Had the opportunity to check out the nursing room at Velocity@Novena after I had my first haircut post-partum.
Location: 3rd floor, next to the washrooms beside Shou Slimming Centre #03-37/38
Hot and cold water dispenser
Soap and sink
Diaper changing table
2 cubicles with wooden doors and locks:
Small sofa seat
The sofas looked really icky and had stains on them, so take care not to let your pump parts touch the sofa. Otherwise, the place is generally clean and well maintained. The place was empty when I went in. I heard a couple of couples changing diapers outside when I pumped in one of the small rooms.
Check out other nursing rooms:
[posts-by-tag tags = “Nursing Rooms”]
We had Ardan’s first month party at Violet Oon’s Kitchen down the road last weekend. Han and I picked that place because we loved the food in all the times we ate there, and really liked the service there as well.
Here’s a gallery of what was on the buffet table. We also had Chicken Quesadilla and Kuey Pie Tee which were served fresh from the kitchen. Drinks (iced honey calamansi, hot tea, and coffee) were served throughout the event as well. The service from the restaurant was impeccable, they allowed us to bring our own red eggs and ang yee from elsewhere, and even arranged them really nicely on plates to serve to our guests. After I had settled the food arrangement with the restaurant, I felt that it was too much work to decorate the place too, so I didn’t do anything about that. I am really impressed with ladies who manage to organise an event with full blown decorations, door gifts, and buffet spread.
We had the place from 11am to 5pm, and guests between 12 noon to 4pm. It was very chaotic for me – amidst the diaper changing, nursing (I disappeared twice for half an hour each time), I was not able to talk to my friends properly. 🙁 I am also very sad we forgot to take a family photo amidst all the chaos. 🙁 Nonetheless, my friends told me they enjoyed the food very much, and some of them even got to take away the remainders from the buffet spread.
Ardan was really well behaved and awake during the event, only falling asleep after everybody left.
If you’re interested in booking their restaurant for an event, or to order catering from them, check this link out. I highly recommend them!
On 7th day postpartum, we went for our appointment at the Gynae and PD, all ok. Ardan’s jaundice went down and he was not required to report back at the PD again. 🙂 Our pediatrician is Dr. Terence Tan from Kinder Clinic at Mount Alvernia Hospital. He’s a really busy busy man, but he has infinite patience for his work. Admirable.
The confinement lady encouraged me to sleep more, she said that would help with the milk production. I started being able to sleep through the night, and felt much better if I napped in the afternoon. I got really lazy and pumped only every 3 hours, as my supply was not increasing as much as I would like it to. I started taking More Milk Plus from MotherLove, and noticed my supply increasing, so that was very encouraging.
We also had the Jamu Massage lady for 8 sessions from 7th to 15th day postpartum (she’s off on Sunday). We engaged her from PEM, and she’s really good, her name is Mila. However, my waist line remained at 32 inches.
The baby bonus comes in 2 parts, the first part is a $6,000 cash gift the government gives out in 3 installments over 12 months. 50% at birth, 25% when the child is 6 months old, and 25% when the child is 12 months old. You need to nominate one of the parents as a trustee to receive the cash gift.
The second part is the government matching your savings in a Child Development Account (CDA) account, up to $6,000 until the child is 12 years old. And the same parent will be the trustee of the account.
To apply, the easiest is to submit all the forms at the one-stop service counters available at the birth registration counters at these hospitals – Gleneagles Hospital, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Mount Alvernia Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Hospital, National University Hospital, Parkway East Hospital, Raffles Hospital, Singapore General Hospital and Thomson Medical Centre – and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
Don’t follow the misleading instructions on OCBC web page to apply at the bank. That’s what I did, and I wasted time at the bank.
Our confinement lady was already waiting for us when we got home from the hospital. We got to know about her through word of mouth, but had to engage her through PEM Confinement Agency. She is really good, and comes with 30 years of experience. If anybody needs to engage her, contact PEM, and ask for Tang Ya Jiao. We also bought the herbal package from PEM, so I get to drink red date tea, and a different soup daily for the 28 days the confinement lady is with us. You can see the menu here.
For the rest of the week at home, I persevered to pump every 2-3 hours, even through the night. I was really tired, and I felt that my life has been segmented into blocks of 3 hours. Unfortunately, I was dry all the way until the morning of my 5th day postpartum, fortunately we grabbed that tin of formula on the way home, otherwise Ardan would have starved himself to hypoglycaemia, or even ended up in the ICU. It’s nuts how the nurses in the hospital said that they don’t make suggestions; even if they see a new mother unknowingly putting her child’s life in danger?! I cannot imagine almost killing a child I spent all that effort to carry for 8 months. For a more chilling tale of a couple who really almost killed their own child, read this. Also, don’t heed my lactation consultant’s advice and feed the baby water. Babies between the age of 0-6 months old are supposed to drink either breast milk or formula milk, that’s it. If you happen to not make any milk, have the nurses in the hospital feed the baby with formula milk (feeding formula milk is not the end of the world, trust me). There, I hope by putting this out there, I am helping to prevent more newborns in the world from possibly being admitted into ICU.
For ladies who are interested in quickly reducing your waistline postpartum, do persevere in wearing the belly binders, as well as breast feeding (if you can), it really helps. Here are my waist measurements for Day 2-6 postpartum:
6 Aug 36″
7 Aug 34″
8 Aug 32.5″
9 Aug 33″
10 Aug 32.5″
I was using the Belly Bandit Original the whole week, 24 hours a day, right from 3 hours after delivery.
