August 2008

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Since we found out we were expecting a second baby, I’ve been trying to break the news to Ethan, however gently as possible.  But so far, his responses have ranged from ignorance to him trying to change the topic (either purposely or coincidentally) and sometimes just pushing me away.  We are still exploring ways to tell him and get him prepared, but I can foresee it will be a long, arduous task.

For me, though, the experience of being with child has brought about many familiar emotions, and especially, I have been recollecting the joys (and pains) of that memorable day when I gave birth to Ethan.  And since I have not journalled this tale, I figured this would be a good time to do it.  So here’s a blast from the past….

***

It was the day before Chinese New Year 2006.  Pete and I were getting ready to leave for Taiping to kickstart the Chinese New Year festivities by having our reunion dinner.  At that time, I had about two and a half weeks to go in my pregnancy before reaching my due date (i.e. I was 37.5 weeks along).  Although I was very pregnant then, I still had the time to prepare a little something to take for dinner.  I remember the dish I had prepared was stuffed chicken wings.  Amid all our preparations and packing that Saturday morning, I suddenly discovered that I had the “show”.  The day before we had gone to see my ob-gyn and he said that if I had any of the three symptoms of labor (the “show”, water bag burst or contractions), that I should come back to Penang no matter where I was.

Well. I checked my books and it told me that the baby could come any time from 4-10 days after the show, so I told Pete that it was okay, we could still go.  I wanted to enjoy the reunion dinner anyway, and there were no contractions then anyhow.  So off we went to Taiping.

I was still bleeding but very slightly only and I felt no contractions.  Well actually, at that time, I didn’t even know what a contraction felt like because I had no prior experience.  My girlfriends told me it feels like period pain but way more painful.  Thing is, I don’t have period pains, so there was no way for me to tell.

Then in the evening, I felt as if my water bag had burst (again, I didn’t know what that felt like, but it was what I suspected).  We then made plans to return to Penang the next day, i.e. on the first day of Chinese New Year itself.  Still, I could not feel any contractions, and was still going about my usual business like normal.  People even thought it was a false alarm.

The first few contractions, mild ones, that is, came in the night.  They gripped my abdomen, at first gently, then persistently getting more painful.  Still, they were bearable, but we thought it in our best interest to go back to Penang straight after breakfast.  So there went our plans of spending Chinese New Year in my hometown in Ipoh :(

My parents, my brother and SIL, who were in Alor Star at that time, came straight to Penang to see how I was.  Naturally, everyone was anxious that baby could come at any time.  But although the pain came and went, the contractions were not regular.  Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, I called up Gleneagles Medical Center, and the midwife advised that I come in for a checkup, just in case the water bag had burst, which would mean I had to be admitted immediately.

So I took a shower and packed everything up and headed for hospital.  My Mom was with me at that time, with Pete being the designated driver.  I was even wheeled into the maternity ward, but all that hooha ended when the nurse told me that I wasn’t dilated yet.  My water bag was still intact, and when she called my ob-gyn, he said to ask me to go home and rest first.  And she even said that if I could still smile and talk the way I was talking, it was still a long way to go before the baby came.

So we went home.

The next day, my parents, my brother and SIL left Penang, and my PILs came to visit instead.  They only stayed for a while, and even then they thought it was a false alarm, until my MIL saw the look of suffering on my face when the contractions came.  After my PILs left, I told Pete that we have to go to the hospital, because the contractions were getting closer and closer then.

So we packed up again and left.  That was the afternoon of the 2nd day of Chinese New Year.

But I was still not dilated.  I told the nurse that the contractions were really painful now, more than ever before.  She called my ob-gyn again (who must have been enjoying his CNY at that time), and he said it was up to me whether I want to be admitted or not.

I made the decision to go back home to rest, since I was not dilated yet anyway.

