The Magical Number 3- Megan

October 2015

Hello Everyone! Today marks Megan’s 5th day into this beautiful world. Thank you for all your prayers, well wishes, good thoughts and all things wonderful. Baby M, who shall therefore be known as Baby Megan was delivered in University College of London Hospital(UCLH) on Monday, just a wee bit after 1 in the afternoon.

Just like for Ryan and Gillian, I am going to blog about Baby Megan’s birth story. As most of you have known, I was very worried about delivering in London, because the process of antenatal care, delivery and postnatal is very different from what I have experienced in Singapore. In the case of the elder two children, both of the deliveries have been induced, natural, with epidural. However, with Baby Megan, there was no option of inducing the baby unless there was some life-threatening condition or she is way past the 41st week. Also, I understood from the midwives, it appears that pregnant ladies who are in labour will only be admitted when they are 4cm dilated. On top of that, I heard from friends who have given birth in the UK that epidural is rarely given because natural birth is much preferred in this country.

With this mindset, I must admit that when October came, I was worried. I often had contractions, but it was irregular. In order to be properly prepared for a spontaneous birth, I constantly read up on signs of labour on the NHS website. On the weekend before 12 October, we went to Lotus for dimsum. The service staff commented that I did not look like I was going to give birth anytime as my bump was still pretty high. In my mind, I thought that should Baby Megan pops, I would like her to come on maybe 10/10, 12/10(her EDD), 14/10(my parents’ wedding anniversary or 18/10(my birthday!). Yes, I am a fan of even numbers. Heehee.

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Wee hours of 12 October 2015

On the 11 of October, I slept really early at 7ish in the evening. After dinner, I felt a wave of exhaustion just swept past me. Somehow, I knew I needed the rest. Being really huge(72 kg), my nightly sleep was often interrupted and uncomfortable. At  around half past 12 midnight on 12 October, I woke up with semi-painful contractions, that were relatively regular ranging from 7-15 minutes. By then, I knew I needed to download some contraction timer app to track the intervals between the contractions. I timed the contractions till it was past 3ish am and noticed that the intervals between the contractions were getting shorter and shorter. Feeling knackered, I woke E up and told him that I might be giving birth later in the day. Apparently, I managed to will myself to sleep despite the contractions. I went to bed, trying to get rested for the possibility of a battle later in the day.

I woke up in the morning and E was really excited. He was going around the house, telling everyone that Baby Megan was going to pop today. Obviously, it got everyone really excited, especially Ryan and Gillian. E sent Ryan off for his school day while I quickly took a bath. While bathing, I also thought it was a good idea to take a tube to UCLH because I wanted to avoid the crazy morning traffic. After the bath, the mucus plug came out and my water bag broke. So, that makes 3 very obvious signs of being in labour- the regular contractions, the mucus plug coming off and the bursting of water bag. So yes, despite my insistence, the idea of taking public transport was immediately veto-ed by E, my mom and my mother-in-law. E called for a hired car from Carrot Cabs which came around 9.05am.

When we got into the cab, I was still feeling relatively okay. Manageable pain. But trust me, the contractions came harder and stronger on our way to the hospital. I called the hospital to inform them of my arrival and my contraction intervals as timed by the app that I downloaded. Towards the last leg of the cab journey, I was actually in tears. I think the cab driver was relatively traumatised while navigating the mad London traffic.

It took us an hour-ish before we reached the hospital and I was seen by a mid-wife almost immediately. After being checked. I was informed that I was already 4cm dilated and was in active labour. So, thank God that they did not turn me away. I always had this fear that they would reject my admission to the hospital as it seems to be the case for a few of my friends. Walking to the labour room seemed to be the longest distance at that moment. Totally insane.

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Labour Room

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(E and me. I look so exhausted even before trying to push the baby out. The smile was just for photo taking purposes. I was in a terrible state of pain then.)

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(Here’s one with my mother. I would have never expected my mother to be there as one of my birthing partners. But I suppose there is a reason for everything. Having my mother(who is one of the most important person in my life) with me just made the whole birthing process more meaningful to me.)

