What I Did & Didn't Do For My Pregnancy

Disclaimer:
Every woman and pregnancy is different no matter what age, race or body size. What works for me may not work for you. Do not use my list as a guide on what you should do (or not); ask your doctor for professional advice. I am simply sharing my experiences and what I did and didn't do throughout my pregnancy.


What I Did Do

✭ I do light pre-natal yoga exercises/ stretches like hip circles, cat-cow poses, bending over a counter, pelvic exercises almost every day but only for less than 10 minutes. It helps 'prepare' my body and a life saver when a slightest body ache occurs.

✭ Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I slather myself with Palmer's Cocoa Butter day and night. I do not have stretch marks until my 7th month. It was only because my underwear was tight and it kept rubbing my bikini line so that's where my stretch marks are.

On the 8th month, more stretch marks appeared (remember that stretch marks are also genetic) but managed to 'control' them with cocoa butter and/or coconut oil.

✭ I ate my pre-natal vitamins every single day and only missed 4-5 times. Yes, very proud of that. haha I also eat more fruits which explains why I never had constipation problems expect for that 1 time when I was really sick.

✭ I walk; a lot. Especially on days when I am feeling okay, I would walk maybe at least 1 hour everyday.

✭ I drink plenty of water and even more when I see signs of water retention on my feet. As soon as I don't see my veins on my feet, I make a conscious effort to drink even if it takes me to the toilet every hour. I am happy to say that my feet has never been severely or even moderately swollen until my last month of pregnancy.

✭ I do indulge on gassy/ sweet/ cold drinks. That also includes oily, fatty, processed food and sugary deserts. Not everyday but basically similar diet as before I was pregnant. I do try to limit myself though.

✭ I do drink coffee in the first half of my pregnancy but like once every 2 weeks and just a cup? I'm not a coffee drinker but I do drink once in a while. I stop after a while because it made me wide awake at nights and I don't need that. I am more of a tea drinker but I limit to maybe once or twice a week.

✭ I do still eat spicy food. I don't have heartburn problems and even if I do, it's very minor.

✭ To ensure the best sleep (in pregnant woman standards because we all know what is true sleep when you have to get up to pee all the time), Jhon or I will give a quick massage on my feet and calves with my favorite ointment. More so after I hit 8 months of my pregnancy. It works wonders!

✭ As long as I am not in pain, tired and generally comfortable, Jhon and I do indulge in le sexy time.

✭ I did ate salmon sashimi when I was 3-4 months pregnant because I was craving bad but that was it.

✭ I make a conscious effort to sleep or lay down on my left side as it encourages more blood flow and oxygen for baby BUT I do rotate to the right and back (with upper or side body propped up with pillows, never flat) especially when left starts to get uncomfortable.

✭ I drink soya milk occasionally throughout my pregnancy and more on coconut juice during my 3rd trimester.

What I Didn't Do

✭ I do not drink pre-natal milk such as Anmum Materna. I mean, I tried but one of my aversions during my first trimester was milk. I can't even handle 1 sip. After wards, even when I can drink milk again, I don't. Plus, doctor said it's not necessary as long as I constantly eat my multi-vitamins and have a balanced diet.

✭ I didn't go for any pre-natal massages mostly because I don't feel that much pain or discomfort until I needed one.

✭ Jhon and I didn't attend any birthing classes or parenting classes. But we did attend a breastfeeding talk conducted by KKH.

✭ I didn't sign up for any pregnancy insurance.

✭ I do not eat "for two" which is a common misconception and express train to quick weight gain. I just ate like I always do, if not lesser on periods where my stomach feels small and squished.

✭ I don't smoke or drink in the first place so I don't know why I am writing this here.

✭ I do not eat a balanced meal (meat & veggies) 3 times every day (only every 3 days or so to I get my fiber intake)

✭ I didn't get those pregnancy sleeping pillows. I just use a bolster for my front and a pillow for my back.





   

3rd Trimester, 9th Month (The Last Lap)

          1st Trimester, Month 0-1Month 2 (pt.1 & pt. 2)Month 3
          2nd Trimester, Month 4Month 5Month 6, Month 7, Month 8

3 August 2017 - 16 August 2017

Weekly Appointments Start

Since I am at my last stretch of my pregnancy, the weekly appointments has started which triggered Jhon to take afternoon half-day leaves. To be honest, waiting time during afternoon appointments seems to drag longer for us even though last week's appointment didn't seemed that long. I think we are just morning people and we feel sian by afternoon.

