Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Laetitia's grand appearance into the world!

This post is written post 29 March.

FINALLY! IT has happened.

I went into active labour on the 10th day I was overdue (28th March). I started feeling regular strong contractions around noon and decided to adopt a wait till it's more unbearable state before deciding what to do attitude. I also wanted to wait for Etienne to be home before making any decision. After hours of trying to walk, sleep and surf the pain away, it started to get really unbearable around dinner time. Etienne came home, we had some dinner with mum and then we called the hospital and describe to them how I was feeling and what we should do. The staff at the hospital said that we could go in and they will take do an examination and if I am not in labour, I can always go home after that. With that in mind, we decided that I would prefer to go to the hospital in case this was it. We left home for the hospital around 9.30pm.

Once in the hospital, I was checked by the midwife and told that I was only 2cm dilated!!! I had thought that I should be much more dilated by then! I was put on the CTG and it read very strong and regular contractions and they also found out that I was running a fever. I was asked to try to walk for an hour and after that they checked me again and there was no change though the contractions were REALLY painful by then. Since I was having a fever, there was a chance of an infection so they asked if I would prefer to be induced. It was a preferable choice since I was already 10 days overdue and my labour does not seem to be progressing fast enough naturally. After being 1cm dilated on 14th March, I was only 2 cm dilated on 28 March with strong PAINFUL contractions. It seems impossible to me at that time. So, we agreed to be induce with Pitocin. With that decision, they also give me antibiotic through the IV and had to administer the epidural. The epidural is a choice that I have decided on pretty much early in the pregnancy. I am quite wimpy with pain and any pain relief is God sent. However, I was not expecting the epidural to be tough to inject! And boy was I wrong. The anesthetist had to do it three times! The first time I jerked from the needle being injected and it was not properly inserted. The second time it was inserted well but hit my blood vessel! Finally, the third try was good. That itself was a little daunting but it did help reduce the pain that I was having from the contractions. I could feel only an aching pain in my lower back bone whenever a contraction hits. It was much preferable to the overall pain I was feeling before the epidural. However, I was feeling much sicker from the antibiotic and vomited my dinner and more. In my heart I was praying that hopefully with all that happening, the labour is progressing faster and Laetitia will be in my arms soon.

I have been in the hospital for about 5 hours and was hour into the Pitocin when they found that baby's heartbeat was going down to 80 and up to 160 and decided to try to break my waters and turn the Pitocin off. And they also took some blood from the head of the baby to measure her pH and were checking the amniotic fluid etc and a whole lot of other examination/test. I was starting to be really exhausted and also extremely worried about baby. I just wanted Laetitia to be healthy and delivered safely. Finally, at about 5am, the doctor made a decision that it would be better for me to have a cesarean as it seems that she had pooed in utero, she did not react well to the stronger contractions from Pitocin and I was not dilated fast naturally. So, they wheeled me immediated off to the surgery room and Laetitia was born a healthy little baby on 29 March at 5.25am! She is a healthy 3.48kg and measures 51cm. Her first apgar score is 10/10! I am so proud of her.

Here's some first day pictures of Baby Laetitia!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

9 days overdue!

I'm 41 weeks and 2 days now. Just had my checkup today at the hospital (which lasted 5 1/2 hrs long!) and everything is fine. Baby's heartbeat is good, amniotic fluid is clear and sufficient, contractions are not regular nor strong. It looks like my little Laetitia is happily nesting in my belly and not ready to come out! My next appointment is 2 days later and if everything remains the same, the midwife said that they will probably induce on 30th or 31st March. I will be almost 42 weeks by then. I've tried many different ways to naturally bring on the labour but nothing works. I guess the little one is taking her own sweet time and teaching mummy to be patient.

I'm starting to feel a little stressed about probably having to be induced and yet at the same time I can't wait for this little one to be in my arms too. Everyone (friends and family) has been asking if baby is here and everytime I have to explain to them that we are still waiting and are trying not be to induced. Well, I think the midwife did a membrane sweep today and from what I read, it should bring on labour within 48 hours. We will see how that works. I mean I have already tried many other methods to naturally bring on labour but nothing worked so far.

And the best part is, we are also waiting for her to be out and registered before buying her a SNCF enfant+ card for getting the train tickets to go for Nico and Anne's wedding and her airticket for the flight back to Singapore. Looks like even before she is here, she already has trips planned for and obviously we cannot buy her tickets without her being officially in this world! :p

Baby Laetitia, come on out soon and travel the globe with papa and mummy!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Spent the weekend in the hospital.

I had been hoping that Laetitia was going to make her appearance into this world last week. The weekend would have been wonderful and so when I started having some painful and regular contractions for 3 hours going from every 6 mins to 3 mins on Saturday evening, I was getting quite excited. By the end of the 3hrs (and dinner at Jean's place) we decided it was time to go to the hospital. By then, I was in some pain and was thinking, ok, it has to be it. There was a little problem calling a cab and Fabrice was kind enough to offer to drive us there. So, finally off we went to the hospital with Fabrice and Trisha. I was not very communicative by then.

