Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Belly shot at 36 weeks

Here's the tum-tum at 36 weeks. It's been quite some time since we last took a photo so you can really see a difference between the previous shot and today's shot.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas 2008

It's Christmas! Our favourite time of the year! We had some house guests over the season - Leona's brother and her ex-classmate, Oi Lin, came to visit for a few days and so did Richard's sister Mary. We had a great time with everyone and also managed to meet up with Sheri and family and Voon Hooi as well.

Mary gave us a lovely Christmas present for our baby. It's a photoframe for photos of our baby taken at each month of his first year. Here's a picture.

Next Christmas we will have a little one with us. Looking forward to sharing all our Christmas traditions with him and tell him stories of Santa Claus and the birth of baby Jesus and have him participate in the Christmas baking and cooking and eating and festive fun! Can't wait!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Scan at 35 weeks

Gynae visit!

This must be what it feels like when you send your child to boarding school and you only see him once every few weeks. You wonder whether he's doing all right, whether he's put on/lost weight, whether he's developed well, whether he's eating well, whether he looks any different.

Well, today's peek at our baby brought some fantastic news. Firstly, baby is heads down again! Yay! Dr Chan asked me whether baby was heads down and I said I couldn't tell, because my visits to the toilet have not been more frequent and the baby's kicks have been all over the place and not limited to my ribs. Well, the ultrasound scan answered our questions: baby is upside down now, although there are no guarantees that the naughty fellow will stay that way.

Second piece of good news is that baby has reached safe weight - he is 2.520 kg now. Dr Chan estimated that baby will be about 3.2 - 3.3 kg upon delivery.

Dr Chan also asked us if we were going to bank baby's cord blood and he mentioned that we could consider either Cordlife or Stemcord.

Here are the 2D printouts. No 3D/4D scans today because baby's face was too near (you need a certain amount of space/fluid between the baby and the scanner to take a 3D/4D shot).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Herbs for confinement

Today we went to Chinatown to buy herbs for use during confinement.

According to Chinese confinement rules, the mummy is not supposed to drink plain water or touch plain water during her confinement. If she wants to bathe (and some don't bathe at all for the whole confinement period), she must bathe with water boiled with herbs. For drinking water, she has to drink water boiled with red dates and longan. Apart from these herbs, there are (many) more that she can take to expel wind, expel "bad blood" and regain her health. She also has got to be put on a confinement diet, which contains lots of sesame oil and ginger.

Here is a shot of all the herbs we bought today.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Antenatal classes

We have just finished a Childbirth Education course conducted by Thomson Parentcraft. The course comprises 5 weekly two-hourly lessons (conducted by nurses) and one two-hour session comprising 2 talks by doctors.

Although we were late for 5 out of the 6 sessions (haha!), we did find the course educational and helpful, especially the lessons on baby care and breastfeeding. Here's a summary of the course topics.

Lesson 1
Physical & Mental Preparation, Antenatal Exercise, Nutrition Before & After Delivery, Myths & Traditions, Coping with Pregnancy Discomfort, Back Care & Postures

Lesson 2
Pain Relief , Antenatal Exercise, Physiological Approach to Breathing Relaxation, Changes in Pregnancy Leading to Signs & Symptoms of Labour, Other Alternative Types of Pain Relief in Labour

Lesson 3
Labour, Antenatal Exercise, Physiological Approach to Breathing Relaxation, Learning to Cope in Labour, Mechanisms of Normal Childbirth, Husband’s Role

Lesson 4
Practical Hands-on Baby Care, Hands-on Child Care, General Care, Skin Care, Diaper Care, Bathing, Coping with a Fretting, Crying Baby, Coping with a Sleepy or Wakeful Baby, Coping with Colic

Lesson 5
Feeding, Breastfeeding, Bottle Feeding, Sterilization of Feeding Equipment, Weaning (introducing solid food), Learning to Enhance your Child’s Physical & Mental Development

Lesson 6
(Doctor’s Talk)
Talk 1: Husband’s Role during Childbirth, Problems Associated with a Newborn, The Process of Labour
Talk 2: Living with the In-laws, Post-natal Depression

Monday, December 8, 2008

Toys Toys Toys!

