They say that second time around, motherhood is easier. Maybe because you have experience in the bag, maybe because the second child is easier, maybe because you are just a hell lot more relaxed than before.
And it’s true.
We welcomed our littlest over the weekend. Zac joined us on his estimated due date and he’s just perfect. I cannot imagine life without him now and we are all madly in love with him.
The birth experience was an immensely intense one and apparently rather dramatic. Which I had no clue of, until I was discharged and the nurses and doctors heaved a sigh of relief.
But I’ll leave that to another day.
In the meantime, we are very, very happy, trying to get used to life being parents of a toddler and a newborn, and chalking up sleep debt.
Sometimes, I wish that my belly comes with a built-in camera.
You see, mama here is awful with all things spatial. While the doctor was able to tell us of your position simply by gently touching my tummy – you are currently engaged and in the most optimum position for a vaginal birth, and that’s unlikely to change, he said – I can never really picture you in that position. I know that your head is down in the pelvic cavity, your back is curved somewhere around the middle-left of my belly and your legs are tucked inwards. Which is why I won’t feel your legs kicking, the good doctor said.
But try as I may, I can’t seem to imagine it. How is it that you are in that position and I can feel your movements all the way to the sides? Was that your hand? How does it feel to be you right now? Why is it that when you hiccup, I feel the motions on my right?
How I wish I could see through the layers of skin, flesh and muscle to see what on earth you are up to in there! And how I wish you have the ability to tell me all of this!
It’s pretty cool though. I’ve always loved the movements of my babies in my belly. The notion that I am incubating my little ones is a powerful one, and a memory that I will always hold very dearly.
As they say, every baby is different and so every pregnancy is different too. Aidan was a cheeky, squirmy baby who was always on the move. I used to call him the in-utero human circus act. He would respond so vigorously to the food I eat, the caffeine I imbibe and the words that I say.
You, on the other hand, have calmer and more measured movements. Right before I go to sleep at night is when you are most active. And you most definitely respond to your brother’s words and touch. Which is super, super cute.
I don’t expect the two of you to be best of friends, I think that is asking for too much. But I really hope that you will be each other’s pillar of strength, guidance and encouragement.
And most importantly, I hope that both of you will always have each other’s back, no matter what. One day, both your papa and I will no longer be around and it will just be you and him in this world.
Just the other day, something hilarious happened. Mama was in the loo, emptying what needed to be emptied. Suddenly, the bathroom door opened and your brother walked in.
“Aidan, mama poo poo,” I said.
He ignored me completely, of course. He walked straight to me, lifted up my shirt, and then leaned in to rub his cheek against my belly.
It was the sweetest moment. And the oddest too. I mean, I was sitting on the loo.
“Aidan,” I repeated gently. “Mama poo poo.”
He looked at me, pulled my shirt down and promptly walked out of the bathroom. I sat there laughing at the hilarity of it, and shed a silent tear of love.
This boy, he has the biggest, warmest heart and I have no doubt that he will love you oh so very much.
As do we all, Two, as do we all.
Almost 39 weeks, my darling. It’s going to be a crazy ride when you get here. Be gentle with us, be patient with us. We’d figure this out together: you, me, papa and your gor gor.
Not too long ago, I delivered my firstborn after a rather short gestation period of 37 weeks and 3 days.
It wasn’t a Hallmark delivery, clearly. I laboured for 18 hours before being wheeled into the operating theatre for an emergency Caesarean. Much of my time in the hospital was spent in nightmarish conditions. And while I had accepted that this was my son’s birth, I have always wondered at the back of my mind if it happened because my labour was mis-managed.
And now that I have crossed this milestone with Two today, I could feel myself heave a silent sigh of relief. It’s like checking one item off my list of worries.
There’s been a lot going on and I haven’t been able to slow down to catch my breath. Work is crazy busy and I am chugging on full steam ahead until next Friday, right before I head into week 39. My schedule is packed EVERY SINGLE DAY with lessons and meetings and commitments. In fact, I am booked for eight solid hours next Monday, with only an hour’s break for lunch.
