January 4, 2014

10 Days To Go

I previously blogged about 10 more weeks to go. I am now down to the last 10 days to my EDD.

My sister who was due on New Year's Eve is overdue and started to have contractions last night. She is likely to give birth to my first nephew (on my family's side) tomorrow or perhaps tonight! I'm looking forward to be an aunty 大姨 :)

With 10 more days to go, now it feels like pregnancy will never end. I have been hoping and looking forward to bub arriving as a 2013 baby but he didn't. He is probably too happy and contented in my womb to want to come out anytime soon?

I continue to be very thankful for every movement that I feel from bub. I have been praying that he will go down lower and head to be further down the birth canal, as my doctor has been telling me for the past 2-3 weeks that his head is still quite high. But yet that does not mean that bub is not ready to be born. I have been getting more braxton hicks contractions and menstrual-like cramps but none of them are regular/predictable. There were also times today that I wonder if I am leaking pee or was it my waters leaking? Either way, I am increasingly feeling difficulty in walking because I am getting heavier, being more unabley to withstand heat (Especially today's 41C in Brisbane! So thankful for airconditioning at home!), inability to sleep on my back (I was able to do so fairly comfortably until recently), finding it a huge feat to turn from sleeping from one side to another in the middle of my sleep because I feel like I'm turning together with a watermelon. 2 days ago, my left thumb's tendons incurred further inflammation and now more painful after I widened my grip to release my phone. Some treatment from my father-in-law improved it but the De Quervain Syndrome likely won't go away at least until bub is born. All these symptoms make me feel like they will never end and this waiting of bub to arrive is taking longer and longer, even though I really am in the last leg of this pregnancy. I think God is teaching me patience in all this waiting and learning to trust in His timing and plan.

The big revelation exactly 8 months before the EDD

My mum arrived from Singapore 2 days ago to be here with me for 2 months. I am glad that I can at least take a break off cooking for the time she is here. :) For now, I continue to wait...

Baby Shower

It would be so fun to have a baby shower. I look forward to the cute cupcakes, pretty little finger food, decorations, catching up with friends. A number of friends asked if I was having a baby shower for our first baby. But since a while ago, I already decided not to have one. At one stage, I thought of having one in combination with my birthday in November, which will just be a catching up session with friends - no games, and the usual baby shower things, just catching up with friends and their families. But in the end, I wasn't motivated to have one and just had a simple quiet birthday spent with hubby.

In Singapore where I grew up and spent most of my life living in, I have not heard of baby showers. The common practice is a celebration when baby is one month old. I think in the past, babies may not survive past one month and hence it is a celebration when a baby turns one month old. I feel a little odd to have people giving me/us presents when baby is not born. I feel more odd to have a baby shower and in a nice way, telling my friends "please give us presents for the baby!". Maybe because I am Asian so I prefer to receive presents when friends are willing to give (and some have asked me what I need) and not having to ask for presents from those I invite to the baby shower party. On top of that, I trust the God will provide what I need, whether brand new (bought or given), preloved or loaned. And He did and still is providing! What a great God who sees to His promises!

I have attended a couple of baby showers of friends in Brisbane. As much as it can be fun with many pretty things and food, I find that I generally don't enjoy them (I know it is about my friends and their babies and not about me so sometimes I will attend for their sake and not my own). Maybe because I don't like the games part and I also realised I cannot deal with the attention I will be getting at my own baby shower. I guess, as extrovert a person as I am, I much prefer to chat and catch up with friends on a one-to-one or a small group in a very casual setting.

