Fallot's Tetralogy (Part 2)


It was 10am. The paediatric cardiologist would only arrive at 1pm and I was asked to return at 12.30pm to wait for him.

"Because there is still some time before the appointment... Would you like to take a walk somewhere around first?" I gave another aimless nod, stood up and left the centre.

I hadn't had breakfast yet, so I made my way to the Killiney coffee shop on the first floor. I mindlessly ordered a plate of noodles for myself with a cup of teh-o. I sat down with my food and without touching it, I began my research on heart defects.

My sister was born with a heart condition and so did my cousin, hence heart defects were not new to me. Both of their defects healed up over the years as they grew up and they were left with a precautionary advice to be careful in their activity choice and not stress their heart. I've heard from my mother and my aunt that they were difficult babies to raise. The first few years were tough as hell, a shit ton of crying, sometimes medication was required and it took forever to feed and finish a bottle of milk.

As I went on with my research on heart defects, I wished hard that Nathan had ASD (atrial septal defect). A hole in the upper chambers of the heart. ASD will heal up over the years or can be repaired with a cardiac catheterization surgery (a thin, flexible tube called a catheter is put into a vein from the arm, groin (upper thigh) or neck and threaded to the heart). I braced myself for the supposed first few years of endless crying and fussing. I'll get through it, I told myself.

I wished hard that he didn't have VSD (ventricular septal defect). This type of defect usually require an open heart surgery to close up the hole and very often, the surgery occurs immediately after birth or within a few months of his young life. I couldn't bear the thought of an open heart surgery. It was tough to digest the paragraph on VSD and tears started welling up in my eyes. I finished the last mouth of noodles that I cuold stomach, grabbed my bag and headed for the nearest washroom.

I closed the cubicle door and my tears began to flow. I sobbed quietly in the toilet. Mixed emotions of worry, anxiety, helplessness, despair and denial rushed through me. "Why my baby...?"

I stayed in the cubicle for a good 15-20 minutes till my tears decided to stop defying my will. I wiped the remaining tears dry, cleaned up a little and found a seat at the lobby reception. There, I continued my research on the human heart. I wanted to use every minute I had to get every knowledge possible. I wanted to be able to understand every word that the paediatric cardiologist would be saying later on. I needed to refresh my memory on the human heart anatomy. I didn't want to be stuck in a place where I was stumped due to a lack of knowledge.

2 hours flew by so quickly. At 12pm, the husband arrived from his workplace. He flashed me a tiny smile, I could tell that he mustered all the strength he had in him to give me that tiny smile... a smile that he hoped would give me some strength. He went to grab some quick lunch, I followed along. I had no appetite, so I chose to get a simple toast from the same Killiney coffee shop. He couldn't finish his bowl of macaroni. We had too much thought and anxiety in our minds. I guess we were thinking the same foolish thing, "Please let our baby be okay".

On the dot at 12.30pm, we walked into the centre. The receptionist saw me and said, "Oh is it 12.30 already?" To her, those 2 hours might seem like any hour of the day. For us, the last two hours were heart-wrenching.

Once again, I was back on the plushed wooden chair, waiting. 1pm arrived, the doctor was nowhere to be seen. 1.30pm came, the doctor wasn't here yet. We googled the doctor's name and found his portrait. We kept a lookout for him. I tried my best to remain calm. I didn't care about how long I had to wait. I felt grateful that the doctor was taking time out today and head down to Mount E Novena just to see our case. I was willing to wait, however long it takes. I wanted answers.

It was close to 1.45pm when the doctor arrived. He was ushered into one of the ultrasound rooms and we followed in soon after. Before starting his scan he instructed us, "Let me do the scan first. After it is done, I will discuss my findings with you, ok?" We nodded.

The scanning took a long time. Unlike the previous scan, he focused only and only on the heart. Tears streamed down my eyes while he was doing the scan. I hadn't meant to cry but I couldn't hold my tears in. At that moment, I understood the severity of the situation. My baby was sick. Very sick.

The husband held my hand tight. I could tell that he was struggling to keep his tears in. Halfway through the scan, he could no longer hold the questions in. "So what's wrong with him?"

