Almost there

Jamie showing his yet unborn baby brother some love.

This pregnancy is almost over and I almost cannot believe it! (I’m at Week 34, FYI.)

I guess in some ways I feel a bit sad about it all because this is likely going to be my last one. Deric has said before that ideally he’d like to stop at 2 kids, so that’s what we’ll go with (barring any accidents that might happen along the way, of course).

Jamie has been nothing short of positive this entire time, right from the moment he found out he was about to gain a sibling. I guess what helped a lot was that many of his other friends at church had also recently inherited new siblings or have one on the way. So it’s like he feels he is part of this cool growing gang of peers who have brothers and sisters and who can call themselves “Kor Kor” (big brother) or “Che Che” (big sister).

Of all things, that has been the greatest source of relief. To know that he is looking forward to this new phase of our family life, and that he intends to love his “Di Di” (younger brother) to bits.

Although we’ve been making effort do get certain things done in preparation for baby’s arrival (which is just next month aargh), it still feels like it’s not enough. We do need to step up the pace. It’s just that… it’s tiring enough as it is being pregnant, and sometimes I do feel like I’d want to be doing things I enjoy for a change and not just the stuff that needs to get done.

Due to my personal health quirks and upon recommendation of the Ob/Gyn that we are consulting, I will most probably have to go for a planned C section to deliver this baby. The very thought of it somewhat scares me because I had an emergency C section the last round and recovery was not fun at all. But I tell myself, perhaps a C section may be a good thing this time round, as it helps eliminate some of the unpredictabilities of the onset and duration of labour, and other ad hoc decisions that tend to take place in a normal delivery.

With a preschooler on hand and parents that aren’t exactly very involved when it comes to babysitting, I guess being able to say I will be delivering the baby on such and such a date and time will make things easier for everyone. Just perhaps not so convenient for me.

I do not look forward to confinement month (due to the expected painful recovery and the usual fare of responsibilities I might have to shoulder at the same time) but beyond that, it’s going to be loads of fun with 2 boys at home with me. (Not being sarcastic here, I do honestly look forward to happy as well as crazy days with them). I only hope we can continue with this arrangement of me being at home with the kids yet carrying out some form of freelance work. (Finances are undeniably a concern).

Ah, I am sharing too much personal details which may be boring you, my dear reader. But you know, some days, it feels almost as if there is no one else to listen to my thoughts or to take an interest in what’s going on at my end. So it might as well be you that’s reading this and keeping me company.

Thanks for stopping by as usual. I certainly hope to write more frequently in the coming days (I know, I know… I always say that… sigh).

Got tons that need doing around here so that’s it for now!

Provision

Life, it seems, is this odd collection of events, jumbled together in seemingly random combinations.

Just when I think I’m finally about to get a breather and play catch-up with things I’ve been neglecting for too long, something new springs up and my attention is diverted again.

For once, I actually managed to get my work done way ahead of schedule. And so I thought I’d have this considerable amount of time to get the home organised and perhaps, even be able to indulge in some hobbies for awhile.

But alas, something evil lurks about in the background. Well, somewhat.

I get a new ad-hoc request for work. My son falls sick and has to skip school.

My life is topsy turvy once again. Goodbye, plans.

I ought to get back to bed soon. I fell asleep not intending to earlier, and then was awakened twice in between all that by my son, who is currently running a fever.

I had a shower after we took his temperature and gave him meds. And now I’ve just finished having a midnight snack (way past midnight, really) of air fried frozen nuggets and lettuce with Kewpie sesame dressing. Listened to some new music via Facebook and indulged my curiosity for a bit in the singing couple, Us The Duo, who are currently doting over their firstborn infant.

Ah, why do so many women look so gorgeous post delivery and during the first year of their newborn’s life? I remember looking worse than crap and feeling pretty much the same too. I was stumped on what to wear, and struggled to locate breastfeeding friendly clothes from my wardrobe (didn’t really want to spend unnecessarily on nursing wear, so tried my best to use what I have). My hair was pretty much in a bun most of the time, unless I finally chopped more than half of it off in an attempt to simplify grooming (which I clearly had no time to do, especially in that first year of parenthood).

I guess I don’t expect to feel any better when #2 makes his/her entrance into the world. Only good thing is, as my ob/gyn says, I have the benefit of experience now. So I know what to expect, more or less. Ha.

