Category Archives: pregnancy

Don’t stop believing

Recently, I was asked by a mom of multiple kids whom I’d just met: “Just one boy? Don’t you want more kids?!”

Sigh. If only she knew.

After missing my otherwise regular period by a week, feeling early pregnancy symptoms, testing and retesting, I suspect I’ve had a chemical pregnancy. I’ve not felt our ongoing failure to conceive again so acutely since last year’s miscarriage. Honestly, it’s hard NOT to be emotional when you’re surrounded by friends who are pregnant or just delivered. I would say I’m a fairly resilient and independent gal, but perhaps, there’s more to it all than to keep monitoring my cycles closely, timing it right (and frequently), taking folic acid, staying radiation and stress-free, and living healthy.

Enter: Supernatural childbirth. Whaaat? If you’re thinking this is about seeing visions of heaven, hell, angels, demons, and everything in between, errm, not quite. Instead of trying NOT to think about conceiving (which is quite frankly, impossible), Supernatural Childbirth is a book that encourages us to actively stand on the bible as God’s Word and believe that “Children are a heritage from God, and the fruit of the womb is His reward.” (Psalm 127:3).

Supernatural Childbirth
Supernatural Childbirth

Although my faith is at a low after this “barren” streak, as a Christian, I still believe there’s truth and power in the bible. So today, despite my ongoing frustration and setbacks, I’m thankful for B, the child that I DO have, the friend who gave me this book, the author and women who shared their testimonies in it, and a God who keeps His promises that:

1) God’s perfect love casts out fear! Past failures bring future fears but the opposite of fear is faith : “I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4), “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37)

2) You can do anything when rooted in God’s Word. Pray in agreement with the Word before even trying to conceive: “For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

3) Barrenness is the exception, not the rule. All the barren women of faith in the bible conceived: “He makes the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children.” (Psalm 113:9)

4) Conceive, carry and deliver without fear of pain and loss: “God will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field! (Malachi 3:11)

5) Focus on being a healthy mother and having a healthy baby, not about where, how or what others have done: “The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life — life in all its fullness.” (John 10:10)

“For this child I prayed and the Lord hears my cry!  You have formed and fashioned our baby in my womb, and at the right time You will separate my baby and carry it gently from the womb. We will train our children up in the way they should go, tender to God, the Word and the things of God, and honouring their parents, and they will not depart from these when they are old. Amen!”

Linking up with

The elusive fourth

A week ago, my life turned upside down.  I thought I’d be ushering in the 2013 Year of the Snake with a happy “I’m pregnant!” announcement to family and friends, but ended up spending the first few days of Chinese New Year with intensifying cramps, spotting, clotting, bed rest and alas, a confirmed miscarriage. Our baby would have been 8 weeks now.  Physically, the pain and bleeding have passed but emotionally, it’s been a rollercoaster ride to recovery.  It’s hard to explain why such an early pregnancy loss can leave emotional scars.  Some days I do feel better but other days, it still hurts  – esp. when I meet others who “accidentally” conceived another baby when they didn’t plan or necessarily want to.  That said, I’m thankful for the support of those who’ve gone through miscarriages/ still births and gone on to have healthy deliveries.

I’ll revisit my obgyn this week to verify that a D&C procedure is not needed as the tissue from the blighted ovum had passed naturally.  Despite seeing the gestational sac at the initial ultrasound scan around week 5, the embryo had not grown as it should, most likely due to chromosonal defects, so this was considered a clinical miscarriage from an anembryonic pregnancy.

Last night at our rather bittersweet Valentines dinner, we reflected how this has made us appreciate B so much more and acknowledged the need for closure. We’ll definitely try again when the time is right, approx. 3 months from now.  In a small way, there’s some relief that I don’t have to mind two kids under two… and there’s less pressure for B to grow up into the big brother he will be one day.

I woke up in the wee hours this morning feeling a little down but was reminded of this song.  The joy of the Lord will be my strength!