Remembering the doctor's words from before and not wanting to interrupt the scan, I shushed the husband and told him to be patient. The doctor replied in a gentle tone, "Let me finish the scan first or I'll be giving you half the story only, right?"

The husband pursed his lips as he struggled to keep his anxiety and worry in check.

A whole lot more probing, ultrasound gel and a few nods from the doctor later, he said that I could sit up. His scan was over, he had a diagnosis for us.

I moved to sit in one of the chairs within the room. The husband pulled his (chair) closer. We huddled around the paediatric cardiologist, he grabbed a pen and piece of paper.

He started by drawing a human heart. He did his best in explaining the four chambers and arteries to us. And as he explained, he started listing the problem areas that Nathan's heart had. My heart sank. I struggled to stay in tuned with reality. My baby has 4 defects in his little heart. This was a lot more than what I had braced myself for... and he had a ventricular septal defect. The defect that I wish he wouldn't have.

"These 4 defects are also known as 'Fallot's Tetralogy'." The doctor scribbled the name at the top in his illegible handwriting. "And your son's condition is of moderate severity."

Me, "Will he get better? Can the hole... the ventricular septal defect heal on his own?"

Doctor, "No. He will never get better. He will either remain the same or get worst. He will require open heart surgery, either at birth or a few months down the road and another surgery at 8-9 months of age. He will be blue at birth due to the lack of oxygen in his body. This condition is known as cyanosis, he will be a cyanotic baby."

I can barely remember the things that happened after this point. I was numb. My mind had gone blank. I was trying to keep up with the conversation. Nodding my head, asking a few questions, but nothing was really getting registered.

At some point, we ran out of questions and the doctor ran out of things to share with us. I recall leaving the room, sitting back on the chair, being told by the receptionist that my gynae would be calling me in a minute.

My phone rang and I picked the call up. It was the nurse from my gynae clinic on the other side of the phone. And then the tears came. It wouldn't stop. I struggled hard to contain my sobbing.

We scheduled for an urgent appointment with my gynae clinic for the next morning. As babies with fallot's tetralogy often come with Down's Syndrome or DiGeorge syndrome, I was asked to head down the next day for another round of bloodworks to test for those two conditions.

I had passed my triple test previously but my gynae was worried that I might have slipped into the 5-8% who received a false negative for Down's Syndrome from my triple test – after all, I had fallen into the 0.8% category of women who failed her copper IUD contraception.

Fallot's Tetralogy (Part 1)


Fallot's tetralogy. Two words that crippled my heart. Before this, I didn't know that there were any two words other than "break up" that could tear my heart apart. Yes, it sounds silly and naive and incredibly immature. There are probably a ton of other two worded phrases that could cause a heart break as such.

I didn't know that it could possibly be this hard to have a healthy baby. I never expected it to happen to me. I am at a prime age. I passed my triple test. I gave birth to my firstborn healthy – very healthy and also feisty. I thought my second-born would be like his elder brother. Healthy, fat and well. I thought we would pass the fetal anomaly scan with flying colours. The first time I heard of the words "fetal anomaly scan" when I was pregnant with my elder son, Ethan, I freaked out. I asked if I could opt out of the scan – the word "anomaly" was frightening. Turns out it was just a name. Just the name of a scan to screen for any possible abnormalities in a foetus' organs. I was nervous throughout Ethan's scan and the wait for his results. Thankfully, Ethan passed his with flying colours. His younger brother on the other hand... not so much.

On the 26th of March, I went for my scheduled appointment at the Prenatal Diagnostic Centre in Mount Elizabeth Novena. I was a lot more chill as compared to when I went for Ethan's. I had gone through it once, I knew what it was about, I thought there was nothing to worry about. Just a scan. Nothing frightening. We'll get it all done within an hour or less, the results would be great like his elder brother's and then we will be on our way home.

The scan began. The sonographer started with the heart. It seemed okay at first. Then I realised... she was scanning a lot more than usual. Taking a lot more measurements and pictures. I took a closer look at the scan. Something didn't feel right. It looked like there was a gap where there shouldn't be. I kept quiet. I didn't say a word. She clicked a few more buttons and what seemed like a projection of the blood flow in Nathan's heart appeared, more parts blue than red. That couldn't be good. Still, I kept my mouth shut. I didn't know what to say. I didn't want to interrupt her either. Actually, I think I was more afraid of disturbing her and bursting my own fragile bubble.

