A poignant moment

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It’s time to appreciate the head of the household and shift the focus from the woman to the man.

Granted that the woman carried the baby in the womb for nine over months and went through the whole delivery process, but the man ought to be mentioned for his care and concern towards the woman, the patience and the forbearance demonstrated when the woman was thrown into a gamut of emotions.

So, here I am, looking at this picture fondly and to realise that I am most blessed to have da man with me when I need him. Everything will be all right when he’s around. He puts the family above all things and is committed to make the wifey happy. =)

To more good years. Cheers!

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The first week

It has been a most challenging week. The moment we reached home, the euphoria of having Faith back soon turned into frustration and fear. The no.1 contributing factor is breastfeeding.

I thought I did well initially and that it would soon improve with time but apparently, Faith couldn’t latch on and when I panicked, the positioning was all wrong. Faith cried a lot in the night and her shrill cry rang through the silence of the night. With such wailing and a frustrated baby wrapped in your hands, you couldn’t help but feel helpless.

I’ve got a confinement lady and when she suggested bottle feeding and formula milk (on the first night), I boiled. My ideal of breastfeeding was shattered and I resented her for that. I refused and persisted until Faith quietened. But I’m not sure if the fact that she stopped crying was due to exhaustion or because she was well-fed. Probably the former.

Another thing that added to my frustration level was the confinement lady herself. She fell short of my expectation. Though she is a careful worker, she is also rather slow in her work. She cleaned Faith slowly, and at times, I wish I could just tell her off.

Since coming back from the hospital, I could only manage 3-5 hours of sleep. My responsibility quotient was high and I wanted to tend to Faith myself, as compared to having the CL do it, except for bathing her. So, I was carrying her, trying to breastfeed her, soothing her, etc.

This got worse when we went down to the hospital to take the blood test two days after our discharge, only to learn that she was diagnosed with high level of jaundice and had to go through photo therapy (twice). I wasn’t sure if it was a blessing to have the machine sent to our home as opposed to her staying in the hospital. Ken and I were keeping watch over her round the clock (she kept removing the blindfold) and we hardly had any quality sleep.

As such, my temper flared easily though I managed to keep it under control but unknowingly, I became more and more unhappy until my siblings checked on me and shared their experience. My pent-up emotions were released and I broke down.

After I turned to EBM, I was happier than the first few days and started to recognise the blessings around me. I had gotten a lactation consultant home and she taught me the ropes but since we need to get Faith into the machine ASAP, EBM was the way to go for the time being.

And  I realised that my CL wasn’t that bad after all. Her cooking was good and a plus point is she cleaned up my kitchen each time after cooking. She is organised and prepares things in advance. She even helped to clean the whole house. My toilet has never been that clean before!

Above all, I’m thankful that the hubs was around to help out. I would really have slipped into depression if not for his presence. I know he was exhausted but he still pressed on. Aww…wonderful husband. And of course, mom! She helped to purchase the ingredients and kept reminding me to rest. Ok, I have problem with resting and to be resting on the bed is really a waste of time. But I think I just have to learn since it will help me recover faster.

Right now, I’m so looking forward to my Jamu Massage next week. I have 4kg more to lose before I return to my pre-natal weight. But somehow, the hips are bigger now. Hmmm….

And of course, post-natal yoga in January! Yay!

Facial treats from the man. yay!

The delivery

I was looking forward to this day actually simply because the nine and half months of child bearing was too much for me to bear. The endless sleepless nights towards the end and the heavy burden of carrying a life in the womb add to the desire to want to deliver soon. Of course, as with any parent, there was this desire to want to see the little one soon especially if she was facing some form of danger.

So after the ‘last supper’ at my mommy’s who prepared a dish made up of ten herbs including bird’s nest (as if some last minute dish will help the baby to have beautiful skin), we were sent to Parkway East Hotel Hospital to check in. We were early (because the man was anxious) and were immediately warded in the surgical theatre.

Before the ordeal

Time passed rather slowly when you wanted something fast. While waiting for Dr Poon to arrive, I was made to poo before a tablet was inserted into the cervix area to dilate at 10.30pm, Monday night.

At about 4am, the nurse came in and said it was 1cm dilated and remarked that the tablet worked on me so didn’t insert a second one to speed up the process. I was in pain already and asked for laughing gas.

9am. Dr Poon came and said it was 2cm dilated. He burst the waterbag and would be coming back at around 12 noon. I was in real pain and was in sitting position since it made me feel better. A different nurse tended to me this time round and I asked if this position would help in any way in which she said nope. She then asked if I knew how to use the laughing gas which she felt I didn’t really know. Her verdict was correct as I didn’t consume as much till the pain was relieved. So I was educated on its correct use and asked also for a jab in my thigh area. I was in so much pain.