It was already half past 10 when we got to the labour room and a midwife, Laura was assigned to me. At first, I was unnerved that there was only one midwife because back in Singapore, there was at least 3 in the room. The thing is that, Laura is one of the best midwives. She was super experienced and calm throughout 2.5 hours when I was in the room, screaming murder. By 11ish, I was 7-8 cm dilated and the anesthetist who was supposed to come for my epidural was absent. I cannot describe to you the pain that I went through during that few hours. The pain was all-encompassing and literally begged everyone to ‘save me’ and told E to ‘pay for epidural now’. I knew my behavior was extremely dramatic and embarrassing(it must be due to the laughing gas!) but I had no choice as the contractions were like on massive steroids. It was like someone took a serrated knife and stabbed me in the top of my stomach slowly, slowly sawed downwards, and then stopped for a few minutes. This process was repeated over and over again with real short intervals.

The anesthetist did arrive when I was 8 cm dilated. Epidural was administered. Unfortunately, epidural did not get rid of everything, like I had hoped. I felt the pressure of each contraction and the pain from the crowning. It was only 12ish when Laura informed me that I was 10 cm dilated and to ‘push according to how my body felt’. (When she told me that, I was like, ‘What is she talking about? My body only felt pain! PAIN!’) The pain continued to be unbearable and I begged her to let me go for a C-section. To which she replied,’Ling…You are talking rubbish! You are fully dilated!’ I think it came to a point when I realised that no matter how much begging I did and how much tears I shed, no one was going to help me with the excruciating pain and I needed to push the baby out. Which was still unimaginable to me then. Somehow, God knows why but somehow, I managed to concentrate towards to the end and focus on pushing Baby M out.

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(This is how the look of true exhaustion. When Baby Megan was put on me, I could hardly open my eyes, let alone smile for a picture, like what I did for my previous births! Looking back, the first two births were a breeze.)

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(This is one of the last few photos we took at the labour ward as we did not want to seem like we were very photo crazy. The midwife who took over Laura did mention that we really liked taking photos. For the record, we took like only 10 photos! This number is nothing compared to what we took for Ryan and Gillian! On hindsight, I wished we took more!)

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(Yes, she weighed 3070g at birth. My lightest baby. This photo is taken with E’s phone camera which explains the lousier quality as compared to a proper camera. He was quite self-conscious of not appearing too photo-crazy.)

Minutes past 1, Baby Megan came out, crying loudly and I heard my mother’s cries. As for E, he was next to me, squeezing my hand. Despite Baby Megan being our 3rd child, it was the first time that E had the chance to cut the umbilical cord. Previously, we were too preoccupied with possibly photo-taking. 😛 It was only through Baby Megan’s birth, I realised that the term ‘labour pains’ is not given for nothing. Mothers definitely acknowledged how much work was involved. For the previous two births, the successful administration of epidural(conceivably copious amount was given to me) led me to believe that giving birth was not much work. As for this time round, having to experience labour pains as it is, made me appreciate so much about the entire process of delivery. (But, I would still advocate the use of epidural. Yes, I would not wish such pain upon anyone.)

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Beautiful Baby Megan

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So, hello hello, Baby Megan. Thank you for joining our family and completing us. To start off, we love your punctuality, making your presence on your expected due date. You must be listening to what our Daddy was telling you the Friday before. We are very thankful to God for his blessings throughout the pregnancy and delivery. Pregnancy was difficult and we had a few scares and resulted in so much self-doubt, anxiety and tears. The 9 months of wait was undeniably worth it upon seeing you, Baby Megan. Praise the Lord for his love and his faithfulness to our family.

To everyone(you know who you are!) who have kept us in your prayers, our family is also filled with immense gratitude of you keeping all of us in your prayers and good thoughts. Dearest Megan, welcome to this beautiful world. We pray that God will keep and bless you in every way. May you grow and love Christ! Daddy, Mummy, Gege and Jie Jie love you so much!

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To read about Ryan and Gillian’s birth stories, do click on the links below.

Ryan’s birth story

Gillian’s birth story

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39 weeks + 2 days

October 2015

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Come this Monday, on the 12th of October, it will mark my 40th week in pregnancy. For the past one week, it has been sleepless and uncomfortable nights. Honestly, I do not know what to expect since my previous two births has been induced, natural deliveries.