In the past 5 years of trying to conceive, I also found it very hard for me to be at baby showers. I am very happy for my friends and blessing them with a gift for their coming addition in their family but I struggle to varying degrees when I am at baby showers. I can't just invite friends who have had children and not those who are single or married without children. I appreciate and know that my friends sharing the joy of  us having our new addition but I prefer not to put anyone who might be struggling to have children in an uncomfortable position. Of course, this is my personal position and struggle and does not represent everyone who struggle to conceive. I don't mean baby showers are a no-no and I am not downplaying friends who have/had baby showers. Baby showers are a joyous occasion and there is nothing wrong in itself having one. This has just been a personal decision(s) for me and thought I will share here for those who might be interested to know. :)

Recently I read about someone's church who organised a prayer shower for her and her bub. I really love the idea! So about 2 weeks ago, I emailed the girl friends whom I might invite for a baby shower some prayer points to be praying for me and bub. It has be a great encouragement, privilege and blessing to be showered with prayers! :)

November 2, 2013

10 Weeks To Go

Its been a long while, a long break away from blogging. There is no excuse. I was just plain lazy. But I thought I want to share/write down my reflections from these few days.

After close to 5 years of trying and waiting, at an unexpected time (but in God's perfect timing), He blessed us with a child. For the past 30 weeks, He has been weaving and knitting a little human inside my womb. I like how a friend puts it - "This is the only time that God and I can "create" together". But really, it is God who is doing the creating work and I can only try to take good care of my body during this "creation" process. I probably used to take it for granted but now realised that it is a beautiful privilege to be able to conceive and bear a child. And when I say this, I don't mean that any woman who cannot bear a child for whatever reason is any less than those who can. What I mean is that the conception of a child is not an easy thing. It requires many different biochemical and hormonal reactions in the body in order for a pregnancy to take place. And of course, these are only under the control of our Maker, the Creator of this world, our Lord God. Similarly, for a child to continue his/her life (and for everyone, for that matter), only God is in ultimate control. Medicine can only do/help that much.

I do not know how long this child growing in me will be alive for. I only know that every day, every hour, every minute that this child is growing and alive, is purely God' grace. Perhaps I sound a little pessimistic here. In the past 2-3 years and especially this year, I have had a total of 5 friends (whom I know personally but may not be actively in contact with), lost their baby either stillborn or breathed no more than a few days after birth. 2 of such occurred within the same month in July. This does not include those whom I know about but don't know them personally. Any death is devastating. Somehow a child/infant's death seems much more heartbreaking. This is why I have not been very excited, unlike our families and friends, but just being realistic that our lives are in His hands and whilst we rejoice and give thanks, we also know that "The Lord can give, the Lord can take away". No matter what happens, His plans for us are good. I have to admit that at the very early stages of my pregnancy, I had moments of fear/worries about miscarrying. Partly because of that, the first 3 months felt like a much longer time to pass. I knew that because it has taken this long for us to conceive, by the time if we do, the child would be very precious to us. I do fear and pray that the child won't be an idol that takes us away from God. I recall 1.5 weeks after my first gynae appointment, telling my close girlfriends that it felt like a long time to have to wait another 2.5 weeks to see the doctor, to know if the child is alive or not. Those months were really a good challenging time of trusting God, trusting that this little life is in His hands. Minutes before I enter the doctor's room at my first few monthly appointments, I would prepare myself that I may not see/hear a heartbeat and pray and remind myself if this child has a heartbeat, it is totally His grace and mercy. I was thankful that the one day where I really worried a lot (and considering if we should carry on our plans to fly to Adelaide when I was 7 weeks gestation), God reminded me gently that rationally, it was safe to fly (my health was ok and doctor says I can fly). If anything happens to baby because of the trip, it is all in His good plans as well. And so I realised that even if the child were to only be alive for a short period of time, I can still thankful for his/her existence, which has shown me that I could conceive and He did answer my prayer. Even though it was very early then, we had shared with our families and very close friends. I was very moved at how all of them were so happy and so full of thanksgiving to God for this conception, this answered prayer, that I know this child is already so well loved and welcomed. Without the conception of this child, I wouldn't have got to experience this, nor people have the chance to specifically praise and thank God for this child, this answered prayer. The realisation of this, got me through the first trimester.