Finally she moved on to scan his other body parts. I took the effort to make some small chat. She showed me his face (I think he looks a lot like me), the five fingers on each hand, his penis which seemed large and so prominent on screen (lol), his spine, his toes, his brains and more. I couldn't resist and so I asked, "How is he? Everything okay?" I think I might have croaked at the last syllable. She answered "Mmm. Let me scan more and I'll tell you later." My heart sank. I didn't have a response. I stared at the screen in front of me and clutched my hands tighter together. My hands were clammy.

Fast forward to the end of the scan. Nathan was incredibly obedient. He finished his fetal anomaly scan in approximately 20-25 minutes. He took half the time required as compared to his elder brother. Ethan was super active during his fetal anomaly scan. Constantly punching the probe, turning around, rotating, circling... showing his protest that he didn't like being probed lol. Nathan on the other hand, just a few gentle first bumps on the probe, probably out of curiosity. It was easy scanning him and the sonographer managed to capture all the required shots swiftly and every image appeared beautifully.

I guess, I should have known. That was the first warning sign. The lack of activity in my belly. I could always feel Ethan. He was strong and active, constantly moving and reminding me of his presence. Nathan was quiet... too quiet. Sometimes I could feel his jabs but they were little and infrequent. Most of the time, I relied on seeing my belly move to tell that my baby Nathan was alive and moving. He was so different from his elder brother. I should have known that something was up.

The sonographer finished the scan and told me to make payment first and go back up to see her. She said that she needed to talk to me. I was anxious and calm at the same time. Braving myself for the worst. I texted my husband while I was making payment. I told him about my worry. I wrote, "His brain, legs, lungs, and penis were very good. I know cos she say “very good”. She said his penis was very prominent, big and clear 😂."

He replied, "Heart. Is missing." My husband could tell. Something was up.

He took the rest of the day off work and came down to join me. While waiting for my husband to arrive, I headed back up to the centre to see the sonographer. She broke the news to me. "There is something wrong with your baby's heart. I called your gynae and he said that he would like the baby to be seen by a paediatric cardiologist for a more detailed scan. When would be free? Let me arrange something for you."

I was numb. I tried to gather my senses together but my mind had gone blank. I gave an aimless nod. "Take a seat. We'll get back to you shortly". My legs headed for the plushed wooden chair and I plopped myself down.

An appointment was made for later that afternoon at 1pm. The paediatric cardiologist would come down to the centre and do a fetal echocardiography for Nathan.

The News Is Out


[Written Date & Time: 8 April 2019, 01:40am]

I am just done editing the photo... The photo of the post that would announce Nathan’s demise. It was something that I had been avoiding for the past two weeks. It was so hard editing the photo. The difficulties faced weren’t technical – I couldn’t keep the tears from falling, my vision kept blurring up.

The post is scheduled to be released later on this week. I prepared the caption a long time ago, well not that long. I wrote it on the night that I found out about Nathan’s heart condition. I wrote and saved it in advance because I knew that I would have a terribly tough time thinking of a caption now, having to recount the various emotionally-wrecking instances of the past two weeks, squeeze my messed up emotions into sensible words and tapping the “post” button. I was also trying to save myself from a teensy bit of heartache — the bit that would set me off the edge again, crying to sleep.

I don’t think I have ever cried this much or continuously for these many days in a row (14 days now and counting). On day 11, my eyes were so swollen from all the crying, I looked like I was suffering from a severe case of conjunctivitis. It was also then when I realised, I have to do my best and restrain my tears... all the crying was starting to affect my vision... I've been stressing my eyes out way too much. As you can tell from the day count, I am trying – and failing.


That bear. There is a story behind it. The whole family was at Ikea, shopping for furnitures for the new house. We bought a new place because of Nathan, for Nathan. There isn’t space in our current home to accommodate his arrival so my in-law’s decided to sell away this home of 25 years, to get more space for their second grandson. Oh, the irony of it, because now we will be moving in without him. It hurts so much to say this line.