Yesterday we went to Toys R Us to buy an activity playmat for our baby. Richard chose one from Fisher Price. It's called the Kick n Crawl Aquarium.

Today we went to the Mattel warehouse sale, where they were selling toys and baby equipment (like bouncers and booster seats) at discounted prices. We spent $603 there! Here's a picture of our 'toy mountain', which includes the playmat we bought yesterday.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Belly shot at 32.5 weeks

Here's my tum-tum at 32.5 weeks.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Scan at 32 weeks

We are 32 weeks and 2 days today. Time to see gynae again and take a look at our boy!

Baby is 1.925 kg today, doing well. Dr Chan checked the placenta today and confirmed that it's no longer low-lying so natural birth is definitely possible. However, baby has decided to turn heads up again! What a naughty fellow! Hope he will somersault heads down again so that we can birth naturally. Dr Chan also checked the cervix and he said that it's tubular. He told us that this indicates low-risk of pre-term delivery.

We got a good look at baby today through the 4D shots - even got a look at him yawning!

Here are the 3D printouts.

Here are the 2D shots.

We have decided that we will enrol our son in an infant care centre where he will be cared for while we are working. We sourced for centres that were either near home or near the office and managed to find two which we visited last weekend. We also visited one more centre today, although it is not as near as the first two.

The first one we visited was Sam's Early Learning Centre which is located along the street where we live. It's in a bungalow with a big garden with swings, a sandpit and lots of playground equipment. The centre provides child care as well as infant care. We peeked into the infant care section and it looked wonderful. All the babies looked happy and well cared for and there is a large activity area for the babies to crawl around and play. They cater for about 12 babies and the ratio of caregivers to babies is 1 to 3. The place was non air-conditioned (which is good) and bright and airy. The infant care fees are S$1,000 per month. The centre has been operating for about 20 years now although the infant care has only been in place for 2 years. The director told us that we need to confirm our interest within the week because there was only one available spot left and a few couples had already expressed interest. The only downside is that the pick-up time everyday is 7 pm. It is unlikely that we will be able to meet this pick-up time on most days.

The next one we visited was Citikids Academy which is near Leona's office. This is a much smaller child care/infant care facility than Sam's Early Learning Centre. The infant care section was started three years ago as an added service to their child care customers, which is their main business. The child care used to be affiliated to Pat's Schoolhouse, in the sense that they bought the curriculum from Pat's Schoolhouse but their contract has now ended and they are now free to tailor their curriculum as they wish. The centre is located in a narrow and long shophouse, which is air-conditioned for ventilation. In the morning, the windows are opened for venting. We did not see any babies there when we visited as it was a Saturday. There did not seem to be any activity area for the babies - the infant care section is really quite small. Apparently, they take the babies outside in the morning to just spend some time outside. The ratio of caregivers to infants is very good - one to two. The real plus point is that the centre's pick-up time will be 8 pm starting from next year. Also, the proximity of the centre to Leona's office means that she can be there quickly in any case of emergency or if she simply wants to pop by and spend some time with the baby, perhaps even for feeding him. The infant care fees are S$1,750 but the lady that gave us the tour (Christina) told us that she could offer us a place for S$1,550. Christina said we can let her know in January 2009 if we are interested.

[UPDATE: Citikids Academy has since moved out from the premises that we visited.]

The third centre we went to (today) was Zion Babies. This is in a shopping centre in a nearby estate. It's also a bright, airy place with high ceilings and large windows. The centre also does not use any air-conditioning. The babies were happy and active, crawling around the large play area. Unfortunately, the pick-up time is 7 pm. They also have a waiting list for a place in April 2009. Their fees are about S$1,300. Although the place is lovely, it's not a serious contender as it is neither near our home nor the office so it is nearly impossible for us to meet the pick-up time of 7 pm.

All in all, although we like Sam's Early Learning Centre the best, it looks like the front contender is Citikids Academy, purely because of the pick-up time.

[UPDATE: We did not end up placing Ryan in an infant care centre. Instead, while we are working, he spends his time with a wonderful nanny who dotes on him and treats him as if he were part of her family.]

