My Little Miracle

The exciting story of God's very special gift to Mama & Papa…

The Unexpected Birth Story

The birth of the Little Miss was unexpected. Unexpected because I didn’t expect to have her so “early” and I guess I wasn’t really ready mentally. Anyway, the overall experience was a great one and I’m here to share her birth story.

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February 6, 2016 – Saturday (39 weeks)

We had a Chinese New Year reunion dinner with my dads family that night. The food was delicious and I ate a lot! On that day though, I realize her movements were a little off. She did not move as much and despite me shaking my belly, drinking cold water, lying down sideways, she did not respond. It was a little worrisome for me because I’ve learnt the importance of counting baby movements during this pregnancy and also aware of the issues with stillbirth; or just paranoid because I’ve been doing a lot of reading and recently read that someone lost her baby at 37 weeks! EEEEEK! I did not want to take any chances. When we got home that night, just before bedtime, she moved and responded pretty well. Still, it was almost midnight and I wasn’t sure of that could be counted because it should be 10 movements in 12 hours; at the very least.

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February 7, 2016 – Sunday (39 weeks + 1 day)

Tonight was the main event. The reunion dinner with my family; at my uncles place every year, seeing all my cousins and extended family was a yearly event. We also had a reunion lunch planned and I was ready for a full day! I woke up still very conscious of her movements and still felt that she was not moving as much as I’d like. I told Daddy that I think its best we visited the hospital and get checked. After all, if there wasn’t any issues, I can go home, right? WRONG. I didn’t know that the procedure at HKL was that you will be admitted for 1 day for observation.

11.00am

After breakfast, we went into the Maternity Hospital at HKL and the nurses checked on baby’s heartbeat and movements. Her heart was beating strong – I was super relieved. But fetal activity was slightly on the low side. Though she did kick a few times, they asked why didn’t I come in earlier. They explained the risks of decreased movements at late pregnancy and told me that it could be serious if I didn’t come in earlier. After being monitored with the CTG machine, the doc came in and checked me; I asked for it since I wanted to know if I was in any way dilated or effaced. She said I was a good 2cm dilated and they will have me admitted. After much discussion, she said her instincts tell her that I should be admitted because labor is very near. She gave me a membrane sweep and assured me that staying over is best.

2.00pm

At this moment, I was unprepared. I did not expect to be admitted right away and definitely wanted to at least spend one more day with Leo before the new baby arrives. I had mixed feelings and was slightly sad. But again, I knew that baby is in good hands and that all will be fine. I got up to the ward and laid in bed for awhile. Daddy had gone home to make sure Leo has his nap because the poor guy was so tired and cranky the whole time.

I used the loo and saw that I was already spotting. Then, I knew for sure that labor is near. Maybe in a few days or so. I started to have mild contractions later in the day, but nothing too painful. I tried to take naps here and there, but I was more concerned about going into labor naturally, not being induced.

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7.00pm

The doctor on rounds asked me if I wanted to be checked and see my progress, I declined. I said that I wanted to wait till later on and if I did progress then I will stay and if not, I wanted to go home. He said ok and will come again later tonight. True enough I was having more and more contractions, on and off. But again, nothing too painful. I prayed and prayed that my cervix will dilate naturally and that my body will complete this pregnancy and progress further. I was monitored again with the CTG machine for 2o minutes and baby’s heart was beating strong. By this time, I’ve already had more than 1o fetal movements and not concerned anymore. Suddenly the issue was switched from just a fetal check up to early labor!

February 8, 2016 (39 weeks + 2 days)

12.15am

I couldn’t sleep that night. It was past midnight that I finally felt like laying down and preparing to actually go to sleep before the marathon begins. I was too tired all day and having infrequent contractions. The same doc came and see me and said that it’s time to get checked. I said ok; praying in my heart that there is a good progress and that admitting so early to the hospital was not in vain. 4cm he said! He told he nurses to book the labor room for me immediately. I was shocked and I said that I didn’t want to be in the labor room so early. I know that labor could be long and I didn’t wanna be strapped on the bed, unable to eat AND sleepless. He told me that in the labor room, they will most probably break my water to get labor going and give me Pitocin to help me dilate. Again, I declined and said that I didn’t want them to break my water so early and allow me to labor on my own first. He agreed and said he will come back at 2am to check on me. I texted Daddy and asked him to come around 3am.

2.00am

I fell asleep for about an hour and realize that it was already 2am. By now, the contractions were getting more painful; but still not frequent enough to be in active labor. I walked around and they would go away. I laid on the bed most of the time and breathed through every contraction. The doctor did not come back – which I was very happy about so I continued sleeping and focus on more rest to regain my energy. I texted Daddy and told him that I’m not in the labor room yet so there’s no need to come at 3am anymore. So I told him to get more sleep and come later on maybe around 4 or 5am.

4.30am

I woke up and made myself a cup of Horlicks. I was pretty hungry and I knew I had to eat something before labor or I wont have the energy to push. Contractions were still  coming on and off, mildly painful and I used these contractions to practice breathing. In through nose and out through mouth very very slowly. I didn’t know what time the doctor will come again so I just packed my bag (what they told me to do; as needed in the labor room), and walked even more. I couldn’t walk through most contractions by now – I had to stop and stand over the bed and breathe through them. The nurse on duty asked of I was ok and if I wanted to get checked. She also told me not to wait till its unbearable or it’ll be too late to prep the labor room! (In my mind, I doubt I was that far along to be in active labor).

5.30am

I finally agreed to get checked. I remember praying so hard that there will be progress and that I don’t have to be induced. The doc said that I was a good 5cm! Time to prep the labor room! So at this point, I texted Daddy and asked him to come when he’s ready, after settling Leo. They wheeled me into the room and got the CTG working to check on baby’s heartbeat and contractions.

