Friday, August 28, 2015

The Uncensored Story

On the outside, I give people a very athletic impression. I'm tan and relatively slim, so the illusion is that of fitness. But in reality, I'm more of a coffee-addict, near workaholic, exercise-deprived home body.

When my baby bump got more obvious, people started asking me if I was planning on a natural birth. I didn't know there were unnatural birth methods, so I simply said, yup! But when they looked at me in shock, I knew I was missing something. 

This post is the uncensored story of the labour experience for me, if you'd like to read - 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

An unfamiliar feeling

Humblet is two weeks old as of today. As an ordinary person, I'd probably not think much of two weeks having gone by. Yet, as a mother, every week is a milestone for this very tiny peanut. 200grams gained in weight. An increase consumption of 10mls of milk and so on. All these teeny weeny, seemingly insignificant details are critical to her health and development.

Just last week, when she turned a week old, humblet had to be hospitalised for critical levels of jaundice. It was awful. We attempted to rent the equipment, but the doctor would not allow it as the situation was too serious. We were left treasuring every minute of breastfeeding time, because it was the only time the nurses allowed us to see her. Thankfully, she could be discharged within 48 hours. So we spent her first week in the hospital. 


As I watched her sleep this morning, I was a little shocked when her little hand grabbed my finger. Each time she came near to me, it meant 'feed me!' But this morning was slightly different. She had had her feed and was all calm, near sleep but not really. Then her tiny hand reached out for mine and I let out a little gasp. 

For those who know me well, I'm terrible at showing affection. I'm great at large crowds settings where everyone is distant and cordial. Not too shabby with informal gatherings. But when it is one-on-one, I never know what to talk about or to ask the other person. I'd much rather write them a card if you know what I mean. Close friends are few and far between. How I show them affection? Possibly through my sarcasm and wit. Not so possible with a new born. 

Watching mothers with newborns leave me cringing. They coo and caw in a nonsense language and high pitch voices. Smother their tiny humans with kisses and what looks to be suffocating hugs. I have no desire to join their ranks.

But in all honesty, humblet has brought out something in me. And it's not motherly instinct and whatever mambo jumbo people assume it should be.

It's vulnerability.

I can't fake it till I make it with her. I can't create a checklist to meet her needs either. When she cries, it's not a problem to solve, it's a life to soothe. 

So in this process of weakness, I find my love for her growing. I may be a complete mess when it comes to motherhood, but watching humblet grow each day gives me much strength and comfort.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Humblet: Birth Story

the real humblet
Monday Musings

On National Day, that is Sunday the 9th of August, J.G. and I were invited to his brother’s house to watch the parade. We were happy to go as we do not have a television in our home, as you might already know. Things went pretty normally, except on hindsight I think there were mild contractions. Anyhow, we got back pretty late that evening and settled in for the night.

At half past one in the morning, I had to pee (which happens ever too often when you’re pregnant) and I noticed that it was pink. Not sure if I ought to be alarmed, I simply cleaned up and left the bathroom. To my surprise, the pink fluid just kept flowing. Yes, experienced mums would know that my water bag had burst. Nothing dramatic like the mini waterfalls we see in TV serials.

Woke the man, who calmly told me to take a warm shower (my last in a bit) while he called the doctor for further instructions. By two-thirty, we were in the delivery ward and I was given an IV drip to hasten the contractions since a broken water bag would mean the baby was now more susceptible to complications.

The hours passed by slowly with contractions increasing in intensity and regularity, we tried very hard to obey the doctor’s instruction to get some sleep. But the adrenaline and the excitement of humblet’s arrival made it really difficult.

At around eight in the morning, the gynae came in looking rather concerned. We were told that with every contraction, humblet’s heart rate was slowing down. That could mean the umbilical cord was around her neck, pulling her back into the uterus each time the push came. He had to speed things up. This was nerve-wrecking news, because we had already endured the possibilityof losing her once during the first trimester. Nonetheless, we trusted them professionals. The dosage was increased and the once bearable contractions now left me writhing in pain, it was almost ten-thirty.

As the heart rate dipped with every contraction, things started to get urgent. Promptly at eleven, our doctor accompanied by two nurses came in and begin the birthing preparations.

Humblet was born at eleven fifty six that day, but those fifty minutes could well be the hardest we’ve experienced in our entire lives. With every contraction I was meant to push with all my might, but nothing seemed to be happening at all. After five to six attempts, a vacuum was used to assist in the delivery, even then nothing. Only a further fading heart rate and increasingly nervous faces scanning the monitors. The doctor said, if she doesn’t emerge soon they’d have to do an emergency cesarean for her safety.

