The Arrival of Crown Prince, Ayshan Adnan

We went to see Dr Wong when we were 38 weeks 1 day pregnant. Another cervix check showed that we’re still closed and not due to give birth so soon. That was on 15 January 2016. Husby and I continued doing what we can…going for long walks and shopping but by then, I was seriously very tired of being pregnant. Yes, the pregnancy journey has been wonderful but I was physically tired. The strain on the back was taking a toll on me and the rest that I never fully get anymore as sleeping positions were limited.

On Monday, 18 January 2016, I started feeling slight contractions throughout the night and I decided to start my maternity leave that week to concentrate on trying to go into labour. Nothing happened.

Until the morning of 20 January 2016. I woke up around 6am to go to the toilet and discovered that my underwear has been soiled, due to water bag leakage. Woke husby up, informed Dr Wong, and made our way to Thomson Medical Centre. We were brought to the delivery suite where the nurse did a cervix check on me and told me that I was 1cm dilated. At that time, the contractions were highly manageable. Ard 10am, Dr Wong came and he did another cervix check; a painful one. He stretched the cervix and more water came gushing out. After lunch, I was sent to the ward first (this is so that we don’t have to pay an exorbitant fee by staying at the delivery suite as it is charged by the hour).

At 4pm, I was brought to the labour ward and after yet another painful cervix check which showed that I was still 1cm dilated, Dr Wong ordered a drip for me to make the contractions more powerful. And since then, it was hell. the contractions from 5 mins apart, came to 1 min apart painfully. I had earlier requested for epidural to be administered but Dr Wong said that I shld only start taking epi when I’m at least 3cm dilated. By 6pm, I was in tears at practically every contraction that I insisted to have epi, even though I was still at 1 freaking cm.

The epidural procedure was a highly traumatising event for me. 

The anesthetist came, and asked my husby to wait outside the delivery suite (Apparently, this is normal as husbands are not allowed to watch the procedure). He then asked me to move myself towards the edge of the hospital bed and curl up into a ball. I did. And then, it started. He asked, “Is this the best you can do?” I was flabbergasted by the question. Mind you, I was having 1 min apart painful contractions and a 3kg baby lodged in me. Of course, it was the f*cking best I could do! I answered him, “yes.” And then he went on to say how I shouldn’t move during the procedure else there would be serious repercussions. Because I was at the edge of the bed, curled up into a ball, I cldn’t grab hold of anything during the epi administration to will the pain away. So, I groaned. And what did the doctor say? He said, “Don’t groan. You are distracting me.” I’m like…WTF! I’m the one in pain, and I have to care about distracting HIM? You gotta be kidding me. It was so painful that I had to ask the nurse to hold my hand. It was THAT pathetic. The nurse offered me her FINGERS which I guess she was scared I was gonna break them or something. She did nothing for me. NOTHING. After the doctor administered the epi, he suddenly said, “you’re pushing it out, you’re pushing it out”. Again, I’m curled up into a ball, at the edge of the bed, afraid to move as I was warned of the SERIOUS REPERCUSSIONS, and he is saying I’m pushing something out. Like, seriously?? And then he said, “you see la..you pushed it out, I have to do it again.” Oh, I’m so effing sorry, dear doctor, that YOU have EXTRA work to do. I’m sooooo sorry to have inconvenience you.

After going through this shitty ordeal, I wish I had better news. But I don’t. The epidural did not work on me. I still felt pain, although slightly lesser, but pain, nonetheless. Even after giving maximum dosage, the pain was still excruciating. When the nurses told me they had to call the doctor again for his advice, I vehemently told them, while crying profusely that I wanted another anesthetist. The nurses thought that I was crying due to the pain but I clarified that I was, in actual fact, crying because of the traumatising ordeal. In fact, whenever I recall the ordeal and as I am typing this out, I am also crying. I do not wish for anyone to have gone through what I did.

