Hello World…

Posted March 9th, 2011 in Ume and Baby, Ume's Pregnancy | 14 Comments »

Meet my first baby – he was born on March 4, 11 days before the due date.  2980 g / 49 cm

In the morning on 3rd (a day before delivery) I thought my water was leaking, so I called my OB and went to hospital to check.  It was not water from my uterus (it was just pee!) and I went back home.  But, around 7PM I had a huge gush of clear water come out while watching tv in the living room.  There was no doubt that my water had definitely broken.

I called hospital and went there with my hospital bag.  At the labour ward, midwives checked the water and confirmed that it was the water from my uterus.  I was 2 cm dilated.  There was little blood too.  They put something on my belly to check baby’s heartbeats and contractions.  It was around 8PM.

According to the monitor I was having mild contractions, but they weren’t painful.  I was thinking “maybe I can cope with the contraction pain without any pain relief”, but it started to be stronger around 9PM past.  It was like heavy period pain (I have very heavy period pain and the contraction was exactly like that).  Luckily D had asked midwives that I’d need epidural (we had talked about it earlier and he remembered it), and anesthesiologist was on the way.  By the time she arrived my room, the pain was super – I couldn’t talk and had to squeeze D’s hands every 2 minutes.  After the anesthesiologist explained all the risks and side effects of epidural to me, she inserted the needle on my back.  I was given IV by a midwife too, so there was a thick needle on my left wrist and a thin tube on my back.

Thanks to the epidural, the pain was gone few minutes later.  Around midnight, D and I fell asleep until 2:30AM.  I was awakened by the contraction pain.  I told midwife about it and I was hoping that she would top up more epidural to ease the pain, but she was worried that too much epidural might make me have no feeling when I have to push the baby.  She checked my cervix, and it was about 7~8 cm dilated.  She topped up with 10 ml of epidural first.

The 10ml didn’t make much difference.  The pain was not around my tummy, but around my bottom.  It was like a huge pressure around my anus – as if I was holding a big poop or gas.  Midwife told me “it’s not a poop, it’s a baby!”.  She told me NOT to push it.  It was really big pressure and having to hold it was quite hard.  I told midwife that it’s very painful – she checked with my OB and topped-up with more epidural.   My OB was on the way around this time.

The OB arrived just before 4AM, and he checked that my cervix was fully dilated.  Since the pain around my bottom was not as strong as before (because of the epidural top-up), OB and midwife assisted me when to push.  I tried to push when they told me to – no pain, but I could feel something was coming down.  I pushed 3 times on each contraction, and after several times I knew my baby was out!  First, a head, then shoulders… two big pressure (pain?).  It was 4:16AM.

Now I have my baby on my arms.  I can’t believe he was inside my belly, and my pregnancy was over.  He is the same person as the one I saw on the screen at my first ultrasound test.

His head is already covered with dark black hair.  I am so happy that he was born without any complication and unhealthy condition.  Now I’ve been super busy with this totally new life cycle.  As a first time mum, everything is new (I’ve never changed a diaper before) and I’m leaning bit by bit each day….

What to do next?

Posted March 3rd, 2011 in Ume's Pregnancy | No Comments »

It’s already March… I don’t know why but I was so sure that my bub would come out in February. I guess he is punctual.

Now, everyone tells me not to go out by myself anymore. I know I shouldn’t, but it’s not easy.. I even need to ask someone to come along just to buy a bottle of milk from a shop near the house. When I try to tidy up a room I need to ask D to help me getting a box from the top shelve even though he is busy working. I don’t want to disturb anyone, but I’m …… bored!!! I can’t just stay in the bed all day and do nothing (><).

… I know I may envy this situation once the bub comes out and things get busy.

Yesterday I was tiding up my fridge, and ended up cooking all day. For some reason my freezer is always full, and I noticed that the foods were not as cold (frozen) as they should be due to the insufficient air circulation. I keep lots of food in the fridge/freezer (e.g. nori sheets in the freezer, icing sugar in the fridge) – I guess I need a bigger fridge!