International Women’s Day has just passed lately and being a Work-At-Home Mum (WAHM), there was no employer to surprise me with flowers or delightful treats at my (non-existent) work desk. In fact, I spent last Friday mostly working in a silent home while being grateful that I actually could find the time to work because my son could attend preschool that day as his flu seemed to be getting better. (It has since morphed into a cough and fever. Bah.)

Anyway, social media reminded me through the many posts of others that this significant day was being commemorated. So it made me think for a moment about my womanhood and how it has been so far.

In some ways, it’s sad to think that I had to choose to become a WAHM because my former employer had no options available for me to explore in terms of more flexible work arrangements. Perhaps it might have been different for my career had I been able to remain a journalist in some form or measure while raising my young son. But that was not to be.

So ultimately, being a Mum came with certain choices that needed to be made. Essentially, this is part of being a woman too. As much as men sometimes like to belittle the female gender saying we harp too much on gender equality and all that, the truth is sometimes that we do have a different set of life circumstances dealt to us just because we are female. And we do need every bit of support we can get from others (men included) to help make it possible for us to become the best people we can be. And to not let being a woman become a hindrance in any way.

Just my two cents.

On another matter, I am marvelling at how God is graciously providing for us during this pregnancy so far. I am thankful for a uni friend who so happens to be also pregnant at this time (our EDDs are like just weeks apart, with me being in the lead). We are both also expecting our second child, so that makes our experiences pretty similar in nature. This makes me feel not so alone in my journey.

I remember I had a similar situation last time during my first pregnancy with Jamie. A friend I knew from my days in iBridge (a Christian ministry to support young adults who are just entering the workforce) and I were pregnant with EDDs that were also just weeks apart.

It was cool. We shared so much with each other throughout our pregnancies, and we also discussed so much together throughout the first year of our parenthood experience. (However, things changed rapidly moving from then onwards, and we haven’t been as much in touch as before – but that is a tale for another time).

These are just little stuff, but it really does help.

Got plenty more things to be worried about this pregnancy (costs of healthcare being one), but I’m trying my hardest to take things one step at a time.

Meanwhile, I am also thinking a lot about whether I am doing enough to bring out the potential in my eldest child. I have seen him grow so much in the past few months, and I’ve never been prouder. But I also know there’s going to be a lot of changes ahead for him. I wonder whether we will be able to help him navigate through this season well.

Guess I have to trust that God will provide for us in every way, be it in terms of physical needs or even the emotional/mental/spiritual aspects of this part of our family’s journey. He has been faithful all throughout past seasons, of course, so I have literally no excuse to believe that things would be any different now.

(Small note: The image you see at the start of the post is my son’s masterpiece of arranging magnetic music notes on my old music board which my Mum kept since my preschool days lol).

The countdown to nine

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Source: Red Orbit

I keep losing track of how far along I am in my pregnancy.

Of course, it’s easy to answer this in terms of months. But what I mean is in terms of days or weeks.

Most people (meaning family, friends, colleagues and the general public) tend to ask a pregnant woman how long she’s been carrying in terms of months. But it’s interesting to note that doctors tend to talk in terms of weeks.

Why so, I wonder. Perhaps the urgency feels greater when it is expressed in weeks. And even more so in days, but I think not many of us monitor the countdown to our due dates that closely.

Well, measure it in whatever way you like. The fact remains that my delivery date draws nearer and nearer. In a matter of months (3 or less, to be exact), I will be a mother and Deric, a father. This is still something that continues amazes me.

Currently, one of the things I look forward to every day is feeling Jamie (which is the name we are planning to give our son) poking about as he moves around in my tummy. It is a sign to me that all is well with him.

For people like me that succumbs to occasional bouts of worry, it’s assuring to feel little Jamie inside of me. It’s such a special feeling knowing that he is part of me biologically; so close and dependent on me, more than anyone has ever been in my life.

Even Deric has his own entitlement of privacy and space. But not Jamie at the moment.

My yet-to-be born son goes with me everywhere. He hears everything those around me say to me. He also listens to every word I utter as I live through each day – both the positive and negative. He absorbs the tunes I play in the car as I drive. He draws from the nutrients that I consume in my diet.

It is such a precious thing. I have thought this over in my mind time and time again. In fact, I want to cherish it more than I am doing right now, but am unsure what else can be done in order to adequately savour the moment while it lasts.

