14 August 2011, by Tan Yi Lin
Sunday 14 August:
The first thing the husband says when he opens his bleary eyes is, “Is the baby out yet?”
I take a moment to check. Because sometimes, my belly gets lost in the pile of pillows and comforters that engulf us, and in the first few seconds of waking, I truly cannot remember whether or not I’m pregnant.
As of today, I still am.
Fact ascertained, we lie back and discuss the strange dreams that plague pregnant women. Mine was that I drank a glass of cucumber juice I found in the fridge, only to find my dad’s wisdom teeth lying at the bottom of the glass. I almost woke up puking. He dreamt that he filled up the answers to questions in an exam wrongly and awoke in a mental mess of rolling pencils and scattered answer sheets.
Yes, my husband is as pregnant as I am. Pregnancy symptoms are contagious.
Another week has sailed, no, waddled past and still no signs of impending labour. I didn’t think it was possible to get any bigger, but I did. Still, no mucus plug, no bloody show, no breaking water, no contractions (or maybe one, but I can’t tell for sure.)
Other than expressing her intense disapproval when mummy flips onto her right side (I would squirm madly too if a placenta suddenly flopped onto my face), my stubborn little bunny remains snugly burrowed in her rabbit hole with her snout in my pelvis, with no intention of emerging just yet.
Who can blame her? Anyone would love lounging on a water bed in their birthday suit, with 24/7 access to poolside bar. It only takes the slightest twitch or wiggle to command a warm hand to rub your back or pat your bum. It must feel like paradise in there.
I asked Dan one evening before dinner, “Did you know that rubbing nipples, sex and orgasm produce oxytocin, which can induce labour by making the uterus contract? Wanna try?”
“But … but… there’s a chicken roasting in the oven. If you go into labour, I can’t eat my chicken…”
“Dapao lor. Grab it and go. Just don’t forget to bring the hospital bag together with the chicken”
It is said that a woman loses a portion of her brain cells with every pregnancy. While it may not be scientifically proven, the absent-minded state brought on by pregnancy hormones is indeed alarming. On my best days, my brain feels thick and foggy. At work, it takes immense effort to digest a simple piece of writing and I struggle to make sense of survey plans. On bad days, I feel downright dumb.
I thought I was being clever and pointing out typo errors in Dan’s post last week. Things were going well until I got to the post script.
“Hahaha, how did you mistype ‘until after the shoot’ as ‘until after the fact‘?!”
“Erm, ‘after the fact’ is correct. It means after the event has happened. You should stop reading all these picture books to the baby, you know. Go read adult books for a change and learn something!”
Then he added, “I’m glad I got my work done. No more albatross hanging around my neck.”
“No more WHAT??! What’s an albatross got to do with anything? You’re making this up right?”
“Sigh. No, baby. It’s a real saying. It means a burden that you’re carrying.”
*WAIL* How did I become this much dumber than my husband?
Well, no point sitting around worrying about my deteriorating brain. With the help of my mum and my oh-so-intelligent husband, I kept myself busy by preparing the house for the baby’s arrival.
First, we collected our $300 in IKEA vouchers for signing and fulfilling the Parenthood Pledge. Yeah, our choice of outfits to visit the I Love Children team at their Sengkang office was perhaps, a little too outlandish for the HDB heartlands. We decided that it might be a good idea to change into normal clothes before heading to IKEA Tampines for Swedish meatballs.
Next, we set up the “big stuff”, such as a wardrobe, cot and chest of drawers.
Shelves fixed and dusted, it was time for some major laundering. Bedsheets, towels, blankets, muslin clothes and tiny clothing were all gently handwashed, folded and stacked neatly in place.
Our baby items are a mix of new buys – by us (okay, mostly me) as well as my mum, my mum’s colleagues and my sister-in-law, and brand new and used hand-me-downs from relatives, friends and colleagues. We really are fortunate to have such a generous circle of support and I’ve filed a mental note to pass on the goodwill to other friends down the line.
Tiny outfits for a tiny missy
Mixture of pre-loved burp cloths and spiffy brand new Nike sneakers, all hand-me-downs
We’ve been building up a small library for the baby too, thanks to my colleagues’ kind gift of Kinokuniya vouchers and my friend Carol’s recommendation of The Book Depository, which offers books for less and free shipping worldwide. We’ve read every single book to her a few times now and I really love the story about ‘The Snail and the Whale’ and the illustrations in ‘Tiddler’. Oh wait. It’s not suppose to be about me anymore. Hah.
I spent a whole afternoon on National Day occupied with some DIY cot mobiles. These are really easy to make from scratch. Just Google “DIY cot mobile”, print the designs you like from the Internet, cut and paste them onto cardboard (I recycled cereal boxes) and string them up in any fashion that you desire.
I chose simple black and white patterns and graphics for our baby’s first cot mobiles. I read that babies are born with poor eyesight because their eye muscles are weak and uncoordinated. Their colour vision is also poor, so they only recognise black and white during their first three months. They start distinguishing more colours from four months onwards, the first colour being red. That’s why toys and flashcards specially designed for very young infants are usually in high contrast colour combinations, starting with black, white and red.
I was pretty pleased with the end results and inspired to find more opportunities for DIY baby craft.
Besides the home preparations, we also took some time to pack the hospital bag. Dan was pretty enthusiastic about this task. No run-off-the-mill duffle bag for his daughter either. He waited impatiently for Zuji’s (where he works) special limited edition travel bag designed by a local artist to arrive. The moment it was here, he started filling it with his baby’s going-home outfit and swaddle blanket, toiletries for himself (I get a toiletries kit from KKH), Milo drink packets and muesli bars for me, and so on.
Everybody, altogether now: “AWWWWWWWWW…….”
Actually, we got a bit over-excited and drove around with the bag and cord blood collection kit in our boot for over a week, before we realised that the baby really wasn’t going to come out anytime soon.
Seriously, we SO ready for her to come anytime now. We just can’t wait to meet our baby. Now if only she could reciprocate our excitement!
I’ve asked Dan to add a new song to his “Songs for My Baby” music playlist to sing to her every night from now on.
Let’s sing together with Kylie Minogue now. “C’mon baby, do the loco-motion…”
38 weeks, 4 days and counting