I started cooking some chikuzen-ni (Japanese simmered roots veggies), shepards pie and lasagna.  Chikuzen-ni is for me (D doesn’t really like these Japanese food), and lasagna and pie are for D (I don’t really like these meaty food).  Then, sliced half-frozen beef very thin for cooking later (to use for yakiniku, or hot pot).  I also found pie sheets in the freezer, so I made mini pie tartlets and sugar cookies using these sheets.

It was actually really tiring to stay in the kitchen, especially while using fire and oven – hot!  I won’t be doing any cooking for the next few days for sure…  Yesterday was my cooking day 🙂

Hot and Humid Summer

Posted February 21st, 2011 in Ume's Pregnancy | 5 Comments »

This summer has been quite humid in Perth, don’t you think? The summer in Perth should be dry and hot… I don’t like humidity. (>_<)

Today was my Week37’s OB appointment. On Week 34 my baby’s head was engaged, but on my last visit last week (Week36) OB told me that the head wasn’t in my pelvis anymore – lifted up again. So, today I was little bit nervous to know if the head was engaged again . …. It was!!! The head is now perfectly in my pelvis :). It’s a relief.

D and I attended a Parenting Class at the hospital on Saturday. It was a fast truck course and from 9am to 3:30pm. I was bit surprised to know that there’re quite a few number of pregnant women who’s due dates are close to mine at the same hospital and with the same OB! Everyone looked uncomfortable… but happy 🙂

When I watched the video of virginal/cesarean birth the first time, it was really scary…  but now I don’t feel scared anymore.  I’ve watched few child birth video and they are quite educational.   Yeah I still feel little anxious, but not much. I’m surprised with this feeling, actually. If I was younger I’d be freaked out.

Today I was practicing filling up the form for Japanese birth registry. I had to go to Jap embassy to obtain the form (they don’t allow people to download online, which is, to me, too troublesome). The form is very tricky and I even didn’t understand the description of “how to write” in Japanese. I had to phone the embassy to ask. After the bub is born I need to go there to submit the form, and then we can apply for his Japanese passport. Applying Australian passport seems to be much easier to me. You can download the form online, and can submit it throu post office.
He is going to have two nationalities (Japan and Australia) temporary and he will have to chose one before he turns 22years old.

Hey, by the way tomorrow is my birthday! Totally forgot about that… No plan so far, I guess I will just relax (which I have been doing since my last day at work) and watch DVD or go shopping 🙂

BBQ (Baby Shower?)

Posted February 14th, 2011 in Ume's Pregnancy | No Comments »

Since I thought I wouldn’t have a chance to throw a little home party after the baby is born, I invited my friends to come over to my house to enjoy bbq and catch up with them.   …. and it turned out to be a little baby shower party!

Two of my friends came to my house 1 hour early with balloons, and decorated the house with them!

I prepared some foods – sandwiches, veggie sticks, dips and some salads – as there’d be more girls and I knew they’d prefer eating vegetables (their liking for foods are similar to mine). I also prepared many vegetables to grills too.

But!  In the morning, D and I found out the bbq grill was broken (>0<).  The fire kept dying (we just got new gas from Bunnings)….  so, we decided to grill the meats and veggies with our small in-door grill, George Foreman!

It was a hot day and everyone stayed inside chatting (although all the balloons were decorated in the garden).  Thanks to this super fast-heating grill, barbecuing was done in 20 minutes!  Meanwhile I insisted everyone to gather around the table (they were everywhere – sitting on the sofa, exploring the house, playing in-door soccer etc) and start eating.

I wasn’t sure if the foods were going to be enough (as I wasn’t sure if everyone was coming, and how much kids would eat), but they were just fine.  They liked my buttered mushroom the best 🙂  Oh, I totally forgot that I also made chicken kebabs (skewered, marinated chicken pieces with capsicums and onions), but when I realised it everyone was already full, going back to the sofa and started chatting again.

I always prepare some desserts when I invite my friends to come over.  This time, I made cheese cake, fruits platter, and orange mousse.  Actually I thought the cheese cake was failure – so I covered it up with whipped cream and blueberry jam on top :p  But, surprisingly, it turned out to be the hit. They even asked me for the recipe!

I made this orange mousse in the morning as I thought the dessert wouldn’t be enough too. Actually the food was more than enough and when I brought this mousse up to the table everyone was screaming “enough~” “so full~”.  But they ate it anyway!  I used 100% orange juice (not real orange as I didn’t have time!)  to make it, and it was very easy.  I will post the recipe later.