Sometimes, I wonder if I was crazy to think that I could carry on a full load till the end.
But I am trying my best.
It’s hard, though, trying to juggle work and home, on top of being heavily pregnant. So much to think about.
Have I packed adequately for my hospital bag?
Two still doesn’t have any diapers.
Will Aidan be alright with the transition?
Hopefully we have made the right choice with our new helper.
How are we going to cope with the costs?
Is Two doing okay? Will he/she be too big/small?
I need that VBAC to happen, I really do.
I don’t know if I can last till next week.
I just want to stay at home and sleep.
Just yesterday, I had a meltdown. A was non too cooperative at dinner time and I just about had enough. It wasn’t his fault, frankly, he was just being a two-year-old trying to make sense of the world but I was just done. When husband came home, I went into the bedroom and allowed myself a little cry.
He took over the nightly routine and hauled the little man to bed. I continued to lie down, and texted my girlfriend for some moral support.
(Thank goodness for girlfriend. She gets me every single time, she lets me ramble on about my fears and my anxiety without interruption or being judgemental/patronising/sanctimonious, and then she makes me laugh. And it’s pretty awesome that all our kids are/will be of the same age!)
I hadn’t realised just how heavy my emotional load has been and I needed that outlet to let it all out.
So yes, it’s been 37 weeks and 3 days. We have gone past that and fingers crossed that Two will continue to stay inside until he/she is ready to be here with us. In the meantime, I’m taking a deep breath and living one day at a time.
Is it me or does Two look a tad bigger than his/her older brother?
Anyhow, I feel more like a whale this time around. I think it’s because I have put on more weight than I did with Aidan!
(I also put in two separate online orders of a grand total of – DRUMROLL PLEASE – FOUR SKIRTS. For myself. I don’t even know if I am ever going to fit into them. Maybe my child-bearing hips – HAR HAR HAR – will stay with me FOREVA!)
But thankfully, I am physically more agile with Two than I was before. I can still rush between classes, climb stairs with relative ease and the aches don’t shoot down my bum anymore.
In the meantime, I am thankful that I have escaped the whole “wake up to pee in the middle of the night” plague once again. And thanks to the ministrations of Mr Thick every night before I turn in, I don’t get woken up by leg cramps either.
Confession: I get him to knead my calves, feet and butt even on the nights when my legs feel fine. Precautions, you see. Look, for all the physical discomfort that I am putting up with, a mere 10-minute massage of my legs is absolutely nothing. NOTHING, I tell ya.
Nong nong time ago (okay, it was merely SEVEN MONTHS AGO), I was glowy.
And now, presenting the bulbous nose and LV Neverfull eye bags!
Why am I even posting this ugly, sans makeup picture of myself on the Internetz? (Was chilling by the pool in Bali.)
I don’t know. Maybe I am not-so-secretly humble bragging? Meaning, now is your cue to start posting comments on how glowy I look currently, how I still am beautiful etc.
Urghs. Hate humblebrag. Why do people post obviously good-looking photos of themselves with “oh woe is me, I look awful” captions, just to invite flattering comments? Are we really that insecure and in need of validation?
Anyway, yeah, I’m being completely honest here. Not trying to fish for compliments. I feel tired and I look tired. Third trimester is kicking my ass, the depth of exhaustion is like a bottomless pit. I can sleep for seven hours and still feel like I can go on for another 10. My honker can press the buttons of the lift on my behalf and my eye bags can hold a towel.
One day, I am going to look all shiny and radiant again.
I’m now at the stage where everything about me is big: my boobs are spilling out of my clothes; my face is fat; my Jackie Chan honker is back in business; my feet is swollen and resemble puffy sausages; my stomach is obstructing my path.
In short, I look big and I feel monstrous. MEH.