At about 9+, Dr Wong came to see my progress and was informed by the nurses who did the cervix check earlier that I was still at 1cm and that my baby has already pooped inside. So, we had no choice. If I had been dilated closer to 10cm, Dr Wong may have waited for natural delivery but because I was still at 1 freaking cm (dunno cervix must be so tight for what), c-section was the only option. The problem was, epidural did not work and in order for Dr Wong to cut me open, I needed to feel numb from waist down. He gave us 2 options; to try for a second dose of epidural or deliver through general anesthesia. We opted to try the epidural again and unfortunately, again it did not work. When Dr Wong told me that I had no choice but to deliver thru GA, my whole body trembled on the OT table. I was so scared that I was going to die or that GA will also not work. And in the midst of being scared, I also thought that it would be really sad for me to die, having to see the anesthetist’s face as the last face before I died. I didn’t even get to see my husby because he was outside getting scrubbed. As the decision was made for me to deliver via GA, husby was also not allowed to see me (if it’s thru epidural, husby is allowed in the OT). My dear husby only saw me 2 hours after the birth of our son, when I was wheeled back to the ward. Husby told me that he was so worried about me that his heart was thumping so fast, that he was afraid it might collapse. Seeing medical staff going in and out of the OT definitely didn’t alleviate his fears.

I was glad that I was able to wake up from the GA and see my husby’s face and embrace my son, finally. I’m sad that I didn’t manage to witness the delivery of my son, and neither did my husby. But I’m glad that my little precious boy made it, despite all the shit I had to go through.

Welcome to this world, Ayshan Adnan. Mummy and daddy promise that you will forever be loved unconditionally.

Born on 20 January 2016, 2208hrs.

37 Weeks Pregnant

As of today, we’re 37 weeks 4 days pregnant. During our last gynae visit at 37 weeks, the cervix is still not opened but baby Ayshan is still at a good weight for him to be delivered naturally, that is, if we were to deliver him by this week. He was at 3.2kg thereabouts then.

Dr Wong did another cervix sweep which was less painful than the first time..or maybe I already knew what to expect and therefore, had relaxed more. Again, so far no blood. He said that my cervix is still thick, in which I translated to be that I’m not yet ready to give birth this week.

As the birth date is nearing, I’ve been feeling a myriad of emotions. The positive feeling is of course…feelings of love. Like how I can’t wait to hold Ayshan and breathe in his heavenly baby scent. Playing with his tiny fingers and toes, blowing raspberries on his fat little tummy, kissing his button nose tip, beautiful lips and chubby cheeks…In fact, kissing him all over.

And then I have the over-powering negative feelings which includes feeling scared and nervous as to how the birthing process is gonna be. How painful will the contractions be? How much more painful will the pushing be? How am I going to withstand the pain? How much will I tear below? Will I die due to blood loss?

And about baby Ayshan, I worry…Will there be complications? What if he’s born with birth defects (I know that the medical results did not indicate anything of that sort but a mother can never stop worrying)?

As I am typing this, Ayshan is continuously moving around, making his presence known. It’s as though he’s telling me not to worry so much as he is a healthy baby (amniotic fluid is still a lot and his heartbeat is normal, based on last scan).

My feelings have translated into dreams and the last dream I had was a few days ago, when I dreamt that I had given birth naturally with epidural and an episiotomy. But generally, the birthing process was a non-terrifying one. I can only hope that it comes true, and pray that God Almighty will protect me and baby Ayshan.

I guess, for someone who is used to controlling and planning almost every aspect of my life, this is an aspect that I have zero control over and it terrifies me, as I do not know what to expect. One thing for sure, no matter how much I prepare myself mentally and physically for the birthing process, I know that the actual process will be hugely different and beyond my limited expectations.

Our next gynae visit is this friday, when we’re at 38 weeks and 1 day. We have to come earlier for a CTG scan first. Other than that, it’s any day now. And while I’ve had a wonderful pregnancy journey thus far, I can’t wait to get the birthing process over and done with, and start the next phase of my life; Motherhood.

36 Weeks Pregnant

We’re happy to note that baby Ayshan has somersaulted back down and so far his weight (currently between 3.1 to 3.2kg) is still allowing us to prolly give birth naturally, assuming we give birth between weeks 37 and 38, which means he’ll be abt 3.5kg when he enters the world. However, Dr Wong did a cervix check and informed me that my cervix is not yet opened. He did some form of “massage” which was rather painful, though bearable, to “coax” the cervix to dilate. I felt sore there for a couple of days after this cervix massage. -_- He said to not be alarmed if I see any blood but I didn’t.

