Julian C., A Birth Story

The birth story that never got published, until a year later. Because life as a mum of three is so full of life and love. For photos of the birth, hop on to https://vimeo.com/176589079

Three is the Perfect Number
We thought we were done, but we were not. Soon after Xandrea turned 2, I began toying with the idea of adding another little one to the family. Somehow somewhere, something felt missing in the puzzle. Like a call remained unanswered, or an explanation remained untold. Whenever I envisioned the future, I have always imagined having three grown-up children – with the youngest a boy, tall spotting glasses. Whenever I watched Ewan and Xan playing, it always felt more fitting if there were one more sibling to join in the fun.

We were skeptical at first. It just didn’t seem practical, what with the rising cost of living. With both kids all grown up and rather independent now, we could finally go for a movie or lunch date on our own  – uninterrupted! Travelling has become easier too. Yet we couldn’t stop talking about it. There was still space in our hearts to nurture another child. It took us almost a year of contemplation before we decided to give fate a chance and try for two months. What are the odds, right? If it happens, great. If not, we’ll move on.

The stork has been watching us closely. We fell pregnant on the 2nd month. Destiny or miracle? We’re not sure but we do know that three is indeed the perfect number for us.

Growing Julian
The pregnancy was full of uncertainties to begin with. It wasn’t the happy, glowing and all-things-great kind of pregnancy that I have had with my second child. From falling sick and family issues to the challenging search for a doula and photographers for birth and newborn, nothing seemed to come within my grasp easily. Circumstances had me switching from one doctor to another, with the third and last one just two days before I went into labour.

It was hard to stay positive. If there was one thing I have learned in this pregnancy, it was to relax and just enjoy the journey. There was a constant voice coming from within, telling me to “Just let it go. There’s no need to plan so much. Everything will fall into place eventually”. And it was with that mantra that I surrounded my mind and soul with, in preparation for my labour and birth.

The Wait
Myth: Subsequent babies come earlier.
Truth: Baby will come when baby is ready, no matter the order of pregnancy.

Both my older children came within the 38th to 39th week mark. When there was no signs of labour by mid 38th week, the jitters set in. The Husband’s leave has begun, the summer holiday has started and my doula and doctor were leaving for their vacation soon. As again, I felt the need to take charge and be in control. There must be something that I could do. From DIY acupressure and climbing the stairs, to eating pineapple and spicy food and doubling the intake of raspberry leaf tea and dates, nothing seemed to bring on the real deal but only prodromal ones comprising constant practice surges and bowel movement. It was a very trying, emotionally draining period.

Then I decided I have had enough. No more putting my life on hold for uncertainties! I finally threw in the towel and decided to plan my days as if I were not pregnant. Breakfast? Sure. Playdate? Why not. A fun day out? Let’s do it!

4th July 2016 ~ The Day Before
I woke up feeling really tired despite a good night’s sleep. The Husband was working and I was in-charge of the children and their meals for the day. I took things slow and easy throughout the whole day, bringing them to a nearby store for some groceries in the morning. After lunch, they had their free play with the neighbour’s son while I took a long, deep nap on the couch. It was much needed. When the Husband declared that we were having dinner out, I was relieved and ecstatic. That night, I was woken up with an urge for a bowel movement that couldn’t be ignored. After that, I couldn’t go back to sleep and stayed awake almost the whole night dealing with some period-pain like cramps and very mild surges with intense, downward pressure.

5th July 2015 ~ B-Day
I remember waking up that morning contemplating if I should cancel my breakfast date with Julia. It was to be my treat for her upcoming birthday. Not wanting to spend yet another day lying around and obsessing about going into labour, I got changed and whispered to the Husband that I had been experiencing weird surges with intense pressure around my cervix the whole night. He thought nothing of it and went back to sleep.

Breakfast was uneventful with on and off surges that had me stopping to focus on them. They were still mild and very manageable. I drove home after that to join the Husband and children for our trip to Kidzania. I spent half an hour with them before moving on to the next plan. “Please watch out for your phone, just in case I go into labour today,” I reminded the Husband before leaving to a nearby spa for a pre-scheduled post-natal massage. Upon entering the massage room, tranquillity set in. I told the masseur, “Press any points you want and don’t worry about putting me into labour. I’m so done with being pregnant!” to which she smiled and said in her very pleasant Thai-accented English, “Baby will come on his own, Ma’am”

I made my way back to Kidzania. All was still normal as I queued up at McD’s for my lunch. After that, as I waited with the kids for the activities – and as if on cue – the surges kicked in again. It was getting more intense and I took the opportunity to practise the surge breathing which helped tremendously. It was 2.13pm, I could still walk and talk, and was very much still myself. Not entirely sure if it was a real deal or false alarm, I decided to time my surges for the next one hour.

