Thursday, July 27, 2006

Lovely poem for new mothers

I just want to take a moment here to share this lovely poem I found on the internet some years ago. I read it to comfort myself during the early difficult moments with a newborn baby.

If I could talk, here's what I'd say
happy with you, I want to stay
Hold me, hug me, let me see
your happy face, smiling back at me
Hold me, cuddle me in your arms
Keep me safe from all that harms

The time is right, for me to hold
when you're less busy, I'll be too old
You're much happier, you worry less
when you can see, I have no stress
It makes good sense, you must confess
There's time later to clean the mess

Let no schedule, furrow your brow
Let us enjoy this time, right now
Career and dreams are important too
they are, a significant part of you
When I'm older we'll join the race
It's better then, to pick up the pace

I don't know, if we've got one or two
I don't care, it it's old or new
Why would I care, if we have a view
What I do know, is, I want YOU
Nurture me now, don't put me on hold
Its your time I want, not your gold

Cuddle me, comfort me, dispel my fears
Holding me close and tending my tears
dispels my imagined, and real fears
Up in your arms with you I yearn
Carry me, hold me, its my turn
Show me skills, that I may learn

I love to hear, and to feel your voice
Its in simple things, that I rejoice
When I can hear and when I can see
learning to speak, is easier for me
How I love your caring smile
won't you sit with me a while

Cuddle me, kiss me, let us frolic
there'll be no time, for fretful colic
I love the rhythm of your heart
It comforts me and lets me know
that you're still here and shall not go
That you love me, I will know
when you help me learn and grow

Lets enjoy this love, of which we're fond
living together and creating a bond
Snuggle me tenderly to your chest
Suckle and comfort me at your breast
Keep me close, at the centre of your life
we'll both encounter a lot less strife

My wholesome security and self esteem
are a worthy goal, not just a dream
Fortunate for me, thats what I'll get
for because of love, we two have met
When your fragrance, I can smell
I'm brought comfort, 'cause I can tell
that you are close and all is well

As you work, walk, take a trip
with me safely balanced, upon your hip
our muscle tone will be much greater
and I'll be walking, sooner than later
Show me the very best ways to go
so when I'm older, up straight, I'll grow

When you meet all of my needs
my health and development succeeds
I feel loved, happy and content
Your time with me is well spent
Great dividends we all will reap
as I lay contented, down to sleep
We will wake, refreshed and ready
full of joy, strong and steady

Give me security for which I long
let me know that I belong
Your sweet voice upon my ears
comforts me and makes me strong
It quiets me and soothes my tears
now that I know that you are near

With your help, I'll find wings
and be moving on to greater things
Soon enough, I'll walk, run and play
entertaining myself, for most of the day
I hope I've helped, for you to see
we're both better off, when you carry me

Author: Unknown

I love poems. I did not write the above one. I saw it in a forum and it is truly inspiring. That is why I am sharing it here. I wish I knew who the author was so I can tell her how wonderfully inspiring this poem is for new mothers. 

I also wrote some motherhood poems from the time my babies were newborns. They are now 8 and 10 years old. My collection of poems is all about the joys of motherhood including the self doubt and insecurities that we mothers sometimes feel as a mother and a wife.

You can go here for more information

How not to lose yourself after becoming a mother and wife Mother, Wife, Myself

or head straight over to Amazon to purchase a copy of this book of poems for yourself or for a friend. 

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

First time parents coping with a newborn during the early days

I didn't have a confinement lady or a maid to help out after delivery of my baby but I did have a confinement man. Lol!

Here's how we coped with our newborn during the early days without any help. We...