Baby M is going to be our first spontaneous birth. Despite reading up online, the information feels insufficient. It is hard since both of us like to control as many variables as much as possible. One thing for sure is that both the little ones are very excited to meet their new sibling. They have been asking Baby M,’ Are you ready to come out now, Baby M?’

It has been a busy September/October, with plenty of changes in our lives, which I may update possibly in December when everything settles. At this moment in life, I feel immensely grateful for these changes even though there are challenges in itself.

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Ryan has started school in September. Initially, he was not used to the longer hours(as opposed to his daily 2.5 hours in nursery) but kids are really adaptable. He complains less about the long school days and shares more about his school life. Just yesterday(09/10), he brought home a very special sticker from his principal for helping out his music teacher. Okayyy… I know it is just a normal sticker to many of you. But for me, it is a proud Mummy moment!

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Gillian is our fighter baby. There are times when I feel so bad because it seems like I pay lesser attention to her but I suppose it brought out a more independent streak in her. At 2.5 year old, I think that she expresses herself very clearly. In comparison to Ryan at the exact same age, she is better at fixing puzzles, eating herself and seems to have better hand-eye coordination. As of now, we pray that her health will improve and maybe she will get into a nursery soon. (There is a long waiting list for both of the nurseries that we signed her up for.)

 The clock starts ticking for me and Baby M. It is still the waiting game…hopefully, Baby M will pop after our Char Kway Teow lunch at Little Penang on Monday.

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The Pretty Company: Labour Dress// Packing for my Hospital Bag

August 2015

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I have just received this gorgeous looking grey number from The Pretty Company. The Pretty Company is an awesome online retailer that sells products that pregnant mothers need when they head off to the hospital for their labour. So, mothers who are in their last trimester, feeling really heavy and exhausted, you can visit their website and easily get everything you need for labour, labour accessories, breastfeeding and baby going home outfits. If you like Gownies labour dresses, you will be happy to know they stock them as well!

This Baby Be Mine labour dress not just any other grey dress! It will be the dress that I will be wearing when I head to the hospital for Baby M’s birth. I am sure some of you might be wondering why do I need a labour dress. This is because I found out from my friends that the hospital gowns that are usually provided are those bottom flashing type as seen in the picture below. So, it can be slightly embarrassing, especially for ladies.

So… having to wear something that could protect my modesty better is what I was looking for. What makes this Baby Be Mine labour dress even more special would be that it looks really feminine without compromising on the practical requirements.

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Baby Be Mine labour dress from The Pretty Company

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The Baby Be Mine labour dress in super soft 100% Grey jersey cotton. It is a flowing and versatile alternative to the traditional hospital gown. As it is a one size, the dress can be adjusted to my size as the fabric gently gathers on this wrap gown to ensure the perfect fit. Come the day when Baby M is really to see the world, I will be wearing this labour dress and the best thing would be that it is designed with IV access, epidural access, breastfeeding and use of the birth ball in mind. This just means it allows easy monitoring when in I am in labour. As for post delivery, this labour dress is also the perfect nursing nightdress that again adjusts as the body changes. I definitely see myself wearing this even after birth.

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If you need some ideas on what to pack for your hospital bag, you can have a look at my list below. The socks and jackets will be quite important for me as I subscribe to the Chinese method of post-natal confinement care. One of the key aspects of Chinese post-natal confinement care would be to ensure that mothers keep their bodies as warm as possible after childbirth.

Here’s what I have packed in my hospital bag:

For Mummy:
1. Labour Dress from The Pretty Company
2. Nursing PJs
3. Jacket
4. Bedroom slippers
5. Socks
6. Maternity disposable underwear
7. Disposable nursing pads
8. Toiletries (shower gel, shampoo, facial wash, moisturiser, toothbrush, toothpaste)
10. Bath towel
11. Mobile + Charger
12. Glasses
13. Warmer- Logan and Red dates tea
14. Going home clothes
15. Tissue box

For Baby M:
1. Clothes for the baby
2. Going home clothes (include a jacket)
3. Swaddles
4. Disposable diapers
5. Baby wipes

For Mister E(the Dad Dad):
1. Change of clothes
2. Camera + Charger
3. Laptop
4. Snacks

Administrative stuff
1. Maternity booklet
2. Identification documents

It is quite a long list so we will be using a trolley bag to lug everything to the hospital on the big day.

