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? 😮

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.

 

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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 🙂 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 🙂 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!

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 🙄

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babymoon in KL

some time in October, NG and I got scared into planning a babymoon. parent-friends be all like “you should enjoy your couple time now,” “you should go out on Friday nights while you can,” “you should watch movies now because once your kid(s) come, you may not get the chance,” “you should sleep all you can,” and “we used to enjoy doing housework together but nowadays one of us does the housework while the other person has to jaga the baby” etc etc.

travelling at 34 weeks(!) is probably not the best idea but October wasn’t good for me and November wasn’t good for NG, so December it had to be. we drove up to KL over this past Christmas weekend where we rested well and ate well. heheh. splurged on Doubletree Hilton which had a very nice breakfast spread (but must arrive early to properly enjoy). we were torn between this and Sheraton but I mati2 didn’t want a business hotel … only to be served one. Chet! Doubletree is beside The Intermark, which is a mall + office building. seems like it’s a popular choice among business travellers after all. meh. perhaps I should have listened/gave in to my husband re: Sheraton after all ha ha mintak paiseh.

also, I could get away with travelling this late because it’s a road trip. doubt the airlines would let me board yah. I read that preggo ladies should try to avoid reclining for too long so I brought along a pillow to lean on while in the car. and also budgeted an extra day (4d3n instead of our usual 3d2n) so we would have more time to recover and enjoy. not that I did any of the driving but sitting at the passenger seat for long can be very tiring too, kay.

picking a baby name

one of the things on our agenda was to pick a baby name! truthfully speaking, I already chose a name since last year. it’s a word that I came across a few times while ngaji-ing and I thought it to be a virtuous and beautiful name for a girl. if Watermelon had been a boy, I also already have a name in mind. where’s NG in all this decision making you may ask? I also dunno hahaha #lastchildsyndrome #everythingmyway

ok but for months/weeks, we asked ourselves if that one (short) name is enough, or if we wanted a second name. and if yes, what it would be. NG wanted a flower-related name. he wanted to name Watermelon “Mawar” …

“ummm how about Lily? Dahlia?” I counter proposed, somewhat eagerly.

he changed his mind and decided he wanted a name that means “intelligent”. sounds easy right? well actually there’s not thaaat many choices, surprisingly. one of the names that cropped up a lot is “Aqilah”, but his nephew is already “Aqil”. macam dalam banyak-banyak nama, kene rebut itu satu nama jugak eh.

we finally settled on a second name on the way to KL. exciting and fun! feel sooo empowered as parents to be. this is Watermelon’s whole life we are talking about. if we wanted to, we could make life hard for her future husband waktu akad nikah — but I kid, I kid. Continue reading

the lazy bug

friends! I have been feeling so lazy. it’s different from first tri fatigue. fatigue is like “I cannot open my eyes.” third tri laziness is like “oh god I just want to close my eyes.”

alas! baby laundry needs to be done. so I have to snap myself out of my own laziness 😭

I’ve done three small rounds of hand washing so far, and all that squatting and wringing action is giving my body a much needed but dreaded work out. and still lots more to go! for pre-washing clothes, I’m going to *tryyy* be ambitious and hand wash them so they don’t get stretched/ruined in the washing machine before she gets to wear them. once Watermelon is here, I’ll prob zip them up in laundry bags and throw them into the washing machine — never mind if it’s not a full load (and therefore a waste of water and electricity), I don’t think I can sustain lovingly hand washing and rinsing her clothes forever. hee.

for now I’m still able to get out of bed relatively easily, but getting up after sitting down on the floor is another story: a half-sad, half-comical kind of story. haha.

I also sometimes feel tired after walking for a few steps. the advice to “walk a lot” in your third tri sounds easier than it is, espesh now that I have to overcome my low energy.

I booked a prenatal massage sesh for tomorrow. hope it’ll be good!

