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Pregnancy update | Up to week 24


So we were going to get engaged this year, get married in 2019, and plan for a kid sometime in 2020-2021. WERE. 

Perhaps the summer holiday to Turkey and Italy was too romantic, but I swear we were being very responsible adults, and can only nail it down to product defect. Ok TMI. 

This is how it happened. 

Finding out
My period is very regular, +/-3 days at max is the variance. It was the tail end of July, and I was still doing my thing, banging myself on the ice while trying to Axel jump on my ice skates, having beers with friends after work.. I was getting a bit antsy about the fact that my period was 5 days late. 5 DAYS, that is unheard of in Ariel Land. 

My husband (boyfriend at the time) and I had a date night at a nice Italian restaurant. And I was very unreasonably emotional. But at that time there was not a single thought that I would be pregnant. We blamed it on period-is-almost-here hormones. 

The next day, we had sushi for dinner, some beer with friends, and I decided to go home early, and peed on a stick just in case. And this was the first stick: a digital one that shows you exactly HOW pregnant you are (+3 means week 5 and beyond).


What happened first was disbelief, I thought the product might've been expired. I checked the box for the accuracy and it was something ridiculous like 99.7% accurate. Following that I texted my SO and said "omg you need to go buy other pregnancy check sticks and come home RIGHT NOW." 

He told our friends that he "broke something at home" (which was somewhat accurate) 

And here is the second stick he brought home, newly bought. I'm pregnant as f*ck, as shown on the stick. 


Telling the parents
We decided to call my SO's mother since she's on US timezone and had just woken up. She is also way more calm than my own mother, so we thought it would be wise. I couldn't say I was panicking, but I was just unsure what the f I'm about to go through or what I should do... so I asked her some initial questions about preparing for the first trimester. We also booked for a doctor's appointment the very next day. 

Following the doctor's appointment, it was afternoon time. I called my mom and the first thing I said was "where are you? are you driving?" followed by "don't you want to pull over just to be safe?" I'm not sure where the nervousness is come from, I'm 27, 9 years past the cut off between teenager and adult who can drink and vote (in most parts of the world). Still, I felt like a little girl that had just done something wrong. Surprisingly, my mother handled it very well. She wasn't upset (particularly about being pregnant before being married). She said stuff happens, and a wedding plus a kid coming is double the happiness! Just like the Chinese character used for wedding celebrations (reference below)


Going to the doctor to confirm
I was surprised we were able to get an appointment immediate on the day after. The doctor is this super nice Singaporean lady who has helped a ton of patients deliver at Mount Elizabeth for over a decade. Her office was full of personal thank you cards and photos of all of the mothers and babies she's seen. 

The atmosphere was really relaxing and welcoming. But it was funny that the first thing the doctor said was "congratulations...?" like she wasn't unsure. 

It was then followed by an ultrasound. Singapore is known for its advanced medical facilities, and I was pretty impressed. The doctor inserted a long stick downstairs as the fetus was still small, and on the screen was this little dot, 11mm in actual size. 


Nothing was going through my mind. We basically just saw a cheerio, it wasn't moving and we couldn't hear any heartbeat yet since it was so early. I didn't feel overwhelmed either, I wanted to look up a lot of stuff. But I was sure that I will be keeping the kid, so the next thing is to figure out the wedding. My husband and I had actually talked about this before, my preference has always been strong in that I prefer to be married before we pop a kid out. Firstly because I'm more traditional, but also because generally after you pop a kid out, there's barely time. 

Most importantly, I am very thankful. So many people try and try but cannot have kids. It was not difficult at all for us and preview: the whole entire pregnancy was smooth as butter. 

Preparing for the wedding within 3 months 

There were 3 main things to look at which are wedding related. 

1) Pre-wedding photos
Apparently, this is an Asian thing. We prefer to take photos beforehand because it goes on the invitation, also at the venue on display for the wedding day. Another reason why we take pre-wedding photos is because it is generally super busy on the day of, and you don't have time for photos of just the two of you. It will be a lot of group photos, in action, which does not capture the magic and romance. 