  • used disposable diapers so there would be minimal laundry. Hubby helped with the diaper changes initially when I was too tired. In fact I think he probably changed a first diaper before me.
  • gave baby a tub bath and hairwash only once a week. The rest of the time, I merely did topping and tailing and gave baby sponge baths. And in case you are wondering, no, baby did not develop any diaper rash. In fact, they both did not have any diaper rash. I guess the fact that they're breastfed helped a great deal. I alwasy made sure their faces and bottoms were clean. For baths, I waited till the weekends when hubby was free to help me with the wiggly, slippery little body. (due to lack of time and confidence :P)
  • banned visitors from our home. I did not want to have to entertain visitors (not even relatives) one after another. This would have been too tiring for me and so.. I told everyone not to visit me at home.
  • catered special confinement/post natal food for me. Hubby offered to cook and tried to learn while I was pregnant but since he couldn't even differentiate between garlic and onions or ginger, I declined his kind offer. Haha. I was also afraid of the cleanup afterwards so we opted for food catering/delivery. This worked out great for us. I still got to enjoy the delicious confinement food that was supposed to be good for recuperating mothers without the work. The food did not come cheap though (almost the cost of hiring a confinement lady) and everyone thought we were crazy not to hire a confinement lady instead.
  • we let the housework go. Just some simple mopping and wiping once a week to make sure the environment is clean for baby. Other things can wait.
  • as for feeding, there are no shortcuts. I tried my best to breastfeed and when I couldn't, I gave baby milk using a spoon or cup. Hubby had to help out with the spoon/cup feed whenever I was too tired.
My confinement man boiled special ginger and lemongrass water for me to have a bath (for one bath) and he boiled or rather reheated the red dates tea that came with our food delivery package for me daily and put them in a big flask for me to drink whenever I was thirsty. He went out to pack his own meals or ate some of my confinement meals as we couldn't afford to cater for two since it was so expensive. He took the babies out to sun when they had jaundice. He helped with the housework and washed dishes (this is the only time he washes dishes for me so I enjoyed it to the hilt) and that was it. That was how we survived our early days with our newborn. Both times he took 2 weeks off work to help me out.
This post has been fun to write. Its fun to look back. I can almost smell the red dates tea as I write. Lol!

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Postnatal Care and Confinement Nannies

After the hard work of giving birth to a baby, a woman must rejuvenate and take care of her body so that she will get back to optimum health. The chinese often have what is called a lived-in confinement lady to look after both the mother and baby for up to a month after birth. Some of the basic duties of a confinement lady as published in the Peiling website (a confinement care services company in Malaysia) includes the following:

  • Food preparation for Confinement mother
  • Baby care (Day & Night)
  • Laundry for confinement mother & baby
  • Cleaning & washing kitchen area & utensils
  • Light household chores - Sweeping / vacumming the floor daily & mopping twice a week (optional)
  • Cooking dinner & laundry for husband (optional)

Sounds ideal doesn't it? But the price does not come cheap. In fact, you could even say its quite a norm to hire a confinement lady for help post partum. Both my sisters did, as well as my cousins and friends who had babies before me. So, when hubby and I announced that we weren't going to hire one, everyone expressed shocked and said we weren't going to make it caring for our own newborn alone. We didn't have any other help ie no experienced mums or mums-in-law.

In fact, I too was apprehensive at first when hubby first told me about his dislike for hiring an outsider to look after our baby for us. He is a man who guards his privacy most carefully. However, hubby was quite persuasive so in the end I relented and I must say I have no regrets that I did.

It was very tough looking after our newborn without any extra help. Being a first time mother with no experience and no one to turn to, the internet became our main source of information and guide. However I must say that after getting through the difficult early weeks that there is no better experience than doing it yourself. Plus we have the added bonus of bonding with the baby during the early days. Hubby became extra understanding with the tasks since he had no choice but to help out and he now recalls those early days with great fondness.

For our second, again we were advised to hire a confinement lady since we now have an older toddler to look after as well but again, we went against everyone's advise. We were now more confident parents and involving our toddler in every process of bringing the baby home with as little changes as possible helped her to accept the new baby much more easily.

As usual I get carried away writing and my blog posts end up a mile long. So I'm going to leave the story about how we coped with a newborn during the early days for another post.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Breastfeeding : What helped me to perservere

"The single most important factor influencing whether or not the baby latches on is the mother’s developing a good milk supply. If the mother’s supply is abundant, the baby will latch on by 4 to 8 weeks of life no matter what. "

Excerpt taken from Dr Jack Newman's article on "When the Baby Refuses to Latch On".

