ๐Ÿ˜ฆ so here’s my favourite photo of Watermelon instead. this was taken by her dad in our bedroom back when she was less than a week old. can’t wait for her hair to grow back! โญ

the first month of maternity leaveย 

Dr Harvey Karp from the Happiest Baby on the Block shared this theory that human babies are immature at birth, compared to other mammals. human babies’ brains are only 25% of their adult size, while other mammal babies’ brains are between 60% to 90% of their adults’. human babies are born 3-4 months earlier, before their heads become too large to pass through the birth canal. that’s why this period is sometimes referred to as the “fourth trimester”.

our first month at home has been about getting to know Watermelon and her temperaments. the first night at home, she wailed and wailed instead of falling asleep. NG and i stared at her blankly as we exhausted the different soothing tricks we learnt during our childbirth class — none of which worked. i was so desperate i almost wanted to Phone a Nenek for some emergency help.

on hindsight though, i would have given her the boob. i didn’t at that time because i had this notion that newborns feed every 3-4h in the early days, and i had just fed her. i didn’t know that babies can want feeds that are 5 min apart. but now i do. ha! and also the day that Watermelon becomes inconsolable by the boob will be the worst day of my life. it’s been a great solution for almost everything hurhur.

luckily we didn’t have anymore wailing + panicked nights. nonetheless the first few nights were still scary. i took things night by night, and learnt to adjust to her various behaviours. some nights i was sooo tired during feeds because i hadn’t napped enough in the day. other nights were quite shiok because she slept relatively long, usually when she’s beside me in bed. there was one night in the first week which was a good night because she mostly slept in the cot. the thing i still struggle with is getting her to sleep in her cot peacefully. it’s something i really want to work towards for the long term, but i think i’ll give us more time coz some nights i really don’t have the perseverance to re-nurse her to sleep after she wakes up crying in the cot. hai~

i also noticed that she seemed calmer around both our mums and my makcik urut. apparently babies can sense if you’re anxious or scared, so i tried to work on my ~energy~ in the initial days, as abstract as that sounds. tried to be more calm and firm, especially when swaddling her. makcik urut even joked that her hands have handled so many babies that Watermelon can probably smell her “members” and therefore feels relaxed/assured by it. lol!

but yes going by the fourth trimester theory above, sometimes i pity her also lah. nine months of being in a womb and suddenly out in this big, open world … because i miss my pregnancy, she would have been welcome to stay longer. notwithstanding the problems that will arise from that, this is just my fantasy talking ya. so sometimes i will “manjakan” her and let her sleep in my arms, on or beside me, so she knows that i’m still around for her.

i hope she will gradually learn to be more independent though coz if we really go the infantcare route, ain’t nobody going to do these for her there ๐Ÿ˜”

other than that, breastfeeding has been going relatively well so far, alhamdulillah. the sweetest parts are to be needed and to be able to give. the least savoury parts are when she wants to nurse AGAIN! and when she wants to nurse during my meal time … almost every time.

i swear babies take a pledge in the womb underworld that goes like this:

we will eat when they want to eat, and will wake up when they want to sleep.

i try not to worry about my milk supply, and instead trust that my body will produce enough based on our direct latching. i’ve not tried pumping yet. i also consciously try not to be overly stressed or upset though this is sometimes hard, very hard.

my confinement food is catered by Nar Bakings’ and Culinary. so far i’m quite happy with the service, though i also don’t have high expectations because it is after all, confinement food. i’m just glad that i get to eat balanced meals and that i don’t have to cook … for now. (cue: horror movie music)

i also opted for a 7-day post natal massage. i was scared that it would hurt but it turned out to be so gooood. it was such a nice treat for myself. the breast massage was the most painful to me, but it helped prevent engorgement and blocked ducts — two things that i don’t know much about, especially in the early days — so i didn’t mind. i cried when the 7 days ended. and sobbed a little more when i saw that sweet makcik urut left a little envelope for Watermelon. heh, hormones!

other first month achievements include watching the Korean drama Goblin! heard friends raving about it and decided to reserve it for my maternity leave. NG taught me how to stream the videos on our TV (i’m so left behind on TV technology) so seeing Gong Yoo’s face on our TV instead of my phone screen is just urgh! ๐Ÿ˜ am currently watching Reply 1988 after seeing a few people mention that it’s one of their all time favourites. it’s funny how much TV i’ve started watching.

