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, myΒ 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 πŸ™„

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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 πŸ˜•

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 πŸ€—


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!Β 

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 πŸ˜”

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 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 πŸ™Š 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 πŸ˜€


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 πŸ˜€ –> 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… πŸ˜”

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 πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ 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.

our baby fair haul

another long mummy/baby post! I’m on a roll. though I suspect my 2nd trimester energy may wear off in the next 4-8 weeks and I’ll be all lembik and whiny again.

glad I came across, pretty early on, the advice to do most of your baby shopping in 2nd tri when you’re most energetic. I won’t lie, part of me in anxious about the “what ifs…” but I’m trying to think positive and have more faith in myself.

anyways, we dropped by the Baby Fair last two weekends at Expo to do some shopping. unfortch I don’t have a nice/kecoh haul picture coz we went home relatively empty handed after arranging for 3 of our big purchases to be delivered, but here’s what we bought.

oh ya, quick side note: I’ve decided to refer to the baby as Watermelon henceforth because (a) they were my first cravings amidst first tri misery and (b) I think their colour combi is so gorgeous.

so anyway, back to the haul:

moo-moo kow portable changing pad (pre-order)

the organisers published some pre-order deals about a month before the fair. I browsed through the listings — feeling overwhelmed by all the bundles (some were suspiciously frilly) — and chanced upon this deal which I thought would be an OK buy. think it was mostly my emotional need of wanting to buy at least one thing from the website.

when I reached the fair on day 2 afternoon, I thought “nvm lah I’ll collect the pads later so that I don’t have to browse other stalls with an annoying plastic bag.” turns out almost everybody collected theirs before me!!! and I was left with 6 plain colours to choose from, though they also have the pads in prints. they got say lah it’s first come first served, but I didn’t know everybody else was going to be so kancheong about it 😦

so now I’m feeling a little tawar hati towards the pads. heh. vain me. hope I eventually find a good use for them… am counting on my diaper bag to give me a cuter one. *sniff*

maclaren quest stroller

I started my research on strollers about 3-4 days before the fair. kecoh babe!! all the brands! other than combi and maclaren, all the other names sounded foreign to me. took a shortcut and chatted with my colleague and mummy friends on what to look out for, and alhamdulillah they gave me some tips such as:

– bigger wheels will ensure a less bumpy ride for baby
– however, strollers with bigger wheels may be bulkier to store
– get those one-hand mechanisms so I can open/close it obamaself while carrying baby
– ensure wheels can swivel; will help with avoiding people in shopping malls (haha)
– seat should be able to recline for baby to lie down or sit up

one of them recommended for us to buy maclaren, so I went straight for the booth. got us a black Quest. it’s higher than my initial budget for strollers, so I hope it’ll serve us long and well. anyway insyaAllah I also plan to baby wear (uh, already got a Tula. and a woven wrap … I should stop. after I buy just ooone more stretchy wrap.) so we may not be too, too reliant on this stroller.

k-mom wipes, nail clipper set, and detergent/softener

never heard of k-mom before. apparently it’s a Korean brand focusing on organic baby products. bought their bundle with 10 packs of wet wipes, 4 packs of baby laundry detergent, 2 packs of baby laundry softener (I think lah, based on the photos) for $100. also bought a baby nail clipper set since they had it and I’ll need it. hopefully the wipes won’t give Watermelon skin problems or I won’t know what to do with all of them. lol.

parklon bubble playmat

it was love at first sight when I saw this on pupsik! and I’m glad NG agreed to get this design hehehe. it was retailing for $265 online but we got it for $200 at the fair, so hurrah! [edited to add: ok but wait, my happiness is shortlived because we ended up missing the delivery and having to pay $15 to reschedule. ouch.]

mama kraken used to have one at her house, even after her cucu-s started attending kindergarten and primary school. because let’s face it, the adults love it too. so squishy and nice to lie on!

pigeon breast pads

got pigeon’s coz I’ve read a few good reviews on them … if I recall correctly. got a box for $12.10; saw fairprice finest selling them for $13++ so uh yay, savings!

avent milk bottles + bottle brush + milk storage bags

got us a newborn starter kit for $40 (saw it retailing for $69 at kiddy palace day after; it became an addiction to check out the prices of our purchases), a bottle brush cleaner which I later realised was unnecessary because there’s already one inside the starter kit … *slaps forehead* and 6 packs of milk storage bags which I also had some insecurities about after. like what if I don’t need them, what am I going to do with 150 of these bags?!?! but yeah I bought 6 because there was a bundle promo and makcik me couldn’t resist. haha.

what we didn’t end up buying from the fair

cot – was eyeing a cot that was being advertised for $169. however when we saw the real thing, it looked too low! I’m all for ergonomics these days, so I decided to give it a pass coz all that bending low to pick up Watermelon ain’t going to be fun.

we eventually bought a used cot off carousell. same brand (jarrons & co) but different model but … I think the one we bought is quite low too. oh crap! so now to find a high mattress to compensate.

also a side note that NG’s friend recommended us to get a playpen because it’s more practical. can use for sleep, play, and nowadays they come with diaper changing stations too. but I really couldn’t warm up to the idea of a playpen. mostly because I’d never seen my niece and nephew playing in one, which made me realise that watching my sister and mama kraken bring them up shapes a lot of my baby gear preferences today.

car seat – coz we were too overwhelmed by the brands and models, and also coz we thought we could save money buying second hand. we eventually bought one from the same seller who sold us the cot. heh. I later read that it’s not good to buy second hand car seats coz you don’t know if the previous owners have been in an accident, which may affect the usefulness of the car seat. whoops! but wow it sure is an expensive thing to discard once your kid outgrows it.