6.00am

They doctor broke my water to get labor going. I remember that it felt very warm and almost like I am peeing on myself! There was so much water, it’s amazing how it was all in my womb and I was carrying it with me all along.

6.15am

After all the preparation, the only thing I could do is just wait. Wait until the contractions come more frequently and into actual active labor. Contractions are getting more painful and each time it comes, I picture the cervix dilating and that baby’s head is descending. By now Daddy was beside me and we were talking about how cute Leo is and thinking about his face and reaction when I get to see him again! Not having to be with him for the past 2 days was hard! I never knew that I missed him so much. We kept talking about what happened at the reunion dinner and the things he did and said. These conversations got me through most of the contractions.

8.30am

Another doctor came and checked me and I cant forget her words – She said I was only 4cm and not 5. I remember the same disappointment I felt even during Leo’s birth when I did not progress as much as I expected. I was sad but I told myself not to be discouraged. Dilation can happen at anytime and I know of some who went from a 3cm to a full 10cm in just 1 hour! So she checked my contractions on the monitor and said they were not frequent enough. I was only having 2 in 10 minutes and only lasting for about 30-40 seconds each time.

Close to 9.00am

The doctor ordered Pitocin for me and another IV was hooked on my right arm. Great… now I have one of my left AND one on my right. This wasn’t what I wanted, but I just followed the doctor’s advice and allow my body to work. Once the Pitocin came in; in a matter of seconds, my contractions were getting very very strong each time and VERY painful. I kept breathing as how I did but it was hard. Exhaling was hard not to let out some groaning or screaming. Nope, I didn’t scream… yet. By now, I was having 3 contractions in 1o minutes and they last for almost a minute each. I told Daddy to keep talking to me and keep my mind occupied so I don’t think about the pain. I remember clearly at each contraction, I visualized that I was at green pastures, drinking from the calm waters. Every contraction is bringing my baby closer and closer to me. I’ve learned how to control the contraction and not to push, try not to push or force it, and let it “breathe” through me. (I’ve learnt this the hard way from Leo’s birth experience and told myself that I don’t wanna bruise my cervix and I don’t want to force her head through when she’s not ready!)

9.30am

Contractions were over the top! There are no words to describe how it felt. I was shivering at every contraction and grabbing onto the bed very VERY tightly. If it was a wooden one, it would’ve probably be broken! Luckily, I told Daddy not to let me hold his hand, or he’ll suffer major bruises or maybe a broken arm, LOL. The doc said I was 8cm and in no time, the baby would be here! I was cold sweating, feeling very uncomfortable and that my spine was gonna break into half. Daddy used cold tissues to wipe my forehead and kept talking. I told him to PLEASE keep talking to me so that my mind is occupied. I thought to myself that I will have her in an hour or so. Hang on! Hang on!

Finally, I told the midwife that I can’t hold it anymore! I need to push, I need to push. And yes – just FYI, when you finally can’t hold it any longer, the urge to push is natural. With Leo, I kinda forced myself to push when contractions come but now I’ve learnt that it was the wrong way. When you’re at the final stage, the urge to push is so strong that your body takes over!

9.40am

THE RING OF FIRE! Oh, ring of fire. It is REAL and it is scary. I remember telling Daddy that OMG I can feel the ring of fire at the first “push”. It feels like I’m about to rip apart or something. By this time, I was a hot mess. I believe that I did scream for a bit. She was crowning and I can feel the doctor holding/touching something down there.

9.45am

The second push, I could feel her head come out. I could hear the midwife saying “wait wait”, hanging onto her head and asking me to hold my legs. Wait, WHAT? How on earth am I going to hold my legs? I can’t even. There was a short pause for a second. Obviously in my head, there was no breaks, it was painful. So painful that the IV hooked on my right arm was bent all the way from the pressure of me grabbing on so tightly (which the nurse told me after when removing it) causing a bruise on my arm.

9.50am

Finally the midwife said “Ok, push Eva”. One more contraction and one more push, her body came out. I could feel the warmth of the amniotic fluid/or blood? flow out and I can feel her warm body touching my thighs. Then, I remember feeling her legs/or arms moving and kicking me. Oh the feel or relief. Relief that it’s finally over and she’s out.

They did all the necessary steps and then placed her on my chest. SKIN ON SKIN. I never had this with Leo because he was taken away almost immediately because I was bleeding pretty bad. I loved every moment of it. The moment I saw her face and realized how tiny she was. My little baby girl. Daddy and I were talking about how she looks very similar to Leo.

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10.00am

I wasn’t really sure of the time here, but probably around so, I delivered the placenta and they cleaned me up. Honestly, the cleaning was more painful than birth. Kind of. I don’t wanna elaborate here because this is her birth story and I want to remember how she came into this world. But the midwife did do a good job and I was up and running the next day; did I just really had a baby?

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After all the cleaning, I was able to hold her again and start breastfeeding. I was wheeled back into the recovery ward around 2pm, and had my lunch then.

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There are no words to describe this birth experience. Even though it was unexpected, it was beautiful and I am so grateful that everything went well. The only thing that I felt pretty immediately was how much I missed my bump. I didn’t have time to digest that it was the last day being pregnant and I didn’t really embrace that feeling. Things happened so fast, I didn’t have a picture of me being pregnant just before entering the labor room. However, I am so blessed to have my baby girl in my arms and can’t believe she’s finally here. I can’t believe I am a mother of 2. God is so good and I have nothing to complain about. The hospital and staff was awesome and Daddy and I are so, so blessed and grateful.

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Evangeline Mikayla Lim came into this world on Feb 8, 2016 at 9.50am weighing at 3.01kgs.

Read Leo’s birth story here.

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NAME REVEAL!!!