Oh, they gave me some gifts for the baby.  Baby clothes, baby’s photo album (as they know I take lots of photos), hand-print making kit (from Japan), and toys.  Everything was beautiful, and I had such a great time!

Week 32

Posted January 17th, 2011 in Ume's Pregnancy | No Comments »

I can’t believe I’m already here!  Just few more weeks to go…

Now I think I’ve got everything I need.  I’ve got my breast pump, baby’s ear thermometer, some books to read, and hand-made toy to give to him.

I wasn’t going to buy a breast pump and bottles because I’m planning to do breastfeeding.  But, sister-in-law told me that I will need bottles anyway (otherwise I will have to feed baby every few hours for at least 6 months).  My husband also wishes to feed baby, so I bought a breast pump.  This Ameda Purely Yours is what sister-in-law recommended me.  This is a hospital grade pump with two-pump system so that you can pump milk from two breast at the same time.  Not many retailers sell this item so I had to buy it from an online shop.  It was actually cheaper than buying regular brand breast pump like Avent.

The books written by Oliver Jeffers are my husband’s favorite.  I also love his illustration.  I bought a set of three stories from borders (I wrote about it here) for reading to our bub.

As I mentioned before I made “Baby on Board” stuffing myself!  It was my second time using a sewing machine… since I bought one.  All the “baby on board” sign sold in Perth look the same and I wanted to make my own.  I’m going to hung this in my car 🙂

I made another booking at Mayumi‘s for next weekend.  My left calf was clamped the other night and it’s really hurt.  I couldn’t walk for the next few days, seriously.  I’ve never had such strong clamp before!  I can’t wait for the massage…

On this weekend I went to Murdoch hospital to take a hospital tour for maternity ward.  A nurse showed us few rooms including birth suite and private/shared rooms.  Theatre room and ICU are located at the ground floor.  The tour is carried out every Saturdays and Sundays, but there are 6~7 couples when we attended.

This is it, that’s the place I’m giving birth to my first bub.  I will be receiving an interview phone call from the hospital on week 35, and on week 36 I’m attending a parenting class at Murdoch hospital!


Pregnancy Massage

Posted January 9th, 2011 in Ume's Pregnancy | No Comments »

On the weekend I had a relaxing 1 hour massage by a Japanese lady, Mayumi san, in Wembley.  One of my friend has been Mayumi’s regular client for almost 1 year, and few months ago the friend gave me a gift voucher for 1 hour massage at Mayumi’s.  I was wanting to use this voucher but I didn’t make a booking as I was still in the first and second trimester of my pregnancy and didn’t know if I should be getting massage at that time.  And, around late last year I was told that Mayumi was pregnant too.

I wasn’t so sure if she was still doing massage.  I know massaging someone’s body for 1 hour is a pretty hard work.  But, I really wanted to use this voucher as I’m in the third trimester and my feet, back and shoulders needed some help.  I contacted her, and found out that she is still working!  So I made a booking and I headed to the place on the weekend.

Mayumi works as a massage therapist healing injured people.  Deep tissue massage is what she normally does, but since I’m pregnant she did a relaxation massage to help lymph circulation on my body.

It was a heavenly 1 hour!  She started from my calfs and thighs.  I had to lie on my side while she was doing my feet, back and arms (I can’t lie on the stomach).   She said my feet are cold (I have poor blood circulation), and my right foot is little swelled.  For the back, she did deep tissue massage little bit and it was really good.

After the arms are done I sat on a chair for shoulder massage.  Then, I lied on my back and she did my decollete, neck, head and feet.  She used Macadmia oil to do massage, and her pressure was just perfect.

Half way through the massage my body started to feel really warm.  When I called her to make a booking and she told me it’s going to be a relaxation massage, I thought it was going to be something like what I get at a normal massage salon. (like Swedish massage)  But, what she aims is “healing” and “fixing” of the body, not just making you feel good.  Through the massage she gave me some advice.  In my case, lymph circulation was poor, so she advice me to exercise more and move muscles around my ankles regularly.  Unlike blood, lymph doesn’t travel through the body by heart.  Muscles are the one which helps lymph move through the body.

