Lil’ Miso – Week 37 to Week 39

image1 (1)Week 37
* Full term – yay! Considering the signs of early labour experienced on week 34, I was relieved to have reached this stage.
* Yet another prodromal labour that seemed real enough that I wanted to call my neighbour to look after the kids. It happened at 8.30pm when I suddenly jumped up from the sofa needing the toilet for a bowel movement. Regular surges coupled with stomach upset continued throughout the night until the wee hours of the next morning, afterwhich the former stopped but the latter didn’t. It turned out to be a tummy upset – practice labour.
* The experience left me exhausted as I half slept the whole night. Emotionally drained too.
* Continued going for my prenatal yoga class and swimming. The weather is becoming unbearably hot.
* Friends started becoming anxious for me, asking now and then if baby is here.
* My photographer Emma shared her schedule with me – she will be busy on the weekend of week 38 so hopefully baby comes after that. Meeting my doula for our second prenatal appointment tomorrow too.

image2 (1)Week 38
* Most thought subsequent babies come earlier, right? Not true. Both E and Xan came at 39 weeks and 38+5 weeks respectively. So naturally I would think that action would kick in this week.
* When nothing happened after 38+3, I began feeling jittery. It didn’t help when concerned and excited friends started buzzing me, asking if I have popped.
* We tried to take things into our hands by trying out natural induction methods – DIY acupressure, eating pineapple and spicy food, taking evening primrose oil, doubling the intake of raspberry leaf tea and dates, walking up the stairs, visualisation etc.
* It was really hard to get it off my mind. Then the Husband started his 3-week leave, making me even more stressed out thinking that by the time Miso comes, I would have his help for fewer days. Then my second doctor dropped the bomb – she brought forward her vacation by a few days at the very last minute – leaving me with no doctor, once again. I was more relieved than upset actually, simply because I didn’t want her to be there when I am in labour.
* I ranted and cried for a day, then decided to let things be and come what may. Since it has been this way throughout the pregnancy, I might as well embrace this to the fullest.
* I decided to stop putting my life on hold and live my days as if I wasn’t pregnant, planning activities ahead and doing stuff I usually do. I treated myself to an oh-so-expensive prenatal massage at SensAsia. It was too short but soooooo good I slept like a human that night.

image3 (1)39 weeks
* I summoned up the energy to cook nasi lemak and invited Cassandra and her girls over for lunch.
* A day before my doula’s cut-off date, I got in touch with my back-up doula, Erin to run things through with her.
* Even my birth photographer Emma was getting anxious for me. Though hired unofficially (meaning she will come if she’s free and vice versa – playing by ear), she was very eager to be there for our special moment. I told her to go ahead with whatever plans she has and we’ll see how things unravel. I no longer had the energy to control things and was playing lots of   come-what-may by then.
* After making two calls to Al Zahra (and telling my sob story that I’m 39 weeks+ now with no doctor), I finally managed to score an appointment with Dr Amber. After meeting her and having her go through my birth plan, I could finally let out a sigh of relief.
* On the night before I went into labour, I woke up with an urge for a bowel movement and after that, couldn’t go back to sleep. I had a restless night of tossing and turning around, with surges that were mild like Braxton Hicks but with intense, downward pressure.
* Having planned the next day with back-to-back activities, I decided to go on with my plans of breakfast with Julia, followed by another prenatal massage and bringing the kids to Kidzania.


Lil’ Miso – Week 33 to Week 36

Week 33
* I began reading up Tracy Hogg’s Baby Whisperer. Her method of E.A.S.Y routine sync with our parenting style – and since we were always very relaxed with sleep training for both kids – we decided to give this method a go with the hope that Miso can get into a routine from the beginning which will ease the day-night sleep transition.
* We decided to get a small crib for Miso, and I found a preloved Chicco Lullago in great condition at a good price.
* We went to Ikea and got Miso and a chest of drawers to store the clothes. Daddy got busy assembling the furniture.
* Birth plan is done and presented to my obgyn. All set to go.
* I’ve begun the preparation by washing Miso’s beddings.
* We had an early birthday celebration at home with friends, all thanks to the Husband for organising and the children for helping out.
* Miso is getting really strong in there, kicking and moving at predictable times of the day. Sometimes it felt as if he was trying to lift himself from one position to another, with swift movements and quick vibration felt. With a calm assurance, he usually tones down after that.