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I would expect my birth story for Baby M to be majorly different from Ryan’s and Gillian’s. As most of you know, Ryan and Gillian are natural but induced births. Hence, for both of my birth experiences, I was mentally ready on the day of their delivery. However, in London, the style of delivery is highly recommended to be as natural as possible, without any sort of intervention(unless Baby M is 13 days past EDD). Apparently, I am only allowed to be admitted to hospital once I am confirmed to be 4cm dilated. Also, epidural can only be given by the mother is 4 cm dilated.  Hmm…the thought of waiting out naturally till then sounds really painful to me.

So the plan for now would be for me to rest as much as possible. When the day of Baby M arrives, we would most likely be getting a hired cab(Uber, Carrot Cars, Addison Lee) to get to the hospital. Driving and having to find a parking lot would be too troublesome and costly. If I am 4 cm dilated by then, it would be good because I can be admitted to the hospital. Otherwise, we would consider checking into a nearby hotel than to wait it out at home(lest it would be too late to reach the hospital).

Ohwells, plans are just plans for now. I will definitely be updating Baby M’s birth story when that day arrives! Please keep Baby M and the family in your good thoughts and prayers. We need it. Thank you! xxx

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Disclaimer: The Baby be Mine labour dress is given to me for review purposes.

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34 weeks.

August 2015

18kg heavier. In fact, our weighing machine broke down this morning. (Okay, the truth is that it ran out of batteries.) But, to me, it is like a sign that even the weighing machine is giving up on me. Summer is almost over and I also feel bad for not doing much with the kids because of my low energy levels. Honestly, for the most of last week was tough because of the wet weather as well. It meant that we could not even go to the garden for some fresh air.

So how do we usually wild time away on those wet London days? When I do feel up for it, I would actually prepare proper activities for them to do, like painting, colouring or building something with the Duplo. I read to them as much as I can possibly before they start fighting over which titles I should be reading to them all over again. I try to squeeze in 10 minutes of Ryan’s work at least 3 times a week, as in getting him to do some writing or addition. Gillian is not very ready on explicit learning yet, she is really free spirited. I suppose, different kids, different styles. So, here’s my admission, for most part of last week, I allowed the kids to watch copious amount of television programmes on Cbeebies. I just needed a lie in bed. Just last night, Ryan tried to convince me that I should turn on another episode of his Peter Rabbit so that he can ‘give me a badge for being the most hardworking mom’. I do not know where did he get that idea from but… okayyy, this is an indication of the television getting too much attention from the children.

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Thankfully, the morning of last Friday ain’t too bad. We managed to spend a good two hours in the garden. We got some art materials and they painted. We kicked the ball around. The kids got their digging toy out and went around exploring the garden, looking for worms and ants. We even managed to have our tea break at the garden. After all the fun, they got home for lunch and three of us slept through the afternoon. So, that’s not too bad for a 34 weeks pregnant mother with two toddlers.

On the bright side, my parents will be coming over to London this Saturday. This means more help and the kids will be better entertained. Sorry babies… Mummy will make it up to you guys after Baby M pops and after my confinement month! Mummy loves you! So much!

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Ryan and Gillian amused themselves with rocks found from the garden, building the little castles.

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a slight scare.

August 2014

It is finally nearing end of the week but it started off slightly worrying I have been experiencing occasional contractions as well as some other symptoms. I did not think much about it till I casually mentioned it to Yiling. She cautioned me to call the midwife to check and before I knew it, I ended up having to check into the hospital for a more thorough checkup. Right now, I am just crossing my fingers and hoping that everything will be fine.

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At Week 32 and 5 days, Baby M is much more active. She moves all the time, especially during the night. Just like my pregnancy with Ryan, I am experiencing intense heartburn at night. While these symptoms are uncomfortable, it is okay, my dear Baby M, as long as you are safe and healthy. My parents will be coming over in two weeks to help me out with the household chores and child minding. In my condition, I reckon that walking up and down the stairs at home several times a day is not too good.

