Saturday, 29 December 2007

Pictures

As promised, below are some of the pictures that I had taken of Hotdog! Not too many, I know but should give you a good idea how our precious looks like.

All the pictures are taken during the actual labour and the first day of hospital stay.

In case you are wondering, we are down to about 50-50 as to who Hotdog looks like. About one third of our family, friends and relatives say that Hotdog looks like the Mrs while the 33% find that he resembles me. The remaining one third simply do not know how to tell. Usually I fall in this last third. I can never tell unless it is really close to identical.

Anyway without further a due, I present to you our Baby:




Lucky for me, people warned me before that babies are born bluish otherwise I will have the shock of my life.


Hotdog cried for the first time!


This was actually an re-enactment because I was busy snapping away on other things so I asked the nurse to hand him upside down again for me. Evil right?!?! In case you are wondering, the nurse was taking his length measurement.


Baby is clothed for the first time but it's from the hospital and not us.


Whenever I see Baby wrapped like this I always comment that he looks like a worm. Ha Ha Ha!


People around us commented that Baby looks very matured in this picture. He looks like he is 2 months and not 2 days old.


Lastly, his name is Isaac Tan.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Hotdog!!!

Yesterday, Boxing Day was a really busy and stressful day for me!

We started off the day going for our scheduled appointment at Dr N’s clinic. The Mrs was supposed to go in for her routine CTG as well as discuss with Dr N on our proposed induced delivery. We have more or less decided on 1st Jan 2008.

The CTG was same-o same-o but after that we had to wait like 2.5 hours before we get to see Dr N!! The Mrs was losing her patience.

Anyway the CTG showed that the Mrs was having contractions (surges) every 20 minutes or so and Dr N proceeded to perform the Vaginal Examination for her. It was rather uncomfortable for the Mrs and guess what?!?! Dr N was surprised to learn that she was already 4cm dilated and best part was the Mrs had yet to feel anything!

Since we were going to induce the labour anyway, Dr N instructed us to go to the Delivery Suite to start the antibiotic so that he can rupture the membrane after about 4 hours!!

This was it ladies and gentlemen!!

We went for lunch as it was already 1 plus and she will be on the drip for the antibiotic so will not be mobile.

We officially checked in by about 2pm and she was on the drip by 2.30pm.

The next few hours went by uneventfully and the Mrs was “complaining” that she was not feeling anything. She was worried that we have checked in too early when she could possibly wait for another day or two. The nurse assured her that contractions were going on and that she should be thankful that she is not feeling much.



Since she was still feeling good and mobile we decided that that was the best time for me to leave her and go home to bring our stuffs.

I am disappointed to say that we were not very organized in this department because I had to repack since I will be staying over and none of my stuffs were in yet. Thankfully I travel on and off so last minute packing is not really a challenge. Although I have to admit that I forgot to bring out Stemcord kit with me. The hospital needed to use the items from the kit so they loan us a spare unit that they have in stock on the condition that I will bring mine to return them.

The rest of the day was a matter of just waiting and riding the mild surges. We were getting impatient as well as we (actually more like me) were hoping to have Baby out before midnight so he / she will be a Boxing Day Baby!

Finally at 8.30pm Dr N came to do another VE (5cm dilated) and then proceeded to rupture the membrane. I was watching and saw the instrument that he used looked like a giant toothpick. It took him 3 attempts before I finally saw the “show”. This has proved to be really uncomfortable for the Mrs and I believe that this was the straw that broke her will to go without epidural.

She was worried that if 2 fingers were already this painful, imagine Baby’s head coming out from the same area!!?!

The Mrs wanted me to inform all of you that it felt very strange to have the water bag broken while sitting on the bed because it made her feel as if she was peeing while in bed. Since the water was not exactly gushing out this sensation went on for quite a while.

Oh, from this exercise, we also found out that the Mrs is a little sensitive towards the Obstetric Care Lotion (white cream) that the hospital uses. In case you ladies were to feel any itchiness after your Gynae perform VE or similar procedure then you should let the nurses know that it is probably due to the cream. It seems there are a handful of women who are sensitive to it. So they switched to KY Jelly for the Mrs.

The instruction from Dr N was to put the Mrs on this drip (did not get the medical term) that will stimulate more intense and consistent surges and the nurse had to increase it every half hour. But before they administered that they had to check with the Mrs if she would like to have epidural as an induction like this may make the surges much more intense and jump the pain meter.

After consulting for a few minutes, the Mrs decided that it is best for her to use it. She had my backing and support of course.

The epidural was only administered at about 10.20pm as we had to wait for the Doctor to come from his home (I’m guessing). By that time I was resigned to having Baby delivered only after midnight. I mean what are the odds of her achieving full dilation with that short period of time right? The general rule of the thumb is 1cm per hour after one has achieved consistent surges. I was prepared to be there for a long night.

While waiting for her full dilation, we came up with a method to help her ride the waves of surges better. It was quite simple really. All I had to do was monitor the machine that showed the level of surges and will warn her whenever it was going up and she will use her HypnoBirthing breathing method. It worked rather well.


However someone failed to mention to me that once the epidural was administered, the rule book can be thrown out of the window! It seems the epidural actually relaxes the muscles so much that dilation can come a lot faster for some women and the Mrs falls in this category. By about 10.50pm, she was fully dilated.



How we knew was the Mrs’s constant complaint that she felt as if she needed to go for a number 2. This prompted the nurse to do another VE and that was when we found out she was ready.

Both Dr N and Dr K (our paediatrician) came in at about 11.40pm and I was sure that we will miss the date. I honestly do not know why I am so obsessed with Boxing Day Baby.

From here on I have to say that the Mrs did an excellent job and I am so proud of her. Baby was out at 11.54pm (barely made it before midnight) after about 6 – 8 pushes. I am also proud to say that I watched the entire crowning to the final delivery. I even witnessed the episiotomy, removing of the placenta and the stitching.

I bet from the title of this post you would have already guessed that Baby is a boy. So the minority of you guessed it right!!

I will be posting pictures of Baby and also announce his name in due time. As for now I only want to enjoy the company of my SON!!!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Engaged!!

We were at Dr N’s clinic last week when he announced that Baby is actually engaged!!!! What this means is that Baby’s head is mostly lowered and not in the abdomen anymore. Looks like this is really it!!!

He had actually predicted about a month ago that Baby will be out by 28th or 29th of this month so that gave us some emotional preparation. If not can you imagine our shock and surprise when we learn that Baby will be out next week??!!

This is almost 10 days before the EDD!! So much for a 2008 baby and away from all the competitions from all the other babies that are around us. I had posted (see Joe) that I prefer Baby to be born next year since there are at least 4 babies that we know, 2 of whom are family, that are born this year. I rather not have the pressure of these parents comparing notes and results throughout Baby’s life.

During one of the recent visits the Mrs was made to go through a Strep B test and unfortunately the result came back positive.

I’m not familiar with this but according to the Internet and Dr N, it has the potential to really cause some serious harm to Baby. Naturally Dr N is not prepared to take any risk with Baby hence he has ordered the Mrs to go for a CTG test every 3 days or so. This is to monitor Baby and at the same time help determine when we should induce the labour.

The reason he gave for the induction was he wanted to make sure that Baby has absorbed the necessary antibiotics before going through the vagina and the only way to do this is to inject the antibiotics into the Mrs 4 hours before rupturing the membrane. Unless the water bag bursts on its own within these next few days, it looks like we have to sit down and seriously think of Baby’s birth date.

So much for a drug free birth huh?!

Good thing is our priority has always been the health of the Mrs and Baby. This will take precedence over any preference, theory or ideology. Like I said before the things we take away from the HypnoBirthing class will be something that we can apply to our daily lives so it is not a waste as such.

We are scheduled to go back for another CTG test on Boxing Day and I believe we will have to provide Dr N with a date that we would like to have the labour. I am blogging now at Paragon Starbucks on Sunday, 23rd December and we are no closer to coming up with a birth date.

On the hindsight by inducing the labour, we are in better control of things, logistic wise. We do not have to worry about being out shopping and then have to face the bursting of the water bag. By scheduling the labour, I can also bring everything such as the stem cord kit.

