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! (@_@)

Bagels and Bamboo Restaurant

Posted November 27th, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | No Comments »

After week 20, my belly started to grow bigger and bigger very quickly.  I’m at week 24 now and I can’t see my bikini line!  People can notices that I am pregnant and I have to wear very big clothes or maternity clothes, otherwise it’s too tight and very uncomfortable.  

I won’t be able to wear my normal clothes this summer, so I have packed all the summer clothes in the closet.  Maternity clothes are quite pricy, so I’m wearing some of my wide clothes or D’s T shirts everyday… (π´®†¥¨ˆ∂ƒ©˙

As the belly grows, I can feel bub’s movement very strongly now and sometimes I have to support my belly with a maternity belt when I have to move around or keep standing up for a long period of time. 

Especially while making bagels…

This week I had a special order for a baby girl’s 1 month birthday (?).  It was my first time to make bagels with icing!

I wouldn’t think about putting icing on bagels, but it was the special order for a special girl…

White and pink icing 🙂

Ahhhh… my stomach is still full…   In-laws and I went to Bamboo restaurant last night, and ordered quite a lot of dishes.  

I really like the style of the restaurant, but the food is pretty average to me.  I’ve been there only for dinner, but some food are nicer at South Ocean in Kardinya.  

We ordered fried fish with crabmeat sauce, seafood and tofu claypot, and Thai style chicken.  

The flaming Thai style chicken was quite entertaining, but we had to wait until the flame goes off… for about 3 minutes.  The chicken was beautifully roasted, and the sauce was spicy – lemongrass, coconut and other spices and chili.  

I felt all the dishes were quite salty.  It helped me drinking lots of water though…   


Paid Parental Leave

Posted November 24th, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | No Comments »

Having a baby in 2011?  The Paid Parental Leave scheme starts 1 Jan 2011, which will provide eligible working parents with 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay at the National Minimum Wage, currently $570 a week before tax.

All the information is available from Family Assist website, but I want to list down the key factors for myself and also others who are interested in knowing this scheme.


Baby Bonus

  • Pays eligible parents $5,294 (effective 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011) per eligible child in 13 equal fortnightly instalments.  
  • Baby Bonus is payable for each child in a multiple birth.  Which means, if you have a twin, you get 2 xBaby Bonus.
  • Before, Baby Bonus was not an income tested payment, but it is now.  (income test)
  • Baby Bonus is not taxable income.

Check your eligibility for Baby Bonus → Eligibility

To claim a Baby Bonus: claim must be lodged within 52 weeks of the child’s birth (or in the case of adoption, within 52 weeks of the adopted child coming into the adopting parent’s care)  Hospital will usually pass you the claim form at the time of birth, but you can also obtain the form through Family Assistance Office or lodge online at  http://www.familyassist.gov.au.


Paid Parental Leave

  • From Jan 2011, you can chose to receive either Baby Bonus or Paid Parental Leave for your child if you are entitled.  
  • Parental Leave Pay will be fully funded by the Government.
  • Eligible working parents will receive Parental Leave Pay at $570 a week for a maximum period of 18 weeks. 
  • You should lodge your claim at the Family Assistance Office, Centrelink Customer Service Centres, or online before the birth or adoption of your child. (you can lodge up to three months before)
  • Paid Parental Leave is taxable income.
Things You Should Know
  • You can not get both Baby Bonus and Paid Parental Leave for the same child. 
  • If you have worked for 12 months or more for the same employer you are entitled to up to 12 months unpaid parental leave. (www.fairwork.gov.au)
  • Parental Leave Pay will be provided to you by either your employer in your usual pay cycle (employer will be funded by the Australian Government) or by the Family Assistance Office in fortnightly payments. (from 1 July 2011, your employer must provide your Parental Leave Pay if you have worked with them for at least 12 months prior to the expected date of birth or adoption of your child and you will be receiving at least eight weeks of Parental Leave Pay.)

If your employer provides your Parental Leave Pay:

  • You will be able to access other paid leave such as maternity leave, however this may mean you will be taxed at a higher rate.
  • They can deduct child support from your Parental Leave Pay if they are required to do so.
  • You may arrange for other deductions to be made from your Parental Leave Pay.
  • You may salary sacrifice some or all of your Parental Leave Pay. For example, you may make voluntary contributions to superannuation. You must agree these arrangements with your employer as you do with wages. 
  • Your employer will not be required to make superannuation contributions on your Parental Leave Pay.

