Switzerland Trip (3rd-13th August 2013) – Part One – Preparations

Our first family trip – with my own family now. Baby, husband, and me. Felt so different when I used to travel with my parents, now I have the huge responsibility to take care of my 8-month-old. From packing to planning the trip was tedious. If I can keep the Baby safe, happy and comfortable, this trip will be a lot manageable for us. Prior I was mad worried about teething, jet lag, climate conditions, food for baby etc etc etc. I had to planned 100% for all the baby’s necessities and his well-being. But I enjoyed the process and learnt so much being a new parent.

Thankfully we did have an awesome one !

Hence if you found your way here…. you are probably planning a long family trip with (at least) one baby in toll too….

Air Tickets

We decided to fly with Emirates. Hearsay their food is good, and you can’t go wrong with it. Each adult ticket cost S$2050 (round trip) and the baby’s S$162. A little on the high side because we bought it late =((( To be sure, we went down to Emirates HQ to confirm the bassinets for all flights.

The Long Hours Flights

We’ve decided to split the travelling time and transit at Dubai Airport (Singapore — Dubai 7hrs, Transit 3hrs, Dubai — Switzerland 7hrs). Aside the basic toiletries, we actually hand-carried more baby stuff. To name a few – diapers, manual breast pump, empty baby bottles, his favorite toys, spare clothings, socks, canned food (his first time taking canned food), avocados (in case he rejected the canned food…), and small carton of frozen breast milk. List is endless and I’ve probably missed out some.

20130813_170009All set ! Baby and his “treasures” in the bassinet.

One thing about travelling with a baby in bassinet is the flight regulations can be bothersome. In the event of air turbulences, you are expected to remove baby from the bassinet and the air attendees won’t leave until you’ve done so. So if you are unlucky, you will find your poor and tired baby keep getting removed from the bassinet =( If you prefer to hand carry on your lap, you are expected to buckle the baby with you. That’s quite a fit in case you need the loo.

Baby Woes

Switzerland is 6 hours behind Singapore time and I am worried that jet lag will caused the milk supply to dwindle… Emirates said I can check in maximum 2.5kg of dry ice. Best to carry what we can manage, I brought 2 cartons of 10 frozen breast milks… one checked in and one carton to be handcarried. Also prepared some canned food and oats in case Baby didn’t like those provided by Emirates and a few to checked in too. I’m glad I got more canned food from Singapore because the grocery stores in Switzerland carried very limited variety of baby canned food! And thankfully, Baby seems to enjoy every bottle whether cold or warm.

And also a portable rice cooker and some millets (for Baby) and other non-perishable food stuff. We did managed to cook most of our dinners in the hotel rooms. Baby sleeps early at 7pm or so. By then it will be quite impossible to get out for dinner. Actually it is possible and relatively safe to do so since night fall is around 9pm, but we crave our Asia taste. Usually the man will tuck Baby to bed while I prepared the “home-cooked” dinner. We actually enjoyed our dinner together in the semi-dark environment. And for the first time, I don’t miss Singapore at all.20130812_192145

Here’s one of our dinner… sambal with zucchini, canned fish and roasted port leg from Manor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next post (Part 2) will be our holidays in Zurich. =)

Turkey’s Milestone at 9 weeks old onwards (to 11 weeks old now).

First of all, Turkey’s reflux seems to improve ever since he stopped Zantac and started on Pro Gaia probiotics… or perhaps it just got better by itself ?? I don’t know… Turkey is still taking the probiotics everyday… It’s beneficial to take as supplement but it is very expensive (SGD$40++ for a 5ml bottle)…

And it was this same period when he begins to sleep better and longer hours. I am so thankful (to probiotics perhaps). Turkey grunts and strains little his body lesser as these always disrupt his sleeps. In fact till today as I am typing this post, he has not grunt a bit since, but straining yes – much less forceful when he needs to pass gas/motion/urine.

Hence I reckon he is ready for sleep routine…

This brings on to the second milestone.