Come to think of it, since so many people are on leave this time of the year, maybe I can invite them all down for moral support!! They can wait outside the delivery suite and pray and cheer for the Mrs. I think I might just extend the invitation to a few friends and families. Readers are included so if you are having your routine checkup at Mt E over the next few days, then maybe you too would like to consider popping by!

Now that we are thinking about the actual labour, the Mrs has also started to plan about methods of pain prevention just in case. We have already stated in our birth plan that we know of the various pain relief so we will request for it should and when the time comes.

A friend, J gave us an excellent idea. She is a mother of 2 with the youngest, Megan (nice name right?) born earlier this year. J told the Mrs that when she was having her surges (contractions) she actually asked the midwife on a scale of 1 – 10 when compared to the pain during actual delivery, which level would she be at that particular time. The midwife said 4 and she knew instantly that she required the epidural.

I believe the Mrs will use the same method to gauge if she requires the same pain relief. Unless of course by inducing the labour things will happen much quicker and she has to make a decision before even we begin.

So there you have it! Baby should be seeing the world real soon and I have decided to stay over in the hospital and will keep you all posted through this blog. We learned that the rooms are wi-fi enabled and tentatively it is still free of charge. So be prepared to see a few pictures of Baby real soon.

Do stay tune and in the meantime suggestions on the birth date anyone?

Merry Christmas to you all and may you have a wonderful year ahead!

Happy Birthing!

Monday, 17 December 2007

Deprived!

I asked the Mrs recently and she confirmed that this last stretch of the pregnancy is the hardest for her. It definitely beats the earlier whole day sickness, throwing up as well as fatigue. If she was to decide whether or not to have more kids based on how she is feeling now, I am positive Baby will be a rather lonely child with no siblings.

The reason for this "torturous" time is her sleep deprivation. The Mrs has not had a good night rest for the last 3 weeks already and she had not laid flat on the bed whether facing up or to her sides for the same period of time too. She has been “sleeping” while sitting up at a 20 to 30 degree angle all this while and very rarely she gets to sleep for a few hours straight without feeling any pain or discomfort.

For most parts, she will switch from position to position which each supplying her with only about 10 – 15 minutes of relief. Before we know it the discomfort kicks in and she had to move the pillows around again. There are currently 4 regular pillows, a small kids pillow, a bolster, a sofa cushion and a body pillow on our bed. All of them are at her disposal to try and build that comfortable “nest” to sleep through the night. She will usually ultilise most of them except for this one occasion when she only needed 2 or 3 of them and she chucked all the remaining ones to me. Funny thing was she must have been so tired that she forgot she had rejected them the night before and she “accused” me of taking away all her pillows the next morning. I had to refresh her memory and told her I had a hard time keeping the pillows with me so that they will not disrupt her sleep and at the same time not dropped any of them on the floor for Ah No. (You see, Ah No sleeps under our bed and is ever ready to pounce on any excess pillows his Master and Mistress are kind enough to “share”)

On the few occasions that the Mrs can sleep for a few hours peacefully, she had to wake up in the middle of the night to empty her bladder. So with the combination of these discomforts and late night toilet visits, she is really having a hard time now.

The fact that she cannot take her maternity leave earlier due to shortage of staff does not help too. Last night was one of the extremely rare nights that she could sleep from about 1am straight to 6am before waking up for her toilet routine. By the time I wake up at 7 she was still sound asleep. I thought to myself if only she can continue sleeping but alas she had to wake up and go to work. While driving to work I told her that I am beginning to understand why there are some MTB who started their maternity leave 2 weeks before the EDD. They probably experienced the same problem but were lucky enough to exercise their maternity leave in order to gain some rest prior to giving birth.

Her lack of sleep got so bad that whenever she dozed off in the afternoon or at night, I had to be very careful and remove all phones from the room. I had to get up and really gently for fear of waking her up. When Ah No follows me out of the room which he usually does cause he is rather busybody, he will be kept outside in case he makes any noise with his wagging tail and wakes the Mrs up. I also learned that it is best to leave everything else such as lights and TV volume as they are since any sudden change will result in waking her.

Although I am not feeling the discomfort and pain, I am not having an easy time too. Most of it is down to me feeling helpless and guilty. Helpless because seeing the Mrs suffered so much and yet there is nothing I can do. I can only help her up and adjust the pillows around for her. The only other thing I can do is to try and stay up with her whenever she cannot sleep but this has also proven to be rather hard. As much as I would like to stay up and accompany her, I always end up falling asleep hence the guilt.

I know all these sleepless nights are taking a toll on the Mrs because I woke up in the middle of the night once only to find the Mrs sobbing away uncontrollably. This was largely due to the fact that she had not slept at all the night before and was having the same problem that night. She was so tired and sleepy but she just could not sleep. Seeing her like that really breaks my heart. I wish I can bear some of the “sufferings” for her.

Last night the Mrs was talking to Baby and she said that it may not be a bad idea for him / her to come out earlier. I think the Mrs does not want to consider having to hang on till the EDD which is at 9th January.

Well, if Dr N’s calculation is anything to go by then we may not have to wait that long for his prediction is Baby will be out before the end of the year. He told us to get ready for the 28th or 29th of this month and in case you're wondering he is not going away for the New Year.
I don’t know why but I keep thinking it will be Boxing Day but whether it's 26th, 28th or 29th, they are all next week!!!!

Speaking of Dr N, we went to see him last Wed and he sent the Mrs to do the CTG to check on Baby's heartbeat and I had recorded the sound from the machine and also the picture of the Mrs’s tummy which has grown by the way. She was gained about 2 Kg since I lasted posted pictures of her tummy.


video





We are due to see Dr N again this Wed, the 19th. Maybe he will have a better indication / prediction on the due date.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Ready?

I remembered one day not too long ago, the Mrs asked me what made me felt ready to want a child and take on parenthood. Was it due to the pressure from her since she was more keen initially and that was partly due to her biological clock ticking away.

Well the truth is I have always known I wanted children. I have always liked kids and I hope I can have children of both gender as the parenting are quite different. But I have never given myself a deadline to start planning for a child. Maybe emotionally I was not ready.
For me personally, I do not believe there is ever really a good time that I will feel absolutely ready to take on parenthood. In my twenties I was just beginning to have fun as I was making my own money for the first time plus I do not think we are financially stable enough yet. The forties may bring financial security but I do not think I will have the energy to handle a new born or toddler. Let’s not even go to the fifties because I told the Mrs if we are not successful by the time we hit late thirties we will either adopt or give up the idea altogether. I do not think I will try in my forties let alone the fifties.

So that brings us to my thirties. I feel that this is as ready as I can be. No doubt I am still having fun, in fact more fun than my twenties as I can afford better and nicer toys, but I feel we are more mature and financially stable enough to take on Baby and whatever else he/she can throw at us. Despite the love handles I would still like to think that I have enough energy to take care of Baby. Actually any Daddies out there who managed to lose their tummy from taking care of babies? This will be the best time to share your secret or regime.

Seriously what really triggered it off for me was an incident years ago when the Mrs fell off the chair while we were having dinner at home. These Ikea chairs can give way without warning or signs. Just last week, another Ikea chair gave way while a friend was sitting on it. Luckily he did not hurt himself. Hmmmm….. maybe I should ban the Mrs from sitting on them from now on. Anyway back to the incident. So the chair gave way and she landed on the floor and it gave us a big fright because the Mrs’s menstruation was rather late at that time and we were thinking to ourselves that maybe, just maybe she was pregnant and then this thing happened. I remembered I felt really awful and really wished for Baby (thinking that in case he/she was in there) to be alright. I don’t know why but after that incident I felt that maybe it is time to start a family.

Fast forward to today when I am only about a month away from holding my child in my hands, I still feel that I can never be 100% ready. Besides the lack of sleep and lots of crying (both from Baby and me) I really do not know what to expect. I guess I did not want to prepare myself too much. I would like to take things easy and handle it as it comes as it seems more 'fun' this way.

Friends around me are asking if I am excited and prepared. Honest to God, I am excited and a little anxious and nervous at the same time. Part of me wants Baby to be out now so I can start this incredible journey of Fatherhood and yet there is a small part that says “Wait a minute, hold on. Have I got everything ready? Am I truly prepared?”

