Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Newborn Favorite Purchases

Just want to share with you a few of my favorite purchases so far as we are waiting for our baby girl. Hopefully if you are also preparing for your newborn baby, this list could help you decide on brands or product that you might end up buying :)

  1. Aden+Anais organic swaddle in collaboration with the honest company. Quite a few of my coworker are actually expecting around the same time with me. My senior manager gave birth earlier this year and she has been a source of information for me as well as the other new moms in our office. She shared how swaddling really help soothe a fuzzy baby and highly recommended this muslin swaddles. Additionally, I've read and heard so many good review about Aden+Anais muslin swaddle online. I first saw this pack of organic swaddles on Zulily during a promotion back at March but I passed because I still wasn't sure if I want the organic kind. I soon regret that decision because it was super hard to find a good discount for this product anywhere else. Finally I decided to just purchase my first pack from Nordstrom at full price. As soon as I washed it, I knew I would need to buy another pack. The Aden+Anais swaddles are so soft, it's hard to imagine swaddling my baby with other swaddles. Not to mention the patterns are so darn cute! Luckily, a few weeks after, my friend told me there was a promotion going on honest website. $20 off from a $50 purchase or $40 off from a $100 purchase. So in addition to stocking honest diapers and wipes (I'm super curious about the product and really want to try), I bought my second pack of swaddles :) Seems like it is currently out of stock on honest website, but keep on checking! 
  2. GAP baby's ballet bunny slippers. We were at the mall looking for cute baby stuff to be used as a photo prop since we would have our pregnancy photo sessions the next day, when we spotted this pair of super cute shoes. Unfortunately, there was no price tag anywhere. We looked around the store trying to find similar item, but seemed like this was the only one left. Since I really want it, hubby said it was okay to just purchased it. Other baby shoes were sold for around $20, so that's the number we had in mind. To our surprise - they have a promotion running and the bunny shoes were just $7! It really made my day. 
  3. Burt Bees organic onesies - as pictured above along with the bunny slippers. My close friend actually found a few burt bees items were on sale at Marshalls. She bought me two sets of organic onesies, each for only $3.99! I ended up scouring TJ Maxx and Marshalls around my area to buy more of these organic onesies since it was such a great deal for organic clothing. I can't find similar style online, but these look cute too!
  4. Babyletto Hudson Crib in gray and white combination. I read a review somewhere about this crib and it mentioned how the crib's height is good for petite women. I researched more about the company and really like the fact that they use eco friendly and non toxic material. Plus, the crib has a sleek modern design that hubby and I really like. We ended up purchasing the crib through BuyBuyBaby and actually got a 20% off plus free shipping :) The other bonus - according to hubby it wasn't hard to assemble at all. The only downside I would say, we had to wait for more than a month to get the product because this particular color combination is popular and the product was back-ordered. 
  5. H&M conscious collection side-opening onesies. So ... I'm actually pretty worried about dressing my newborn baby, especially before the umbilical cord stump fall off. I also don't like the fact that we have to slide normal onesies through the baby's head. I imagined it should be much easier to just have a side opening onesies. I was thrilled to find these organics onesies from H&M. They come in pastel colors which I adore too! 

So those are my favorite purchases so far. Please share if you have a list of favorite items for newborn too!


Monday, May 23, 2016

Parisian-themed Baby Shower

Sharing a lighter pregnancy post today :)

Back in April, our friends throw us a "half" surprise baby shower. Why half surprise? I kinda knew they were planning a baby shower because one friend asked for my input especially regarding who to invite. She also asked me about the settings of the baby shower - whether I want it to be a formal sitting lunch / dinner with the girls or a casual one with couples. But that's the extend of my knowledge about the shower, she is very quiet about the rest of the detail. So a few weeks passed and there were nothing =P

A day before the baby shower, turned out somebody accidentally asked my husband whether husbands are welcome to join the event. So he knew when exactly is the baby shower! But he kept the secret from me.

