Tag Archives: pregnancy

Motherhood: An 11 month Journal

 

**WARNING: Long post ahead**

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Apologies for all the non ‘professional’ photos that you will see in this post and the ones related to it, but most of my personal life has been captured in the moment. Usually from our phones. So while the photos aren’t pretty, I hope you can appreciate that they are real instead hehe :)

Also, If you’re wondering why I have taken so long to write a post about motherhood, and all its pitfalls, joys, and battlescars, I somehow feel like I come up short with the right words. But I’ll try.. here goes my heart for the last 11 months.

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It’s late. She’s finally asleep. And I’m sitting here on my bed, with her inside her cot, next to me.

I hear the sound of cars in the distance, and the buzzing of her white noise machine whirring away on the bedside table as usual, and I catch myself realizing it has been almost one year since she came into our lives.

Crazy.

I don’t often get much time to pause and think these days (I’m sure most mothers can attest to this) as sleep usually wins in terms of needs on our list of things to do. However, this one makes me stop.

I can’t believe she is already 11 months old…” I say to myself.

It almost takes my breath away knowing that time has somehow escaped our grasp this quickly, like a wild running waterfall that spills over the biggest of cliffs. It certainly hasn’t felt like a year. “More like a mere few months at most?”.

When sienna was brand new, a lot of the mothers that spoke to me and shared their words of wisdom, often told me “the days are long, but the years are short”.

I always found the saying really strange. A paradox that I just could not reconcile in my mind. I couldn’t quite understand it’s meaning in my newly minted mother-status. But I do now.

As a mum, each day is tiring. Some days are joys and wins. And others are battles. The rest, just fall in between the middle-of-the-road normal of fighting to stay awake, endless nappy changes, puke stains on newly washed clothes, while making sure our child gets all her sleep, her nutrients, her milk, her liquids, and stays clean enough to not get herself sick. Let’s not mention if we even get time to have a meal or a shower uninterrupted. I remember in the newborn fog, those things were luxuries, optional ones at that.

It varies between mother to mother, but we all share the same sentiment: The days, can feel very very stretched. Especially for those mothers out there who do it completely alone. I salute these women. They’re tough. They’re independent. They’re strong and resourceful. These are totally badass women and I love everything about what they can handle. These mothers manage an entire household, look after their babies, their husbands (to those who are single mothers or fathers, you’re at the top of my respect list), and still have to find a way to eat, work, shower, and sleep. Typing that very paragraph already makes me tired. To live this each and everyday as a reality? RESPECT. I have the blessing of family, my husband, and help, with my little sienna when I am working or travelling, and I am already exhausted, so trust me when I say I think these women who do it alone are incredible.

I look back at Sienna’s resting face this evening, and her small little frame, wrapped up in her floral nighttime onesie. I can’t help but study her round cuddly features from time to time….Yes, it’s a weird thing we parents like to do… look at our kids while they’re sleeping. Its an extremely peaceful and calming sight, and even despite the worst of days, when they return to their beds, and their eyes lids close from heaviness, we love them again with an overflowing soul crushing kind of love. The kind of love that wants to burst through the walls from its weight and might. It is a phenomenon that happens every night. A renewing of sorts.

11 months in, I understand why mothers say their children drive them crazy, but they love them so much it hurts. We live with this paradox everyday.

The irony of all this is… We mothers love it. We wouldn’t trade this thing called parenthood for the world. Call us crazy, but children do that to you. I have never thought of myself as very maternal or clucky, but having a little person who is my very own has taught me so much about self sacrifice, patience, forgiveness, letting go, slowing down, being present in the moment, perspectives of the bigger picture, and knowing what are the right battles to pick. But lessons mainly about love. So so so much about love. I’ll need another post for that alone. And I know I am still learning. Forever a student.

It is at this moment I notice her eyelashes… it’s always her eyelashes first. They’re so long. It kind of surprises me each time, even though they don’t really change. I sometimes wonder where she gets them from because Ju and I definitely haven’t been blessed with such a pretty attribute. Then my thoughts always drift to, “who does she look more like? Ju? Me?” . People often say she resembles her daddy. And I will admit, she has so much of her father in her. Both the physical and the personality traits. Yet, at the same time, when I study her more and more, I realize she is a rather equal balance of the both of us. I don’t know if any one thing about her is truly Ju, or me.

For example, her eyes. Her eyes have single eyelids, but the size of the eyes are like mine. Or her lips for instance… They are small in size like mine, but the shape? They are pouty like her father’s. And then, there is her character. Her giant character. She can be all sorts of happy and funny and joyful… but at the same time she is also superbly stubborn, and feisty, and knows exactly what she wants when she wants it. Just thinking over that makes me laugh…. She has SO much personality. It literally bursts through every day and she wears it through her entire body. It makes me chuckle every single time.

But Jenny, you stil havent told us what has motherhood been like these past 11 months? ” I hear you asking.