The surges were one minute long each, though inconsistent in time gap ranging between five to 12 minutes throughout that one hour. I sat down and waited for my children to complete their activities there. When the surges became more uncomfortable, requiring my full attention to get through them and attracting curious stares from onlookers, I called the Husband and told him it was time to go.

On the way home, I texted both my doula and back-up doula as well as photographer to pre-empt them. It was around 4pm when we stepped into our apartment. The Husband gave the children a quick shower and whipped up some dinner for them while I took a hot shower and did some last-minute packing. I could still manage a bump selfie in the bathroom. For memory’s keepsake. The surges that rolled in after that had me kneeling on the floor – with my eyes closed and arms around a gym ball – to get through them. They were now three minutes apart. I no longer bothered checking my beeping phone anymore. Both my children chuckled at the sight of their mum hugging a ball on the floor. They came over and started messing around me, asking “What are you doing, Mummy?” and “Mummy is sleeping on a ball hahaha!” I couldn’t bring myself to answer them anymore.

I stared at the Husband in the kitchen after each surge, waited and waited wondering what was taking him so long. When I could no longer take it anymore, I asked him, “Can we go already?” to which he replied, “Oh you want to go already?” I mumbled, “Yes, any longer I will pop out here.”

The Husband took a quick shower while the kids made their way to the neighbour’s just two doors away, excited for their very first sleepover. We thanked our neighbour for helping us with our children and made our way to our car. As the lift to the carpark opened, a long and intense surge came, holding me stationary for a good one minute while I hung on tightly to the lift bar. A couple who coincidentally rode the lift with us panicked upon seeing my reaction and started helping my Husband with the things he was carrying and waited for my surge to be over before walking to our car with us. After loading our things in the car, they wished us all the best. I will always remember the little encouraging words from the lady that very moment – “Good luck, it’s worth it!”

In the hospital
The 10-minute ride to Al Zahra Hospital felt like 30 minutes, with road humps adding to the discomfort. I reminded the Husband to go slow when he started speeding. A surge came as we reached the hospital and stopped his car at the entrance of A&E. He suggested that I should get down first and make my way to the Admission counter while he parked the car. At that point of time, I could no longer bear being alone without him. We walked a short distance together, hand in hand, as another surge came and we stopped to focus on it. By then, the surges were two minutes apart. Hoping that walking will help to get things moving along quicker, I declined a wheelchair and walked to the labour ward slowly, as we surfed through two more surges, with both times on the floor with my arms around my ball and his hands giving my hips a counter pressure.

While waiting to get my name registered, I once again knelt down in front of the labour ward reception to get through another surge. It was 5.30pm when the midwife led me to the labour room and requested me to lie down on the bed for a CTG monitoring. I knew what lying down would do to me, so I knelt on the bed with my arms around the ball instead. They couldn’t get any signal in that position and suggested for a vaginal examination instead. Desperately wanting to get into the birthing pool soon, I agreed to it. My heart leaped in joy when the midwife shared that I was 8cm along. “I can see the head already,” she added, which raised my hope that it won’t be long now. Little did I know that false hope was to become the stumbling point of my labour.

We walked to the Hypnobirthing suite, which also housed the only birthing pool of the hospital. The water was running, the room was dimly lit with ambience stars and the clock showed 6pm. Without further ado, I got into the pool and let out a sigh of relief. I felt better immediately.

As I sunk into my own zone, the events that happened after that became bits and pieces of puzzles put together. The Husband called my doula and photographer to update them on my progress. I remember hearing Dr Amber’s voice as she said hello to me and “I’m glad I met you two days ago.” Having known that my previous doctor would leave for her summer holiday earlier than expected, I switched to Dr Amber just two days before.

Then my photographer arrived, followed by my doula shortly after. I was labouring as quietly as possible, consciously reminding myself to keep breathing love and oxygen to baby. It was a change of work shift and my existing midwife was replaced by Bethany, whom I would be forever grateful to for the outcome of my labour and birth eventually. Sweet-looking and respectful with an empathy for her clients’ needs, she made the whole experience worth remembering.

At one point, I started feeling pushy, like a big bulge was making its way out of my cervix. Erin guided me to hum instead. At each surge, the Husband would give me counter pressure on my hips while Erin took care of my sacrum. These helped greatly. My knees were feeling tired from constant kneeling and though I’ve tried changing positions to sitting upright, it didn’t feel as comfortable as kneeling. Erin kept feeding me with water throughout.

