Sunday, June 21, 2009

Baby boy or girl

I guess this is the FAQ for the week. Very coincidentally, at least 3 people ask me the same question everyday. Probably everyone is as excited as us.

While the baby's sex is not revealed yet until end of the month (hopefully), I just ask if anyone wants a guess. Haha, guess that's the best thing I can answer for now :p

While friends are guessing, I learned some "tips" on how they guess. Pretty interesting and somehow I still doubt most of the "old wives' tales". Check this out:

1. If the mother is having a baby boy, she is still sharp as normal; if the mother is having a baby girl, she tends to be more clumsy and careless
2. If the mother is having a baby boy, she craves for food she likes all the while; if the mother is having a baby girl, she craves for strange food she never really like
3. If the mother is having a baby boy, the tummy looks pointing to the front; if the mother is having a baby girl, the tummy looks round.
4. If the mother is having a baby girl, she tends to have squarer face/double chin
5. If the mother is having a baby boy, her nose will be huge.
6. Count your date of conception vs your period cycle to estimate the baby's sex

Basically I don't quite believe all the items above since after I shared these "guessing tips" with some parents, most of them are not accurate at all. Probably I'd believe #5 since I've seen some colleagues having that nose as evidence :p #6 is based on some simple biology theory but in real life, most females do not have 100% accurate cycles monthly, unless you monitor it regularly using the ovulation test kit.

A friend actually send me a document which "teach" you how to get a baby boy or girl through positions, food you eat, age of husband and wife, date of conception and so on.... Gosh...

It's interesting to hear all the stories and ideas from friends, where they heard them from their parents or other friends. But was pretty shocked when a lady colleague insisted to see if my tummy was pointy or round shape in the ladies' room. Guess it was a little over the border, isn't it? Thank God it wasn't successful.

Anyway, as what I told most of them, for sure you'll know the baby's sex on the day he/she is born :)

Life is a miracle (Part 4)

At week 12++, the baby surprised us with his/her active movement in the womb when we "visit" him/her through the ultrasound. We could see the hands and legs movements pretty clearly. It's the first time we saw the baby's movement since the previous visit we only saw the heartbeat... Yong Sheng says that the baby is exercising on his/her own since the mummy is not exercising enough. Ooppps... 1st trimester has been tiring months for me though I was not having any morning sickness... You just feel like sleeping at 9pm after dinner and bath, a toilet visit in between, and waking up at 7am++. Thank God for understanding husband who helped out a lot in cooking and housework :)

During last appointment (1 month ago), the Dr told us that we have an option to do Nuchal Translucency Scan (usually done between wk 11-14). Through this ultrasound scans, the Dr can access the risk of baby being affected by Down Syndrome. This is done by measuring the skin fold thickness(nuchal translucency) at the back of neck of the baby. If the neck fold is unusually thick, it may indicate that you baby may have Down Syndrome. It's usually 80% accuracy.

We were glad that the Dr actually told us what to look forward in the next appointment. We prayed together before the appointments and we give thanks to God for answering our prayer. The test went on smoothly though the baby was not in the optimum position to do the scan in the beginning...


Life is a miracle (Part 3)

We had our appointment at wk7++ and wk9++ at original hospital and 2nd opinion hospital respectively. The exciting part of the appointments was to see/listen to baby's heartbeat, and to see the embryo shape (imagine the yolk sac has developed to be more like a little human). Amazing isn't it? How great is our God and am really honoured to be part of His miracles.

Many mums told me to expect the heartbeats to sounds like horse galloping. yeah, pretty fast one... But the first impression that came into my mind when I see the heartbeat, was like the "firefly" blinking. haha. YS recorded the baby's heartbeat. Look for him if you want to hear it :p

Share with you some of our joy...

Baby's head and body visible now. The doctor says he can see tiny feet and hands too...

The baby's heartbeat captured and the machine can actually plot some graphs :p

With this tiny heart formed, we pray that baby's heart will be devoted to the Lord, his/her Creator.

Life is a miracle (Part 2)

On 15 March, our first visit to the O&G. We were both glad as we went there with good news - we are expecting a baby!! I jotted down all the questions I have in a little booklet, so that I won't miss any question I want to ask. The Dr was quite humble and friendly. After some family history and health background Q&A, it's time for ultrasound. Ever wonder how your baby looks like when he/she is 1month old in the womb?

Obviously we do not know how to interpret the ultrasound image on the screen. Patiently waiting for the Dr to break the mystery, the Dr finally spoke, "Sorry but I can't see any sign of the baby in your womb...." We were shocked. What? No sign of the fetus/embryo? My heart sank. The Dr says we were supposed to see a black round stuff which is called the "yolk sac". :( continue praying. God, may your will be done. He asked us again to confirm how did we know I'm pregnant, and I answered "Home Pregnancy Kit." Which the ads says it's 99.9% accurate....