We chose to shoot with Onethreeonefour.com, and they were absolutely amazing. While we shot in Singapore, they have a very impressive portfolio of overseas destination shoots. Also not to mention, a large collection of dresses to choose from. 



2) Solemnization in SG - making it legal
This took almost 3 months because of the rules on how much time in advance you can book, and also the availability of ROM (Registry of Marriage). First you need to book online, 1 date for document check and another for the actual solemnization date. You'll need 2 witness passport details ready upon booking. 

Then they'll check the documents first and give you instructions for the day of. On the day of, just arrive 10-15min before your appointment time. It takes another 10-15min to do the vows and sign the documents and BAM, you're legally married in Singapore. 

Flowers by FirstSight SG - Everlasting Love Bouquet


Dress from ASOS, linked below


3) The Actual Wedding - In Kyoto:
I go into more details here about our overseas wedding in Kyoto. 

But in short, I planned it in 3 months and did it while 21 weeks pregnant. It went super smooth and was not difficult to plan at all. 

Dress tailor made by La Belle Singapore
Wedding Ceremony by St.Andrew's Church Kyoto


Reception done by Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto




Date
Activity
Vendor
Pre-wedding shoot
Aug 25
Dress try on
Wedding Ring
Sep 5th
Receive
Wedding Dress
Sep 12
Ordered my dress
Actual pre-wedding shoot
Sep 15
photo-shoot
Proposal
Oct 6


Solemnization in SG
Nov 13

Wedding, Reception
Nov 17 
(21 weeks pregnant)


First trimester (June 24 – Sep 22)
Though my pregnancy is relatively pretty smooth, the first trimester was also somewhat scary because of the symptoms and the unknown.

Who I asked for advice?
I approached my mom, mother-in-law, friends that have recently had kids, and also Facebook Groups for mothers in Singapore (Stork's Nest Singapore). Google is also great, but there are a few established sites like "The Bump". 

I also talk about my favorite app "Ovia" further down this blog post. 

Products for the First Trimester
I didn't really get morning sickness, but I was deathly afraid of any slight nausea feeling, or food aversion feeling. I had these 4 products in my bag everywhere I went:

1) Pink Stork Tea: non caffeinated tea which also helped with my nausea 
2) Tummy Drops (Peppermint): this was also good in suppressing the nausea
3) Gaviscon chewable mint tablets: if items 1 & 2 aren't helping, take this
4) Panadol Menstrual: this is for pain relief, since you can no longer take any ibuprofen or other common pain killers. 

Symptoms for the First Trimester
In a nutshell, these were the symptoms I had, which were worst during week 8-10 but then disappeared quickly:
  • Emotions: The hormones are crazy in the first trimester. And I had a few episodes of emotional instability I guess you could call it? Getting sad for no reason, then hyper, then mad for no reason. But it doesn't last, it just catches you out of the blue for a night and the next day you're fine after sleeping on it some more. 
  • Food aversions: I did not like anything overly oily, overly salty. Basically I stuck to juices, fruits, and dried nuts. 
  • Nausea: I tend to get these when I get into a car, or an overwhelming situation like a loud seafood restaurant in San Francisco when you go into sensory overload. But I did not throw up once, and I only had to escalate to Gaviscon (from tummy drops) twice. 
  • Really tired in afternoon: no biggie, just take naps 
  • Some pain: I had 2 really bad nights, worse than period pain episodes around week 8-10. I just had to breathe through it and then frantically started looking at visualization and meditation techniques for pain control during labor. The baby is completely healthy, I think the pain comes from the egg trying to attach to the wall of the uterus properly. 
  • Bleeding: none at all, yeah I'm a lucky lucky mom. 
Finding out the gender (Week 12)
You don't need to wait for the baby to grow and see their gender on the ultrasound anymore! Now you can do blood work to test it, and even better the blood work also tells you about your health condition (immunity to diseases, iron/vitamin D levels etc) and any genetic diseases the baby might have. They get the gender by the X/Y chromosomes from the baby floating around in your bloodstream. 

