Well, Happy 2018, everybody! This post was supposed to be up about 6 months ago, just days before I gave birth. My baby is almost 6 months now and she has kept me busy 24/7 this whole time, hence the late posting :D Kindly read in flashback mode.
Yep, I'm still pregnant. Thirty eight weeks and there's no sign of contraction yet - except for light cramping on lower tummy and several Braxton Hicks. I really hope that our baby will make appearance by this week, though, as some experts considered 38-39 weeks as the best timing for delivery.
Just a quick update on my 38 weeks pregnancy symptoms
I noticed that my baby's movement has become calmer, probably because she is too squeezed in there now. Our last scan (on 37 weeks 5 days), has informed us that she's currently over 3,2 kg, and our obgyn was proud to announce that she's a quite big baby! Much to our relief, as thyroid moms like me usually "cannot grow" a big baby, thanks to unstable hormones. However, as my thyroid has been so good for almost a year, our baby weighed just fine.
Another exciting things that happened during our last scan was we can clearly see our baby made many expressions! This hasn't happened before, and it's so heartwarming to see her scrunch her face, making duck face, munching, and all that on the 4D scan. We visited the doctor weekly now, so he can observe my pregnancy closely. Thankfully, our baby is currently in a very good position: though we can still see her face, her head is so close to my cervix. She needs to get a little lower, yes, but so far she's progressing.
I hardly have anything to do at home right now, as the previous week was my last working week. My husband said that I need to have this kind of "minggu tenang" to ready myself facing the delivery and of course facing life with a newborn. I guess he's right, though, as now I can focus on things that I haven't put much attention to due to my usual busy schedule. Cooking a normal amount of food for just the two of us (try to imagine how big the amount of food I used to cook daily as I provide lunchbox service), having husband-and-wife quality time before the baby, cleaning up the house more regularly and thoroughly, make the most of my me-time and fill my self up with positivity so that I'm calm enough to face labor, and of course trying hard to trigger contractions.
We are going for morning strolls everyday now and I encourage myself to do more and more housework. These two are the most productive activities now, as I can walk the dog and keep my house clean and tidy at the same time. Sex is also recommended, and this is not taboo, as orgasm and semen can ripen up your uterus, leading to contractions, but this one is rather tricky to do! Some trusted source also recommend a large amount of pineapple consumption as it contains enzyme bromelain, which is thought to help soften your cervix and bring on labor.
We also have joined a lactation class a few weeks back, as I am planning to breastfeed my baby exclusively for the first 6 months of her life. The doctor suggested a special message to increase the milk production, as well as to release more oxytocin hormones that can kick-start labor. Ideally has to be done by the husband, the pressure point is located on the nape of your neck. My husband has been giving me gentle message around that area and it's so relaxing. Hoping that this will do the trick soon!
I've spent weeks to get my hospital and baby bags ready. They're not much, but I was so indecisive. Thankfully, my pregnancy app provides the ultimate list, so if you need help like me, be sure to check it out.
For me during labor and after the baby's birth, I packed all of these on one carry on bag and also in my own handbag:
- Lightweight robe. I am planning to wear just hospital clothes prior to and during labor, to keep everything hassle free, but I think a lightweight robe or dressing gown might come handy to make you feel more comfortable. I know I'll need it anyway after I give birth, as I'll mostly be on PJs or nightdress, the dressing gown might help me to look a bit more proper while receiving guests
- Disposable slippers
- Socks. I read that our feet could get cold during labor. I just borrowed a fuzzy ones from my husband, as I'm not much of a socks person
- Massage oil or lotion. I'll just take my Bio Oil with me, as it is rich enough and smells calming. I've been using this product during the whole pregnancy. A massage, I expect, can help me relax more during labor
- Birth/ gym ball. They said this might help you to labor effectively, cutting it down 1-2 hours
- Skin care and cosmetic bag. My essentials are moisturizer, brow pencils/ pen, concealer, makeup sponge, and lip balm. I want to feel comfortable and confident during my hospital stay, but one of the most important thing that any mom-to-be might need is definitely the lip balm. I bring the tinted one to give my face some color and also my Lucas Papaw, which can be useful for almost everything such as nipple cream, diaper rash cream, etc.
- Things to help me relax or pass the time. I haven't picked any good book from my collection, but I think I'll bring a good one with me. And of course my phone, it will distract me a lot from the pain. I'll make sure to load it with games and my relaxation melody app
- Phone charger and power bank
- A chic yoga headband and hairbands. Just to keep my hair at bay and also to hide if I have a bad hair day
- A pillow. I'll just bring a small one from IKEA that I used during the whole pregnancy to prop up my bump when I sleep
- A beach blanket. This is an essential item whenever I stay somewhere else. Lightweight, big size, I just feel comfortable with this traditional Bali blanket around because I can use it for many things
- A tumbler with bendy straw to help me drink during labor. Who cares if it's a pink and purple Rapunzel tumbler, right?
- My DSLR camera, complete with regular and fixed lenses, and also the charger
- A handheld fan. It's not hurt to bring this device, no? Some article said that this might come handy when you're in labor
- A going home outfit. I bring a nice button down dress that is quite loose to hide my leftover bump and make it easy for me shall I want to breastfeed my baby on the day we go home
- A couple of nursing bras. These are the most comfortable bras for me right now
- Breast pads, though I don't know how much milk I'll produce during my hospital stay, but better be safe than sorry
- Large size sanitary pads. I bring a couple of packs of the 40 cm ones, just because many moms said that the maternity ones are sucks
- Button down nightdress and PJs. I bring 3 pairs just in case. These are for after the birth, as I'm not planning to wear hospital clothes to receive guests.