Week 34
* The week when I experienced an early labour scare. For a few days in a row, I had period-pain like cramps, constant practice surges every 20-30 minutes throughout the day and 3-4 times of bowel movements in a day. I was also exhausted. This was exactly what I had on the day Xan was born.
* We panicked and kept telling Miso it isn’t time yet. I went into the hibernation mode for the next few days and thankfully, all these signs went away.
* The experience was a wake-up call for me to slow down and take it easy.

image1Week 35
* After the early labour scare, I went into a frenzied mode of getting everything ready. I washed Miso’s clothes, got the wardrobe organised, did some last-minute spring cleaning of things I have always wanted to tidy up and get rid of.
* Also finally brought the kids to buy a gift for Miso each and when they were in school that week, I secretly went shopping for gifts for them on behalf of Miso too.
* The Husband kept reminding me to pack my hospital bag. Amidst the frenzy, I was still reluctant to do so. The procrastination was strong – either because deep inside, I knew I still had some time and partly because I was exhausted.
* It was a week of many playdates for the kids too. The school term was coming to an end and I wanted the kids to connect with their friends as much as they wanted before everyone leaves for the summer holiday.

Week 36
* Another event-changing occurrence when I found out from my doula that my current obgyn is no longer delivering in my hospital of choice. Attempts to reach my doctor proved futile. We made our way to the hospital and spoke with the Head of Midwives to confirm the news.
* My hospital of choice was the only one with waterbirth and Hypnobirth facilities. The midwife team was very pro gentle birth and I liked the overall practice and environment of the hospital. Thus the search for another obgyn began, at 36 weeks!
* Thank goodness we switched doula. Otherwise we wouldn’t have known this news until my next appointment with Dr Anni, scheduled on Week 37. And thank goodness my doula had first-hand news and was well-versed with the whats and what-nots of birthing scene in Dubai. She quickly recommended several obgyns who might fit my criteria (hands-off, respect birthing wishes, believe in women’s natural ability to birth without interventions, doula-friendly). I did some quick research and decided to make an appointment to see Dr Salma.
* I met with Dr Salma, with fingers crossed that she would take me in at such late stage of pregnancy. She did, but was upfront about her leaving several days after my EDD – hence if I do go overdue, I will be attended by any doctor on duty. She also reminded me that she doesn’t do much during labour and birth – exactly what I wanted.
* Finally summoned up the motivation to pack my hospital bag. We are all ready to rock ‘n roll!  image3

Lil’ Miso – Week 29 to Week 32

Week 29
* After all the major events came and went – CNY, E’s birthday and International Day – I took the opportunity to rest and relax.
* Miso’s movements in the belly became even more pronounced. I felt like I have known him/her forever. He will be the first to wake me up in the morning, and last to say good night before I retire for the day.
* So glad I managed to capture his/her amazing movements on video!

Week 30
* We flew off to Malaysia for a week’s getaway. Well, I wanted to be part of my company’s anniversary event too. My third time flying in this pregnancy.
* I managed to skip going through those airport metal detectors throughout both ways.
* Despite flying Business Class while the Husband and kids were in Economy, Miso seemed aware of the change in surroundings and moved a lot throughout the flight although I got to lie down.
* We went for a one night’s stay at The Shorea, Seremban. The trip made me realised how much we have missed being close to nature. The environment was so relaxing. Looking out at the view from the Villa we stayed in, I visualised and recorded it in my brain as a calming scenery for our birthing day.
* This wasn’t planned but we decided to go for a last-minute maternity shoot while in Malaysia. Both E and Xan had theirs taken – and although I was saving up for the actual day birth photography – I couldn’t resist the temptation of having these memories embedded in Miso’s baby photobook. It was booked and done in less than 24 hours. I will share the photos once they are ready.
* I binged and ate out all the time while in Malaysia. And I realised one thing – it’s rather hard to maintain a healthy diet there. Needless to say, I gained quite a bit of weight by the time we got back.

Week 31
* It’s amazing how a getaway can do to the mind. I was going on and on in circles regarding my birth photographer and doula search but as soon as I came back, everything became clearer. This was the week where things started to fall into place.
* The birth photographer hunt didn’t fall through again due to lack of commitment from the one I initially thought has been finalised. Others I have found were either not available during my birthing time, too expensive, or did not understand the beauty of physiological birth. I figured that everything happens for a reason and I should go with the flow. So I made an unofficial deal with one of the more committed and accommodating photographer – that we will play by ear when my birthing day comes. If she’s available, great. If she’s not, it’s meant to be. No on-call, no strings attached. This arrangement seems to go down better.
* About my doula, I’ll tell more later but let’s just say everything is falling into place nicely.
* Got a preloved play gym for Miso. A nice and very new one.