I start my maternity leave on week 39 onwards, because I wanted to save the bulk of it for after Watermelon’s arrival. but now I’m half-wishing I chose to start at week 38 instead coz going to work is beginning to feel more berat. and it’s not like I have to stand up lots or do anything more strenuous than sitting in my office chair..! luckily the Dec lull period has started, and hopefully will continue to stay.

speaking of which, I’m hoping for Watermelon to be a 39 weeker. hopefully she can wait till I start my ML — though I also think going into labour when at work will spice up my department’s life — and it’s late enough without sending me into the agony of waiting and wondering if I’ll end up having to be induced if we go past 41 weeks 😣 NG said he dreamt she’s a 37 weeker though, so we shall see! Only Allah swt knows. (I’m praying for a January baby though. she might be a February baby if she goes past EDD…)

meanwhile, I’ve been trying to shorten my work weeks since October, by taking half day or full day leave/time off here and there, or making sure I have ad hoc stuff like department retreat or courses to sorta relieve me from the stresses of work. the breaks have been really good! in January I have to work for two full weeks though, so jiayou to me. my own fault for spoiling myself. heh.

second lastly, I was doula-less for a short period two weeks ago. decided to cancel with the initial one after our appointments kept getting postponed because of other things that kept cropping up for her. I was really miserable at the thought of my hopes and plans falling apart (sampai cry in office toilet all, lol so drama) but alhamdulillah, the situation resolved itself with a little more time. she referred me to another doula, whom we successfully met despite a short notice to discuss my birth plan before the doc appointment and to place our deposit. hopefully we are still on track to getting the positive birth experience that I’m envisioning for myself. amiin, amiin.

and lastly! we had the growth scan last week. it was our longest appointment ever because we waited over an hour for the sonographer. by the time we did the scan, my excitement pun dah fade and the novelty of seeing Watermelon on screen had worn off, at least for me 😕

thankfully the doctor was really kind and much gentler than the previous one who seemed to be pressing the Doppler haaard into my tummy. not sure whether it’s a person thing or the fact that a bigger baby (32 weeks vs 21 weeks) means they don’t have to prod us so hard. so anyways! when it came to Watermelon’s face, she used some 4D tech to let us have a look. Watermelon’s hands kept blocking her face so below is the best shot we got. not super flattering, but still pretty cool for a pregnant mum to see 🤗


smiiile!

p.s. gentle reminder to mums who share ultrasound photos online – do remember to crop/block your personal details such as your full name and NRIC! 

32 weeks / 8 months! 

32 weeks and my bump is growing faster than I can say “Watermelon”! her movements are getting stronger and more intriguing. the other night I told NG that it felt like I was sleeping on a hand phone although I wasn’t. like there was something angular poking into my body. haha. I guess I’ll miss this when I’ve safely delivered? insyaAllah. I think I never stop being anxious while pregnant. trying very hard to think and stay positive that everything will go well. amiin, amiin, amiin.

two colleagues have commented that my bump is “very big”. to which my half-snarky answer is that “I’m going to grow even bigger, you know!” at 7+ months you say I’m very big, what are you going to call me when I’m at 9 months?! 😭

but yes, dressing up is starting to be a chore. my list of pre-natal exercises should include “trying to squeeze into my maternity jeans”. *wipes away droplets of sweat* don’t know how many clothes I’ll be reduced to for the next 8 weeks.

I went swimming the other night. each time I choose to go to a public pool to do laps should be considered a significant life event. (the last time I did this was many years ago) mostly because I’m not a strong nor confident swimmer. going into the water makes my head freak out, espesh when I’m passing over the deepest part of the pool. lagi-lagi when I’m forced to use lanes 4-5 because swimming classes are occupying the side lanes 😔

but I think swimming’s good for me. not just for the cardio exercise, but as a practice for me to calm down my thoughts and persuade myself to relaaaaax.