1 plus pm. Dr Poon came and studied the heartbeat and contractions record. He noticed the Faith’s heartbeat had been strong except on two occasions in which it dropped and he was very concerned (remember the umbilical cord?). He suggested monitoring for the next 2 hours and the last resort was really to go for c-section. To be honest, I was sooooo tempted to just say, let’s go for it since I was really helpless and had little reserve of energy but thought I should just trust him.

4pm. Dr came and said the dilation was too slow and that he would put me on drip.

4.40pm. I was desperate and decided to go for epidural. At this point, the nurse told me it was a bit too late as I seemed to be ready to deliver in about half an hour’s time.

5 plus pm. Everything was a blur. I heard voices of nurses. They seemed to be setting up some stuff. One of them then said, “She’s ready. Call Dr Poon to come now.” After that, I was asked to push. I was just following instructions with my eyes closed. It was too painful to describe and I had no more energy left. One of the nurses instructed me to push and I felt something in my vagina. That must be it. Push harder, Lynn. No turning back. I was asked to push when I felt the contractions. God is good. He gave me the sanity and the sensitivity still to know what a contraction was then. And then I heard a faint cry and was asked by all people around me to push harder and with one last push and cry, Faith came out. I stumbled back onto the bed and felt all energy depleted.

Welcome to the world!

It is finished. As Dr Poon has guessed, the umbilical cord was really wound around Faith’s neck.

Thank you, God. And for Ken who had stayed by my side throughout, tending to my request and making sure I was all right. Throughout the stay in the hospital, he had been my helper and got so exhausted I’m afraid he would fall sick. Thank you, dear hubs. And not forgetting dear mother who was so worried for me. I’m also thankful to my brother and sister who are both stationed overseas. Receiving their text messages of concern and their calls uplifted this soul of mine. My in-laws were also there for us all the time. Really felt blessed.

Father and daughter’s precious moment

Our little precious

confinement food in the hospital

Po Po and I. We are going home!

So, I’m a mom now.

@ Week 39

Our appointment with gynae was in the afternoon and knowing that the lil one will come out soon, I dragged the hubs to go with me to Seah Street to stock up some baking needs. I don’t know if I have the energy or the time to bake during confinement but it’s always good to have ready stock in the pantry. I super like this store because I can find quality chocolates like valrhona and the right cupcake cases. Yay! The hubs just tagged along, with the basket…quite a sight.

Then brekky at Maison Ikkoku which is located at the Bugis area. What a lot of gems to be found there, I mean, in terms of eateries. I miss this area out! This cafe is rather small but have heard not too bad a review about their signature dishes – Mi Pork Bun & Mi Musubi – but unfortunately, they were not ready when we arrived. Sigh! In the end, the hubs had croque madame and I, umami florentine. The food’s not too bad!

Of course, I avoided the watery yolk.

We went on to collect some baby stuff from Sarah’s cousin. It’s so nice of her to pass us some stuff even though we do not know her personally.

So, we’ve got more clothes for Faith, another play mat, a u-shaped pillow for breastfeeding and some other stuff. Need to share these blessings with others!

Last minute purchase for confinement, as advised by sis.

So, we went for our final checkup at Poon’s clinic. My weight stayed at 62kg and Faith is 3.7kg!!!! What a difference from last week! No wonder this week, my tummy has enlarged so much!Dr Poon, upon checking, told me that the head is not engaged and he was a little puzzled because he said that by 38 weeks, most of the time, the baby should be engaged. So, hewent on to check. Then, he found out that the umbilical cord is near the neck and perhaps this has caused the head not to be engaged since it has restricted some movement in a certain direction. We recalled that on Monday she wasn’t as active as before and Dr Poon asked, “Why didn’t you call me?”

I felt a bit guilty at that point. The hubs had asked me to call him but I wanted to continue monitoring since I didn’t want to kick up a fuss. But I guess where life is concerned, I cannot play it so cool. Better be safe than sorry. So I will be checking in on Monday night to induce. In such case, there is always a likelihood for a c-sec but I really hope we won’t have to resort to that. But well, as long as Faith can come out safely, whatever method is ok.

We need prayers!

Anxiety struck

Dear Faith
You know, you have been making Daddy anxious these days.
Yesterday, I attended my school’s prize giving ceremony and was immensely proud of some of our achievements and kept texting Daddy. In the end, he revealed that each time he received a message from me, he jumped, thinking that I would be going into labour. So your mischievous mommy will once in a while text him just to ‘scare’ him.