The second trimester started to be challenging for me, health-wise. I am one of the lucky ones who didn't have morning sickness in the first trimester (except for an isolated incident at week 14 where I threw up and not due to nausea). I was more tired than usual but I know of others who were much more tired than me. However, it was when I started to have symptoms of water retention which caused my right arm, later my right hand and progressed to my left arm and hands to be numb and weaker due to carpal tunnel syndrome caused by pregnancy-induced water retention. This caused me inconvenience in doing some household chores, cook and prep food and when I sleep. This has and is still training my patience and trusting that even with physical restrictions, I can still give thanks, despite my occasional frustrations of this unexpected and unwanted inconveniences. The symptoms only got worse as time past, with my feet quickly and easily swell up whenever the weather is warm or whenever I ate too salty, or when I walked too much. Overall, I'm thankful that these symptoms and the blood tests I have had did not show any complications to date (I had a scare for gestational diabetes recently but very thankfully, it turned out to be negative).

With my sister (who is 2 weeks ahead of me) and my grandfather who will soon be a centurion by the time we both give birth to our baby boys. He is looking very much forward to meeting his 2 great-grandsons.

I am 2 weeks into my third trimester now. I know that these 3 months (or less) will feel like the quickest and it is time to count down. Bub can pop anytime from the week of Christmas (8 weeks from now). Thankfully, bub's head is already 'down' about 5 weeks ago. Since sometime in the second trimester, I already have been feeling more and more easily breathless (I get breathless even walking up the stairs at home slowly), having heartburn and getting hungry very easily. My hands and feet are still the same as before. I now sleep with 6 pillows in order to be comfortable. I know that I am already starting to wish that bub can be born soon so that the symptoms can be gone. In addition, I am also finding it awkward to do certain things like squatting down to pick up something , standing by the sink to wash dishes (my tummy is in the way and I have to stand in an unnatural position that my back is being strained and results in backache). Recently I'm also getting tired of having to look for food frequently because I feel hungry, or because of the onset of heartburn. A few days ago, while I was doing my weekly grocery shopping, my back was achy, my hands were numb (and makes picking up things and pushing the trolley difficult, and also holding my phone which has my shopping list) and then suddenly I get heartburn. I realised I soon might need hubby to accompany me to shop (even though I know he dislikes shopping). I admit, I felt some frustration then. Towards the end when I cooked dinner that night, I asked hubby to take over because my hands were hurting. I sat down and could feel my feet were tired. For a few seconds, self-pity filled my mind. "How long more do I have to go through this?!" Very quickly though, I recalled I had a smooth first trimester. If I were very tired and throwing up all the time, I think I'd have felt a lot worse. I thank God for that, thank God for what I am going through now. I don't blame baby for the cause of these, especially when he is an answered prayer. I don't blame God or anyone. It helps to be thankful and learning what is "to be thankful in all circumstances". This is probably training me for the harder part - caring for the baby after he is born. Let's not think about that for now ;) I am also thankful for every movement I feel from the baby (even if they make me uncomfortable). Very honestly, I think I am still somewhat worried what if this boy isn't healthy or normal. For that, I have to just constantly present my worries and fears to my Lord and just trust Him. After all, this baby boy is really, God's child and I am only a steward to bear and care for him.

Celebrated my birthday quietly and leisurely with hubby yesterday. We watched 3 movies over about a 24 hour time frame - at the cinema watching my favourite martial arts guy Donnie Yen, a true life story movie at Gold Class (gift for us from sister-in-law and family) and a Singaporean army movie at home. We also had lunch at my favourite seafood place and free ramen dinner which is one of my favourite too. It is nice to have a weekend of chilling out which would be a great luxury after baby comes.