Dr says there are 3 reasons why the yolk sac is not seen.
#1. It may be ectopic pregnancy where the implantation happened outside the womb. An ectopic pregnancy is a medical emergency, and, if not treated properly, can lead to the death of the woman.
#2. I may have experienced miscarriage after the day I took the pregnancy test, before we come to see the Dr.
#3. It's too early to see the sac.

We did a blood test on that day and was scheduled to do the next one on 2 days later to compare the pregnancy hormone level (hCG). On that first visit, I did not take out the little questions booklet, as the answers may not be relevant for now =(

On the next morning (16March), Adventist's nurse called and told me that the Dr wanted to speak to me. Wow... first time receive a Dr's call since most cases you are supposed to call to follow up or if you need to talk to them. He told me that the hCG is slightly exceeding 1000mIU/ml. Means, I'm confirmed pregnant 'yesterday'!! Hahah... Ok... Good. Dr says if hCG will increase 66% by the next 2 days (which is the next day), then it's not ectopic pregnancy (please not....)

Within those 2 days, YS and I read a lot from the web about hCG and ectopic pregnancy. This was what I managed to read up from Wikipedia:

hCG Levels

The following is a list of serum hCG levels. Note that these are merely typical values--a given woman's values may not fall within these ranges. (LMP = since last menstrual period).

* 3 weeks LMP: 5 - 50 mIU/ml
* 4 weeks LMP: 5 - 426 mIU/ml
* 5 weeks LMP: 18 - 7,340 mIU/ml
* 6 weeks LMP: 1,080 - 56,500 mIU/ml
* 7 - 8 weeks LMP: 7, 650 - 229,000 mIU/ml
* 9 - 12 weeks LMP: 25,700 - 288,000 mIU/ml
* 13 - 16 weeks LMP: 13,300 - 254,000 mIU/ml
* 17 - 24 weeks LMP: 4,060 - 165,400 mIU/ml
* 25 - 40 weeks LMP: 3,640 - 117,000 mIU/ml
* Non-pregnant females: <5.0 mIU/ml
* Postmenopausal females: <9.5 mIU/ml

17 March was an important day which we've been counting down to. The nurse actually called up to remind us of the appointment and the "agenda of the day" - blood test, then follow by ultrasound. This round, we remembered to pray before going into the hospital. We prayed that God's will be done and we'll continue have faith in Him. The appointment was supposed to be 5pm and we arrived at 4.30pm. When we registered at the counter, the nurse pass me a form, requesting me to go to the laboratory for an URGENT blood test. Yeah, it was written "URGENT", in red, on the form. It was the same guy taking my blood again. I remember that during the last blood taking, his hp actually rang when he almost finish taking my blood. I was so tempted to ask if he can off his hp when he's on this important duty this time. But I dare not... after he apply the antiseptic (i think so) with cotton, his hp RANG!!! Aiyo... he quickly take it out, and sent a busy tone to the caller. I said, "Wow, you are very busy." He replied, "Yeah, almost 5pm. My friends are looking for me already." The prick was a little painful this round. Maybe he tried to take revenge. Or maybe I was over-sensitive. Yong Sheng asked me not to talk too much next time :(

After the blood taking, not long later it was our turn to go into the Dr's office. Ultrasound... No yolk sac found, again :( was sad. But there's an unknown object (which Dr labeled as "?") was still found at the outer uterine. I think he told me that it's not on the Fallopian tube, it's somewhere near the uterus, BUT NOT UTERUS. Well, really hope it's just some normal cyst during pregnancy which does not harm me nor the baby. He told us that the 'object' actually shrunk a little compared to previously.

To know if it's ectopic pregnancy, we could only wait another 40mins for the blood test results. He asked when was the last hour I ate something, and I told him 2pm, actually I had some kiwi at 4pm but I forgotten. The nurse later told me not to eat or drink anything from that minute onwards, as they might want to admit me for a "scope" if the blood test gives <66% increment of hCG. They need to scope to see what's in there to ensure I won't die of losing too much blood in case something nasty is happening. Really sad and anxious. I think the 'minor surgery' costs about RM3000. Gosh, we came to the Dr initially with good news and now the Dr is preparing my heart for a not so good news. Worse, we did not have any guarantee letter to claim from insurance company!!! It's such a big sum...

When we were notified that the blood test result is out and we were supposed to go back to the room, we were sweating. Trying to cool down the tense situation, I said to the Dr in a very innocent and joking tone, "Don't you give us bad news ar..." He smiled. Then I reconfirmed with him again if the "66" mentioned was referring to "count" or "percentage". And he said percentage...

