Monthly Archives: September 2012

Welcoming Baby Zachary

My elder godsis finally gave birth on Tuesday night but it was quite a traumatic experience for all of us. She had been messaging us, keeping us up-to-date on how her induction was progressing, and at about 2pm, she was 4cm dilated and the midwife predicted that the baby would be out in an hour or two. When we didn’t hear anything else after that from her, we assumed that she was in the birthing room and patiently waited for the message announcing the arrival of her second son.

By 10pm, we still hadn’t heard from her so my second godsis called my godma to see if she had any updates. She texted me after that to say that the baby was born at 923pm and that he had already been wheeled out of the delivery room and into the nursery. When I spoke to my godma after that, she proudly told me that the baby was very alert and looking around with his eyes wide open. We were all rather puzzled about why my elder godsis wasn’t wheeled out together with the baby and her husband didn’t tell my godma anything either. Their elder boy, Nat, was very excited and spoke to me over the phone as well, telling me that he was now a ‘kor kor’, and giggled bashfully when I congratulated him.

Shortly after that, we received a message from P, my godsis’ husband, saying that she had lost a lot of blood and was unable to clot. He also said she had DIVC and that the doctor had ordered some bags of blood and platelets for transfusion. How scary! We quickly prayed for her and asked him to keep us updated. Thank God that at about 1am, her condition stabilised, although she had to be under close monitoring in the Critical Care Unit.

When we visited her yesterday, I almost cried when I saw her. Not because she looked sickly, but because I was so relieved that she was fine. She looked a little pale but was able to speak to us properly and told us about her ordeal. Apparently, each time the IV drip for the drugs was turned on, the baby’s heartbeat would drop, and they had to stop the induction process. She went through two rounds of epidural and by the third bag, she was shivering uncontrollably. She didn’t have enough strength to really push the baby out and it didn’t help that he has a really big head. Her gynae is particularly skilled with the forceps but because the baby wasn’t even crowning, it took him ten tries to get the baby out. After he stitched her up, he realised that she wasn’t clotting and blood just kept dripping out. By then, my godsis said she was feeling very giddy, although she was alert enough to notice the doctor asking for blood to be sent from the blood bank. She didn’t know what was going on and things were a little hazy from then on. Apparently, she was taken to the CCU and given the blood and platelet transfusions there. She lost two-thirds of her own blood! Thank God that mother and baby are now doing well.

So here’s my new nephew, Zachary, who weighed 3.51kg at birth. Such a big boy!

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The proud older brother, Nathaniel, with his baby brother

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Vaccine Day

Noah had his second month vaccination, together with the Rotavirus vaccine, done yesterday. His PD noted that he’s only been putting on 10g a day since we last saw her a week ago for his green poo issue. It’s a little worrying, but she said that at least there’s some growth, rather than none at all, so we just have to monitor him.

His skin is still quite sensitive and the red patches on his neck still haven’t cleared. Dr Ellen gave us a sample of a different moisturiser as she is reluctant to medicate him with a steroid cream at the moment. He has NeoDerm for his diaper rash, which has a bit of steroids in it, but we are only to apply it when his diaper rash flares up.

It was quite an experience for us to watch Noah get his jab. The little babe was held on the table by C and he was looking happily at me when the doctor gave him the shot. I felt so bad watching his face change in that split second, as though he couldn’t believe what was happening to him, and his face turned bright red as he wailed. 😦

The PD told us to give him some paracetamol if his temperature started rising so we gave him a dose at 830pm. His appetite seems to have gone down a little and he only woke up for his next feed at about 530am, after falling asleep at 1030pm. We gave him another dose of paracetamol at 6am as he felt a little warm and he’s been sleeping a little more than usual and drinking much less. Hopefully the fever will go away this time round so that we won’t have to medicate him anymore. The good thing is that he’s still smiley and cheerful, and we really love watching him smile at us.

