Pregnancy & Labour

The last lap to the finish line now!

16 Dec , 2013  

“Ah, how quickly the hands on the clock circle toward the future we thought was far away! And how soon we become our mothers.”
― Peggy Toney Horton

Came across this quote while thinking and then, googling about how quickly time passes us by. What an apt quote, considering I’m gonna be a mom soon, and experience all the headaches that I gave (or rather, still give) my mom. Life certainly comes full circle eh.

In the first half of this year, Pips and I suddenly found ourselves with the surprising news that I was pregnant. Just a single opportunity, and this little warrior and opportunist of a baby grabbed it tightly. We went for our Europe holiday (planned in January this year before baby news) this year when I was 5.5 months preggers, and now, in the blink of an eye, it’s the end of the year. We just celebrated Pips’ birthday, and now, I’m 39 wks and 6 days into my pregnancy. Baby Ray is due tomorrow. Holy crap! Can time pass any quicker? 

Throughout my pregnancy, I was hoping Baby Ray would come out to say hello on his dad’s birthday, but nooooooooooooo…. He is obviously very comfortable and happy inside my tummy. I have such HORRIBLE stretch marks on my tummy now. Lousy Pips just said the other day, “Wow, those stretch marks are pretty darn obvious huh.” Erm, Thanks for the vote of confidence and support, dear. I love you deep deep.

Anyway, here to share some preggers info which may be useful to all parents out there:

* OSCAR TEST: Between the 11-14 wks of pregnancy, preggers will go through a test called the OSCAR test to test for risk of DOWNs. This is a screening test, and cannot give a definite YES or NO as to whether your child has DOWNs, but will give the percentage risk. The test involves combination of blood test and nuchal translucency scan measurement, which essentially is a scan that measures the thickness of your baby’s neck, presence of nose bone etc, to come up with the percentage risk of DOWNs. Pips and I missed the date of this test due to a serious of kok-ups, and I only did the scan when I was 14.5wks preggers. This is PAST the time period of OSCAR, and I was not able to do the OSCAR test. Instead, So preggers out there, REMEMBER your OSCAR TEST!

* GENETIC SCAN: Since I missed the OSCAR test, I went for the next best option recommended by my obstetrician, a quadruple screen test, which works like the oscar (but any scans done on the baby will not be computed into the risk assessment of DOWNs for the baby)  but is less accurate. I was not assuaged by the returned results, and decided to do further testing, This time, we went for a GENETIC SCAN at Camden Medical Centre in Orchard, in which the scan was done by this Indian doctor, Dr Ananda Kumar. The genetic scan is basically a very detailed scan of the baby’s body parts, like the lungs, heart, etc, to see the development of the foetus with respect to his gestational age. The doc was clicking on all sorts of things on the screen and marking them as left kidney, right kidney etc, and then all these measurements were computed by the computer to give you a risk assessment of your baby having DOWNs. The good old doc was a frank and jolly good fellow, and has abit of that eccentric feel. He totally reminds me of Amb Tony Siddique haha, Prior to the scan, I hadn’t known the gender of the baby, so Dr Ananda was like, “do you see this thing here? This is the kukubird, so you’re having a boy.” in a very matter-of-fact manner haha. Anyway, for parents who are jittery abt DOWNs and all, I highly recommend you guys to make a trip down to Camden and visit Dr Ananda Kumar and his clinic, and it will set your mind at ease. When I called, the nurses said that the accuracy of the genetic scan is very high, about 95%. If you want a test with 99-100% accuracy, then I suggest you to try AMNIOCENTESIS, which will also tell you the gender of your baby, but it does carry a small percentage risk of miscarriage though. It is also rather expensive, costing about $1000? Comparatively, the genetic scan at Dr Ananda’s cost about $500+, and they give you a CD with your baby’s scan. I could make out his face somewhat with a coloured 3D imaging of Baby Ray, but cuz he was moving too much, and his hands were covering his face, I couldn’t really make out his features all that much. If you would like to visit Dr Ananda and make an appointment for a genetic scan, do call early as his clinic is almost always fully booked. I pleaded with the nurses to slot me in last-minute, as I was about to depart for Europe in a week’s time, and I know I couldn’t possibly enjoy my trip fully without knowing the health status of lil baby Ray. The link to Dr Ananda’s clinic is here.