Take for example the bag that we are supposed to bring along when the Mrs is in labour. Until this week I keep thinking that it is not ready hence should Baby be due I will be at a total lost. I kept bugging the Mrs to show me that we have everything covered. Now that she has I feel that bit more ready.

Not sure if any of you watched the Walt Disney’s movie, The Game Plan but that to me was very interesting. If Baby is indeed a girl I knew it when I watched the movie then I think I will relate to it even more. Given, the girl in the show that came into Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s life is no baby but she might as well have been since he is just as clueless. Watching the show made me think of the sacrifices that I have to make as a father. Now with a certain budget to buy my Xbox 360 games and HD DVDs I can utilise it all on my own but soon I will have to split that with Baby. So instead of what I did recently like ordering the Heroes and Ultimate Matrix collection box set (both in HD) from Amazon, I will have cut down and budget some purchases for Baby too.

Time is another sacrifice that I am preparing myself to make. Instead of spending an afternoon on playing my latest Xbox 360 game, Assassin's Creed, it will be interrupted with tending to Baby’s every need. Later on I may have to resort to buying and playing kid’s games such as SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom!

So if you ask me if I am ready? My answer will still be I am as ready as I can be.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Maid

Originally I had wanted to blog on our recent experience on shopping for a maid. It was meant to be a little light hearted and I was going to touch on how shallow I felt for rejecting the biodatas simply by looking at their photos.

I had wanted to elaborate on how awkward and terrible we felt having to turn away the maids (there in person) that these agents brought to us for our considerations. We really felt so low and shallow and judgmental and we were not proud of it but alas it had to be done.

I was also going to touch on the various agency fees which I felt was ridiculous to have a variation of between S$77 to S$688.

However our situation had been upgraded to desperate and I mean really DESPERATE!! Who would have thought that engaging a maid would be this difficult?!?! I mean there must be more than 1001 agencies out there!

We had actually approached an agency for help about 6 weeks ago and we thought that this agency will be able to come through for us just like she did with our friend, P; P’s friends and relatives as well as my BIL. We were taking things rather easy cause if she managed to find a suitable maid for so many of them then finding a suitable one for us should not be an issue surely.

But how wrong were we!!

Initially our instructions were to look for one that either speaks Cantonese or Mandarin but since we have no luck there I have amended it to English speaking which is what I preferred anyway. Even then they come in various standard, Little; Fair and Good. Naturally I opted for Good since the Mrs and I do not speak Malay so we really need to be able to converse with her in English.

Besides, I have the intention to send her to TMC for baby care training conducted by Parentcraft. I do not believe it is a lot of money but I know I will feel better knowing that she has been properly trained.

The problem with maids who speak good English is they are usually very experienced maids who had worked in Singapore for a few years before and they all want day off on Sundays. I have not even touched on their pay yet. We have been advised that the pay for Indonesian maids have gone up twice this year. My BIL got a Cantonese speaking maid around the same time last year and her salary is only S$280 per month.

Today, a fresh maid that speaks little English commands a salary of S$330 and S$350 for any maid that worked in Singapore before.

Below was the list of the criteria that we wanted our maid to fulfill initially.

- Decent looking;
- Preferably above 1.5m and not too heavy;
- English, Cantonese or Mandarin speaking;
- Has taken care of infant before even if it means taking care of their own children;
- Must not be afraid of dog;
- Able to start as soon as possible (before end of December);
- No off days;
- Experience in working oversea before. It does not have to be Singapore. The reason for this is we do not want a homesick maid shortly after she starts work

What do you think? Are we asking for too much? I thought these are really the basic that first time maid employers like us would look for.

Well, like I said we are desperate so we understand that we have to make some adjustments on our requirements so we are prepared to overlook certain things such as height & weight and experience in working overseas.

We are even prepared to accept ‘Transfer’ maids but still not a single maid is able to meet all our already lowered expectations.

The remaining criteria are really non-negotiable. We have to like the way she looks since we will all be living under one roof for the next 2 years. She has to have infant care experience because her primary duty is to take care of Baby. She must not be afraid of Ah No. She has to be able to start as soon as possible since the Mrs is due in about a month’s time.

I believe our biggest stumbling block right now is language because it is really not difficult to find a married maid who has infant care experience and not afraid of dogs. Even fresh maids meet these requirements actually. Now it is only an issue of balance.

Do we get a fresh maid who really speaks very little English and hope she will improve after staying with us for a short period or engage a transfer maid that speaks good English but demands to be off every Sunday. Frankly I am actually leaning more towards hiring an experience maid that had worked here for 6 to 7 years, a Christian (eats pork) and speaks good English. My logic is since they had worked here for so many years then chances of them getting themselves into trouble must be relatively low right? By giving her an off day on Sunday will allow her to recharge herself and will at the same time allow us some family time of our own. I mean there must be many employers out there, namely the expats that grant their maids off days and I am certain many of them had no problem with their maids.

I believe the Mrs like many out there has an issue with off days and it is not because they are slave drivers but because they have heard so many horror stories!

From the angle of monetary risk, should she really land herself in trouble and had to be repatriated our liability is really only the excess from the insurance that we intend to buy which comes up to only S$250. This is a far cry from those days that employers had to forfeit the full S$5000 bond.

I would like to think of us as being good employers who only demand honesty and integrity from our maid but having said that, inviting a total stranger into our house is really awkward and not the easiest thing to do. A lot has to be carefully planned out. This is the single biggest step that we had to take besides deciding to have a baby. Hopefully everything will turn out alright for all of us.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Nose

Since the response on the poll is not doing too good, only 8 votes at the timing of posting I have decided to include more clues in case you find that the Mrs’s tummy is still not evident enough.

No, seriously. We were scheduled to visit Dr C again yesterday after we found out during our last visit that Baby is smaller than average. He wanted to make sure that although small, Baby is still growing.

I have always been bugging the Mrs to go for a 4D scan so we can see Baby’s features but she has always resisted because of the cost involved. This time I finally managed to persuade her to go along with it and my reasoning was very simple. This 4D scan is something that we will never be able to do once Baby is out no matter how much money we are prepared to fork out.

Personally I thought that it is a very meaningful thing to do and eventually it will make an excellent gift for Baby too. I mean, hey if my mum can show me my 4D scan now I will be thrilled. I have seen 3D pictures that really resembles the baby after he is born. But of course they are supposed to look alike since it is basically the same person. The difference is one is taken while baby is still in the tummy while the other is taken after he/she is out.

So anyway, we went for our check up and did a normal scan on Baby and are glad to learn that Baby is doing just fine. A check on the water surrounding Baby shows that it is plentiful. The blood and oxygen flow to Baby is also good. Our main concern which was Baby’s abdomen has shown growth which is crucial.

Baby’s weight at 33 weeks is 1.947kg and according to Dr C, Baby’s predicted weight will be just below 3kg at EDD. This is not too bad huh?! We do not want Baby to be above 3kg partly also for the Mrs’s sake. As you can see from the pictures of the Mrs’s tummy, it is still considered to be on the smaller side so if Baby is any bigger then the Mrs will really have a hard time.

During the 3D scan we told Dr C that we would like to have some 4D pictures and all he had to do was punch a few buttons on the machine and change the handheld scanner to a different one and we can see Baby very clearly.

After the examination, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that instead of getting a few 3D pictures, we got the 4D videos which I have posted below.


video


video


From the videos, we can tell straight away that Baby has my nose, a little fleshy. Now the Mrs is so worried that Baby is a girl and ends up with my nose!!

Seriously the nose looks quite cute right? What about the cheek? Baby looks like he/she has cubby cheeks.

The other video you can see Baby sticking his/her tongue out and yawning away. Unfortunately some cord was in the way hence we were unable to see the whole face. It was a shame because I do not think we will be seeing Dr C again on the assumption that every thing continues as it is. Baby continues to grow slowly and steadily.

Well, I hope these videos will give you a better idea to allow you to vote for Baby’s gender. Maybe you can tell from the nose, who nose (punt intended). Those of you already voted, you are allowed to change your votes!

Friday, 23 November 2007

Signs?

For those of you who have been following our journey will probably remember that most of the people who saw the Mrs’s tummy guessed that we are having a boy. Since majority of them are mostly parents or even grandparents already, it sort of prepared me mentally to get ready for a boy.

