Baby news

I received news 2 days ago from my expectant friend that she would be admitted into Thomson Medical Center at midnight that night. Turned out when she met gynae Loh for consultation that afternoon (he had initially thought he would see her in the delivery suite instead), she found out she was already 3cm dilated. That was a big surprise for her and her husband since she didn’t experience any contractions. Loh did a vaginal examination (the medical act that is similar to fisting) on her and made that pronouncement. Before he did it, he warned her that it would be rather painful. But she was able to take the discomfort pretty well when she used the relaxation breathing technique. Loh was surprised and decided to push his luck and told her he was doing another measurement to be sure, and that caused her to go ‘hoi’ when the pain got a bit too much. Loh told her she could check into the hospital at midnight so that the room charge would be considered as a new day (yesterday), sleep in the delivery suite and he would check on her in the morning on the labor progress. That was quite a surprise for her, given that she had envisioned a grand entrance but it turned out to be a mosie-in entrance. I thought this is much better and told her so, since she could take her time to have dinner, have a nice shower and slowly make her way to the hospital.

Yesterday morning, I texted her to wish her all the best with the childbirth and a smooth delivery. She texted back that she delivered 10 mins ago after 4 pushes. I was amazed! I found out from her that Loh checked on her at 8.00am in the morning, expecting her to have the baby at noon so that he could go to the Fertility center to perform 2 embryo transfer procedures. To his surprise, labor had started. As she has hoped she didn’t require episiotomy, but the cervical muscles tear a little and she had to have a couple of stitches. I told her if she didn’t have that, she could ask Loh for a discount on his fee since he wouldn’t have much to do. The midwife was very encouraging to her during the childbirth process, and I’m sure that helped a great deal.

Baby is almost 3 kg and he looks pretty healthy and strong from the picture she sent. She told me she had to ask for epidural as the pain was unbearable when she was 5cm dilated. She couldn’t rely on the breathing technique then and she had the oxygen mask on her face which helped to make the baby active. It’s funny that both of us had planned to try to avoid epidural if possible, but now she’s an advocate of it. I’m still not sure about having it since I’m thinking of trying out Entanox, which she didn’t use. But am glad it went very well for her, so congratulations to Natasha and baby boy!

I met my friend, Mae, for lunch yesterday; she has 3 girls, with the eldest going 8 years old this year, the second is 5 years and 3rd going 2. I took the chance to ask her about her childbirth and baby caring experience, especially since she’s the one who recommended the Gina Ford’s book ‘The Contented Little Baby’ to me. That’s a popular book written by a former British maternity nurse who’s a big advocate of putting baby in a routine of feeding and sleeping right from the beginning to enable baby to sleep longer at night.

Anyway Mae told me that her 3 girls took their time for their entry into the brave new world. Her first daughter came 1 day after estimated date of delivery, second was fashionably late at 8 days after, and at least the 3rd was slightly early at a week before (like Natasha’s baby). I really hope that baby Alex will make his entrance only after 39th week. (Mae told me to pray for it. She and her husband are devout Methodists.) Mae didn’t use epidural during the birth of her 3 girls, but she did for her son (who unfortunately passed away a day after birth due to a fetal birth defect). She was allergic to the painkiller which made her itch like hell and even caused nauseousness.

Mae had a funny episode with checking into the hospital when she was about to give birth to her 3rd daughter. She experienced contractions in the early evening and called her husband. She didn’t want to go to the hospital before midnight since she would be charged for a day’s stay. She prayed for the baby to delay her arrival. She called the gynae to give her a heads up, and the latter was surprised she wanted to wait, “Hwee Kiang, this is your 4th childbirth! The labor is shorter than before.” But she insisted on waiting. When her husband returned after 9pm, she was in no hurry to leave.

Finally she agreed to go to the hospital after 11pm, but she told her husband to make their way there slowly. She again called her gynae to let her know and also told her to take her time. They got to the hospital at 11.30pm but there were still 30 mins to spare. So she waited in the hospital lobby for her husband while he parked the car. The reception staff came over and asked, “can I help you? Are you checking into the hospital?” “Yes, I’m waiting for my husband. He’s parking his car.” The staff then asked, “Is this your first birth?” “No, this is my 4th.” The staff was alarmed and immediately said, “I’ll get a wheelchair for you. We have to take you to the delivery suite.” Mae started to panic and told her, “No, it’s ok. I’ve to wait for my husband.” “No, you’ve to go to the delivery suite now.” “Ok, but I’ve to go to the toilet first.”

When she came out of the bathroom, Mae found the staff had the wheelchair waiting for her. She had no choice but to get onto it. Luckily for her, her husband arrived then. But they still had to go to the admission counter. Just before reaching it, and it was 5 mins to midnight then, Mae again tried to delay and told the staff that she wanted to wait for another 5 mins cuz she wanted only to pay for the next day charge. The staff told her, “don’t worry, we still have the admission paper works to do. You will only charged for the stay starting tomorrow.” She was relieved to hear that. The baby came 2 hours later. She was pretty lucky her daughter was so cooperative; she could have had to give birth to the baby at home or even in the car.

Anyway Mae gave me some pretty good advice on caring for baby. Unlike Gina Ford’s advice to start on the baby routine 1 week after birth, Mae told me to take it easy and allow myself to have regular breast milk flow before starting the routine. She learned from her 1st baby experience that stressing over the milk supply will make it worst. So she suggested that in the initial days I should feed the baby whenever he wants to be fed, but not to delay by more than 2 hours, and using the simple demand and supply principle, the milk flow will come after a few weeks. So the key is relaxation (which improves milk flow) and regular milk supply, and I should only get baby into the routine when I’m ready. The last thing to do is to let myself get stressed out over following the routine.

In fact Mae thinks that there’s no harm tweaking it and not following it to the T, like she didn’t follow the routine during the weekends (Sat and Sun) so that she can go out with the baby. She also sleep trained her babies, making sure that when she put baby down to sleep, she would not communicate much with her and no rocking, so that the baby learns how to associate the correct signals for sleep. When baby cried after she was put down in the cot, Mae would wait for a min before checking the baby, and she would only tell the baby it was time to sleep. Then she would give the baby another 2 mins to settle down. My friend, Cassia, has to rock her baby girl for 45 mins before she could put her into deep sleep. That’s a case of not putting in place the sleep discipline, and the baby associates rocking with sleeping.

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