Trials and Tribulations of a Pregnant Woman

The Weird & Wonderful Journey of Pregnancy

Thankful

For so many things…

For last night’s uninterrupted 4-hour sleep, it’s not much in the everyday context but it was heaven for me. God really had mercy and knew how much my body could bear… Miriam slept from 9.40pm till 2+am, had a fuss-free 20-min nursing session then slept till 5+am, nursed, went back to sleep till 7am. Was a little groggy when I woke up 7am coz I was too happy and excited to sleep after the 5+am feed, but it was a blissful night.

For GY, my loving husband, wonderful teammate and sacrificial leader. He’s been doing all he can to help out with the little berry and around the house, so I can get maximum rest outside of caring for Miriam.

For the little berry and the hugs and laughs she brings. She’s truly a joy to care for (when she’s not being disobedient), and would play or read quietly by herself in the library while I care for her meimei or get dinner prep done downstairs.

For the trying days when I know I have to lean on God’s strength.

For the “easier” days when I can enjoy time with the girls and talk to GY without constantly yawning.

Like I told GY, this season is so tiring, but oh no joyful.

Faith: 6 weeks

It’s been 6 weeks since we’ve been a family of 5 (including Chopper). How have things been? I have a great jumble of thoughts and instead of trying to sort through them before writing which I doubt I’ll get to, I’ll just record them in point form here…

Faith seems to be a very different baby from little berry. She seems less demanding and cries less. Maybe it’s because this time round, I have ample milk supply and she’s not constantly hungry (which on hindsight, we suspect the little berry was). Or maybe it’s simply because she’s got a different disposition and personality.

Faith has yet to settle into a schedule, which is understandable since she’s just 6 weeks old. But she does follow a very rough routine of sorts:

8.30/9am: Bathe time (after little berry goes to school) + Nurse

8.30/9pm: Wipe down + Nurse + Settle down for night time sleep

In between, she feeds erratically between 1 to 2.5hr intervals in the day time, and about 2 to 3 hours in the night.

Some nights, she nurses and goes right back to sleep without much fuss. Some nights, she’ll keep me up for almost 2 hours… nursing, burping, changing poopy diapers, dealing with diaper leaks, nursing again, putting her down only to have her cry again for more milk.

She’s been waking up around 11pm- midnight, 2-3am, 4-5am, then again at 6-7am. That’s pretty much every 2-3 hours, which results in a zombified me most mornings.

Thankfully GY has been a great help and he gets the little berry ready for school in the mornings while I get some much needed snooze.

She’s had her first 6-in-1 jab without much drama. She cried for a couple of seconds and was ok afterwards. There was no fever and she recovered quickly from the jab. Strong girl 🙂

At 6 weeks, she weighs 4.7kg which is heavier than the little berry at the same age.

She grunts A LOT in her sleep, not sure if it’s due to her gas issues (she vomits and farts a fair bit too), but unlike the little berry whom I never burped, I’ve had to spend a lot of time trying to burp her, because there’s a good chance she’ll vomit everything out if she doesn’t.

She’s already had almost 10 episodes of projectile vomiting in her short life thus far, resulting in much washing of sheets and clothes and cushion covers.

She makes the cutest sighs after she sneezes 🙂

Just like her sister, she doesn’t like being swaddled and by week 3, we’ve had to remove her swaddle to let her sleep. She seems a lot happier but on the down side, she scares herself sometimes with all that flailing of arms.

I don’t know how it even happens but as I was telling GY yesterday, it seems The Lord has increased our seemingly already maxed out capacity once again to care for and love this little one.

My dearest Faith, you are so blessed that we don’t make as many rookie parenting mistakes with you as we did with your sister 🙂 But you’ve also had to share our attention with her since day 1, and you seem to be cool with that (except of course, when you’re hungry, that’s when you’ll cry most loudly until tears flow down your cheeks, a most pitiful sight).

We, including your sister, love you so much, including your sister. Welcome to the family my little one 🙂

Letter to self

When you feel overwhelmed, exhausted beyond belief, and your tired feet cannot drag you through another day juggling 2 kids and a mountain of unwashed laundry;

When the floor is dirty with paw prints and food bits and Chopper just wouldn’t stop barking at every random vehicle outside our gate;

When you wonder whether Ogilvy would ever take you back or if your skills will become obsolete for society because working is so much easier than being a stay-home mum;

Remember this:

Someday your daughters will grow up and your arms will not be long enough to hold them

Someday this house will be spotlessly clean, without the muddy paw prints or the mess children make,

Someday you’ll have all the time in the world to craft, write, exercise because your daughters will no longer need you all the time the way they do now, saying “come on mummy”

Someday, you’ll no longer need to plan menus, because there may not many chances to eat 3 meals together as a family.