I’m trading my sorrow
I’m trading my shame
I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord
I’m trading my sickness
I’m trading my pain
I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord
And we say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen
I’m pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I’m blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy’s gonna be my strength
Though sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes in the morning! 

To boldly go where I’ve not gone before

While 2012 brought along the most unexpected blessing in the guise of leaving my job to be a full time mom (Plan B), 2013 is shaping up to be the year of new enterprises (Plan C): Working on new start up ideas, sending B to childcare and hopefully, preparing for baby #2!

We’ve been actively trying again since my periods returned to “normal” after I stopped breastfeeding, sometime around B’s 11th month.  I’m glad I began this blog when I conceived #1 because it’s like starting the process all over again now that we have another POSITIVE test result! Hopefully I’ll be better and wiser, despite feeling older and more tired ;(

Here’s my early pregnancy checklist:

  1. The egg is usually fertilised within 12 – 24 hours of ovulation.  Once you’ve conceived, the embryo produces hCG after implantation (not before)
  2. Pregnancy symptoms may show around 7-10 days post ovulation.
  3. WAIT before testing. Given my notoriously inconsistent monthly cycles, waiting till the week after my period is due spares the disappointment and $$$ (good tests ain’t cheap).  Rule of thumb: At least wait 2 weeks till after you’ve done the deed, assuming you timed it right!
  4. Test with your first morning urine for a higher concentration of hCG. Don’t drink beforehand
  5. Nauseous?   Sense of smell is heightened, taste of blood in saliva
  6. Peeing alot?  hCG signals the blood supply to increase in the pelvic area, irritating the bladder so you pee frequently, but in small amounts
  7. Fatigue? Increased metabolism to support your developing baby compounding by the sedating effect of progesterone.  Don’t fight it — unless of course, you have an active, demanding toddler.  I’m looking at you B–
  8. Cramping? As the foetus grows and pushes against the walls of your uterus
  9. Spotting? 8-10 days after ovulation (just before you would normally get your period) you may notice light spotting, which is caused from the implantation of the embryo into your uterus lining. The spotting is usually pinkish in colour and not red like a normal period
  10. Stuffy nose, colds and flu? Your immune system is suppressed and prevented from attacking and rejecting the foetus as if it were an foreign object by hormones and antibodies the foetus produces. The antibodies also take part in the growth and development of the placenta. As a result of these hormonal changes to your immune system, you are more susceptible  
  11. Pimples!  You may get them in early pregnancy but will most likely settle down fairly quickly after your hormone levels stabilise
  12. Breast changes?  Nipples may be tender, sensitive and deepen in colour, breast may be sore and / or lumpy, veins become more noticeable and enlarged, areolas may darken and the little bumps (Montgomery’s Tubercles) may increase and / or enlarge
  13. Constipation?  Increased hormones make your intestines more relaxed  
  14. Cravings?  It is believed from some evidence that the body is craving vitamins and minerals it is deficient in.   If you are not yet taking pregnancy multivitamins, it might be a good time to start.
  15. Changes in vagina?  Due to the increased level of blood in the pelvic region, you may find your vagina will appear more purplish than normal

Thanksgiving (and my birthday present!) came early

Week 39 is here and guess what? It’s baby’s Day 1! B arrived at 6:15am, November 13 2011 on a glorious Sunday morning. Measuring 3.15 kg weight, 53 cm length and 36.5 cm head circumference (that’s 7 lbs, 21 inches, 14 inches for you Americans!), he’s a beautiful long limbed, big headed baby boy :).

It’s our last night (of peace) at the hospital and I’m taking this opportunity to update this blog while hubby rocks our just-breastfed-now-drowsy babe to sleep.

