Life with two kids

(First of all, excuse the quality of my pictures… My camera is not with my at the moment so I could only resort to iPhone pictures hehe)

So… Life with two kids. How is it? Definitely looks nice and fun on Instagram. But what is it like exactly?

Scenario #1

I rushed home from work because Alistair had refused bottle and was now hungry and crying for milk. But the moment I parked my car and got out, Amy greeted me at the door, jumping and shouting “Mama’s home!!! Mama!!!!” Then she promptly took some toys and asked me to play with her. But Alistair was crying. And hungry. I had to tell her, “Mama needs to feed Alistair first OK?” and looked as her face fell. My heart ached.

Scenario #2

Since Alistair is still an infant, he sleeps all the time. Now he has a bit more awake time, but normally it lasts about an hour or so only, and half of that usually goes to feeding time. So any time to play with him is precious. Finally, he was awake. I really wanted to play with him, so I walked over to his cot and carried him up. The moment she saw me walk over, Amy said, “Mama come sit down and play Lego with me.” I told her, OK, let’s play together with Alistair. She had the most innocent expression on her face as she pointed to the cot, “Mama put baby Alistair down. Mama put baby Alistair down here in the cot.” My heart was torn.

Scenario #3

It was bedtime. I was tucking Amy in and telling her bedtime stories, but suddenly my father-in-law came up to tell me that Alistair was crying for milk already. So, I had to leave Amy to feed him. Amy cried and cried and cried. My heart broke.

Scenario #4

It was bedtime. I was tucking Amy in and telling her bedtime stories. Again, Alistair started crying for milk before Amy fell asleep. I told her I needed to go downstairs to feed Alistair, and she could choose to sleep with papa or yeh yeh (grandpa) first. She said, “Um… Papa! OK mama go down. Mama go down feed Alistair.” My heart warmed.

 

Scenario #5

We took the kids out for a meal and did a little shopping together. It was chaotic. Madness. Tiring. But at the end of the day, the hubby and I looked at each other and said, “That is parenthood!” Our hearts were blessed.

Scenario #6

We took the kids out for a meal with friends. It was strangely peaceful. Amy behaved so well throughout the dinner. Alistair slept through. The hubby and I looked at each other and said, “Wow. Unbelievable.” Thank You God.

Scenario #7

I had finally rocked Alistair to sleep! My arms and back were starting to hurt because I had been carrying him for almost two hours. But now, he was finally sleeping! I put him down and sat myself down on the couch, ready to rest a little. Then Amy threw her toys down. Or laughed super loudly at ‘Angry Birds’. Or threw a tantrum. And Alistair woke up. And I had to do it all over again.

Scenario #8

Alistair had finished feeding, so I was carrying him and trying to burp him. I also took the chance (as always) to smell him and kiss him and enjoy him. Then, suddenly, Amy fell down from the couch and landed on the floor. She cried in pain. I was shocked and quickly put Alistair down in the cot so that I could attend to Amy. Alistair was shocked, and cried. I now had two crying babies.

Scenario #9

Alistair was chilling by himself in the cot, staring and talking to the ceiling fan. Amy was playing by herself nearby, with toys and books. I was relaxing by myself with my drink and book. This might only last for 5 minutes, but it was bliss anyhow.

Scenario #10

Life was all about schedules. When to feed Alistair, when to feed Amy, when to cut Alistair’s nails, when to cut Amy’s nails, when to bathe Alistair, when to shower Amy, when to wash the bottles, when to shower myself, when to take Amy up for nap, when to change their diapers, etc.

Scenario #11

Amy asked me to tell her stories, and I said, “Why don’t you tell Alistair stories?” She promptly turned to Alistair who was in the cot, and told him her own made-up stories.

“Once upon a time, there was Mr Sun. Mr Sun was in the sky, and then the dark clouds came and covered Mr Sun. Oh no, it’s dark. Oh no, it’s raining. Everybody ran away. Mr Sun fought with the dark clouds. He fought and pushed and fought and pushed, and finally, he pushed the dark clouds away. Hurray! Mr Sun is back in the sky! The end!”

That was actually the story I told her and she could recite it totally now. Sometimes she would replace Mr Sun with TV. Or Monkey. Or whatever she fancied at that moment.

