On the first day of 37 weeks, I had contractions the whole day, so I put myself on bed rest for most of the day.

On the second day of 37 weeks, I was feeling fine, and we went back to my parents as per our usual schedule on Sundays.

At our last appointment, our gynae had told us to let her know at the next appointment when we would like to induce. I spent some thought on it, and we decided to pick 15 August. I told MZ, Han, and my parents about the date, but Ardan had other plans.

0 hour – On the third day of 37 weeks, I woke up early in the morning, feeling a leak down there. I went to the toilet for a pee, and there was a little bit of blood when I wiped. I woke Han up, and called my gynae. Meanwhile, the contractions started as well. We were told to proceed to the hospital. We gathered my hospital bag (fortunately I packed early), and we reached the hospital in an hour’s time. The interesting bit for me was that the contractions were really 5 minutes apart when we were in the car.

1st hour – I had filled in the pre-admission form previously, so admission was really fast. We didn’t have the doctor’s letter, nor my results for the GBS swab test since we were supposed to discuss these two things at my next pre-natal visit, which clearly by now, isn’t going to happen anymore. We were asked if we wanted to store the cord blood, I wasn’t prepared for the question, but being kiasu parents, we decided to do it anyway and opted to store with StemCord due to the discount from the Alvernia Ladies card. Then we proceeded to the delivery room, and our nurse, Nurse Candy, was really good at her job. She introduced herself, hooked me up to two monitors – one to track my contractions, and the other to track baby’s heartbeat – and proceed to check me. I was already 2cm dilated. I asked if I could have breakfast since we rushed in and I didn’t manage to have anything. She said she’ll check with the doctor, and meanwhile they gave me an enema.

2nd hour – OH MY GOD. The enema, has got to be the worst thing I have ever experienced in my entire life! Once I started in the toilet, I could not stop pooping. Halfway through, I thought I was done so I washed myself with the toilet shower, but no, there was some more to come. The unbearable part was I was also having contractions along with trying to dump so much out of me. I could hear that they delivered my breakfast while I was in the toilet, and the Aunty kept coming in to ask if I’m done so she could clear the tray. I have absolutely no idea how long I spent in the toilet, not surprised if it’s at least half an hour. When I was finally done, I washed myself and crawled back into bed, and had my breakfast feebly. Nurse Candy told me that I looked really ragged as if I had delivered. I told her it was the enema.

3rd hour – My gynae came and they checked me, I was 6cm dilated, she then unplugged my mucus plug and said she’ll be back at lunch time, and I will definitely deliver after lunch, so she told Han to go grab a bite. Nurse Candy asked if I was going for epidural, I said yes. She recommended that I get it in at 6cm then, since it will be too late if I have it at 8cm.

4th hour – The anesthetist (Dr. Wong Kahoe) arrived, and he helped me put the epidural in. It was relatively painless, the IV drip, on the other hand, was a bitch. I was told to lie on my right side for the epidural to flow equally to both sides.

5th hour – Remained 6cm dilated, and was administered medication to dilate through the IV drip. I spent the next few hours watching Cartoon Network and drifting in and out of sleep, and switching to lie on the left side as my right side grew numb. The nurses checked me periodically. Meanwhile, I could feel Ardan slowly moving down my pelvis towards the exit.

9th hour – The nurses announced that I was finally fully dilated, they’ve already called my gynae in, and then we can start pushing. The Epidural was still going strong.

10th hour – Well, due to lack of exercise, I had weak muscles and prolly wouldn’t have been able to push Ardan out by myself. It was a major project, we had 5 people delivering Ardan. 3 nurses were pushing on my belly, I was pushing, and my doctor was pulling with a vacuum. Ardan was out within the hour.