also swimming with hijab is already a logistics nightmare. at least for me, rejecter of muslimah swim suits (sorry!) swimming with a baby bump makes it more complicated. I almost bought a new long sleeve swim top for myself until I realised I could still squeeze into my usual one, for now. it was only underwater that I realised my top likes to ride up, hee. luckily I wear a onesie inside, so nobody was traumatised from any exposed, swollen belly. from a “muslimah swimmer”, no less.

for sake of documentation, other early third trimester symptoms include aching legs (usually after I alight from the car); pressure on my bladder which is very unsettling; wider feet which I think is giving me a blister from the straps of my usual slippers; sweating more easily, etc. I can still clip my toenails myself, for now. my back is looking more and more like the diagram below — I recently complained to NG about GV’s movie seats because it was poking into my back. he laughed and said it’s because you’re pregnant …

oh.

oh yah I also conceded that a balanced diet needs to include chocolates. I trieddd to stay away from them but I can’t. I’ve also been snacking on some desserts and junk food 🙊 I know a little bit won’t kill my baby but omg it really is not easy to uphold a gold standard kind of healthy diet.

also I just finished drafting my birth plan. my favourite resource (after going for classes and relying on the Internetz) is SassyMama. in particular, the language and style of the first one resonates most with me, even though I’m not doing a water birth. well, that’s not the plan … yet. unless NG doesn’t mind spending more to get me the water birth suite heh heh heh. 

we’re doing the 32 weeks growth scan later this week, insyaAllah. excited! will also be running the above birth plan with my gynae. hopefully she’s willing to be on the same page as me. 

oct/nov baby gear haul

wellll so much for waiting for my Nov pay check to continue my purchases after the baby fair. I continued buying stuff in late Oct heh. here’s the haul! first five from good ole Carousell 😀

nov-baby-purchases

1. Cosatto diaper changing station
I know changing diapers on beds/tables/floors work just fine, but I wanted a diaper changing station because my sis had one and I thought it was pretty neat having a diaper changing corner in the house. I was considering Mothercare’s but found it too round/oval and less space efficient. I later read that the problem with these stations is that it’s the right setup for babies to kick you in the stomach so erm hope it doesn’t happen to us *nervous laughter*

2. Jujube Be Right Back in Countess
Out of all the current Jujube designs, I liked Countess the most. You know, geometric and all. The problem is that it’s sold out all over so I camped out on Carousell, searching daily over a few days. I initially wanted the BFF model but had a change of heart and decided on BRB, and lo and behold someone listed one in v good condition. The seller was also one of the sweetest!

Heart pain moment was when I realised that someone finally listed a BFF on the same day I closed the BRB deal, and at a relatively better price too. Oh well!

3. Combi parenting station (Roanju)
Again, another thing I wanted just cause my sis had one. NG said I was turning into an overzealous mother. Whaaaat. It was useful for my niece and nephew kay. I hunted high and low for somethibg like the bassinet that my sister had (7-10 years ago!) and was unsuccessfully looking at Moses baskets, cribs with frills, or minimalist/chio but expensive cribs. Finally I teringat this old post by an Instagram acquaintance which featured just what I wanted, went back to it, and msged her to ask her about the brand and model. Then I found an EUC (excellent used condition) one on Carousell so tadah. This thing rocks (literally) and can be wheeled around the house. Apparently can be used as a high chair too. Hope Watermelon likes it or NG is gonna give me a hard time about this!!

4. Philips 3-in-1 bottle steriliser
Another thing which NG wasn’t keen on — he said we could boil our bottles. It wasn’t until my friend half-jokingly snickered and commented that a bottle steriliser and warmer are more useful than a Tula (which I already have lulzzz) that I kuatkan my semangat to get one. Again from Carousell coz I was sure families grow out of it. Managed to find one with a clean metal plate! (There are many used ones with brown metal plates from calcium deposits, which you can clean with vinegar cuma leceh lah.)

5. Fisher Price Kick and Play Piano Activity Gym
Ok I know, was a little too enthusiastic with this one. I was already strategising/thinking of ways of how to distract her lulz though i probably can’t use it until she’s at least 2 months insyaAllah (approx March/April).