You seem to like sushi a lot. You kicked so much after dinner and the tummy tightened to such an extent that we thought you want to come out anytime. But of course, literature and forum replies always say that if mommy faces contractions, I would know it. Daddy jokes that because I have such a high threshold for pain, I would probably just brush it off. But I don’t think so. I believe I should be able to tell?

Poor Daddy has often been awoken from his sleep when I stretched and moaned a little. He would often jump and asked me worriedly, “Are you ok?” Mommy is a little pai seh. I mean, I am just stretching…

In any case, I hope you will come out soon. I’m not enjoying sleep nowadays anyway so you might as well come out. I guess we are ready.

Ironic Friday

2am.

Was awoken by the screaming of the cat; Ken said it’s in heat.

And there I laid in bed, wondering when I’d feel the labour pain.

Thursday, almost there.

Completed WR with the relevant parties. Yay! This also means I can go on leave in peace since the other areas can be covered by someone else.

So, Faith, if you want to come out anytime, you can!

Tuesday, I’m thankful

I’m thankful for a non-work day, that I could take my time to rest and shop for some final stuff for Faith.

We took out the Avent bottles, warmer and steriliser from the boxes and cleaned them. It’s about time.

And bought a mobile (my idea) for Faith. It makes her cot complete. =p

 

Monday, I’m tired.

Faith suddenly displays low activity level and it is making the adults worried. Ken can’t wait for her to come out because he’s worried something might happen inside and asks me to call Dr Poon if this persists.

I have been monitoring her movement and though she reacts once in a while, it’s a far cry from her multiple muay thai sessions in the past few weeks.

We have also started climbing stairs since the conversation with bro on Sunday who advised that I do so so that I can have an easier delivery. Well, so long it helps, I’m willing to do that. =)

Work has been busy too but since I managed to strike off a few items from the to-do list, I felt immensely satisfied. There were a few pieces of good news at the end of the day and this really brought joy to us.

Another day has ended. I’m tired. Ken’s exhausted. But both of us wonder when Faith will want to come out.

Don’t stay too long inside, okay?

Lafemme meetup

Finally! It was so long overdue! Since Ken and I came back from Boston, I only managed to meet up with them once. Thankfully, Sha was able to gather us again before Faith comes out and this time @ Quek’s.

I’m thankful for friends like them whom I can share with even though we may not meet up often. The friendship built over the years is definitely a gift from God.

Thank you for making time to meet up. =)

Words of wisdom from a SAHM:
– Don’t centre your entire life around the kid. There are other things to be mindful of.
– While routine helps a lot, some flexibility is needed too.
– Don’t be too fussy over certain things.

Connie’s big-eyed Ray

Ken getting some practice

white chocolate, cranberry and pecan nut cookies

These cookies remind me of Christmas. There’s white chocolate and cranberries – colours of Christmas and they are complete with pecan nuts. Easy to bake.

300gm white chocolate (cut up into chunks – big and small)
100g unsalted butter
1 egg
50g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
180g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
85g caster sugar
50g dried cranberries, cut into smaller pieces
50g pecan nuts chopped (or macadamia nuts or others could work)

1. Preheat oven at 180C.
2. Melt 85g of the choc in a double boiler, then cool a little
3. Beat butter, egg, sugars and vanilla with an electric beater until creamy
4. Beat in the melted choc
5. Stir in the flour, baking powder, cranberries, nuts and remaining chocolate to make a stiff dough
6. Using a tablespoon measure , drop small mounds well spaced on a lined baking sheet (silicone baking sheets work really well
7. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes
8. Allow to cool for 1 -2 minutes then put on a cooling rack.

@ 38 weeks

Last lap of the pregnancy before the finishing line. It’s so exciting and at the same time scary since there will be more unpredictable moments and much more to be learnt. Thus far, the whole pregnancy has been rather uneventful except for the amnio test scare. No cravings, no morning sickness. I have only the Lord to thank. It’s not easy to conceive as I learnt from some friends but He enabled us to. The journey ahead will be challenging but I’m sure He will always be there.

@38 weeks, Faith is 2.7kg (she lost weight?? Anyway, it’s an estimate) and my weight remains at 62kg or 61.5kg. She’s still not engaged yet! Dr Poon said that she is of good size and the heartbeat strong. However, he advised that should Faith not pop by this coming week, we might want to consider inducement. The reason is that in some cases, the baby poo-ed inside and swallowed the poo and when the baby finally came out, he/she will be sick and be sent to ICU. Also, the placenta may be aging which we would not be able to tell using the normal scan. Dr Poon didn’t want us to risk that and asked us to consider. He also asked us to talk to Faith more because ultimately, the baby is the one who decides when to come out. Need to pray about this.