I started with night sleep and the routine goes like this daily – bath at 6pm, tuck baby to bed at 7pm. Coaxing Turkey to bed usually takes 1-2hrs. At first there was rocking, lullabies and so on. I gradually reduce to just breastfeeding him on bed, no more of the former and then place him in his cot when he is in drowsy state. The first attempt is often not successful and I may end up doing the same procedure 3 times, total time taken shall be 1-2hr.

I am not sure if such routine is early for a 2 months old baby…. but Turkey is handling well so far. He sleeps an average of 6-8hrs each time and wakes around 2am for feeding. This is a tremendous improvement compare to the first 8 weeks !!

The third milestone – his coordination skills and social behavior !

His fists finally founds its way to his mouth, LOLLL. Turkey has been enjoying chewing his fists and fingers. I see his joy in the new discovery and I guess I won’t stop him.. but limit his chewing. It is good for him to experience hardness and softness…

Also his “sub-conscious giggling” has reduce and he now loves “conversations” with people. This often leads him to smiling. If I am lucky, he does laugh out loud. I love to see him gummy smiles. Too much cuteness =DDDD

Turkey has Inguinal Hernia =((

Last week I noticed a bump on his left groin area whenever Turkey strained his body while trying to pass motion/gas/urine. Suspected hernia as I’ve seen those in adults… but babies….? I decided to monitor a few days more until i brought him to his pediatrician last Friday, who confirmed it was hernia.

Meh.

One problem after another. Jaundice. Reflux. Now hernia. Being a baby is tough isn’t it…

So I decided to see Dr. Chui at Mount Elizabeth, an experienced paediatric surgeon who practices at KKH too… He further diagnosed Turkey’s condition with inguinal hernia. There are these 2 useless sacs near his testies area which is supposed to disappear by itself, but did not. Thus hernia happened when the intestines got stuck in these sacs. Useless like appendix. The only way to fix this is surgery, any further delays might result intestinal blockage.

My poor baby has to suffer this much at 2 months old. Can’t help blaming myself already though i know its not my fault :'(

So we decided to schedule a hasty day surgery to fix this hernia on the same day. Not going to risk this any longer. I was exhausted as he had been fussy due to hunger from the 4-hour fasting prior the surgery. Dr. Chui’s clinic receps were very nice ladies who took turn to soothe the baby. They did so well that Turkey fell asleep in their arms each time. Now who says Turkey is clingy to me ?

25-Jan-2013, 4:30pm. It’s time for the operation. Deep within, I was bursting in tears when the anesthesiologist, Dr Khoo, an elder lady doctor, came to scoop Turkey away from my arms. Her presence made me calm as she gently explained that they will be numbing him from waist down and he is going to be conscious. My heart skip a beat. How can a baby handle that kind of stress ?!

The clinic recep assured me that Dr. Khoo (the anesthesiologist) is a very experienced doctor with kids and babies. Can’t help but believe as I witnessed Dr. Khoo cooing lovingly at Turkey… he did looked calm…

Less than an hour later, the team emerged and crowded around the baby… He was sleeping soundly in Dr. Khoo’s arm, looking like an angel. =DD

“He has been naughty. The moment we finished the procedure he poo poo on me.” said Dr. Khoo. I told her that Turkey attacks me with canon shooting almost every night too…

It has been 3 days since the herniotomy , Turkey has been coping well. The extra bouts of crankiness is understandable due to the wound discomfort. Gonna shower him with extra love and attention <333 So proud of him as he was able to remain calm throughout the surgery without the need of extra general anesthesia (the laughing gas…). Dr. Khoo said she only had to lightly pat his chest and did not need to offer pacifier to soothe him. He remained still and cooperative and they did not administer supplementary laughing gas too.

Heal soon, Sonny. mimi sayang you so much.

Week 7 as a mum.

As captioned in the title. I’m beginning to go crazy.