It will be great to finally meet Jamie in person once he pops out of my womb and into this world. I look forward to it. But, when that does occur, I will, in many ways, miss the intimate connection we had while he was still inside of me.

The moment he joins us out here marks the beginning of his journey towards his own independence, which inevitably will involve slowly but surely distancing himself from me. (And Deric too, of course).

I am sure I will be happy for him as he arrives at the various crucial milestones of his life. Yet at the same time, I guess I will be hit by a certain tinge of sadness and melancholy at each of these points, knowing what it will eventually mean: That he will detach his life from mine, and go forward on his own to pursue whatever God has in store for him in the future.

Technically, I am not a parent yet, since Jamie is still just a fetus in my womb. But already I am coming to a realisation that parenting is all about the gradual process of letting go.

Of nurturing, no doubt, but doing so in the knowledge that it is so someday the life that now is so dependent on me will graduate into becoming his own person, carving his own space in this vast and often cruel world.

It will definitely be a long, challenging process. But at the very least, if I never make anything else significant out of my life, I hope I will be able to leave behind me on this Earth children who will be able to continue the legacy of faith in an everlasting, dependable God; the defence of godly virtues; and a healthy love and respect for everything and everyone around them.

If I can achieve just that, perhaps when I arrive at my final breath, I will embrace it willingly, knowing that I have done all I was capable of doing in this life.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I am now 26 weeks into my pregnancy. 🙂

Enduring pain

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Trying my best to keep my spirits up, but honestly I do not feel all that chirpy or cheery. I just feel tired. And tons of pain.

To be honest, at the start of this week, I thought that I had finally gotten used to these pregnancy related symptoms. Things were looking up when I returned to work on Wednesday. But only briefly.

First of all, I had a flu that day. And an assignment that is farther out than usual (although thankfully it was my colleague who was driving). All of that I’d say is still manageable… up until the point when I injured my back.

Yes, ladies and gents, just as life looked like it was about to improve for me, I just had to do something silly to make things worse. Apparently, something I did while out on assignment that day hurt something around the region of my tailbone. Initially, I’d hoped it was a momentary muscle pull or just a slight injury that would soon disappear by the time I went to bed and got up the next morning.

Not so. In fact, it seemed to be getting worse.

Thankfully though, the very next day was my appointment with my gynae and I brought it up (being uncertain whether it perhaps had something to do with my pregnancy). He referred me to my old orthopaedic surgeon (who thankfully is also from the same hospital) so something could be done about my back injury.

Well, the outcome of that consultation was that I was told the injury wasn’t that bad. However, there would be no painkillers or medication for me, in view of the fact that I am pregnant. The only treatment I have to relieve my pain is to use a hot/cold pack.

Let me tell you, this is a VERY painful injury. It causes me to experience aches and pains in the region just above my butt nearly every time I move: whenever I stand, sit, squat, pee, poop, lie down in bed, turn, etc.

About the only time that I feel almost no pain at all is when I stand. Uhuh. Well, I can’t be standing all day, can I?

So there you have it. Another woe to add to my list of current ailments.

Well, there is SOME good news: the gynae told me that the internal bleeding in my uterus has stopped. Medication will continue for now though.

Little Dot is growing well and now has a heartbeat that sounds akin to a galloping horse (which I’m told is a common description most pregnant ladies tend to use, for which I know understand why). The fella is looking more and more like a little body now, although limbs and facial features aren’t quite that developed yet.

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I’m trying to console myself that all this will be worth it and that I just need to endure another month and then things will get better in the second trimester. I hope that will be true.

For now, I am doing my best to take some comfort from Mr Happy, who is perpetually smiling at me.

The curious adventures of Little Dot

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The lady at the reception glanced disbelievingly at my belly before meeting my gaze again.

She obviously was not convinced that I was in need of a gynaecologist. Much less so for reasons of being pregnant. Nevertheless, probably just because her job obliges her to be nice to clueless looking women like me, she gave my husband and I the information we asked for.

It was the first few hurdles we had to overcome: deciding on a doctor that we were reasonably comfortable with to examine me and to confirm whether or not I was indeed pregnant.

I recall us being flat out tired after visiting two destinations on our list that were in our consideration. Having returned home, we both sat on the bed, poring over the brochures we had taken home with us.

Not long afterwards, we were both sound asleep, and remained so for a good few hours.