Now that was the sentence that spoke to me and kept me going throughout the 2 months I was trying very hard to get my baby to latch on. I cannot remember when my first latched on but it was very difficult and we ended up on a mixed feed eventually. With my second however, I was determined to do full breastfeeding. Still it was impossible to latch baby on even though I was now more experienced in breastfeeding having breastfed the first for 17 months.

With that sentence always in my mind, I worked very, very hard at establishing my milk supply while I fed baby breastmilk using a cup for 2 whole months. I pumped at 3 hourly intervals without fail, sometimes even falling asleep while pumping and my supply grew from 1/2 an ounce each pumping session to about 8-9 ounces. I was about to give up cup feeding to substitute for bottle feeding (with expressed breastmilk) at the end of 2 months when I was reaching the end of my tether. I also considered the use of a nipple shield at about that time but then..... like magic, baby latched on at exactly 2 months and 1 day! Whooopeeee!

I just love this Dr Jack Newman even though I've not met him. Lol! I've read each and every one of his breastfeeding handouts. And the man has even generously made it available for copying and distributed without permission.

The other thing that kept me going was reading successful breastfeeding stories of those mums who went through a difficult time and eventually succeeded to breastfeed their babies. I mostly read about those who had difficulty latching their babies on for several months but manage to successfully breastfeed in the end. Those cheered me up and kept me going when I wanted to give up... which was like almost everyday.

It is my hope that my breastfeeding story will give some other mums support too.

Related Links:

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Breastfeeding problems can lead to dehydration in babies

"Many new mothers are being told not to bottle feed because it will ruin breastfeeding, but an increasing number are being left with babies so dehydrated they need emergency hospital care.

Experts have reported that hundreds of newborn babies suffering from dehydration are being re-admitted to hospital as mothers are being warned not to resort to bottle-feeding. They explain that the 'breast is best' message has left many women unwilling to use formula milk even as a back up when their babies are not feeding properly. "

Read more here Medindia News.

This is something close to my heart that I had wanted to write about for a long time. If I had a chance to breastfeed again, I would feed my baby formula if I had difficulty breastfeeding. Of course I would try to express breastmilk to feed to my baby first but if that too is a problem during the early days, I would not hesitate to give my baby formula milk.

I foolishly starved my firstborn during the first two weeks (possibly more). I had problems breastfeeding, did not know how to pump my breastmilk out and yet I adamantly refused to feed her any formula. I was so afraid that it would jeopardise my breastfeeding efforts. I was so gungho about breastfeeding and I had read so much about how the bottle would cause the baby to have nipple confusion that I vehemently refused to give my starving baby any supplementary feeds.

As a result she lost 25% of her birthweight after the first two weeks weighing in and she had dark brown poo only after a few days instead of the several times a day watery poo a newborn is supposed to have. Thankfully, apart from the weight loss she was ok.

Looking back now, I am apalled at how foolish I had been. At birth she was a plump beautiful baby. After 2 weeks, she looked gaunt, haggard and her lips were dry and peeling. I am very very thankful that she was ok. She cried all the time from hunger and her weight loss gave us a lot of stress.

To all new mothers out there who have difficulty breastfeeding, I urge you to get to a good lactation consultant as early as you can or to go to other mothers who have experience in breastfeeding for help and support during the early days. And it is ok to give your baby some supplementary feeds while you are trying to establish breastfeeding. (It does not mean the end of your breastfeeding journey). Just make sure you establish your milk supply at the same time by pumping or direct feeding whenever possible.

Don't give up trying and make sure the bottle feeding does not replace the breastfeeds but don't deny your baby nourishment before breastfeeding is firmly established. (It may take a while before breastfeeding becomes smooth and natural. Contrary to what most people would assume, breastfeeding feels far from natural. It is a learned skill especially for those who have difficulty.) If you are scared that your baby will be confused by the use of a bottle, you can give expressed breastmilk to your baby from a cup but from my experience that is very tough and taxing indeed but worth the effort in the end. Its short term pain for a long term gain. Good luck!