Scenario #12

Alistair was protesting and complaining and crying a little in his cot, but nobody was attending to him because everyone was busy with something or another. Amy climbed up a stool, sat on it and pat Alistair, saying, “OK K K K K… it’s OK K K K…”

And then she looked at me as I approached her, “Mama sit down here. Mama sit down here, rock baby Alistair.”

 

There are so many other scenarios. Some of them make me laugh. Some of them make me want to cry. Some of them make me say “Oh help me God.” Some of them make me say “Oh thank You so much God.”

Life with two kids is definitely a handful. When the days get crazy, I’ll take a deep breath and remind myself to take one hour at a time (haha). But most of the time, I find myself smiling at the both of them, and giving thanks to God for blessing me with these two little munchkins.

 

Love,

Natalie

Alistair’s full moon

So this little guy turned one month old recently.

It’s been the longest and shortest one month ever. I don’t really know how to explain, but, some days I felt that the month was really going by slowly because I felt as though Alistair has been with us forever. Yet, other days I felt that the month has zoomed by so quickly because I felt as though Alistair has just been born!

Being a mother to these two is a great privilege. The hubby and I still sometimes say to each other, “I can’t believe we have two kids now.”

It’s been a challenge, definitely, juggling these two. They both need me equally, but there’s only one me. My heart sometimes feel heavy for Amy, because she now has to share mama’s attention. Sometimes, she has to wait. Sometimes, she will only have me until her little brother cries for milk.

Just last night, it was her bed time. My mother-in-law was ready to put her to bed, but, after changing into her pajamas, she ran out of the room to look for me. I was breastfeeding Alistair. Amy looked at me, put a hand on my arm, and said, “Mama sleep? Mama sleep with Amy?”

My heart melted. My little girl still wanted me to sleep with her. But now, she has to learn to wait. She has to learn to be a big sis.

At the same time, I also feel (a little) sorry for Alistair. Unlike his sister, he does not get to enjoy the full attention from everyone. I spend a lot of time playing with him and bonding with him, but it is so different from the time I spent with Amy. He will never get the exclusive time and attention. I mean, even his toys and stuff are mostly hand-me-downs. Haha. Welcome to being the second in the family, my son.

The star of the party was too busy asking for milk and trying to sleep to pose for the camera.

My little one. You are so precious to me. I thank God for you, and I pray that you will be blessed all the days of your life. May you grow up to be a great young man, with strong values and fear of God. May you be full of joy and hope and faith. May you be strong yet gentle. May you reach your potential and live your destiny.

I love you my little man. I am so proud to be your mama. You are the perfect addition to our family.

 

Love,

Natalie

Amy meets Alistair

When I was pregnant with Alistair, I constantly wondered about two things.

Firstly, will I be able to love both kids the same? What if my love for Amy lessens? Or what if I could not love Alistair as much as I love Amy? Would I be unfair to them? How would I be able to give them equal time, equal attention, equal love?

(I have no answer yet for any of the questions above.)

Secondly, how am I going to introduce Alistair to Amy?

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I told Amy about it. However, as she was barely 2 years old at that time, she knew nuts about what I was talking about.

As my belly grew, I constantly talked to Amy about baby Alistair. I told her there’s a baby inside mama’s stomach. Soon, she was able to repeat that: “Babyyyyyy inside mama’s stomach.”

In the last few months, she was even able to remember that baby inside mama’s stomach was baby Alistair, and she would sometimes voluntarily caress and kiss my belly.

Yet, I doubted that she understood the reality of it all.

A few months before Alistair was due to be born, I started planning the best ways to introduce them and to help Amy adapt to the new addition to our family.

Unfortunately, the first moment of introduction was kind of spoiled. I had envisioned a nice, intimate setting where Amy and her papa would come visit Alistair and me in the hospital, with just the four of us, and she could have that magical moment of meeting her brother.

That only happened in my mind.

I delivered Alistair in the morning, but by the time Amy was brought to the hospital to visit me, it was night, and I had a lot of visitors with me in the room at that time. So when her papa carried her into the room, she was extremely shy to see all the visitors. She was happy to see me, but didn’t dare to run over to me. And I could only do a quick “Look Amy, this is baby Alistair! He’s your brother!” while all the other visitors looked on.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciated my visitors coming to see us. I was just disappointed at the timing that Amy came in to see her brother.