But till those days come, cherish the mundane. The quietness of the night feeds, the leaning on God wondering if these nights will ever end.

Treasure the pitter patter of tiny feet running towards you, the cry of the newborn, the knowledge that their needs are simple for now, and you can do your best to meet them with what God has given you.

For these days will pass in the blink of an eye, and you might be left wondering how they went by so quickly. Perhaps even wishing that you can hear that newborn cry, once again.

One month and beyond

The confinement nanny left for home today, and while we are truly grateful for her help, we are also happy to be back to just the 5 of us.

The past month passed in a blur of night feeds, lunch time rush hour, and trying to find a balance between caring for Miriam while spending time with the little berry. And I’m beginning to realise that that is no balance… Everyday is a new challenge, everyday presents its needs and God gives new strength for me to cope.

I was full of fear and guilt about neglecting the little berry with the inclusion of Miriam, but I was reminded of Jesus.

He walked as human with us, yet the needs were many and everyday the sick came to be healed, the possessed came to be delivered, the lost came for answers.

There was no way he could possibly fulfill every need, heal every leper, speak comfort to every wounded soul, yet Jesus was neither frustrated or rushed. He was at peace with God. He got His priorities right, He met with the father in the mornings, did what he could, and left the rest to the hands of the father.

I am so far from that. I often feel torn in every direction and rushed by the needs I see around me. But I know this is not how God meant for me to live, and I would like to change. To walk like Jesus did, at peace with the Father knowing that whatever he does, however much he can do for that day, it pleases God and he’s at peace with it.

In the midst of this new phase, I would like to remember all that I’m grateful for…

For the confinement nanny who has taken care of Miriam so well, and who’s worked relentlessly through many nights to see to the needs of the family. Even though GY and I are both OCD about our kitchen and are very disturbed that it’s been “defiled” and needs a major clean-up, we are thankful for her and all that she’s done.

For GY, whom I love. And who’s been nothing short of a servant leader in this household. I’m grateful that our girls can learn through his example. He never fails to ask how I’m doing, whether I’m managing ok at home, and whether there’s any way he can ease my load.

For little Miriam, who’s been a very good baby so far. Or maybe I’ve been permanently scarred by memories of having to rock the little berry while walking up and down the stairs at home for eternity and Miriam doesn’t seem to need that 🙂

For the little berry, whose laughs and giggles and funny talk light up our days. It’s been tough on her too, she no longer can laze around in bed with me after she wakes up, very often I have to get her to come to the library with me so I can nurse and she’ll be pottering around doing her own stuff. From time to time she’ll ask me to carry her but I’ll explain that I’m nursing mei mei and she’ll be quiet for a while…

I think she’s learning to adjust too, as we are. And I’m so thankful each time she includes mei mei in her speech, or says that she wants to “put out the fire for mei mei”, or “protect mei mei”. I pray the two of them will be best friends and prayer warriors for each other, the way I am with my sisters.

For DJ and Amy, who’s been taking the effort to join me for dinner the past few Sundays and pray for me. Their presence have brought me much joy and cheer. They make me so thankful that Miriam and the little berry have each other.

12 Days

It’s been 12 days since we brought our little Miriam home with us, and it’s been an incredibly blessed journey thus far.

Sure, there are challenges along the way, like the night feeds and sleep deprivation, little berry’s difficulties in adjusting to having less of her mummy, and physical tiredness… But the blessings far outweigh the challenges.

I just wanted to remember this period by giving thanks:

For my husband who’s been humbly leading the household by serving us. He’s taken over most of the duties to do with little berry – going to her when she wakes, giving her her baths, milk, brushing her teeth, potty time, changing diapers, bringing her swimming, etc.

And because he’s risen to these daily tasks, I’m able to take a breather from time to time and concentrate on nursing Miriam. He’s been a pillar of strength when I was emotional when Miriam was warded for jaundice. He lifts the family up in prayer every night.

Yes we crash into bed exhausted every night and he can be v irritating by choosing to annoy me during those few precious minutes we have in the quiet of the night when both kids are in bed, but I’m extremely thankful for him.

I’m also thankful for our confinement nanny who’s been a great help in terms of meals and care of Miriam. She cooks well and we get to enjoy home-cooked meals without having to worry about the washing up.

My mother in law who faithfully buys groceries for us every other day even though she’s got her own household to run and work to do.

My sisters. Amy who braved the nights during the hospital stay with me, seeing to my every need, including adjusting my slippers when I get on/off the bed, waiting outside the shower when I bathe in case I fall, and getting up many times from her uncomfortable couch through the night whenever I move.