Two hours passed since I was last told by the first midwife about the sighting of baby’s head. I was getting demotivated, worrying why it took so long for baby to crown. I could still feel baby’s kicks inside, but not the significant downward movement I was hoping for. I reached my hand inside and felt a smooth and slippery bulge which I later realised was my waterbag. With tired knees and throat, we got out of the pool to change positions with the hope that it would get things moving quickly. As again, as a surge came, I dropped to my knees and hugged the birth ball.

Dr Amber dropped by for a second time to check on me. From sitting upright on the birth stool and birth ball, to standing up with my hands squeezing Erin’s arms and the Husband giving me counter pressure massage,  labouring without water seemed to take a toll on me. My knees were hurting and my back felt like it was going to break into half. I was giving up. As I managed a surge and saw Dr Amber walked out, I raised my hand asking her to wait.

Looking at the Husband for approval, I asked Dr Amber, “I can’t go on anymore. Can you vacuum the baby out? I’m so tired. I just want to sleep” to which I received a jaw dropping reaction from everyone. She sat down on the floor next to me and with a calm and reassuring voice, she said: “You have come so far. You wanted a HypnoBirth. From the sounds you’re making, you’re almost there.”

Bethany asked if I wanted a VE. Desperately needing to know how baby and I are progressing, I consented to it. She concluded that there was still a little bit of cervix left and waterbag has not broken. It was then I realised that the first midwife had given me a false hope. We tried sitting on the gym ball but it was near impossible as a sharp discomfort poked my back when I sat down on it. I decided to lie down on the bed to get some rest but the subsequent surges that came had me grunting and saying out loud, “I can’t do this anymore.” Dr Amber asked if I wanted help with rupturing the membrane but before I could think about it, another surge came.

It was to be my transition point. I knew it wasn’t a good idea to have my waterbag ruptured artificially. Bethany suggested to go back into the pool since I seemed to cope better in the water. Although the pool was just a few steps away, walking there seemed to have taken longer than needed as I was overcame with more surges and had to pause each time.

It was a huge relief when I immersed myself in the water again. Little did I know that the next surge was to be the final few surges that would mark the end of my pregnancy. It was the queen of all surges – very intense and very long that it left me breathless from the constant catch of breath to continue humming – so much so that my waterbag released and my baby’s head dropped to my cervix significantly, and then crowned. Realising that our baby is about to be born, I called out to the Husband and told him that our baby is crowning. I looked around the room for our photographer Emma, who happened to have stepped out for a toilet break. This was the moment I have been waiting for, and I wanted it captured in memory. Seeing me calling out for Emma, Erin quickly left to call her.

I could feel my baby’s head moving, as if checking out his new environment. At the next surge, I worked with my body and surrendered to its urge to push, but to no avail. Bethany asked if she could help to maneuver baby’s shoulder out and upon my agreement, preempted me to catch baby from my front once he’s fully birthed. Emma and Erin were back in the room by then. The next surge came and as I hummed and pushed with all my might, Bethany adjusted baby’s shoulder and his entire body slipped out. She passed baby to my hands underneath the water and I brought him up to my chest as I leaned against the Husband behind me.

They say that pregnancy is the only time you’ll ever fall in love with someone you’ve never met. I would now add that meeting your baby at birth is the only time you’ll finally learn what tears of joy is; a moment I’ll be forever smitten with.

So it’s a boy! Baby Julian made his debut 3.5 hours since we arrived in the hospital, five hour since active labour began. A bouncy bundle of joy weighing 3.375kg, measuring 52 cm in length. Covered in vernix, he let out a loud cry as if to announce “I’m here! Hello world!” He was so alert, looking around the room and listening to conversations for over an hour before he started nursing. APGAR score of 10/10 after five minutes. His placenta was birth 45 minutes later. We spent the next couple of hours skin to skin, marveling in his perfection and reminiscing our gratitude for a smooth and easy birth.

After the Husband left the hospital for home, I spent the night sniffing and gazing at Julian, thanking life for all my blessings. The past 39 weeks. The past five hours of active labour. Every single second of it.

Despite an unpredictable pregnancy journey, everything fell into place eventually. I couldn’t ask for a better birth. My post-partum recovery was fuss-free and better than I have hoped too. The tear was first degree, very minimal and didn’t require any stitching. I felt amazing, I could function like normal. Breastfeeding was a breeze. I was up and ready to rock the world again five days after birth.

Birth matters. Birth is beautiful. Birth is powerful. The only time in a woman’s life when we are tested to the edge, feeling so physically and emotionally challenged, only to emerge more empowered than ever.



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.