Nothing wrong with that except that we have not concluded on a name for him yet. A few more names have been thrown into the mix, names such as Josh; Jake; Hugh; Marc; Jude; Matt and even Joe. But if you leave it to the Mrs, she is still rather set on Kai. So if Baby is really a boy, the most inconvenient thing at hand is his name.

Anyway, interestingly the guesses recently are all leaning towards Baby being a girl. A rough ratio on the gender guessing then would have been about 90 – 10 being a boy. But today If we were to estimate it is probably about 60 – 40. Who knows, in a few weeks time it could even be 50 – 50 which means your guess is literally as good as mine and everyone has a 50% chance of being an expert in telling just by looking at the tummy.

In case you forgot, name wise we are all ready for a girl since we have already agreed on Kate.

So why the sudden change in peoples’ guesses? It seems the really traditional tell tale signs that these people are still relying on are becoming clearer.

Firstly, the Mrs’s already fair and good complexion did not take a turn for the worse. There was no unsightly pimple on her nose or anywhere else.

Secondly, neither her nose nor feet has grown any larger. They believe that this means there is no additional male hormones in her which will normally at least increase her shoe size one up by now. I was just commenting the other day that she was lucky in that she did not have to go out and buy bigger size shoes. We also heard that if she is carrying a boy then surely her nose will be gearing a little more towards Jackie Chan’s infamous nose. That is not the case so far.

I believe the most ‘convincing’ sign they are getting is from the tummy. Originally people are saying that it appears sharp and pointing towards the front hence it ought to be a boy. If it is a girl then the tummy growth would have been more evenly spread from the left to the right instead of concentrating on the front.

These days however the tummy although not growing from left to right is getting rounder and rounder. It actually looks like a ball to me and if it were to have stretch marks then it will really resemble a watermelon. Now I know why some people refer carrying a child to carrying a watermelon. I guess the first person who came up with the expression happened to be looking down at a lady with a very round tummy covered with stretch marks.


Since majority of you reading this blog are either experience mothers, aunts or godmothers, I have taken some never seen before pictures of the Mrs's tummy for your opinion (poll). For your benefit I have taken from the front as well as sides so hopefully you will be able to tell if it is sharp or round.


Oh, the prize for guessing correctly is only bragging rights!! And in case you are interested the measurement of the Mrs's tummy is now 95cm.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Teachings!

Long before we got pregnant the Mrs and I have been observing from the outside at how parents raise their kids and how these kids behave in public. Sometimes I see things that I agree and would like for us to emulate in our teachings I will immediate share it with the Mrs and we will make mental notes to incorporate it. Likewise when we see things or methods that we disagree with, we will also share and make it a point to not do it in the future.

Case in point; about a year or more ago, we were having lunch at Greenwood area and while walking to the restaurant we saw this really cute Caucasian toddler (can’t be more than 3 years old) happily unwrapping his ice cream and then looking and smiling mischievously at his dad. Being his dad, the man immediately knew what his boy was going to do and he warned him with a stern “No!”. Still this boy threw the wrapper into the drain and ran screaming and very happily away. I was really amazed at what happened next. The father ran after him; caught him and then lower him into the drain which is dry of course and insisted that he picks up the wrapper. He then brought the boy to a proper bin and have him throw it in there. Once done the father cleaned his hands before allowing him to continue with his ice cream. That is something that I will remember for life. How many times have we seen parents (local and otherwise) allowing their children to litter the place or worst still lead by example and litter or spit themselves? I told myself then that this is one teaching that I will surely emulate when I eventually have my own kids.

It could be due to all the game consoles and online interactions, I find that kids these days require a lot of work on their interaction and social skills. They may become some kind of a loner and are often “shy” towards people and worst still rude towards their parents and grandparents.

We have encountered instances where we told our friends and relatives that they should not allow their kids to do things such as talking back to their grandparents or sleeping really late at night etc but sometimes we get the response, “Ah ya! You don’t know lah. Wait till you have your own kids. Then you’ll know it is not as easy as you think!”

While I agree that we are no parents and that raising kids with the right values is not easy, I strongly disagree that we need to be parents to understand the basic do’s and don’ts. Simple things like talking back or raising voice with their grandparents, littering and being rude and disrespectful to someone else’s things are common courtesy that require only common sense. These days we simply watch with our jaws dropped and we have since decided against making our opinion known. We can only hope and pray that Baby will turn out just fine. He / she doesn’t have to be a model citizen but definitely no menace to the society too.

We were at Ikea Tampines 2 Sundays ago and I was a little scared after spending about half an hour at the canteen watching the little monsters! Ha Ha Ha! They were really loud and messy!!! These are 2 things that I cannot tolerate. I like quiet, not library quiet but not constant screaming either and I like things clean too. At this point I have to clarify that I do not have OCD or at least I do not think so. I can still tolerate things to a certain extent. I understand kids need to let go of their system occasionally but I really do not appreciate kids talking really loudly (to the extent of screaming) when the place is not that noisy. I understand that kids are playful and would like to jump around but my bed is a strict off limit zone. The Mrs is also not allowed to walk on the bed. Bed to me should be clean because that is where we sleep.

I remembered an incident when I was still in secondary school, I was eating laksa and I dropped the piece of tau kua back into the bowl and naturally my white school uniform ended up with a few stains. I gave up eating and went home to change before going back to study. A little extreme, I know. Even till today, I have to be really careful with my noodles and gravy. If a small stain is found on my shirt and I still have a long day ahead, I will not hesitate going out to buy a new shirt to change into.

So I was sitting there at Ikea imagining me having to share the same table with a very messy toddler who is splashing the spaghetti gravy everywhere and at the same time screaming happily away! I looked at the Mrs and I’m sure she could see my worried expression.

I consider myself a rather impatient person so I am a little worried with how I am going to cope with Baby. I saw this lady feeding her toddler and she offered this piece of French Fries to the boy but each time he turned his head and pushed her hand away with his. But credits to her because her persistence paid off for on the fifth attempt, the boy probably decided that his "nagging" mother will not take no for an answer and ate the fries. At this point in time, I think the "now" me will offer once or twice and if the answer is still no then fine, let me know when you want ok? But who knows about the "then" me. For all we know I am more persistent then the lady at Ikea.

I think the teaching of the right values is easier as it will take time to cultivate the character but my immediate worry is how to handle crying, screaming and messy babies……..

Friday, 9 November 2007

Sleepless!

I learned long ago from you experienced mothers that we should sleep and rest as much as possible now because we will soon learn that they are a luxury as soon as Baby is born.

However no one remembered to inform us that sleep is almost impossible for the Mrs now that she is in her 3rd trimester. It is not so much the waking up in the middle of the night to pee rather she just can’t seem to find a comfortable enough position to fall asleep in.

This has gone on for almost 2 weeks now and during which the Mrs had been turning and tossing sometimes up to wee (no punt intended) hours in the morning with only the occasional dozing off before she feels uncomfortable again.

She has tried tilting to the left and to the right. She has tried sleeping flat and facing the ceiling and she has also tried sleeping while sitting up. Unfortunately the comfort in whichever positions are very short-lived.

The funny thing is I realized that this seems to be only an issue in the night. Take yesterday for example. We decided to not exert ourselves too much and come home in the afternoon to let the Mrs have some shut eyes. She managed to fall asleep without as much hassle.

The same will apply on weekends. She can sleep rather easily in the afternoon without all these complaining; tossing and turnings.

I suggested that we buy small pillows to “support” her tummy and back when she lies on her side but this has not proved too effective either. We have 4 regular pillows, a bolster and a small pillow and I’m happy to give them all to her saving only one for myself in an effort to assist with her sleeping comfortably but again to no avail.

It is really difficult watching her getting up all tired and restless and having to go to work for the next 10 hours. At this rate I believe she may have to consider taking a few weeks off work come December just before Baby’s due date.

I feel very helpless and can only offer to massage her back, shoulder and neck to try and soothe her muscles and aches.

I do not believe I can really appreciate what she is going through with the closet probably being how I will feel trying to go to sleep on a very heavy stomach. At least with the heavy stomach I can still down a glass of gassy drink and burp it all out and after an incident it will be a long while before I find myself in this situation again.

I remembered during one Mrs Wong’s class she mentioned that MTB may have problem sleeping after 32 weeks and this is normal so they should just try and rest whenever they can. Trying telling the Mrs that!?!?! How can she rest when she can’t find a comfortable position.