That night, the contractions were fiercely attacking me non-stop.  I couldn’t sleep at all, and finally at about 5:30a.m., I told Pete that we definitely HAVE to go to the hospital.  I had a hot mug of milo, took a shower amid the contractions and slowly got dressed in between contractions.  I didn’t time them then.  All I know was that they were painful and very close to each other.

On the way to the hospital, Pete joked that this had better be it, because it was getting rather embarrassing how many trips we were making to the hospital and back.

When we reached the hospital, they wheeled me into the maternity ward and when the nurse checked me, my water bag broke spontaneously!  She told me I was ready to be admitted into the labor room, as I was 2cm dilated then.  And I will never forget her telling me that she could even feel baby’s hair then :)

Pete went downstairs to complete the admission procedures while the nurse took the necessary information from me.  I gave her a copy of my birth plan, just in case my ob-gyn didn’t pass it to her, but she said she already had a copy.  She asked if I was gonna breastfeed, and I said, “Yes, exclusively.”

They provided breakfast, which I gobbled up happily, but slowly.  Painful contractions did not stop me from enjoying the food.

I was then wheeled into the labor room at about 9:30a.m.  Off and on, either the nurse or my ob-gyn would come in to check my dilation.  It was progressing, but not as fast as expected.

At close to noon, I told Pete to go grab some lunch, and he told me later on that he went to have nasi kandar at Gurney Tower, just diagonally across the road from GMC.  I also had lunch provided, but I only ate very little.

After lunch, my ob-gyn checked me and told me I was only dilated 4cm.  Since my water bag had burst, the dilation was going a little too slowly, and in order to prevent risk of infection to the baby, he advised me to go on drip.  Because he knew I was opposed to induction, he explained that the drip is not considered a form of induction in my case, because I already had all three of the labor signs, i.e. the show, the water bag bursting and the contractions.  So the drip would only be a medical move in the interest of the baby’s wellbeing.

Pete and I agreed then.  And when the drip was administered, the contractions suddenly became stronger and stronger by the minute.  I had a really good midwife, and she understood perfectly what I was going through.  She even provided pointers to aid the baby to enter the birth canal.

I remember it was about 2:30p.m. when the nurse checked me and announced that I was already close to 10cm dilated, maybe about 8cm, way faster than they had expected.  Then I heard her saying she would call the doctor.  I was already in a lot of pain then.  The only pain relief I had was the laughing gas.

It was 3:00p.m., I was checked and I was 10cm dilated but no doctor in sight yet.  Pete told me that the nurse said the doctor was stuck in a traffic jam!

Well according to Pete, this was when I started scolding everyone in the room.  In my defence, I was ready to push and you tell me to “hold it in because doctor was on his way’????
How can?

Anyway, the doctor finally arrived, and in true professional manner, he skillfully made the episiotomy cut and told me to push when the next contraction came.  And it came alright…together with the urge to bear down (like when we are doing our big business), and I just completely let go.

That’s when I felt a gush of water leave my body, and I heard my doctor go, “Very good, one more push…”  Pete told me later that the first push produced the head and one arm.

We waited for the next contraction, I used the same method, pushed and then it was all over.  And then I heard Ethan cry for the very first time in my life.  Those strong wails, bursting with energy that filled the entire labor room after the ordeal I went through.

I heard my doctor telling me to relax now, and that he was just gonna deliver the placenta and clean me up after that.  I was really shivering and a concerned Pete asked the nurse if it was normal, to which she assured him it was because of the amount of energy I was expending.

 

As soon as Ethan was cleaned up, they brought him to me like I had requested, so that I could breastfeed him.  Unfortunately though, that fella was too busy getting comfy, he didn’t wanna suckle then.

The nurse said Ethan was a rather TALL baby, at 49cm, although he was only a mere 2.5 kilos at birth.

 

And if he didn’t want to suckle immediately after birth, he was definitely the pro at it because as soon as I reached my room, I was summoned to the nursery for a breastfeeding session. And that began my two-year breastfeeding journey with Ethan.