i almost can’t believe i’ve been a mum for one month now! some days i still have a bit of an identity crisis, wondering how to juggle my new responsibilities; why women  have it tough when new dads have it seemingly easy; and when my hips will shrink back and stretch marks fade…

can’t wait for her to start smiling and recognising us. till then, Watermelon you sleep lots, get chubby, and grow back your hair ok!!

what was in my hospital bag

here’s my hospital bag list and some notes. the moment where we prepared to exit the car park after 3 days was most scary … haha.

for me

  • night gown to labour in (ya i action choose to wear my own clothes in the delivery suite; it was a cute but worn out BF-friendly dress which i planned to throw away after)
  • husband’s tshirt to also labour in (change of my own clothes in case i wanted to get into the shower for some hydrotherapy)
  • socks – 2 pairs (labour + post delivery)
  • disposable undies (the premium ones from qoo10 here have cottony texture, so much more comfy than the paper-y ones!)
  • cardigan and instant shawl (for when guests visit; i even colour coordinated with expected hospital gown colour)
  • nipple cream
  • water bottle
  • lactation cookies (ordered mine in advance from @mamalait)
  • kurma ajwa and air zam-zam (i asked a friend who had just returned from umrah for some; for snacking and first tahnik by husband)
  • air kurma – ended up forgetting to bring to delivery suite
  • exercise ball – deflated (NUH no longer lends patients theirs)
  • maternity pads (actually no need; ended up using theirs)
  • for going home, a jubah (was advised to pack something roomy enough for a 5 month-ish bump), clean tudung + inner + brooches
  • nursing bra
  • nursing pads (ended up not using these)
  • telekung + sejadah
  • toiletries – toothbrush, shower gel, shampoo, facial wash etc (can check whether hospital will provide you a set, if you’re not picky)
  • preferred soundtracks – we planned to play pre-downloaded recitations from our Quran apps; i also had the Hypnobirthing relaxation tracks which i ended up not using
  • Vicks inhaler – was useful on my first day when the aircon gave me the sniffles; the plan was to do deep breathing during labour, so wanted to clear my airways!
  • make up – snuck eyeliner, eyelash curler and mascara into my handbag before leaving home
  • contact lens – ended up not wearing; also forgot to bring my spectacle casing so i couldn’t clean my glasses properly
  • what i wish i had: extra change of maternity clothes; had to wear back my sweaty clothes when we walked around the hospital next morning, yuck
  • what i wish i had: my own slippers. NG didn’t let me pack coz he wanted to keep the bag light. so i kept borrowing his to go into the toilet, coz wearing my sandals was too troublesome
  • what i wish i had: my dSLR; also shot down by husband. but ok lah, phone camera also not bad.
  • what i wish i had: foldable bag to bring home extra stuff. we made do with plastic bags, but could have been better prepared!
  • what i almost needed: compression socks, to bring down swelling feet. it was a hikmah that i procrastinated buying it in my last week of work, because my water retention miraculously went away on first day of maternity leave. but anyways the hospital pharmacy should sell it too. not cheap though – $70ish? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

for husband

  • 2 sets of clothes (which was almost not enough due to extended stay; will recommend packing extra)
  • sweater
  • energy bars
  • what he wishes he had: pre-paid extra data, because he burnt through his data plan out of boredom
  • what he wishes he had: socks, cause hospital was cold
  • what he wishes he had: instant drinks e.g. milo, tea and his tumbler, coz there was plenty of hot water

for baby

  • 1 romper
  • 1 swaddle
  • 1 set of beanie, mittens and booties
  • stretchy wrap, which i ended up not using coz i wasn’t confident

others

  • handphone chargers (should consider bringing multi-plug too)
  • NRIC
  • marriage cert (we thought we would register baby’s birth cert at NUH but ended up not doing so because (i) we were still undecided on her name and (ii) it’s slightly cheaper to do it at ICA haha and (iii) we were too tired)
  • Baby Blues comic books (konon for some comedy relief during labour or for NG to read when bored, haha)

choice of hospital bag: a check in-sized luggage. which still wasn’t big enough because when we checked out, we had the gift bag from hospital, some gifts from guests (alhamdulillah!) and a basin for me to do my sitz salt bath. i saw another family checking out where the dad had a backpack + 3 big plastic bags to carry. so i say just bring a huge bag with wheels, save yourself the trouble!