I don’t know if any one word would aptly describe it… busy? tiring? challenging? rewarding? joyful? complete…?

One thing is for sure though… I have lived a much quieter life since Sienna came into this world. Quieter, not in the sense of literal noise. For she is one LOUD and noisy baby, and definitely has a good set of lungs on her. But quiet in the sense that my life has been a lot slower since she came about. That doesn’t mean I am no longer busy. It just means being a mother has forced me to be in the moment alot more. I used to be SO SO busy with work. And my mind was in a million and one places at a time. I was constantly on the go. And while I got more sleep then, vs now, I felt like I was never settled. I was always flying, and living out of a suitcase.

Don’t get me wrong, the work was good and I will never complain about the blessing of being able to earn, especially in this economy today. I just always felt adrift and no place was really home. It drove me crazy at times. So let me say, it has been marvelous…wonderfully fulfilling in fact, to be planted in one place. And living what I like to call it the ‘quiet life’. I know a lot of people out there are chasing the glamour and the fame and the money, and there is nothing wrong with that. But let me tell you, that this quiet-life is so underrated. People should try it more often. It is so beautiful. After 9 years of crazy, I’ve finally had time to stop and rekindle friendships. To actually BE with people. To Live life WITH them. And that in turn, has brought around so much joy and fulfillment. There really is no life, without people to live and love with :)

Anyway, before this becomes a book, I just wanted to say, motherhood in the last 11 months? Has been all kinds of wonderful and terrible. But mostly under the wonderful umbrella :) The start was rough. Very rough (you can read more about it in the 0-3 month section below)…I felt so lost under the waves of anxiety of whether I was doing things right, or if I would ever survive being a parent and feel human again. I swore I would never want another kid. I cried. I wondered what was wrong with my child. I wondered what was wrong with me. Then one day, the fog slowly began to clear, and things started to seem less painful. Either I was getting used to things, or Sienna was getting used to things.

I realized, actually it was both :)

And it was then that I realised it takes time to love someone. I expected to be head over heels in love with my baby as soon as she was born and just adore being a mother…. but Just like any other relationship, you need time to know the other person, be with them, bond with them, and learn about them inside out to reach the falling in love stage. Anyway, at least we got there in the end….it took longer than I expected, but happened. And that’s all that matters :) More importantly, the love grows with each and every day.

Since then, she has grown up to be such a wonderful little baby girl. I look forward to her cuddles and her cheeky mischievous nature every day when our eyelids first wake from the haze of a night’s sleep. Thinking about it, makes me realise I’m going to miss calling her a baby, and I don’t think I am quite ready to accept that she will technically be termed a toddler in less than a month, but I’ll continue to cling tight to her tiny round clumsy limbs, and press my face against her beautiful soft round cheeks, because soon they will become framed cheekbones, and long and lean and able arms and feet. So I will hold onto these days as much as I can. For they fleet away from us much too fast. I will score them on my heart, and hope my older self remembers fondly of how glorious they were. And what an amazing blessing it was to raise her in this most fragile and vulnerable period of her life.

So, I sit here at the end of this post admitting to you that despite being 11 months in, I am still new to this whole motherhood thing. While I know for myself that I have gotten the hang of some of it, there is still a long road ahead and many years to walk through, and that children are always changing. But one thing is for sure, I love being Sienna’s mother. She may be altogether overwhelming, but she is also a total joy at the same time. And she may have endless (and I mean ENDLESS) bounds of energy that can literally consume me some days, however I am certain she is all worth it. I know you mammas out there know what I am talking about… I can’t quite explain it. And for those that aren’t mammas or pappas, I hope you have appreciated my story so far, regardless :) Thank you for taking the time to read, and follow me on this season of my life.

To end… I just want to share here again, exactly one part of what I wrote in my 0-3 months after birth post (link below) to encourage any mothers out there who are really feeling overwhelmed or finding it difficult to embrace their new role in life… that ‘this too shall pass‘.

I heard this phrase ALL the time when Sienna was first around. Back in those days, I will admit that it annoyed me to no end, because when you are desperate for time to pass and stuck in what seems and feels like an endless tunnel of when things will change with your baby, its hard to believe other mothers who say that IT WILL PASS. But sitting here at 11 months on, I know it to be true. A difficult, and a long truth to understand, but truth none the less. Which means there is hope. It means it only gets better. Yes ladies, it really does :) Trust it coming from a mother of a high needs baby! :)

So if you are finding it hard, tough, unbearable. Hang in there. You will eventually fall in love with your baby. Trust me you will. Don’t compare your journey with anyone else’s. Your babe will eventually learn how to eat. She will eventually learn how to sleep. In time she is even going to smile at you. And respond to your words. And before you know it, you will have a little human being in your lives that you just cannot bear to imagine life without. I promise you that you won’t even remember what your existence felt like before she came. It will be but a distant memory and you will think to yourself, the tears were worth it. It was all so very worth THIS.