If Family Assistance Office provides your Parental Leave Pay:

  • We will withhold PAYG at the rate of 15 per cent unless you request another rate.
  • You will not be able to salary sacrifice Parental Leave Pay that is provided directly by us.
  • You can voluntarily request a Family Assistance and/or Centrelink debt to be deducted.

Centrelink FAQ


Baby Bonus or Paid Parental Leave?

First, you need to check if you are eligible for both payments.  

Baby Bonus → Eligibility  

Paid Parental Leave →Eligibility 

If you are eligible for both payment, you can chose to receive either one of the payment.

Baby Bonus is $5,294, but it is considered to be not a taxable income.  On the other hand, Paid Parental Leave gives you the total benefit before tax of $10,260.   However, this money is considered to be taxable income and may affect your Family Tax Benefit as well as the followings:

  • Child Care Benefit
  • Child Support
  • HECS liabilities
  • Medicare Levy Surcharge
  • Public Housing Rent
  • Low Income or other Health Care Cards, or other associated concessions
  • Pensioner, Beneficiary, Dependent Spouse, Housekeeper and Child-housekeeper tax offsets.

To see which payment is best for your family, you should use the  Paid Parental Leave Comparison Estimator.

The result may vary depending on the date you wish to start receiving Parental Leave Pay, therefore it is recommended that you try different dates to determine the best financial decision for your family.

After 34 weeks following the birth or adoption, the number of weeks you will be eligible to receive Parental Leave Pay for will reduce. (refer the table below)

Cot and Moon

Posted November 16th, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | 2 Comments »

I haven’t been cooking lately: just eating in-law’s food at home (^^)  Eating Indonesian/Chinese food everyday does make my stomach upset sometimes.  In that case I just make salad or eat fruits.  I don’t have a big appetite at night anyway..

Last night was shumai – … well, it doesn’t look like the normal shumai we eat at dim sum restaurants, but it’s how they (my in-laws) call this dish.  In Indonesia, shumai can be like this steamed meatballs with spicy peanut sauce and sweet soy sauce.  In-law attaches the meatballs with boiled eggs, tofu and potatoes and steam together.  The photo looks very messy, but that how you are supposed to eat (^^;).  Pour sauce, and mix all together!

After a cot arrived, our “spare room” started to look more like a nursery room.  I got this cot from an online shop on a 1-day-free-shipping-sale.  This walnut coloured cot can adjust the height, and has hidden drop sides and is convertible to a toddler day-bed.  The thing I appreciate the most is the removable casters.  This cot is pretty heavy, but I can easily move it around thanks to the lockable wheels.

The mattress and IKEA changing table is from in-law.  We’ve got some nappies, baby wipes, wraps, pacifiers, cot cover, sheet, clothes, etc etc, but need to buy more things – a cushion for the changing table, mattress protector (as this mattress is not mine), bottles, etc etc.

We bought some junks too.

This remote controlled Moon In My Room shows 12 lunar phases of the moon automatically/manually, lights up when it’s dark, and shuts off automatically.  It certainly is not a toy for a baby, it’s just for us to enjoy..

(The actual colour is more whitish)

When I browse nursery rooms online, they look so cute and most of them have the theme –  yellow, blue, princess, ocean, etc.  Our room looks like just a room!


Week 20 – Photos and Paid Parenting Leave

Posted November 1st, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | 2 Comments »

This may sound like a joke, but it did happen.

I went to see my obstetrician the other day for a monthly check-up.  I couldn’t see bub’s face last week at Fetal Anatomy Screening, so I was hoping to have a peek at his face this time.

But!!!  As soon as the screening equipment touched my belly and the image showed up on the screen, he moved his hands toward his face again!

The image was taken above bub: the right side is the face covered with two hands, and the left side there’re two legs.  (can you see?)

I was glad to see he was fine, (well, I feel his movement very often now and I knew he was ok though) but is he that shy?  My friend actually told me that it happened to her as well.  Is this action (a fetus covering the face with two hands) common?

Yeah, and I’ve been thinking that it may be about time to finally announce my pregnancy to other people at work.  Yes, they don’t know yet.  My belly is not showing up too much at the moment.

I need to ask some questions about Paid Parenting Leave to the manager in the Sydney office (my company’s head office is in Sydney).  I need to confirm how many weeks of Paid Parenting Leave I can get (the maximum is 18 weeks), what the payment rate is (whether it’s same as the standard minimum wage that Centerlink pays), and ask her when I should (can) work until.  I’d like to work as much as possible if there is no problem.