So push we did, with or without the contractions. This paired with the vacuum placed on the crown of her tiny head as well as lots of vigorous shoving by the nurses. And painfully slowly, her head appears…

But wait her face was pale and there was the purple cord around her neck.

Even after the cord was cut, she did not stir.

I could not bear to turn my head, fearing the worst. Ten seconds later, with a healthy smack to the bottom – humblet wails, loud and clear. The most precious sound in the whole world. She made it! We made it!

The picture at the head of this post was taken after her first feed. She was alert, cooperative and most of all she was beautiful. We now joke about how she loves miracles in her life.

Humblet is a healthy one week old as of today. She has been discharged after spending two days in the hospital for jaundice. Seeing her feed, cry and smile are daily rewards we are immensely grateful for.

Thank you to everyone for your love and prayers ever since the first announcement. We continue to covet your prayers for our family and your love for Mya, because we know that journey has just begun.


Amy, J.G. and Little Mya

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Saturdays: Of Cafes & Parks

Smoked Salmon + Waffles Eggs Benedict

Yesterday, Singapore kicked off our four-day weekend in light of our tiny island turning 50! With everyone on holiday, it was difficult to decide where to go. As mentioned above, I meant tiny island as in minuscule. Plus an ever-growing population of migrants amounting to about 6 million humans on a piece of land where you can drive end to end within an hour. 

So, where did we go? What could we possibly do?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Pregnancy Post: Exercise

Since humblet is taking her own sweet time to arrive, I've been savouring every day, doing all I possibly can in preparation for her arrival. Maternity leave started this week as advised by the gynae; and being the efficient Singaporean I am I had expected humblet to arrive on cue. However, there are no signs at all. For the most part of Monday I sulked, partly because the rain disallowed me from my weekly therapeutic swim and also because there was not even a single squeak from this little girl.

However, one can only sulk for so long. Once I was done with that, many other things had to be done. Reading. Packing. Cleaning etc. The most effective though, was exercise.

Don't get me wrong, I've never been a fitness freak or anywhere close. I just stuff my belly with happy foods and pray hard that my high metabolism will do the rest, thus far it has been good to me. But being pregnant does things to your body you can only experience first-hand (not that you have to).

What I mean is, suddenly your body doesn't feel like yours anymore. I often feel like I'm falling over or knocking things down without even realising it. Lines have appeared in places I've never noticed and my skin just increases exponentially beyond my control. The most troublesome of them all is lying down. . . no scratch that out, the worst is getting up from bed.

In the mornings after a deep sleep I sometimes forget that I'm pregnant (which means I'm meant to roll on my side and use my hands to brace myself and this watermelon of a child off the bed). What I do instead is get up the usual way I do. . . head - neck - back etc. In so doing I often hurt either my neck or my back and the soreness stays with me for the rest of that day.

So now I have a pregnant body survival plan -

post-walk cool down stretch 

1. Stretch!!!

Every morning and every evening for fifteen to twenty minutes - every single joint possible. Even your fingers and toes, poor little guys sore from water retention.

Specifically helpful are stretches that focus on the lower back and the spine, these poor fellas are under so much strain due to all that extra weight. Youtube offers a whole range of prenatal stretching exercises you can do that are safe for mum and baby.

2. Walk. . .

A very brisk walk which involves swinging arms and lifting knees. Yes, I know it sounds very silly, but its not like I can jog normally with a 3kg child in tow. So I do what I can, making sure my arms and thighs get a complete workout while I'm at it.

Also walking in the evenings help soothe insane water retention that may occur to some in their last few weeks of pregnancy. My problem is more of the sensation of pins and needles when I lie on one side for too long. Either way, these walks help get my heart pumping and blood flowing, so I'm tired enough for bed, after a warm bath that is.

3. Climb

Interestingly enough I've found stairs really helpful, so now whenever I have the chance I climb stairs rather than take the lift. Within a reasonable limit of maybe 5-8 floors?

They strengthen the whole lower body for one. More importantly, the back gets a full on workout and it really feels so good somehow. Some people say doing stairs induces labour, so don't do it too early on!

4. Swim~

Weightlessness. What more do I need to say!

Enjoy the long weekend dear friends!
Happy 50th Birthday Singapore!!!


Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday Musings: Do you journal?

past few journals piling up 

Do you journal?

When I suggest any form of writing to my students or youth, they either look at me funny or go back to their phone screens. Journalling has probably never crossed their minds.

But just as I was packing (unpacking) my books to make way for humblet (who's still inside of me) I found a whole treasure trove of past journals. Reading them made me embarrassed first of all, then grateful that I had somehow preserved these memories.

Read on if you'd like to hear my thoughts on writing -