Sienna and I, today :) 11 Months old.

Sienna and I, today :) 11 Months old.

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For those of you who are wondering about the finer details of my journey with Sienna, which will talk more about the practical side of things like breastfeeding, skin care, weight loss, body image, and so on, you can read on further in the following links. I have taken the liberty to break it down into smaller sections for all of you, so that you wouldn’t have to read and scroll through an entire literary saga in this post. I’ve started by releasing the 0-3 month post, with the rest to be published shortly after (didn’t want to overwhelm you all with everything all in one go :P). Hopefully in between all these, I can write little journals or updates on current life with Sienna so you don’t always get furnished with a novel each time I blog ;)

Birth – 3 months (available for reading now)

3-6 months (to be published by the end of this weekend)

6-11 months (to be published sometime hopefully early next week)

 

Jenny Signoff

Motherhood: Birth to 3 Months

Hello friends!

Welcome to my Birth to 3 Months diary of sorts!

meholdingsienna_newborn

While this wont be a journal/story like my 11-month post, it will be much more practical and hopefully more detailed in nature so you have an idea what this period of my life was like! I don’t profess to know everything, and I am in no way an expert, so what I write here is just to share what went on, and if anything you take from here encourages you, that’s wonderful! If not, I just want to thank you here first for reading anyway :)

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The Pregnancy

Before I go on, I should probably quickly summarize my pregnancy.

While you can read in more detail what my pregnancy was like here and here, I can quickly recap and let you know my 1st trimester – was honestly horrible for me. I never felt more sick in my life, and I swear I it was like I was in a constant state of vertigo and motion sickness the entire time. Thankfully the 2nd trimester got better, and while I never really felt a full 100% for the remainder of my pregnancy, I could at least function like a human being without feeling like all the cells in my body wanted to hurl. It was also around this time, I stopped looking like I had eaten too much, and my baby bump decided to show.

Also, I missed exercising (I was super active before I got pregnant ) but it just got too hard with limited energy and just not being agile enough due to the growing belly weight and the strain it put on my joints and back. The plus side though, is that we took a last minute trip to the Maldives for our babymoon (I have so many photos which I will eventually share) which was the most relaxing trip we have ever done…. And then by the time I knew it, I was already seeing out my 3rd trimester and finally completing the nursery with just a couple of weeks to spare :)

From 18 weeks to 38 weeks. Click photo for full sized image.

From 18 weeks to 38 weeks. Click photo above for full sized image.

Sienna's nursery :)

Sienna’s nursery :)

People often say to me, don’t I miss being pregnant? And in all honesty, while I respect all the women out there who had a glorious 9 months baking a bun in their oven, from my own personal experience (and I know it is very subjective from person to person), I don’t miss pregnancy much. I will say though, one thing was very special. It was feeling Sienna move inside. It was something only I, myself, could feel when she kicked, rolled, and hiccupped. And while Ju, could ‘see’ the movements from the outside, there was just something quite indescribably special and soul-tied about knowing those sensations intimately from the inside. I know only mothers will understand this strange yet wonderful miracle, so mammas/mamma-to-be ladies out there, I hope you know what I am talking about :)

The Birth Onwards

You can read the birth in full detail here, and see some photos that were taken by the husband as well of the moment Sienna came into our lives, while I try to wrap my head around what happened these first 3 months. In all honesty, a lot of it was a blur. I thought I was somewhat prepared for what newborn life would be like, and while in my head I knew it would require sacrifice, change, lack of sleep, and challenges, I don’t think anything really got me ready for the runaway train of a wreck that these few raw and new months were truly like. Most of the time, I felt so lost and overwhelmed, and worried. Always worrying. I know most mothers will tell you that as a parent, you will forever worry about your child, but I think these few months as virgins in the land of parenthood, everything freaked me out and I was constantly wondering if I was doing the right thing. What was wrong with my child? Why is she ALWAYS crying. It really did a number on us.

You see, Sienna was a very very unsettled baby.

Breastfeeding/Pumping Vs Formula:

She never learned to latch or breastfeed despite so so many attempts and help from friends, family and trained medical professionals alike  (so I pumped all my milk every few hours which honestly drove me crazy because by the time I was done, she would want to feed again… and the washing/sterilizing! Don’t even get me started…so for my sanity, I eventually weaned my breastmilk off at around the 3 month mark and slowly introduced formula which was one of the best decisions I made in this period as it meant I got more sleep, and the time I wasn’t washing/sterilizing meant I could actually spend it with Sienna. I could finally actually bond and learn to appreciate her. It also meant anyone could now feed her and I didn’t have to worry about pumping at a job/meeting, or when I travelled for work, etc). I know everyone has their own choices and preferences, which I completely respect… this was just mine.