Too much time coop at home, too little sleep, usual fave activities has to halt, too many unsolicited advices (thank you but no thanks) and so many realisations… such is motherhood. Quality of life didn’t drop, but life has certainly change…

Turkey was asleep in the sling while I’m typing this. Both of us barely sleep last night. It has been rough ever since reflux hits him last week. First he was squirming alot (People say thats called arching his back), then increase amount of spit ups after feedings, constantly clearing his throat. My suspicion was right when his pediatrician diagnosed “reflux”. He couldn’t sleep well at all.

AND I HATE IT WHEN OLD WIVES INSIST HE IS USELESS COZ HE GETS STARTLE SO EASILY.

They have not heard of startle reflex. Normal babies has it, maybe theirs not.

OLD WIVES SAY HE IS PROBLEMATIC. JAUNDICE, STARTLE, REFLUX.

They attribute their crying babies to simply crying due to hunger or stomach wind. Thats all they see.

I gave up arguing with these old wives. they are far more experienced coz they’ve dealed with more kids and babies. as far as i know, old minds probably has problem dealing with new info. I am no expert in baby field, but i’m bothered to find out more. It never occur to them that babies’immature systems has caused them to deal with alot of crankiness. Being a newborn and baby is tough :’3

Jaundice

For instant, an old wife hinted his prolonged jaundice has to do with my diet when I was pregnant. For parents-to-be, jaundice is absolutely normal. 90% of babies get it because their livers is not fully mature yet. Go run bilirubin test. If you don’t see yellow in your baby doesn’t mean he/she is cleared. Probably low in bilirubin but there is no need to be overly concerned. Keep monitoring that the yellow didnt travel down to tummy and legs. Turkey “didn’t has jaundice” on our day of discharge. I begun to notice yellow in his eye whites on Day 4. Sun bathe didnt work and by Day 7 it travelled down to his tummy. Hence on the same day he was admitted to KKH and underwent 24hrs of phototherapy.

It is week 7 today and his jaundice has cleared alot. Did liver function test and glad to know his liver is fine. I am not sure about the ginger and sesame oil part.. some suspected these two as the culprits for prolonged jaundice. My soup-based lunches contain sesame oil (very very little), and I don’t eat ginger. Occassionally ginger is used as garnishing in our Chinese dishes, but never eat either. My conclusion is moderation.

That brings me to the next speculation :  breastfeeding mothers should not take carrots, papayas, oranges etc cause it will worsen babies’ jaundice. Old wives, don’t mix carotine overdose and jaundice (high in bilirubin). While it’s true too much carrots can cause skin pigmentation to turn orangy due to betacarotine overdose, eat in moderation lah !

Fruit of Labour – The Experience

I was in my 38 weeks when I gave birth naturally to my baby boy on 26 November 2012. Prior to this special day, I had anticipated childbirth to be extremely unbearble (okay I cheated, opted for epidural in the end. was unbearable otherwise) and probably drag more than 10hours ++ to pop. Those were the experiences I’ve heard from friends who are mothers. Overall, unpleasant stuff I learnt.

Here in chronological order of what happened on eventful 26-Nov-2012 :

09:00am – Breakfast with parents before OB’s appointment at 9:30am

10:53am – Gleefully announced to friends that I need not be admitted today coz I am not much dilated from last week. (Back to the examination earlier, I was poked twice and then told to do CTG. I never realised those pokes seem to simulate the contraction—>labour. Dilation has progress. I FELT SO CHEATED.)

11:28am – Pelvic area hurting bad. Or so I realised, the real contraction has started. According to Dr. Ang, labour pain supposed “to pain like will die but won’t die.” That’s the pain.

12:05pm (waterbag broke) – OB broke the waterbag in the clinic. Clear, warm liquid oozing that has no scent… and I was dripping all the way from clinic to home, and home to hospital… Was told baby was surrounded by little amniotic fluid and that’s not good. Hence gonna admit into TMC by 2pm. Till this day, still half believe and suspected my labour was triggered on purpose.

1:13pm – Showered at home and ready to go hospital.