6. Mamypoko Extra Dry Newborn diapers
Hmm I read that you should wait till your baby is born before buying a lot of diapers, so that you can see which brand suits him/her best. But then a pregnant friend on FB shared her diaper stash and I was like hmm I guess it also makes sense to “take the risk” and prepare some packs? So I went on a diaper research and started calculating prices per diaper like a true blue auntie. Snagged a good deal from Lazada on Singles Day ($50.87 vs $71.70), made even sweeter by Shopback’s 9% rebate (-$4.58) woot!

7. Nursing cover from Milc
I went to the Baby Land expo and found it mostly underwhelming! The BabySafe mattress I had in mind is cheaper online..?! To be fair, it was sold by Jarrons (cot brand) and not BabySafe itself. So anyway, the only saving grace from the fair was this super cute cupcake-printed nursing cover. The brand’s IG is @mmmmilcc, though why business pages don’t make themselves public, I’ll never know…

8. Spectra S9+ Breast Pump
Finally ordered from Qoo10. The research process was a bit overwhelming but after talking to colleagues and friends, I gathered that I should get a double pump (as opposed to single pump) and that Spectra is a trustworthy brand from Korea. And that if you buy from Qoo10, you can get it at a steal ($119.90!) albeit with no warranty (or lesser? maybe can send back to Korea but omo so leceh). Anyhoos I picked a portable model (as opposed to hospital grade) so that it’ll be easier to carry around. To be honest, I’m still 50-50 about pumping at work, but we’ll see how it goes…

9. BBB x Solly Baby wrap
I’d been planning to buy a Solly Baby stretchy wrap for some time, after reading a review on the Babywearing Singapore Facebook Group, and decided to wait for the Black Friday sale. Was getting a lil nervous as the USD exchange rate crept up over the weeks (even with the Presidential elections results!) but I’m so happy I waited coz they gave a 20% discount! Yay. Picked a grey with white triangle prints. Watched the tutorial video after adding the item into the cart (lol wrong order of events eh) and it looked manageable enough.

Sooo … with the Black Friday sale this weekend, I ended up grabbing some unplanned things. Like more baby toiletries! Dresses! Bath and Body Works handsoaps! Hai, so bad I tell you. I just hope that in the many months to come, I’ll look back and thank my old self for grabbing the deals while they were there. It’s so funny (and scary) how I hardly batted an eyelid as I added baby dresses into my cart and checked them out. The equivalent for me would be to walk through Zara and happily put things into my basket without reconsidering 2x, 3x, 4x — which I have never done because I would feel so bad about spending three figures on a few pieces of clothes for myself. Haa motherhood and shopping. Watermelon’s not even here yet and I’ve already started. Hoboy!

third tri resolutions + Amani birth class review

when November rolled around, I committed myself to start preparing for labour. I had about 14 weeks to go until I hit 40 weeks. so I came up with a plan to do the following:

1. exercise daily
2. eat healthily + avoid processed food
3. increase my ibadah
4. seek more knowledge on labour and parenting

it’s been hard to chiong on all four fronts, so I’ve been doing what I can. I know I could probably do more, so I’ll try, I’ll try. for one I know I should green juice more often. hoping to pump up my new gym ball and start the exercises + do Zumba weekly too.

Amani natural birthing class review

the class finally concluded last week! I say “finally” coz two (out of five) sessions were postponed because the instructor had to attend to births. so tip number 1 is to budget 2-3 extra sessions in your calendar if your instructor is also actively assisting births and has to cancel class last minute.

overall it was a super informative course and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a gentle birthing experience. of coz I’ve not gone through labour yet so it may be premature for me to vouch for its effectiveness, but insyaAllah I’ll have a positive labour experience 😀 –> must use power of attraction and husnudzon mah. and also as kak fad says, if you take care of your pregnancy, insyaAllah your labour will take care of itself. amiin!