Then she was never really a good feeder so there was a phase where she refused to drink any of her milk for stretches as long as 12-14 hours a day, every day, for weeks. It drove me crazy… but eventually with the persuasion of the Dr, I decided to just go with the flow… slowly but surely, she began to drink her milk again, and by her 4th month she was consuming the stuff regularly and in a fairly predictable routine :) We some how hit a crazy phase by month 7 or 8, but more on that later.

Sienna’s Skin issues:

On top of all this, she had reflux. And really bad cradle cap (which thankfully, went away with use of Detinox for cradle cap and using QV Bath Oil in her daily bath to bathe her instead of shampoo/soap). And last but not least, she had really bad eczema. Her skin got so bad, people looked at us and wondered what we were doing to our child. It ended up getting blistered, oozing out with liquid. I sobbed as I looked at my baby’s face and felt so damn helpless. People were offering their opinions for this everywhere, and believe me we tried EVERYTHING. We even had her blood tested for any allergies – she had none. In the end, while I know it isn’t the most natural of routes, and probably the least desirable, at around the 2.5 to 3 month mark we put Sienna on a course of steroid cream on Dr’s advice, in hopes that her body’s immune system would keep growing stronger while we used the cream so that in time, we could depend on it less and less.

Slowly, but surely, the redness that was all over face and body, slowly faded away. She still gets small flare ups now and again (Mainly on her face) but its well and truly better than what it used to be, and its so much easier to control now. People even commented over time how beautiful her complexion was (if only they knew the early days!). I know there is a really big taboo on the use of steroids and so on, and trust me, as a mother all I wanted was natural natural natural stuff all the way too, but when you child is screaming because she can’t sleep, because she is itchy everywhere, because she is in so much discomfort, I felt, the best thing for her and my family was to treat it quickly and ease her pain. Today, we rarely even use the cream, and her skin is beautiful and glowing just like any other child’s. So mothers who are fighting this, don’t feel like this isn’t an option. Decide what is best for your child at the end of the day and don’t listen to anyone out there telling you otherwise.

Sienna’s sleeping habits:

Let me tell you, my baby girl was (and in some ways, still is) a terrible sleeper. I don’t even remember what it is like to sleep through the night in one stretch haha. She is alot better now (sleeps from about 8pm to 730am, and wakes up maybe once, but is easy to settle back if we pat her back to sleep).

As a newborn in this stage of her life, she had to be swaddled (and this remained until she was 6 month old or so). In addition, Sienna refused to be put down when sleeping which meant that we co-slept with her, and I slept with her in my arms the whole night. On top of that, she only settled into sleep when we rocked/carried her. So it made each day a living nightmare for me because it meant I felt constantly chained to her (we all know how much babies sleep). And the nights were the worst. Because that is when I felt the most alone. I literally had a sick feeling in my stomach (the kind when you know you’re expecting a terrible FAIL result for a massive exam, or a big job interview return phone call) as the hours and minutes drew closer and closer to the evening. I knew that the part of the day where I’d be most exhausted but had to keep my body up every hour was arriving… again.

*cue all the parenting advice, good and bad, that got thrown at us from all sorts of directions at this point from here*

Believe me, we heard it ALL. Don’t carry your baby so much, you will spoil her. Don’t rock her to sleep, she will get used to it. Just leave her there and cry. But what they didn’t see were the nights we left her crying endlessly, to the point where she was choking on her own sobbing and only getting worse. They didnt see that I got more sleep holding her than putting her down. They didn’t see that sienna slept better (and was therefore happier during her awake hours) when I had her in my arms while she was slumbering. At the end of the day, for sanity and peace sake, I eventually decided to turn off the internet, to stop reading mummy forums, and to take all parenting advice given to us with a pinch of salt, and to ultimately decide for our own family what was best.

I realize everyone meant well, but what they do not tell you is that, in the throws of trying to figure out your own body that continues to be ravaged by hormones and lack of sleep, trying to figure out your baby, and trying to figure out how your entire life fits in and around this new human being, most parents are already quite….fragile.

People often looked at me and sienna, with pity and alarm as they saw everything that was going on with her and I, and I probably also drove my Dr crazy with the number of visits we ended up having in this period. But I hope what people learn about new parents is, we are doing our best. While we are physically drained, we are already doing our utmost best. Really. Even though on the surface it may seem like a bit of a mess.