Related Links:

My Breastfeeding Journey - Part I
My Breastfeeding Journey - Part II

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Starting Solids

I'm migrating more articles I wrote from my website to this blog. Here is one I wrote after my baby started solids.

Starting solids is an exciting time for babies and parents. Its a moment full of anticipation and a wonderful photo opportunity to record those lovely memories to cherish. As a breastfeeding mum I can't help but feel a small sense of loss. After carrying baby for 9 months and breastfeeding baby exclusively for 6 months, baby is now his own little being and needs extra nourishment. I can still do my part by preparing the best food for baby. No jar or processed foods for my little ones!

I still remember the first time I gave my first baby solids. I had made it too thick and the poor girl threw it all up afterwards. Well, it was supposed to be "solids" after all! I soon learned how to adjust. Just add more water or milk, blend more or less to get the texture that baby prefers. My method is very simple. Baby food is very easy to prepare. You don't have to be a good cook to make your own baby food. Just mix and match the ingredients using the same recipe. I don't like to make extra portions by freezing into small ice cube trays for reheating by microwave to save time. I prefer babies to eat fresh food.

So this is how I do it:

Here's what you will need:

  • Rice Cooker
  • Blender
  • Steamer

Main Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tablespoons washed rice
  • 1 bowl of stock
  • 1-2 palm sized diced vegetables


Cook 1-2 tablespoons washed rice, 1 bowl of stock and 1 or 2 types of diced/chopped vegetables in a rice cooker set to cook porridge for 1 hour. When its done, leave to cool, then blend till it becomes a smooth puree. Reheat the blended porridge in a steamer to sterelize the food if cooking for baby 4-7 months old. This makes 2-3 portions for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Feed baby the cooled porridge and refrigerate the unused portions for use later that same day. To reheat, its more healthy to steam rather than microwave.


  1. Stock can be prepared overnight using a slow cooker/crockpot.
  2. No need to add salt or sugar.
  3. For older babies: - no need to blend but finely mince the vegetables; can add garlic, onions and ginger to taste; can add finely minced meats like fish, chicken and beef

Mix and match any one or two of the following vegetables:

For babies just starting solids:

  • sweet potato
  • carrot
  • pumpkin

For slightly older babies the above plus:

  • potato
  • taro/yam
  • brocolli
  • leeks
  • spinach
  • asparagus
  • celery
  • jicama
  • green peas (skinned)
  • tomatoes
  • cabbage

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"Me" Time

"Me Time"

I need to schedule some "me" time
It certainly is no crime
To claim a little time for me
Away from my family

I like to spend some time alone
Doing some things of my own
Whether its just reading or shopping
Blogging or even sleeping

I know as I write this rhyme
That I clearly need some "me" time
So I can rise above the routine
Of making sure my home is serene

I need some time to recharge
So that again I can take charge
Refreshed and raring to go
To do my labor of love

I love to be with the little one
Being with him is lots of fun
But sometimes he needs so much attention
Giving me lots of tension

I love to spend time with his older sis
She's sweet and loves to give me a kiss
But she can also throw a tantrum
All of me needs a break then even my eardrum

I love to pamper the man of the house
Afterall he is my spouse
With the chores done and the kids asleep
Then its couple time as we softly creep

I know its hard to find some time for me
But its something I have to do to be
Ready to give the best of "me"
So that we can be a happy "we"

I am sure that most mothers out there can relate to this rhyme of mine? *wink wink*

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Life with a newborn and toddler

I wrote this some time ago and put it on my website for breastfeeding mums. I'm slowly shifting some of the stuff I put on my website to this blog since theres not much there. Websites are such stagnant places unlike blogs which are "alive", ongoing and interactive. I definitely prefer a blog. Ok enough about blogs, this post is supposed to be about coping with a newborn and toddler. So here goes...