On 10th August, I had my regular check up which I assumed to me fast and easy but boy, I was wrong. I think it has to do with that it was a public holiday the day before so it seems the clinic's patients doubled in size. Anyways, Little One and I were fine as everything was cleared and heartbeat strong. We discussed again about C-section and yup, it's confirmed people. Unless Little One decided to appear earlier, we have set a delivery date and action emergency C-section on 23rd August 2017 since the operating theatre is still fully booked.


On 16th August, we had our standard check-up again. This time around, a date has opened at the operating theatre and an elective C-section has been booked. Baby is fine, I am fine and Jhon is nervous because he his fear of blood or anything hospital related might br elevated.

But again, I reminded Jhon that it still boils down to baby's decision to come out.

Our next appointment will be on the 23rd August 2017 to have my blood drawn to get ready for the big day on 25th.

Pre-Delivery Registration

I think this is an optional decision by couples where we can pre-register our delivery. In this process, we will meet up with a financial consultant where the nurse will go through an estimation of our surgery and hospital charges. You can decide and choose what ward and eventually place a deposit. Since it's an estimation and/or basic charge, we might have to top-up after discharge should there be any additional medical procedures needed. BUT if it's lesser, you can get the excess money back.

Some couples don't do pre-registration by choice or baby comes out before they could even. Take note that they will only accept pre-registration after 36 weeks of pregnancy. The doctor/ nurse would not ask you to go so you have to bring yourself to the admission. Jhon and I prefer to pre-register because

1) Although we can estimate ourselves through MOE website how much it will costs, we want a more detailed estimation.
2) We wanted to have at least 1/2 of the deed done so when I do go through labor, Jhon does not have to go through too much stuff on his own.

By the way, everyone has and will meet up with a financial consultant whether before you go into labour or between contractions.

Stretchmarks Galore

I've been diligent with my stretchmarks cream and it helped so far but as I mentioned before when I was 7th to 8th month, I started to have stretchmarks on my bikini line because underwear was getting tight and it was rubbing my skin. The marks very slowly but surely gradually spread upwards and by the time I am entering my final month, they just went cray-cray because baby is getting bigger and I could feel my skin stretching, aching and itching. It's not THAT bad because I've seen worse. I would considered it as the standard amount.

Anyways, I knew it would be a given thing because stretchmarks are ultimately a genetic thing. If your mom had stretchmarks, you would probably too. I had stretch marks from just gaining weight too fast when I was underweight decades ago so, I am not surprised that I have it now. I am just glad I got it later in the month. I still put stretchmark cream and coconut oil everyday because it does ease the itchiness and moisturizes my skin but that was it. At least my mark are not so 'garang'.

No more swollen feet?

I had swollen feet since late July and half way in August, my feet suddenly not so swollen anymore. In fact, it was barely swollen. I don't know I've done different. Every day ever since it was swollen, I try to drink more water, rest more, feet up and had my feet lightly massaged and socked up every night. One day, my feet was actually okay! With that said, it does go back to being swollen when I'm on my feet often.

Labour Signs

As I am going closer to to my EDD, every sign could be a labour sign. I'm getting more braxton hicks and random mild pains. They are not prominent labour signs though. In fact, my belly is not even low. I don't know does it has to do with Little One being breeched but I could tell, if I'm going natural, it will take a long time.

Cord Blood Banking

I knew I wanted to donate cord blood instead of keeping it. I just don't know how to go about it. While waiting for our turn to see the doctor, one of the cord banking representatives from Singapore Cord Blood Bank. They are government based, non-profit organisation where we can let them store cord blood for free. If I do need it for some unforseen circumstances, I can retrieve it (provided it has not been used and suitable). Let's say they already used the cord blood, they will look for a compatible one for us at no charge.

The Mommy Haircut

I decided to cut my hair off, all 5 inches of it. Shortest length I ever had since I was in primary school. Even though I always bun up my hair at home, I'm starting to find it a hassle to twirl my hair so many times to bun up. The weather has been so hot and need hair washing time to be reduced when baby comes.

Presenting my 'kopek' face. At that moment, I don't care about make up anymore and walking out to go grocery shopping and have breakfast for 2+ hours is so blah!



See how swollen my feet were. I can barely fit my worn off slippers.

Busy Crocheting

During my last lap, I stopped going to Mak's house mostly because walking 10 mins to her house is just a chore, even more so at 12pm, under the blistering heat. So I confined myself at home, busied myself by watching online movies, crocheting and doing light housewife duties.