STRETCH MARKS: From what I read, stretch marks is mostly hereditary. My mom has horrible stretch marks, and her tummy skin is all wrinkly and gross. She didn’t do anything to take care of it though. When I found out I was pregnant, I rubbed oil on my tummy twice a day, for almost everyday to date. That’s many many months of tummy prep. Now that I am almost popping, I have gone through 3 bottles of bio-oil and a 3/4 bottle of cocoa butter. Sighs, can’t escape from my genes though. At 37.5wks, I started noticing the beginnings of stretch marks. Angry, red lines etched across my once plain, beautiful tummy. A once-blank canvas that became increasingly scratched raggedly in an uneven, circular fashion with with more and more lines added as my tummy grew bigger by the day. At 39.5wks, I’m resigned to having stretch marks, but am still faithfully putting on the oil in hope for some miracle when Ray is out. My only consolation is, I know that I’ve tried my best, and I have no regrets. Haha. Totally gonna hire a masseuse post-pregnancy.

PEEING: Since pregnancy, I’ve been peeing at least twice every night. It’s routine to wake up several times into the night to pee. During the day, I pee a lot more than I used to as well. Sometimes though, it’s false alarm. It’s like, I get this HUGEEEEEEEEEEE urge to pee, the feeling that I have a truckload full of liquid to unload, and I make a mad and desperate rush to the toilet. The moment I sit my butt on the toilet bowl, out comes this pathetic dribble and I’ll be like, wait, that’s it??? You preggers out there will experience alot of this, trust me. These past few weeks, since I am in the last run-up to giving birth, I walk like a duck and sometimes when I pee, there will be this spurt of pee towards the end. Haha. Anyway, a tip for preggers – TRY TO BEND FORWARD WHEN YOU PEE because it helps to empty your bowels more completely. It really works. Not all the times, but sometimes.

* At 38wks, preggers will also be started on this CTG thing that tracks the baby’s heartrate to ensure that all is fine, and also to check for any signs of contractions in the mom.

Look at my smiling face above at wk 3 while doing the CTG. Obviously I had no idea what labour contractions were then…

The FINAL LAP: Pre-Labour and Labour: I last went for a checkup last thursday, when I was 39 wks and 2 days along. Doc did an internal examination (he put on gloves and and swept his fingers inside the vagina. It was uncomfortable and I felt the urge to pee for about 20 mins thereafter)  and said my cervix was still closed. We then proceeded to do a scan and baby’s growth and estimated size is good. I lamented aloud that it’s high time baby should come out and greet the world, so the doc was telling me about inducing, and that I can try having more SEX to start labour going naturally. Haha. The scientific explanation is that when docs induce a preggers, they insert a pill into the vagina, which produces this hormone-like substance called prostaglandin. Prostaglandin kickstarts labour by causing contractions to start. Similarly when one has sex, ejaculated semen into the vagina also contains prostaglandin, which has a similar effect to inducing labour.

Anyway, on thursday last week, baby apparently wasn’t ready yet. On friday afternoon, after returning home from a haircut, I suddenly felt this pressure in my pelvic area which hasn’t gone away since. It makes me have the constant feeling of wanting to pee (even more so than before, can you believe it?), or kinda like a bowling ball between front of my legs. I totally walk like a duck now, especially when I get off a bed or a chair. Saturday came and went after that. On Sunday, which was yesterday, my mucus plug came out at about 5pm. Mucus Plug, also known as a Show or Bloody Show, is vaginal discharge tinged with blood. It isn’t like menses, more like blood-streaked jelly-like substance. Some can be dark brown some can be pinkish. Mine was like tinged with ‘fresh blood streaks’. Hahah. TMI, but useful info for new moms.

I called up the delivery suite soon after and the nurse told me to monitor the situation and check if baby’s movements are good (not lesser than before). She also informed me that after a show, it may takes hours or weeks thereafter before one goes into labour. I was to monitor to see if there were any contractions. There was, but they were irregular, so there was no need to hurry down to the hospital. The mucus plug hasn’t stopped since yesterday and this is also normal too. For some, the mucus plug may be a one-off thing, for others, it may continue all the way until the baby is born. If you find yourself bleeding though, it’s best to check with the nurses at the delivery suite and maybe check yourself into the hospital.

Anyway, this morning, I woke up with fairly regular contractions. Crap man, contractions are a bitch. I am lucky enough not to experience menses cramp, which I am absolutely thankful for. I’ve only have had one bad menstrual cramp experience in the first few months when I first had my period as a tween, and it was HORRIBLE. I was rolling on the floor in my room for one hour straight, limp like a lifeless rag doll save for the stupid cramps.  This contraction thing, though it hurts,  is still fairly manageable thus far, compared to this January when I suffered from a bout of stomach flu. Manageable mostly because when the contraction comes, it’s painful for say, 30 secs, and then you get 5 mins of normalcy, which is bliss.

Anyway, waiting for hubby to come home now before we go to the hospital to check how far away labour is. It’s a new journey, and every step of the way is exciting, and a little scary too! Baby Ray, let’s see how punctual you are! Can’t believe parenthood is just round the corner for Pips and I. Hope I can still celebrate Christmas instead of being all lembek at home!



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