hospital parking at NUH: sadly we didn’t know better, and was prepared to pay $275 upon exit after 3 days, based on our per hourly calculations. luckily only kena $75, because they cap per day charges. turns out you can either opt for valet ($6/day + someone will have to collect key in evening when the valet office closes) or buy season parking ($60 for 2 weeks; can aim to include your last 1-2 antenatal visits).

breast pump: i didn’t bring mine because i didn’t think there’s much to pump in the first 1-2 days. in the first 2 days of life, a newborn’s stomach is the size of a cherry, and needs only 1-1.25 teaspoons of colostrum to keep full. if necessary, hand expression would be better; see this helpful Stanford video on how to (thanks Sue for sharing this link!) nonetheless some mummies choose to use their pumps to massage boobs for oxytocin to speed up labour.

kopitiam at NUH: for husbands, NG says the Kopitiam at the Medical Centre is nearer though the one at the Main Building has more selections.

 

watermelon’s birth story

the story started with my waterbag leaking at 1.30am on tuesday morning. at first i thought it was pee, and was like “issit because i never do my kegels?” but then i realised that okay it was probably the waterbag. apparently amniotic fluid has a certain smell but my nose is perpetually blocked so…

put on a pad and went back to sleep. felt my first contractions — like a wave running up my tummy. wasn’t a good sleep, think i managed only 3h. after subuh, i folded the laundry and mended a button on NG’s shirt. basically, things that were supposed to be done already except i procrastinated on my first day of maternity leave (that super rainy everywhere-flooded monday) because i was too happy and only wanted to play. then we left for the airport — wait, not to fly off but for a 2h birth walk to bring baby down, down, down. half an hour into our stroll at T3, i spotted some yellowish-greenish discharge in my pad which alarmed us because what if it’s meconium (baby poop, usually a sign of distress in the womb)? consulted our doula, Azlin from Your Doula Next Door, who advised to check with the hospital. nurse on the phone advised us to come in for a check since it would have been close to 12h since my waterbag leaked.

we headed home to fetch our hospital bag, played some computer games, napped, passed our neighbours some CNY goodies before we left again for the hospital. at the observation area of the delivery suite, the doctors used a speculum to confirm that waterbag had broken. they also strapped me to the CTG machine to check on Watermelon’s heartbeat and my contractions. they wanted us to check in immediately but we wanted to go home to labour, and come back only when my contractions are 3 min apart. at that time, my contractions were maybe 30 min apart? still quite relaxed. the resident kept harping on the fact that the waterbag had broken 12h ago. he didn’t seem as concerned about the discharge as we were. and we weren’t as concerned about the time as he was. but anyways we compromised and agreed to check in to the labour ward around 8pm that night. meanwhile, we went to Kopitiam for a late lunch (was starving!) and walked around NUS for close to 2h with Azlin. also, i declined a VE because (i) once your waterbag breaks, any insertion increases risk of infection (ii) i knew i was still far from full dilation since i was doing okay and (iii) actually i’m just a scaredy cat.

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guess who’s here…

alhamdulillah, Watermelon made her appearance at 39+2 on Wed, 25 Jan 2017 ๐Ÿ™‚ i never expected to have to go through a 41 hour labour, but at least it’s overrr! Allah swt was most Merciful to allow me a gentle and easy birth in the finale, so i still have lots to be thankful for.

we had a lovely stay at NUH. i was telling NG that i especially like one of the nurses here, before changing my mind to say that no, actually i love her. hahaha. the nurses here have been *fantastic* and i would super recommend them to any pregnant mummies out there shopping for maternity services ๐Ÿ™‚ and i will miss my hospital bed with its cool recline/incline buttons! hahaha.

so here’s to the start of our adventure + jihad as parents. may Watermelon grow up to be healthy and happy; steadfast in her deen; and learn to serve those around her. ameen!

musings on infantcare

the other day, I realised that infantcare is more expensive than I thought it would be. the back story is that some time ago, one of NG’s clients told him about the dollar for dollar matching scheme that the govt gives when you contribute to the child development account (CDA). so if you deposit the school fees into the CDA for deduction, you’re effectively paying only 50%.

however I only just learnt that the dollar for dollar matching is capped at $3,000. so if the monthly fees are $750 (after deducting subsidies), it’ll only last us about 8 months of 50% co-payment. dang! I was hoping it could go on forever. ha ha. we’ll also get $3,000 from opening the account, but I know this pool will run out quickly so I was hoping to capitalise on the dollar for dollar matching in the long run.