"OK, this was your hCG level two days ago....... and today it is........" And he showed me the new number - 2388mIU/ml.

"Dr, more that doubled le!!! Wow... " So glad. NOT ectopic pregnancy!!

Dr then confirms that mine is a normal pregnancy, with very healthy hCG hormon level. He asked if I want another scan, intravaginal ultrasound. Worrying that we will have to pay more for it, or maybe more worried if still can't see the yolk sac again will affect the remaining days before next appointment, I declined. When we walked out, the nurse again remind us to go straight to the emergencies in case got bleeding or intense stomach ache. Anyway, thank God I did not need to stay at the hospital that night and can continue eating and drinking water. Managed to go to the Open Heaven Revival Meeting that night. Next appointment will be on 22March.

After answering "NOs" to his questions of "abdominal pain? Spotting? Bleeding? Vomiting?", I was asked to go to the ultrasound scanner place. Haha... this round we could see the 15.27mm yolk sac in the uterus (actually we seen in during our "second opinion in another hospital a day ago, but we promised each other to act surprised, since it was the 1st time this Dr is seeing it). Haha.. we actually felt that he's even happier than us during that appointment :p This round, he officially told us the baby's EDD (Estimated Due Date). Finally this time, we felt free to ask questions like should we start drinking the pregnant mum's milk, is the blood flow sufficient and so on... This Dr's answer would always be, eat balance diet. 60% carbo and fibre, 30% protein, 10% fat. The only supplement needed for 1st trimester (Wk1-Wk12) is folic acids, 1 per day.

Share with you the yolk sac we've been expecting...


Life is a miracle (Part 1)

This post has been saved as draft for several months. Supposed to published it 2 month ago when we were ready to declare to the world that - we are going to be dad and mum end of the year!! Well, never too late to share with you the journey of faith we've been through... It shall serve as a reminder for both YS and I on God's grace and love upon us (and baby) all the while.

YS and I have been discussing on when are we both ready to be parents. We did enjoyed our 'honeymoon year - 2008' and time spent together. A lot of growing in the relationship as well as knowing each other and both family members better. Though we were ready to embark on the next stage end 2008, but I was sent to Shanghai for work purposes from mid Dec 08 to end Jan 09. Thank God I was able to be back home for CNY as well as our 1st wedding anniversary celebration at Pangkor Laut.

I guess it was God's divine appointment for us to have a child this year. Since at the time we resume with our baby planning, there was cost cutting and project delay at workplace. Means, less chance to travel, which is good good...

It all started with mild but continuous stomach cramp for few days (before my next period), a little like menstrual cramp but there's no signs of the cycle start. Beginning the pain was mild but it was worse the day after. Skipped CG on Tuesday. 4 March went to a clinic at Bayan Baru but disappointingly he gave me Ponstan (painkiller for menstrual pain) insisting that the pain must be due to premenstrual related, though I never have such symptom for the past many years. Well, I hope not all guys doctors will assume the same thing. Probably he thinks that I'm merely there to get Medical Certificate. Sorry. Not everyone is like that. On that night, we went home and did the first urine test on home pregnancy kit to make sure that I'm not pregnant and is safe if I am to take Ponstan. Negative...

On 5 March we decided to seek a second opinion at a clinic at Farlim, since they have ultrasound equipment there. Sad enough it was almost the Dr's off time and he politely refused to use the equipment on me since it will take some time for him to setup the equipment. I told him that I've had cramps for few days, a little like menstrual pain but it's near the abdomen area. Could it be Urinary Tract Infection? However from the urine test, it did show some parse in the urine. Probably we were right - urinary tract infection. He gave me a syrup and amoxil antibiotic after we told him that we are planning for pregnancy. The pain slowly subsided but I'm more aware nowadays, no more being lazy of skipping toilet visits especially during midnight. On Friday, Angeline and Lee Chin says that based on their experience, I dont look pregnant... hahha... Jessie brought up the topic since she suspected I am. Probably because of the 1 hour rest in the in-house clinic few days ago due to "menstrual-like pain" but menstrual not yet come case...

For the entire week, I drank a lot of water, went to toilet frequently and was still waiting for my period to arrive. This week, can feel the breast is tender and some pain could be felt. Could be the pre-menstrual signs. But my abdoment is not blotted yet. ok... just wait... Impatiently, on 11 March morning, we used the pregnancy test kit again. Sadly due to insufficient urine (since it's the second batch after the first one 2 minutes ago), the results were suspicious since the urine was insufficient and did not reach the 'control window'. The results looks positive though... sounds like got a little hope :p We went to buy a new set in Guardian during lunch time and at night we were curious about the results again. That was the most pressured pee experience. Scare that insufficient urine will waste another RM18... haha. The results were pretty solid this round. POSITIVE!!! We immediately made an appointment with Doctor.