Dr Wong has advised us to do some exercise (brisk walking, squats, climb staircase) for at least 45 mins each day, to ripen the cervix and we have been doing so, religiously. Even if the husby has to work, I make it a point to walk by myself in the day, such as taking a longer route to buy groceries/breakfast. When the husby is not working, we’ll go to the park, walk around the estate or go to some mall to shop. Like today, we’ll be heading to Ikea later to find some storage stuff. I don’t time myself when we go to the mall because mall walking and brisk walking at the park is obviously different. However, when I feel my groin area getting very sore to the point that sitting is a chore, that’s when I know I’ve sufficiently walked enough for that day as it usually takes ard 2-3 hours of walking to get that sore.

I’ve been anxiously waiting for the mucus plug to drop for the past 4 days (as of this post, we’re currently at 36 weeks, 4 days) since the check-up. But nothing has happened so far. Although, I did notice that I will have some form of pinching sensation at the bottom of my uterus on a nightly basis, which can be quite uncomfortable, borderline painful.

I am also having terrible constipation. The kind that makes my face towel (usually wrapped ard my neck while I’m doing my business) super wet, as though I’ve been to the gym. After spending some time on the toilet bowl, I will either have to stand or go on all fours to allow some room for sh*t to flow thru my intestines. I guess the reason for the sh*t to be “held back” is because baby is pressing down against it. And when the sh*t manages to flow down, that’s when the contraction at the intestines get pretty painful.

We’ll be seeing Dr Wong this thursday (week 37) and he will see if my cervix is open. If it is, he will most prolly ask us to go for an induced delivery or if baby is too big, will ask us to go for a c-section. Actually, during the last u/s scan, Dr Wong commented, “I was quite happy to see your baby breech during the last scan because your baby big.” I think he didn’t want the stress (neither do I) at having to deliver a big baby. So, we shall see what God has planned for us. For now, I’m just excited to meet my baby boy and am counting down the days til I get to hold him in my arms. 🙂

35 Weeks Pregnant

The day after we turned 35, due to job hazard, husby had to attend to an incident where there was a subject who has chicken pox. Husby has not had chicken pox before and neither has he been vaccinated. While I had chicken pox when I was in primary school, I didn’t think that my pox outbreak was full-blow, as compared to my elder brother who had the pox as well. But I checked with my mummy and she said that I also had full-blown chicken pox. Guess what they said it’s true; when you have the pox when you are a child, the outbreak is not as bad as having it when you’re an adult (my elder brother is 8 years older than me so he was prolly around 18 when he had it).

Upon getting to know about it from husby, I started googling (when will I learn my lesson that googling does not alleviate fears??). I read that if I were to be infected, baby has a chance of developing neo-natal chicken pox which can lead to severe consequences. But what really freaked me out was the term “stillbirth” as I continued reading. 😦

I’m glad I married a wonderful husband who is willing to sacrifice his comfort for the sake of the baby. My husband volunteered to sleep at his work place, upon receiving my texts, and the next day, before coming home, he went to get himself vaccinated. He asked the doctor if there’s any concern getting vaccinated when his wife is pregnant at 35 weeks and the doctor generally told him no. The vaccine supposedly decreases his chances of getting infected to 10% and today is day 3. So far, husby has been feeling fine but I guess it’s still too early to say since the chicken pox virus incubates for 10-14 days. I also hope that I’m immune to chicken pox and this serves as a reminder for me to get myself vaccinated for pox and rubella (apparently my vaccine wore off and we only found out after we got pregnant) before we try for our second child in the future. If I am truly immune from chicken pox, there’s nothing to worry at all as my antibodies will be passed down to Ayshan. I don’t even want to think what happens if I’m not. Haiz.

Anw, at this point, I think we’ve taken all the precaution we could take and therefore, we will leave everything up to God. We really do hope and pray that God will protect baby Ayshan like how He’s been protecting him all this while. Amin.