We were at Ikea, shopping for furnitures. I walked by a mountain pile of this $1.90 bear and thought to myself, “This would be a nice first toy for Nathan.” I walked towards the husband. He saw the bear and raised an eyebrow at me. I defended, “It’s for Nathan.” We bought and brought the bear home. I’m glad I bought the bear. It is something to remember Nathan by. But damn, the bear... a second irony in this mess. That embossed heart on its chest. A stone cold joke.

Two days before the procedure, the husband held the bear in his hands, and he made a request. “Can we never buy this bear again?” I understood why. This bear is Nathan’s, it belongs to Nathan, it symbolises Nathan to us and thus it would unfitting for any of our other children to play with it like its their toy.

My Lasik Journey With Shinagawa Eye Centre


It’s been more than 5 months since I did my lasik surgery at Shinagawa Eye Centre. I haven’t had a moment where I second-guessed my decision to go ahead with the procedure. I have been enjoying every minute of my “new” eyes and parenthood has been a whole lot easier without the need for visual aids — ie. my kid can no longer smack my glasses off my face! Yes!

Read on to find out more about the lasik surgery that I did (Intralase Lasik) and my thoughts about it.

I have had tons of people asking me “How is it?”, “Is it scary?”, “Is it painful?”. To the three questions above, it was fast, not scary at all and absolutely pain-free!

Recovery time was amazingly quick! By the end of the day, I was able to read words off a computer screen (about a metre away) and my husband was amazed by the surgery’s quick results.

Now here is a couple of things that you have to know about lasik surgeries. There are many methods to perform this surgery and after the initial assessments, your surgeon will typically recommend you the type of lasik procedure that is best suited for your eyes.

In my case, I was recommended to undergo the IntraLase Lasik by Dr Lee Sao Bing.

My eye surgeon, Dr Lee Sao Bing of Shinagawa Eye Centre

Here is a bit of background information on this lasik method.

IntraLase Lasik is also known as the “All-Laser Lasik”. An expensive laser machine makes use of an advanced femtosecond laser technology to achieve a more accurate, and safer flap-making procedure.

Because this IntraLase lasik method is empowered by a computer's precise control, it allows the surgeon to customise the depth, width, shape and location to create a very thin cornea flap – thus customising to the needs of an individual patient.

The IntraLase laser creates air bubbles in the stroma of the cornea and the air bubbles create space. The flap is not lifted until the LASIK surgeon uses a special surgical instrument to lift the cornea flap, which also means that the cornea is still intact after the IntraLase laser and the patient can blink and walk around normally without any fear

(Pic credit: Shinagawa Eye Centre)

As mentioned previously, the first step to any lasik procedure is the pre-lasik assessment as not everyone is suitable for laser surgery. Every individual is required to undergo this assessment in order to determine their suitability for lasik and which lasik procedure is best suited for them. At Shinagawa Eye Centre, a pre-lasik assessment costs $22 (including GST) for individuals aged 49 and below.




You are advised against wearing any contact lenses a week before the pre-lasik assessment. This is to ensure the accuracy of the test results. So yes, your glasses will be your bff for that entire week!

The whole assessment takes about an hour to complete and results from the pre-lasik tests are generated immediately. Thus on the same day, your doctor will be able to inform you on your suitability and provide you with a (lasik) recommendation.

Do note that one of the tests requires the clinic assistant to dilate your pupils and you might experience blurry vision for up to 4 hours. This blurry vision is kinda like 老花眼, so I was tilting my spectacles down, holding my phone up high and at a distance like an old woman with long-sightedness. LOL

In the event that you are suitable, you can make an appointment for your lasik surgical date before leaving the clinic. It is recommended to have the lasik surgery within a month from your pre-lasik assessment in order to ensure the reliability of the test results.

Usually there are available slots almost every day except for weekends; I had my lasik surgery arranged at 3 weeks after the lasik assessment. My husband took a half day-off so that he could accompany me home after the surgery was done.


To be honest, I had pre-surgery jitters the night before... I mean, how couldn't I? I had been living a bespectacled life for over a decade and had gotten so used to hiding behind my glasses for all these years. But all it took in that second was my baby boy knocking my spectacles off my face (and out of my thoughts) to remind me of how much I would enjoy a life without visual aids.