Two seems to be feeling the lack of space too. Instead of cute kicks and buttery flutters, the poor little baby has taken to wriggling. It’s so…odd. I mean, imagine someone nudging you from inside. And the kid is ALL OVER THE PLACE. I can get strange wriggles above my belly button and all the way to my waist on the right. AT THE SAME TIME.
Mmm, maybe Two will be all supermodel-ly with long lanky limbs. LIKE FABULOUSLY GORGEOUS MAMA!
And because the giant uterus requires space, all my innards have been unceremoniously shoved aside. My stomach is probably somewhere up my chest – I wouldn’t know, I can’t really feel it anymore. But what this means is that the horrible nausea that I used to get during the first trimester is saying HELLO AM BACK! Sometimes, I would retch after brushing my teeth. Or after breakfast. According to the good doctor, the stomach is being squashed, which leads to nausea. Wahey.
But it’s all good. This isn’t forever and hey, I’m never going to be pregnant again. So I’m trying my best to enjoy this as much as possible.
Two gets some music time via the Belly Buds almost every night and I go to sleep to the soothing hypnobirthing tracks. The Muji diffuser in my room is puffing out lulling lavender into the air. The night is still (until Aidan wakes up, anyway) and the air-conditioning is humming.
And just like that, we are into the last stretch. In less than 12 weeks, we should finally lay eyes on each other for the first time. And I cannot wait.
Right now, I’m entering the phase where everything is starting to be quite uncomfortable. I’m lumbering around, I can’t take deep breaths, my stomach has been displaced and I can no longer tolerate heavy meals, walking can be painful sometimes etc.
But you know what? I’m the odd sort who really enjoys pregnancy, I do. I love the connection that I have with my unborn child – you – and the fact that this is something that can never be replicated. For these past 28 weeks, you have been a part of me and I am all that you know. And that’s an experience that I can never relive again. I want to make sure that every moment is lived positively and not wasted on whinging about how tough it is, especially since you are going to be my second and last baby. I only have 12 more weeks to go and already that fact is making me a little sad.
So I’m relishing in every ticklish wriggle, every cute little hiccup, every odd sensation. I laugh when I HAVE. TO. GO. PEE. NAO. because I know that you have somehow moved your little ass (or head, I wouldn’t know, really) on top of my bladder. I smile when it’s just you and me in the dark of the night or the cool of the morning. I feel your limbs poking out of me and I can’t help but poke back at you. I think about the moment when I will finally get to see you in real life, and whether it will be as surreal as it was when I met your brother for the first time. I love it when I read the “big brother” books to Aidan and he lifts my shirt up to “kiss baby”.
You are so loved, my littlest, so loved.
The other night, your papa and I were lying together on the bed. I was playing the Hypnobirthing affirmations and relaxation tracks out on the speakers and you were merrily bouncing away. I told your papa to put his hand on my tummy to feel your movements and you, my darling, obliged. (Your brother NEVER did, he would stop whenever he felt papa’s hand and then perform his tricks again once papa moved the hand away. He’s still as cheeky today.)
And so we laid there, his hand on my tummy, large and warm and secure and comforting. You delivered few wriggles and kicks, now and then. And we fell asleep like that, in a hypnotic haze of exhaustion and love.
12 more weeks. Stay inside me for as long as you can, my little one. And then you will be coming home with us.
Love you to the moon and back (yes, you too),
I was lying on Aidan’s bed just now as he slept under the crook of my armpit. It was quiet in the room, with only the sounds of the air-conditioning and Brahms Lullaby on repeat mode. He was still, on his side, arms cradling his little bolster and one hand on my belly. I didn’t dare to move an inch.
Suddenly, my belly jumped. Ah, Two. My second child who is most active when I am still. Unlike his/her brother, who used to be a one-baby circus act in my womb. I laid my other hand on top of where the flurry of activity was and breathed.
Having gone through those two years of infertility, I am acutely aware that my two babies are nothing short of a miracle and a blessing. How many can say that they conceived a child naturally, after failing eight rounds of treatments? Plus, Two came to us so quickly and so unexpectedly, despite my initial pessimism and fear.