- Postpartum corset. I brought 2 types, the long, non-elastic one and the shorter-elastic one, all using velcro. We'll see which one I'm most comfortable with
- Toiletries. You know, the basic: shampoo, soap, facial wash, toothbrush, toothpaste, loofa, and shower puff
- Towels and hairbrush
- Disposable underwear and also my cotton underwear in black. I'll use the disposable ones during labor, and my cotton black ones after the birth, just because you'll bleed after giving birth and you want something comfy to keep everything in place
- Plastic bag for dirty laundry
- A onesie for going home
- A pair of button down long sleeve-long pants and also a short sleeve-short pants PJs as the other going home outfit options.
- Diapers. I don't know yet whether my hospital will provide them or not during our stay, but for now I'll just stock up five on my diaper bag. Our house is so close from the hospital, hence my husband can easily grab more when he go home
- Swaddle. I bring a pair, though, one to wrap my baby on our journey home, the other might come handy to cover her bed or can switch function as burpy bib
- 3 pairs of gloves and socks. My baby will stay in my room most of the time at the hospital (due to the hospital regulation), so I want to have easy to grab spares in case they get dirty
- 2 hats. I might use one the moment she's born during breast crawl (or also known as Inisiasi Menyusui Dini), and one for hospital stay or going home
- Telon cream, massage oil, and baby hair brush
- Baby wipes and hand sanitizer
- Hooded baby blanket. I just opt for a practical item, to swaddle her and keep her head warm when we go home
- Nursing apron, in case I have to nurse in public area
- A change of clothes and underwear for my husband
- Light snacks. My husband is okay with munching biscuits whenever he feels hungry, but I need something heavier like bread. So the snacks are definitely for him. Thank God delivery service and GO-FOOD are pretty easy around our hospital area
- My breast pump. I am not planning to use this during my hospital stay, though, as I want to breastfeed my baby directly. However, just for the worst case scenario (if my baby can't latch, for example, or if my milk production is too small), I guess pumping might help
As this is finally my week off work and I don't have much thing to do, I decided to dedicate one day to prepare freezer meals for me and my husband. As a new parents with no nanny and maid nor relatives living on our neighborhood, I'm sure freezer meals are what we need the most during the first 2 to 3 weeks after the baby's birth.
I actually divided my prepped meals into 2 categories: ready to eat and ready to cook. Of course, before you start, you'll need a clean and organized freezer to begin with and also lots of ziplock bags, freezer-friendly food container, and a permanent marker. To give you some ideas, here are the list of my prepped meals:
Ready to eat, means the food is cooked thoroughly and we can easily thaw/ defrost it then pop it into the microwave or oven and consume it right away:
- Butter chicken. This is one of our favorite curry dish, perfect to be paired with steamed rice
- Thai basil beef. Another dish that we love. All you need is to cook some rice and sunny side up to go along with it
- Lasagna soup. Reheat, sprinkle mozzarella on top, excellent comfort food
- Burrito-to-go. I made 2 flavors: kimchi fried rice and Tex Mex. You can reheat it in the oven or microwave or even pan-grill them. I think it's also OK to steam them lightly
- Potato gratin. Just baked it and you're ready to eat
- Red bean soup. Another nutritious soupy-dish for the nursing mom. Thaw and reheat, that's all you need to do
- Chicken fajitas. More like an easy stir-fried dish rather than grilled if you want to keep it on the freezer. Thaw, pop it into the microwave, and enjoy it with rice or tortilla
- Beef patty. This is definitely our household favorite, as you can eat it with fries or rice with just 10 minutes of cooking time
- Mini meatballs. Just like beef patty, my husband loves my homemade meatballs. He can easily grill them for us
- Chicken katsu. Seasoned, breaded, ready for deep frying
- Garlic and ginger chicken. Marinated, ready to be pop inside the rice cooker along with seasoned uncooked rice and ta-da: Hainanese chicken rice in 15 minutes. Trust me, it's not only yummy and comforting, it also cooks itself!
- Chicken bites. As you've guessed it, they're cut into bite size pieces, coated in seasoned all-purpose flour. These prepared chicken is so versatile you can easily deep fry them and turn them into juicy karaage, saucy lemon chicken, or even the spicy Korean fried chicken
- Chicken breast and thigh and also beef, all cut into 2 servings-size and packaged individually for easy cooking
Apart from the prepped meals, I also made an array of condiments option (sauce, spread, marinade) to go with the dish I've prepared:
- Our ultimate sandwich spread. This is a @lilscookhouse absolute favorite, and the best part: it's not only goes well with sandwich. I can use it with chicken rice, burrito, just anything - it is so good and I made a big batch of it to go along with whatever we like
- Buldak sauce. A super spicy Korean sauce that I usually use for our signature fire chicken, but on emergency situation, we can also use it for other Korean style rice bowl and even budae jjigae
- Zucchini yogurt sauce. A healthy dipping, good choice for any grilled protein
- Mushroom sauce, and this one is great for breakfast companion (on top of toast or omelette)
- Marinara sauce. I love Italian dishes, and having this classic tomato sauce on hand is truly versatile. This can be used as pasta sauce (yes, just boil some pasta and dressed it with the sauce), chicken sauce, egg sauce - basically can be eaten with many, many dishes
- Pickled carrot and daikon. We love to eat it as side dish, along banh mi stuffed with meatballs, or with karaage
We also stocked up other frozen food such as bockwurst, bacon, and chicken nuggets. Instant noodle or ramen might come handy, too. Apart from that, I also bought a decent amount of dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt and other bottled ingredients.
As someone who loves to writing and sharing, I'm thinking to continue sharing my journey as a new mom, but perhaps on a more practical platform like Instagram, as it's getting harder to sit in front of my laptop these days. From the birth story, breastfeeding struggles, review, and so on... I'll try to create a good yet honest content, so wish me luck!