Sometimes being told we shouldn’t do things certain ways, or asked why haven’t we tried this yet makes us feel kind of like a failure of sorts. And it hurts our already tired and frazzled egos. Rationally, we know people don’t mean any harm, but I always feel it is best to leave parents to do their thing. Trust me when I say they are already doing everything possible for their babe in the given situation they are in… and they have probably already tried everything. And, when they have the breath, depth, and energy to resurface from this rollercoaster of a season, if they need the help, they will ask :) They will. So don’t worry. So I usually say to people, the best thing they can do for new parents is just ask if there is anything they can do to help, if not, just smile and say they’re baby looks so cute, and that they are doing a mighty fine job. Makes us feel a whole lot better and you look like amazing friends :)

Baby Milestones + Notes:

  • Sienna could lift her own head by 1 month
  • She was doing tummy time by about the same time. Not that she really liked it. She always preferred to be held upright. To this day, this trait of hers, has not changed.
  • She hated the stroller. Still does to this day. Thank goodness for carriers. We used an Ergo performance carrier at first, but then switched to a Pognae HipSeat Forward facing carrier when she was about 6 months (about the time she was able to sit up herself). I’ve heard good things about the Ergo 360 cool air though – something for mummies to check out if they were looking for such a thing.
  • We saw her first real smile probably at the 2.5 month mark :)
  • One of the things I learned over time, was that Sienna was definitely NOT a textbook baby. She never followed any of the things that textbooks and websites said. While it was utterly frustrating and one of the things that made me feel so very helpless (and hence extremely extremely stressed), it also taught me to eventually go with the flow. That what people said was best for her, was not always ‘the’ way with her. In the end, we took the approach of doing what was best for our family and our baby as a whole unit. For example, if co-sleeping meant everyone got more sleep, we chose co-sleeping :) Or if feeding her formula meant she actually got fed without the screaming and the tears, then we went with formula.

Mummy notes during this time:

Emotional state – Fragile and frazzled. I have to say, for most of this period, I was kind of a wreck. I lived from day to day on survival mode, and felt like I had no idea what I was doing most of the time. I had a few bouts where I would find myself crying in the shower, for no real specific reason. It was just all overall overwhelming, and I was always wishing I was either more in control of my life, more in control of my baby, or just wishing for a break. In time it got better though, and thanks to some mothers from a mother’s group I was part of during that period, I managed. Their words, visits, and advice really got me through the crazy.

Also, Ju (my husband), besides being as hands on as he possibly knew during the time, he did whatever he could to alleviate the stress, and make things easier. One of those things, was to get me out of the house for a couple of hours each day. This was a saving grace as it meant I had something to look forward to each evening to get me through those rough nights, and it also meant my life didn’t feel like it revolved 100% around nappies, crying, puke, solving skin issues, sleep issues, and feeding issues. While it didn’t make the pain of dealing with all of the above literally easier, it did help the day to day crawling of time pass by. And that really helped me come back more refreshed and charged to take on the rest of the mum-duties when I got back.

Self-care – Much like other new mothers out there, there isn’t much time to do anything outside of looking after our babies. Much less looking after ourselves. I think I looked (and felt) the worst I ever have in my entire life during this period which included my diet, my hair, my skin, and my body. I remember my skin literally flaking off my face, and my hair falling out in chunks in the shower, not having the mental space or energy to think about eating healthy, none of my regular clothes fitting and still having to wear maternity wear for another couple of months.  I think I disappeared from the face of the planet for most of this period and only my immediate family and closest of friends knew what was going on in my life in this period. Life eventually eased up enough, and Sienna settled into to somewhat of a routine enough to let me start figuring those things out one by one, but more on that in my 3-6months after birth post :)

Weight Loss – So, the weight gain by the end of my pregnancy was 16KG. It was easily 4kg over what I hoped would be the maximum I would put while Sienna was growing inside. And while after the birth, I lost 5 immediately, the remaining 11 was hard hard work. I know as mums we aren’t supposed to be hard on ourselves as it took 9 months to gain all that weight, and we literally grew a human being inside us, but when you’re battling body image issues on a daily basis, and feeling yucky about yourself, you do think about the extra weight hanging around. But much like self-care, I didn’t have time to work on this until Sienna was a little older –  of which I’ll be writing about in my 3-6 and my 6-11 month post :)

Lastly just some advice:

Practical talk – To any mammas out there who are expecting your first child, just a heads up that your milk will come in about 3 -4 days after the birth. No one told me. And for some reason, all the birth prep documents and articles never mentioned it. So what happened was that I got severe engorgement because I let my milk stay inside for almost 8-9 hours without letting it out. Thankfully I did not get mastitis (which is a horrible fever and infection of the milk ducts) but it did mean I had to be extremely diligent and hard working to massage all that milk out and start a regular pumping schedule (as Sienna never directly latched on). Yup, I unwisely didn’t bring a breast pump so all of it was done by hand. So pregnant ladies, do pack one! Even if it is a borrowed one from a friend into your hospital bad :)

This too shall pass – I heard this phrase ALL the time when Sienna was first around. Back in those days, I will admit that it annoyed me to no end, because when you are desperate for time to pass and stuck in what seems and feels like an endless tunnel of when things will change with your baby, its hard to believe other mothers who say that IT WILL PASS. But sitting here at 11 months on, I know it to be true. A difficult, and a long truth to understand, but truth none the less. Which means there is hope. It means it only gets better. Yes ladies, it really does :) Trust it coming from a mother of a high needs baby! :)

So if you are finding it hard, tough, unbearable. Hang in there. You will eventually fall in love with your baby. Trust me you will. Don’t compare your journey with anyone else’s. Your babe will eventually learn how to eat. She will eventually learn how to sleep. In time she is even going to smile at you. And respond to your words. And before you know it, you will have a little human being in your lives that you just cannot bear to imagine life without. I promise you that you won’t even remember what your existence felt like before she came. It will be but a distant memory and you will think to yourself, the tears were worth it. It was all so very worth THIS.