My day at the clinic took about 3 hours. The other two hours were spent on tests and checks, reminders and advices, keeping my bag in the lockers, changing into the surgical gown and waiting – for the anaesthetic eye drops to kick in, resting at the recovery lounge after the surgery and there was also someone else doing the lasik procedure before me. The laser procedure itself was rather fast, like in split seconds I’m done!


Before I knew it, I was ushered to my husband and ready to head home. The entire procedure went by without any hiccups.

Dr Lee was incredibly reassuring and I like how he kept me up to date on each step of the procedure. This is very important because the surgery happens while you are wide awake and you are required to keep your eyes open throughout the whole thing. Because of each heads-up that he gave me, I wasn't caught by surprise from any of the actions taken.

For instance, when he was about to lift my cornea flap, he warned me that my vision was going to get blur and it is okay. When the laser machine was gonna do "its thing" and correct my vision, he warned me that I might smell something burning and not to be alarmed.

Dr Lee was also very generous with the anaesthetic drops. Because I am coward at managing pain, I requested for more eye drops to be placed into each eye prior to each machine. I have a normal cornea thickness hence I am only required to undergo two machines. One machine to create the cornea flap, another machine to reshape the cornea. The nurses also wrapped me up in a thermal blanket to keep me nice and warm.

I know all of these sound like very minor details that don't play much into the big action (ie. the actual lasering) but they really do make a huge difference in keeping me calm throughout my lasik procedure.

I was discharged home with 3 types of eye drops – an antibiotic, an anti-inflammatory and an eye lubricant. I had to drip them according to the schedule provided by Dr Lee and then return in 3 days for a post-surgical check up.



Fast-forwarding my recovery process to the current date. Everything went by smoothly. I regained control of my vision so quickly that it was amazing. A week after my lasik surgery, I actually went to Halloween Horror Nights! I had a ton of fun wearing the different shades that I had bought during my travels but never wore – I even borrowed my mother in law's Kate Spade sunnies to wear! LOL

Because I wanted my eyes to heal as quickly as possible and to prevent post-lasik dry eyes, I was very generous with the amount of eye lubricating drops that I was dripping into each eye. The recommendation was to place only a drop or two into each eye, but I often found myself using up an entire tube for both eyes (oops). I also bought extra tubes of vidisic eye gel (a soothing eye lubricating gel) to place around the house and in my bags.

All of these paid off because I am currently not experiencing any of the side-effects that come with lasik and am incredibly thankful about it!


So here is the part that everyone wants to know. How exactly are my eyes right now?

Prior to my lasik surgery, my eyesight was -6.00 in my right eye and -7.50 in my left eye. 5 months after my lasik procedure, I have perfect 6/6 vision in both eyes with no post-lasik side effects.

Shinagawa Eye Centre is conveniently located on the fifth floor of Wheelock Place.

For more information on the services and fees at Shinagawa Eye Centre, click here. To make an appointment, you can either call +65 6738 8222 or submit a webform here.


Shinagawa Eye Centre
501 Orchard Road
Wheelock Place #05-15
Contact: 6738 8222

Monday to Friday, 9am - 5:30pm
Saturday, 9am - 5pm

Mummy Chronicles: Giving Birth To Ethan In Mount Elizabeth Orchard

Reader's discretion advise: Not for the faint hearted, packed with too much details and every bit of gory childbirth truth

This piece has been lying around in my draft box for over a year. I was done with writing it a few months back but never got around to editing the pictures because there were way too many, scattered across various memory cards, hard drives and laptops. So finally, after a shit load of procrastination, I am getting this overdue piece of article out.

I will start from the very beginning. The very first childbirth scare that we went through. How heavy I was and desperate to get my baby out. I tried to naturally induce Ethan. I tried various methods that I managed to find online... some were pretty ridiculous. I've written every detail down. As specific as I could, with as much humor as I could possibly muster.

Every mother has her own story, but this is mine. Read on for more juicy details.


Part 1 | DAMN YOU, BRAXTON HICKS


Weeks before the big day, Ethan had been giving me several false alarms. The first one started at Week 36.