We have a busy weekend coming up and we really pray that Noah will be healthy again by then, so that we can keep all our appointments.

Here’s the little boy sleeping after his jab

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With all my love… #5

Hello baby,

You’re two months old today! This month, you’ve gotten more responsive and when daddy came back from his two week business trip, he said you had changed so much. You now smile quite readily at people, and I love talking to you and coaxing a smile out of you. You still don’t seem to enjoy being carried by either one of us, but hopefully that will change soon. You’ve started sitting in your bouncer quite often and that’s where we have our story time daily. I don’t know if you even know we’re reading to you! I’ve told daddy that we should read the same book daily to you but he insists that he needs variety. So far, we’ve read ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’, ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?’ and mummy’s favourite, ‘Barnyard Dance’. You don’t cry as much during bath time, except when I’m wiping your face or washing your hair. Diaper changes are slightly better, although you still cry occasionally. You cry each time you have tummy time and we really hope that you will get used to it and stop crying soon.

The past few days have been very stressful for daddy and mummy because you’ve been producing dark green poo, instead of the usual yellow poo that breastfed babies usually have. We’ve brought you to see Dr Ellen and even emailed her photos of your poo (being a doctor means having to deal with disgusting things). We’ve also prayed many times with and for you, asking God to help you.

Last night, while I was praying for you as I nursed you, a song suddenly came to me.

Trust in the Lord, with all your heart
And lean not on your own understanding
In all of your ways, acknowledge Him
And He will carry you through
Don’t worry about tomorrow
He’s got it under control
Trust in the Lord, with all your heart
And He will carry you through

I sang it to you repeatedly and it soothed me, knowing that God has everything under control. This morning, when I changed your diaper, I was so relieved to see that it was definitely more yellow than the poos you’ve had recently. I immediately called for daddy to take a look too and he agreed that it looked more yellowish than green.

We brought you to church today for the first time and although you slept through quite a bit of it, it’s a step forward for us. I had to nurse you quite a bit but at least you hardly cried. You were such a good boy when you had to get your diaper changed! Auntie Angela was a great help, accompanying us to the loo, holding all our stuff and handing mummy the wet wipes, a sheet at a time. She, too, agreed that your poo was dark yellow, rather than green. Thank God for hearing our prayers and healing you! 🙂

Be a good boy, darling. We pray that God will continue to bless you with good health and keep you safe.

With all my love,
Mummy

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Worried (Part 3.1)

The PD just called to say that no bacteria was found in Noah’s stool. Green stool can be attributed to a few different factors but so far, none of them really seem to fit.

The most worrying one would be malabsorption but because Noah’s weight gain is good, it’s highly unlikely that he has it. I asked if it can be something that he recently developed but she says that very few babies develop it so late. The important thing is that he doesn’t seem uncomfortable or unwell, and as long as he is happy and feeding as normal, he should be fine.

An overdose of iron can also cause babies’ poop to be green. However, this is usually found in formula-fed babies and since Noah is on total breast milk, it is highly unlikely. I haven’t changed anything in my diet and to be on the safe side, I’ve even stopped drinking milk since yesterday and didn’t take my multivitamin today.

The last cause of green poop is an imbalance of fore milk and hind milk. Dr Tay suggested that I either latch Noah on for a longer period of time to ensure that he gets enough hind milk, or pump out some of the fore milk before latching him on. I did that at 4am this morning and he hasn’t pooped much since then, apart from some very little green poop.

Noah has also been sleeping a bit longer at night. The previous night, he slept from 1030pm to 6am! I woke up at 430am, wondering why my breasts were so full and was surprised when I looked at the clock. I decided to pump as he was still sound asleep and he really slept all the way through the night. Last night, he slept at about the same time but woke up at 4am to drink his milk. He then went back to sleep till about 830am. There’s really no schedule or routine at the moment but as long as he seems happy, we think we will let him be for a while more.