My babies are 2 years apart and when I was pregnant I used to worry about how I could possibly cope with handling two without any help. So if it helps any worried expectant moms with toddlers, here’s what I do:

1. Bathing - I would place baby on a mattress on the floor just outside the bathroom where I can see him, place toddler on the toilet seat where I can toilet train her and that way I got to bathe and sometimes even wash my hair! After that I bathe the toddler and can watch baby at the same time. Changing diapers is the same, just line them up in a row and change both at the same time. This saves a lot of time. Mommies are good at time management.

2. Mealtimes - If baby is crying when I am feeding toddler, I just balance him on my lap with one hand and continue feeding my picky toddler with the other hand. No problem at all, you will soon learn to use your two hands and feet all at the same time. Mommies are good at multi tasking.

3. Bedtime/Naptime - I was worried about this one but it has turned out ok too. Breastfeeding makes it easy. All I have to do is take both to bed with me at the same time. While breastfeeding baby I would sing and tell stories to the toddler until all three of us fall asleep. My toddler has learned to sleep on her own during the afternoon nap so things are getting easier. All I have to do is give her some milk, make her comfortable in bed with a soft toy and a book and tell her to read and then sleep then I leave the room. Sometimes she cries a little but not too much. And to think that I was so afraid at one time that I was spoiling her when a baby by carrying her to sleep when she fretted because some books and gurus say let them cry themselves to sleep or you would have a child who has problem sleeping on her own. If I am still awake I would creep silently out of the room to have some quiet time with hubby. No problem. Mommies still need time for themselves.

4. Housework - This is last on my priority. My babies come first. My husband and I don't mind a house with dust one inch thick so long as it is a home filled with love so I let the housework go a little. We cater our meals so I can concentrate on cooking for my babies. There is also much less mess this way. During the weekends I would throw some meats and vegetables into a crockpot for some nutritious soup for everyone. We do our own laundry and sent hubby’s clothes for ironing. I wear clothes that don't need ironing (there are lots of lovely materials that don’t require ironing. Mommies can still be fashionable too) and the children's clothes don't need ironing, they're so tiny. Just straighten them a bit before hanging out to dry.

One really needs to be a bit innovative to cope and lots of humor is required too. The first one or two months may be hard but it gets easier with time. Now I even have time to read a magazine and work on this blog.

Note: That was life with a newborn and toddler. Now my newborn is the toddler in the house and my toddler then is now a pre-schooler and life is definitely a lot easier now with less juggling required and different challenges being faced. Read Life with a 3 year old and a 5 year old.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Chemical Pregnancy

My period was late. I'm usually regular. I felt bloated and a little bit nausea on and off, pregnancy symtoms I recognise from before. We did a home pregnancy test. The positive results line was so faint, we had to squint our eyes to see it. We were hopeful but worried.

We tested again a few days later with the same very, very faint positive result. So faint we doubted the results. Thoughts of "What is happening?" "Am I pregnant?" swirled around in my head. I felt pregnant but by now (as was the case for the previous two times I was pregnant) we would have had a strong positive result. Why was my hcg levels so low it could not be picked up by the pregnancy test kit? What could this mean? I felt right with all the right familiar pregnancy symtoms I remembered but the results show something else. We were still a bit hopeful but more and more worried.

I searched the internet and read up about low hcg levels. It could probably mean an impending miscarriage, a blighted ovum or an ectopic pregnancy, none of which sounded very promising. We began to feel more worried and a bit scared especially when I had very slight spotting in the evening. We decided to see the doctor soon.

However, even before we got to the doctor, the next day, at about 8-10th day after my period was due, I began to have my period. I know from my own body signals that this was not merely a late period. I probably was pregnant but must be experiencing an early miscarriage. I would probably have been about 5 - 6 weeks pregnant. I read that this is called a chemical pregnancy and that it is quite common and many pregnancies end this way even before a woman is aware that she was pregnant. Our fears were confirmed and now they were turned into feelings of resignation and sadness.

Miscarriage Before You Know It

A chemical pregnancy refers to pregnancy loss very early on. In a chemical pregnancy, it is thought that an egg is fertilized but fails to implant. As a result, your body does not begin to produce the obvious signs of pregnancy. Because a chemical pregnancy occurs so early in a pregnancy, most women never even realize they are pregnant. When they receive their period, they just assume they were a few days late.