His dad and I were going for one last Baby Fair – to get his collapsible bath tub. We decided to head over earlier to Expo, to have a nice breakfast at Fart TArtz, before going to the fair. On our drive there, I kept feeling a sort of cramping sensation, kinda like a menstrual cramp.

I didn’t think much of it and passed it off as Braxton Hicks.

Just as I was finishing up my last bite of flatbread, the cramping sensation intensified. Alarm bells were going off in my head, I told the husband (he started panicking) and made a move for the washroom. As I stood up and made my way there, with the husband following closely at the back.

He stopped me all of a sudden and whispered to me, “Eh you have a wet patch at the back of your dress leh! Are you giving birth today? I’m not ready yet, I haven't pack my hospital bag!!”

I thought the husband was joking about the wet patch. He snapped a photo of it with his phone’s camera. Damn, the wet patch was real. Now it was my turn to panic. I rushed to the toilet, checking through my undergarments and all. Other than the wet patch, there was no leakage nor other signs that my water bag had broke.

I threw on a sanitary pad, we rushed to the baby fair, bought the bath tub and rushed back home. For the next 6 hours, I had irregular contractions. I sweated profusely and felt ill all over.

At around 7pm, the discomfort tailed off and ended. I walked into my gynae the next day for an emergency consultation, just to make sure that the baby was well and my pregnancy is still fine, and thankfully everything was still good.

Since then, I had Braxton Hicks contractions at around 2-3am. It didn’t happen every day. It started off with being once every fortnightly, and gradually increased to 2-3 times a week. The duration of the fake contractions increased as well.

At Week 38, my fake contractions were happening every night and lasted for 2-3 hours.

I was getting tired of being pregnant. The fake contractions were preventing me from having a good rest – I was worried that it might just be the real thing! I tried all sorts of natural methods to induce labour.


Part 2 | NATURAL METHODS TO INDUCE LABOUR (sex included)

Hospital 1

The popular suggestion online... To have tons of sex. Tried it and it didn’t do shit. Baby still stayed inside me. If anything, he protested violently by kicking me hard for the next hour after the deed was done.

Oh and, by the way, copulation near full term is a freaking challenging thing to do! My BIG pregnant belly got in the way all the time.

Next thing I tried was to diarrhoea. The logic behind it is to get the body to release hormones that causes the tummy to cramp up when having a stomachache, and the same hormones would in turn stimulate the uterus to start labour.

I’m lactose intolerant. Thus I did the most logical thing, I drank a small carton of milk.

I had a smelly / watery time in the loo and that was just about it. No baby in sight still. I guess, that small pack wasn’t strong enough but the husband refused to let me try anything funkier. He claimed that he didn’t want to receive his baby covered in poo. *rolls eyes*

I was introduced to clary sage oil by a mummy during an event. She swore that it helped to speed up her labour process. I thought to myself, why the hell not? I have absolutely no intention of staying in labour for any longer than I should.

I did some research online and found out that clary sage oil could also help to induce labour — hence pregnant women who have yet to reach full term are strongly advised to stay away from this essential oil.

By my 37th week, I was eager to get the little fatty out. His kicks were getting more powerful by the day, and they kept me up at night. Hence every night, I began rubbing the oil on certain acupuncture spots that were rumoured to assist in inducing labour.

I highly doubt that it did a thing to induce labour, but I must admit that it MIGHT have helped to speed up my labour process. My gynae had expected me to deliver at around 4pm, however by 12pm, I was dilated at 9.5cm and ready to birth. However I had to wait for another 2 hours till my doc was free to deliver my baby, and damn my labia swelled.


Part 3 | ACUPUNCTURE TO INDUCE LABOUR

Hospital 2


In my research, these words kept surfacing up: “acupoints”, “acupressure”, “acupuncture”. I googled for reviews on this method of natural induction and it had just the wee bit better response than the rest did. Also, there were medical journals – cochrane reviews included – to back it up!

And so, I got gung-ho and decided to do it!

My dad is a TCM physician, so lucky me didn’t have to find a physician and pay money to convince him/her to do the risky “needle-poking” for me.