Ethan was born on Tuesday, January 31 2006, on the 3rd day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, making him eligible for angpows too.  That smart kid :P

 

As you might well already know, I am forever on the lookout for recipes to try out that are simple yet able to please my fussy little eater.  I know that Ethan goes bananas over bananas :P , so I figured he would love banana pancakes.  And since I knew that KittyCat’s Lucas (who is exactly the same age as Ethan in terms of birthdate) adores banana pancakes, I got hold of her very simple recipe and I decided to try making them last weekend.

 

The recipe did not require much slaving around the kitchen and soon the aroma of fresh banana pancakes filled our entire household.  Ethan was all interested to see me cook, as well as to see what I had placed on the table.  One look at the stack of pancakes and he exclaimed, “Peh-tah!”.  Gosh, he thought I had made pizza!

 

Unfortunately though, his enthusiasm did not last long, and he was only interested in playing with the pancakes.  He simply didn’t like them, even after Pete and I purposely announced how yummy they were!  He didn’t even want that cute little mini one I made for him….see the one at the top of the pile?  It looks like a turtle, doesn’t it? 

In the end, Pete and I finished all the pancakes and Ethan was ecstatic to eat a banana all by himself.

SIGH.  I tried making another batch of banana pancakes on Sunday too, this time with TWO bananas instead of one.  It tasted better, but still, I did not get the expected response from Ethan.

He preferred to prance around in his BEAR mask instead.  How?

 

Here’s what Ethan looks forward to when we go to church on Sundays:

  • Pointing at the numbered pews and loudly exclaiming “One!”, “Two!”, “Three!” and so on.
  • Pointing at the words projected on the projector and shouting the letters out loud, much to the amusement of everyone around him.
  • Sitting on the seats like an adult would.
  • Giggling at toddlers nearby.
  • Making his usual rounds around the church sanctuary.
  • Kneeling when we kneel and praying (hands in prayer position) when we pray.
  • Raising his hands in worship during The Lord’s Prayer.
  • Wishing everyone “peace be with you” with his hands clasped together and flashing the most adorable smile ever.
  • …and of course, THIS:

Pete’s department had a celebration dinner at the 1885 in the E&O hotel last Wednesday evening. The invitation was also extended to the spouse/date, however this place spelt fine dining, and as such kids were not allowed.

So after much deliberation, we decided to make arrangements with Mrs Tan and leave Ethan under her care while we attended the dinner. It was to be the first time ever we would be picking Ethan up from the baby sitter’s place at such a late hour (we anticipated the dinner to end around 10:30-11:00p.m.), and I was a little concerned if Ethan would be worried, wondering where Mommy and Daddy were.

So I decided to take the day off and be with Ethan for the most part of the day. That way he wouldn’t have to spend so much time away from us. I drove him out for lunch, picked his Daddy up from work and we had a bite in Queensbay Mall. Then we went back home, where I had hoped he would be able to nap for a while before heading to the sitter’s. Although I could tell he was tired and sleepy, he simply didn’t want to sleep! So I decided to drop him off at Mrs Tan’s place at about 3:30p.m.

Guess what? Ethan fell asleep on the way there! He was still groggy when we arrived and so I am not sure if he knew I said buh bye to him.

With a heavy heart, I drove away, knowing that Ethan was in good hands, but also missing him every bit.

The dinner ended earlier than we had expected and we arrived to pick Ethan up at about 10:15p.m. that night. He smiled when he saw us at the door and ran towards his Daddy, hugging Pete tight. But I was kinda sad when he pushed me away. Dunno if it was because he was angry with me.

But all’s well that ends well. He was all lovey-dovey again when we reached home, and although he requested to watch a little bit of his Great Numbers Game video, he called it a night soon after. And from the way he slept, we could tell it was a long tiring day for him too, as it was for us.

The next morning, he was all ready to embrace a brand new day! See? Already busy ransacking the fridge before we left for work :razz:

I love counting 1-20 now. Although I still miss out a few of the numbers, either Mommy or Daddy can fill in the blanks for me. Hehe. I bet I’ll learn those soon enough :D

See? I can count AND exercise at the same time too!

