elliott says

Elliott says – 5

We were at E’s school for parent-teacher meeting and his teacher shared that he’s besotted with a new female Caucasian classmate – let’s called her A. She shared that he will ask to sit beside her and when they first met, he couldn’t stop touching her blond hair and admiring her blue eyes. So last night at bedtime, we had this conversation.

Me: Elliott, you have a new classmate called A?

E: Yes.

Me: Do you like her?

E: Yes.

Me: Why do you like her?

E: Because she’s pretty.

the twins

So very close.

As the date draws near, people have been asking, “So how? Excited or not?” And my answer is always, “I feel prepared, yet not quite prepared“. Yes, prepared because we’ve done it before with Elliott. Not quite prepared because we will be handling two newborns at the same time and I honestly cannot imagine how much chaos that would bring.

I am also not sure if this is typical of second (and subsequent) pregnancies but somehow, I find myself having a rather – for lack of a better word – laidback attitude? With Elliott, I remember packing my hospital bag pretty early on but this time round, I took the bag out and it sat untouched collecting dust until one day, the boy asked, rather uncharacteristically, “You still don’t want to pack ah?!

So I finally got down to it. I’ve learnt from the first experience that you really don’t need to bring a lot of stuff as the hospital provides for it. Also, Singapore is really not too big. If I really do forget anything, I can get the boy to get it from home.

I was glad I did (somewhat) pack the hospital bag because on Friday early morning (2 June), I felt a consistent dull period-like cramp. It woke me up and I laid still in bed, willing it to go away. I kinda remember that contractions felt like that.

Uh oh.

When daylight broke, I quickly popped the anti-contraction pills and was in 2 minds about heading to KKH. The boy decided that I should go for peace of mind, and so we trooped to KKH.

Again.

I knew exactly where to go this time round, having been there just last month. This time round, I was ushered to the triage ward where the babies’ heartbeats were monitored. I was told to stay put for 45 minutes to an hour for monitoring so I told the boy to head to the office first since he had to work to do. No point hanging around anyway as he wasn’t allowed into the triage ward.

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I spent about an hour lying on my back which was really uncomfortable. Thankfully, with the anti-contraction meds that I took, the contractions were spaced far apart. The doctor came by to check on me and after looking at the graph result (above), declared that I was safe to return home to rest.

To be brutally honest, I was quite ready to give birth last Friday because it is getting really uncomfortable. I spend most of my time pottering around the house because even a short walk to the bathroom is exhausting. NO KIDDING. I’m also feeling ridiculously hot all the time. I take 3 cold showers a day but once I walk out of the bathroom, sweat trickles down my back. URGH. Doesn’t help that the weather’s been sweltering.

Also, the (literal) pressure of carrying 2 babies who have crossed the 2kg mark each is pretty intense. I feel like every part of my body is either aching or in pain. I am detailing all these so that when the twins are old enough, I can regale them with stories of how exhausting it was to carry them in-utero.

In case anyone’s wondering, we are doing an elective c-section for the twins’ birth. Elliott had a rather dramatic birth and personally, I am not big on birth plans because honestly, I’ve learnt through many life experiences that many a times, plans don’t go as…planned! Decided that doing an elective c-section means that everything is booked in advance and we go in prepared and ready.

Well, I use the phrase ‘prepared and ready’ very loosely here because I don’t think I’d ever be fully prepared/ready to be cut up again. And in case anyone forgets, a c-section is a pretty big operation. I’m not sure if it’s my hormones talking but despite all the happy, healthy births that we see on social media, things can, and do, go wrong at childbirth. Call me paranoid but until the babies are safe in my arms, I don’t think I’d be able to fully relax.

I distinctly remember the deep cut across my body after I birthed Elliott and the huge waterproof bandage placed over it. It’s funny how your brain retains such…memories. But if being cut up is what it takes to get the twins out safely and alive, I say we do it.

How a woman decides to give birth is very personal. Does using drugs (i.e. taking an epidural), having an elective c-section, not choosing a water/natural birth, etc, make you less of a mother? I think not. I do wonder why mothers who do not choose the drug-free, natural way (for whatever reason) is usually given a less-than-subtle judgmental vibe.

Pregnancy is generally hard on a woman’s body (except those glam mums who still look model-like on social media. Not talking about those) so let’s just be kind (and silent). Let mothers have their babies however they like and not give out “Huh? Not natural birth ah?” vibes or your 2.5 cents worth about which is “better”, unless your opinion is asked for.

Anyway, I’m digressing.

After the last gynae visit, it hit me that THE DAY is drawing really close because I was given the hospital admission letter, doctor’s letter, etc. On one hand, I’m looking forward to offloading meeting the babies but on the other, despite it not being our first baby, I am a tad apprehensive at the journey ahead of us.

Please send lots of luck!