34 Weeks Pregnant

Baby Ayshan is still in breech position. His head is towards my right rib cage and his butts are towards my left kidney. He weighs 2.7kg now. We’ll be seeing Dr Wong on NYE and if Ayshan has still not turned, we will schedule for an elective c-section between weeks 37 and 38.

We also got to see Ayshan’s face today and he seems to be munching when we were looking at him (either he’s munching his amniotic fluid or he munches in his sleep, like me). Got a full view of his thick lips and I’m secretly hoping that his thick lips will make breastfeeding easier (with all the lip cushioning). Well, a mummy can hope, right? 🙂

After the scan, Dr Wong said, “You must be feeling very uncomfortable by now, considering the baby is big and is in breech.” I answered, “Yeah. I can’t breathe properly, particularly when I lie down to sleep.”

These days, I sleep on 2-3 pillows each time but whether it’s on my sides or my back, I rarely feel comfortable enough to go into a deep sleep. It’s ok. I shall take this as training for when Ayshan is out.

Anw, Dr Wong also did a vaginal swab today to check if there’s any vaginal virus and if there is, antibiotics will be administered on the day of delivery.

Well, right now, I can only pray that Ayshan will somersault back down in the next 2 weeks. But if he doesn’t, c-section is fine with me too.

33 Weeks Pregnant and baby is in breech

We had an unscheduled visit to Dr Wong last week as I’ve been feeling this sharp, pulling feeling near my bladder area for the past 2 days. I didn’t think it was a source of concern, although every time it happens, it takes my breath away. It lasts about 1-2 seconds max each time and would come every few minutes during a specific period.

When I spoke to my colleagues who have had experience in childbirth, both of them suggested that I asked my gynae about it. So, I decided to text Dr Wong and the next thing I knew, he asked us to come down to the clinic for a cardiotocography (CTG) scan that same morning.

Note: A CTG is done to see if your baby’s heart beats at a normal rate and variability. A CTG done in your third trimester is also known as a ‘non stress test’ because your baby is not under the ‘stress’ of labour. Normally, a baby’s heart rate is anywhere between 110 and 160 beats per minute and increases when the baby moves.

I panicked after googling what a CTG scan is for and prayed to God that Ayshan is not in distress as it’s still a little early for him to meet us for our first date. Upon reaching the clinic, I was put on the CTG machine where Ayshan’s heartrate was monitored. My “contractions” were also monitored but that stupid, pulling feeling did not happen when I was being monitored. So, the CTG scan results were inconclusive and Ayshan’s heartbeat was normal and it did rise when he was wriggling around.

Unfortunately, we got an alarming news when Dr Wong did an u/s scan. During our 32 weeks scan, Ayshan’s head was already facing down, preparing to enter the world. However, during the 33 weeks scan, Dr Wong discovered that he has somersaulted back up. I don’t know how my dear baby is able to somersault back up when there’s barely any space to do so anymore. It’s really getting cramp in here. As it is uncommon for babies to somersault back up so late in the pregnancy, considering the lack of space and all, Dr Wong basically told me to be mentally prepared that I may need to deliver thru c-section.

To me, I personally don’t care how Ayshan is being delivered, as long as he is safe. Being a mummy-to-be really puts my life to perspective. I really don’t care what happens to me, as long as my dearest baby is fine. Of course, ideally, I would prefer to deliver naturally as the recovery rate is much faster for the mother and I can go back to being active and shed this unwanted pregnancy pounds pronto. But if God decreeds that I give birth thru c-section, then so be it. I would not be fussy and demand that I give birth naturally to a baby in a breech position.

Anw, at 33 weeks pregnant, dearest Ayshan is between 2.3 to 2.4kg. While his growing weight assures me, it also means that Ayshan is running out of time to somersault back down, for me to have a natural delivery. We shall see what happens during our 34 weeks scan. If c-section is truly needed, I think I will opt for Ayshan to be delivered the day he supposedly turns 37 weeks, which is on 7 January 2016 (about 3 weeks away).