In the event that we have to induce Faith, I hope to give birth to her naturally rather than by c-sec but as Dr Poon said, it all depends. I guess I have to be flexible again. =( More importantly, Faith’s welfare comes first.

One more week to go. I don’t know how to react!

BP: 114/70

And dear Faith, you know, many aunties have been giving you things so that when you come out into this world, you can enjoy all these. I hope you will learn to appreciate all that is given to you.

This cot is given by Mama’s cousin and the two tortoises are given to Mama and Papa before we attempted the SC Marathon 2009.

Mama’s cousin lent us this pump though I hope not to use this often. =p

Look at the amount of clothes that you have! They are given by many aunties!

This is given by auntie Tracy.

This is from the Sng family so that you can travel in the car with us. =) We shall go places!

This is from your Auntie Y and Uncle D.

Busy Bee

Since going back to school this week, time just whizzed past like nobody’s business. Stepping out at 6.15am, I only got to leave the workplace at 5pm daily (that’s the earliest). There are so many things to catch up on. These last 2 weeks have been brutally exhausting to the staff and people kept falling sick.

For some of us, after classes in the first half of the teaching hours, we are down for report writing all the way till we end work. It’s terribly brain-draining. Oh! My poor colleagues.

I.Don’t.Enjoy.This.Part.Of.My.Work.

Each day, I was so tired that I could fall asleep quite immediately which is a good thing. And then when it comes to Friday night, the body seems to know that I am free the following day and refuses to get a proper rest. Like now….

*_*

Fruit Pastry Cake

Another item that involves fruits for the baking. It’s the beautiful fuit pastry cake whose recipe I got from Happy Home Baking. I like it that it is easy to bake and I especially like the moment when I have to ‘decorate’ the batter with the fruits. You can be creative about it and decorate using the fruits in any way that you like!

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What is a good school?

Opening Address by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education, at the Ministry of Education (MOE) Work Plan Seminar, on Thursday, 22 September 2011 at 10.00 am at Ngee Ann Polytechnic Convention Centre
 

What is a good school? A good school is not one which produces straight As or top honours per se; a good school is not merely ‘good’ relative to others. Rather, it is one that caters to the needs of its students well. Given the diversity of students, there cannot be a single ruler to measure success.

A good school needs to know who their students are at the point of entry, studies their needs and strengths; states what it would like them to become when they leave the school; then exercise diligence and imagination to get there. A good school creates a positive experience for each student – allowing him to acquire the basics, but more importantly, making him a confident and lifelong learner. It provides a supportive and appreciative environment for teachers to experience the joy in impacting lives. A good school is student-centric and allows teachers to do their best for every child.

@ 37 weeks

It’s getting more and more difficult to sleep. Whichever position I rest, it’s still uncomfortable. How long more will this persist? I’m getting all panda-eyed!

Faith is now about 2.8kg heavy but not yet engaged!!! I have put on 2kg and am now 62kg. Have gained a total of 13kg thus far. Oh my goodness! Doc said there is a good amount of water in the womb so that’s good. Heartbeat of Faith is strong and healthy. =)

BP: 118/74

I know I’m rather a last-minute worker so I need to read up more on labour and try to remember the stuff. Some knowledge will help as opposed to complete ignorance. This month’s Mother & Baby is God-sent. It has the info I need, from preparing the hospital bag to the stages of labour and it also includes M&B awards for the must-haves!

Bag check

– Maternity notes and birth plan
– Comfortable nursing wear or night gowns
– Slippers and warm socks
– Books, magazines
– Towel and toiletries
– Comfortable clothes to go home in
– Mobile phone and charger
– Camera and spare batteries
– Nursing bras
– Breast pads
– Maternity pads
– Disposable undies
– Newborn nappies
– Baby clothes, booties and mittens
– Baby blanket
-Money

My hospital bag…done!

Notes for myself (a summary):
First stage:
– first contractions feel like heavy period pains, while others may experience backache, which get longer and more intense.
– As the cervix dilates, you might also have a show – a reddish or brown discharge –> mucous plug, which sealed the cervix during pregnancy. Waters -amniotic fluid that protected the baby – might also break. Fluid should be clear.
– Officially in active labour. Cervix is 4cm dilated and will further dilate to 8 cm. Contractions are usually 3 to 5 minutes apart now.

What I need to do:
-Call doc if waters break or when contractions are five minutes apart. Once contractions are 3 to 5 minutes apart, hospital will probably advise you to come in.