For those who’ve been waiting to find out her name, we are finally sharing it to the world at 38 weeks!

Here’s a short clip on our name reveal on Quackababy 2 a.k.a QB2 or Little Miss Quack. Click the image below to find out… 

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More updates on how we got her name and why in another post 😀

 

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When is my due date???

It is every pregnant moms wish to know when is her exact due date; even though it is just an estimate, having the peace to know that everyone is on the same page (and everyone means the doctor, the nurse, yourself, the ultrasound tech, etc) will really put an ease to your mind.

Well, according to BabyCentre AND every single pregnancy due date calculator online, my due date for QB2 is on Feb 10th, 2016. How accurate are online calculators? Well, I used it with Leo and my doctor then revealed the same date too, so I believe they are correct. But this time, my midwife said that it is on Feb 13th, 2016 and not the 1oth, based on her manual calculation which they add 7 days to your LMP (last menstrual period). I’ve always sidetracked her calculation coz I felt it wasn’t accurate and preferred to stick to Feb 10th. I had my final ultrasound with a gynae on Tuesday and I asked him about my due date; again. According to his calculation, he said it was Feb 13th! I was shocked. Not because I didn’t believe him but because every single calculator says 10th according to my LMP, but his and the midwifes’ says 13th. He also said that it is only a difference by 3 days, so it doesn’t really matter. True but NOT TRUE. If you’ve been pregnant, you KNOW that the last month of pregnancy has 365 days! I wouldn’t want to be overdue either, and every single day counts when you’re in the home run.

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If you’ve been in the TTC (trying to conceive) moment and you are the kinda mom that knows your cycle very well and know about fertility and conception, you will know that there are other methods to determine your due date.

  1. Using your LMP – which most doctors use and what the online calculator uses too. But I don’t know why the manual calculation and generic calculator differs by 3 days? So according to this calculation, my due date is on the 13th.
  2. Date of conception – We all know what we need to do to conceive. And I know the exact date, because we only tried once. They can argue and say that this method is not the best because sperm can live in the uterus for a couple of days and you never know when you ovulate. But my cycle is very regular and I know when I am in the fertile window. So since we only tried ONCE, I keyed in the date of conception and that had put my due date to the 7th! Now that’s a huge difference between 7th and 13th. That is 1 week ahead of what the LMP says.

In case you’re wondering why am I so anal about my due date; it is an estimate anyway. It is because I was overdue with Leo and had to be induced. That wasn’t fun at all. And at the end of pregnancy, baby is growing bigger and bigger each day. If baby gets too big, there are chances that they may now allow you to birth naturally and/or say that there are risks involved. I had to be induced with Leo because my water broke and I was overdue.

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I am only hoping that I will not go overdue this time. I don’t want to be induced and I don’t want baby to get too big, as she measures 2.7kg already. Each week they gain about 300 grams. So the remaining 3 weeks I have left means she could put on 1kg. That would mean she could be born at 3.7kgs! That’s gonna hurt… and no C section for me please! I know these are estimate figures, plus minus 10%, but still, my heart just feels kinda unsettled.

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Anyway, I just wanted to get this out of my chest. Ultimately, God’s timing is best. He knows when she will be here and she will be here when she’s ready. The only thing I can do now is to prepare my body for labor and trust that it till complete the whole process. If my body can conceive and sustain the whole pregnancy till full term, my body can birth this baby out naturally and the process will be complete. It will not fail me and it will not go haywire suddenly.

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Gifts Ideas for Baby & Mama

Usually, people give you gifts when you just had a baby here in Malaysia; or some during the “full moon” celebration of baby when they are a month old. Those who come and visit you will bring you something for the baby and often, they are things which you really don’t need. I am not writing this because I am ungrateful or anything. I just wanted to share my experience and give some ideas on things that baby and mama will surely appreciate.

Again, these gifts are what people will bring when they visit you at the hospital or at home. I am not referring to large items (cot, bouncer, pillow, thermometer, etc) that are requested/given during baby showers. These are small things that friends/family want to bless you with when they come see baby for the first time.

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The most common gifts people will give are newborn hampers. Consisting of a set of clothes, mittens, booties, and maybe some baby bath/feeding related items. I personally find these really expensive and have not much use for them – except the bath items. Reason is because baby may have already outgrow newborn size clothes and maybe the baby has certain skin sensitivity to certain brands of bath items or feeding bottles. Not to mention, if the mother is breastfeeding, it will be a while before those bottles are put to good use.

When QB was born, I am thankful that I have friends/family and other mama friends that asked what I needed as a gift. I was happy to tell them what we need. Of course, cash gifts are always great. Because there are hospital fees/bills to clear. Baby’s medical follow ups. And whatever the parents need to use it for. If you aren’t sure what they need, ask the Mama what she needs and I can guarantee a 100% she will tell you 😉

Here’s my list of items for baby that I personally find very useful and will definitely be put to use.

1. Disposable Diapers

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Baby goes through so many diapers a day for the next 2-3 years! Diapers are always a necessity. I am a cloth diapering mama, but having some disposables will always come in handy. I would recommend getting larger sized diapers too as baby outgrows them quickly.

2. Baby Wipes

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I remember when a friend asked me what I needed when QB was born and I said wipes – LOTS AND LOTS OF WIPES! She was shocked at my request but proceeded anyway. She got me about 10-20 packs of wipes and boy, did that last me a long time! Wipes are great for diaper changes, cleaning spit ups, wiping the counters, wiping baby’s mouth when they’re on solids, cleaning cutlery – you name it! I even use wipes for myself sometimes.