I had to persuade my dad. It took awhile. He had read about it in his books but had never tried it on anyone... till me. He was worried on the effectiveness of the acupuncture, he was half expecting my water bag to break the moment he poked the needles in (no, that doesn’t and didn’t happen).

I had two sessions, each a week apart.

Let me first tell you about the pain. It is, MOTHERFUCKING. PAINFUL. Worst than an epidural.

There are three acupoints that requires poking (pardon my lack of appropriate vocabulary to describe) and of the three, one of them is at the little toe just below your nail bed. That acupoint is a killer.

It is so painful that I, a person with extremely low pain tolerance, had zero reaction to the other two acupoints but I screamed when my dad poked the needle in the little toe acupoint. I hurried the husband to switch off the fan because the wind was causing the needle to sway gently and fuck it was painful.

It was an excruciating 30 minutes of pain and sweat – due to the lack of ventilation in the room. When my dad finally pulled the needles out, I felt exonerated.

How were the results? For the first session... nothing happened. Like really, nothing. That night I didn’t even get a single braxton hicks contraction. It was the smoothest night that I had in a month. Dafuq right?

As for the second session... I had been suffering from irregular contractions for the past three days with an increasing number of episodes. I could take it no more and begged my dad to poked the needles for me again, but this time without the little toe acupoint.

How did this session go? It worked just as how it should.


Part 4 | LABOUR BEGINS

At 1am, I woke up from my sleep. The contractions were real this time. They had begun. My abdominal muscles were constantly tightening. The intensity increasing. My belly was hard like a rock.

But there was a problem. My contractions were not regular as what everyone said it would be. I hesitated on whether I should go to the hospital. I was grouchy af from the discomfort and numerous sleep-deprived nights. The husband said that we should play it safe, and insisted that we get it checked out. My mom drove us to Mount E.

I checked into the labour ward. A nurse had me changed into a hospital gown. Placed some wirings on my belly. Rubbed some lube on her fingers and then stuck her fingers in my vagina. I was 2cm dilated.

The expression on my husband’s face, pure joy! He was finally gonna get to meet his son. The waiting game will soon be over.

It was about 5am when we got the confirmation. By 9.20am, I was only 3cm dilated, had my water bag broken for me and just got my epidural in.

Here is the thing mummies, DO NOT follow the recommended guideline online to wait until you are 4cm dilated before you get the epidural. Go according to your gut feel and please take into account that it takes time for the anaesthetist to arrive, and even more time for the anaesthesia to kick in!

By 11.30am, I was still only 3cm dilated but my cervix was very thin.

All of a sudden at 12pm, I felt this sharp pain, a strong pressure down there, something (well, obviously the baby) was trying to push itself out of me! I rushed the husband to call the nurse. She pushed her fingers in and was shocked to discover that I had gone from 3cm to 9.5cm in an instant!

She rushed to call my gynae and gather the necessary assistance required for the birth. I was instructed to wait for the doctor and not to push, which I did try to but damn those contractions made it hard. My labia swelled up so badly afterwards because I was fighting against the natural urge to push my baby out.

What happened after that was a blur.

A bunch of nurses came in, adjusted my epidural dose, and prepared me for the birth of my child. They asked the husband, "Would you like to video down the process or stand beside her?" He opted for the latter.

I'm thankful about his choice as I had no desire to watch my vajayjay on screen, and even more so see how my little one's head is gonna pop out of that extremely stretchable "hole".

They had my legs strapped up against the delivery bed. Gave me instructions on how to breathe and to push. And then... the pushing began.

To be absolutely honest, I had no idea what the fuck I was pushing. Some might say that I had too much drug in my system and it could be lesser. However to me, the amount of drug was just at its sweet spot.

One of my legs had gone numb from the anaesthetic, but I could still feel the contractions... I just couldn't feel what I was pushing.

Somehow I had managed to push Ethan through my pelvis and the midwives were able to see the crown of Ethan's head. The eager husband decided to take a peek and then exclaimed out loud, "Wah! He got so much hair!"