Second stage:
– Cervix is at least 10 cm wide. About now, the baby’s head enters the birth canal and your uterus starts to contract to push the baby out.

Third stage:
– 
You’ll deliver the placenta and empty amniotic sac. Takes 5 to 10 minutes.

Sesame cookies

I think these cookies are for adults. They are not sweet so kids won’t like them ( I think) but they have a certain character in them which I cannot explain.

Source: Keiko’s Okashi: Sweet treats made with love

Ingredients
220g cake flour
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g icing sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
50g toasted white sesame seeds
50g toasted black sesame seeds

1. Sift flour, then place in the freezer to chill. Bake the sesame seeds at 150C without preheating for 10-15 minutes. Leave aside to cool.

2. Beat butter, icing sugar and salt until soft and creamy. Add egg yolks and mix well. Add flour and sesame seeds and fold in with a spatula.

3. Divide dough in half. Transfer each half to a piece of parchment paper and shape into a 12 x 7 x 2.5 cm rectangle. Wrap dough in cling film and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 160C. Slice chilled cookie dough into 5 – 7 mm thick bars. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.

5. Store cookies in an airtight container to keep them crisp

The end has come

Four months flew past just like that. It seemed not too long ago that we attended the first lecture with all the expectations spelt out. Assignments poured in relentlessly and then we got the hang of things. The laughter that we had with the many good lecturers is something to cherish in our hearts. Their words inspired us. By their actions, they showed us how to light the path for others. Their grace humbled us and we were changed in one way or another.

Would we go back to where we have left off when we return to our jobs? This is perhaps the fear that some of us have. It’s so fast-paced you can hardly breathe, let alone think and reflect. One comfort we can take is that we would surely lose those extra pounds that we have gained in those 4 months. The place we work in is a great gym. =p

These are my group members for curriculum project. We were still hard at work a few days ago since we had to present our project to the school and the cohort. How ‘fortunate’. And the following was when the presentation was over and again, a pic of us having the final meal at Bollywood Veggies with the rest of the cohort.


I met a lot of passionate educators in this course and many really want to make a difference. I came across a lot of mothers too who showed much concern about me, giving me advice and helping me with this and that. What privilege! Though it is a real pity that I could not participate in the regional trip with my members, I must say the whole experience was enriching and I’m sure Faith has learnt a lot too!

All good things must come to an end. And am going back to reality the following week. Jitters again. What would life be like?

Cranberry Cornflakes Cookies


This type of cookies will find its way into the oven around Chinese New Year. I’ve decided to bake them because I have a bagful of dried cranberries at hand and I really ought to finish them up. I actually feel they give me a Christmasy feel rather than CNY due to the cranberries. Anyway, cranberries are good (think anti-oxidant!) and the cookies could feed the folks of CG on Saturday.

This is quite a fuss-free recipe.

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Blueberry crumble muffins

When there is discount for fruits at the supermarket, you bet I will be one of the many who will take advantage of it. So into the basket went 2 packs of blueberries and kiwi fruits.

The breakfast supplies have run out and how apt to bake something simple and perhaps (depends on how much sugar you want to add) healthy.

This is taken from Keiko’s Okashi: sweet treats made with love.

Makes 6
Crumble topping
20g unsalted butter, softened
20g caster sugar
20g cake flour, sifted
10g ground almonds

Muffins
120g cake flour
1tsp baking powder
100g fresh blueberries
50g unsalted butter, softened
40g brown sugar
30g castor sugar
1 egg, about 65g
60g cold fresh whole milk

1. Make crumble topping. Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Chill in the refrigerator until use.

2. Preheat oven to 180C. Sift flour and baking powder twice. Set aside 18 blueberries.

3. Beat butter with an electric handheld mixer until soft and creamy. I only have standmixer and it poses quite a problem since the portion is a tad too little for the beater to ‘catch’ the butter. Add both sugars and beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until well-combined.

4. Add 1/3 of flour and fold in with a spatula. Add half of milk and continue to fold batter gently. Add another 1/3 of flour and fold in, followed by the remaining milk. Add remaining flour and fold through, but do not over-mix. Add remaining blueberries and fold in gently.

5. Line muffin tray with muffin paper cases (I don’t have nice ones at hand!). Spoon batter into cases until about 3/4 full. Divide the 18 blueberries among each muffin, then sprinkle crumble topping over. Bake for about 25-30 minutes (I need 10 minutes more) or until muffins have a springy texture when pressed gently.

6. Leave muffins to cool on a wire rack. They are best served warm and consumed the day they are baked, or the day after. If not consuming immediately, store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

The hungry Mama could not resist and took the first bite.