Women who have been pregnant before, though, may notice that they "feel pregnant" prior to starting their period. Additionally, performing a pregnancy test, either at home or at your doctor’s office, will likely produce an initial positive result. However, this will quickly become a negative as your period approaches and you miscarry.

Read more about chemical pregnancy and early miscarriage here.

What a roller coaster week of emotions (and fluctuating hormones) it has been, full of anxiety and anxiousness and fear from not knowing what was happening. Alas, it is not meant to be this time. I just had to write this for closure. This post is private and belongs to my personal blog but somehow I like it here since this blog is new and has less readers.

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Online Educational Sites For Young Children

I've been writing endlessly on this blog about my pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding experiences. (It has to be because I started my personal blog after my children came along so I never got to record any of these. Lol!)

I'm going to take a breather today and talk about the online resources I use to teach or rather to play with my children instead.

Here's my step to step guide for teaching your child using online educational resources.

Step 1 - Introducing the Alphabet with Elmo's Keyboard-O-Rama. The kids love this one. When they press the correct alphabet on the keyboard they will see lovely animated action denoting each alphabet. After just a few turns on the keyboard, my two year old can now easily recognise his favourite animations. When I ask him to press "S" for Star or "T" for Toothbrush, he will quickly pick the letters out without hesistation and smile broadly when he is rewarded with the correct animation being displayed.

Step 2 - Reinforcing the Alphabet. After my girl became more adept at manuevering the mouse, we moved on to Learn to read at Starfall to learn more words starting with each Alphabet. Again, lovely animations, sounds and educational games delight her. It delights me as well as I can leave her to learn on her own without supervision. Lol!

Step 3 - First Steps towards Reading (through nursery rhymes). Before we learn to read, it would be a good idea to introduce children to words and sounds from nursery rhymes. My girl's favourite is Lalitha's nursery rhymes. Almost every nursery rhyme I learned as a child is here and more. I love the simple animations and home style singing without music at the site. My only grouse is it is a bit slow to load when first entering the page. After that it is fine.

Step 4- First Steps towards Reading (through bedtime stories and fairytales). I love this BBC storycircle site. All the stories I loved as a child is nicely animated and narrated here. You can find stories on Goldilocks & the 3 bears, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Princess and the Pea, Cinderella, The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, The Lion and The Mouse etc all nicely animated and narrated here. Another good stories site is The StoryPlace Pre-school Library. It concentrates on teaching using a thematic approach/through themes.

Step 5 - Learning to Read. Now that she has mastered her Alphabets and introduced to the concept of reading from nursery rhymes and stories we move on to learn to read the phonetic way again from Learn to read at Starfall. Repetitions offered through the related games, movies and reading pages with interesting animations and sounds helps her learn to read and remember. There are further stages to help a child learn to read from the site but my girl hasn't reached those stages yet so I'll review those later.

Step 6 - Learning to Write. This site Literacy Center includes an animated page to show my girl how to write her Alphabets (capital as well as small letters) and numbers in the correct way when I'm too lazy to show her how.

Step 7 - Learning to tell the time. Literacy Center also has a page to teach little ones to tell the time correctly both digitally as well as through the old fashion analog clock. There's no direct link to the telling time page. You'd have to browse around a little to get to it. Here's a quick tip. Just press the "Numbers" pad and go to item no "8".

Step 8 - Learning about the weather. I love to use this weather song and game to teach the kids about the weather.

Step 9 - Learning through music and songs. I learned a lot too from this site about instruments of the orchestra and I love to sing to my kids karaoke style using music and lyrics from NIEHs Kid's Pages Sing Along Songs Index. I used to sing to my girl till she fell asleep in my arms with the music still running. It sure helped a lot during naptime. She'd fall asleep in 10 - 20 minutes flat instead of an hour giving me more time to get things done.

There are lots more sites we explore but most of them are for games and other stuff. The sites reviewed here are mainly for educational purposes but they're not short of fun. Theres also a fingerplays ideas site, the url which I have lost :( and many craft ideas sites but we'll come to that another day. In the meantime, have fun with your kid!