Anyway, I thought to end, to share some moments we managed to capture on camera during this time. We didn’t get a chance to take pretty newborn photos, but all that is here is 100% real :)

Sienna - From birth to 3 months :) Click photo above to see the full sized version :)

Sienna – From birth to 3 months :) Click photo above to see the full sized version :)

Jenny Signoff

Pregnancy: 31 weeks and reflecting back to 12

I’m sitting here with a self-induced food coma, and finally getting this post finished….This entry was supposed to go up 3 days ago…but as life would have it, timing never works out as planned. Being pregnant (and I know that it becomes even more so when one becomes a mother after) you learn over time that you aren’t ever 100% in control of your own time… or your body! Currently, at 31 weeks, the fatigue that plagues the first trimester, has returned and has become a very unwelcome visitor every day this past week. So getting things done has been quite hard as I am always sleepy, my back always hurts, my feet (especially the heels!) are always screaming in pain, and the most comforting place is the bed where I can lay on my side…. the only position left nowadays that brings some long needed hours of rest and relief.

Thankfully though, at 31 weeks, while I am tired ALL the time, I do not have that WRETCHED all-day nausea anymore. Instead, I am hungry every 3 hours (although I cannot eat alot due to the diminishing amount of physical space inside me – it literally physically hurts to overeat, and I have learned the hard way that it is better to eat less, but more frequently instead of eating until I feel completely full and satisfied). Also, on the upside, most foods sit well with me now. Which is such a stark contrast to the first trimester where I hated anything and everything in sight – ESPECIALLY garlic. It is as if pregnancy has amplified my taste receptors to a scarily aware level because if I can taste even the slightest hint of garlic in a dish/food, I get sick… like the kind of nausea-sick I got in my first trimester. Which is sad… because anyone who knows me knows just HOW MUCH I loved garlic before I was pregnant…. I used to heap the stuff on in my food and could eat the cloves by themselves when they were baked in the oven. Now the thought and smell of the stuff sends me running in fear for my life. Yup, anything to avoid feeling as sick as I did during my first 4 months.

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If anyone asks me what I have been loving to eat lately? The usual burgers always hit the spot :D Sausage and egg mcmuffins (I love hashbrowns too but try really hard not to eat them too often for the sake of transfat health reasons haha), juicy beef burgers (although it has been a little sad to tell the kitchen to make the beef totally well done), DURIANS (omg, durians! especially when they have been refrigerated cold!), greek yoghurt with mango, fruits of ALL kinds, chilled fresh coconut juice, crackers and cheese, milk, and a special combination of chicken/rice/fried egg/steamed broccoli which has been a staple lunch for me lately :) The husband has been really really patient with me, and has been graciously providing food for the baby (ie. me haha) as and when I have wanted it. Thankfully, ridiculous late night food runs have not really been happening, except once. So the weight gain so far, has been about 11KG at 31 weeks.

And what has life looked like in the past week or two? Well, in terms of the baby…bub is moving ALL the time…. its kind of crazy that just weeks ago, catching baby movements was as hard as finding gold but now I am aware of when bub is rolling, turning, kicking, or having a dance party in my belly… more on that in the next post… For now, in terms of what life looks like at the moment?  I think the nesting stage has COMPLETELY taken over, because I have always hated cleaning the house. You’d have to beat me with a broom before I would get off my lazy bum and do it, but since entering my last trimester, I have had this intense need to wash all towels, linens, floors, dust shelves, clean mirrors and glass, organize rooms, cupboards, shoes, throw out SO MUCH CRAP, and work on the nursery. I don’t know what has come over me! I might leave “Project Nursery” for another post in my pregnancy journal series though, because all of you need to see what state this room used to be in (think dark, horrible store/junkyard kind of room), what our goal is, and what the end result ends up being :)

On another note, yes I am still working. It is insane how this workload never ends… so to those wondering, yup, I am still editing away, madly trying to finish up everything this month. My poor team members have been burning rubber with me… I am so grateful for them. Without this amazing team, I don’t know where I would be during this pregnancy. They have made it possible to still shoot, while working around nausea, tiredness, keep baby and me healthy, and still produce results that keep our clients happy. Thank you SO MUCH!!