I was warded in the Single Deluxe Room, and this is what it looks like. If you are interested, you can see the list of Mount Alvernia Maternity Packages here.
There’s a rooming in service, if you pay S$80.25 extra per night, one person gets to stay with you and sleep on the day bed, inclusive of 3 meals (lunch, dinner, and breakfast the next morning). Han decided to stay the second night until we were discharged, but he only managed to have breakfast on the last day since he came over after work.
There were some pee pads in the drawers beside the bed. The pee pads are for sleeping on, to protect the bed from lochia leaks. The nurses also gave me some maternity pads with cooling function. You basically use it like a light stick – bend it in half and shake it to activate the cooling agent. Those were really great for soothing the swelling down there post delivery. However, the mesh like disposable underwear that came with the maternity pads were practically useless. I ended up wearing the cooling pads inside maternity pants that my girlfriend gave me, Depend Silhouette for Women, and the nurses said that those pants were really good. You can get them from Amazon.
I also put on the Belly Bandit Original 3 hours after delivery, and wore it 24 hours over my pyjamas. I couldn’t track the progress since I didn’t have a measuring tape with me, but my gynae was very encouraging when she saw me in it the next morning after the delivery.
If you had epidural during the delivery, you might not be able to feel your legs for the next couple of hours, and a nurse will be assigned to help you to the toilet for the first toilet visit post delivery, and also to make sure that you are able to pee well. After that, you’re on your own. The bars for the toilet would come in really helpful after that, when you’re all sore down there and need to slowly lower yourself onto the toilet seat. If you had a natural delivery, then incontinence is to be expected, but it would get better over the next few weeks as you recover and your muscles bounce back in shape. Meanwhile, just keep doing those kegels!
It was time for dinner when I was shown my ward. The hospital specially prepared confinement food, and the first meal I had, was fish, vegetables, fish soup and some fruits.
Breakfast the next day was pork porridge, bread, and milo.
Lunch was again fish, vegetables, chicken soup and fruits.
There was tea. Some unidentifiable pastry, red date tea, and milo. I apologise for the awkward angle of the photo…lol.
Dinner was pork, vegetables, some soup (can’t remember!), and of course fruits!
The last breakfast was macaroni soup, bread, and milo.
Surprisingly, the food was actually really good and not as bland as how other people have described hospital food. The nurses told me the kitchen also made sure that the food were prepared separately according to confinement requirements. 🙂
The nurses brought Ardan to me every 2-3 hours, but I had no colostrum, so I was really quite confused by morning the next day. I asked the nurses what to do, since clearly I had no milk coming out of my boobs, and I didn’t want to starve my child. They said that they don’t make suggestions. -_- I asked my pediatrician the same question, and he said that babies have enough resources to last 3 days postpartum so I shouldn’t worry too much until I was discharged.
On the second day afternoon, the lactation consultant came to visit and she taught me how to massage my boobs, as well as hand expression, but still, nothing came out. She was visibly perplexed, and told me that the baby had to have one stool within the first 24 hours, and two in the next 24 hours to expel the meconium. So I asked what her recommendation was, she mentioned to feed the baby some water first, so that he’d have his first stool within the first 24 hours at least. I agreed, and that was done. She also recommended that I rent the hospital pump to stimulate my boobs in between nursing Ardan, even though I brought my own Medela Pump in Style Advanced (PISA), she insisted that the hospital pump would be stronger. It IS pretty hardcore looking with a piston, but I can assure you, my Medela PISA pumps way harder than this machine.
Throughout the second night, the nurses brought Ardan to me every 2-3 hours as well, but I was watching the clock and he should have at least one poop within the first half of the second 24 hours, and another poop within the second half of the second 24 hours. When I was still milk-less, I told the nurses to feed him some water to get the first poop out, and decided that I would ask them to feed him formula throughout the rest of the stay while I bonded with the rented pump every 2-3 hours throughout the second night.
We were discharged from the hospital on the third day, and our follow up appointment with both the pediatrician and my gynae was one week after his birthday. On the way out, we bought a small tin of formula milk and other supplies we haven’t had time to get since Ardan was 20 days earlier than expected.
While I was in the hospital, part of my time was spent looking for a multi user app to track Ardan’s feeding, and diaper change frequency. I found Baby Sprout, which not only allows me to track these two things, but additionally, allows me to track my pumping frequency, Ardan’s sleeping hours, activities, growth, upcoming doctor appointments, immunization log, medications, and milestones of firsts. It also supports tracking more than one child, which is a function I found lacking in a lot of other apps. Not that I am going to use this function, but it just makes sense to have it for the people who do need it.
The pumping tracker was extremely useful for me, I am able to check if I am on track to pump 8 times a day, have I (accidentally) missed any pumps, and am I able to fully supply Ardan with breast milk as an exclusively pumping mom. The app tracks the volume I pump, as well as the volume he takes per day.
The growth chart is really interesting, it shows you how your baby is growing against other children his age. Though I do think the measurements are from the US and not Asian, but it’s still interesting to know nonetheless.
The app is free for a single user; to enable multi user data entry, each of the users have to pay S$1.28, which is really cheap considering how well built the app is. After you’ve made the purchase, you can install the app across multi devices. Han and I have it on both our iPhones and iPads.
And the in app graphs allow you to analyse the data in various ways. For example, just for feeding alone, you can see the number of times from latching on, or from breast milk fed through the bottle. If the baby is fed through the bottle, you can indicate the volume, as well as whether it was breast milk, or formula milk.
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 proceeded 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 😀 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.