Suggestions anyone?

Friday, 2 November 2007

Tattoo

I have wanted to have a tattoo for the longest time and the reason for holding back is mainly due the pain. There was never really a good enough reason to put myself through the pain (So I'm not that vain after all now am I?!). The Mrs can vouch for me that my threshold for pain is really non existence.

Take for example she will occasionally want to bite me on my arm (I never quite understand why) and in the past I will usually put up a fight. These days she gets the upper hand because she will tell me that it will make her happier and in return Baby will be happier too (in short - blackmail). Whenever we're at home I will volunteer Ah No instead but she prefers me for my lack of fur.

For the same reason I am not a big fan of massages. I believe I have only been for a massage less than 5 times in my life so far. I have never been to any foot reflexology centres either.

So why am I thinking of getting a tattoo all of a sudden?

I believe it all came back to me a couple of months ago where I read in the papers that there will soon be a new type of ink in the US where it can be erased easily. This came as excellent news in case I regret having that design in a few months time. God only knows how many bad hair cuts and clothes choices we made when we were younger that we are not too proud of. You know what I'm talking about if you take a look at your old pictures and you either cringe or laugh.

So there is this new ink and one does not have to go through a series of laser treatments and be scarred for life even with the original tattoo gone. Anyone can update me if this ink is out in Singapore already?

Another reason is it suddenly dawned on me one day that maybe I should get a tattoo to commemorate the birth of Baby and me being a father. I believe watching Miami Ink has influenced me to a certain extend as well. If you watch the show you will see that these people tattooed themselves to remember certain people or events.

Now comes the headache, the location and design of the tattoo. I believe I have solved the 1st problem although it still depends a lot on the design. There are the usual places such as forearm, back, leg etc. However recently I watched a movie and in the show there is this guy who wears his tattoo on the side of his neck. So whenever he is wearing a collar shirt the tattoo will be mostly covered. This rather appeal to me.

So now the design poses as the biggest headache of all. Up until now I am still clueless. I asked my hair stylist casually one day and the first thing that came to her mind was a pair of baby feet. I told her politely (had to since you never mess with your hair stylist) that while the idea is nice but er....... I need something a little more macho lor. Having said that, the design should not be too big in case after the initial 5 minutes I have to give up the idea due to the pain. I was also thinking of getting the tattoo artist to start small so if I were to be having this pair of feet tattooed on me for example, I will end up with only the toes (circles) and not the feet.

No use turning to the Mrs for any advice because she is not for the idea at all just like she wasn't for the idea when I wanted to pierce my ear years ago. So as far as she is concerned I am on my own crusade on this one.

So if you people have any nice pictures or ideas then you are urged to come forward with them. However these ideas must be in line with my wish to commemorate Baby's birth. Although I have to add that in the end I may just chicken out and you should not be offended and definitely must NOT look down on me ya?!

I realised and the Mrs also pointed out that my blog is very boring because there are no visual stimulations. Guess I really do not have much time scouting around for relevant pictures these days.

But for today's post, I happened to have a relevant picture. You may want to recommend this to anyone you know who has a good sense of humour and balding at the same time.


I have always admired people who can make fun of themselves!

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Smaller

When we were at Dr N’s clinic the last time, we found out that for some reason Baby’s abdomen was slightly smaller than the average size. Dr N was a little concerned so he had scheduled an appointment for us to do another scan at Dr C at TMC. So much for being average huh?!

We went for the scan yesterday and the result is not too ideal. Baby is indeed slightly below average when compared to other babies at the same stage. According to Dr C, Baby weighs almost 1.3kg now so he / she is about 200g behind.

During the scan, Dr C paid particular attention to the placenta and the umbilical cord in case there are blockages. However the findings came back with good results. Baby is getting all the oxygen and blood properly to both the heart and brain. So no concerns there.

In fact other than the smaller abdomen, Dr C assured us that Baby is in the pink of health and is getting all the nutrients.

The funny thing is Baby’s limbs, spine and head circumference are all growing fine and by that I mean average. It is only his / her abdomen which probably results in the lighter weight.

As of now Dr C only terms it as Placenta Restricted Growth. Although this can be caused by stress and malnutrition but he has rule it out in this case because the Mrs has to be extremely stressed up in order for it to affect Baby like that.

The only advice he has for now is to continue to eat regularly, have plenty of rest and carry on with the vitamins. We will be back in about a month’s time to see if Baby has grown. By then Baby will be about 33 weeks so the picture will be a lot clearer. They will be able to estimate better how big will Baby roughly be during labour.

I guess the most important thing here is Baby must continue to grow. So long as this is the case then we can still wait for Baby to decide to come out at his / her own time and terms. However if after a month and we found that Baby has not grown by much then we may have to think of the worst and that is to have Baby out via Caesarean Section.

Actually my nephew who was born only this month was quite premature too. He was only about 32 weeks when the Gynae found that he has not grown by much so my SIL went through C-Section and had him out. He is still in the hospital after spending about 2 weeks in ICU. I understand that he has to gain his weight till above 2kg before he can be discharged. The doctors are expecting it to be around December before he can be discharged.

How I felt while waiting to make payment was probably how my parents felt when they found out that my pelvis was dislocated (during child birth by the way) when I was much younger many moons ago (who am I kidding here, its more like many; many; many years ago). Now I truly understand how my parents must have felt when what the doctor had to say was not too positive and encouraging.

While being a little worried I had to be strong for the Mrs and Baby. I know that she is already very disturbed and how she feels will directly affect Baby. I could see her eyes turning red and watery sitting there a little lost and replaying what Dr C had said over and over again in her confused and puzzled mind. I believe she alone has done enough worrying for the 3 of us hence I had to be the positive and encouraging one.

Honestly I am positive to a large extend because Dr C did say that Baby is very healthy and there is nothing wrong with the umbilical cord and placenta. Baby is also getting sufficient blood and oxygen. I suddenly feel like I am in the TV commercial for the radio station where although the tennis coach and driving instructor are really criticizing, the fat boy’s father and the driver can only hear the good words. You couch potatoes will know what I’m referring to.

No, seriously. Dr C has already confirmed that Baby will not be a 3 over kg baby. If everything goes well, Baby will most probably be just below the 3kg mark. Which if you ask me is really not too bad, right? So we will have a slightly smaller baby but surely we can fix that once Baby is out. I’m sure with the right care, love and of course lots of food, Baby will eventually catch up with the rest in terms of size. And with so many people loving him / her around, I wouldn’t be surprised if Baby actually over shoots and ends up weighing a little heavier than the rest. I am not even going to imagine obese here.

Looking at the bright side, by being that bit smaller, maybe Baby is really trying to help mummy goes through a easy, fast and drug free labour. After all we did pay good money for the HypnoBirthing class.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Knowledge

It has been almost a month since we attended our last lesson on HypnoBirthing and I still have not imparted what I learned to those of you who are interested.

I mentioned in my earlier post, Relax that the first half of the training was on the various breathing techniques, positive affirmations and visualizations as well as the different birthing positions.

If I have to summarize the second half of what we learned in one word, it will have to be Knowledge.

HypnoBirthing believes in arming all MTB with more knowledge and information so that they will be able to decide on the kind of birth they want.

We were taught to design the kind of birth we want just like the extensive hours we spent on researching for our next vacation. We will normally plan where we want to go and how we are going to get there. We will also make out a list of things to bring and for some people contingency plans in case there is rain or the places of interests are not open etc.

According to HypnoBirthing practitioners birthing should be like that as well. MTB should make out a list of things they want for their birth and also Plan B (in case things do not go as planned). This is what we call Birth Plan. From what I gathered Birth Plan is not too big in Asia. They are prepared mainly by the European and American MTB.

Initially I thought we might have some problem with Dr N on bringing up the fact that we have a birth plan but I realized very quickly how naive I was to think that he is not exposed to such “new age” things. He has many patients, hence the 3 over hours wait, and a substantial number of them are in fact Caucasians.

Actually till date we have only mentioned to him that we have a birth plan but have not discussed in details. So far he has proven to be accommodating and the only point he brought up that he does not wish to compromise is on the expulsion of the placenta. He is not comfortable with waiting for it to detach on its own.