3. Receiving blankets/swaddles/muslin blankets/burp cloths/hankies/cloth wipes

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Whatever you call it, I am referring to cloth items that will soak baby spit ups, spilled milk, and crazy breastfeeding letdowns. New babies up to about 3 months will spit up a lot and you will be using a few pieces each day. At least for me, I did. The blankets can be used to lay on the bed too, just to protect it from pee/poop explosions. Or what my hubs would say – “SPRAY POOP”. Swaddling blankets are not just used for swaddles but also to keep baby warm as a blanket, nursing cover, laying it on the changing mat, or wherever you need to lay baby down. I find many uses for them and could never have enough!

4. Bath items (good ones)

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I know some may be particular on brands or types of bath items used for baby. This also depends on baby’s condition like skin sensitivity or if baby has eczema. Its always good to ask first before purchasing.

 

For baby, I really think those are the only necessary essentials. Here’s my list of items for Mama that may be helpful. Especially breastfeeding mamas! But these items are not needed in huge amounts like diapers and wipes. Just a couple will be sufficient for Mama.

1. Nipple cream

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During the first month or first few months, breastfeeding is a challenge. Especially for first time moms. You will have sore nipples and even bleeding ones if your baby is not latching correctly. Of course with help, it will be fixed. But having a nipple cream is very helpful to ease the soreness not just from a bad latch, but from feeding your baby every 30 mins, around the clock! If there is no need for Mama to use it, these creams can also be applied to baby’s bum to prevent rashes.

2. Breast pads

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Again, you will leak milk during the first few months of breastfeeding. Having a good quality breast pad to soak up all the milk is very important. Not only does it prevent itch and rash, it keeps the area clean and dry.

3. Food

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Be it a home cooked meal, herbs from the store, or anything to help out in supplying meals for the family will help a ton. I am a mom that cooks for the family at least 4 times a week and do not have a maid/confinement lady. So not having to worry about cooking will take the stress out of me. Or at least preparing/bringing some groceries will ease the burden of restocking the pantry. Again, this is subjective – unless there is a hired confinement lady or maid at home, this may not be essential after all.

Basically, items for mama really depends on her situation. It is always better to ask her what she needs. These are the items that I personally would use and would be grateful for them. Items for baby is pretty much straight forward. Diapers and wipes are awesome.

What are your gift ideas for new baby and mama?

 

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34 weeks + 5 days

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HAPPY NEW YEAR GUYS!!!

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I meant to do this bumpdate last Wednesday when I turned 34 weeks, but heck, I was so tired from being unable to sleep between 2-6am (literally!) and then waking up at 9am. And then, the next day was New Year’s eve and I had a horrible day at work. Come Friday, it was New Years and I wanted to spend with with my family through the weekend so I decided to delay this update until today.

I have quite a lot to talk about this week, things have been pretty challenging. Let me break it down for you a little.

Physically

Stretch marks: I can feel my belly is getting bigger and tighter by the day. That means that baby is growing and she should weigh about 2.5kgs by now.

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Stretch marks are saying hello to me too! Now, I know there are many products outside to “prevent” these marks, but really, there is nothing you can do about it. It’s partly genetics and with the rate of how fast your belly is growing, it is inevitable. My skin is not that elastic and the marks have gone up above my belly button stretching even more from the precious marks I got from Leo. I know of some people whose belly went super huge and no stretch marks; NONE. Well, good for them. I am not super sad about it. In fact, these are my battle scars. A reminder that life was formed and that my body did whatever it needs to do to support it.

Fatigue: I am feeling very tired the past week. So tired that I just want to lay in bed all day and go to bed at 7pm. Of course I didn’t coz I couldn’t fall asleep. Even when I do, it’s not long before I have to wake to pee and then the cycle repeats itself. I decided to hit the gym instead to join a BODYPUMP class which helped me get my mind off things and I really enjoyed it. I forgot how nice it was being a member and not having to teach.

Pains: I have been having some pelvic pain especially on my right side. It’s like as if my legs are gonna detach from my body. My tailbone is hurting too which is weird, because I didn’t have that with Leo. Someone told me that it could be because my pelvis/birth canal is widening hence it affects the tailbone too. Thankfully though, that my feet aren’t swollen and my blood pressure seems good. Oh, and I almost can’t see my foot!

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Braxton Hicks: These practice contractions are happening so often especially at night. They don’t really hurt, but they are uncomfortable. When it happens, my belly would get super tight and then I can’t breathe normally. It almost feels like I needed to hold my breath or breathe out very very slowly. There was one day (that day that I didn’t sleep from 2-6am), these contractions were coming so regularly that I downloaded an app to time the contractions, just in case it may be the real thing. But thankfully they went away. I wonder if the regularity of these contractions are caused by the Red Raspberry Leaf Tea that I’ve been drinking daily.

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It tones the uterus and supports the organ to prepare for birth. If it is, then it is doing it’s job well. So far I have been loving this tea. I drink 2 cups throughout the day and then another at night before bed.

Emotionally

Emotionally it has been rough. I’ve done so much crying this past week and it’s still on going. I cry at every emotion that runs through my body. Memories of my late grandma made me cry and parenting made me cry too. Sometimes I wished that the people around me would understand and at least try to accommodate my feelings and appreciate the effort I put in to make this house a home. But I’ve reminded myself to never expect anything from anyone because I’m just gonna be disappointed at the end. I will stop expecting anyone to help carry furniture, heavy groceries, laundry baskets and so on. The nurse told me to stop carrying heavy items (because of my weak pelvic floor), but what am I to do? It upsets me when people chose to see without their heart.

Rants aside. I am thankful for my husband who helps me when he can. I couldn’t have done it without him. Thanks Darling.

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I also have been having some mild anxiety as to how am I going to birth this baby out. The memories of the pain I went through with Leo plays in my head and I am so scared. I know in time, that it will all be alright and it is going to be ok. It’ll be over before you know it. But still, the anxiousness makes me nervous and I hope that it’ll be easier second time around.