2:12pm (3cm dilated) a staff nurse placed a bottle of Fleet on my table. My heart skipped a beat. Never had something squeeze inside the rectal to jumpstart bowel…. (lucky my bed was next to the toilet. Effectively cleared my bowels within 3min of administration). I recalled the joke with clinic girls about having “Place of Birth” as “toilet” in the birth certificate and took care to poo gently.

04:00pm – Decided to have epidural. Couldn’t tolerate the pain. I salute my mum who had 3 kids and never taken epidural. I asked if I can walk around if I do not want the epidural. Rejected and had to stay bedridden for the next long hours…

05:00pm (8cm dilated) – nurse came to insert urine catheter. Told her I felt very heavy pressure below and asked her to check if baby is crowning. She insisted it is the full bladder and even showed me the urine bag. As I was on low dosage of epidural, I knew this is not pressure from “full bladder”. The nurse finally gave in to check after much persuasion. I was 8cm dilated.

05:24pm – Inside delivery suite. Waiting for Dr. Ang.

05:41pm – Baby boy is born naturally with assisted vacuum. Head got stuck and Dr. had to use vacuum. Still stuck and he looked bothered. Just like the dramatic childbirth scene – I was told to wait for the next contraction and push with all I have. From count of 1 to 10, to count of 1 to 20. All nurses and doctor did the count in order to encourage me to push it out once and for all. I felt like a gas tank. Son delivered safely in 6 hours, 4 pushes within 10minutes.

Welcome Sonny. >:)

Turkey might arrived earlier =((

12-Nov-2012 (36 weeks) – Routine checkup at the obstetrician’s. No dilation or thinning whatsoever. Very well. Turkey weighs 2.1kg…. rather feather-light. Good side is I actally don’t have to fret due to my extremely petite frame. We are targetting a Turkey of 2.5kg to 3kg at birth. Best part is I can indulge more ice-cream and chocolates (aka sugars).

19-Nov-2012 (37 weeks) – Exactly one week later. Turkey now weighs 2.3kg. A whooping 200g gained in a week. Bravo. -eats more-  But Dr. Ang found out that I am 2cm dilated and advised me to standby hospital bag. Also did the CTG to monitor Turkey’s heartbeat, average 140BPM and he/she is getting the oxygen needed. Whilst all is normal, I have to lookout for Turkey’s activities. Should there be any decrease in movement, gotta get check immediately.

Hence was a little disappointed to learn that I might deliver earlier than 9-dec-2012. Dr. Ang predicted by end of November =(( I just thought that December is a happy, festive month. And “Turkey” is meant for Christmas. Most of all, I can’t bear to part with Turkey so soon… really enjoy having him/her with me all the time.

I trust Dr. Ang and I like the nonchalant part of him – brief, swift and direct to the crucial point. Hearsay his clinic charges the cheapest pre-natal packages. I guess so, afterall he was introduced to me by a good friend whose daughter and niece was delivered by him. His staffs are friendly (especially the nice Malay lady) despite the clinic being packed and busy all the time.

On a good note, most of baby stuff is fully prepared. I should continue to the yoga classes and focus on having ME-Time before the Day arrives….. And don’t worry, I’m certified fit to carry on my usual tasks, not to the point of exhaustion and breathlessness of course =p

Maternity Leave……(reality is drawing near….)

After today (2-Nov-2012), my maternity leave shall commenced officially. Still having mixed feelings about this whole new life that awaits. And somehow I seem to lack the maternity instinct ? Or perhaps I am just taking it slow and one step at a time….. been feeling too much negativities and refuse to let these bog me down.

Priorities and the necessities first.

If Turkey resides full term until 9-Dec-2012, I will have a whole month to myself. Many plans/ideas in mind. If I can fly to Japan now, I would. Land of Rising Sun aside, its time to set out the cot we bought from Mothercare at a steal of $230. Final room clearance/arrangement. New tower fan or air cooler. Last minute baby stuff shopping. Brainstorming names. Deciding if we should proceed with Baby Shower or not. Getting my citizenship done.

When the aforementioned has been accomplished, it will be Kinokuniya time.

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and my dearest brother, Seng, Happy Birthday. Miss you like crazy.