We are growing in excitement to meet this child and are thankful that family and friends are generally much more excited than us. We are thankful for the provision of many things that having this new family member requires. They were either given new or second hand, or us buying at a great discounted price. For now, we have a long way to go to sort through our things to make room for baby and deciding on a name that we both like for him. I know these few weeks would come and go really quickly... :)

October 31, 2012

Little Glimpse Into Parenting

(A backdated entry)
At the Mother's Day weekend a few weeks ago, my nieces B & C stayed over on Fri so that her parents could go for a seminar on Sat morning. I brought the girls to Macgregor State School's Mayfest since hubby was volunteering with SES at that event. The girls had fun, had their first fairy floss and their first at a school fair. They also had a go on the merry-go-round. It was a great morning out.

We went back home for a small lunch and by then, I was very exhausted (later realised that I was going to be ill with a gastro bug) and hurried C to finish drinking her Chinese medicine (for her hives) so that I can have a short nap. I could hardly keep my eyes opened by then. The girls wanted to do some craft so I took out a stash of craft materials to keep them occupied while I took (what was supposed to be) a cat nap, and instructed them that they need to have a nap after completing craft. In my half drowsy state, I took a nap upstairs on my bed. Somewhere in my sleep, I could hear the screams and laughter the girls made. B at one stage, came to me to ask me if they could use the glue. I told her when the glue was and she helped herself with it. As they played, I realised that they were stomping up and down the stairs and also playing in the guest bedroom upstairs (where they slept by themselves in the room without us for the first time the night before). In my weariness, I could not pick myself up to get up and since they sounded like they were having a good time, I somehow uttered a prayer that God will keep them safe while they played (told them several times to be careful at the stairs) and I have to trust God to take care of them for that moment because I just couldn't get out of bed...

 Not sure how long later, I barely woke up, went to the room, told them firmly that they have to stop playing and get a bit of rest/nap. I closed the door behind me, in my mind thinking that they will be safe and went back to bed to lie down a bit. A few mins later, B came to my bedside and said "C didn't sleep and made a mess of herself with lotion and cream". I immediately jumped out of bed, feeling anger brewing within me and also trying to tell myself to be self-controlled. In the room, I saw C sitting on the carpeted ground, with a bottle of hand sanitiser in her hands and her face, arms and legs were white and covered with calamine lotion. Some lotion also spilled onto the carpet. I wasn't sure if I should laugh (she looked really funny and cute) or be angry with her. I quickly decided I should be angry with her. I carried and took her and put her in the bathtub, reprimanded her and left her there as a form of isolation while I sort out the mess she created. In my mind, I was thinking how tired I already was, and that they made such a mess and I was also tight for time to bath them before I take them out to meet their parents for dinner. I also questioned B about the incident in an unhappy but with controlled anger (at least I thought so). Apparently B was trying to sleep/rest on the bed. C went on to play and woke B up with her noises and then B saw the mess and came to inform me. I had a firm talk with C (while she was still in the bathtub), trying to let her know that she did wrong by playing with something she should not have, created a mess (and also throwing some of my books all over the room) and not obeying what I instructed her earlier, to stop playing and rest up. I had to be clear with myself and with her that I was upset about the disobedience most of all and not let my inconvenienced situation (tired and having to clean up the mess after them) be the reason and fuel for my anger. C was quite stubborn and refused to say sorry and was somewhat unrepentant. Anyway, due to the lack of time, I eventually bathe them and took them out, etc.