Spiritually

I have been asking God for a quick and easy delivery for this baby. I’ve also learnt to pray specifically for my body, that it’ll do that it needs to when time comes. I am also so thankful to Him for this gift and miracle. So grateful to have a daughter and appreciating life more than ever.

Honestly my spirit has been up and down. Probably my hormones are out of whack and it may stay the same even till after the baby is born. I have no idea what’s going to happen after she’s born; how are we going to manage a newborn AND a toddler? How am I gonna keep the house running and making sure there’s food on the table? How is laundry going to be like for 5 people? Am I ever able to go back to work? Who is going to take care of the baby? All these thoughts circulate my mind daily. I am reminding myself that God is the Almighty and He is in control. If he opens a door, no one can ever close it. I am trying really hard to remember the scriptures and see things in His eyes. Ultimately, He is my provider and everything will fall into place when time comes.

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One step at a time. One day at a time. 

I guess these are all the reasons for the tough week last week. Waves of emotions as time gets closer and closer. I hope this week will be a better one. I am also trying to find as much time to spend with Leo because I know, in less than 40 days, he will not be the only child anymore and I may not even have the time to spend with him. He’s such a joy and he makes me so happy. I thank God for a good toddler and I hope he’ll love his little sister too.

Thanks for reading this post. I know it’s kinda “all over the place” but I wanted to let it out and express how I am feeling. Looking forward for a better week and I hope 2016 has been kind to you!

 

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32 Weeks Bumpdate + Belly Belt!

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32 weeks and 8 more to go! WOW time has really flown by with this pregnancy. Honestly, it feels fast but slow at the same time. I can’t wait to meet this baby girl and have everything almost prepared for her arrival; almost. 8 weeks feels pretty fast if you look at it, but 2 months feels kinda far away still. Well, I certainly don’t want her to come early, so the Christmas season and holidays is keeping me busy and excited and not thinking about how slow February will come.

Recently I have been using the Belly Belt with my jeans.

p/s – I am not affiliated with Belly Belt or sponsored in any way for this review. All opinions remain my own.

I had bought this item when I was pregnancy with QB back in 2013, but never really used it much. I gained a lot more weight with him and my non maternity pants just didn’t fit at my thighs and legs. But this time, my pre pregnancy jeans fits perfectly with this belly belt and I am pretty happy that I don’t have to buy any maternity pants. The only maternity bottoms I bought were 2 pairs of shorts which was on sale for 50% at Ginger Snaps. And… I wear shorts more than anything else because the weather here is crazy!

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Just thought I’d share some photos of this Belly Belt an how it looks like on me and how it fits perfectly. It comes with 4 extension elastics/belts and 3 pieces of different colored fabric to match your pants. So far I’ve only used the shorter band and the black fabric.

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From the front – maybe it’s my camera angle? But I am happy to see that my thighs are not gigantic and I think I look good here :p

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Sideways – Whoaaaa, my butt doesn’t look that huge, really.

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My jeans fit below my belly button, almost near the pelvic joint.

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And nope, my belly button does not pop out. I’ve a pretty deep belly button! From the front – I just can’t zip and button as pre pregnancy would, but the belly belt helps to hold it together like an extension and your panties are covered with that piece of fabric inside.

Please note that I am never comfortable to show off my bare belly like this and in fact, I’ve never done it before! I don’t have a pretty belly to show off anyway. But I decided that I will share this great product and show you guys whats REAL. Stretch marks, fat deposits and whatnot. I have have courage now.

The only thing about using this product is that your shirts has to be long enough to cover your jeans. Or this part of your lower belly/crotch will be exposed. Thankfully, most maternity and nursing tops have a good length to them. So glad that this product has been put to good use this pregnancy. And I’m hoping that my thighs and butt will not get any bigger or else I can’t fit my jeans altogether!

Did you use any maternity products like this or specifically bought new pants during pregnancy? Do share with me what awesome buys you had!

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Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

I have heard the wonders of drinking Read Raspberry leaf Tea during pregnancy, especially in the 3rd trimester to help tone the uterus and aid an easier labor when time comes. I did not try this during my pregnancy with QB, so this time, I really want to see if it works for QB2.

Well, just like many suggestions or old wives tales when it comes to labor, it all really depends on how your body reacts. Some may work, some may not. And as each pregnancy is different, surely labor and delivery will be too. As some may know, QB was overdue last time. He came at 40+2. Trust me, being overdue is NOT fun! You are already feeling super heavy, super tired, and the waiting game makes you so anxious and stressed. This time, I am really hoping that QB2 will come on time or anytime after 39 weeks. I have done all sorts of suggested ideas to bring on labor quicker with QB, but of course it didn’t work, not even after 2-3 membrane sweeps! So this time, I am very determined.

What I know about Red Raspberry Leaf Tea?

In my own research, I found out these information that helped me make the decision to try it.

  1. It tones your uterus and makes it more effective during labor. It also means that each contraction that you have will be deep and makes progress. 
  2. It makes labor pain more manageable (if you’ve done it before, you KNOW how labor feels like). From what I’ve read, many said that the contractions were painful but manageable and when they are checked, they dilated a lot and next thing you know, its time to push!
  3. It reduces labor time. I labored for 7 hours with QB (from when contraction started till he was born). I consider myself lucky because some first time mamas have it for 12-24 hours. Even then, it’ll be awesome if labor was shorter. Not too short, but a good amount of time (no one wants to have baby in the car!).
  4. It helps even in the after birth. Because your uterus is very toned and effective (it knows what to do!), delivering the placenta could be easier too, and it helps shape your uterus back to normal quicker (from the size of a watermelon, back to an orange). That means getting back in shape faster, without a pooch for too long.
  5. It is safe, pretty much proven and no risk. Research also says that it helps in milk supply and breastfeeding too after birth. Reducing the pain of uterine contraction during breastfeeding. 