Dr Wong gave me 3 days mc, following the CTG scan as he say that pre-term labour is worrying and that I should have enough rest. He did, however, advised that if I truly am having contractions and delivering a pre-term baby, I should consider heading down to KK Hospital to deliver instead of delivering at TMC. He said that a pre-term baby will have to stay in the ICU for a while and it will get expensive for the parents. How nice is my gynae right? Although, considering the conjunctivitis case at KKH, I told husby that even if I have to give birth pre-term, there’s no way I’d go to KKH. My baby’s health is the most impt. Money can always be earned.

To prepare for Ayshan’s arrival, husby and I have washed all his “home” clothes, towels, mittens, booties and caps. We’re only left with his “outside” clothes, bedding and soft toys. We’ll prolly wash his bedding and soft toys in 2 weeks time and prepare his crib. I cannot state enough how excited I am at Ayshan’s arrival and holding him in my arms, despite knowing how much our life is going to change. 🙂

Childbirth Education Course by Thomson Medical Centre

We are lucky to be surrounded by close friends who are also pregnant around the same time. Thomson Medical Centre’s Childbirth Education Course (CEC) was highly recommended by a close friend of mine who had attended the course and raved about how useful it was. 2 of my colleagues whose wives also delivered at TMC had also attended the course and said it was useful. So, we decided to sign up for it and since we’re TMC First Born Incentive (FBI) members, the course is slightly cheaper at around $280 per couple.

Note: We would encourage parents who are planning to deliver at TMC to sign up as FBI or Subsequent Born Incentive (SBI) members as you get a lot of freebies and signing up for Cordlife also comes at a highly discounted rate (which we did).

Anw, the CEC is a 5-day course (once per week, on a day of your choosing) with one complimentary doctor lecture at the end of the course. We opted to attend the Thursday night sessions at AMK Hub (the weekend sessions are more expensive, and understandably, more packed). Our Nurse Educator (NE) is Ms Wong Boh Boi, who is also the author of 3 books which parents will receive when they sign up as FBI/SBI members. I shall attempt to provide a brief overview of each class.

1st lesson – Physical & Mental Preparation

We found this lesson particularly useful. Some of the stuff I picked up was how you should not succumb to traditional beliefs during the confinement period just because your mother/grandmother/great-grandmother tells you so. The NE explained why, in the olden days, mothers were told not to shower. It was because they had to let their wounds below heal naturally, unlike today, where doctors are more trained to sew your perineum tears.

Heard this before, “If you shower, wind will get into your body.” Please ah. Last time, there was no such thing as a water heater so mothers had to bathe the cold water and in turn, their bodies are not heated enough. Now, there’s the damn water heater and hair dryer to dry your hair right after showering. And in Singapore, where the weather is humid, it’s simply ridiculous not to bathe, especially for mothers who are planning to breastfeed. Imagine feeding your poor little baby with sweat trickling down your boobs and nipples. Ewww.

We also learnt how to correctly “stroke” the baby while in the belly and not simply rub the belly round and round. Imagine being in a pool and suddenly someone made the pool into a whirlpool. Would you like it? No, right? Same goes for babies. You’re supposed to stroke your hand bottom up or for some “action”, you can just tap left-right-centre-down. You’re encouraged to get some “action” from your baby during the day. Ever wonder why your baby is more active at night? It’s because you have “neglected” him during the day and only giving him attention at night!  Daddies are also encouraged to talk to the baby when he’s home and if daddy is coming home late that day, mummy should then let baby know not to “wait up” for daddy. This constant communication will also allow baby to adopt similar practice when he’s out of the womb.

2nd lesson – Pain Relief

We learnt the different types of pain relief during labour. I’m sure ‘laughing gas’ and epidural are widely used words when you’re pregnant. Impt takeaway is that some mothers complained that the laughing gas is smelly. Actually, the laughing gas does not have any smell.  It’s the mask that smells.

The daddies were also thought on how to give the mummies massages during labour to alleviate some of the pain. It’s useful because my baby daddy uses the technique (some what) to massage me now. 🙂

Anw, for info, we have decided to opt for epidural for our pain relief. Hopefully, we reach the hospital early enough, to have it administered.