What a past 48 hours it’s been–

Saturday, Nov 12:
930a – Mucus plug passed. The bloody show is here! Spotting throughout the morning.
11a – At our regular CTG scan, doc says “labour is imminent”
3-6p – Contractions increase in frequency and intensity, going from 20 mins apart to regular 5-1-1 (5 mins apart, lasting just about 1 min for 1 hour)
630p – After holding out as long as we can at home, we check in at the hospital delivery suite
7p – CTG scan confirms cervix is fully effaced, 3cm dilated, regular contractions every 4 mins
730p – Doc is informed and advises no dinner for me, only one hot drink aka Milo (note to self: EAT before going in next time!) before running an enema
10p – After 7 hours of contractions, I wimped out and asked for an epidural (Though I do wonder now if I checked in the hospital too soon?)
1030p – Epidural hooked up. Why didn’t I take this sooner?! (I could do without the side effects though – shivering and throwing up)
1110p – Doc breaks my water bag and finds some meconium staining
1115p – Syntocinin (oxytocin) drip prescribed to help the contractions along just in case the baby is in distress due to the meconium

Sunday, Nov 13:
12-4a – I slooowly progress to the transition phase. Numbness sets in below my hips. Pheew. Meanwhile, hubby checks up on the pending Michigan-Illinois college football game
430a – 9 cm dilated. Almost there, nurses adjust the epidural and oxytocin levels so that I can feel more in preparation to start pushing
530a – Push! Push! Push! Phase 2 delivery starts
610a – Head is visible. Doc comes in with forceps to help get his head through.  Doc’s first comment “That’s a big head!”
615a – He’s here. Tears. Cries. Shaking. WOW.

Mom got stitched up. Babe got sent to the ICU for a few hours observation. Hubby chats with the pediatrician. Everything since has been one amazing ride.  Now the (REAL) journey begins!

Week 38: Showtime?!

I’ve been reading others’ birth stories lately and while each one is truly amazing, they’re also unique – with signs/stages of labor happening anywhere from several weeks to several hours, some felt not at all, some all at once! 

So far, my pre/early labor symptoms seem rather staggered. While this prolongs the anxiety (and excitement!), it’s also manageable and has bought precious time for me to get “ready.” Just this week, I had a day of severe bladder pressure, diarrhea and constipation; a burst of restless energy for ~48 hours after, sharp abdominal cramps last night, and then this morning — the much read-about bloody show!

Doc is back just in time evidently.  At our scheduled CTG scan today, she said labor is imminent but sent us out to observe any bleeding and of course, timing of contractions. After that, I snuck in a nice lunch with the hubby, cut my hair and removed my toenail polish (hah, yes important stuff!) before I couldn’t take it anymore and headed home. So far the pain recurs every 5-10 mins, lasting 30-45 sec …. but don’t feel anything like those Braxton Hicks contractions!  More like major period cramps? Argh.

Let’s see how today goes… and wish us and our pumpkin luck!

Week 38: What a pain

I’ve been napping more frequently to shake off a recent cold.  Unfortunately, my occasional overnight swollen finger sensations morphed into carpal tunnel (tingling and numbness in my arms – hands, wrists and fingers).  This is mainly due to reverse gravity where the daytime fluid accumulation in the legs gets redistributed when I lie down.  At least my ankles and feet are swelling less since I stopped work!

How to alleviate these edema symptoms, be it overnight hand pains or daytime leg pains? Overall goal: Let blood and fluids flow as freely as possible!

  • Drink water early and often, 8-10 glasses a day to detox your system and minimize swelling.   Avoid caffeine, tobacco and excess salt 
  • Avoid long periods of standing or sitting. If you’re on your feet a lot, wear comfy shoes (no heels), take breaks and have a seat. If you’re on your butt a lot, take a 5 mins stroll every hour
  • Keep your legs elevated when sitting or lying down
  • Avoid tight elastic-top socks or stockings. Try support hose – full or knee-/thigh-highs that aren’t tight on top 
  • Take frequent hand-stretching breaks – shake your hands and wrists out, squeeze a soft ball
  • Type gently with wrists straight and elbows higher than your hands
  • Try not to sleep on your hands. Use a pillow to prop up your arms, hang your hand over the side of the bed and shake it at night
  • If swelling persists for more than a day with no improvement overnight, let the doc know, explore braces or acupuncture

Week 37: Stages of labor

Did our first cardiotocography (CTG) scan today which records/graphs the fetal heartbeat (cardio-, measured in BPM) and uterine contractions (-toco-, measuring the mom’s abdominal wall tension in % pressure) during pregnancy via two transducers placed either externally or internally.