   

Our Baby has Arrived.

Just in case some of you didn't follow my Instagram (@zzanyy), I am 12 days post partum as on 18th Aug 2017, I've delivered our baby girl at 1:48am.

 Introducing our little bundle of love and joy,
Nur Sarah Tolentino


 Yes, that's her just born into the world photo; eyes wide opened with tongue sticking out and all.
 Cheeky little one.


 She definitely follows Jhon's genes and even though baby's features will keep on "changing" as days, weeks and months passed, it's pretty much obvious.


 I for sure do not have that kind of eyelashes, let alone that high nose bridge.

 The 3 of us are doing well and healthy as we can be. Besides the standard struggles of a new mom and dad, we are okay. Yes, I will post all the back logged posts and that includes my delivery story and more.
   

3rd Trimester, 8th Month (Breech, Breech, Baby)

          1st Trimester, Month 0-1Month 2 (pt.1 & pt. 2)Month 3
          2nd Trimester, Month 4Month 5Month 6, Month 7

5 July 2017 - 2 August 2017


Impromptu Hari Raya Maternity Photoshoot

As usual, my family and I went jalan raya on the 2nd week of the raya month and that's the day Jhon and I get to dress up real nice. While waiting for my brother, we took photos as per normal. Our couple photos looked so great (in my opinion) that it can pass as a maternity photoshoot but Hari Raya themed. I initially wanted to do a 'proper' maternity photoshoot but after this, no need lah. I am actually quite contented with the photos. 



After majority of my relatives had found out about my pregnancy, I decided to share it to my IG & FB account officially. In IG, I just wrote "Surprise" and in FB, I just put a 3-photo collage with no caption at all. haha I figured let the pictures do the talking and no point being so mushy and wordy about it. 

The Heaviness, Waddling and Water Retention Begins

At the beginning of July, my weight was at about 66.3kg so I have started to feel the heaviness while walking. I generally do not waddle unless I feel uncomfortable or in pain which thankfully not often or prolonged. I am at a stage where I can't sit too long, stand too long or walk too long so I'm often all over the house doing something different in different positions. By the end of the month, I was 70kg.

I did have slight swelling on my feet during my 2nd trimester but it was so little and for a very short time so it wasn't a big deal. But this time around, the swelling does stay quite sometime. I blame myself because on those days, I did not hydrate myself well. I made a conscious effort to drink more (almost felt like torture) and the swelling went away. BUT! after I hit my 35 week mark, the swelling won't go down no matter how much rest or water I take. A'las, I have to accept I have achy and jiggling feet now. 



I had a day when I just couldn't sleep from discomfort and pain. It was rather bad to a point I slept at 5am! After hours of self-pity, I got up, did pre-natal exercises, ate oatmeal and fell asleep almost immediately. I really should've done that earlier! Ever since then, I've made a conscious effort to massage my feet & calves with my favorite ointment (Rainbow Massage Oil) to relax with aromatherapy and at least 5 minutes of stretches/exercises. Of course, it's not a full proof plan because I would still get those occasional sleepless nights due to discomfort.

Mucus & Cramps

A few days after hitting the 34th week, I had some mucus discharge; not a lot to be a mucus plug but enough to say "ew". Now, I am no stranger to discharges because I've always have them but barely ever since I got pregnant. I did have very minor cramps hours later but they are so minuscule that I could just pass it off as nothing.  To be honest, I was a little concern. Although these are not 100% tell-tale signs of labor but it is a sign. I kept praying and telling Little One, that there's still plenty of time to 'bake'; no hurry.

Ever since, I would still get those 'practice contractions' of period cramps on and off. Again, it's still mild but enough to get my attention. I had another discharge days later with cramps. At this point, I am trying to think positive that it's just signs of body and Little One getting ready for an impending labor which was in 5 -/+ weeks time. Of course, the later the better but not so late ah?? For this 8th month pregnancy, I had lost some mucus discharge 3 times.

Packing & Cleaning

Due to my increased tiredness, pain and estimated due date is coming closer, I washed newborn clothes that we had bought over time. We also had hand me downs from now, toddler niece, Nadya Aqilah so in terms of outfits, we are full. Jhon and I pre-signed up for the baby cash gift and CDA account AND the mucus discharge kinda push me to at least 1/2 pack my hospital bag.

Doctor's Appointment

I'm not sure how many pre-natal scans an average woman gets throughout her pregnancy besides the dating scan, NT scan, anatomy scan and growth scan but I was set up for another scan this month. Mostly because the Little One was in breech during the last scan. I was at 29 months that time which was technically too early to call it a breech baby because there's still time and room to move.