Unfortunately she is soon stopping working as her due date is on April, but I’d like to get her massage after she returns to work.


Third Trimester – Week 28~ 40

Posted December 29th, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | No Comments »



Believe it or not, I’m on the third trimester already!  I’m at week 29, and the baby can be born at any time now (with lots of help by hospital if he is born now, of course).  People started to ask me when my due date is (finally!) because my belly is obviously big.  

I had the glucose test this morning. I had to drink sugar water (it was like soda) and wait for 1 hour to get my blood taken.  While waiting I felt so sleepy…  too much sugar!  Now, I feel little fainting too.  I think I will eat beef steak tonight to boost up my iron level.

It’s just 10 weeks to go, but I realized I haven’t prepared everything for my baby’s arrival yet.  Time flies…  Am I really going to be ready?  I haven’t applied for the paid parental leave to Centrelink yet.  Am I aware of all the medical expenses?  Am I getting enough exercise everyday?  Is my baby doing well?

On my last visit to my OB, my baby was in a breech position.  OB told me that baby will move around, so I didn’t really worry about it.  But now, I don’t know if he is still in a breech position or in a head-down position.  As he grows bigger he won’t be able to move his body around anymore, and if he stays in a breech position giving birth will be difficult.  Just in case he is still in a breech position (which I will find out on my next visit to OB) I found some tips I can do to help my baby into an anterior position (the best position for an easy labour/birth)  

  • When sitting, make sure your knees are always lower than your hips (My work involves lots of sitting, so I added a couple of cushion on my chair to make my knees lower than my hips)
  • Scrub the floor.  When you’re on all fours, the back of your baby’s head swings to the front of your belly.
  • Move around during the day, and take a good night’s rest
By the way, I thought a maternity cover with private health insurance covers all the cost related to delivery at private hospitals, but it apparently doesn’t.  With my insurance level, it covers 100% on hospital fees for the first 3 days and 100% on OB’s delivery fees, but it doesn’t cover OB’s planning & management fee for a delivery.  There’s some out-of-pocket money that I needed to pay, and I also need to be aware of anaesthetist and paediatrician charges.  
And, there are few things I need to do after the baby is born : I need to do both Australian and Japanese birth registry, need to apply for his Australian and Japanese passports, etc etc.  I write down what I need to do, but am little worried that if everything goes well.  … thinking about all these things makes me have headache. 🙁   I think I’d just better worry about giving birth to a healthy boy at this stage! 

Tea During Pregnancy

Posted December 13th, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | No Comments »

I used to be a heavy coffee consumer before I got pregnant.  I loved having a cup of strong black coffee in the morning, after each meal, and before going to bed.  Drinking coffee was part of my lifestyle, and there’s not even one day that I didn’t have coffee as far back as I can remember.  My dad also loves black coffee and I think that’s the reason why I love coffee so much.  Going to cafes is our thing when I’m in Japan.

Now, since I’m pregnant, I don’t drink coffee anymore.  I could still drink few cups a day, or decaffeinated ones, but I actually don’t feel like coffee at the moment.  I like the smell of coffee, but when I imagine drinking it I know I will have strong heartburn.  It actually stops me drinking coffee.

I still feel like drinking something besides water, soda and juice, and in that case tea is another option for me.  Western tea (e.g. English breakfast, earl grey tea) wasn’t really my drink, but I grew up with lots and lots of Japanese tea since I was a kid.  I searched about teas in Japan and I found that some Japanese tea contain very little caffein, and there are few non-caffein teas too.

Teas made from cereals, such as barley tea (mugi cha) and black bean tea (kuromame cha), contain no caffein.  Barley tea is the most common drink consumed in Japan during summer.  After making the tea we chill it and keep one or two bottles in the fridge.   Black bean tea (kuromame cha) has such distinct aroma and I love the flavor of roasted bean.  Very delicious and healthy.  I’ve never seen kuromame cha in Perth, do you know if any shop sells this tea?

According to “Standard Tables of Food Composition in Japan Fifth Revised and Enlarged Edition”, Gyokuro (玉露) contains the highest level of caffein.

There are quite big differences between each kind of tea!  I never cared about the quantity of caffein in a drink, as drinking black coffee didn’t affect my sleep at all, and my blood pressure is normally low so drinking coffee actually helped me to focus on something every day.