Based on today’s 30 min scan, I’m still in pre-labor –  multiple short (<30sec), mild and irregular contractions with baby’s heart fluctuating between 140-150 BPM.  Fetal activity remains frequent though the baby’s growth is slowing a little (pheew!). These contractions should grow stronger and more rhythmic with increased cervical effacement (shortening and thinning of the cervix from 0-100%) and dilation (opening of the cervix from 0-10cm) in the next few days – see below. 

Doc is away this weekend but should (hopefully? better?!) be back when I enter the first stage of labor which begins with regular uterine contractions and is generally split in three phases: Latent/Early, Active, and Transitional. We’ll check into the hospital when the contractions get to the active phase – regular 5-1-1 (5 mins apart lasting 1 min each over 1 hour) and my cervix widens to 3/4 cm.  This then widens to 8 cm (transitional phase) and finally 10 cm (second stage of labor) aka time to push and DELIVER!

Didn’t manage to snag a picture of today’s CTG – will try next week.  Meanwhile, here’s an example of a similar early stage scan (minus the output row where I pressed a button to indicate any uterine activity):

Week 36: Gimme my coconut!

I was just wondering if I’ll develop any more cravings in this last home stretch.  In the first trimester, it was tuna/sardines (and that one time near midnight where I HAD to have McD’s Filet-O-Fish!).  This gave way in the second trimester to milkshakes – ideally fruit or if I felt indulgent, ice cream (esp. B&Js).  And now in my 9th month, it’s coconuts! It basically started at a work meeting when our discussion moved from logistics to babies and how coconuts are great for pregnancy.  Since then, I’ve had this urge to drink coconut water every day and irony of ironies in tropical Singapore, fresh coconut juice is suddenly hard to find, even at the nearby hawkers center which has almost every single fruit  BUT young coconut!  Anybody with good suggestions on where to go?

ETA: Monday after I posted this, we found heaps of *very* young Thai coconuts at our nearby supermarket. Yaay!  Perhaps they all fell out early given the rain hence the mass supply.  Hmmm… any discounts for bulk purchases?

On other fronts, this was a really bittersweet week. First week easing into domestic-mom-life with our live-in helper and my last week in the office prior to maternity leave amidst an ongoing reorg. The “J” in me questions the lack of concrete plans while my “P” is excited about the future ahead.

Week 34: Darn hormones

I tried to finish up our nursery with the necessary art and electronics. Just when I took everything out, I realised I was short of 2 D batteries for the crib mobile, 3 AA batteries for the baby monitor, and a new frame for the main wall painting.  Then I got upset at myself and everyone else who basically came in commenting “Why are you doing this yourself?  Do we really need xyz?” etc. 
Sigh. I totally blame today’s mood swings on these pesky things called hormones:

Anyways, it’s Sunday night, and time to relax before my last 2 weeks at work.  The nursery will just have to wait.

Week 33: Nesting


  • First baby laundry.  Gosh, those booties and mitts are soo tiny!  Need more clothes pegs.
  • Hospital bag packed. Call it paranoia or intuition, I still expect to deliver early…
  • Helper’s room cleared out (almost).  House will be clean again this Sat onwards. Yaay.
  • Confinement catering ordered.  Better stock up on other food before I go all home-cooked Chinese!
  • Baby’s hyperactive just before it rains heavily at dawn.  Awesome little weather man.


  • Fluid retention, mainly in my hands. Last time I got carpal tunnel was years ago when I played the cello …. this time, my fingers are so swollen I can’t even remove my ring.
  • IKEA left out 2 screws.  Gotta wait to enjoy that Poang armchair and set up nursery.
  • Major reorg at work.  Worried about my team while I’m gone.
  • Hot mama!  First time my body temp’s higher than hubby’s.  Thank God it’s been relatively cool (and wet) lately.
  • Baby’s hyperactivity while reassuring, wakes me at ungodly hours!