breast pump – I already know that I want the Spectra S9+. the bundle deal that was offered during the fair was not cheap, I guess because it had a lot of things inside. planning to order from a Korean supplier on Qoo10. it won’t come with a warranty, but I think the $200+ savings (compared to buying a set with local warranty) may justify it. hee.

so yes these days I’m very kemaruk baby gear. told myself not to buy any more baby clothes because I already bought a bunch, so am focusing on the bulkier and/or more expensive stuff. i’ll have to wait for nov’s pay check to continue my purchases, since i blew my entire oct baby fund over one weekend hee. then hopefully by late dec/early jan we can start washing her clothes and setting up her cot, playmat, etc. can’t wait for the time to meet you, Watermelon! πŸ€— insyaAllah.

baby steps towards bigger things

I don’t know what third trimester is like, but people say second trimester is the “golden trimester” and I gotta say alhamdulillah I’m loving it 😊 I’m more energetic, feel more like myself, and feel (more?) positive and excited about being on this journey.

I still throw up about once a week, usually around the turn of my weekly cycle, but I can live with it. In fact I find my body cute. You know why? Dia dah pandai memilih. For example: one night I ate grapes followed by peach. Previously I would throw up what I last ate, but this time my body somehow saved the peach and ejected only the grapes. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ».

But anyways! Here are some of the exciting pregnancy and/or parenting milestones that we’ve achieved:

1. enrolling in birthing classes

I enrolled NG and me in two classes: Amani Birth Classes and Parentlink’s Child Antenatal Programme.

Amani Birth is an Islamic childbirth education. Their goal is to teach trust in Allah swt and that birth is a form of worship. Their basic premise is that birth is a natural life event, is inherently safe, and women should be empowered during their births. There are a couple of Malay-Muslim instructors in Singapore conducting this course. We’re with Kak Fadillah Yusope from Birth Maia. It’s 5 x 4hr sessions. InsyaAllah will share a course review when we’re done πŸ˜„

ParentLink’s classes, on the other hand, are only 3 x 3hr sessions. The first one is on the physiology of labour, the second on breastfeeding and part 1 of the Dunstan Baby Language, and third on part 2 and parenting scenarios. Quite excited for this to start!

Anyway yeah I’m quite semangat in enrolling us in two different courses. But yes judging from how we went for two pre-marriage preparation courses, I am quite the course junkie. Hee. Can’t help it!

2. engaging a doula

The first time I heard about engaging a doula was from another couple during a gathering last year. They had paid a little extra to engage one for their first pregnancy and said they had a good experience. This didn’t cross my mind until another friend asked me if I was going to. She was moved by her friend’s doula-accompanied birth story which was so positive, so gentle, and in humble remembrance of Allah (I went to read it too because I was super kpo). In my mind, doula fees were $2-3k which I thought were kinda steep. However, I went ahead to research and found that they’re actually about high ratusan to about $1.5k depending on what packages you take, which is a liiittle better lah.

So after reading positive birthing stories from Amani Birth and hypnobirthing students (another form of childbirth education that is pro-natural and focuses on relaxation for a positive birth experience), I decided that I wanted to go down that route as well. Sooo we’ve decided to engage Kak Fad after reading super glowing reviews by her clients. We don’t start our prenatal sessions until end of the year though, insyaAllah.

3. touring an infantcare

Ahh, the issue of childcare. Before even trying to conceive, this was something I was already worrying about. There doesn’t seem to be a perfect solution does it 😦

I’ve always been leaning towards infantcare, despite having some well-meaning friends warn that I eventually may not have the heart to leave my baby behind in a centre. Unfortch getting either our mums to help take care is not quite an option unless we get a helper — because both are already taking care of our sisters’ kids — and I’m not keen on getting a helper hee.

So anyways, I searched online and found a private/NGO-run infantcare near ish our place. We dropped by for a visit and it seems pretty pleasant. So we’re on the waiting list. The lady said she’ll update me if there’s a vacancy for the month I’m looking at. Hope it goes smoothly! Which brings me to the next development…

4. getting my maternity leave extended!

To be specific, my bosses agreed to let me go on no pay leave for 2 months, alhamdulillah  πŸ™‚ My manager discussed with my director about how it’ll be good to support my request since NG and I are first time parents and child care arrangements may change when the time really comes. Felt very thankful for understanding bosses ❀️

Though honestly my main concern was Ramadhan which falls in June next year. I heard that fasting while breastfeeding is another type of challenge, and this is the first year that we’re staying on our own so it could be a steep learning curve, idk yet. Didn’t want June to be extra overwhelming with the added adjustments of returning to work and being apart from the baby and testing our child care arrangements, so I’m super glad they’re letting me return to work around first week of Raya. Phewww.

I’ve also worked out my new monthly budget, taking my salary x 4 months but divided by 6 months. Also figured out that my HDB monthly instalments for the two months should be covered by my bonus contributions insyaAllah.

Now I just hope HR will let them hire a temp to relief me or it’ll be quite shiong for my team coz their top sai kang warrior is not around. Haa.

5. buying maternity insurance for me

Ok la not a milestone per se, but a pretty big ticket item on our list. NG got me Great Eastern’s Flexi Maternity Cover for pregnancy complications and insurance coverage for congenital diseases our child until she’s 3 years old. It’s a one-time payment – a bit hefty because he chose the higher tier – but it’s a standalone product that doesn’t require parents to commit to life plans for our child. Though I really hope it’s not a product we have to tap on, na’uzubillah πŸ˜”