The next day was Sunday. As I was getting dressed to go to the Church, hubby asked me if I want to wear a dress instead. I told him no, because according to the weather forecast, it was going to be pretty windy that day. It was actually kinda funny because he insisted that I changed into something nicer ... he was saying things like, "you know - the shower could be anytime now, don't you want to look nice if turns out the shower is today?" I was getting a bit suspicious, but never crossed my mind that he actually did know that the shower was that day. I thought he was just speculating.

After church, we had a plan to meet with one friend to setup infant car seat in our new baby car :) The weirdness continued though, because this one friend suddenly said she can't meet us for lunch, and asked us to come to her place at 4PM instead. I looked around the church for our other friends, wondering if they have a different lunch plan and if we can join them. But everybody seemed to vanish into thin air as soon as the service concluded.

It was almost 4PM and we were still doing some shopping at a Target nearby where my friend live. She sent me a message on WhatsApp asking where I was and if I was already en route to their place. My suspicion was getting stronger. When we arrived, she messaged me and told me to meet her and her baby at the pool near her condo's club house. While parking, I noticed a few familiar heads peeked from inside the closed and seemingly empty club house. AHA!

I was instantly in love with the theme they picked and the decoration.

Baby bump at 33 weeks :)

We played baby shower games - guessing baby food and drinking milk competition from baby bottle with level 1 nipple. We had so much fun!

Opening presents for our baby girls:

And ... group picture with all our dearest friends:

Very thankful for having such a great friends here in the US. We were far from our family in Indonesia, but never lacking supports because we have them :)

Friday, May 20, 2016

My First Trimester

Not sure if I have mentioned this before in this blog, but I have a very low pain tolerance level. Well, I guess all of you should have kinda know since I wrote the TB test post :) I really hate injection and I know I would have to get a lot of shots and blood checks if I am pregnant. So, I was actually super scared of getting pregnant.

To my surprise though, as soon as I found out that I'm pregnant, I was not worrying about the number of shots I would get or the blood checks. Most of the time in my early pregnancy, I worried about my baby's development and really looked forward to pass the 12 weeks milestone. Why? Because that's when the chance of miscarriage decrease significantly. Also, that is when embryo graduate to become a fetus. So to sum up what my first trimester experience felt like, it felt like I was on a race. I was just super focused on getting through the first trimester and didn't have time to worry about the shots/injection/blood tests or the upcoming labor.

I already shared some physical changes that I experienced on my early pregnancy in the last post such as always feeling tired, nauseous, sleepy, etc. Some other random stories from my first trimester:

1. Food aversion.

I really love fried shallots. I add them on soup, fried rice, instant noodle, everything! But ever since I'm pregnant, the after taste of fried shallots (and garlic!) becomes unbearable. On my last post I mentioned that I experienced a "light" morning sickness, but that does not mean I passed through my first trimester without any incidents. I remembered one night hubby had a dinner plan with a few of his old roommates. Because we wouldn't have dinner together, he asked what I want to eat for dinner so we could just buy it for to-go. I felt like eating something light so I told him I wanted a vietnamese rice noodle box with pork from Asian Box. When he picked me up from the office that day, I was already super hungry, I munched on the rice noodle box on our way home. As soon as we got home, I took a bath while hubby prepared to go out and meet his friends. However, the combination of hot water, brushing teeth, and the after taste of fried shallots resulted in an explosion in the bath tub :) I threw up in the shower and dear hubby has to clean the entire tub before he can go out and meet his friend. I felt so bad but it was really out of my control - everything happened so fast. Lesson learned though - I'm avoiding fried shallot for the rest of my pregnancy.

