Friday, 28 September 2007


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


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


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


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!

Thursday, 13 September 2007


Just the other day I was thinking to myself about how busy I have been these days. I have, of course Baby’s coming so there are many things to learn and prepare. I have to take care of things and look after the Mrs as much as possible. Then I have to hold down my day job while moonlighting and on top of it all I am in the midst of setting up a new business venture with my sister. Oh and not forgetting this blog! That's like 6 things going on at a time!

Thankfully Baby, this blog and this new business venture are providing me with enough excitement and adrenaline to keep going at full speed while multitasking. I do not feel burnt out and I have not had a dull day for the longest time.

I hope you all can appreciate the reason why I have to stay anonymous because I can’t risk having my colleagues reading and finding out that I am moonlighting and “worst” still am my own boss!

The Mrs and I have antenatal classes for the next 8 consecutive weeks. We have started our HypnoBirthing class and will be attending Mrs Wong’s classes at TMC next month. It may seem like a lot but somehow I do not find attending these classes a chore instead I look forward to attending them. After all this is time much better spent right? Most importantly I feel these classes will better prepare me towards fatherhood.

We have been rather active in the shopping front too. I would like to add that the Mrs had finally succumbed to buying clothes from maternity shops. She recently bought 3 pairs of pants and a pair of jeans from one shop and another 4 tops from another. Most of them were on discounts so the damaged wasn’t too bad.

The shopping however does not cover Baby’s stuffs. Surprisingly we have not bought a single item yet. Not the pram, cot or any other essentials. Not even a piece of tower or clothing. We have so far been only making mental notes on what to buy and where to get them. The Mrs knows I can’t wait to fill up the next room with stuffs for Baby so she promised we will start next month. I can’t wait!

In the midst of being all busy with what I mentioned above, I forgot to look into some other important matters. We have not decided on which cord blood bank to use. Come to think of it I don’t even know how many there are locally. I know the cost is not exactly low but I strongly feel that it is vital and to me it is like buying insurance and hoping that we will never get to use it.

How many stories have we read and heard where the stored cord ended up saving a sibling’s life? I remember coming across an article of a couple conceiving intentionally so as to have the cord to save their only child then.

Don’t think I mentioned this before but I would like to have 3 kids if possible so does that mean I have to keep all 3 cords? That would add up for sure!

My colleague also prompted me on what are we going to do with the placenta if we are indeed going to do anything with it at all. I have heard that if consumed, it will be beneficial for the Mrs. Believe me she will definitely cringed when she reads this part but Darling, the days of being primitive are over. We do not have to clean and cook the thing ourselves. I learnt from this colleague that there are people out there who will pound it into powder and make them into capsules for easy consumption. Now this idea definitely does not seem that gross so I am hoping that the Mrs is open to it.

The only problem is my colleague wasn’t sure who is going to pick up, clean and bag the placenta in the delivery room. I am guessing that it will be either the midwife or one of the nurses right? Could it be that I have to standby a pail of water and wash it there and then myself before bagging it and then bring it for processing? As much as I like to joke about it I am seriously not sure if I am up to it!

I wonder if I am missing out anything else. Hmm……..

Thursday, 6 September 2007


Growing up I was taught by my parents, teachers including the principal that average is just not good enough. I should always strive and work harder and aim for that distinction. They believe that by instilling that idea when young I will learn to apply that attitude to whatever I do in the future.

Once I entered the work force I learnt quickly that turning in average work is also not acceptable. Not if I want that raise and big fat bonus anyway.

I believed this applies to all of us so basically we were all thought that being average simply wouldn't do! We should not accept average in our lives. This can be applied to simple things like the food we eat, the movies we watch to more important things like our job satisfaction, to our pay and definitely our partners.

However I learned that there is an exception to this universal rule during our last visit to Dr Chang for our detailed scanning. I believe I have never been so happy and relieved to accept "average" in my life.

You see, according to Dr Chang, Baby is "average"! Baby's growth is average and this applies to all parts of Baby. His head is average, his weight at 397grams is average, the sizes of his hands and feet are average. The development of his spine, rib cage, kidneys and brains etc. are all in average progress.

You can see from the below graphs that Baby's growth is really right in the middle of two extremes. So according to Dr Chang, we should be happy parents and there is nothing to worry about.

With Baby being so "average" maybe we should just name him / her Joe.