The main thing is that throughout this green poop saga, Noah appears to be his usual self, smiling away, apart from a few crying bouts occasionally. I thank God for that and ask that He heals Noah completely. C and I have never been this obsessed with poo!

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Worried (Part 3)

Noah’s stools still haven’t improved and yesterday afternoon, he seemed to have a bit of diarrhea as well. As I was changing his already soiled diaper, more poop bubbled out of him and what worried me was that it was all watery poop, without any of the usual ‘seeds’ in it. At 4am this morning, when we changed his diaper again, there was very dark green poop, bordering on black! It is all very scary to us now and we are praying very hard that nothing is wrong with him. He has very dry lips too, to the extent that they are peeling at the sides. 😦

Please pray with and for us. We’ve emailed our PD already and are waiting for her to reply. Her clinic isn’t open at all on Fridays which means we can’t bring him in for a check-up again.

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Worried (Part 2)

We called the clinic early this morning to check if we should bring Noah in for a check-up and were told to bring him in, together with his soiled diapers. Noah did another two more green poos before we got to the clinic, so there were three disgusting diapers for Dr Tay to examine. One was so explosive that immediately after it happened, it flowed out from the back of his diaper and he had to have his romper changed.

There were so many issues that Dr Tay discovered during the check-up today that it’s plain depressing to even think about them.

1. His head is flatter on the left side, so we have to get him to try and look more to his right by constantly repositioning his head and standing more on his right side. The good thing is that his cot is positioned properly, with me on the right, so I have to keep calling him and getting him to turn to my side.

2. His cradle cap is still a problem and is also probably why he has so many scratches on his scalp. I’ve been applying baby oil on it and stopped using the cradle cap shampoo as it didn’t seem to be effective at all. I know it takes time to clear but it’s really been quite a while already!

3. He has very dry skin and what looks like the beginning of eczema. Some areas are worse than others, in particular his cheeks, in and behind his ears, his neck and his arms. When I wipe his neck, there’s a yellowish paste and it’s particularly tough to constantly check that his neck is dry as you can’t even see it anymore. Dr Tay recommended that we use an even stronger moisturiser than Ceredan, so we got the Physiogel AI cream from her, with instructions to slather it onto him as though we were marinating him for a barbecue.

4. His nose is also a little blocked with some mucus. We can choose to leave it as it is or use a nasal spray on it. My friend Motherkao very generously gave me a bottle of the nasal spray the last time Noah had a huge booger stuck in his nostril, so we might try it soon. We need to figure out what the right pressure to use is, as we need to get a mist from it.

5. Noah has what appears to be a short frenulum but that has yet to be confirmed. Dr Tay says she will review it next week when we bring him in for his jabs and if it really is a problem, she will refer us to a surgeon to get it snipped. Right now, it looks as though it might be a problem as he can’t stick his tongue out fully.

6. He has quite a bit of gas in his stomach and might be becoming colicky. That will also explain his two nights of crying marathons. Dr Tay prescribed some probiotics drops which are to be administered every morning.

7. The green poop is quite worrying as he has been consistently producing it for some time already. A sample was taken and sent for testing as it might be caused by a virus which prevents him from absorbing nutrients properly. We’ll only get the results on Saturday so for now, we have to continue monitoring him.

8. Unfortunately, Noah also has diaper rash. I’m quite upset about this as I thought I’d been cleaning his bum quite thoroughly. I guess I need to remember to change his diapers more frequently, especially since he’s such a good-natured baby that he has never once complained or cried because of a dirty diaper. He just quietly sits in his own poop until I remember to change him. We were given another cream for it, to be applied under the Desitin, his skin has some abrasion too.

The only positive takeaway from today’s visit is that he has been gaining weight well. He is 4.79kg today, up from 3.67kg at our last visit, which means he has been putting on an average of 43g a day. A good amount would be 30g so he is doing just fine.