Ardan - Fresh from the Oven

Ardan – Fresh from the Oven

Han didn’t witness the process in the end, he was on my side of the delivery the whole time. “Potentially traumatising”, he says. We didn’t want to cut the cord either. Doctor wanted to show us the placenta too, but, no.

can you not

A lady from StemCord suddenly arrived, talked to me about a bunch of stuff and showed me a bunch of forms, but I was really tired so I tried to make sense of it amidst my immense sleepiness. Then both Ardan and I were wheeled to the ward.

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At our next pre-natal appointment (28 weeks), Ardan was still 3 weeks too big. He measured about 31-32 weeks, so our gynae didn’t warn me about my diet anymore, I still made sure I didn’t have more than one cake/ice cream/dessert a week though.

Similar to the switch from the first to second trimester, the symptoms for the third trimester just appeared overnight. I started having edema, and my nose bled, for a short while, a couple of times. I visited the toilet fairly frequently as well.

The edema in my feet were quite bad, but propping them up on pillows while I slept helped to relieve the water retention. The downside was, sometimes I had to wake up in the middle of the night to use the toilet when the water was processed by my body. And this cycle repeated daily, as my feet would swell throughout the day. I was unable to wear any of my rings on my fingers as well, and my hands hurt when I clenched them (this problem still hasn’t gone away post partum).

photo-(2)

Before discovering that I could alleviate the edema in my feet by propping them on pillows, I tried other methods recommended by my friends as well. One of them included wrapping my feet in cabbages, but all it did was attract Pong Pong to try and eat them off my feet.

photo-2-(1)

At every monthly appointment, Ardan continued to be 3 weeks too big, so I started making plans to start my maternity earlier, when I would be at the end of 37 weeks, as theoretically that would mean he is sized 40 weeks. Ardan grew really rapidly in the third trimester, here’s a photo of me at 34 weeks.

34 Weeks

34 Weeks

On our pre-natal appointment at 36 weeks, our gynae did the GBS swab test, and told us that the next day Ardan would be considered full term, so she would start to see us on a weekly basis. And since Ardan has been bigger than expected, we could let her know at the next appointment if we wanted to induce labor before week 40.

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When I went into my second trimester, all my tomyam cravings stopped, and I noticed that I was not that susceptible to motion sickness in cars anymore. It was amazing, the change was not gradual, but rather like a switch was flicked, and ta-dah! the symptoms have all changed.

I started craving sweet things like cakes, ice cream, and desserts, but was well aware of gestational diabetes, so I limited my intake to a cake/ice cream/dessert only once a week. My energy level went up and daily life wasn’t so tiring anymore. Some negative side effects I experienced were leg cramps in the middle of the night, I countered this by starting to take Blackmores Bio Zinc on Han’s sports doctor’s advice, and the cramps stopped. I wouldn’t advice this for every pregnant lady who is experiencing cramps, please seek the advice of a doctor before you start taking additional supplements in your diet. Due to Ardan’s weight, I also developed hemorrhoids (they still haven’t gone away post partum), and was given a gel and suppositories to push them back in. I also started bringing Pong Pong (PP) to obedience school.

At class, PP was overly enthusiastic as usual, and gradually the other owners started to shun us. Every week before the class started, PP would spend his time barking at the other dogs while sitting at the side with me. Poor baby had no friends in school. One thing I noticed though, was that Poodles seem to be a really popular breed. We had them in all the available colors in class.

PP and Classmates

PP and Classmates

I had to stop bringing him to class halfway through, as I was getting bigger than expected, so the trainer asked me to let him know when I am ready to join the next intake of classes. At 24 weeks, I volunteered to be part of a demo at a conference where a company was showcasing their latest sonography machine. We managed to get some really nice 3D scans of Ardan’s face during the session, however, I was also mightily confused, as the machine indicated that Ardan was consistently sized 27 weeks.

Ardan at 24 Weeks

Ardan at 24 Weeks

At our next pre natal appointment, my gynae warned me about my diet, as there was a sudden spike in weight, but Ardan was also 3 weeks bigger than expected (the same 27 weeks measurement showed up on our gynae’s sonography machine). So I cut out all cakes, desserts, and ice cream, until the next pre-natal appointment.