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shopping

Sponsored post: New and improved Agape Babies

Back in 2014, I blogged about Agape Babies. It has been our go-to online store for baby-related products as they carry some of my favourite brands that I use for Elliott. Recently, they contacted me again to share that they have:

  • launched their new and redesigned website for an even better shopping experience on the mobile. There’s also a one-step checkout and one-click sign in for a faster experience. We all know busy mothers usually shop in the middle of the night (or with one hand) when babies are asleep so an easy-to-navigate mobile site is important.
  • expanded their brand and product selection to include popular brands such as Jujube and 3M. They now carry over 250 brands and 6,000 products in over 10 categories. Pretty mind-boggling, if you ask me.
  • one-click self collection from 3 convenient locations – Newton, Sengkang and Old Airport Road. Smaller parcels enjoy 72 pick up locations.

Also, for first time customers, you get $10 off and 1 free Mustela Trial Kit (worth $10) OR a 10% discount on full-priced items – use code “AGAPE10%”. Details here.

Here are some of my favourite products/brands that I get from Agape Babies:

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From left to right:

Previously, I bought a smaller tube (75gm) from a physical store and realised that this bigger bottle costs less on Agape Babies. Elliott co-sleeps with us in an air-conditioned room and I noticed that his face was getting dry. This is what I use to apply on his face after his evening shower each evening.

He calls it the “cow cream” and if I forget, he’d remind me to “put cow cream on Elliott’s face so that it won’t crack”. Yes, that’s what I tell him and he chimes it back to me, that little parrot.

MooGoo is a natural skin care brand from Australia,  and this is what it says on the box:

This nourishing moisturiser includes 10% MSM (organic sulphur), a natural skin-soothing compound, to help skin return to a healthy condition. It also contains Sweet Almond Oil and raw Coconut Oil which are two of the best oils to help calm and nourish troublesome skin. Suitable for adults, children and babies.

What I love about it: It smells naturally nice, and gets absorbed by the skin easily. Just a little bit goes a long way for his face. Elliott generally hates cream on him but he allows this “cow cream” on his face which says a lot.

  • Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Dusting Powder Shaker Bottle (7.5oz) | product link

For some odd reason, it is damn hard to find this powder at the shops! Not many online retailers carry it as well. I’ve hunted for it high and low and no luck. I was really thankful when I saw that Agape Babies carry it as it is my favourite dusting powder to use on Elliott. I’ve used it on him since he was a wee tiny newborn and we are still using it post-shower. I don’t know about you but I love the smell of a freshly-powdered baby/toddler. Mmmmm.

Burt’s Bees is from USA and it ‘keeps skin feeling soft, dry and comfortable. Made with naturally absorbant Cornstarch, our talc-free formula is clinically shown to be non-irritating and safe for baby’s delicate skin’.

What I love about it: It’s 100% natural and importantly, talc free (did you read about the Johnson & Johnson case?). It also contains no parabens, phthalates, petrolatum or SLS. Will definitely be using it on the twins when they arrive too! It also smell nice. Can you tell that smell is a very important criteria for me? Hur hur.

I first discovered NAIF at a consumer trade show. If memory does not fail me, I think it was at Public Garden. I chatted with the gentleman manning the small store and he shared that he brought NAIF into Singapore because he was trying to find a suitable product for his young son who suffered from eczema as a baby.

We used California Baby Shampoo & Body Wash: Calendula (also carried by Agape Babies) for Elliott when he was younger but now that he’s older, I decided to switch to using a separate shampoo and body wash. We’d still be using the same California Baby products for the twins when they arrive.

NAIF originates from the Netherlands. The nourishing shampoo is ‘based on a soap-free, tear-free formula, specially developed for delicate baby hair and scalp. The mild formula leaves hair soft and shiny. Made from natural ingredients such as cottonseed extract and gluten free wheat protein powder.’

The cleansing wash gel ‘has a soap-free, tear free formula specially developed for delicate and sensitive baby skin. The mild formula gently cleanses while preserving the skin’s hydrolipidic film to leave skin feeling soft and smooth. Made from natural ingredients such as cottonseed extract and gluten free wheat protein powder.’

What I love about it: It is a natural product that is dermatologically tested, PH-skin neutral, hypo allergenic/ allergy-free perfume, preservative free. It also contains no PEG, SLS/ SLES, phenoxyethanol, parabens, mineral oil or any other potentially harmful ingredients. It is also mild and smells nice. I’d admit to always smelling Elliott’s head post-shower because I love the fresh clean post-shower smell.

Also, you don’t need to use much for the little ones. For the shampoo, I use a pea-sized amount to wash Elliott’s hair (also because he erm, doesn’t have much hair). For the cleansing wash gel, I use about the size of 10-cent coin (or slightly less) for his entire body.