3rd lesson – Labour & Delivery

During this lesson, we learnt how to manage our breaths during labour. There are so many different types of breathing techniques but if all else fails, just do deep breathing when contraction hits.

In a nutshell, when the pain heightens (usually during the later dilations…not at the 1-2cm ones), you need to do this technique – Breathe a deep breath, blow, blow, blow, blow. Once the contraction subsides, sigh deeply.

We were also taught that when one is in pain, you will only be able to hear the voice of your loved ones. So your delivery partner (may be baby daddy or someone else) plays a very crucial part during delivery. Because when the midwife tells you to push, you are likely not to do anything until your partner tells you to push. So, it’s very impt for your partner to pay extra attention during this class. Because, in order for your perineum not to tear mercilessly, you have to do the quick breaths technique

4th lesson – Breastfeeding

This lesson was held at SCGS auditorium. Pls note that the seats in the auditorium is not especially comfortable for mummies and for those like me, who perspire even in aircon rooms, be prepared to bring a fan along.

This lesson teaches you how to stimulate your breasts and prepare it for breastfeeding, how to prevent engorgement, what to do when there’s engorgement. My friend who is able to produce milk like a fountain, told me that she has engorged breasts the moment she sleeps a little longer and not pump the milk out at the 4-hour mark. And that the pain of engorgement hurts more than her C-section. Poor dear.

5th lesson – Practical Hands-on Baby Care

This particular lesson was painful for us. The NE had a lot of stories up her sleeve and after each practical lesson, she shared with us a couple of stories. The class was supposed to end by 9pm and at 9.45pm, she said, “I don’t care, the class will finish late.” By then, my back was aching (we had to sit on uncomfortable chairs this time, unlike the other lessons where we were given a mat and pillows to lean against/lie down on) and I started to have water retention at my legs and hands.  And I’m like…hey, not everyone here is comfortably in their second trimester. There are mothers like me who are in their 3rd, and frankly, quite uncomfortable, trimester! So, since she didn’t care, I also didn’t care about her and decided to just leave the class there and then. Poor husby was also very tired by then because he was from another course in the day and was mentally fried.

Anw, during this lesson, we learnt how to bathe, wear clothes and diapers for the baby (more for the daddies’ benefits as such things do not usually come naturally to them). Also, different ways on how to carry the baby, burp the baby and perform CPR when an emergency occurs. The practical lesson took about 2 hours, when it could have been shrunk to an hour (if you remove like 5 stories).

The part where we left was when she went into the 5 S’s on how to soothe your crying baby. I figured that I could probably google this info and so, we left when she launched into yet another story, during the 3rd S. Here’s what I had googled:

Swaddling – Snug wrapping is the cornerstone of calming, the essential first step in baby soothing. Swaddling is like the soft caresses babies feel during pregnancy. Babies often struggle during the wrapping, but it helps keep them from flailing. And, as soon as you add the other S’s the calming will begin. (Avoid loose blankets around the face and overheating. They are associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.)

Side or Stomach Position – The back is the only safe sleeping position. But, it makes crying babies cry even more because they feel a bit like they’re falling. The side or stomach position cancels that feeling and switches on the calming.

Shushing – Shushing is “music to your baby’s ears.” Remember, the sound in the womb is louder than a vacuum, so when your baby is crying you’ll need to shush as loudly as she’s wailing, then gradually lessen your intensity as she settles.

Swinging – Infants love rocking, but crying babies need fast, tiny, jiggly movements back and forth like a shiver when they’re really upset. Swings, slings and rocking chairs help to keep them calm once they settle. Always support your baby’s head and never jiggle her when you’re angry.

Sucking – This wonderful S is the “icing on the cake.” It lulls babies into profound tranquility. Nursing moms offer the breast for soothing and avoid using pacifiers until the baby is nursing well for a couple of weeks.

Info from here

Anw, overall, apart from the long-windedness of the NE during the last lesson, we enjoy the course tremendously as we learnt a lot of useful information that we would not have if we didn’t attend the course. We would highly encourage soon-to-be parents to sign up for this course and hope you find the course as informative as we did.