My nipples and boobs, however, are far from fine. On Monday, I learnt that he hasn’t been latching on properly when I went to get help from my godsis’ MIL again. Overnight, I had developed a row of blisters on my left nipple as well as my right one, and it was very painful each time I nursed him. There was no respite from the pain too, since both nipples were affected.

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Worried

Noah has been having green stools recently, especially at nights. This evening, when I changed his diaper, I was shocked to see that the green stools were mucus like in texture, which is different from the usual.

We’ve emailed his paediatrician and are now waiting for her reply. Please pray that nothing is wrong! The guidebook we read, as well as the websites we visited, say it is caused by a virus that prevents him from absorbing nutrients. 😦

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Blocked

WARNING: For female audiences only, because, to borrow the UOB Ladies’ card tagline, the men don’t get it. 

During one of the wee morning feeds on Friday, I noticed that my right boob was hurting very badly, as though I had been punched and had a really bad bruise on it. Thinking, rather foolishly, that I had slept on my side for too long and somehow squished my boob, I didn’t do anything about the pain, apart from whining to C about it and popping two Panadols. By evening, I had developed a fever and was feeling really lousy. I didn’t think I had blocked ducts initially, as my breast didn’t feel rock hard. Some parts were slightly hard, but I thought it was the norm. I started to panic and tried calling the TMC breastfeeding hotline, but they had closed for the day. A quick chat with the 24-hour clinic nurse wasn’t much help and I was at a loss as Noah was also crying nonstop and refusing to sleep. Thank God that my parents happened to come over for dinner that night and my mum helped to pacify Noah. My mum even stayed the night just in case I needed help! Anyway, I remembered that my second godsis’ MIL is a lactation consultant and in my desperation, I asked my godsis to contact her for advice.

I thank God that her MIL is such a nice lady, who spoke to me for a very long time over the phone. She asked me various questions to identify my problem and once she deduced that I had blocked ducts, she taught me how to massage my boob to try and clear them, and also told me to pump out whatever excess milk I had after nursing. I haven’t pumped my milk out in quite some time as I prefer latching him on directly and I’m also way too lazy to go through the whole process of washing and sterilising everything. It’s very time-consuming and I would much rather be sleeping, thank you very much. Auntie told me that I had to try my best to clear my ducts by myself as the fever was an indicator that I had an infection. She also said to take Panadol for the fever and pain, and that, together with the massaging and pumping, should help.

My fever broke quite quickly, to my relief, and the swelling subsided as well, although not completely. However, more complications arose. I developed a huge blister on my nipple and a white bleb had also formed. Auntie was extremely kind and actually came to my house on Saturday evening to help me out, after numerous phone calls on Friday night and Saturday morning. She massaged most of the lumps away, used a sterile needle to burst the blister, and helped me to manually express some milk out to clear my ducts. She also noticed that there was quite a bit of bruising at the bottom of my nipple and told me that I had to use the football hold to nurse Noah, as my skin looked like it was going to split open. So many issues! Sigh.

I’ve been pumping after most of the feeds since then and boy, is it a hassle. I’m also puzzled because auntie says I have too much milk, to the extent that it sprayed out when she was massaging my boob, yet when I pump, I produce less than what I used to during my first month. Noah usually is content with just one boob per feed, so I have to clear the unused boob now as well. I’m a little concerned about the lower quantity and now, I’m wondering if that’s the reason why Noah wants milk so frequently. He seems to be gaining weight quite steadily but we will only know for sure if all is well when we visit his PD for his shots.

As for the football hold, I’m still trying to get it right. I’m using the My Brest Friend pillow to help me, instead of the two pillows that auntie suggested, as it provides better support for Noah. Our pillows are way too soft! The problem now is that the bottom of my nipple still hurts, the same way it does when I nurse him using the cradle hold, so I’m not sure if I’m doing the football hold correctly. My left nipple has also begun to hurt, which is strange because I don’t usually have problems with the left boob. Sigh. I also can’t manage to clear all the lumps still and they just keep forming! 😦

I pray that my blocked ducts will be unclogged and that I won’t have to keep pumping all the way till I wean Noah off breastmilk. I also pray that my nipples will heal and that I will not be in any more pain or discomfort. Please, God, hear my prayers and don’t let there be any more complications!