I need to know which one is the better option for me: Baby Bonus or Paid Parenting Leave.  Although Paid Parenting Leave may seem to be higher amount than Baby Bonus, it is a taxable income so it will affect my tax and Family Tax Benefit later.  Baby Bonus, on the other hand, is non taxable income.

I don’t really like getting attention from other people while I work there, but I guess it’s a good thing.

So far I’ve put on 4.4 kg total, and been eating boiled broccoli a lot for snack.  The bub can now swallow the amniotic fluid to practice swallowing and digesting action (according to the baby book), and that’s why the baby tends to like the food that the mother was eating while pregnant.  (the taste  through the fluid) Which means, my bub may like broccoli and other vegetables when he is grown up!


Petit Parfait and Baby Book

Posted October 29th, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | 2 Comments »

I had lots of leftover fruits and cream from the big birthday cake I made (post), so when my friends came to the house I made this petit parfait using those leftover.

The components are all the same: sponge cake, cream and fruits (minus the glaze).  The cream had been whipped to the decoration stage (quite hard) already, so I just squeezed out through my piping bag. 

In the afternoon, I started to work on my project: making a baby book!

Actually I was going to buy one from a shop and looked through Myer, Kiki-k, Newsagency etc including online shops, but they all sell similar looking ones with similar contents.  And, they contain some pages which I won’t use (such as “what was the news headline when the baby was born”).  I prefer putting lots of ultrasound photos, and write down little notes of what I felt, did and what the baby did each day.

So, I bought a scrap book album so that I could put photos and memo anywhere I want in the page.   It’s easy to arrange, and I can make it a whole page with just photos, or one page with a photo and the memo describing the photo.

Little notes in both English and Japanese….


Ultrasound Screening

Posted October 22nd, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | 6 Comments »

Although I can feel the baby’s movement, I still get nervous before the ultrasound screening.  Is he really ok?  Maybe the movement I felt was just a movement of my own belly…

I hear some horrible news about still birth.  I know I worry too much (my mum say that too), but I can’t help it (><)

At the ultrasound screening, however, Jr shows his healthy appearance.  Then I feel relieved.

At my recent ultrasound, I could hear the heart beating and observe the long legs and arms.  The Sonographer tried to take a clear picture of the baby’s face, but he kept hiding it with two hands!  As if he was too shy to show the face to the camera.

Other than the face I could see his hands and legs very clearly.  He was showing his hand to the camera as if he was saying “Stop! Stop trying to take photo of my face!”.


My Appetite and a Parcel from Japan

Posted October 15th, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | No Comments »

Around Week 16, the morning sickness started to disappear and my big appetite came back.  Well, I didn’t have heavy morning sickness anyway.  It was more like “night sickness” as most of the bad stuff (tiredness, nausea, excessive sleepiness, etc) hit me after evening.

From Week 16, I could start enjoying the food again.  I often thought about what to eat for dinner during the day (yes, I really love eating), and I could eat out for almost anything.  But, around Week 18 I started to feel sick again and didn’t feel like eating anything.  All I could do in the evening was lying down on the sofa and stay still.  Is this normal?  Does morning sickness sometimes come back during the second and third trimester?

Anyway, I felt really sick until yesterday, but today I feel pretty good.  When I feel good, what I do is eat….  You will be surprised if you hear how much I eat now!  … 2 serves of Indian curry, and I still felt hungry so I had another bowl of rice with Japanese tinned fish and simmered vegetables. Afterwards I was munching on crackers until lunch.  … yes, it was my breakfast.

Another day, my husband and I bought fried chicken and chips (I know it’s not a healthy food but I had a craving for the fried stuff), and I finished mine very quickly and wasn’t satisfied at all.  I think I can eat a whole bird myself now.  

I really think it’s too much food to eat.  Should I try to control myself?  My weight, however, seems to be steady and I just put on 2 kg compared to when I was not pregnant.  

Oh, the tinned fish I mentioned above, it was from my mum!  I just received a parcel from my brother few days ago 🙂

I bought some maternity stuff from Japanese online shops, and I asked mum to put some food into the parcel and send here together.

These tinned fish are pretty expensive if you buy from Asian grocery shop here.  I personally like saba no misoni (simmered mackerel in miso) 😀

Some maternity pants, belts and bra.  Things are much cheaper to buy in Japan..