Week 32
* Eight more weeks to go! We are almost there. Miso’s clothes, diapers, carseat-stroller, bathing essentials are all ready. I’ll just need to give them a good wash and we will be ready to welcome Miso.
* Came back from Malaysia with a care pack – a gift from dear Nancy comprising Sophie the Giraffe, Mustela skincare, a mocassin and a Bio-Oil stretch mark oil. Also some gorgeous onesies from my sister. Not to forget, a brand new Stokke Tripp Trapp chair for Miso from my company. We are so blessed.


Lil’ Miso – Week 21 to Week 28

Week 21-22
Okay I admit I’m all over the place all the time. I thought I have documented every week and dush, the notes suddenly vanished.
* I sewed something from scratch for the first time! Busied myself making costumes for E’s and X’s Book Week in school. E was Toothless from How to Train A Dragon and Xan was the Fox from Gruffalo.
* Meantime, Miso got a Cocoonababy! I found a great preloved deal in a very good, almost new condition – at more than half the price.

Week 23-24
* These two weeks came and went so quickly as I busied myself with Ewan’s birthday party. We took it easier this year by booking a party at Bounce where everything else is taken care of. I only had to look into party favours and birthday cake. He had a blast with his closest buddies from school and our neighbourhood.
* Food craving – Sri Lankan food

Week 25

* In a quest to tackle Ewan’s eczema, I did further reading into the GAPS topic and have been gradually trying to introduce a Paleo diet to him and the entire family. How did we fare? Let’s just say it didn’t go down to well for a pregnant lady. Focusing on more meat and vegetables in each meal, anything gluten or carbs is eliminated. I have eaten rice all my life so this new diet is a culture shock for my body. We usually have our dinner at around 5.30pm but by 7pm, I would be scrambling for food. And another snacks at 9pm. We endured it for a week before I got too grumpy and decided to reintroduce carbs into our dinner again LOL
* I have diligently been swimming once a week (while the kids are having their swimming lesson) and going to the Prenatal Fitness class every Monday too. Not sure about my weight gain (because my weighing scale is not working anymore) and seriously don’t care as long as both baby and I are eating healthily, exercising regularly and thriving.
* The Hypnobirthing book by Marie Mongan resumed its position at my bedside. Surprise out of surprises, I could still remember most of the words in the Birth Affirmation even after 3 years plus.
* Managed to get some really amazing deals for newborn clothes at Mothercare. For a pack of 5 onesies or 3 pyjamas, there’s 50% off and on top of that, buy  1 pack free 1 pack. Because I have given away all my baby clothes, I stocked up quite a lot there.

Week 26
* The week when we announced our pregnancy in FB, on April Fool’s Day. Since mid last year, I have opted for more privacy and less activity in FB – simply because I feel this platform is two-faced and often makes relationships very complicated. I have earlier shared about Miso in Instagram 3 months ago, because I feel it’s a more controlled and personalised way of interaction. I like it this way better.
* Huge, huge craving for avocado. I like it with banana, honey, chia seeds and almond milk – blended into a smoothie. This concoction helped me to sleep very well at night too. Maybe that’s why this was the week when my bump seemed to have grown significantly. The weight of the bump is taking a toll on my body, especially the knees. I examined myself in the mirror one day and realised that my bump is as now as big as the size it was when Xan was almost due. As if to comfort me, the Husband disagreed and said it’s smaller. I have no idea how much more my body can stretch.
* Feeling like the symptoms from the same nasty flu I had in December revisiting. I quickly popped six garlic-parsley capsules over three times a day, two times of probiotics and took more healthy fatty foods, as per recommended in the GAPS book. Also sipped on Millenium cactus juice and upped my Vitamin C-ascorbic acid to the level my body is able to tolerate. It did work – the flu went away in 2 days. Yes!
Some wardrobe essentials like hat, pants, mittens and pyjamas were still lacking so I headed to a lady’s house to get some preloved baby clothes. And we’re done. Next to do is to wash the clothes 2 weeks before EDD.