At this point in time, I am considering the possibility of going through the water birth for Baby M’s delivery. The midwives have been advocating water birth for Baby M because it is very ‘peaceful’, ‘non-invasive’ and ‘it would be really smooth because it is my 3rd child!’. But, that would be without epidural which would be tricky since I have very low pain threshold. Ryan’s and Gillian’s birth story are pretty similar, so I thought maybe I should try(e.g. water birth) something different for Baby M! I know I should be reading more and watching videos should I decide to go down that route… but watching mothers’ birthing process makes me even more nervous. *sigh*

Ohwells, we shall see and I will update when the day arrives!

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Read more about:

Ryan’s birth story 
Gillian’s birth story

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Sebamed- Anti-Stretch Mark Cream

July 2015

This is my third pregnancy and with the two older ones around, it is much harder to spend time to take care of myself. I recall for my pregnancy with Ryan, I would have taken health-benefiting tonics and bird’s nest on a weekly basis. E massaged my tummy and thighs with the anti-stretch mark cream religiously every night. We did many things such as going for breastfeeding classes and read up books such as What to Expect When You Are Expecting and The Happiest Baby on the Block. Ryan even had nightly lessons with BabyPlus(which I sold off before coming to London), which is some device with audio lessons for fetal developments!

With the two older ones, such activities like those I have listed above are truly luxuries. Currently, I am in my early weeks of my third trimester and my tummy(and butt) has suddenly ballooned significantly and suddenly, the skin of my tummy turned uncomfortably tight and perhaps, I did noticed some of my old stretchmarks while lying down. It then dawned upon me(the very absent-minded me) that perhaps I should be putting on the anti-stretch mark cream and applying it diligently if I wanted to avoid having stretch marks after birth.

What are stretch marks?
They are streaks or stripes on the skin, especially on the abdomen, caused by distension of the skin from obesity or during pregnancy(Click here to look at Google images of stretchmarks). I have some stretch marks near my thigh and butt areas but they were there not because of my pregnancies but more of my weight loss which happened during college. So, the story is that I was one of those kids who were overweight from primary school years all the way to maybe the start of junior college. I started losing weight when jogging became a daily exercise for me to relieve the stress from the books. So, from someone who is 1.58m, I went from 68kg to 50kg. I suppose, that caused quite abit of stretchmarks. So, if you are wondering, this anti-stretch mark cream is not just for pregnant ladies but also for any who is in the process of losing weight and they want to avoid those nasty stretchmarks on their body.

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So here’s Sebamed Anti-Stretch Mark Cream to my tightening skin’s rescue!

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What is so special about Sebamed Anti-Stretch Mark Cream?
Apparently, due to the unique Triple Soft Formula, skin’s elasticity is given optimal support. In the cream, natural avocado oil and sheabutter are combined with other lipids to provide effective skin care and protection of the upper skin layers. This combination of active ingredients helps reinforces the connective tissue’s capacity to adapt to the changing body volume preventing structural damage. Its pH value of 5.5 stabilises the health of the skin’s natural hydro-lipid barrier, the acid mantle. In simple terms, this unique Triple Soft Formula is able to:

  1. help to prevent prevent stretch marks
  2. help to reduce existing stretch marks (double yay from me!)
  3. help to restore the connective tissue.

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What is my review of the product after 2ish weeks of application?
When Sebamed sent me some products to try out two week ago, the first product that I used immediately that very night was Sebamed Anti-Stretch Mark Cream. Of course, the application of the cream was done my two experienced mini masseurs, Ryan and Gillian. After a whole day of labour intensive work as a SAHM, this 10 minutes of them(under the supervision of Mister E) taking care of me is just awesome! I would think most SAHMs live for such tender, heart tugging moments like these.

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Over the period of a week, I realised that the skin on my tummy feels less uncomfortable and painful. In fact, the skin feels refreshed after each application. The cream don’t just feels helps to soothe the skin, it smells fabulous and does not stain clothing. Retailing at £12.30(and I suspect it will last at least 3 months for me per tube for me), it is an affordable purchase.