I can’t possibly recap everything because soooo much good stuff was shared, so I’ll highlight my top 3 takeaways from each class k.

session 1: exercise & nutrition
wah a real eye opener on all the things I’ve been doing wrong :p like drinking Coke because konon plain water sucks, when pre-pregnancy I avoided Coke! even NG, who loooves Coke, got worried about how much I was consuming. heheh. i was that bad, guys.

ok so top 3 most interesting facts learned:
– the water in your waterbag refreshes itself! which is why it’s important for pregnant ladies to drink up. babies in wombs also excrete waste, so refreshing our waterbag punya water helps to keep them comfy and clean. “so don’t feel annoyed by the frequent toilet trips!” yes ma’am!
– from kak fad’s experience, a tablespoon-ful of extra virgin coconut oil (cold pressed, not the one for cooking) consumed every day helps with an easy labour. you can swallow (as I do, doesn’t taste bad) or use it to cook or drizzle it all over your rice or add it into a smoothie/juice. personally I use this one, available at NTUC Fair Price Finest. 
– green juicing (blending and drinking green leafy veg + fruits) is very important to help us get the vitamins and minerals we need. the darker green the vegetable is, the better. top of the table is ulam, which she warned can taste a little tajam. can start off with spinach, which doesn’t have a strong taste.
– (gonna cheat and add a fourth) also a diet high in sugar will not help with dilation later. so in the beginning I was quite semangat in avoiding desserts and sweet stuff, but 7 weeks later, I’m starting to miss chocolates and allowing myself some desserts… 😔

session 2: the physiology of birth
a really cool class where we learned details of how natural labour works, and how women’s bodies are perfectly designed for it. SubhanAllah. this class also made reference to the Quran, more specifically Surah Maryam.

– birthing while lying down, with your legs in stirrups, is not the best position for birthing even though it is the most common one in hospitals today. by lying on your back, your pelvis isn’t at the best angle for baby to emerge.
– the most optimal position for the baby to descend is LOA (left occiput anterior) which means that baby is head down and facing where your right butt cheek is, sorta. gawd I paraphrase so crudely. this reduces the rotation she needs to fit through our pelvic bones.
– when the baby is inside the womb, she’s submerged in water. even her lungs are filled with water. as she goes through the tight tight birth canal, the water is forced out of her lungs, so that she can breathe air once she’s out. so cool right! that’s why babies who are assisted may need the water to be suctioned out of them.

session 3: exercise and massage
highlight of this class was having them teach NG how to massage me! ooh yeaaah.

– statistics have found that pregnant mommas who exercise regularly will have shorter labours..!
– learnt some massage techniques that husbands can do to help relief the discomfort during contractions
– importance of doing kegel exercises and perineal massage (from week 34 onwards) to help us s-t-r-e-t-c-h-h-h

session 4: the 3 stages of labour
spent the whole 4 hours just talking about the labour process.

– labour has 3 stages: active labour, birth of baby, and birth of placenta
– within active labour, there’s this phase called transition ie you’re 7-9cm dilated. this last phase of dilation before you hit 10cm will be the toughest both physically and mentally, because the contractions will be the strongest and will not have a rhythmic pattern, unlike in early labour.
– when a baby is born, 30% of her blood is left behind in the placenta so that she’s smaller and can fit through the birth canal better. that’s why it’s beneficial to practice delayed cord clamping (ie waiting for say 15-30 mins before cutting the cord) so that the blood and stem cells can be transferred back into baby. however, not all hospitals, doctors and midwives are supportive of this, mostly due to time constraints.

session 5: breastfeeding
the most interactive class because the other mummies shared their own experiences. it’s a deeply personal topic so having them open up was like awww, privilege. it was a bit paiseh practising the different cradles using the baby doll around the experienced mummies, but ok lah at least dapat practice jugak :p