We also did a gift exchange. While I was still pregnant, Amy and I sort of chose a toy for baby, and I wrapped it up for him. Unbeknownst to Amy, I also wrapped a gift for her “from baby Alistair.” So at the hospital, we did the gift exchange. Honestly though, I don’t think Amy knew any of the significance. She was just happy to get a present and couldn’t wait to open it up.

So anyway. The reality really hit when Alistair and I returned home. I guess Amy suddenly realized that this baby is here to stay, and he has brought about change in the family. She now has less attention, and more people are fussing over the baby.

She has been nice to Alistair, but her tantrums have escalated. She is suddenly even more opinionated and stubborn (and she was already very opinionated and stubborn before this), and would go into uncontrollable screaming and crying over small things (and sometimes over nothing). We try to be patient, but sometimes she does get on our nerves. Yet, I remind myself that she is just a 2-and-a-half-year-old. It’s tough for her to suddenly have to share mama and papa.

At the same time, some of her reactions have been really cute.

Scenario 1: 

She saw me breastfeeding for the first time, and gave me such a look of shock, horror and disgust. (I was like gee thanks Amy, you were a breastfed baby too okay)

I told her baby is drinking milk. And she said, “Baby drinking milk. Amy dowan milk,” while shaking her head vigorously. So I said baby drinks from mama’s breasts while Amy drinks from bottle because Amy is a big girl now. From then on, she loves to say “Baby drink milk from mama’s nen nen. Amy drink from bottle!”

Scenario 2: 

We took out the baby cot in preparation for baby, and Amy became super interested in it. She has been asking to go into the cot, and said she wants to lie inside the cot like baby. And when we put her in, she would just enjoy herself inside.

Scenario 3:

She sometimes still points to my tummy and say “babyyyyyyyy”. Then I would explain that there’s no more baby inside my tummy, and that baby Alistair is already out. And I would show her Alistair. She would look confused and just walk away.

***

Well, life has certainly become more interesting now with a toddler and a baby. I have no confinement lady, so I’ve been hands-on with Alistair since the day we returned from hospital. My parents-in-law are helping me out with Amy as well as with cooking and some housechores. But whenever I can, I will spend time to play with Amy, or change her diaper, or put her to bed.

Needless to say, I’m exhausted! And sometimes I wonder if I would be able to finish this month of confinement in one piece. But then again, I would never trade this for anything else. And actually, I found that I could really enjoy Alistair’s newborn stage this time round. (During Amy’s time, I was freaking out as most new moms would haha)

Every day I remind myself to enjoy Alistair’s every milestone, and also not to miss Amy’s development. They grow up way too fast.

 

Love,

Natalie

Hello baby Alistair

What a beautiful start to 2017 it has been. My dear boy, Alistair Jianlei Yong, has been born.

Due to the history of my stillbirth with Alexa, my doctor and I had already agreed that we would induce delivery for this pregnancy, just like how we did for Amy. So throughout my pregnancy with Alistair, I knew that I would be delivering at my 38th week.

The weeks building up to the induction were a little bit stressful and tense for me. While I was less fearful compared to when I was pregnant with Amy, I was still unable to totally let my guard down. The tiny question of whether I would be able to bring my third baby home still nagged at me.

Also, this time round, I found myself a little bit more apprehensive about the whole process of labour and delivery. Perhaps it is because I already knew what to expect – the pain, the needles, the stitches, the NOT pushing and then the pushing…

Well. I did find that the entire experience this time round was a little more difficult and traumatising. Let’s start from the beginning.

Just as the clock struck midnight on January 10, 2017, I was admitted to the labour ward for my induced delivery. At this point, my dilation was already 2-3 cm, so I was quite hopeful for a quick labour! The nurse said I could start the induction at any time, but weirdly, I was a bit hesitant. I guess it was because I knew that once the process was started, there was no turning back or pausing, and the pain will begin!

But anyhow, I knew it was all inevitable, and another part of me really wanted to have baby Alistair out in my arms as soon as possible too. So at 2.45am, we started the induction by inserting half of the tablet (don’t know what it’s called) to soften my cervix.

As only half was inserted, as opposed to one full tablet during Amy’s time, I found that the process progressed a little slower. My contractions started becoming regular, and started to build up at 4am, but they were still very bearable. I could even sleep a little here and there until 6am.

At 6, the nurse came in to check on my dilation again, and she said the words that totally demotivated me.

“It’s still the same.”