You can also drink herb tea while pregnant.  Rosehip and nettle are the good ones.  Rosehip helps absorbing iron, vitamin and mineral to the body, and nettle helps to prevent anemia.  If you have strong morning sickness, lemon balm tea may calm you down.  Sage and lavender are not recommended for early pregnancy as they actually have an effect of shrinking the womb.
Until I feel like drinking coffee I will be drinking lots of mugi-cha, I think.  This is a perfect season to drink mugi-cha and you can buy the tea leaves / tea bags at Asian grocery shops. (look for a Japanese food section) 🙂

What to Wear When You are Pregnant

Posted December 9th, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | 2 Comments »

My memory is getting worse…  I mean, really worse!  And my body…  I feel tired, I feel sleepy, and I am cranky.  Even though I sleep early, I need 10 to 20 minutes to move my body and get up from the bed each morning.

Weather has been eased and it’s been pretty cool this week (thank god), but it was terrible when it was around 40 degrees (few weeks ago).  I don’t like hot weather.  To me, dry climate is much better than humid and wet climate like summer in Japan, but the heat still makes me cranky.  Plus the discomfort of my body… (Sorry D, friends, and colleagues!!)

I know being tired, sleepy and cranky are the common symptoms, but I also have really short memory now.  Like yesterday, I lost my house key and a key for the safety box for the office…  I realized it when I arrived home.  Luckily manager found them near the printer in the office, but I don’t even remember going near the printer yesterday!

I think one of the things making me so uncomfortable during the day could be the bra (sorry, male readers!).  Non of my clothes fit my body anymore, and so do my bras.  Before getting pregnant I used to wear pretty tight clothes that fit my body, and it was more comfortable than wearing lose clothes.  But now, everything has to be lose – especially around my belly and chest – otherwise I get really annoyed and cranky.  

I remembered that I had nude bra in the closet which I brought from Japan.  I haven’t worn it for a long time, but I thought it’s a perfect bra for me now as it doesn’t have any straps.  

I can also buy some more maternity bras, but I have no idea what is my size here and they are quite pricy.  I’ve got few from Japan and I think I try to survive with these bra and this nude bra…  Summer here is too hot for pregnant women!

Sunday Lunch and Heartburn from Oily Food

Posted December 7th, 2010 in Food, Ume's Pregnancy | No Comments »

This is one of my favorite lunch – bihun sup ayam (rice noodle soup with chicken).  Mother-in-law makes lunch on every Sundays and it has been this family’s tradition (?) for a long time -since my husband was a baby.  Sometimes the food is chicken porridge, sometimes it’s egg noodle soup, but I like this bihun sup ayam the best.

If someone asks me what noodle I like, I would say “bihun”.  I don’t hate egg noodles, I just prefer rice noodle.  I also like kway teow noodle.  Some rice noodle is thick – like those you get at Vietnamese noodle house.    I’m not really a big fun of the thick rice noodle as it’s easy to break (different to udon noodle which is supposed to be chewy).  Rice vermicelli noodles doesn’t fill my big stomach enough, but I like eating it as snack.

Still now, oily food (e.g. deep-fried food) and garlic make me feel sick.  I don’t think it will go away while I’m pregnant!  It’s one of the things that I feel uncomfortable about living with in-laws, as they like eating Chinese food very much (everyday) and you know Chinese foods often contain lots of oil.  Besides the fact that I am Japanese who loves plain Japanese food, I’m an extreme on-oily food lover.  (tempura, karaage, only once a month!)  I really appreciate D’s mum cooking every day as I don’t feel like cooking at all these days, but she cooks deep-fried stuff almost everyday and if the food is in front of me I’d eat anything.  Afterwords I suffer from heavy heartburn. (*_*)

Hearty rice noodle soup is what I crave for quite often.  As I don’t cook myself much now and eat Chinese food often (e.g. chicken stock based soup, not udon soup), I’m thinking my baby may like Chinese food when he grow older!  There is a saying that what you eat during pregnancy could be baby’s favorite food.  I’m not sure if it’s true, but 85% of what I eat is Chinese food now so I’m guessing it could be true! (@_@)