Another food I love that becomes my enemy during my pregnancy is shrimp. I'm a seafood lover through and through. But hubby is the other way around, he can't tolerate seafood except fish. In my early pregnancy, either the smell or the texture of shrimps threw me off. I couldn't eat shrimps as if, they need to be processed with other meats. I even tried eating my favorite shrimp dumpling (har gow) but found it be really hard to swallow. Not sure why, but I'm blaming my hubby's gene inside the baby :)

2. Scary moment.

When I was either 10 weeks or 11 weeks pregnant, one night before we went to sleep I experienced weird cramping sensation. It was like a rolling wave, starting from my rib cage going down. It didn't disappear when I changed my sleeping position. I panicked. It closely matched the description of contractions that I read online. I called the Kaiser hotline number and spoke with a nurse. He was very concerned but he wanted to check all the other possibilities. He asked me if I have a bowel movement that day - which I did - and suggested me to try emptying my bowel. He also scheduled a check up the next day with my OB. I followed his suggestion - and found out that I was actually having a really bad diarrhea. I went to the bathroom a few times during that night. I felt miserable and anxious. The next day, I went to the hospital and met with my OB. She performed a pelvic exam and informed me that everything still looks good and the mucus plug is intact without any sign of bleeding. To be sure though, she wanted to let me hear the heartbeat of my baby. Guess what? She couldn't find it. I was in the verge of tears. She told me to calm down and went out to fetch the USG machine. Thank God the baby was there! We can see the heart beating really strong, although it was weird that the doppler couldn't find the heartbeat. Later I found out that I might have eaten something bad for lunch the day before - a few of my friends who ate the same dish had diarrhea too. Another lesson learned - be very mindful about what to eat!

3. Hubby's birthday.

As expected, I really didn't have enough time or energy to make elaborate plan for hubby's birthday that November. Especially, hubby was actually battling with cold and cough throughout the month of October - we later found out that he had a sinus infection. Thankfully, early November he was getting a bit better.

There was a new Korean BBQ place nearby where we used to live. In such little amount of time, the restaurant had hundreds glowing yelp review - pretty close to thousand actually. A group of our Indonesian friends were trying to book a reservation to try out the new place since late September, and the date that was given to us was actually my hubby's birth date. So we made everything simple and decide to celebrate his birthday over there - no surprise for him this year :)

I remembered how Hubby and I were extra careful with the meat, making sure everything is well cooked. We shared a table and a stove with two other friends, but thankfully it seemed that they did not realize anything weird with the way I ate. We weren't ready to share the good news back then :)

Did I look pregnant already? ;p

4. Leggings vs Jeans.

Remember I told you about my light morning sickness? It wasn't as if I didn't experience any discomfort at all, but I was thankful because it seemed like it was still manageable. I had all the nausea, feeling bloated, and gagging reaction whenever I smelled food. But eating small snacks throughout the day helped and also ... changing jeans into leggings. Not sure why, but it seemed like my belly area expanded pretty fast. Soon after I found out about the pregnancy, maybe as soon as week 6 or 7, wearing jeans became so uncomfortable. At that time, I refused to buy maternity jeans so early because I thought my belly will continue to expand and I would need to buy a different size anyway. But you know what, I get so used to wearing leggings - I actually haven't bought any maternity jeans and now I'm in my final stretch (37 weeks)!

5. Pregnancy announcement.

Before we are expecting, we used to wonder why people try to hide the fact that they are expecting. Isn't it such a wonderful news? Why don't people want to share it?

Little did we know about all the early miscarriage facts and the survival rate of embryo. So many things can go wrong. It's really hard not to tell everybody actually, but deep down inside you have all these worries and you just want to make sure everything is okay first before sharing it to the world. So we actually waited until we passed the 12 week milestone before letting our friends know that we are expecting. It was quite a surprise I would say, some of them kinda guessed but a lot of people were actually unaware. It felt great to be out in the open though! :)

Anyway, those are stories from my first trimester. Please share stories of yours too - would love to hear them!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Our First Pregnancy Appointment

We waited for another 3.5 weeks before we could meet with my OB and truly confirmed the pregnancy. It was the longest 3.5 weeks ever in my life!

Have you ever heard about how your mom pregnancy experience might affect yours? Well, actually I heard both ways - some people believe it might, some people don't. In my case, it doesn't - at all. I'm actually super scared of getting pregnant because my mom had very difficult pregnancies for the three of us. She told me how she had severe morning sickness and had to stay in bed up to 6 months when she carried us girls and 4 months when she carried my brother. However, I did notice some physical changes.