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Disclaimer: The Sebamed Anti-Stretch Mark Cream is given to me for review purposes. I will be reviewing Sebamed products for baby as well! Look out for it in November!

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Third Trimester Thoughts

July 2015

I am 12 kg heavier than what I was before pregnancy. Possibly the heaviest I have been for three of my pregnancies. For at least the past few days, my energy level is at a constant low. This is not looking too well considering how summer holidays have just only started and I have kind of promised the children that it is going to be fun. As of now, Day 5 of summer holidays, we have barely done anything.

On Monday, I had a mid-wife appointment. E and I left Ryan and Gillian in creche as we expected the check-up to be relatively long. I had my blood test taken as well as the whooping cough vaccine. Everything took about 2 over hours. Thankfully, the kids were not with us as they would not be able to take the long wait. The last time we went to the hospital with them for my second antenatal scan, the little ones were so restless. Well, that session took almost a painful 3ish hours. We totally felt for them. *sigh* To compensate them, we did head to Regent Park to have an hour of play before we went home.

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So, after the appointment, E and I went for sort of a mini date in town since the hospital is in the vicinity. We had lunch at Bao London which serves mainly taiwanese delights on super small scale, yet pricey portions. At least, they tasted yummy and were pretty authentic. The crispy fried chicken with hot sauce was amazing in particular. The items that I would totally give a miss would be the drinks. For the exact same price, you could get a good sized and yummy bubble tea from Chatime or Sharetime.

The thing is, after this whole relatively leisurely meal and a short walk, we got a call from the creche. Ryan, apparently had a temperature and it was quite high. In the end, we had to cut short our date to pick the poor boy and his sister up. For the next two days, it was mental torture for me as Ryan’s fever did not go off and we had to cancel our plans for the week. From experience, I know that seeing the GP would not be very useful either. They would usually send us home, with no medication, diagnosing the illness as viral fever. So, all we could do was to just constantly monitor Ryan’s fever, feed him with paracetamol or ibuprofen, get him to take lots of water and take lots of rest.

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After 3 entire days of fever, Ryan finally got better this morning but Gillian was down. *sigh sigh* As of now, both kids look relatively lively but I am still trying to observe to make sure the bug is really gone. It is really sad that for the past 3 days of cooping ourselves at home, the weather was really bright and sunny. I keep thinking that we could be doing this and that but of course, health is the most important. Fortunately for us, the kids had plenty of toys and books and most importantly, our television programmes to keep them occupied. Ideally, I would have wanted to do more productive home activities with Ryan and Gillian as well. But the night monitoring of the fever took it toll on me. I feel zombie-fied all the time. I am really praying that the kids stay healthy as much as possible.

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At this point in time, we are at the third trimester. Baby M(we sort of have a name and will reveal when she pops!) is definitely one active baby. Even more so at night when I am trying to sleep. Heehee. Well, I am not complaining. Always good to be moving, right? The two older siblings are excited to welcome their baby sibling and both of them are so diligent in putting my Sebamed anti-stretch mark cream(I will do up a proper blog post for that later!) for me. I do enjoy our evenings together when Ryan and Gillian massage my tummy and start talking to Baby M about their future play plans. (Baby M, you are so loved by all of us!) It is really adorable and yes, because of that short 15-20 minutes, the whole day’s hard work is worth it. I am totally working for intangible benefits.

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It will be a wee bit more(like about 2.5 months) before Baby M pops. Even though she is my third one, I am feeling just as nervous as the first time.

I am:

1. not looking forward to the labour pains.  I totally have very low pain threshold and am worried about the pushing. And when I can have my epidural. As it is my first delivery in London, I am really quite clueless on what would be happening. (-_-)”’
3. anxious and fearful of confinement month and breastfeeding!
4. apprehensive about managing three children, all under the age of 5 come January 2016.

Actually, there will be many changes happening in the later part of 2015, which I will update over time. Instead of constantly fretting, I just need to put all my worries into God and pray that everything will turn out according to His Will.

Do keep us in your prayers as well!
xxx

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