15 August 2019, by Cheryl Wee

Learning from my first pregnancy

Heya mummies & daddies, and mums- & dads-to-be!! If you guys are expecting your 1st, 2nd or 3rd child, how has it been for you?

Expecting our second baby at this point in time, we are equally as excited, a pact we made when we decided to plan for a second one. It’s easy to fall into the “been there, done that” mode and, hearing stories of middle child syndrome, we both made a conscious effort to ensure that baby 2 gets the same treatment and excitement too!

After all, every child is a blessing and a gift, special in his/her own way.

Cheryl & Roy Pregnancy

Personally, I’m really excited about baby 2 because Marc was the first baby in the family in a long while, everyone was so excited and overwhelmed with preparing for his birth that I couldn’t enjoy him and motherhood fully. A lot of times, it involves entertaining family and friends that came over and trying to take it all in.

Being a little more experienced this time round, perhaps I’ll settle into things a little quicker and enjoy the whole newborn process of breastfeeding and cuddling with the baby a lot more.

Now 35 weeks into my second pregnancy, there were a couple of issues I had to deal with.

Firstly, I’m often down with more bacterial infections such as Group B Strep, UTI and yeast infections, which never happened when I was having Marc. The nurses and gynae mentioned it could be my lower immunity this time round, and hormones playing a crazy role during this pregnancy.

My personal gut feeling – after the first 100 days with Marc, I started falling sick really easily, almost every month. So, in addition to not having a proper, well-rested confinement, conceiving just 7 months later took a toll on my body’s immunity.

In fact, my pregnancy with Marc was pretty smooth, with the exception of morning sickness up until week 14. I’ve kept to pretty much the same routines in this pregnancy as my first but if there’s something I’d change, it’ll be to do a better confinement.

Hearing from family and friends’ experiences, I’ll be doing a few new things postpartum.

Lying down horizontally during confinement is very important, especially the first 40 days. And nope, sitting down doesn’t count. As much as family and friends want to express their congratulations and excitement, and as much as we want to have them around, limiting visitors and hours is helpful for mummy’s recovery.

So for the first 40 days, we’re going to be a little selfish, focusing on my recovery and allowing the baby to adjust to her new environment and taking the time to bond with baby.

There’s 2 schools of thought when it comes to showering during confinement. Previously, I lasted 6 days, until I found out I had UTI. I was feeling so extremely hot, sweaty, unhygienic, and grossly oily that I was thankful for getting UTI, for which I was allowed to take an herbal shower.

For this coming confinement is this, I’ll try to last for as long as I can without showering (which I’m so grateful that Roy must be very tolerant and love me enough to sleep next to me those few yucky days, never felt more unattractive), but I’ll have an herbal bath once I can and wash my hair every alternate day instead of every day. This is a big deal to me, given that I usually shower a few times a day and wash my hair at least once a day!

Another change would be using the herbal bath water to wash my hands, instead of tap water. I too didn’t completely buy into the “cannot use tap water” or “wash hands too often” theory. But about 3 months postpartum, I had really sore joints and tightness in my fingers and hands. I visited the TCM and did some acupuncture which did help, but that pain is not something that I wanna go through again.

I know it’s not usually practiced traditionally, but I’ll have some hot water during confinement. I’ve heard that water is a no-no and only red dates tea, but when I did that, I felt that my milk supply was lower, and my body felt more heaty. In fact, because of the UTI, I had to drink more water to flush it out. I can settle with drinking less, but it’ll still be something I’m going to do.

In terms of what I’m doing differently during pregnancy, I have kept everything pretty much the same. But with the infections, I am on a higher dosage of probiotics now.

With this second pregnancy, I do feel more tired easily. With a heavier work schedule and having to come home and spend time with a very active Marc, this pregnancy seems a little tougher physically. I find having regular weekly prenatal massages very helpful and I presume they help with preventing water retention too.

Cravings wise, I do find myself wanting to drink more cold water or having a froyo to cool off. But my aunt told me not to do so! She believes it will affect the baby in future and suggested, if necessary, to suck on ice instead as it can slowly melt in my mouth and less cold when ingested.

I also find myself loving fruits a lot more than I did with Marc and, being prone to gestational diabetes like all pregnant mummies, I choose to eat more berries and green apples with the skin on instead. My favourite grapes, cherries and dark chocolates have become my guilty indulgences.

Basically, things haven’t changed much from my first pregnancy. As they say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Cheryl's Pregnancy Family Photo

We’ve also been prepping Marc for the arrival of his little sister. Since finding out I’m pregnant, we’ve been telling him to love mei mei and showing him baby pictures. Marc copies everything Roy does, so Roy would rub and kiss my belly and Marc would do the same.

I know of some friends who bought toys for the elder siblings and gave it to them at the hospital. But we aren’t sure if that’s what we’ll do. My sister and I are born 19 months apart and, from my memory, my parents didn’t do that for me but I still loved my sister very much, nonetheless.

Kids these days are indeed more fortunate and blessed. Seeing my parents and their relationships with their siblings in the good old days when their families didn’t have a lot, they still love each other just as much, if not, more.

Those were the days when kids didn’t have as many luxuries, yet they still displayed love, resilience, consideration and understanding towards one another.

Roy and I are old school that way. But our take is to teach him to love his family and siblings and of course to shower him with just as much love, through our actions.

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