Since I'm a younger mom, the baby aced the genetic diseases test, close to zero chance of the baby being ill. I tested out with low vitamin D levels but that can be solved with supplements.

So at week 12, I went and bought the first baby clothes! So adorable! 



Traveling in the First Trimester
When I was in Osaka, I was in my early stages of pregnancy, less than 5 weeks, so I didn't even know I was pregnant. I didn't feel any symptoms and even had 2 pints of beer during dinner. 

I then had to go to Sydney for work, which was round week 6. A long haul overnight flight is never easy. I brought some emergency dry Carr's table crackers in case all the plane food disgusted me. Turned out I was fine and slept just like usual. 

Then there was a really long haul flight to see my mother-in-law in Texas, which was 4 connecting flights and almost 24hours one way. That was done partially in premium economy and partially in business which made it better. But at the same time, this was during the worst of my food aversion, nausea, and tiredness. So once I got to Texas, I was drinking that stork tea, napping all over the place and just taking it easy. 

In total I clocked in 73hrs of flight time in the first trimester:




Total
Osaka
6hr 10min
7hr 5 min
13hr 15min
Sydney
7hr 55min
8hr 10min
16hr 5min
Texas (SG to HK)
3hr 55min
4hr
7hr 55min
          (HK to SFO)
12hr 5min
15hr 10min
27hr 15min
 (SFO to Phoenix)
2hr
2hr 5min
4hr 5 min
 (Phoenix to SAT)
2h 5min
2hr 30min
4hr 35min



73hrs 10min

Second trimester (Sep 23 – Jan 5)

The best trimester
Described universally as the best trimester, I can stand behind that even before I have my third. Why? 

1) The emotions are more calmed down, in fact I'm happier than usual. 

2) The appetite is back! Woohoo, I am eating what I usually love. 

3) The baby kicks (I'll get into that later)

4) The belly is showing (but not too heavy), meaning you will get seats and people will congratulate & compliment you!

Baby Kicks
I was able to feel my baby boy kick really early on at 16 weeks. Generally first time mothers won't feel it this early, but the range is between 16-25 weeks. At week 16, I was traveling in Taiwan and Korea. The kicks were strong enough where I could see and film it. 

This is really great, because when you can't feel the baby and only see it on ultrasound every few weeks, it is a) weirdly lonely and b) worrying. 

I even started counting my baby kicks, and he generally does his 10 kicks anywhere within 3min to 1.5hrs, depending on how active he is.A healthy benchmark in the 3rd trimester is 10 kicks in 2hrs. 

Oh also, past week 20 when the baby is bigger, I can see my belly lopsided and figure out his position. The stiffer side can be his head or butt. If it is a long stiffness then it is his spine. I notice that when I take warm showers he likes to stick his head or butt to the front of my belly. I also rub and push down on him sometimes and he'll kick back on the same spot. He also has a clear preference (and say) in which side he wants me to sleep on for the night. If I pick the wrong one he will kick up a storm till I swap sides. 

It kind of feels like this, except I'm not annoyed or upset about it. I'm having lots of fun feeling the little guy "redecorate his airbnb". 


Showing & Not fitting normal clothes
I was very reluctant to switch to maternity clothes. In fact I kept buying larger size pants and stretchy dresses between week 17-23. It's just the fact that there are more choices in style to get regular clothes, and I won't wear these maternity clothes later. 


You can show or hide your bump, it all just depends on what you wear: 


In trimester 2, I did a big around Asia tour for work, but also got married in Japan, went to Finland for my honeymoon.. aka a truckload (or plane cargo load) of flying. 
  • Asia tour was done on week 16-17 
  • Wedding and honeymoon was week 20 & 21 
  • My last flight will be to Malaysia for Christmas at week 26. 