Anyhow, I know at the end of my last post, I left you all with my thoughts on my first trimester, and how the 12 week scan changed so many things about how I felt about being pregnant and carrying a child. You see, when you have been sick for so many months, it is completely natural to question what on earth you got yourself into. Asking questions like, is this worth it? What am I doing? What if I suffer this sickness for the full nine months? All-day nausea was so completely debilitating that there were moments I swore I never wanted to ever be pregnant again. Does this opinion change as you get further along pregnancy? I think so… at least in my case it did :) And the 12 week scan was one of the things that helped kick start the change to appreciating carrying this beautiful God-given gift.

Pictured below is me at 31 weeks, holding my 12 week scan.

For the first time, I saw a baby. Before this, you don’t see anything much except a little black sac on the screen with a little nub that looks nothing more than a finger tip. But when I went into see what was inside me at 12 weeks, I was pretty much blown away that just after a few weeks, the baby looked so much like… a baby. I know this sounds incredibly stupid, but really, to see what you and your partner have created from just two cells in your body, and to see its beating heart, its legs, its arms, its head, is truly truly amazing. I don’t think you will ever understand the magnitude of this moment until you go through it yourself with your own child. So if at this point you think I’m a rambling pregnant lady, that is ok :) I know if/when it ever comes to your turn, you will get what I am talking about :) And just when I thought that was the most amazing thing ever….On the ultrasound screen, we then saw our baby roll around, wriggle its bottom to a different position and lift its hand up as if to say hello to us. It was the cutest thing I had ever seen…. so much so that I almost couldn’t stop laughing, to the point of near tears. It was at that point that it hit me…. bub is really there. It’s really alive. It’s growing. It’s real. And I think at that point is where I fell in love with my child, and was reminded just how amazing God’s creation is. Even despite my incredible sickness and the inability to eat (I lost weight in my first trimester!) for so many months, baby was still growing, looked beautiful, and was deemed healthy by our doctor. There was just so much to be thankful for at this moment. God had truly blessed us. And I prayed all the time from then onwards to please keep my child healthy, and that I would be more grateful for the life inside me when I knew alot of other women couldn’t have children.

I hope for all women out there who are pregnant (thank you, by the way to all the ladies who wrote in to me with your stories. I was so encouraged to know I am not alone, and that there are people out there who care. So much love goes out to all of you. Please don’t ever stop. Know that your words make my days brighter!), and are in the throws of sickness and suffering, know that what you are carrying and the work you are doing to carry a child and keep him/her healthy is truly amazing and a feat in itself. If anyone ever tells you otherwise or makes you feel otherwise, you can send them to talk to me! haha… I earnestly know just how hard it can be.

In my next post, I plan to talk about how pregnancy affected (or in my case, ruined!) my skin and my hair…. the things I did to help it…..baby movements and what they feel like, and how pregnancy has changed my marriage, amongst other things! :D

Thank you again for reading, and as always, my inbox and the comment bar below is always welcome to any questions or thoughts you may have :)

 

Jenny Signoff

Pregnancy: An initial summary

 

pregnantJS

The two sticks that changed my 2015 forever.

 

I am currently sitting at 29 weeks pregnant and finally getting down to this….. I have been sick for so much of this pregnancy, and then following that just so INSANELY busy trying to catch up on work before I entered my last trimester that I honestly haven’t even had time to set up the baby’s bed… bub will be sleeping on the floor at this rate! Anyway, I have been tossing and turning up the idea of sharing my pregnancy journey for months now… on one hand, I felt like it wasn’t anyone’s business to know what I was going through as all the important people in my life who needed to know already knew via personal and direct updates. On the other hand, there have been so many misunderstandings (especially on the work front) because people just don’t really know what it is really like to carry a child to full term for 9 months that it has actually caused me a great deal of stress which I really didn’t need on top of everything else I have been managing while being pregnant.

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Granted, there are a number of you out there who do get it…. you know, those who have been pregnant, those who are mummies, those of you who have wives or know ladies who have been/are pregnant…know that your encouragement and your advice has made the difference on some days. However, there is also a large number out there who don’t know…. those who have assumed I was just ‘under the weather’….those who thought being sick while pregnant was like having a common cold…. those who thought being tired had no idea it meant I was in bed 18 hours a day to just survive….and while every pregnancy is different, I felt it was time to write to clear things up… at least on my end  (Disclaimer: even sharing my stories shouldn’t be used as a benchmark or a comparison, but I hope to at least shed some light so people do not underestimate the monumental task of growing a baby, and grow to appreciate the sheer emotional and physical work it takes to create a fully healthy human being…and for those who have easy pregnancies and do not ever have to suffer what I have been through, I hope you can from this learn to count your blessings and know you are very very lucky woman! :D )

 