DJ who conscientiously took these two weeks off school so she can be around to help and play with little berry when she’s sent over to my parents’ place.

The little berry who’s been a trooper through her cough/flu ordeal and drank every ounce of medicine given to her. It’s unfamiliar territory for her to share her mummy with someone else and she’s still learning how to cope in her own way, but I’m thankful for her smiles, laughter and tenderness whenever I do witness them.

My Miriam, who’s been so brave throughout all her jaundice prick tests and phototherapy. She’s been an angel baby thus far, drinking and pooping and sleeping without much fuss. Her needs are simple and her cries few. I’m really hoping she stays this way. There’s been much joy in holding a newborn again, I’d forgotten how tiny they are and the cute kitten sounds they make.

This is a tiring, but extremely thankful season.

Father’s Day

My dear daughters,

Today is Father’s Day and even though both of you are still too young to understand the significance of this day, I wanted to write to you so that when you look back, you’ll know the things your Papa has done for you and how much he loves you…

My dearest Gracie mouse, do you know that every night after you go to bed, your Papa would bow his knees to pray for himself, for the family and for you? That’s because he knows how we tend to fail even with the best intentions, and therefore the importance of seeking God to direct his household. He knows his task as husband, and then father is a calling of utmost priority – and to get wisdom for this humanly impossible task, he can only start on his knees and seek his Heavenly Father.

Do you know that when you blissfully drifts off to sleep, your Papa often has to go down to the kitchen to see to many things that’ll ensure your comfort and safety – wash your diapers, rinse your milk bottle, load and start the dishwater… He does all these chores night after night, unseen by you.

Do you know it’s not easy for him to discipline you, to wield the rod – in fact it’s tiring and uncomfortable and takes up way more time than if he were to let things slide, but he does so because he loves you and wants to protect you. He might seem a little harsh at times, but that’s because he wants you to understand and appreciate Godly authority and to obey without hesitation.

Do you know that every time you cry in pain or ask to be comforted with some 药膏, your Papa would go and get some for you, even if he’s already comfortably seated where he is, and the cream is far away.

Do you know that he loads so many of your things in his backpack when he brings you out, so that his hands are free to hold yours, to carry you, to protect you from danger.

Do you know that even when he’s hurt his back, he still carries you, swings you, pulls you along in the water, turns you upside down when you ask him to, because he loves to see the smile on your face and your chucking laughter.

Do you know that your Papa really dislikes being interrupted while he’s on the “throne” in the toilet, but there’s always room in his heart when you go to him, sit on his lap (and request for “Cookie Monster”).

Do you know that your Papa rushes home everyday after work so he can eat dinner with us and spend more time with us?

Do you know he thinks one of the best bits of his day is when he lies down with you side by side in the dark when he puts you to bed, talks to you about the day’s events, explains to you why you were disciplined, comforts you and assures you that he still loves you?

And my dear Faith, do you know that your Papa peeks into your room every chance he’s got because he really wants to spend more time with you but he’s got his hands full with your sister, so he’s snatching every spare minute he has to be with you.

My dear daughters, I pray you both grow up with the assurance and knowledge that your Papa loves you very much, and will go out of his way to teach you, train you, and protect you, for as long as he can.

I pray you’ll grow up to love him, obey him, honor him and bring delight to him. Seeing that would bring such joy to my heart.

Birth Story: Faith

The day Faith was born was nothing like the day we had the little berry. I guess right from the beginning, she’s already her own person carving out her own journey into this world.

Unlike the first time, there was no uncertainty, no wondering whether the pain I was feeling were indeed contractions, no timing of contractions and no having to rush to the hospital.

It was a scheduled c-section surgery.

It was the end of 38 weeks and Faith was still breeched in my womb. After turning down at 33 weeks, she decided to turn back up and stayed there, seated comfortably snug.

We dropped off the groggy little berry at my parent’s place and got to TMC just after 5am for the 7am op. After the paperwork, GY and I were checked into my room at level 6. GY found the room to be very noisy because it’s just next to the nursery and requested that we change a room. They swapped us to an empty double room which was great because GY was able to get a lie-in as well while waiting.

GY and I spent the next 30mins or so in that room talking, joking, praying, taking pictures, goofing around and then trying to get some sleep. Just when we were getting comfortable, each on one bed, the nurse came in to shave me and change me into the scrubs for the op. Soon after, I was wheeled off to level 2, and GY was told to take a different route to meet me at the operating theatre.

I was wheeled into the recuperating area where the Gynae (Dr Yeap, since our original Gynae was on holiday) did one last scan and confirmed that Faith was still breeched before wheeling me into the operating theatre.