If you like the sites I reviewed here or you have some to share with me, do drop me a comment. I'd love to hear about how your child enjoyed them.

The link at Lalitha's nursery rhyme is broken and I'm really sad about that because it was an excellent site. If anyone knows a new link, please leave your comment with the new link. Thanks.

Related posts:
Teaching my kid to tell the time
Teaching my kids the basics about colors

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Elective Caesarean Under Epidural Anaesthesia

My husband had earlier told me that he might not accompany me into the operation room as he was concerned that he may faint when he sees blood. I told him that it was ok as I will be well taken care of by the doctors and nurses in attendance.

He had a last minute change of mind and decided to go in with me afterall. As I was prepared for the epidural, he was also prepared to enter the operation room by donning special attire. I was a little afraid when they administered the epidural, worrying about all the things that could go wrong. (after hearing and reading some epidural experiences which went wrong). My overactive imagination was working overtime.

When I was ready, they prodded me and asked if I felt anything. Nope. I didn't. It was a weird sensation to have my legs being lifted about without my knowledge. "Hey! Thats my legs up there" I thought as they lifted me onto the operation table.

Soon the operation began. I was aware throughout but I didn't feel any pain. Only pulling and tugging sensations. My husband, who had earlier informed me that he was too weak hearted to watch, started walking around the room chatting with the doctors. He even peered into my insides! "Now, he knows me inside out!" I thought.

The operating lights looked new and polished and if I looked hard enough I could see the reflection of a little of what was going on even though they covered the lower part of my body so that I could not see. I peeked a little.

My doctor and the anesthetist were discussing about the traffic jam conditions and which new roads they could try out for going to work! "Oh shut up and concentrate on your task. Don't leave a cotton ball or tool inside me by mistake" I wanted to tell them.

"He's very big and he's stuck. Help me pull." said my doctor to the nurses. Even the anesthetist wanted to get into the action to help pull baby out. I could feel them pulling and tugging, pulling and tugging. "Look! He is nice and stuck and so difficult to take out even from this side and you wanted to try a vaginal birth." joked my doctor.

They kept on tugging and finally "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH". It was the loudest cry I ever heard. My baby had loud and powerful vocals and I loved it! Then they cleaned baby up a bit, put him near my chest, asked me to look at him and told me "Its a boy!" for confirmation. I guess a caesarean under epidural is the closest to natural birth as you can have it since you are aware and awake when baby is delivered. Previously under general anesthesia, I could not experince this wonderful moment.

Soon after that my husband accompanied the baby out while the doctor finished up the rest of the task of removing the placenta and stitching me up. Compared to the first, the second delivery was "more enjoyable".

I had wanted to try for a VBAC and it turned out differently yet again. Still, I'm always of the opinion that the birthing experience is irrelevant. A healthy baby is all that matters.

Related Posts:

Natural Birth turned Emergency Caesarean
Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC)

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC)

After the first birth experience, I was still determined to have a natural birth. So I read up all about Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC) and informed my doctor about my birthing preference right from the start. My doctor said she would let me try since it was the hospital's policy anyway but she added that she would not allow me to try for too long. She was concerned about my old wound and feared that I may have an arrest in dilation like the first time. I prepared myself mentally for both a VBAC and another caesarean just in case things turned out that way again.

When the due date for delivery drew nearer, we began to feel very anxious, much more anxious than the first time. Again, a bloody show brought me to the doctor's office. We sat there and discussed the pros and cons between a VBAC and a Caesarean. My baby was large. My old wound was hurting. The umbilical cord was near my baby's neck. My doctor reminded me that she would not allow me to try too long because of the old wound. All of these factors seem to indicate that it would not be a very good idea to try for a VBAC and so that was how I opted to have a caesarean under epidural instead at almost the last hour.

My doctor said that I could not wait any longer and instructed me to go home, pack and return immediately to check in for labour. It was very rushed indeed but that was not a problem for me as I was mentally ready.