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hospital tour

Today, after the stroller, car seat and ISOFIX base were delivered, we went to Gleneagles for their hospital tour. The session started with some talks. The first was by a paediatrician, Dr Steven Ng, who spoke on infant ailments and vaccinations. After that, there was a talk by Dr Teo Cheng Peng, who spoke on cord blood banking by Stemcord. This was quite a persuasive talk and after listening to him, we decided to bank with Stemcord.

The next talk was by the labour ward nurses who talked about the admission and labour process, including pain relief options, and about infantcare in brief. After that, the nurses took us on a tour to show us the labour ward - the delivery room, the maternity rooms, the parentcraft room and the nurseries. There was one baby girl in the nursery that we could see, the rest were either undergoing phototherapy or with their parents.

The maternity rooms are located on the 5th and 6th floors. The 6th floor rooms have just been renovated and have nicer furnishings, although the size of the rooms are not very much different. It was interesting to check out the rooms and to imagine that we will be staying and labouring in one of those rooms very soon!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Our son's first ride

This evening, after visiting a friend in the hospital who had just delivered a healthy baby boy (2.49 kg at 34 weeks!), we popped by Baby Avenue to check out their strollers and car seats. Got there just before they closed.

We knew what we wanted - the Peg Perego Pliko P3 with the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Tri-Fix infant car seat - and their price was right so we only had to decide on the colour. It seems like such a simple thing, but it's really not! We were undecided between the Pure Vapour (lovely creamy white with light gray cushion) (2007 version) and the Black Bubbles (2008 version). On the one hand, the Pure Vapour looks clean and sweet and you'd definitely know when the stroller needs a clean-up. On the other hand, the Black Bubbles looks sleek and smart and scratches wouldn't show up so easily. The Pure Vapour was slightly cheaper as well because it is a 2007 version (the 2007 and 2008 models are exactly the same, only difference is in the colours).

Eventually, we decided on the Black Bubbles with the matching Primo Viaggio infant car seat with ISOFIX base. Hope our son likes it - it's his first ride! We'll pimp it up for him - with the appropriate skull-and-bones? or the obligatory wrap-around soft toy caterpillar?

Here's a picture of the stroller and car seat that we bought. They will be delivered to us on Saturday, 29 November.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gathering of preggers

This evening, we had a gathering of some mothers-to-be at our house, which Leona got to know through These ladies are all due in January 2009 although some will pop in December 2008. We have met up three times so far. It's great to be able to share experiences and opinions, get advice and tips and give and receive support from each other. Everyone is really friendly and it's always a pleasure to meet up.

Richard's parents and sisters (Margaret and Mary) and Margaret's three children (Jerica, Malcolm and Justin) came to visit us from 17 to 20 November. It was good to see everyone as, other than Mary who just visited us in September, we had not seen each other since May. We had a great time and celebrated Jerica's 11th birthday and an early Christmas too.

Richard's parents gave us a jade pendant for our baby, which I'm supposed to wear till baby is delivered, after which baby will wear it. It belonged to Richard's mum. They also brought some bird's nest and some chinese herbs. Aunty Margaret gave us some new baby clothes, 2 sarongs for easy breastfeeding and stretchmark cream. She also gave us some stuff she bought during their last trip to Langkawi - a pair of slippers for me and a shirt for Richard. Thank you!

Here's a picture of the pendant.

Here's a picture of Aunty Margaret's gifts for the baby:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Belly shot at 29.5 weeks

Here's my belly at 29.5 weeks! I am finally looking pregnant beyond doubt! My belly has overtaken my boobs at last! Time to give up my high heels!

I've packed away those of my clothes that I can't wear now. Hopefully I can fit into them after baby is out - some of them are still brand new and more importantly, I don't think I want to change my 'style' hahaha!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Scan at 28 weeks

It's time to visit our son again! We only get a peek at him every 4 weeks - as if he's in boarding school. It's always a treat and we always hope to get a look at his face and his expressions.

Unfortunately, he was sleeping today with his face towards my back and both his arms up on each side of his head. So no photograph of his face today. We tried to give him a poke or two but he wouldn't budge. In the end, Dr Chan said, "Since I can't give you a 3D shot of his face, I'll give you a 3D shot of his birdie." Hah hah!

So here it is, in all its glory... the only pornographic thing I'll ever publish...