In case you're wondering, yes it is the baby's head of hair that he saw and not my hair down there. I watched an episode of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" and decided to follow the Kardashians and get myself shaved pre-delivery so that my gynae and nurses wouldn't have to fight through a forest just to get to my baby. The husband thought I was nuts, which is... nothing new lol.


Ethan was facing upwards when he came out (typically a baby's face should be towards the ground). As a result, birthing him was difficult. My doctor had to perform an episiotomy* on me, and the cut was made all the way to my anus. *(definition: a surgical cut made at the opening of the vagina during childbirth, to aid a difficult delivery and prevent rupture of tissues)

Was it painful? Not at all during birth because I had the holy epidural. The pain only kicked in after birth and let me tell you this... WORST PAIN EVER in my whole entire life. Recovery sucks!

Next thing I knew, the doc was telling me that my baby would come out in this next push. He turned and told the nurses to prepare the vacuum. I felt a contraction coming, I closed my eyes and pushed hard...

Then I heard my doctor telling me repeatedly to open my eyes and look. In my mind, I was thinking "What the heck is he asking me to look at? I am busy enough trying to focus and push a living creature out of me. What does he want?" I opened my eyes and there was this wet and squirmy little thing lying atop of me.

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HOLY SHIT... the baby is here. The baby is finally here. The baby is out.

All the birthing videos that I've watched on YouTube didn't do much in preparing me. I didn't know what to expect.

The little one stared at me with wide eyes, then he proceeded to squint them and gave a ear-piercing "I'M NOT HAPPY, I WANT TO BE BACK IN MY MUMMY'S WOMB" cry.

I couldn't stop staring at him. I don't think my husband could either. Everything felt so surreal. Part of me was wondering if I had to breastfeed him right away or do I wait? The other half of me was wondering if the baby would wriggle his way up so that he could feed?

None of that happened. He just laid on me and stared back at me, as though he was trying to talk to me with his eyes.

Well.. while all of that was happening. I was getting stitched up my doctor. He dug out the placenta from inside me and forced a reluctant husband to take a photo of the bloody organ that was responsible for feeding our kid for the past 9 months.

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Weight at birth: 3.365kg

The nurse came and removed my epidural – sobs, I missed it so much when the recovery pain started kicking in. She offered me some food because I hadn't taken food in the past 15 hours.

Most people puke while having an epidural. I puked after. Right after I had a biscuit and a cup of milo. All of the food came out in a gush like a merlion spewing water from its mouth daily. Needless to say, it was disgusting. I'm glad that the husband did not faint.



Part 5 | AFTER BIRTH

Ethan 1

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I remember the first night in the hospital after giving birth. I woke up at around 12 midnight 'cos of the pain. It was so bad. I tried bearing with the pain, I didn't want to wake the husband. We barely got any sleep at all because of the little one – the contractions started the night before so we were already exhausted by the day's activities and then the hungry little fella kept coming into the room for more milk.

Finally I could no longer take the pain no more. Tears began flowing down my cheeks and soon, I was sobbing loudly as a way to relief the pain. The hubby woke up startled, he pulled open the curtains, asking me in a frantic manner what was wrong? Like a little girl whose ice cream just got stolen, I stuttered through my sobs, "The pain... It's so bad. I want to die. I just want to die... It hurts so bad down below... Help... I need help..."

I don't know why I didn't think of it. I guess I was too tired. The husband walked over to the other side of the bed, reached for the nurses' bell and in a minute, a nurse came in... and she was a life saver! Now I know why they draw a halo ring on a nurse's head because that is exactly how I saw her!

She returned to the room with some painkillers and a box of Epi-Kool Pak... IMO THE BEST THING EVER INVENTED! It is a cooling maternity pad, kinda like between an ice pack and a sanitary pad, and that took away the pain instantly! I slept like baby after – well, that was until MiniChew came in an hour later wanting MORE MILK again!

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Now I'm gonna stop writing here because my #momlife after birth was dramatic as hell as well... or at least the first 3 months were. I've got a lot to complain share about and this blog post has a lot more details than I initially thought I would share. Thank you for staying with me till the end and here is a small note for my not-so-little MiniChew... SEE WHAT MAMA WENT THRU TO PUSH YOU OUT!

Read my husband's version on Ethan's birth here on his rarely updated blog.