Oops! This post is getting a bit long. I shall continue in another post "Elective Caesarean Under Epidural Anaesthesia"

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Natural Birth Turned Emergency Caesarean

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Natural Birth turned Emergency Caesarean

I always wanted a natural birth. Who doesn't? I planned not to have any pain killers so that nothing will interfere with my plan to breastfeed baby immediately after birth. But of course those were my "plans" and sometimes things don't quite turned out as planned.

I remember having some spotting close to my due date. Not sure if that was the "bloody show", I asked my sister to take me to my doctor as my husband was at work. I didn't have any contractions and my water bag did not break. However, when my doctor checked me, she took out her wet gloved finger and told me that it had. (I thought that she must have broken my water bag during her examination).

And so I was checked into the labour room at about 5pm and given an enema. Still there were no contractions. Later on when my husband came, I could still talk and joke with him.

Eventually I was induced to speed things up. I remember the nurses kept on coming in my room to ask me if I wanted to have an epidural for my pain. "No" was my reply each time. We felt like they were trying to sell us something the way they kept coming back to ask again and again even after I said "No".

To cut a long story short, I got to 9 cm dilated when my doc came and told my husband with me within earshot, "You have to make a decision now, to go for emergency caesarean or you might lose either the mother or the baby. Its taking too long" Well, I didn't feel like it was taking too long and I felt like I could still go on and we were so close. Just another 1 cm to go! Still what sort of a choice do we have with a remark like that and so off we went to the operation room. It was past midnite by then.

I remember screaming very loudly in pain all the way as they wheeled me out of the labour room, down the corridor and into the elevator. It must have been quite a scene. (And I'm normally a soft spoken person.)

Someone asked what sort of anaesthetic to give me and another one hollered "General of course. Its too late for epidural. Can't you see she's in so much pain? That doctor...... " (they grumbled something about my doctor). They administered the needle and I was out cold.

When I came to, I was lying in a empty clinical room with several empty beds hearing my own deep breathing. I had to lie there cold and alone for about an hour thinking about my baby eager to see her for the first time.

Later my doctor told me "Your case would have been perfect if you had used epidural but you refused and your dilation was arrested because you were in too much pain and stress." I was not very happy about that and said "Then why didn't you have your nurses explain that to me when they came to ask me whether I wanted to have an epidural?" Sigh!

I read that some women feel less of a woman when they deliver via caesarean instead of naturally? Why on earth would they feel that? For me, it does not really matter how baby is delivered. The only thing that matters is that we have a healthy thriving baby.

I can't help but have the nagging feeling that my labour could have proceeded differently (Thoughts of "maybe my doc could have waited for more labour signs, maybe they should not have induced the contractions, maybe we could have continued trying, it was just 1 more cm etc haunts me at times). Oh well, like I said, at the end of the day, a healthy baby is more important and I cannot undo the process so there is no point pointing fingers at or blaming anyone.

My firstborn was delivered at about 2am, about 9 hours after I entered the labour room. I had to pay for the hourly use of the natural labour room plus caesarean operation charges plus after midnight charge for using the operating room after midnight. My baby was not coming into this world cheap.

Here is an excerpt from an article about caesarean birth taken from Epigee Women's Health. I think thats what happened in my case.

"The majority of cesarean sections are performed because of some difficulty arising during the labor and delivery process. You may be pushing with all your might, but baby still refuses to make her way down the birth canal. In cases like these, a c-section is often in order. During childbirth, your doctor will monitor you and your baby’s progress. If your cervix stops dilating (arrest of dilation) or if your baby is being stubborn about descending into the birth canal, your doctor may feel a c-section is necessary. It is hard on both you and the baby if labor is taking too long. To avoid extra complications, your doctor might suggest taking the baby out abdominally. In fact, 1/3 of all c-sections are performed because of slow labor. Also, if your baby’s heart beat suddenly becomes irregular a c-section could prevent her from becoming too stressed. "

Coming next: Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (or rather an "almost" attempt for one)
Related Post:

Elective Caesarean Under Epidural Anaesthesia

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