Week 27
* The kicks are getting very, very regularly. Lil’ Miso moves a lot in the belly. I could feel him/her 75% of the time, either knocking, turning around or kicking. Boy they were all very strong ones. When I’m cooking, doing the dishes, lounging around and lying down. Sometimes during my fitness class too! We’ve got one very active baby in there. He/she is only quiet after my workout, probably soothed from the huge supply of oxygen.
* These days, I try to sleep with my hands off my belly because if I do, Miso will take it as a cue to play our little game of Tap-Pat-Scratch-Poke, even in the middle of the night! One night, he made me laugh at 4am when I accidentally placed my hand on the belly while sleeping and could feel that he ‘woke up’ immediately with a hard kick to swim to the position where my hand was and give me a knock on that spot. Playful one! I had to tell him that it’s sleeping time.
* Lil’ Miso first hiccups were felt!
* The Husband decided to buy me a doula! We both agreed that a good birth sets a good foundation for the months ahead – for both mum and baby. With no family support here, we felt that a doula’s presence during my labour could come very handy especially if it happens at night and we need the Husband to watch the kids. I asked around and shortlisted two doulas based on recommendations.

Week 28
* It was a busy week in the kitchen, whipping up gluten-free snacks for E.
* I had the opportunity to attend a talk by International Waterbirth Specialist, Barbara Harper and learned so much about birthing. So much so I wanted to become a midwife!
* The kids had International Day in school and along with other Malaysian mums, we ran a stall featuring our local food and souvenirs. It was great fun showcasing our home country.

Lil’ Miso – Week 17 to Week 20

Week 17
* The week where the belly goes from just-a-heavy-lunch to it’s-a-baby-bump! Even E and Xan kept commenting how my tummy has grown suddenly. Friends, whom have been suspicious but too cautious to ask, finally reacted with a “OMG!” Okay, some “Congratulations!” but with an expression itching to ask “Was it accidental?”
* I began to feel more normal, more energetic though there were still occasional bouts of nausea especially if I were a bit slow in filling my hungry stomach.
* More kicks, more flutters, more knocks from Miso. He/she seems to know when I’m just sitting down and doing nothing.

Week 18
* We are back in Malaysia for CNY. The trip didn’t go exactly how I wanted it to be but alas, I fulfilled my role, ate what I wanted to and flew back with a fresh piece of mind that from then on, I would focus on nothing but growing Miso, and spending time with the Husband, E and Xan. Nothing else.
* Because I will be DIY-ing my own confinement (actually, there won’t even be a confinement), I took the opportunity to buy some herbs, essential supplements and baby diapers from Malaysia. I’m grateful that my friend Sam helped me out in this. I would have been really clueless otherwise.
* While we were in Malacca, we also did the required antenatal blood test. Because my health insurance in Dubai only covers up to a certain amount and such test could cost about 10 times more than in Malaysia, my obgyn kindly gave the go-ahead to get it done elsewhere. We saw Dr Tan Nugroho Cipto at Oriental Straits Medical Centre, who swiftly helped me with what was required. We got ultrasound photos of Miso too. I am pretty impressed with the efficiency and customer service of that hospital.

Week 19
* Xan napped on my lap during our flight back. Sensing something brushing against the belly, Miso began playing knock-knock.
* It was time for my prenatal check-up with Dr Anni and this time, we had the detailed scan. Miso moved a lot throughout the scan. All seemed great and healthy, according to Dr Anni. “Good baby!” she said.
* Weird thing was, my EDD kept changing between early and mid July. I’ll just stick to the calculation based on my LMP.

Week 20

* The week when everyone REALLY noticed that I’m pregnant. Congratulatory wishes started pouring in from Xan’s and E’s friends’ mums and teachers whom never noticed the bump all these while. The great thing about living in such multicultural place is, most people thought the bump is just a heavy meal or a result of stationary lifestyle because I’m small in frame. If I were in Malaysia, my pregnancy would have been noticed probably a month ago 😀
* Started browsing through my Hypnobirthing book. Miso and I invented a new prebirth bonding game. Now that my issues are behind me, I began putting in more effort in talking to Miso.
* The hunt for a prenatal exercise class that isn’t too intensive nor relaxing begins. I really need to get active for an easier birth. I have been working out in the gym 1-2 times a week prior to this, but somehow I felt that the outdoor activity level could be increased. My first stop was Urban Energy Prenatal & Postnatal Fitness class held at a park nearby where I live. It’s like circuit training but on a milder manner suitable for expectant mums. I was sore all over the next day. Next to try is Prenatal Yoga or Pilates.