Here’s a great article written on RRLT during pregnancy and how much to take it —> Red Raspberry leaf Tea in Pregnancy. Google is a great source of information too if you are deciding weather or not to take it. Bear in mind though, that RRLT may not be suitable in the first trimester (again, depends on your body).

Currently, I am taking 2 sachets/cups a day. The recommended amount would be 3-4 cups in the third trimester, but I may increase it probably around 36 weeks onwards; I don’t want to risk any signs of early labor or a premature baby at the same time. I am saying this because I am already having Braxton-Hicks contractions every now and then. My belly would tighten so hard and then get back to normal. Practice contraction is what they call it. It is not painful, just uncomfortable and makes it hard to breathe or eat. Happens to me more in the evenings.

Where can I buy Res Raspberry Leaf Tea?

There are some local retailers that carries this tea but unfortunately, they are not 100% red raspberry leaf (according to the nutritional facts and ingredients listed). They have the same info and write up on it; that it is for menstrual cramps and pregnancy), but I am not so confident. I wanted an organic one and those that had personal reviews and experiences so I chose to buy from iHerb.

If you’re not familiar with iHerb, it is an online store from the US and they specialize in health, beauty, baby and mostly organic products. Recently, they have been pretty famous in Malaysia and ships direct to us; which is super awesome! Also, now you can change the currency to MYR which makes it easier to see the prices and they have pretty good discounts and deals often. If you want to give it a try, feel free to use my DISCOUNT CODE —> or LRB354 when you checkout for USD$5 off your first purchase! A very good deal indeed. You save RM20+ and that’s the price of one box of this Red Raspberry Leaf Tea!

Here’s the RRLT that I bought. I bought 2 different brands to try because they both seem to have great reviews and they’re both organic. I wanted to try both just for fun and to satisfy curiosity.

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I will keep you updated on the results and give you guys updates too along the process. I am taking this tea religiously because I am praying that it’ll work!

Have you tried Red Raspberry Leaf Tea during pregnancy? If yes, please share with me your experiences!

 

 

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Baby Moon 2015

They always say you should go for a Baby Moon before the new baby arrives, and before adding another addition to the family, you should enjoy whatever time you have left with just the current family. Because it’s all gonna change forever after that.

We were so blessed by our aunt & uncle who sponsored us a trip to Port Dickson over the weekend. We were supposed to go for this trip since July or August as a short break for me; as I was expressing how tired and exhausted I was over Facebook and my aunt took note of it. I was then still in early pregnancy and was feeling all the hormonal roller coaster and just really needed a getaway. Then, there was the haze that took over 2 months to clear, so we couldn’t really schedule the trip. Finally, we decided to use it as our Baby Moon since I am in the home run now and our finances did not allow us to travel anywhere further.

This trip meant a lot to us because it means that we have ‘us’ time and I don’t have to think about chores and work for a moment. We never really get that because I live with my dad in law. And most of the time, we have dinners together and it is never just ‘us’ at home. There are a lot of challenges a when you’re not living with your ‘own’ family; if you know what I mean. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not entirely a bad situation, but it challenges me especially after having kids.

The days when we’re alone, I also realized that we behave differently; at least for me. I am more calm, more patient, and more gentle I’d say. Sometimes at trying times, it makes me raise my voice, having to stand up and prove myself, constantly feeling like a lousy mother, and just bringing me down. And it brings out the worst me in, which is not the real me. It’s really, really hard and there are days I only cry because I know that I am not a bad mother and I can handle whatever the situation. I just want to be me. The real me. And I am only able to be that when we’re a family with just ‘us’.

Anyway, those aside (and maybe in another post when I get the courage to share), we really enjoyed ourselves! Little did we know we will enjoy Port Dickson as much as this. I was never a fan of the beaches in West Malaysia, but this time was different. Maybe because we had QB with us and it was his ‘first time’ actually playing on the beach. We did go to Boracay last year when he turned 1, but he was too young to really do anything or remember anything. This trip has stored many memories in me and it is one that I will never forget.

God has been so good to us. Things we never would’ve thought possible came through and He is forever faithful. The weather was great and the whole trip was eventful. Psssssstt – I even recorded a name reveal video! Not sure how we are gonna announce it, but it’s very exciting!

Here’s some photos to share our trip with you guys and I can’t wait for the next family trip; whenever it may be; with QB2.

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Waking up to this silhouette was one of the best feelings ever.

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QB wasn’t so sure about the beach at first. He didn’t wanna touch the water.

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Goofy family photo!!!

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All ready for the beach with his bucket of sand toys!

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A little more brave the next day! And loving the Applecheeks swim diaper.

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He definitely loved the sand and helped us dug a hole to sit in it.

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I love this photo of the boys in my life.

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Beach time is also ice Popsicle time!

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My 30 week belly. With battle scars. And no thigh gap. LOL.

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Real and raw. A photo with my little lion! I love you, son!

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Picnic breakfast at the beach!

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Daddy dug a hole to sit inside to watch the waves. Pure bliss ~

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One of our favorite photos of QB! He loves the Trunki and is looking forward for our next family trip too!

We all came back slightly sunburned, but Daddy got it worse. I came back with a bruise on my left arm. No idea how I got it. And I had 2 sand fly bites on my face! Not exactly the best place but it’s been a week, and getting better. Beware of sand flies though, if you’re travelling to PD 🙂

 

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Servicing my Spectra M1 breast pump

I have a couple of things listed on my to-do list before QB2 arrives but one of the most important one was to service my breast pump. Regardless weather you direct latch all the time or you bottle feed, you will use a breast pump in some way; at least for me.