Once we reach the hospital and checked it, we were taken to the delivery area where the midwife checked me and found that I was only 1cm dilated (I was already 1cm dilated last Tuesday when I had my regular checkup. 5 days and still 1cm. ) Anyways, they put me on the monitor for baby's heartbeat and the contractions and found her heartbeat to be a bit too high. The contractions seems regular as per earlier but I did not seem to be dilating. Baby's heartbeat though was averaging 160 bpm and sometimes goes up to 180 for more than an hour. The doctors were worried about an infection and decided to do some test. Since it was middle of the night and the results will take a while, they decided to put me on antibiotics anyways. So, they tried to put the IV into my arm. At that time I was feeling stressed and totally tense up when the midwife tried to insert the IV, and she could not insert it into my vein. Well, actually she did but when I tense up the muscles, it pushed the IV out. She tried again and Etienne tried to distract me and finally it worked. After which they transfered me to a room, put the antibiotics thru the IV and told us they will check baby's heartbeat again at 8am the next morning. It was about 2am by then. I had IVF a few times before but it has NEVER hurt this bad. The antibiotic was not flowing well as the blood circulation around my limbs has been poor with this pregnancy and my hand became quite swollen and it was bad. Etienne tried to help with the pain by stroking my hand to assist the circulation. I pretty much suck it up and just waited till the antibiotic had finished flowing. At around 8am, they put me on the monitor again and this time, baby's heartbeat is fine (around 140) and the contractions were really spaced out. The results came back at 10am and there was no infection. They also did an ultrasound to check on baby, the placenta etc and everything was good. So they decided that since I was only one day overdue, they do not need to induce me yet and I was allowed to discharge. However, if Laetitia does not come out by this Saturday, they want me to be checked in to be induced. I am keeping my fingers crossed that she will make her appearance naturally before Saturday.

Come on out soon Laetitia. Papa and mummy are anxious to hold you in our arms!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Choosing a chinese name for Laetitia

A couple of months back, we decided that Laetitia's middle name should be a Chinese name.

However, it is not something that can be easily done by me since my written Chinese is not exactly up to par for a task as delicate and important as that. I, therefore, asked for some help from my family in Singapore. My sis offered to get a Chinese naming master to suggest the names once Laetitia is born but that is a triffle more complicated as the master would need the exact birthdate and time of the baby plus a couple of days to think of the name but in France we need to register the baby with her name within 3 days. Since that option might not work, I also asked other family members for idea. My cousin-in-law, Joanne, was very kind and offered to think of some names for me. I was keen to use Chinese words such as "ning", "jing" etc as I liked the sound of it. She made some suggestions after a couple of weeks but they did not pass the French pronounciation test. Etienne has to be able to pronounce the name of his daughter right? Well, back to the drawing board for Joanne.

Two days back, Joanne came back with some new suggestions and I think we finally found the one that would work for Laetitia. The choice has come down to the name "JING EN" (pronounced kind of like "Jing" in the first syllabus of "jingle" and "En" like "earn"). Not too complicated for the English or French speaking folks. Moreover, "Jing" means peace and "En" means Grace. And of course Laetitia means Joy in latin. So, her names would basically mean joy, peace and grace. It seems like a great choice to us!

Here is how it would be written in Chinese:-

Looks like we have another thing out of the way. Laetitia JingEn Lastennet. Sounds good to me!

PS: I have to get this out of the way since everyone kept asking me "Oh, Laetiti's chinese name is Jing E?" Errrrr, no. Eventually Etienne decided that "en" does not sound nice for the French so we changed it to Jing Xuan.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

A false alarm?

This morning I was woken up slightly before 4am by pains in the belly. I was having some serious menses like pain together with some contractions. As I have been having contractions in the nights, I thought it would go away and tried to go back to sleep. After a couple of minutes, I realised that the pain was getting stronger and the contractions seems to be quite frequent. There was no way I was getting back to sleep. I decided that maybe I should time the contractions and low and behold, it was one almost every 3 - 4 mins! And it was rather strong. I timed the contractions for at least half an hour before I started wondering if I should get up and maybe prepare myself for getting to the hospital. However, I also remember that if this is the first stage, I have maybe another 12 hours to go. There was no need to rush it. I decided to do some breathing exercises and maybe get some sleep before deciding in the morning if it is indeed time to go. Finally, I managed to soothe myself back to sleep.

I got up around 9am this morning with some contractions but they are no longer as strong nor as frequent. I guess it was a false alarm. Good practice for me though. I think I have a better idea of what to expect and how I can deal with the pain. If it's up to me, I would prefer that Laetitia choose to make her appearance around 15-18 March so that there is enough time for me to get everything out of the way (e.g. complete the nursery, wash all her stuff etc).

I wonder if the contractions had anything to do with the fact that I ate some pineapples last night after dinner. Hmmmm......

Saturday, March 4, 2006

She's growing in the belly!

Here's a chronological order of her growth in the belly....

Not too long before she will be here!

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Gift ideas for la petite chouchou.