Lesson #1:
Aren't we glad that we did not take Ponstan? Gee.. How bout the syrup and amoxil antibiotic? I'm not sure how many pregnant ladies experience the cramp as I did... But it can be risky if we've listen bulat-bulat what the doctors asked us to consume for those unconfirmed symptoms.

Lesson #2:
Home pregnancy kits are mostly accurate if you use it earliest on the day you miss your period. There are some better ones nowadays which you can use them 2-3 days before the day you miss your period. We were too gan cheong that we used the first pregnant kit (which is the normal ones) 2 days before the day I missed my period. So there goes your RM18 + few more anxious/worried/confused days :(

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Daorae Surprise

YS has been bugging me to go to this new Korean Restaurant at Bayan Point, which is catchy when you pass by the Bayan Lepas roundabout. However, due to super bad experience in another Korean restaurant at Crystal Point 6 years ago (hmmm.. I have good memory for this since it was the worst food poisoning I ever experienced, vomiting and running in/out the toilet), I was quite reluctant and kept postponing the 'date'. Till last week he can't wait anymore and brought his colleagues there. Good thing he said he wished I was there with him as the food was really nice (haha... at least still know how to comfort me).

So on Friday we went there. Though the first impression I had when I stepped in the restaurant was the thick BBQ smell which will stick to your shirt for the remaining of the day, overall the ambient was good. Clean and organized.

The food was good, really. And it actually reset my expectation and favor over Korean food. Most importantly, I think Korean Food are healthy, probably will rank high in my craving list for some time.... Sorry forgot to take photos of the food since the food was not the highlight of the day, but who we saw in the restaurant. He sat at the table next to us.

Ta-dah....... upclose and personal. Guess the PCC's 40 Days of Community black t-shirt which I was wearing caught his attention. He read, "We are better together..." Then he made his own slogan, "We are better tomorrow..." And I just smiled. Yup, Penang is in your hand. All the best serving the Rakyat and trust we are better tomorrow :)

Chiang Mei (CM) and Penang CM - Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

To sit or to squat

Guess it took me a big courage to start my "survey" with some mothers for the past 1 week on this topic. Haha... It must have taken me a bigger courage to post it here.

It really surprised me a bit when almost 90% of the mothers I spoke to sit when they do their business, and 100% sit when they were pregnant. haha... well, I was trained to sit too since young, but when you start to go for school camps, universities and traveling in different countries, you'll never know whether you'll get a squad toilet bowl, or a sit toilet bowl. And even if it's a sit toilet bowl, will you hesitate to sit on it since it may not be as clean as your house toilet? Argh, so, the best way is to learn how to squat when you do your big business, and you'll survive anywhere, any condition, anytime. I found it actually easier and faster to complete the big business when you squat comparing to when you sit :p

However, this "best" method has been valid for me for the past 10+ years, until lately when I tried to imagine how am I going to climb up the sit toilet bowl when the tummy grows bigger and bigger, bigger and bigger. I got so used to squatting that I've been climbing up that toilet bowl every morning for the past 4 months since I got pregnant. Better sediakan payung sebelum hujan. Probably it's time to relearn some old tricks.

Am so glad that those mothers did not show their shocked face when I told them I've been climbing up and down that toilet bowl for the first 4 months of pregnancy, but they've given me tips on how to sit and poo as efficiently as when you are squatting. haha... So far the information I obtained was pretty consistent - to lean forward and just do it. However, a mother actually shared with me her experience that she got too used with the sit toilets that one day when she was in her 3rd trimester, she went to a place where only squat toilets were available. Though it was just a small business and she need not squat too long, but she had problem standing up when done. Hmm... probably it's good to use the squat toilet for small businesses once in a while to train your leg muscles and to be "ready" for "squat-toilet-only" places.

OK. 1-week of experiment goes on so far so good. Thanks for all your encouragements and sharing :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Does size really matter?

"Huh, you 4 months pregnant de ar? Sure or not? Tummy so small one?"

"How come you eat less than non-pregnant ladies one? Aiyo, later your baby not enough food...."

"Last time my first baby also the stomach not so small le... hmmm..."

Gosh. Was really got 'frightened' and 'worried' by comments such as these 2 weeks ago. Which after that I decided that outer look can be misleading, and stop wearing the maternity jeans skirt, maternity long pants which may look tight though they are not. Meals wise, well, can't really eat a lot since experience told me that you'll feel much much better to eat less but frequent meals. Sorry for not performing up to your standard esp when you guys need someone to wallap the leftovers on the plate. Not the right candidate.

After the check up yesterday, am very glad, and relieved that Doctor says baby is in good shape, water is enough. Phew. Thank God :) haha