Every day with my two beautiful children – one growing so rapidly in front of my eyes and the other’s kicks growing stronger in utero – is a reminder of how lucky I am. And every day, I tell myself that.
Never mind that Aidan doesn’t sleep through the night and needs one of us to be with him.
Never mind that he sometimes refuses dinner and tosses everything out of his high chair.
Never mind that I no longer have the luxury of reading to Two or simply enjoy the primeval act of carrying a child when every spare moment I have is spent with Aidan.
Never mind that I am always exhausted and have no time for the things that I want to do.
I am a lucky, lucky woman.
I suppose it is doubly poignant now that I am pregnant with my second, and last, child. This will be the last time I carry a child in my womb, to feel my baby’s kicks and hiccups from within. Everything that I feel now will never be felt again.
And so I laid there for an extra moment. To breathe in my little man’s sleepy scent and to enjoy the funny tap dance that my baby is putting up in my tummy.
For various reasons that I won’t go into, Mr Thick and I have decided that we will not be finding out the sex of Number Two before delivery. Throughout our visits to our obstetrician, we made it clear to the doctor that we are not interested to know if baby has any hanging appendage and he has kindly obliged us thus far.
“Makes my job easier!” he says.
Until the detailed scan. (This. This should remind you of what the detailed scan is all about.)
We were sitting in his office discussing the results of the scan (all good) when we got to the measurement of the baby’s head.
Dr T: It’s consistent with all the other measurements, an average number.
Me: Oh! And I thought baby has a big head.
Dr T: The measurement actually falls in the middle.
Me: Oh, my son has a big head so naturally, I assumed that this one’s head is big too.
Dr T: Well, maybe this is a girl then.
Dr T: I don’t know, I’m just making it up.
Me: Nooooooooo. You can’t say stuff like that.
Dr T: (laughs) I really don’t know, I am just saying.
Me: No no no no no, don’t say anymore!
For the record, we still have no clue. And we aim to remain clueless!
How are you? How’s life in mama’s cosy, watery womb?
While I haven’t been updating the world about your every move and every flutter, I don’t want you to think that it’s because I love you any lesser. We have had moments, you and me and papa and gor gor, but I just never got round to penning these moments down.
Let’s talk about this afternoon. It had been an exhausting day for me, having sat through four hours of assessments. I was this close to putting my head down to sleep but I had work to do. As I was powering through my slides, you started reminding me of your presence.
You started bubbling away in my belly, first here then there. And it was so adorable. You are at the stage (20 weeks) where you flutter around oh so gently, because you are still teeny tiny. And as you pop around under my skin, I started tapping on the belly and you would respond.
It was a good moment.
Just the other morning, your papa and Aidan were snoozing in the other bedroom. It was just me and you on that big bed of ours. The morning was cool and there was a gentle breeze. The sun was slowly rising over the horizon and the day was blissfully still.
I laid on the bed, saying nothing, doing nothing. And then you went POP! Before I knew it, there was a trail of “bubbles” running across the belly. I smiled and said hi to you, and you continued fluttering for a while.
And then the door opened and your brother burst into the room with loud pitter-patters, and the moment ended.
It was a good moment.
And then, there was the other night. Papa and I were trying to put Aidan to bed. That boy, he loves, LOVES to kiss you. At ever opportunity that he has, he will ask to “kiss mama baby”. It was exactly like that, that night.
I was lying down on his bed and he asked to kiss my tummy. I said, yes please and he obliged with a MMMMM-MUAH. Only this time, he kept going at it, kissing and giggling at my belly. Papa and I laughed at his gleeful smile, and there was so much love and happiness enveloping the room.
It was a beautiful moment.
Right now, I am relishing this: the feeling of you in my tummy, carrying you everywhere with me. I daresay this is something that all mothers love and miss the most. (Also, the baby is here but not throwing tantrums! Or pooping at the wrong time! Or crying incessantly!)
We are at the halfway mark, Two. Hang in there, we still have just a little bit more to go.