There, I met the anesthetist, a Dr Chew who seemed like a nice, confident man. I told him about my phobia of needles and he did his best to reassure me that it’ll be mostly painless because of the local anesthesia which he’ll be giving me first.

He showed me the “smallest needle” he’ll be using to poke my hand to numb the skin. I looked away and felt the prick. It was bearable. Then he told me to cough and I did, and mid-cough, he inserted the IV drip needle into my hand. It was disturbing to know, but still bearable.

My Gynae came in at this point and tried to exchange some pleasantries with me. I wasn’t a good candidate for early morning conversations, much less when I’m facing imminent pain, but I tried.

I was told me curl up like a shrimp for the anesthetist to locate the spine where he gave me 2 pricks to numb the area. The 2nd prick hurt and I made sure he knew that. Then he did the big injection which didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would but was still highly disturbing. Soon after, my legs started to feel tingly and numb.

The numbness took over very quickly thereafter and in less than a minute, I could no longer control the movement of my legs. At this point, the nurses inserted a catheter into my urinary tract.

The numbness spread right up to my chest level and it was shocking to find out that I couldn’t breathe very well. The anesthetist said something about my diaphragm being affected by the numbness and to take controlled breaths. I tried but couldn’t get the hang of it, probably because I was too freaked out by then to stay calm. I felt like I was being suffocated to death but no one cared.

At this point, GY came in all decked out in his scrubs, hood and mask. He came over to my side immediately and asked how I was doing. I told him I couldn’t really breath and couldn’t say much after. But I think my eyes conveyed much fear and he just stayed by me and held my hands tightly. (Later, he told me that I looked like I was in too much distress for him to make fun of me.)

I remember that look on his face. It translated a mix of concern, sadness, and love. He had that same expression when I was in great pain when in labor with the little berry. Back then, he told me he felt helpless that he couldn’t share my pain or make it go away.

They put up a green screen in front of me so I couldn’t see what’s going on down there, but I could tell from the sensation, pulling and tugging that I was definitely getting cut up.

It was extremely unnerving to feel them pulling at my skin in all directions to try and get the baby out. The Gynae will tugging at my skin, the anesthetist was pushing down on my belly, GY was holding my hand looking concerned and I was just trying to keep breathing.

I was very tempted to ask to be put GA or just close my eyes so I could knock out completely but I wanted to hang on for a while more so I could see Faith. They kept telling me 5 more minutes and I can see my baby. I kept waiting and hoping for the ordeal to be over.

After a while, someone said that baby’s out. I was so relieved but I didn’t hear her cry and wondered whether that was normal. The nurse brought her over to another table by the side of the room to be cleaned up. That was when she made her first cry, it was very short and cute. Then she cried a little more after that.

GY was reluctant to leave my side but he had to follow them to ensure that they put on her identification tags correctly. I kept looking across at the table where they were as I experienced more pulling and tugging around my abdomen area. I felt the Gynae sewing me up with a very long string, threading it through my skin, pulling and tightening.

Soon after, the nurse brought her over and placed her on my chest. I looked at her and started tearing. She was beautiful and perfectly formed, everything we asked God for. It was around then that the anesthetist kindly offered to take some pictures for the 3 of us. Even though I was totally not in the state of mind to be photographed, I managed a smile for the camera.

They left her on my chest for a while more, then GY had to leave with her to get cleaned up and brought to the ward.

It felt like an eternity, lying there trying not to think about my inability to breathe, and feeling the tugging of needle going in and out of my skin, sewing me up. When they’re finally done, the nurses put a bandage over my wound and pushed me out to the recovery area.

I started shivering quite badly in the recovery area, strange because I didn’t feel cold at all. It was an involuntary response to the morphine pumped into me. I still couldn’t feel my legs at all and just laid that, waiting for someone to push me back to the ward to see my baby and GY.

When the nurses pushed me back to the ward, the first persons I saw were GY’s parents. They had friendly smiles even though they look concerned. It was touching to see them care and come so early in the morning. Then I saw GY grinning in the ward. It was a relieve to see him again.

Faith was under the warmer in the nursery so I didn’t get to see her until later. I was truly tired from all the mental disturbance and drugs, so I told GY to go have breakfast with his parents first, and I’ll try to sleep in the meantime.

I can’t remember whether I actually managed to nap, but I do remember seeing GY coming back to the ward, holding our new daughter, and thinking how blessed we are.

This birth experience was just the beginning of a faith journey with God, where he showed me that His ways are not my ways. I had a picture of what a ideal birth should be like – natural, non-induced, drug-free. None of that was in His plans. But I’m learning to trust Him because like what GY said, what we see is the limited present, but He sees all.