SG - TW
4hr 40min

4hr 40min
TW < > HK
2hr
1hr 45min
3hr 45min
TW - Tokyo
3hr

3hr
Tokyo < > Seoul     
2hr 40min
2hr 15min
4hr 55min
Tokyo - SG
7hr 40min

7hr 40min
Osaka
6hr 10min
7hr 5 min
13hr 15min
Lapland (SG Doha)
8hr 35min
8hr
16hr 35min
     (Doha to HEL)
6hr 30min
6hr 15min
12hr 45min
     (HEL to Ivalo)
1hr 40min
1hr 30min
3hr 10min
Shanghai
5hr 15min
5hr 50min
11hr 5min
Kota Kinabalu
2hr 25min
2hr 20min
4hr 45min



85hr 35min

Total flight time during pregnancy: 158hrs 45min

Did it get more difficult flying? Not at all. 

You can fly up to 36 weeks of pregnancy with most airlines. (Up to 36 weeks if it is a single pregnancy/not multiples with no complications). Between weeks 28-36, you'll just need a doctor's note for the airline. 

Doctor's checks I’ve had so far

Date and Weeks
Ultrasound
Other
Aug 2 (5 weeks 6 days)
Cheerio baby!
14.1mm

Aug 21 (8 weeks 3 days)
Peanut baby!
17.7mm

Sep 11 (11 weeks 5 days)
Human shape!
46mm
Got my blood work done
Sep 21 (12 weeks)

Found out it’s a boy
Oct 11 (15 weeks 4 days)
Can see the spine
152bpm

Nov 10 (20 weeks)
Detailed scan (you can see the gender on ultrasound)

 Dec 6 (24 weeks)

 Hospital tour

I would say that the key milestones are the blood work done for week 12 (for genetic disorder testing and gender test) and the detailed scan at week 20. The detailed scan checks the baby's heart, brain, kidneys, spine, major bones, face, hands, feet, placenta, and umbilical cord. Which all came out normal for our baby boy! 

8 week old peanut, 17.7mm long, still tiny. 
I can hear your heartbeat though little guy! Working hard, gotta grow! 


11 week baby boy, human shape but still only 46mm long. 
Chugging his invisible beer, that's definitely from mom. 


15 weeks, baby boy doing a yoga pose, with a heartbeat of 152bmp


My favorite pregnancy app: Ovia
I downloaded around 4 apps, but Ovia is my favorite. 

1) It updates weekly and gives you a chart of baby's current hand and feet size compared to how big it will grow. I like to think of it as tiny high-fives. 

2) Also it gives the baby's size in fruits, toys, and animals (Guinea pig as shown below for week 22, is way too cute!) 

3) It also gives you a rough shape of the baby. At the earlier stages when the baby still had a tail, it looked like an adorable dinosaur baby! 

4) On a weekly basis it will have a detailed report of how the baby is, how the mom is feeling and some tips. 

5) On a daily basis it will give advice, video guides, product recommendations, and the best - baby development updates (such as the ears forming so you know the baby can hear, how the baby's skin is going from transparent to more plumpness due to fat filling in etc)





Pros of being pregnant 
  • You get to eat more (with no guilt or judgement) 
  • You get to blame the kid/bump (for being late, moving slow, for wanting a 3rd portion) 
  • You get attention (on public transport, at the nail salon, at work, everywere from friends you haven't spoken to in 10 years) 
  • People are nicer to you 
  • You get to shop for a lot of bullshit cute stuff 
  • You get bigger boobs (and god let's hope they stay!!!) 

Cons of being pregnant 
  • You can't sit at the extra legroom seat row on planes (if you're showing) 
  • Getting up for the 15th time to pee at night with a belly sucks 
  • Sleepy waves hit you like a wall for no reason 
  • You say goodbye to your favorite outfits *temporarily* but stiiiiillll... 

But all worth it, because it's so true that your own kid is the cutest kid, even before they are born. 








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