What?! By then, my contractions were starting to be very painful and they were very regular, coming in at every 2 minutes.

So, even though my dilation was still 2-3cm, but because my contractions were so regular and so intense, the nurse decided that it was time to prepare me for delivery. They had to insert the “line” for IV drip (just in case of emergency) in my wrist, which was one of the things I dreaded because I really really really hate needles.

And then, my worst nightmare happened.

The needle went in, but couldn’t be totally pushed in. The nurse said it was a short vein, whatever that meant. So she had to take it out and look for another vein. She got another nurse in to help, and they found another vein. Again the “line” went in, and by then I already wanted to faint because I could feel everything and I really really really hate needles.

They told me my vein was a little small, so they would be inserting some fluid to wash out the vein a little bit. A few seconds later, they said, the vein seemed to be too small because the fluid was not going in. So they had to take it all out again and look for another vein!!!

I was in distress by this time. Not only were my contractions kinda killing me, but the entire needle experience was really making me upset.

They finally found a cooperative vein on my right hand, and the “line” was finally settled in. But then when the nurse checked the monitor (we were monitoring the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions all this while), she said there was an episode where my baby’s heartbeat dipped. So she had to connect me to the oxygen mask and drip me up for hydration, to ensure that baby could get all the oxygen and hydration he needed.

Listening to that made my heart fall. My husband and I were suddenly quite anxious. Will Alistair be OK??

The nurse told me that it could be due to various reasons. It could be head compression, cord tangled around the neck… Or it could be just that I was anxious or stressed and it affected the baby. So I had to not be anxious or stressed.

Listening to that made me even more anxious and stressed.

The nurse gave my doctor a call to give her the update, while I continued to lie down on the delivery bed, battling my contractions and trying very hard to stay calm and relaxed.

At about 7.20am, my doctor walked into the room and told me everything was fine. Immediately, I felt assured. I asked her about the baby’s heartbeat dipping, but she said it was OK since it was only one episode and since then baby’s heartbeat was more than fine.

My contractions were still coming in at every 2 minutes and the pain was really intense by now. My dilation was almost 5cm, so my doctor gave it a little stretch to help things move along faster, but it was oh-so-painful!

She seemed very happy with my progress and said my delivery will be a quick one. I asked her, how quick?? She said, I would probably deliver at about 9.

I looked at the clock and my heart sank. 9?! But it was only 7.30am then, and my contractions were already getting unbearable!

At 8am, I finally asked for the painkiller injection (that I took both during Alexa’s and Amy’s delivery). I also told my husband to keep time, because I was extremely sure that after the jab, I would give birth within an hour, just like my previous deliveries.

Sure enough, within that one hour my contractions shot up and I began to have the crazy urge to push. The nurse said I was 8cm, and I was like, nooooo… I really wanted to push. So she helped stretch me as well (though I really didn’t know how), and then called for my doctor to come in.

Within minutes, my doctor appeared and told me I could push when I next feel the urge to. Those were the sweetest command I heard all night!

So I pushed! And pushed and pushed with all my might. But then, after a few pushes, when I could feel baby crowning, my doctor told me to hold it and stop pushing. I could feel my pelvic bones opening and baby’s head coming out halfway and the pain was crazy and my whole body was dying to push and I had to HOLD.

The NOT pushing is always the hardest in delivery. Not the contractions. Not the pushing. It’s the NOT pushing.

And I had to do it three times! Push push push… OK hold… Push push push, OK hold…

I later asked my doctor, why did I have to hold? She told me it was to let the baby’s head ease out on his own, to prevent me from tearing too much.

Anyway, even though it felt like eternity to me, the pushing only took a few minutes because by 9.14am, my handsome boy Alistair was placed in my arms.

While stitching me up, my doctor kept telling me that my delivery was really fast. She said I could have another four children.

I looked at her and went like, “Are you crazy? I need time to forget this whole painful experience first.”

She laughed and said, “Yours was really fast. Oh you blessed woman of God.”

I am blessed. Thank You God for another bundle of joy. Until now, I still can’t believe that I have been given another child. My little Alistair.

His name, by the way, is a Scottish variant of Alexander, which holds the same meaning as Alexa – defender of man.

Thank you everybody for your support and prayers for me and with me throughout this pregnancy. I truly do not take for granted that I have so many of you cheering me and my family on. 🙂 We are very very blessed.

 

Love,

Natalie