Another interesting shot - our baby has already got hair!

Baby's statistics show that his growth is on track and he has long legs. He is 1.225 kg. Best news of all is that he has turned head-down, just as Dr Chan predicted he would.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weight throughout 2nd trimester

Here's my weight chart for my 2nd trimester. Dr Chan's (strict) guideline is a maximum gain of 2 kg for every 4 weeks from week 16 onwards. So far so good.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

First of many changes to come

This morning, we collected our new car. Now we have two cars!

We had to buy another car because our other car is a two-seater. The new car is very spacious and there's plenty of space for an infant car seat to fit comfortably. This car is really for the baby!

I guess there are many more 'lifestyle' changes that we will be making when baby comes. No more living without a schedule, no more flying by the seat of our pants, no more of just getting-up and go whenever we please, no more sleeping in late in the morning, no more napping in the afternoon, no more mahjong three times a week, no more skipping meals or eating at odd hours... the list goes on and on...

Then again, we're looking forward to spending time with our baby, feeding him, bathing him, hearing him say his first words, enjoying his first smile, listening to his first chuckle, seeing him have his first swimming lesson, his first ride in his stroller, car rides with him... ahhh... can't wait!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cord blood banking

Today we went for a talk by Stemcord to find out more about cord blood banking. There are two private banks (Stemcord and Cordlife) and one public bank.

The statistics show that it is rare that cord blood is actually needed or used in treating medical conditions, but there have been some cases where cord blood has been used to save a life where everything else failed. That's good enough for us to want to bank our baby's blood. However, we have not decided whether we should bank privately or donate to the public bank.

After the talk, we still had not made up our mind so we decided to leave the decision till later.

My tummy is starting to really show now! Feels great to be out of the "limbo" phase. This is the latest belly shot.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Scan at 24 weeks

Today we went for our 24-week scan. Baby is growing well, now at 670 g. All his organs are developed and from now on, he will just have to put on weight. Dr Chan was quick to point out that this does not mean that the mummy should put on weight too!

We got a good look at his face today. Here are the printouts.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Belly shot at 22.5 weeks

Today we went for a free makeover and photoshoot. The people there didn't even notice I was pregnant! Guess it depends on what I wear. There definitely is a little bump developing...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Scan at 20 weeks

Time to go and see our baby again!

Today we got the printout of the amniocentesis results - all is well. Also got the thalessemia test results printouts - we are both fine, no thalessemia. I have pregnancy related anaemia, which Dr Chan says is caused by dilution of the blood in my system and is perfectly fine. We asked him if I need to take any supplements or do anything and he said no.

My weight gain this time is within Dr Chan's recommendation, so he's happy and so am I. Baby is estimated to be 361 g, which is slightly above the average for this stage. Ultrasound scan shows baby is sleeping and he didn't want to look at us, so we couldn't see his face.

Dr Chan mentioned that we need not do the detailed scan for abnormalities. He said that if he picked up anything suspicious he would send us for the scan but so far so good. Also, if there was anything 'wrong', it can be fixed after delivery. Still, if we really want to, we can still have the scan done and if so, he recommends that we get it done by Dr TC Chang at Thomson Medical Centre. However, we decided not to do the scan.

Belly underwent a sudden growth spurt over the past week!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Amnio Results!

This morning, as I was driving to work, Dr Chan's clinic called to give me the results of the amniocentesis - ALL CLEAR!!! Yippee! What a relief! No genetic abnormalities detected, which also means no Down's Syndrome. Also, the amnio confirmed that baby is a boy, which is what I wanted for our first child.
Asked the nurse about our thalessemia test results and she said they were clear as well.
What a great start to the day!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Thalessemia scare!

Yesterday, the clinic called and told me that my blood test results showed that I had low hemoglobin levels. One cause could be thalessemia so Dr Chan wants both of us to go for a thalessemia blood test. So, this morning we went to the hospital to have our blood drawn. Richard hates needles and is confident he does not have thalessemia, however he has no choice but to undergo the experience with me, otherwise he will have to come up with some fantastic excuse to tell Dr Chan.
The blood test was done fairly quickly. As I just had blood drawn two days ago from my right arm, today the nurse drew blood from my left. I wasn't too bothered, needles don't really trouble me.
Slightly worried about this. I am confident I don't have thalessemia major but could I have thalessemia minor? Hoping it is just mild anaemia brought on by the pregnancy. Fingers crossed!