Don’t say I never share – Agape Babies is currently having a promotion where you buy 2 NAIF products and get a free NAIF mini gift set worth $25! These mini sets are useful when we take Elliott swimming and we simply pop these mini tubes into his swim bag. You can see the little tubes in the picture above.

Discount code

Now, here’s something special for all of you. When you shop at Agape Babies, use the code ene5% and you’d get a 5% discount on your purchases. This code is valid from today, 5 June till 25 June, so do hurry. Kindly note that this discount code excludes milk, diapers, wipes, Medela breastpumps, Jujube, sale and clearance categories.

Courier delivery

Agape Babies also provide free courier delivery for purchases $80 and above. I love that their delivery partner is Ninja Van (with tracking number) and if you order before 2pm, the earliest you can get your items is the next working day. More details on delivery here.

Happy shopping!

Note: miss ene received shopping credits in return for this sponsored post. All views and opinions expressed are her own.

elliott

I is for Influenza A: Part 2

I mentioned in Part 1 that Elliott was actually running a pretty high fever for the entire week. He stayed home for the whole week as I did not want to risk him passing on the viruses to his friends. After I was diagnosed with Influenza A, I knew that he was probably suffering from the same bug as well. I haven’t been out of the house and it was pretty clear that I caught the virus from him.

We also noted that he was particularly cranky and out of character. He was teary, clingy and kept uttering “Mummy, hug me“. He was also barely eating/drinking and did not even want a lollipop when I offered it. It broke my heart to see him in this state. He has also never ever fallen asleep while watching TV but the poor baby did it on Friday afternoon (19 May).

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The high fever kept coming back and on Friday night, when it hit 39.5 degrees and he was in a listless state, I decided that we needed to take him to KKH. For the record, I was just discharged from KKH that afternoon so we were returning to KKH again.

The boy dropped us off at the Children’s 24-hour Clinic and I was shocked to see a HUGE crowd. It wasn’t our first time there but this was possibly the most crowded I’ve seen it. We took a number and there were like 30 patients ahead of us.

Gulp.

I took a cursory glance around and there were sooooo many kids with fever patches on. One frantic father ran to the triage nurse and exclaimed that his son is having a high fever. The nurse replied, everyone here has a high fever, Sir. It was like a scene out of an epidemic outbreak movie.

The boy and I donned masks because we really could not risk getting sick. That’s something I don’t get – why do we not wear masks when we are sick or in an area where there are clearly loads of viruses floating about? Yes, wearing a mask is uncomfortable but I’d put up with it instead of falling sick.

The nurse at triage took Elliott’s temperature and thanks to Brufen, it has come down to about 38 degrees. I also told her about my bout of Influenza A and she ordered a blood test for Elliott as well.

We headed to Door 11 (the area for blood test, emergency wheezing cases, etc – we’ve been there before when Elliott had croup). Prior to this, I had no idea how they take blood from a toddler. Well, now I know. They take a needle and prick his 4th finger, then squeeze his finger to get drops of blood out. Of course, Elliott screamed when his finger was pricked. It took all of me not to tear. It was excruciating to watch the process where each drop of blood took forever to be squeezed out. Ouch.

Finally, what seemed like forever (it was probably 3 minutes or less), it was over and the nurse told us to wait outside. She said that the blood test would take an hour so that was the minimum time to wait before seeing a doctor. By now, there were a prominent sign to inform all that the average wait was going to be….4 hours.

By now, it was past midnight and everyone was exhausted. Check out the waiting crowd. While waiting, we also heard many announcements for sick kids to head to Door 11 for their blood to be taken.

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Finally, at almost 12.30am, it was our turn to see the doctor. The blood test confirmed that he also had Influenza A and I was expecting to be given Tamiflu which was what I got as well. As it turns out, the KKH doctor said that it is not their protocol to administer it and we were to just ‘ride it out’. She also advised that it is ok if he doesn’t want to eat but he MUST drink to prevent dehydration. Any form of liquid is ok – water, soup, juices, milk – basically, as long as he keeps liquid down. She said that if he refuses to drink, he’d have to be warded.

We left KKH with the following meds:

  • Zrytec x 1 bottle
  • Iliadin x 1 bottle
  • Brufen x 2 bottles
  • Paracetemol x 2 bottles
  • Lacto GG capsultes x 1 box (he complained of pain in his tummy which was probably caused by Brufen – I did not know that it causes gas!)

We finally got home at about 1am and crashed into bed after administering the various meds to make Elliott feel better.

Thankfully, with the meds and lots and lots of rest (he slept loads), he was slowly on the mend, much to our relief. The doctor also advised us to let him stay home for another few days so he had to miss his much-anticipated excursion with his classmates to the Butterfly Park. This is also why the boy and I did not celebrate our wedding anniversary with a nice dinner on 22 May. I guess we can do it another time. He finally made it back to school on Tuesday, 23 May, after an absence of 6 days.

