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.


6 signs that led me to homebirth

I would be a big fat liar if I tell you that I was confident and positive all the way as soon as we set our minds on homebirth. Like everyone else, I also stumbled upon days when the negative what-ifs outweighed our pure and sincere intention of providing a safe, calm and gentle birth for Xan and me. What if things didn’t go as planned?

I’m not sure if you believe in the power of God, fate and destiny, but I do. Every single time my faith begins to falter, positive – signs from out of nowhere appeared to reassure me that yes, everything would be alright – as if answering my dilemmas.

I have worked hard for what I have today; things rarely come easily to me without extra effort or commitment. If they do – more often that not – I take it as a sign that it’s meant to be. Perhaps it’s true what one of my HypnoBirthing friends said to me: “It’s the energy you’re attracting. The more positive you feel, the more you want something, the more easily people who are connected to this circle with such energy will come to you.”

Upon deciding to birth at home at six months pregnant, the experiences below further convinced me that it was meant to be:

Birth goal board – I never planned where to put what. All I did was to compile the wordings, photos and lists that I wanted to be in and started pasting them on. They fit perfectly…and so easily, with no thoughts required. Definitely a sign 🙂

Birthing pool – my first attempt to purchase the round fish pool regularly used by homebirthers at Toys r Us, 1 Utama, proved futile. Fearing that they may have phased out this particular pool, I searched at the Bangsar Village outlet. There were so many types for sale there, including my preferred choice. It’s a sign!

Birthing skirt – I was initially thinking to convert a mini skirt into a birthing skirt. My criteria was simple: the material has to be stretchable, it has to fit my hippo hips and I should be able to sit comfortably in it. It didn’t take me long to find one at one of Jalan Telawi’s boutique. Only thing was, the skirt needed some modifications here and there. On the same day, I visited my friend’s boutique and guess what? Her shop carries stretchable long tube tops that can be easily pulled down to my hips and converted into a birthing skirt. Voila!

Good Samaritan – I was feeling disoriented with the homebirth-hospital birth decision again one of those days when I brought E to the playground. It has been a long while since I did that due to the raining season and my lack of energy. We bumped into this father and toddler there, and struck a conversation. Further into our conversation, the man suddenly asked, “So are you planning to give birth in the hospital or at home?” I was taken aback. Ehhh…doesn’t everyone give birth in the hospitals these days? Then I discovered that his wife gave birth at home recently too. He shared tips and to-dos with me. Before we parted ways, he said “Jia you!” (meaning “Step it up!” in Mandarin) to me. Spooky but true. God was definitely watching over me 😀

Obgyn – Knowing from the start that my obgyn Dr Choong isn’t receptive to homebirth, and wanting to have a plan B just in case we feel something’s not going right during the labour, we sought for a pro-homebirth obgyn nearby our house. Wai Han kindly shared that one of the homebirthers recently had an obgyn from Damansara Specialist Hospital who visited her at home after birth. The doctor himself was born at home too! So we made our way to see him, and he was supportive all the way. He’s Dato’ Dr Sivamohan. I will be forever grateful to him for exuding the positive vibes I needed so much during the last two months of my pregnancy.

My Angulimala Sutta script – During my first pregnancy, my father-in-law gave me a laminated card of Angulimala Sutta script. It’s a Buddhism chant for expecting moms and the babies in their womb. I never failed to feel at peace everytime I recite it. Weeks before Xan came, the script went missing. My mind went a little berserk. Just when I looked high and low for it – even googling it up with the hope of finding the script with exact wordings – I followed my instincts and found it sandwiched in between one of my novels.

Don’t you think Xan and I had a guardian angel looking after us?