We also discussed the different types of pain relief and methods of inductions.

Well here it is, our Birth Plan:

Name: The Mrs
Doctor: Dr N
Husband’s Name: A Husband
Doula: N.A.
EDD: 9th January 2008
Hospital: Mount Elizabeth
Paediatrician: Not appointed at this point in time


Birth Plan

Introduction / Overview:

I have attended HypnoBirthing class and would like to apply what I have learned during labour and childbirth. I would like to go for a natural vaginal birth without the aid of any drugs or induction and as little intervention as possible unless there is any danger to my baby or myself.

Note: At any stage of my labour, should the need arise please discuss any proposed intervention with my husband and I before proceeding.

Labour – 1st stage of labour:

I would like to be able to move and walk about freely as well as change positions at will during labour

I will be bringing along my own music to play during labour

I wish to wear the hospital gown throughout labour

I wish to be consulted before we proceed with vaginal examination as I want to keep it to a minimum

I prefer to have intermittent monitoring of the baby’s heart rate in order to remain mobile

I wish to hydrate myself through normal intake of water instead on being put onto the IV

I prefer to be patient and allow the membrane to break on its own

In case induction really becomes necessary then I prefer to have the amniotic membrane ruptured before other methods are used

I understand that pain medications exist and I will ask for them if I need them

Birth – 2nd stage of labour:

I would prefer not to have an episiotomy

Unless there is a medical emergency I would like to avoid a Cesarean

I would like to protect the perineum hence I will practice ahead by doing Kegel exercises and massaging the perineum

I would like to be allowed to choose the position to give birth in, i.e. standing and squatting etc.

Birth of Placenta – 3rd stage of labour:

As I am storing the cord hence I will require the cord be clamped early

I wish to have my baby brought to me immediately after birth before any administrative procedure is carried out

Baby’s care in hospital

I prefer to breastfeed my baby instead of formula milk

I would like to have baby with me during the day but in the nursery at night but brought to me for breastfeeding




Noted By:



_______________

Dr N
Consultant ObGyn

I would like to add that HypnoBirthing class is definitely not for the weak stomachs because I have never seen so many women give birth in my life. And I am not talking about camera focusing only on the facial expressions of the mother. We are talking about the camera panning into ground zero where you can see the baby’s crowning to the twisting of its body to the final push.

I remembered the Mrs cringing when she saw the first video but by the end of our 4 lessons I think she has grown accustomed to watching them. I believe the fact mothers in the videos were not cursing and swearing helped.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Chickens

I was once sent for a sales training course a few years ago with my previous job. It was more of a motivational refresher course than a sales technique training. The course was for 3 days and I enjoyed myself quite a fair bit because besides getting away from office for a few days I also get to meet other sales people from the various industries and learn a little more about their business.

I also truly believe that it is important for sales people to go for some motivational course every once in a while because for most sales people there will come a time when their morale will be rather low or they may simply lose that motivation and the drive that they initially possessed. These motivational courses are like fuel to keep their mind and heart going for another period of time.

During this training we were taught to think of ourselves as eagles and in order to fly high and far we need to dissociate ourselves with the chickens. The analogy is we are all born as eagles but if we stick with the chickens then they will influence us to think that like them, although we have wings we will never be able to fly. In other words we will never reach our full potential.

This is also the reason why the rich and successful are getting richer and more successful because they always associate themselves with one another. They learn and encourage each other instead of getting discouraged and disheartened by receiving all the negative feedbacks and pessimism from those who dare not even try.

You can tell the chickens from the eagles in your life rather easily. If you have an idea or business plan, the chickens will be the ones to discourage you and instead of being supportive and look at things in a more constructive and positive manner, they will tell you 1001 ways why your idea will fail and you should just be happy and contented with what you have and where you are now.

I do not know about you but I have come across many chickens in my life. One example was two of my ex-colleagues. We were all at our annual sales conference and this time the company invited a guest to talk to us on people and their different personalities. He generally broke it down into 4 categories and identified them by colours. We termed this the colour training. I am sure some of you readers have been through this before. A person will usually have all 4 colours in them but we were taught to look and identify which is his primary one. Once we can identify that then we will know how best to sell him.

Anyway the company arranged for the speaker to come to our office to coach the remaining staffs that missed out on the sales conference because they were not required to attend. Now these 2 ex-colleagues tried so hard to discourage another colleague from attending. They were telling him it will be a waste of his time (even though it will be conducted during office hours) and not useful etc. So this person made up some excuse and missed the training without realizing that it could have been useful for him. Clearly this person is a chicken too for being dissuaded so easily.

Personally I do not think these chickens are necessarily bad people. To me they either do not have the hunger to succeed in life or are too afraid of failure to even try. They can be good buddies when it comes to recreational stuffs like a beer or a game or two of golf and tennis but it should really remain just that.

The reason I bring this up is because over the weekend the Mrs told me that recently she has been hearing too many negative stories of mishaps during childbirth which resulted in the babies being hurt.

She is in the service industry so she deals with many people on a daily basis and some of them are very nice and genuinely excited for us being pregnant. These people will share with her their experiences, first hand or otherwise and will tell the Mrs to take care and not overwork etc.

Then there is the other group of people. It is not that they are not nice because they are also genuinely happy for us. Unfortunately they do not know the negative impact their stories will have on a pregnant lady.

One of the stories goes like this. A friend’s friend (aren’t most stories related in this way?) was all good and fine during the entire pregnancy period. All the scans and tests came back alright. Gynae has no reason to believe that there should be any concern for both mother and baby. Unfortunately during labour, something went wrong (story teller doesn’t know what was the problem or complication) and as a result the baby had chest infections.

Another story from another person; this lady and her baby were both doing good that is up till labour where the mum’s waste somehow went to the baby resulting in his brain being damaged.

Now my question is this, since both the incidents are not preventable by the mummies in the first place why bring it up? To me unless it is something that we can learn from and take the necessary precautions otherwise these people should not be mentioning such stories. Their intentions may be good but all they achieve are leaving the mummies to wonder will the same happen to their babies.

I have told the Mrs to stop them from continuing as soon as she can sense that it is another negative story. Politely tell them that she has been hearing too many horror stories and it is directly affecting her and our baby so unless it has a happy ending she is not interested.

Did you know that people in general seem to like sad and negative stories? You can try this on your own. Take the daily newspaper and mark in red any stories that are negative and you will realize that today’s newspapers are selling us negative stories.

Perhaps this is the reason why most people like to share and relate only the negative stories. Do give it a little thought before you relate any story to the next person.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Wait

While being pregnant has brought us a lot of joy and excitement, it has its downside too.

Recently I discovered that I really dislike going to the Gynae. It is not due to Dr N of course as he is really a very caring and nice Gynae. The dislike that I am referring to here is the waiting.

I’m sure most of you will agree that a typical visit to your friendly neighbour Gynae will take about 2 – 3 hours easy right? Depending on the popularity of your Gynae, this waiting time can be much longer.

Our appointment is normally at 4.30pm but we will usually find ourselves still in the clinic by about 7.30pm. This is also the reason why we have chosen to pick the time slot that is as late as possible. Those of you who have been reading this blog since day 1 will know that the Mrs works very close to Dr N’s clinic so what she usually does is to go over and register at 4.30pm and then go back to her office. She has established this rapport with the staffs so they will call her when it is soon to be her turn.

This is all good for the Mrs but to me it makes little difference. To get from my office to the clinic is at least half an hour if I am lucky enough to find a parking lot fast so I cannot wait till they call the Mrs before heading over. I try to make it a point to be there every time she visits Dr N so I will have to leave earlier and make sure I am there when it is her turn.

Initially I was there at about 5pm when appointment was at 4.30pm but this has been pushed back little by little with each visit. During our last visit this week I was there at 6pm but we still finished at about 7.30pm. At least this time the waiting has been cut down to about 1.5 hours only. Since the Mrs was back in her office working, I will be there alone most of the time.

I find sitting there and not doing anything a really waste of time. As it is I am already busy to the extent that my routine car servicing has been delayed by almost 3 months now yet I still am unable to find the time to drop the car off. This is also partly due to the fact that I move around a lot hence I do require the car.

Normally I will bring along some reading materials like books and newspapers but very quickly these will be exhausted.