– learnt the various cradles/positions: cradle, cross cradle, football hold, baby on chest (?? can’t remember the official name) and side lying, which all the other mummies cheered for. lol.
– even if the baby does a good first latch right after birth, it still takes 1-2 weeks of trial and error to teach the baby how to latch correctly. basically, expect some pain.
– husbands’ emotional support is super important, espesh when faced with “criticism” from parents, aunts, and grandparents who have different attitudes towards breastmilk. the mummies also warned the first time daddies not to be lounging around while their wives are struggling with breastfeeding, and/or lepas tangan with the excuse that they can’t help much (espesh at night!). otherwise, expect things flying your way. …kidding.

so yeppp that’s a brief overview of the course. other than Kak Fad, there are other instructors teaching it. most likely they’ll cover similar topics since they’re supposed to follow the official Amani syllabus. again, I will definitely, highly recommend this course to anyone who’s considering a natural/gentle birth or a VBAC. insyaAllah it is worth the time and money investment! 😊

of lessons learnt and eternal sunshine

alhamdulillah, we hit 7 months 🙂 🙂 always nice when our weekly count hits a multiple of 4, so I can update my lines from “I’m 6 months along” to “7 months”! haha cheap thrill. don’t know whether it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I’ve been feeling more tired than usual lately. and also a little uneasy after some meals.

i got into a home accident the other day. it involved my big, fat, high-tech iron — the kind that has an in-built water tank. i had been grumpy all day, and in the evening i needed to iron my tudung just before going out. so i switched on the iron, and waited for 2 mins for the iron to heat up per SOP. after 2 mins, the iron still wasn’t ready. hmmm? i checked. oh, turns out it needed to be de-calc. de-calc is this thing where you’re supposed to drain out the water that collects inside the iron from all the steaming after some time of use. it helps prevent the iron’s metal plate from turning brown. a very, very important thing to note is that you’re supposed to do it after the iron has cooled down…

but anyway, back to my situation.

oh great, i think to myself. i need to iron NOW and you want me to de-calc first? OK FINE. so i switched off the iron, got down on my knees, and started unscrewing the plug.

urgh!!! it’s so tight!!! i got even more annoyed.

finally, the plug came a little loose except … hot steam started oozing out of it. some hot water dripped onto my fingers and thigh. AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! i let out what NG called a blood curling shriek as i rolled away. he came running from our room to where i was. i sulkily told him to help me wipe the water on the floor, while i walked to the bathroom to rinse my fingers under the water. luckily my thigh was okay because it was covered by my leggings.

the skin on my right index finger didn’t seem to be visibly damaged, although it throbbed the whole night. it was bearable though, and i felt so, SO stupid and silly for letting it happen to me. and to NG too — poor guy, he was only trying to help his suuuper grumpy wife.

(the next day, i friend-ed my iron again as i accepted that despite its potential hazards, it does make ironing easier and more tolerable.)

but … for the next 1.5 days, i could have sworn i felt lesser movements from Watermelon 😦 i felt anxious and started reflecting. the split-second incident must have sent an *intense* dose of stress hormones towards her. even though i recovered quickly from the incident (well ok, the skin on my finger is still a little shrivelled ha ha), she needed a longer time. it made me realise that she is so closely wired to me, and whatever i do/eat/think will affect her too. poor baby. i was relieved when i felt her kicking more actively again the next next afternoon, and swore to myself that i would feel grateful for her kicks instead of feeling mildly annoyed or distracted by the ticklish sensations. sigh. alhamdulillah ala kulli haal.

speaking of which, I’ve always had this idea that when I’m pregnant, I should be as zen as possible so that I’ll positively influence my baby’s personality and temperament. well … it hasn’t been easy. heh. I find myself getting easily annoyed, especially at strangers, for things like littering or not getting my order right or not holding the lift doors for others. so I’m tryinggg to be extra patient and extra conscious of my thoughts. after all, it’s just three more months of being the best version of myself while she’s inside me, hor?

Watermelon, don’t learn the bad stuff for me ok? I hope you will be born with eternal sunshine in your heart.