I am that mama who overproduces milk. Now now… don’t say I’m lucky, because when you over produce, it is just as hard as under producing. The strong let down, the baby choking on your milk, the milk that sprays everywhere; let’s just not get there. So knowing my past experience, I know that I will definitely be using my Spectra M1 and I need it to be in tip top condition.

I love my Spectra M1 breast pump, and if you haven’t read my review and comparison with the Medela Freestyle, you can read it here. This was posted back in February 2014 when I first purchased it to use, and when QB was 6 months old, and I was exclusively breastfeeding.

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p/s: Please note that I am in no way sponsored by Spectra Baby Malaysia or have any business ties with them. I purchased everything by myself and all my reviews and opinions remain my own.

I used the pump until November 2014, when QB decided to wean himself. So I had used the pump for 9 months consecutively, 2 times a day. I never serviced it ever, in that time frame. And I haven’t had any major issues besides changing the valve a couple of times. The valve is one of the most sensitive part of the pump as any slight tears or deformity will affect your pumping session and yield. Trust me, I couldn’t even see the tear and when the sales person challenged me to change it, my yield went back to normal. It is common that this will happen because when we wash the valve, we could have accidentally pushed it too hard. Don’t worry, the valve cost RM14 per piece and it wont burn a hole in your pocket!(remember that my review is also comparing quality and value for money).

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Another little issue that I had was that the battery did not last as long as before. It would be fully charged and then will only last about 30 minutes before dying. Other than these 2 minor set backs, the Spectra M1 was awesome.

Since I stopped pumping, I kept my pump back into the box,  and cleaned all the parts well before storing them for the next use. Little did I know that I am so excited to use it again in about 2 months time. I sent my pump to Histopoint at SS18 last week for servicing. When the guy tested my pump, he said it was working just fine. At the highest suction level (level 5) the pressure went to about 300. I was amazed and very happy that the pump is still performing so well, despite being in storage for 1 year! However, he mentioned that the suction could be even better after a general service. I also mentioned about the battery issue that I had so he said the technician will take a look.

2 days ago, I got a call from them telling me that they need to replace the pump battery for me as the battery was weak; hence the problem that I had (which I think happened because I dropped it a couple of times during that 9 months of usage). She also suggested me to replace the pump motor as well. I was a tad bit disappointed to hear that because initially the guy tested and said it was still ok. The reason was she said the suction may not be as good (after using it for awhile) and I can chose to replace it later, but that will mean I have to go back there all the way from KL to Subang) and wait a week before I get my pump back. I did not want to risk it, so agreed to go ahead with the replacements.

I was mentally preparing myself to pay a lot for the replacement of parts. When I serviced the Medela Freestyle that I used, it costs me RM300! I was beyond shocked and I also replaced the connectors for RM129. Well, what do you expect from a pump that costs almost RM2000? Or maybe even more now. I asked her about the price to replace my Spectra M1 parts and I was happy to hear that the battery was RM50 and the motor was RM90. I am so thankful that the total price came up to less than RM200 and not too high that I would rather buy a new pump altogether! I paid a total of RM170 including the service fee and collected it yesterday. The guy tested it again and the highest suction went up too 350.

I got to take back the old parts too. Just for fun 🙂

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They also told me that they have a 6 month warranty for the new motor, starting from the day that QB2 will be born. I asked again to make sure it was legit because I would be deeply upset if they told me it was not and if something really happened to my pump. All I have to do is to bring baby’s birth cert/MyKid and then get it fixed under warranty.

I am very happy with the service provided by Spectra Baby Malaysia so far and I hope that many mamas will experience the same too. Even though I’ve heard some not so good stories about their service, I did not experience the same. My experience was pleasant and the people I spoke to was helpful and informative.

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My Spectra M1 is really value for money. I only serviced it once and I believe I will not have to service it again maybe until baby #3, and after storing it for another year or so (if we will have QB3…). I can’t wait to use the pump again and then have another review on longevity and pump performance.

Are you a Spectra user? How is your experience so far?

 

 

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18 weeks & God’s favor is upon us!

I will try to keep this update short and straight to the point as much as possible. But before I do that, I will have to explain a little bit of our situation so that you’ll understand better.

This is actually my 3rd pregnancy. I had a miscarriage with my first back in 2012, then Leo was born in 2013, and now I’m at 18 weeks, expecting our 2nd miracle in 2016. With my first and second pregnancy, we visited private hospitals and got our prenatal care at the private sector. Why did we choose that? Honestly, because we didn’t know any better. All of our friends seem to recommend certain hospitals and doctors and shared their experiences with us. So because if that, it was only natural that we choose wherever we want and where we felt most comfortable. Here’s the list of hospitals that we’ve visited and have a prenatal record:

  1. Assunta Hospital – I was here with my first pregnancy and doc was recommended by a friend.
  2. Columbia Asia, Puchong – I came here for a second opinion when the doc at Assunta told me that our pregnancy was not successful. I also did a D&C here in 2012. Doc also recommended by a friend. Check out blog post here.
  3. Pantai Bangsar – When we found out our little miracle was here, we immediately checked in here and went to a doc that a friend recommended, again. I loved this doc very much and he was very informative. Everything went well, until he told us that he’s retiring and will not be able to deliver our first miracle.
  4. UMSC – We came here after a long research and decided to try this doc. I googled about him and decided to take the chance. Doc from Pantai said he is good and we should proceed. UMSC is the private side of PPUM, which is a teaching hospital and this doc that we’re seeing is a professor too.

Leo was born at UMSC in 2013 and we were glad that things went pretty well in this hospital. Birth story here. Not really a whole bunch to complain about but we accepted it and we were just thankful that Leo was healthy and there was nothing major to be overly concerned about.