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Preparing for Baby (Part 4)

I kinda forgot to continue with this series, but I’m back now because I was just chatting with my preggie friend whom I’m actually doing this series for, and I realised that I haven’t finished the list yet! Sigh. Guess the pregnancy brain doesn’t really go away even after you pop!

Playtime/Going Out Needs
– Activity gym We originally ordered this from the US and got it shipped to us via a shipping company, but it somehow got damaged along the way and after getting a full refund, we decided to save ourselves the hassle and just buy another one locally. The Fisher-Price Precious Planet Deluxe Musical Activity Gym is easily available and we got ours at the Taka Baby Fair. I’ve heard that the Lamaze ones are pretty good too.

– Play Mat Most of our friends who have recently become parents bought theirs from Small Small World, and so when we found them at one of the Expo fairs, we placed an order for this one. I think we also got it at a cheaper price than what’s offered on the website, together with free delivery, so do check out the fairs just in case you can get a better deal.

– Bouncer Again, this Fisher-Price model was a staple in many of the new parents’ households and we bought ours at the Taka Baby Fair too. Noah seems to really enjoy being in it so far! One problem I’ve had with it is that it can’t really be washed properly, due to the board sewn into the back panel. Noah’s diaper leaked one morning as he was seated in it and I had to get our part-time helper to hand-wash the bottom bit and hang it up for drying after that. It would have been great if the panel is removable so that the whole fabric piece can be machine washed. I place a waterproof sheet under his bum when he’s seated in his bouncer now, just in case his diaper leaks again.

– Books/Toys/CDs We were very blessed to have received a few books and CDs from our friends. To be honest, I haven’t been able to really work out a routine in which reading and music are incorporated as he doesn’t seem very interested in either! I do show him some black/white/red flash cards which his paediatrician gave us, but I only do it when he seems alert and happy enough. Babycenter has a list of recommended books for babies, although I followed a different list (which I can’t seem to find now). One of the first toys we bought for Noah was Sophie the Giraffe, although we haven’t given it to him yet, as it’s more of a teether.

– Diaper bag This boils down to personal preference as well as who will end up carrying the bag most of the time. Most men wouldn’t really want to be carrying a pink diaper bag around! My mummy friends told me to get a roomy bag so that I can lug more things around, so when I saw this Okiedog bag on sale at the Expo fair, I quickly grabbed it. I’m even more pleased with it because it was being sold at half price (I love a good deal!) and it’s waterproof. My mummy friend Z has done a couple of reviews on the various diaper bags she owns, so do check them out.

– Baby sling/carrier I bought a pretty one from Pupsik, although Noah doesn’t seem to enjoy being in it very much. I’ve only managed to successfully bring him downstairs for a walk ONCE in the sling! We’ve heard many good things about this shop in Square 2, so maybe we will check it out soon. Apparently, it’s best to wait till after baby is born to buy the carrier, as you can then bring him down to the shop to try out the various brands and designs.

– Infant car seat We bought the Maxi-Cosi Pebble car seat as it was one of two car seats that can be used with our stroller. The Taka Baby Fair had a good deal on selected colours for this model so we decided to save a bit of money, rather than choose a prettier colour.

– Stroller We splurged on a good stroller as we originally had plans to relocate overseas for a year due to C’s job. We’ve heard horror stories of how strollers were mishandled by airline crew, resulting in damaged strollers, so we wanted a sturdy one, made of hardier material. Okay, I confess that I was won over by the look of the Bugaboo Bee as well. So far, it has served us well, although we haven’t really taken it out much. It is relatively light, although it’s not one of those ‘one-hand-close’ models, which some may prefer. We got ours from Mothercare, as well as the Maxi-Cosi car seat adaptors ($89). Noah seems quite comfy in it and I’ve managed to bring him for two short walks downstairs in it. I like that it glides smoothly and is sturdy enough to negotiate bumpy pavements without me feeling as though it will fall apart. The underseat basket is also roomy enough for my bag (but not my Okiedog diaper bag, which is huge) and some small shopping bags.