I know that there are babies that stay in breech until 37 weeks or even close to delivery date but I won't deny I do get worrisome. But here's the kicker and a little info about me. I was a breech baby and Mak was a breech baby! Yes, breech can be hereditary. For Mak's case, she was actually born feet first while as for me, Mak said she was held in the hospital for 3 days in a breech tilt position.



I've been checking out ways to turn a breech baby but majority of the tilts just made me dizzy. I could only do a open-knee chest position. I also try to recite doa for a breech baby Fizah recommended me. After 2 days, Little One actually turned to transverse and it hurt! The next day, it seems to go back to breech.

On 19th July during the ultrasound, as expected, Little One is still in breech. I was glad I already had a rough research about breech babies with methods and solutions to fix it. So when the doctor mentioned about External Cephalic Version (ECV), I was not so confused about it. I had even mention it to Jhon so he didn't worry too much when the doctor brought it up.

What ECV is while hooked up with heartbeat monitors and constantly checked with an ultrasound, the doctor will externally and manual try to rotate the baby into position. We were given a pamphlet and the first thing I asked was success rate %. It was 50% to 65%. Almost immediately and unanimously, Jhon and I shook our head. It's not worth it but the doctor is giving us time to think about it until the next appointment which is in 2 weeks time.

After 2 Weeks

As expected, after scanning at 36 weeks, Little One is still head up. By then, Jhon and I are already mentally prepared to have a C-section. Lo' and behold! when the doctor wanted to book the operating theater at our preferred date, not only that date is booked, the entire month of August is booked! My EDD is 30th August so how?



We will try again in one's week time. At the most, the doctor said they can put me in as emergency c-section on the date I wanted. Unless Little One decides to come out at her own date and time, that's the current situation.

All these while, I've been going through subsidized consultations which means random doctors but with subsidized bills (I will blog how much I saved by doing so) but want a private ward for delivery. It's going to cost us a lot especially when I am having a c-section but after much deliberation and checking our savings, we are willing to pay for privacy and comfort (Jhon can sleep on the sofa). Since I get to choose a doctor and the fact that I am going to go under major surgery, I've started to research on preferred doctors by other moms too.

At this point, it's literally Allahu Alam which means Allah knows best.
We are putting everything in His hands now.








   

Pregnancy Old Wives Tales (Malay & Filipino's)

If you are born Asian, old wives tales are almost like bread and butter to almost everything thing in life especially if you are born in the years 80's and below. Sadly, old wives tales are becoming more taboo now. As for me, yes, some of them can sound and are silly but a few do make sense and does help especially while pregnant.

I am going through both Malay and Filipino's pregnancy old wives tales in one post. Even I had only visited Jhon's family once while pregnant for a week, believe me, they had made sure I followed some of their old wives tales too.

Not surprisingly, there are a few similarities in Malay and Filipino's pregnancy old wive's tales because being Asian, cultures sometimes do not stray very far. I am not going to cover standard beliefs like having a proper diet and having a healthy lifestyle like not smoking, drinking alcohol or encouraging exercise because if you really think about it, it's rather similar to an encouraged healthy diet anyways just with added precautions. (fear of salmonella, heart burn and such)


[source]

Hurting any animals for no practical reasons and your child will be deformed. (If you fish for leisure, your child might have a cleft palate)

Do not mock or mean to people whether they deserve it or not, especially if the person is of a special needs person or your child might receive the same flaws. (If you even joke about a friend about how dark their skin is, your child might have that same skin color)

Do no eat pineapples (prickly) or durian (heaty) fruits as it's not good for the baby.

Drinking coconut juice during early pregnancy may lead to miscarriage but encourage at the last trimester to have a "clean" and fair baby.

 Looking or going out during an eclipse will develop a birthmark on the baby.

Must always satisfy pregnant wife's cravings or baby will have a drooling problem (excessive drool).

Pregnant wife is not allowed to carry heavy items as it will put too much pressure on uterus.

If you eat twin foods (twin bananas or twin egg yolks), you can have twins.

Breech babies are believed can be healers when taught and have great intuition.

Additional under Filipino's beliefs'

 Drinking too much cold drinks will lead to a big baby.

Do not wear necklace or umbilical cord might wrap around baby's neck.

Pregnant women shouldn't share their food or drinks because their symptoms will be transferred to that person.