That was just a week ago, actually.

Since then, we have not only decided which gynae to consult, but have also had our first appointment with him. It was really reassuring to finally have an ultrasound done and to confirm what we suspected all along: that I am indeed pregnant.

Of course, prior to that, Deric and I had actually done one of those simple pregnancy kit tests at home. And on the day after Merdeka, in fact. But somehow, perhaps because we are new to all of this, we somehow felt the need to hear a doctor confirm it. Well, at least I needed that.

So we took a visit to our regular GP a day later, but he didn’t perform any further tests and instead, merely dished out to us some general advice and handed me a month’s worth of folic acid pills to take for the benefit of the baby.

“Home pregnancy kits are quite accurate,” he told us. “Even if you had gotten a negative result, you could still be pregnant.”

He counted off on his fingers the other reasons that made it very likely that I was pregnant: I had missed my period. The fact that we had been trying for children (which in our terms just meant that we stopped using condoms). And the results of that pregnancy test we’d done.

But it was only after we’d seen the gynae at Assunta Hospital that I finally did truly believe that I was pregnant. And that’s not all: Our Little Dot already had a heartbeat by the time of that first ultrasound scan at the gynae’s office.

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But of course, this is only just a brief description of what has been going on ever since I took that pregnancy test.

Your body goes through an awful lot of changes once you are pregnant, and by the time Deric and I had begun the process of seeking out medical help, these symptoms were starting to slowly but surely manifest themselves.

I was often tired, often by midday, and almost always wanting to sleep.

My appetite was erratic: some days I could eat normally while on other days, I didn’t feel like I wanted any food at all. Usually, whenever my appetite was absent, my stomach tended to feel queasy as well.

Randomly, I’d develop light headaches and sometimes I’d feel dizzy. It was hard to concentrate at work. The air conditioning in the office was too cold.

Oh, and did I mention yet? My boobs felt terribly sore and I had tiny twinges of pain that would come and go at various spots around my abdominal area.

While at the gynae’s, he informed Deric and I that there was some bleeding in my uterus, and for this he promptly prescribed me some medication and gave me a 14 days MC (weekends included).

I was really thankful for this unexpected break where I can rest at home, although I’m pretty certain my colleagues have developed an unhealthy suspicion of me and my motives for disappearing from work by now.

But hey, I guess there are more important things for me to care about. Little Dot being one of them.

I’ve gotten into this queer habit of talking to it whenever no one is around. In fact, I’ve even started doing it while Deric is present too. It’s funny, but I guess it’s my way of frequently reminding myself that a tiny life has started budding inside of me.

It’s a strange feeling, and one that at this point I’m not sure if I’ll ever get used to. I feel a sense of responsibility I have never felt before, and have surprised myself with how eagerly I have taken to adopting immediate changes to my diet and lifestyle.

I’ve been advised by the doctor not to do any vigorous physical activities for now, and that includes swimming – my currently preferred method of exercise. It helps relieve me of my back pains, and I tend to swim at least once or twice a week. None of that now.

Intake of both coffee and tea have to be regulated daily and I am not supposed to exceed consuming a cup of either beverage each day. I also have to avoid raw foods which means that some things like sushi (which is among my favourites) is off the list for as long as I am pregnant.

Every single form of medication and even health supplements that I take has to be scrutinised and reviewed for whether they are safe to consume during pregnancy. Even the medicated plaster patches I use for my back aches are not permitted. And neither are the pills I like to use whenever I develop gastric problems.

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This Little Dot really is a fussy sort, but I guess I don’t mind it that much seeing that he/she is a blessing from God.

Unlike some other couples, Deric and I brought Little Dot into existence after laying off condoms for only around two to three months. It’s something to be thankful for, given that we’ve heard of others having to try for much longer before they’ve yielded positive results.

So this marks the start of my journey as a pregnant woman and a future mother. It’s both scary and exciting at the same time.

No amount of reading or listening to the advice of others could have prepared me for what it’s really like. In fact, if there’s one thing I’ve learned fairly quickly since confirming my pregnancy, it’s that every woman’s experience of it is uniquely different.

I would say I still have my doubts and fears about what’s ahead, particularly how our daily lives and future plans will be affected. But Deric and I are really looking forward to having Little Dot become a bigger part in our lives.

And after some point, we’d probably need to give him/her a more respectable name.