My Thought about Japan and Australia – Pregnancy

Posted October 8th, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | 4 Comments »

I think my belly is getting bigger and bigger.  All my college don’t know that I am pregnant, so they must be thinking “oh… she put on lots of weight!”.  As it’s getting warmer here, I’m wearing just 3/4 sleeve T-shirt and it shows my body shape too well.  I’m wrapping my thin hoodie around my belly, but is it time to tell them that I am pregnant?  Or maybe I just wait until they figure out…

I read many articles and magazines about pregnancy, both Australian (Western) and Japanese.   Some of the things they say are the same, but some are totally different.  I also found that the treatment you get at hospital (or by doctor ) here in Australia is different from what you get in Japan.

Japanese pregnant women seems to be super careful about their pregnancy – if they notice something different they run to the doctor immediately to seek the advice and treatment.  But here in Perth, pregnant women seems to be more self-controlled and prepared.  The doctor here seems to be doing less compared to the doctors in Japan – this doesn’t mean that the doctors here is not as good as those in Japan.  I agree that we shouldn’t be totally depend on the doctors.  

But, I have something that keeps staying in my head for almost 1 year.  When I started bleeding during my first pregnancy, I run to an emergency hospital near my house.  I waited for a doctor for 12 hours there (true story), and when doctor came to me she just said “I’m sorry, but you seem to be having a miscarriage”.  The doctor didn’t even touch my body – she just asked me a couple of questions, “are you still bleeding?” “How badly are you bleeding?”.  That’s it, and I left the hospital.  

No advice, no medicine were given.  Maybe there was nothing they could do to stop the bleeding.  But, I had no idea what I should be doing: the doctor said that I’m having miscarriage, so is it over?  Or do I still have a chance?  I didn’t know, and  I went back to work on next day – still bleeding.

If it was in Japan, the doctor would have said “stay in the bed, and don’t move around.”.  Some pregnant women bleed, and it is not a good sign.  In Japan you’ll be forced to stay laying down on the bed (only get up when you go to toilet or take shower) and wait for doctor’s next advice.  Some pregnant women get out from the danger of having miscarriage after the doctor’s treatment.

I didn’t know about it that time.  I had to go get blood test, ultrasound, and go back to the hospital few times. At the hospital nurses just kept asking me “are you still bleeding?”.  Few days later (bleeding everyday and working everyday), my miscarriage was confirmed. 

So, to think about it, my first pregnancy could be saved..?  I don’t know if I should be thinking about it now as I’m carrying another baby here, but it just keeps staying in my head.  If I was in Japan, would she/he be saved?

Now, here is the ultrasound photo taken at my 11th week (the first ultrasound screening).  I like this photo because the baby is kicking the leg to the air and I can see the tiny leg.  🙂

I saw the baby in 3D at the second ultrasound screening, and at the third screening my baby was looking much bigger.   According to the baby watcher app, the baby is about the size of a sweet potato at the moment !

News from Ume

Posted October 1st, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | 12 Comments »
I know some of the Umeboss viewers know about this already, but I would like to announce it here officially….
… I am pregnant …!!  (•˙∆˚)¬¬¬¬
It may be a natural thing to happen to a couple who have been together for more than 7 years, but I still can’t believe it.  I mean, we are absolutely happy about it, but we didn’t really plan it and I still feel that I’m just a girl. (^o^;)>
I wasn’t really sure if it was true – until I got my first ultrasound screen at my 11th week.  There it was!  A tiny fetus, around 6 cm.  S/he was  kicking up the leg, and was jumping around inside my tummy.  Very active…  And, on the second screening, the baby started to wave at us (˙∆˚)!!  … No, I think s/he was just stretching the arm.
It’s amazing.  Did we create a life?
I actually had miscarriage last year, and it was really a devastating experience to me, so I hope this one will be ok. (” v “)
Some Japanese people who live in Perth go back to Japan to give birth, as they can get all the supports from their family and friends.  It is also more comfortable to do such “big event of the life” in their own country.
Me?  I’m going to be giving birth here in Perth.  I really really want my family to be here too, but I don’t know if it’s going to happen!  But, it’s ok, I can’t think about it now.
If everything goes well, I will fly back to Japan afterwards and stay there for few months.  (^^)  It is my plan!!  I also can’t wait to eat sushi and sashimi over there too…