Saturday, 26 July 2008

This one's for the dads

So much of pregnancy is about the mums and the bond between mums and the baby. Johnson & Johnson's tagline is "When a baby is born, so is a mother." Sometimes we forget "When a baby is born, so is a FATHER."

My father was over the moon when I was born and he would rush home from work to cuddle and play with me. This was in an era when taking care of babies was "women's work" and the other men would give him weird looks when they saw him helping to feed me.
Thankfully, most guys these days are a lot more involved. Lots of guys I worked with would rush home to play with their children and kept weekends strictly for family time. There have been many times when our girls' get-togethers happened only because the men in their lives were only too happy to be baby-sitting the little ones.

So mums-to-be, get the daddy-to-be involved from the start. Share with him your feelings, your hopes and your fears. Remember, he's had a hand in this miracle too and he deserves to be there every step of the way. Tell him what it's like when the baby moves about in you. He can't feel it the way you can, so describe it to him and let him imagine what it must be like. My husband is fascinated when I tell him what the movements feel like and I can tell that he's trying to imagine what it's like.

Sing lullabies to the baby together. Watch his face change with all the emotions he's feeling inside when he comes along to the check-ups and he sees the baby's scan or hears the tiny heart beat for the first time. Tell him your pregnancy fears and when you can't hold back your tears, love him for keeping strong to comfort you. Encourage him to talk to the bump - my husband never fails to say good morning and kiss my bump goodbye before he leaves for work. Talk with him about parenting styles, get him involved and thinking early about this - will you be strict or liberal? Daydream with him about the day your little boy grows up to be the champion golfer/footballer he'd always wanted to be but couldn't because he had to do something else more down-to-earth.

All this mummyhood talk isn't just to share with your mum, your sisters, your girlfriends. He deserves to share all that too but in a different way because I know for sure my Top Monkey gets bored when I start talking about matching baby clothes with my clothes while the girls all squeal, "Oh that's soooo cute!" But he lights up when I tell him things like how the baby responds when I play Poke Me games with him. And he enjoys it when I tell him stuff like "Stop eating beans on toast! Our baby is x weeks old and he's as big as a baked bean, so it's like you're eating heaps of babies!" It helps him visualise how our son is developing inside me.

The bonding between father and child doesn't have to wait till the little one is born. It can start right now, right here.

Friday, 25 July 2008

24 weeks and bankrupting my husband with my hunger

Well, I'm at the 24-week mark. I've gained about 7kg now, most of it going to my hips, thighs and the belly bump. I'm what my husband lovingly calls a weeble or, as we Chinese call it, the "don't tip over doll". It means I'm prone to putting on weight around my hips and thighs. When I put weight on, it's always from the bottom up and when I lose it, it's always from the top down. So now I look like a jolly little weighted doll with cheekbones.

According to here, Little Monkey is now about a foot long. How about that? He's the size of the foot-long subs we always eat on our holidays! I can actually feel he's about that length because I know where his head is.. wedged somewhere on the left of my belly, aligned with my belly button. This is also why the left side of my bump feels firmer to the touch compared to the right. I think that's why he always kicks up a huge fuss - and I mean a HUGE fuss - when I lie on my left side. I don't blame the little guy, who enjoys being suspended upside down in a bag of fluid? His feet are to my right, just where my bump's just starting to round out. I know his arms and hands are usually curled up around his head so I'm just wondering what on earth is he using to poke me at the bellybutton???

Most women take a glucose screening test about now to test for gestational diabetes. You can read more about it by clicking the link I've provided above. What I didn't know was that if you have gestational diabetes, you could have a more difficult vaginal birth as it will cause your baby to grow too large. I'll be talking to my doctor about this when I get back to Jakarta.

I'm eating quite a bit more than I used to. I would say I'm probably eating about 1 1/2 portions each time I have a meal. I can't drink a glass of milk for my calcium because I'm not used to it, so I get my milk from my cereal breakfasts and from mixing into drinks. I also top that up with a calcium supplement. For my vit C, I make sure I eat fruits everyday. I don't get to eat a lot of fish so I take a DHA supplement for my omega-3. Chicken tends to be my main source of protein and rice is my main carbo source... I am Asian after all.. hehe.

I've also noticed that I get dizzy if my sugar levels are low, so I always make sure I keep mints in my bag when I'm out and about shopping. I get leg cramps sometimes at night but all I need to do is massage my leg and I'm all right again. I need a bolster or pillow to hold when I sleep (cue hubby whining, "But what about me?") because I can't balance properly sleeping on my side with the bump. Craps with the lower back, I can sense the pains will come later in the pregnancy if I don't take care now and don't find a chiro to work with soon!

Right now, I've got this itch to go out and spend, spend, spend on baby stuff. I know I'm supposed to stick to a list and really, it doesn't make sense to buy too much because babies grow so quickly... but oh! it's so cute and I can just imagine my little boy looking so adorable in it!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Mum and Dad get to see Little Monkey's latest scan

I'm back home in my little hometown in Malaysia for a week to see my mum and dad. I flew infrom Jakarta on Air Asia, one of the region's many budget carriers. It's pretty good service, the planes were on time and we landed 20 minutes early. Unfortunately, the baggage took about 20 minutes to appear so we lost the time advantage.

I'd emailed home Little Monkey's latest scan to my parents to show them the baby but it so happened the PC at home konked out and they didn't get to see it. So I brought the actual scan home to show them a glimpse of their first grandchild-to-come.

I didn't realise that people who aren't used to seeing ultrasound scans can't make head or tail of them. I'd been seeing them so often that when the doctor points out, "Here's his head..." I can make it out immediately. So when Dad first saw the scan, he was puzzled, "What's this?" All his three children were born in an era when ultrasound wasn't freely available and I doubt if he ever got to see much of us in utero.

I told him it was the baby's face and hands. It took him a few minutes of squinting before he finally saw it. And when he did, he was just delighted! It was lovely to see his pleasure and excitement. My dad adores babies and children and he's always the one who would play with the kids in the family.

What my dad liked very much was that our Little Monkey seems to have inherited his father's strong Caucasian nose. We come from a family of snubby noses (or no-nose as my amused husband likes to put it) and a strong, sharp nose is a highly prized feature. He was proudly pointing out the nose to my mum when she appeared later to have a look. I'm guessing that when he's born, they're going to want to make a cast of his nose to show off to neighbours "Look at my grandson's nose! It's sharp enough to pierce a can!"