– Stroller fan We found a cheap one at Kiddy Palace but have yet to use it, as we haven’t really gone out much with Noah. It’s a good idea to get one though, as when I picked Noah up from the car seat after our walk the other morning, the poor boy was quite sweaty!

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With all my Love… #4

Dear Noah,

You just had a marathon crying session, from about 830pm to 1015pm, the longest you’ve had so far. I’ve never felt so helpless before, trying desperately to soothe you in whatever ways I could. I think you were overtired and just couldn’t manage to get back to sleep on your own. You tried suckling, which usually manages to make you fall asleep within 15 minutes, but tonight, it didn’t work. I thought you might have needed to burp, so I tried burping you, which also didn’t work. You screamed away, kicking and pushing me wildly, with tears rolling down your cheeks.

To be honest, I’ve always been thankful that you weren’t a screamer and that you were relatively easy to pacify, if your needs were met before you got really upset. The only times you would really scream would be when I’m changing your diaper or trying to put you into a romper. But on those occasions, once I was done, you would calm down and a quick suckle would usually help in getting you to sleep. You also cry a little when I wash your hair but the crying stops when you go into the bathtub for your bath. Every now and then, you’d cry when you have to get out of the bathtub, but the crying usually lasts for half a minute. You really have never cried for such a long period of time before!

Just now, I tried massaging your belly gently, jiggling your butt the way the PD showed us, putting you down on our bed, but nothing worked. I was desperate. I swaddled you as tightly as I could, went ‘shhhhhhhhhhh’ loudly in your ear and tried jiggling you from side to side, the way Dr Krup did in his videos. You stopped crying for a while before wailing at the top of your voice. Finally, I switched off the night light, popped you on my shoulder and patted you frantically while going ‘shhhhhhhhhhh’, praying fervently for God to please PLEASE make you comfortable so that you would stop crying. The wailing finally stopped but your eyes remained open, as you whined and kicked feebly every now and then. It took another half an hour before you finally fell asleep and I dared to put you back into your cot. You’re asleep now and I really hope that this is the first and last time that you’d cry so much. It broke my heart to see you so miserable.

While we’re at it, could you also please stop crying when I change your diapers? You’ve been through the routine often enough for you to know that it’s not a bad thing. I mean, you get a clean diaper! You can’t possibly enjoy lying/sitting in your own poop for hours, right? The same goes for putting on your clothes. I know it seems scary when something is pulled over your head, and I admit that I sometimes don’t manage to get it over your head in one go. But struggling just makes things worse, and so does stiffening your arms so that I can’t pull them through the sleeves. If you cooperate with me, we’d be done much faster with the diaper and outfit changes. Try it and you’ll see.

One last thing. It is not protocol to poop or pee when your diaper is removed. I have no idea who told you that that was the way to go (no pun intended) but I really hate it when you do that. Not cool, son. Not cool at all. I can’t remember how many times I’ve had to wipe up all the disgusting poop from the changing mat or had to change your clothes because the huge puddle of poop/pee got to them. Please wait until you are wearing a diaper properly, before you do your business, okay?

I’ve been told that I will miss having you at this stage. I do love looking at your sweet little face and hearing you coo. Even your warning whimpers are adorable, because as your daddy puts it, you have this ‘so poor thing’ look. I love it when you smile at me, or rather, in my general direction, as I suspect you’re probably just smiling at nothing in particular. I love holding you in my arms as you suckle, and having you lie on me as you fall asleep. Please continue to be our little angelic baby and don’t ever cry like that again… mummy can’t handle so much crying!

With all my love,
Mummy

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