This time, I decided to take a big chance to get my prenatal care at a government clinic and birth in a government hospital. Along the journey of motherhood, I met other new mothers too and they shared their experiences with govern hospitals. I honestly never knew how to start or register in a govern clinic, as to private, we literally just walk in and chose our doctor. Long story short, I decided to give it a try. There were some factors that helped me make this decision:

  1. Finances.
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    Both of us were working full time during our first and second pregnancy so money was not really something we were overly concerned about. Of course we chose UMSC because it was cheaper than most hospitals, but it was more of a necessity and we didn’t really have a choice. But this time, I am no longer earning a fixed income where we can be comfortable anywhere. In fact, finances were tighter than it has ever been. We’re going through a wave in our family. So choosing free prenatal care was what seems natural to me. I did not have to pay at my appointments and I have prenatal vitamins for free.  And we are saving thousands of dollars here. I would rather spend that money on good food/nutrition and stuff we need for the new baby (be it clothes, diapers, furniture, etc.) or even save it for organic baby food later on.
  2. Government hospitals support natural births and breastfeeding.

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    This was a huge one for me. In the “supernatural” world of gentle birthing and breastfeeding, we see many extremes. Most of them will be pro natural births (no vaginal exams, no Pitocin, no epidural, no episiotomy, delayed cord clamping, immediate skin to skin with baby, no baths for baby, etc). Pro breastfeeding (no formula, no bottles, no pacifiers, breast crawl, no pumping, etc). Uhhh, yes. Very extreme indeed. I’m just saying what I know and have read. I’m not against it and I am not super pro about it and I am not judging anyone. I did have everything naturally and smoothly with Leo when he was born. Birth and breastfeeding was great for us. It was great because I’ve done a ton of research on everything before I decided my birth plan and what I wanted. I was very well equipped and I am so thankful that we didn’t go through any major hiccups. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that birth or breastfeeding was easy. I’m just saying that it went well for us and I knew 100% what I was doing.

    This time, I’ve done and still doing my research on how much was it to birth in government hospital vs private and the numbers are very extreme. This prompted me even more to have the baby in a govern hospital. You rarely read about “emergency C-sections” happening in government hospitals. Why is that? Because there is nothing emergency about it. I will share my research about this in another post. So yes, govern hospitals only do natural births unless you have a certain condition or you already had a precious C-section.

    Govern hospitals are also pro breastfeeding. They are not equipped with “emergency” formula. I was shocked when UMSC gave me a form to fill and it had a box where I had to tick if I wanted formula for the baby or not. The nurse asked me “what if I didn’t have milk and the baby is crying?” I said “I will definitely have milk for him!”. Every mother will have, and it’s all in your willpower to believe that and to trust that your body knows what to do. Educate yourself and to do lots of research before you birth. Knowledge is power when it comes to breastfeeding. Again, I am not against formula. If there is a need, please go ahead. If you need a break, go ahead. It is there as an option to help mothers. This too, I shall share my research and thoughts on in a different post.

  3. Thorough checkups and waiting time.

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    Prenatal care is done at the Klinik Kesihatan, and not the hospital. So far, my experiences with the nurses were positive. They we’re friendly and informative with all the questions I asked and even helped me decide which hospital I can birth at. The usual time spent at the clinic is around 1-2 hours. Today I’ve only spend an hour (inclusive of parking, taking a number, taking regular tests, seeing the nurse and leaving afterwards). On some days when there may be more people, I’ve never waited longer than 2 hours, for everything done. I’ve spend a very, VERY long time at those private hospitals listed above, probably half a day! I can guarantee most women you ask, they will agree that waiting time is long and often; taking a number doesn’t really mean anything! I also like the fact that I know the results of all the tests done at each visit and I am aware if there may be any problems because it is all written in the pink book. You get to have a copy and so does the clinic. In private, I don’t remember having any record in my hand, except the ultrasound scans. Everything was with my doctor. There is always an advantage go this. Say I decided to enter private halfway through or decided last minute that I wanted to switch; my records are all with me. Oh, and I do not have to pay for anything.

    God’s favor is upon us!

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    I am so grateful to hear this awesome news from the nurse at my appointment today. We were planning to go for a detailed scan for the baby sometime around 20 weeks. This is for my peace of mind. If you can relate, I often get a sudden anxiety of how the baby is developing. Checkups at the clinic do not include ultrasounds. Of course we can do it anytime in private clinics but I try to avoid having scans so many times as it is not necessary. A detailed scan is where they scan the baby to check for development abnormalities (brain, heart, liver, kidney, etc.) Initially we were going to do it at FMGC which is a private fetal medicine practice but I did not make an appointment because the price was a little too high for us. It was going to cost RM500 for the detailed scan. Today I found out that usually they cost around RM300. I guess the doctors at FMGC cost more because they are practicing at Pantai, Bangsar and because they have great reviews and experience. Today, the nurse told me that there is a free detailed scan given to govern clinic patients at a diagnostic center. It is a learning school for trainee radiologists to learn/practice and their job is to look for abnormalities in ultrasounds. I was thrilled and immediately felt that God was answering my prayers. The nurse also said that the scans are done by the sonographer and if there was anything wrong, we will be referred to the doc at the hospital. I am sure at private fertility clinics; the scans are not done by the doctor themselves too. I was relived and felt that this is what we are going to do. Again, if we were not satisfied by any of the services or scans, we can always go to FMGC later on.

    My heart is so relieved by this news and I am so grateful for this opportunity. I know that God is in control of everything and His favor is upon this baby and our family. We did not have to spend a fortune at appointments (which is what we worry about and even wondered if we can ever afford to grow our family!) and He is really providing for us. Every step of the way. Thank you, Lord. Thank you!

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