Scrap Credits
Film Star kit from
retrodiva {designs}™
Curl Page kit freebie filmstrip from Cen’s Stuff
Alpha Black from Digiscrap.ch
Little curly alphas from Amy Sumrall
HoldEmUps from
Tara Dunstan
Doodle Me Big doodles from Mikkel Paige Original
Elegant word art (stay little always) from Bethany

Ethan boy is now two-and-a-half years old!

Weight

12 kilos, according to the weighing scale at home.

Height

About 88cm I think, measurement taken with measuring tape while Ethan was sleeping.

Teeth

I think 18 teeth. Bottom 2 canines are still not present though.

Motor Skills

  • Can remove his own shoes and loves doing so.
  • Still eagerly practising his jumping skills.
  • Can do hand stand, by supporting his body with his arms, and using his legs to climb up the wall vertically. Ethan has rather strong arm muscles, I’d say. We’ve seen him supporting his weight with his arms while in his high chair too.
  • Can climb up the playground slide unaided using railings, where he needs to hold on to the sides with his arms, and use his legs to grip the railings firmly. I have to admit he almost gave me a heart attack when he first attempted to do it, but now I am proud to say he’s a pro at it! :)
  • Able to gurgle and spit. He will brush his teeth, but will not do it with toothpaste, although strangely enough, he requests for the toothpaste to be placed on his toothbrush. Then he takes some water from the cup, gurgle and then spit when I cue him, “Ptooi!”

Communication and Social Skills

More words … those I can remember. Mostly single words still, and I am in the process of helping him string two words together ( 1 verb + 1 noun).

Body Parts

  • Ham (hand)

Animals

  • Cat
  • Eh-fer (elephant)

Nouns

  • Beh (bell) - when he wants to ring the bell to our apartment.
  • Tway (train)

Verbs

  • Close
  • Wa (flush) … the toilet la, what else? :P

Alphabets and Numbers
Can recognize most of his alphabets, and can even recite them in order. But we’ll need to “fill in the blanks” for those he is unsure of. When he notices letters on our attire, he will excitedly point them out and name them. Even when he is riding in the car, he never fails to surprise us with his observance. He will point out letters as he sees them and clearly say them out loud :)

He knows the order of numbers from 1-10, and when I first drafted this post about 4 days ago, he will only say “two” (2), “twee” (3), “eh” (8) and “nah” (9). Actually I heard him say “ten” a couple of times already, but it is still inconsistent. I know he knows the order of the numbers because he can correctly place the correct numbers in the right places when he is counting in ascending AND descending order. But my my, look what a difference few days made. Ethan can now say “wa” (1), “four” (4), “fai” (5) also and believe it or not “eighteeeen!!” (18).

Shapes and Colors
Has started to vocalize more shapes, like “har” (heart), “kurkurl” (circle) and “over” (oval).

Food and Feeding

After the deworming exercise, either by sheer coincidence or it really was due to the exercise, Ethan has started taking some chicken meat (willingly). He especially loves Nando’s lemon and herb flavored chicken … and especially so when I serve it to him using those cute flag toothpicks!

Lately Ethan has taken a keen interest in learning the alphabet, quite possibly thanks to the video Michelle loaned me :)

He now knows most of the letters of the alphabet in the correct order, but those that he does not know, he will say “eh-ya” (which I personally think sounds like “beh-hiao”, i.e. “donno” in Hokkien), and THAT’s the cue for us to fill in the blanks for him. He also loves to have us repeat after each letter he has said, otherwise he will not continue.

The pronunciation of some letters are just spot on but some are still being worked on. Oddly enough, he says “Neh” for the letter J. Don’t ask me why.

In addition to reciting the alphabet, he can recognize the letters we draw/write for him. Another activity we indulge in when we are trying to get him to sit still in the high chair when we dine out.

 

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