Some family and friends have been asking what they could buy as a gift for Laetitia's birth. I am very appreciative of the kind gestures and generosity. Laetitia is indeed very blessed and loved even before she born! So many friends and family members back home have been offering to send things to me from Singapore (especially things I cannot get here), Etienne's family here have been spoiling us (or Laetitia) with presents. I just want to say that we really are very grateful and thankful.

When faced with the question "What can I get for Laetitia?", most of the time, I cannot give an outright answer since usually I do buy her the stuff that I think are "essential". Obviously as mentioned before, this mummy needs to exercise more self-control to not go over-board. Though I do think that I have been very reasonable so far. There are not too many "luxurious" items that I have bought for her. Yes, there are the kinda pretty and not very necessary crib bumper, health book cover etc but it's just a few items.

One thing I know for sure that she will not need extras of are clothes. Right now, she already has more clothes than her daddy! I think she has enough to last her for at least the next 3 months or more. And of course with the weather changing from winter to spring to summer, the kind of clothes she needs will highly depend on the temperature for her size at that particular time.

The things that I have not bought much of are mainly toys. And I do think toys are important for babies and children. It does help in their growth. The reason I have not bought many is that I wanted to be sure that the toys we get are useful and not something that will be lying around and not used. So far, I have bought Laetitia a Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe activity mat with additional toys to be added.

So, here is a list of the things that Laetitia could do with (I suppose). For some item, I will also list options. I also included the links for online purchase if it makes things easier (so that the items do not have to be shipped from Singapore to Paris as shipping can be quite expensive).

1) Take along arch (to be attached to a stroller or a car seat)
Option 1 - Tiny Love Musical Take Along Arch - Hippo (29.95 euros)

Option 2 - Vertbaudet Arche de Rose (24.90 euros)

2) Cloth Farmhouse
Option 1- Farmhouse from Nature et Decouvertes (22.90 euros)

Option 2 - Farmhouse from Eveiletjeux (26.00 euros)

3) Bouncy chair or Swing
Option 1 - Graco Swing (89.95 euros)

Option 2 - Fisher Price Vibrating Toddler Rocker Linkadoo (79.99 euros)

Option 3 - BabyMoove Bouncy chair (69.90 euros)

4) Baby safe soft toy (Doudou)
Option 1 - Little Lamb (13.50 euros)

Option 2 - Kaloo Little Rabbit (23.00 euros)

Option 3 - Noukie's 30cm Lola (27.90 euros)

Option 4 - Noukie's 25cm Kaya (24.90 euros)

5) Cloth books (22.00 euros)

6) Mobile toy
Option 1 - Musical take along toy (26.00 euros)

Option 2 - Funny Bird with different texture (24.00 euros)

Option 3 - Soft Cow with hidden Surprises (24.95 euros)

7) Robeez Infant shoes
Option 1 - Flower Pink (28.00 CAD)

Option 2 - Flower Patch Pastel Green (28.00 CAD)

Option 3 - Wildflowers Red (28.00 CAD)

Option 4 - Snails Pastel Purple (28.00 CAD)

I think that should be enough options to go around for now. These are the things that she could actually start using from birth or at least by 3 months. I think most of the other toys I see are for bigger babies e.g 6 to 9 months and of course this might be a little early to look at them. Anyways, most of the time babies who are less than 3 months old sleep a whole lot right?

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

More things for Laetitia!?!

I thought I was almost done with shopping but obviously I am wrong. There seems to be so much to buy for a new baby. A lot of self control is required in stopping myself from buying more!

I guess I am not the only person who is so excited about Laetitia's arrival. My mother in law has been buying her pretty little dresses (robes), tops, ensembles etc and mailing them to us. My sister in law offered to buy us a diaper bag and asked us to choose any that I fancy. I obviously had an enjoyable time going shopping to look for a pretty and functional "Sac a Langer" and finally found a one that I love in Jacadi. Jacqueline (Etienne's granddad's partner) also bought baby a cute little onesie that says "Je suis la fille, d'un prince tres charmant, choisi par ma maman..." (which means I am the daughter of a prince charming chosen by my mum" Cute eh?

So now's pictures time..... Here is the Jacadi bag.

As Etienne's colleague was in Singapore last week, I managed to ask one of my ex-colleagues in BNP Paribas for help to get a couple of things that I cannot get here in Paris. That includes flannet material receiving blankets, mitten, Ruyi oil (a kind of oilment that we use in Singapore to help keep baby's tummy warm), Woodward's Gripewater for colic and some bak kwa (barbeque pork jerky) for me!

I also got Laetitia some toys, mainly an activity mat (Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe) and added toys to hang onto the gymini.

And here is just one of the pj/bodies clothes that I got for her. I only manage to find online pic of this set. The rest of her clothes I guess I will take pictures of it when Laetitia is wearing them.

I will take pictures of her nursery soon. It is almost done. We just need to set up the side shelf and stick the roller of decoration strip on the wall.

Her EDD is 25 March (based on the French 41 weeks calculation) but I am hoping that she will be here around 18 March (the anglo-saxon 40 weeks due date). In any case, that is about 3 weeks to go. How EXCITING!