The viruses these days are horrid and long drawn so please, everyone, if you have sick kids, wash their hands with soap frequently and importantly, please, keep them at home.

We’ve also learnt from this experience that KKH does not give out Tamiflu for such situations so on hindsight, I wouldn’t have bothered heading to KKH at all.

me myself and i · the twins

I is for Influenza A: Part 1

On 14 May, Sunday, Elliott came down the sniffles. Pretty usual, I’d say, so we did not think much of it. However, that night, he ran a fever of 38+ degrees which led to unsettled sleep for pretty much for the entire family. Poor kid was burning up and only settled when I gave him some Brufen to make him more comfortable.

For the entire week, this fever stubbornly stayed. He’d be ok and chirpy in the day, being his usual self (save for runny nose) but at night, his fever would spike above 38, hitting 39+ degrees at times. It was an entire week of restless sleep for everybody. I put it down to the usual virus and decided to let him ride it out.

Unfortunately, on Wednesday night (17 May), I came down with the same bug. I spent the entire night shivering under the blanket in the room (no aircon). My temperature was also hovering at 38-39 degrees and it was near impossible to sleep. I also noted that the babies were moving a lot unusually and put it down to the fever.

When I awoke on the morning of 18 May, I was near delirious. The boy touched my forehead and said I’m still very hot to the touch. I remember barely hearing him. I reached out for the thermometer and the reading was 39.8 degrees.

Sheesh. That’s pretty darn high.

Decided to call my gynae to ask for her advice. Her first words were: Go to KKH now.

The boy was enroute to work but rushed home to drive me to KKH. We  headed to the O&G (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) 24-hour clinic but the boy noted a sign that stated: For pregnant women who are over 22-weeks, please proceed to the delivery ward on Level 2.

And so we did.

We were attended to very promptly. When the nurse heard that I was running a fever, she quickly ushered me into one of the empty delivery wards and strapped me up to track the babies’ heartbeats.

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As it turns out, I was having regular contractions. WHAT?! I had no idea. I just thought that the babies were moving around quite a lot. Had no idea that they were contractions? A doctor soon came to attend to me and she informed us that the first priority is to stop the contractions. They also gave me some oral medication (paracetamol) and put me on the drip to  regulate my temperature. She also said that I was to be warded for one night for observation.

Later that day, they moved me up to another delivery ward as the usual wards were full. This surprised me because I thought we have a falling birth rate? Who are these people giving birth and taking up ward space?

Soon after, a bunch of junior doctors (who all looked less than 25 years old) came to do their rounds. 3 of them attempted to put the needle into the back of my hand for the drip and let’s just say that at the end of it all, I had 5 puncture wounds on both hands because they could not find my ‘thin vein’. URGH. They also took my blood to test for all sorts of diseases, as well as a nose swab to test for Influenza A.

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I was also given steroid jabs on both thighs to strengthen the babies’ lungs just in case they decided to pop out early. Those jabs were FREAKIN’ PAINFUL CAN?! I now have a bruised left thigh to show for it.

I also remember one of the nurses/administrators coming to me to explain the cost of delivering the babies early. It was all a bit of a blur but I remember flinching physically when I was informed that for a 21-day stay in the NICU ward for premature babies, it will cost a whopping S$30K. Twins? Multiply that by 2.

Jeez. That’s some serious money there.

Thankfully, with the meds and drip, the fever stayed away. I actually felt more human once the fever was gone. I was also given Nifedipine (or commonly known as Adalat which is actually a brand) to take – 2 tablets, 4 times a day. It is supposed to stop pre-term labour. The results of the nose swab also confirmed that I had influenza A.

The boy was saying that I can have a good rest in hospital but the truth is, I was in a 4-bedder because they ran out of single rooms and single rooms are mad expensive! The lady beside me was also experiencing pre-term labour but the other 2 ladies just gave birth so throughout the night, their newborns were crying. And when it all quietened down, the nurses would be coming round to take my blood pressure, give me meds, check babies’ heart rates, etc. I don’t think I rested much that night, to be honest.

The next morning, I was cleared to head home as the contractions have stopped. Hooray! I haven’t had a shower since I was admitted which was like 2 days of grubbiness. GROSS. I couldn’t wait to get home for a good shower. Did you know that if you’re Singaporean, you do not need to queue up to pay, etc? Once the doctor clears you for discharge, you can just leave and the bill will be mailed to you. HOW AWESOME.

I was given a huge bag of meds to bring home which included a 2-week dosage of Nifedipin, as well as Tamiflu to manage the influenza. There were also throat lozenges and cough mixture.

Now, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the twins stay in and bake until we cross into June which is really not too far away. Eeeeks.

And yes, there’s a Part 2 to this story. Watch this space.