Recently I have resorted to bringing my laptop along so I can work on this blog. Unfortunately the clinic does not have WIFI otherwise I can do a lot more. So now I have to be contented with just writing my next post using Word and then upload it later once I’m home.

Noticing that they still have new patients (first-timers) walking in at 7.30pm during our last visit, I have decided to push our luck a little more the next time. I am targeting to go in only at about 7pm after having our dinner even though our appointment is again at 4.30pm. In most cases the clinic does not close anytime before 7.30pm anyway.

Come to think of it this is the same mind set I have whenever I bring Ah No to the family Vet. Yes, we have a family Vet and her initial is also 'N' coincidentally. Dr N, the Vet has been tending to our dogs since many years back. When we were younger and all living under one roof we used to have this fox terrier, ‘Russell the rascal’ as we affectionately called him. After my sis and I moved out, my dad and mum kept him until he passed away about 2 years back at the age of 12.

Now my sis has 2 cocker spaniels and I have Ah No of course and we still go back to Dr N for the yearly vaccination and check up.

So, whenever I had to make an appointment for Ah No, it will always be the very last one for the day. So it was usually either 7 or 7.30pm. I like being the last one because knowing very well that everyone wants to knock off on time we were normally made to wait for only a rather short while even if we arrived about half an hour earlier for Ah No’s appointment . This is compared to between 1 – 2 hours if my appointment is for any other time of the day.

I guess part of the reason why I dislike waiting at clinics is also due to the fact that the time we spent in the room for the consultation does not quite justify the waiting time. Imagine we wait for 3 hours and we are usually done in about 15 minutes or less.

Any of you also ever noticed that for some strange reasons the people before you will usually take longer than you? Take going to the GP for example. The waiting time can be an hour with most patients going in before you taking rather long. Some can take up to 20 mins and when it is your turn, that lousy 5 mins.

In order to justify the waiting time I have resorted to .................... no, I did not intentionally spend longer time in the room with the Doctor consulting him on symptoms and conditions that my colleagues and neighbours are having. Although the thought did cross my mind. Ha Ha

There is this beef noodle stall in East Coast Park hawker centre that we rather like. Before the renovation the queue there is typically half an hour easy. So in the past whenever we were there I will buy 3 or maybe 4 bowls of noodles for the 2 of us to justify the long wait. Hee Hee

For your information I will never queue 4 hours just to buy donuts. I believe no food is worth that kind of wait. Anyway we managed to eat their donuts by waiting in line for only 5 mins at the new Suntec City outlet. It is actually rather good. Maybe worth half hour wait by my book.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Away

I believe to most husbands like me, going away on a business trip is not the easiest thing to do especially when his wife is pregnant.

The Mrs and I are blessed in a sense that we have an excellent relationship and we do almost everything together. We go to work together, we have dinner together everyday after work and we spent every weekend together as well.

This is all good except when I have to go away occasionally for my work. During these times I will always wonder if she will be alright on her own. It is made worse now that she is pregnant.

It would have been easier if we were living with our parents but we only have Ah No in our small family. Initially I made the wrong decision of leaving Ah No with my parents whenever I travel because it requires some work taking care of him and since the Mrs is pregnant I do prefer for her to rest more and not have to look after Ah No. Did I mention that Ah No likes to “bully” her? He likes to hop onto the bed whenever my back is turned and while the Mrs is on it. No matter what she does he will not leave the bed.

This trip however I decided to leave Ah No behind to accompany the Mrs because from my last trip I learned that she will be better off with him by her side. I know she will feel lonelier if she were to come back to an empty home every night. At least with Dino around she has some form of contact and companionship.

I normally take care of most of the things at home. She can sleep through a mini storm knowing that I will wake up to close all the windows. Up until about 2 months ago when I lost my phone from one of my business trips, I had also always been the one to set the alarm to wake us up every morning.

I will normally be the one to ensure that nothing new is left on our bedside tables because Ah No will pick it up in the middle of the night and would have eaten half of it by the next morning. The Mrs has lost a couple of things, most notably her Nokia Sirocco handphone pouch this way. This is an item that we are unable to replace till today.

I had half a day at home to pack and prepare for my trip to Mumbai, India so I took the opportunity to try and get things organized for her. Some of the things that went through my mind was to remove the phone and iPod cables that were lying on the bedside table, replace the battery on our 2 face clock. Ensure that Dino has enough food to last him till this weekend when I will be back. Knowing that she will be driving to work everyday while I’m away, I made sure the cashcard and petrol are topped up. I had to ensure that the PC headphone is taken out for her so that we can chat via Skype every night.

I had originally wanted to pick up some TVB Cantonese drama serial for her but she insisted that she will be fine. That prompted me to remind her not to work too late while I’m away. Knowing her, she will work much later knowing that I will not be waiting for her to knock off each day.

For the 4 days that I will be away, a lot of preparation and thinking had to be put in hence I am really not looking forward to my next trip away to Shanghai in November unless of course the Mrs can tag along and believe me, she would very much like to.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Names

What's in a name?

Well, according to most Chinese parents, it could very well determine or at least have a direct impact in a person's life. Hence carefully choosing and selecting a name for the unborn is not to be taken lightly!

I found a sense of irony here because our parents are supposed to be the more superstitious ones but how many of us had our names picked or recommended by a geomancer. I know mine certainly was not and neither was my sister's.

Hence isn’t it ironic that when it comes to our generation, the younger and supposedly more educated ones are obsessed with going around trying to pick the perfect name for their babies. An example will be my BIL. He went to four geomancers including one in Hong Kong (no, he didn’t fly there. He consulted this guy through fax) and finally decided on a name after about 40 days. Now that is of course taking things to the one extreme.

I visited a couple friend who had given birth last week and due theirs was to be a Cesarean birth, they got a geomancer to pick the date and time for the birth. Due the time was picked, their baby's life will not lack any of the five element, Metal; Wood; Water; Fire and Earth so they can choose and pick any name they like for their child.

Then there are people like me at the other end of the extreme. I have always felt that I turned out pretty alright without having some shifu picked out my name. Ok, I have to admit I am not loaded or anything but I do have a decent job that pays alright, a lovely wife and soon to have a child as well. So in my own book, I'm doing okay. Now that it is time to choose a name for Baby I tend to go with names that I like rather then going to geomancers for assistance.

For me, choosing the Chinese name is very much the same as picking out the English one. It has to sound nice, meaningful and hopefully not too lame or geeky.

The Mrs and I have narrowed down to 2 names. Needlessly to say since we do not know the gender, it has to be 1 for each gender. Its time like this that makes me wonder why not just reveal the gender so we do not have to work doubly hard.

Anyway the names we picked are 天赐 (Tian Ci) if Baby is a boy and the meaning is God's gift and 天恩 (Tian En) if Baby is a girl and its meaning is God's kindness. The meaning is loosely translated of course. I think a few of the Chinese readers here will probably be able to translate it better for me.

So I thought we are done at least with the Chinese names right? Wrong! It seems people are not too comfortable with us using the word 天 (Tian) which means Sky, Heaven or God. It seems the name may be a little too "strong" for Baby.

This has caused some concerns for us because I really like the names. Besides the fact that the name sounds nice, I truly like the meaning too since this pregnancy did not come easily at all. I am not a religious person at all and from this experience I have to agree that to have a baby is really God's gift. Even with today's advance science, IVF is not 100% successful. If I am not wrong its success rate is generally about 40%.

I was joking with the Mrs that if this is the case then we should name Baby after some small fry so if Baby is a boy he will be name 小二 and 小小 if Baby is a girl.

Now the Mrs is considering seeking the geomancer's advice after Baby is born and by giving him the exact date and time of Baby's birth.

This makes me wonder how our friends from the other ethnic groups choose the names. Are there are special rituals or superstitions? How come few Chinese name their children after their ancestors? Hey, we have seen it all in movies about how the babies are named after their grandfather or grandmother. Even Harry Potter named his children after his godfather and teacher.

That brings me back to Baby's English name. Those of you who have been following this blog will know that we have decided on Kate for a girl and up until recently Kai for a boy. I had reluctantly gave in to the Mrs's preferred choice of Kai but it dawned on me not too long ago that it will not work.