(after note: alternatively the $3,000 could last 13 months of 70% co-payment, I realise. still not too shabby. 13 months because enrol at 5 months + 13 months of infantcare before qualifying for childcare at 18 months)

so I was feeling a bit down that my cash flow won’t be as free as I thought it would be. and then as timely reminders come, a Facebook friend posted about being grateful about the rezeki you have. and I thought to myself, ah that’s a gentle wake up call. insyaAllah we’ll still be able to tide through the relatively expensive infantcare phase, even if it means I’ll have to give up some of my “fun” money. by the time Watermelon enrols in childcare at 18 months, our CDA benefits would have dried up. but childcare is generally also cheaper so insyaAllah it’ll still work out lah.

anyway, all this mulling and we’ve not even (a) secured her spot or (b) confirmed that we’re doing infantcare. haha. just trying to think ahead!

also, a part of me is a little … sad? … that I’ve always been saving up for the next phase since I started working and will continue to do so. at first it was saving up for the wedding and honeymoon which took about 2+ years, then after marriage it was reno, then now it’s all the baby gear purchases and childbirth prep, and soon it’ll be childcare fees. and who knows, soon after it could be baby no 2 hor? on the bright side, myย milestones didn’t happen serentak, which would have undermined the budget I could target for each of them.

I was hoping for a little break where I could put the money into a Big Holiday fund or something, but I guess I’ll have to squirrel away money every month and allocate a lump sum of my bonuses for that instead. insyaAllah everything’s possible with some planning and discipline, and need to remind myself to always, always be grateful for all that i have.

almost 38 weeks!

one day to 38 weeks and our sweet Watermelon still be harvesting! was so excited to turn full term at 37 weeks. i realised i hadn’t thought about coming this far back when i was taking things one day at a time during the first tri. haha masih eh, the trauma of first tri. seared deep in my mind for now…

i’ve been doing fairly okay, minus feeling extra irritable and occasionally depressed. can i blame it on the hormones? or is it just me being ngada2.

physically, my pelvis has been creaky(?) espesh when i try to get out of bed. water retention has also caught up on me. at first i was upset by my swollen feet … so tak cute pls. i would wriggle my toes and wonder ALL THE TOES ON THIS PUDGY FOOT ARE BELONG TO ME?? then i read on baby centre that water retention — or nama glamour edema — is a sign of our bodies preparing itself for labour, so then i pasrah redha kepada kuasa Tuhan.

baby centre also said that it’s normal for vivid dreams to reappear late into the term, stemming from labour anxieties etc. and they’re right! this time, my vivid dreams are not so much super detailed as in first tri. instead, the plot twists are like fuyoo, exciting ke pe. hahaha.

one time i dreamt i gave birth at 35+ weeks and woke up feeling for my bump to confirm it’s still there. (still was.) another time i dreamt about violence — it involved batman, robin, my house, a particular gun i saw in the movie The Accountant, and betrayal … yeah, toldja. so anyway, i became semi-awake and felt Watermelon moving extra actively. not sure whether she was feeling stressed from the bad dream (i was about to die after realising that it’s not physically possible for me to be hiding under a couch with a 36 week bump), or she wanted to wake me out of the dream (it worked!) or it was just her playing as usual in the wee hours of the night (our girl runs on nightclub hours, you see).

popped by the baby fair at expo this weekend and quickly zipped around the booths to get the cot mattress, mattress protector, cot bedsheet (just one first out of desperation, because the selection wasn’t “hygge” enough for me lulz, seriously kraken your priorities…), bamboo towels and a pillow. think we were done in 20 mins or less? heh. i wanted to get wet bags too but the nice designs had already sold out by friday evening. seriously man, if prints matter a lot to you as they do to me, you need to be first at the door on opening day ๐Ÿ™„

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