Whether you believe it or not, I think everyone should take it with a pinch of salt as a precaution. Honestly, I have seen some of the old wives' tales come true especially in hurting the animals and mocking others. For me, as long as it won't harm anything or anyone, I don't see a problem following suit.

With that said, I am grateful because as much as traditional Mak can be, she is actually quite lenient when it comes to these things. Under her wing, I can eat anything I want (except for pineapples or durians but if I crave for it, a bite won't hurt), I can do anything I want but I just need to be extra careful with the words I say. You know, even a funny sarcastic remark should be watchful of and such. In general, just do good deeds like sharing and caring and the baby will 'follow'.

For my 1 week pregnant stay with Jhon's parents in the Philippines, I wouldn't say it's torturous but it can be challenging but I just followed because I only had to deal it for a while right? haha They are more strict in such things. Every time Jhon help finished my meal (couldn't finish due to low/no appetite), they would always comment how he now will get my symptoms. When Jayden kept drinking from my water bottle and sucked my lollipop (he unbashfully grabbed it out of my hands lol), I had to pour the first water splash for his bath before I left for Singapore to 'cancel' out the symptoms.

Jayden was clingy with me at that time and wanted to be with me all the time. He would want to sit close and sit on my lap all the time. Jhon's family totally opposed to it even though I was comfortably sitting and not literally carrying him. Basically, there were plenty of things I had to watch out and not do. Like I said, I wasn't complaining because it IS their beliefs and I just respecting them. All I can say was I was just grateful we stayed for a while because I don't think I can tolerate it for 9 months and God knows what else I need to watch out after birth.

So like I said, following such pregnancy old wives tales can be challenging and annoying especially when you care already dealing with morning sickness and such. BUT there's nothing wrong taking it with a pinch of salt.

I'm pretty sure I probably missed out several pregnancy old wives tales so feel free to share for funsies!

   

Hari Raya (Week 3)

You all know what I will always visit Fizah's house so we did on the 3rd week of Shawal. I'm not much of a Hari Raya visitor in the first place but I do make a little effort for my best buddy. It's hard for us to meet up and really chat up and with my baby coming soon, who knows how we can arrange a meet up.

This year, we didn't spend too much time at her house (I used to stay for hours until evening lol) because this preggo gets too tired easily even from sitting around and must be home early for ample rest. Plus, Fizah also had guests so a bit paiseh to hog and chat with her.



But check out little Matin who is growing so fast.



Dah macam abang-abang already.



They sent us downstairs and we saw a cat. Apparently he loves cats and he has this habit of mimicking people or animals (for this case). When the cat laid down, he also wanted to lay down! You couldn't see me in the background because I cropped it but I was doing the "EHHH!" face when I saw him trying to do that. lol







Anyways, that concludes my super simple Shawal. Next year, I will have a baby in my arms!
That will be an interesting experience! haha


   

Hari Raya 2017 (Week 2)

As usual, Mak stayed over for the weekend and basically, we only received 1 pair of guests, Kak Nana and husband for raya on Saturday and that was it. haha



The 'happening' day was on Sunday when we get to jalan raya to the usual suspects' houses. We didn't get to visit Pak Hitam's house this year because he went to Johor on the day we wanted to visit.

While waiting for Abg to pick us up, cue quick hari raya photoshoot! The photos turned out so great (IMO) that I decided not to do a maternity shoot since this is already perfect. Don't mind me as I bombard my photos here.





















Our first house was Uncle's house at Woodlands. They had security cameras everywhere ever since arwah Auntie Tipah left and it was funny because we were spied by my cousins who were not there. Abg Atan actually spoke through the camera and Cinda took screenshots of us while we were there. I find it hilarious!







Next house was Abg Awil's parent's house. We didn't really give a heads up but it's like automatic already because their house is at Woodlands too. After this house, kakak didn't follow us and I didn't get to take a group photo my family lah, even with the 4 kids. It was saddening actually. It's really hard for us to get together, you know?







Our 2nd last house was Kak Yana's mother's house and if I wasn't so full, I would have gobbled ridiculous amount of her Bee Hoon Goreng.





Technically, that was it. We didn't go to many houses this year. We did visit Abg's house afterwards but it was not really a raya visit, I think. lol Mak wanted to buy McD supper and we stayed for a while. I told her I don't want to stay long because I am too exhausted and pregnant tired is different from normal tired okay? Plus, it was a Sunday, people got to work!

Well, that didn't happened. We stayed quite late to a point I fell asleep and got sick the next day. haha But all is well.