So while I am now in my 3rd trimester already, with this journal, to begin with anyway, I wanted to recount the milestones and the highlights (and the bottom lowpits too!) that I remember whether it was something physical, emotional, or something I learned about God in all this. Hopefully, by the time I finish my series, it will be just in time before bub arrives and I can start to share things about motherhood, how to balance life with a baby/family/work, amongst other things that I hope all you readers of Two Threaded Poppies have come to enjoy (ie. beauty, travel, fashion, food, and so on). I hope what I share offers some encouragement to those who may be going through something similar or know of someone going through the same, and for those who are not, feel free to ignore my sharings… or head on over to our instagram where there will be a much more varied mix of posts about all other things Two Threaded Poppies has curated for all of you to see :)

 

So… the back to the beginning. I found out I was pregnant in January. I will admit, that we were fortunate in the conceiving department. I don’t say it lightly, as I know quite a number of friends who have taken a long time to conceive, are still trying after years, or cannot get pregnant for various reasons. Ju and myself know how lucky and blessed we are … and don’t take it for granted in the slightest. To have been able to hold that test stick, and it read ‘positive’ was one of the craziest moments of elation I’ve ever had… It was almost surreal, so we went to the doctors for a blood test and it confirmed I was about 4+ weeks pregnant… and from there, it was a cautious but sure flurry in phone calls to our immediate families and our closest friends to let them know the news. After being married for 7 years, it was a welcomed piece of sharing that those around us rejoiced in together with us. I know most people tend to wait until after their first trimester to tell, but Ju and I have never been that kind of couple… we are fairly open and my only rule was that it was not allowed to be shared online anywhere, only personal and direct telling of friends which is what this kind of news should be received as anyway, right? :)

From there, I was excited, energised and just thrilled that I could finally enter a period in my life where I was granted the permission to eat whatever I felt like (well, almost haha, but we will go into that later) and not worry too much about getting fat! Yup, as a foodie, this was one part of being pregnant I was truly looking forward to. However, after a week of enjoying tonnes of good yummies, the dreaded nausea set in. It wasn’t overnight… in fact, only at about week 5.5 food started to go off in my mouth slowly… as if things that used to satisfy me and gave me great joy to consume began to switch off on my tastebuds. I then learned, this was what ‘morning sickness’ was. No one told me what it would feel like… nor did I know to what extent it could be suffered. Over the coming weeks, my sickness lasted all day, every day, and everything I put in my mouth tasted like poison. And it wasn’t like I was vomiting. It was just a severe WANT to vomit, severe motion sickness, but the body just wouldn’t let you purge or relieve itself. So it was complete torture….. it gave me vertigo, headaches, I went to bed hungry but unable to eat. I couldn’t even drink water without feeling like I wanted to throw it up. It just got progressively worse and worse with the peak around week 9 or 10 …. I remember only being awake long enough to eat my lunch and dinner (there were days I even forgot to shower because I was THAT sick), and I would be asleep the rest of the day/night just to pass the time. It felt like forever and an eternity in those few months. And nothing would relieve it. If anyone asks how I would describe the first trimester, I would use the word ‘survival’ – ie. do whatever you need to do to just get through each day one at a time. So what did I consume during that first trimester? Funny enough, I was able to eat burgers, fries, meat pies, only sweet drinks (I hated water), crackers, and oranges. Not consistently though… what I wanted would change on a daily basis, but it was kind of like within that group of foods for most of the time. I hated everything else… eggs, all meats, all seafood, all vegetables, all fruits (except oranges). And before any of you think I was making my baby suffer, our 8 week scan showed that bub had grown very well despite how awfully sick I was, and was 1 week ahead of size in terms of growth. It just goes to show that God’s creation is so amazing.

Throughout this period though, the house became somewhat of a mess (my poor husband did whatever he could when he wasn’t working/travelling for work), and I also had to cope with my own work. It was hard to explain to people why I was feeling poorly without telling them the reason why… I knew people were thinking with judgement I was either being lazy or slack for sitting at shoots, or not completing editing deadlines on time, and I hated that because if anyone knows me, knows just how hard I worked before I fell pregnant ….thankfully I have an amazing team of people who helped through this period… but would I go through the whole work (ie. my kind of work, which is very physical) AND being pregnant at the same time again? no….my advice to anyone who gets pregnant is to keep your workload and personal and home commitments as light as possible. Get help. Outsource your chores if need be. Do anything to survive those initial few months.

So yes, there were days I cursed being pregnant, and wondered what on earth I got myself into….but then at our 12 week scan, things changed. We did an 8 week scan as well, but at that point, all we saw was some odd shape that looked like the top part of an index finger, in a round sac. And at that point, you don’t develop any connection to your child. So it was hard to feel appreciative. However, at week 12, It was then that our doctor showed us for the first time the life we created. And I nearly cried looking at it. That experience I will share in my next entry along with how my body changed, all my emotional highs and lows, etc… so stay tuned :) And thank you for reading so far with me! If you have any questions, or comments, I’d love to hear them so please don’t be shy about chatting with me! :)

 

 

Jenny Signoff