So when was it in our human history that we decided average is not good enough anymore? It surely was when we were growing in our mums' wombs. In fact as a father-to-be, I am delighted that my baby is average. I definitely do not need Baby to excel and strive to surpass the line above his chart. So now my question is at what age should I tell Baby that the time to be average is over? It was all good and acceptable when he / she was still in the Mrs's womb but now times have changed!

From which point in his / her life must Baby be subjected to all the scrutinies of achieving average?

Should we emphasize so much on result for our next generation was well? Surely things are different now! In the past to pursue arts and sports are deemed doomed! There was no money there so all Artists and Sportsmen back then were all supposed to be struggling for roofs over their heads as well as meals to fill their stomachs. These days however even an average artist or sportsman is able to make a decent living pursuing his dream here in Singapore.

I would like to think that I am an open-minded parent and will encourage Baby to grow and to pursue his / her interest.

Of course I understand that it is still early days now but that is something I feel rather strongly about. Only time will tell if I am as open-minded as I believed I am.

Monday, 3 September 2007


The Mrs just had her detailed scanning done at TMC before the weekend. I had to advise Dr Chang that we do not want to know the gender since he is not our Gynae. Just like Dr N, he was indifferent towards it which further enforce this is not such an uncommon request after all. And most people around us are behaving like we are weird / crazy for not wanting to know.

I know for a fact that I am driving many of people around us crazy by opting not to know. My MIL for one, volunteered to go with the Mrs for her next routine check up so that they can find out from the Dr N while I’m not around. According to her, I can remain in the dark while she and the Mrs find out. Luckily the Mrs was supportive of my “crazy” idea so she will not go along with her mother’s plan otherwise I will really go crazy because everyone else will know but me. Now that is not nice!

Besides my MIL, Baby’s God Ma is also very anxious to learn of the gender so she can start buying things for Baby. Knowing her, this is actually better because otherwise she would have loaded us with tonnes of gifts and clothing for Baby by now. She is very generous to people around her.

One day during lunch with my colleagues, they asked me if I am not curious at all. Are you kidding me?!?! I believe the Mrs and I are probably the most curious amongst the lots!!! It took a lot out of me at Dr Chang’s office to stick to the plan of not knowing. I was seriously on the verge of caving in. I know the Mrs was in the same predicament too and I swear to God when I looked into her eyes they were telling me: “How? You really don’t want to know? Maybe we should. I’ll leave it to you lah! Just know that should you change your mind I will support you wholeheartedly and will not laugh at your weak will! I promise!”

I was so close to telling Dr Chang “Okay lah, what the heck! Show me the private!”

Sitting here typing this, I am thinking why put us through such an ordeal. Maybe this idea is a little crazy after all. Is there anyone out there as crazy as us who have been through this already? Maybe you are crazier by not having a Gynae at all! If that’s the case then you the MAN (or woman)!

Anyway my will power remained steadfast and we proceed to scan everywhere but there. So in case you are thinking of going through the same thing, yes it can be avoided!

Funny thing is most people that we spoke to have the same feeling that Baby will be a boy. I even dreamed about Baby being a boy but the Mrs on the other hand feels that Baby will be a girl. I am reading this book written by a father (will touch on it later) and in it he mentioned that if you have narrowed down to a name for one gender but are still struggling with about 10 – 20 names for the other gender then chances are it will be the one with no names yet. I actually believe him cause God as I believe has a wicked sense of humour.

If this is true then Baby will be a boy because we have already confirmed a girl’s name but are struggling with the boy’s name. We have always liked Kate so girl’s name was easy but we have so far narrowed down to 3 names if Baby is a boy. They are Kai, credit to you Cynthia (comments from Gender), Rafe and Kale. The Mrs prefers Kai while the other 2 are my nominations and since they are a little unique so I have to go on the record and clarify that they are both actual names. Not something that I dreamed up. Base on current votes from friends, Kai is leading so I am appealing to you to vote for my nominations. If I end up the eventual winner than I promise you lift upgrading! Hey, no harm borrowing a proven election model and strategy right?

What I learned from this whole experience visiting Dr Chang was we will always be tempted to give in whenever we’re at the Gynaes’ office but once you stepped out, you will feel the spell broken. If you are afraid you cannot fight the spell then my advice is DO NOT go in. You can wait outside.

Personally, I am just glad that we do not have too many visits left to see Dr N. So maybe, just maybe my will power will hold out.