Today we went for the amniocentesis test. Before that, Dr Chan did the usual ultrasound scan and this time, our baby proudly announced that he is a Boy!

Baby's weight is estimated to be 194 g. Head and abdomen circumference and femur length measurements are medium on the growth chart. However, my weight gain is slightly above Dr Chan's liking - it must be all those sugared drinks!

After that, we did the amniocentesis. Dr Chan spread some orange gunk on my belly and then inserted a long needle into my tummy and into my uterus to collect the amniotic fluid. It was virtually painless and it was over in less than 5 minutes. Results will be out in 2 to 3 weeks, as the laboratory needs to grow the cells in the fluid before examining them for genetic abnormalities.

We were then sent over to the hospital to have my blood drawn for the routine blood test to check for HIV, rubella, hemoglobin levels, blood type, etc. I think the amniocentesis was less painful than the blood test!

After our gynae appointment, we went to the baby fair at Takashimaya and picked up a few things.

We bought:
- 4-in-1 Rocio cot, with a musical mobile, one bedding set and one coconut fibre mattress.
- a baby monitor (Baby Farlin)
- Pigeon Rapid Steam Steriliser bundled with bottle/food warmer, Newborn Starter Set and some extra bottles.
- two Anakku waterproof mattress pads
- a packet of Anakku diaper fasteners

Didn't want to pick up stuff like clothes, diapers and towels at this stage because they will just be collecting dust until baby is out. Also didn't want to have to keep small stuff like baby cream, wipes, etc for so long. Need to get a breast pump and car seat but putting these off till later. So I guess that's all for now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Weight throughout 1st trimester

How interesting it is that pregnancy causes every woman to obsess about her weight. Whether it is too little, too much, too fast, too slow, it definitely ranks as one of the all-time favourite topics of conversation among preggers.

This is my weight chart for 1st trimester... not much change. Gynae wants me to stay within a gain of 1 kg up to 16 weeks.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Scan at 14 weeks

We are finally in our 2nd trimester! Have been feeling less tired and less nauseous and have also been puking less. Starting to feel like a normal human being.

Went to see Dr Chan again for our 14th week update. Baby has grown to 9.14 cm (CRL) !! Still can't tell the gender yet, but Dr Chan says, "It could be a boy."

Next appointment we will be having the amniocentesis test to check for genetic abnormalities.

These are the 3D/4D scan printouts.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tired Tired Nauseous Tired Tired

12 weeks along now and have been feeling tired and nauseous. Was puking almost everyday for about one to two weeks, making regular donations to the toilet bowl. However, the puking is not the worst part, in fact puking is easy. The part I hate the most is the utter fatigue and exhaustion. I'm just too tired to get out of bed, to put on my make up (which is pointless anyway since it gets washed off after I puke), to stay awake in the office, to stay awake when I get home...

The bloatedness has gone down but my appetite has changed. I prefer lots of veggies and greens and sweet stuff, nothing too salty, nothing too oily, less meat. Can't take chicken rice or nasi lemak or KFC. Strong smells like frying oil and garlic... cannot tahan. On the flip side, I have no food cravings. In fact, I don't have much appetite at all but if I don't eat, I will feel nauseous. So mealtime is always a chore - I have to really crack my brains for ideas on what to eat.

Sigh. I can't wait for 1st trimester to be over.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Scan at 10 weeks

Our next appointment at the gynae, 10 weeks now, baby is growing well, CRL (Crown-Rump Length) is 3.59 cm. Placenta is still a little low, but is not covering the cervix and gynae is confident it will not be a problem.

Gynae also managed to do a rough NT measurement (0.89 mm). He said this is really minimal which is good because it shows less risk of Down's Syndrome. That is really good news for us, as our first (unplanned) pregnancy in late 2005 ended in a miscarriage at 12 weeks due to baby having Down's Syndrome.

Baby was moving his hands and gynae managed to scan and count five fingers!

Am feeling some slight nausea if I skip a meal or eat a little later than usual... looks like the nasty symptoms are starting...

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