"Why?" you ask, and I don’t blame you for you do not know my family name. It's Tan (陈). So one fine day I was just pronouncing Kai Tan in my mind and instantly I knew it has to go. For Kai Tan means 开单 or "issue receipt" when read as Kai T-an and 开摊 or "open stall" when pronounced as Kai Dan. I'm sorry but you have to know Chinese to understand the joke but take my word, it is unacceptable unless we want Baby to have a horrible childhood.

This further led me to believe that Baby is a boy because like I mentioned in my earlier post, Crazy?, God has a wicked sense of humour. He knows we are not ready for a boy so Baby will simply be a boy.

Guess its back to the drawing board for us again! Arrgg!!!

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Discounts!

This is an unusual Post!

I am pleased to share that after reading my earlier post, Clockwork, Mr Simon Morse, the author of The Pregnant Guy has generously agreed to offer all "A Husband's Voice" readers discounts for his book as well as the "Active Childbirth" classes organised by Parentlink.

However, during the book signing this Saturday, he will be unable to offer any discount since they are carried and controlled by Borders.

Instead a 10% discount will be offered if you were to buy the book by emailing him directly. At the same time you will also be entitled to a 15% discount for the "Active Childbirth" classes.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Clockwork

It is really amazing how a human body functions and works. Needless to say the fact that a baby can develop and grow in a woman’s body is nothing short of a miracle but besides this fact I have also recently experienced first hand how systematic the Mrs’s body is during this pregnancy period.

As you can see from the Baby Ticker above, we are into our 3rd trimester now and like some of you warned some mothers may probably go back to their lethargic selves. Well, all I can say is the Mrs’s biological clock is ticking just fine and every mechanism seems to be working according to schedule.

Towards the end of her 2nd and beginning of her 3rd trimester, she was already feeling more tired. On some days she will crawl into bed immediately as soon as she gets home and will fall asleep shortly. There are also the occasional morning sickness and leg cramps in the middle of the night. She has also been complaining that she is very warm. Usually she will be under the blanket when she sleeps but recently we have to lower the aircon temperature for her. When it all began, she wasn’t really associating it with her being in the 3rd trimester. It only really sank it after I reminded her that some of you readers already warned that she will have these symptoms come the 3rd trimester.

I could see the slightly worried and slightly disappointed look on her face. Just when she was enjoying her pregnancy without all the negatives, the 3rd trimester is here!

The only “positive” so far is her appetite has increased. She is always looking for food and her latest craze is Rojak. We went to the rojak stall at Zion road market and she loves it. Makansutra gives it 6 chopsticks. We should be going back pretty soon. This is all fine and good for except that it also worries me because since our last trip to Phuket, I have not shed the weight that I gained then. I have to constantly remind her that I do not have a baby coming out of me that will take away about 3kg from my overall weight.

Speaking about man giving birth to baby, how many of you have been to see the website on the world’s first male pregnancy? You can click here to see Man of the Year, Mr Li Mingwei. He is THE MAN!!! Before you see this website, I have to warn you it is definitely not for the faint hearted! Personally I found it to be extremely repulsive! As open minded as I believed I am, I find it extremely unnaturally to have a man carrying a baby. I know for a fact that I have a Doctor reader so please tell me, Mr Father-To-Be, is it humanly possible to have a man carry a baby to full term???!?!

Can someone please tell me that this website is a hoax like I believed it to be? It has to be right? Maybe with all my busy schedules I have missed a certain news article or report confirming that this is nothing but a hoax. That Mr Li, Mr Man of the Year is in fact only an Artist and the reason he did this is to raise the awareness of how beautiful women are when pregnant and how great and brave they are by carrying a baby to full term. If this is the objective then mission accomplished as far as I’m concerned, Mr Li!

On the same subject, not sure if you all came across an article in yesterday's Sunday Times on the book A Pregnant Guy. This is a very different kind of art form by Mr Simon Morse. This is a book that he had written documenting his “painful” experience while trying to conceive a child and during the pregnancy period. I came across the book a few months back when shopping in Vivocity. It was not even for sale yet so I contacted Simon at his website and got him to sell it to me early. Come to think of it I could be his very first paying customer. Anyway he is having a book signing session this Sat at Borders so maybe you can get your husbands to go down and pick up his book and have it autographed.

How about it Simon, some form of discounts for A Husband’s Voice readers? There are literally thousands of them!

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Relax

After attending 2 lessons of HypnoBirthing does not make me an expert on the topic but I can definitely share what I have learned with those of you who are interested but do not know anybody who has been through it.

The one thing I learned is HypnoBirthing will only help you succeed if you want it to. By succeeding, I mean to have a short and comfortable labour.

A lot of work is down to preparations and practices before the due date. There are breathing and hypnosis exercises that diligent mothers-to-be (MTB) will have to practice everyday. This is important because with so much going on during labour only the ones who practice everyday will be able to enter the hypnotic state of mind quickly and effortlessly.

Unfortunately due to our busy work schedules we have not been able to practice as much as we would like to. I have already downloaded the audio CDs into the Mrs’s Nano so she can practice her breathing on our way to and from work.

To address those skeptics, this is not entirely the same as those hypnotized people that we watched on TV or in movies. We all go through the state of hypnosis several times a day with or without our knowledge. Some may term it as daydreaming. Take driving for example. I for one am guilty of that and before I attended the HypnoBirthing class, I termed it my "homing device". What happens is once I get behind the wheels driving to work or home everyday I will enter a state of hypnosis. I am still capable of driving to my destination but it is my subconscious mind that is taking me there. Unlike being hypnotized, I am still in control and am aware of cars and pedestrians around me. This can only be achieved when one travels along the same route on a daily basis hence the importance of daily practices.

Another example is when I am playing games on my Xbox 360 console. There are times when I will be standing about a mere metre away from the 42” Plasma TV (it’s not like I can’t see sitting down another metre back) trying to get pass those “mini bosses” (Gamers will understand the term and Baby, someday you will too). At that point in time I am still aware of my surroundings, I can hear when the Mrs protests that I am going to blind myself over the game but both my conscious and subconscious minds are working on one thing and one thing only. To bring down that SOB!

This is the state that HypnoBirthing is trying to achieve with MTB. So it will be a lot easier if guys are the ones giving birth. Just give us a 60” plasma TV complete with stereo surround sound and a tough enough game and our minds will be off the pain. No need for Happidurals (word borrowed from our HypnoBirthing trainer).

To me the key word to the entire success is Relaxation.

Basically the gist of thing is this: all of us, yes, men included, truly believe that labour is excruciatingly painful. This belief has been embedded in our mind since we were young. Everyone around us gave us that impression and vivid video images from movies and television programs further reinforced this idea in our subconscious minds. I know a large number of you mothers and fathers out there will beg to differ. You will probably want to kick my behind for suggesting otherwise and a few husbands may even have scars to prove the above theory is wrong. Relax people, hear me out.

What I learned and agreed with is that fear caused the pain. Since we all believed that there is so much pain hence the term labour, we will automatically fear it. By experiencing fear, the body will automatically go into a fight or flight mode hence diverting most of the blood to the limbs leaving the uterus all tensed up making the opening even smaller for baby. The only analogy I can think of at this point in time is fitting your fist into your nostril.

So first and foremost we must all work on replacing these vivid images of violent women screaming and cursing during labour with images that are a lot more positive. Only by completely filling the subconscious mind with such beliefs then there is a good chance of achieving a drug free birth. Like they say, our mind is very powerful.

If MTB are trained in HypnoBirthing or know how to relax then they will be able to focus on their breathing and due to all the practices they will be able to enter the Hypnotic state. When both the conscious and subconscious minds are working on breathing the baby out, a short and comfortable labour will be achieved.

The above is of course the tip of the ice berg. Besides breathing and hypnosis, HypnoBirthing also teaches MTB the different positions available when breathing the baby out. I posted earlier that some of the positions are rather unorthodox but I guess the important thing is to let her find herself a most comfortable position, be it standing, kneeling or squatting.

We are also taught the sitting positions that MTB should avoid so as to increase the chances of baby and mummy achieving Optimum Fetal Position as well as the supporting roles that the husbands should take.

Without wanting to reveal too much or spoiling the fun for those who will be signing up, I will only say this much. I will update you again once I learned more about it.

Meantime I know some of you are due anytime now so happy birthing!