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Ardan at 9 weeks 5 days

Ardan at 9 weeks 5 days

I was constantly hungry in my first trimester, I had to eat 5 times a day – breakfast, a sandwich from Cedele at 10 ish, lunch, another sandwich or a prata at 3 plus, then dinner. I had this inane craving for soup based meals in my first trimester, and ended up having lunch at SOUPerich almost everyday, and there was an insatiable craving for tom yam soup, so I had Thai food for dinner as much as I could. :D I tried not to go for drinking events as well, as I felt really out of place and didn’t know what to do since I couldn’t drink.

Energy-wise, it was a lottery. There were days where I woke and could only manage staying in bed the whole day (had to call in sick to work), most days I could only manage staying on top of things until 4pm, and productive waned after that. I took naps during weekends and slept quite a fair bit in my first trimester.

I was one of the lucky ones to not have daily morning sickness, however, I developed motion sickness. If I took a cab and the trip was slightly too long (20 minutes max was all I could take), I would vomit during the cab ride. So I went around with a plastic bag in my bag all the time. My morning commute to work in a cab was about 20 minutes, and there were days where I would throw up as the taxi driver rolls into the taxi stand at our destination. I always felt it was such a waste of some good breakfast. And if I had vomited on the way to work, I usually felt crappy throughout the day. Another symptom I had was bleeding gums; you can check out a few other common pregnancy symptoms at the Baby Center website.

I put off on buying maternity clothes until I was at Week 19, when I tore a dress at work. Haha… so embarrassing. H&M is a good place to buy maternity clothing, they have a lot of basics if you’re not fashionable (like me). I bought a dark blue polka dotted top, a black tank top, a pair of black pants, a pair of beige pants, and a pair of jeans. That formed pretty much the base of the wardrobe I lived in for the next 18 weeks. I was pairing various over sized tops I already owned with the new bottoms for work. I managed to wear the outfit below until week 20 or so.

Chinese New Year 2014 Outfit

11 Weeks

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I started feeling extremely hungry throughout December 2013, and my period was late. I didn’t think I was pregnant as my period was always late whenever I traveled. Nonetheless, Han asked that I test myself. We did the test on Christmas Eve, and I tested positive on the stick (Merry Christmas, Han!). I didn’t believe it even though Han had been telling me the entire week he was pretty sure I was pregnant. I mean, come on, we’ve only been trying for a couple of months.

I didn’t have a regular gynae, I get my pap smear done with the healthcare partner from my insurance company every 2 years, so I messaged my childhood friend and asked her for her gynae’s contact (she happened to be pregnant as well, and due during CNY week 2014). So I called the gynae up, and they were fully booked. The first appointment I could get with her was on 6 January 2014.

6 Jan arrived, and we went for our appointment. It was a very surreal experience, I had this in my belly.

Sonograph 6 Jan 2014

I felt that it was such a miraculous thing a life could be formed just like that, I was so touched, I cried.

Our gynae (her contact details at the end of the blog post) brought us through the various components that were displayed on the scan, how the fetus is getting its nutrition, how big it is, is it growing at the rate as expected and so on. She’s really professional and comprehensive in her explanations, and answered our questions patiently. I didn’t really know what to ask, this being my first time and all, so Han did most of it. I just listened to understand.

We were then sent off with multi-vits and Calcium pills, and our next appointment in the calendar.

I went home and had a very strong inspiration to sketch the scan. Basically at 7 weeks 5 days, Ardan looked like a peanut with nubs for limbs, and a halo where he gets his nutrition from.

Ardan Sketch

A Clinic for Women
Mount Alvernia Medical Centre
Block D #08-58
820 Thomson Road
Singapore 574 623

Tel: (65) 6463 3366
24-Hour Answering Service: (65) 6333 5550

Email Dr. Chua Yang: DrChuaYang@AClinicForWomen.com.sg
Email for enquiries: Manager@AClinicForWomen.com.sg

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