Reflecting through the incident, I realised how much more angry and irrational I could potentially get but I didn't. Praise God for that and that I did not lash out on them in a disastrous manner (I am pretty sure I am capable of that, especially if I have to deal with this on a more regular basis and for that, I'm glad I'm not a/their mum!) I also realised that I would not be as upset if I was not tired. The girls would not have been so bored that C was playing with the creams and lotions if I was spending time with them. They would have rested up earlier if I had not taken a nap. If I hadn't been unwell, I won't be napping and be able to have enough time to bath them and leave the house. God was good, He did take care of them - it was only a mess of lotions and books. The girls did not fight, injure each other or injure themselves. B was obedient to my instruction to rest when I told her to. And really, the girls were not very naughty. They only appear 'naughty' because I was inconvenienced and at one stage, I was thinking why can't they be more understanding that I was tired and unwell and not give me extra 'trouble'. Really, the girls have been really good by entertaining themselves, playing and did not disturb me much, nor insisted that I do craft or play with them. They have also heeled my constant advice to be careful with the stairs and not injure themselves. They have been really, quite good by themselves. I am so thankful for the Lord's protection over them. This is an isolated incident, in case you think I'm a bad babysitter by letting my nieces play by themselves while I napped :p It has also taught me how to be upset in a controlled and rational manner. Parenting, in particular, Christian parenting is certainly not easy, to teach and model God's love, wrath and forgiveness towards us. But our Lord will provide us with the necessary grace to do so when the time comes.

September 19, 2012

Kitchen Gadget - 2 Ways

This gadget is quite uncommon in Australia. Following a friend's recommendation, I went back to Singapore last year and bought my own.

This is a half-boiled eggs maker. Place between 1 to 4 raw eggs in the top compartment, pour in hot boiling water to the level indicated for 1, 2, 3 or 4 eggs and allow it to work its magic. The water will drip into the bottom container and by the time all the water on the top container is emptied, all you are left are the *almost* perfect half-boiled eggs. Hubby and I have an egg a few days per week. Having this little useful gadget means I could cook eggs without having to keep a close watch on them. I haven't been quite successful at cooking half boiled eggs. I only boost of ~20% success rate using a saucepan on the stove ;)

This can be also used as an ice bucket. Remove the top container from the bottom. You can store ice cubes in the bottom container and cover with the same lid.

What a clever invention! Praise God for enabling men to invent gadgets. :)

July 31, 2012

Counting My Blessings

Recently, I am learning to be more thankful for what I am / have been blessed with. Bought this pretty journal book to encourage myself to write them in.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Praise Him, all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen! 

May 16, 2012

Happy Busy Months Ahead

All thanks to discounted domestic and international budget flights (and to Flight Centre for all those savings), we have a line up of visitors over the next few months:

June - K&J and kids
July - A&J and kids
Aug - my parents, aunty P and uncle S

We are opened to visitors in Sept :) and we are travelling end Sept to mid Oct interstate and a surprise trip (surprise to *most* people in the country but not to us).

In the meantime, we have the 2 bedrooms to tidy and lots of declutter to do before we get to paint them. We have 4-5 weeks to do that before our first lot of visitors for the year arrive.

P.S. I have helped the visitors above saved $440 in total for their flights Brisbane/Gold Coast to Melbourne by booking with Flight Centre. :)

May 1, 2012

Meals Planner 30 April to 4 May 2012

I was away most of last week to visit a dear friend in Melbourne. Am back in Brisbane now and back to serving my household :)

Mon - stir fry pork with veggies, buttermilk pikelets
Tue - steamed salmon, prawn stir fry
Wed - butter chicken
Thu - savoury muffins, passionfruit slice, baked barramundi
Fri - apple ginger slice

April 18, 2012

What I Look Forward To Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday, I look forward to grocery shopping after work :)

I am well and truly a homemaker... I love grocery shopping! 

I love walking around the supermarkets in Aust - the aisles are wide and trolleys are larger. I hardly fill my trolley most of the time but I like it that it is spacious and I have a little of my own personal space along the aisles. 

Image source

Where I love to shop (Image source)

Just Photos

These photos were taken last year when we had dinner at our friends' place. This friend is our friend and our photographer for our Brisbane wedding some 4 years ago. 

Our friend has been blessed with very good photography skills. Doesn't this meatball pasta make you hungry? ;)

Meatball sauce with fresh homemade pasta

A very flattering photo of me serving the apple crumble I made :)
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