The most apparent change was with my energy level. I noticed how I got sleepy all the time. My husband and I carpooled together to work everyday. During those weeks, I usually sleep on our way home. Once we're home, I found it so hard to do normal activities, all I wanted was to lie on the sofa and sleep. I did not really experience morning sickness until around week 6 or 7. Looking back, I think my morning sickness was pretty light. I had the expected urge to throw up every time I brush my teeth and queasiness in my tummy throughout the day. I also experienced a heightened sense of smell ... I hated strong perfume and the smell of food. But thank God I was still able to work.

After what seemed like forever, October 28th came along. Hubby picked me up from my office and we went together to Kaiser Mountain View. We were told that in this first appointment, the doctor would perform an ultrasound to check whether or not the embryo is developing as it should and find out our expected due date.

As soon as the doctor prepared the ultrasound machine, hubby was ready with his iPhone. He wanted to take video of our first USG. But, to his surprise, the doctor actually told him to wait until she confirmed that there is a baby in my uterus. I know she didn't mean any harm, but still my heart sank to my knees. When she finally said, "I'm seeing one healthy embryo here - see you can see the heart beating fast and strong," my tears started falling down. I was so relieved! All this time while waiting for the appointment, I noticed changes in my body but I really want to be sure that the baby is growing healthy inside of me.

Then my husband ask, "are you sure there are no other embryo? Not a twin?"

*LOL* He really wants a twin.

But nope, the doctor confirmed that she could only see one embryo. Then she measured the embryo and told us our due date - June 9th 2016. A summer baby!

Here's how the baby looks like at our first USG:

Other than doing the ultrasound, we were given tons of pregnancy related information during that first visit, including nutritional guide (what food to eat and what food to avoid) and the dreaded California Prenatal Screening Program. I'll talk more about this screening program and how I feel about it in another post.

One more picture of the happy mommy and daddy to be:

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Confirmation

The next day was Saturday.

When we woke up, the first thing we did was trying another test pack. I was curious to find out if a different brand of test pack will give me a different result. But nope, it was still a clear positive. So off we go to Kaiser Santa Clara to get the blood work done.

We came pretty early in the morning but we found out early morning on the weekend was actually the worst time to go to that lab. It was jam-packed. We took a number, waited for a while before we were called by administration, and waited some more before our number was called by the system to line up in front of the lab. All those time, my brain was busy entertaining all the "what if?" questions.

I actually did a bit more research online about the possibility of getting a "false positive" test pack result, and became a little bit worried. As I mentioned in the last post, for the test pack to show positive result, it needs to detect enough hCG hormone (the pregnancy hormone) in my urine. And usually you don't have a high level of hCG hormone until you miss your period for that specific cycle (I did my test 4 days before the start date of my expected period that month). However, hCG hormone level could develop a bit faster because of different reasons such as (but not limited to):
1) You're carrying a twin
2) You're on fertility treatment
3) You're having an ectopic pregnancy

I'm not on a fertility treatment - so the 2nd cause is ruled out. Twin ... is a different case. My maternal grandmother is an identical twin and she gave birth to a twin who died when they were still infants. We do have a family history for twin. The last cause was the one that made me worried the most. Read more about ectopic pregnancy here:

Anyway, after we got the lab work done, we went to a Korean bakery and coffee shop nearby to wait for the result. Usually I just need to wait for an hour or two and then my Kaiser app will show update for the test result. But an hour passed by, and still there was no update. My best friend called and asked us to meet for lunch together somewhere in Santa Clara. It was still pretty early for lunch and we're already in the area, so I asked my hubby to drop by at the nearby bookstore to kill time. But we ended up purchasing this:

So maybe I have a feeling that I'm pregnant after all :) This is basically our first baby-related purchase.

After lunch, I checked my app again and still there were no update. My friend and her hubby were also curious so we decided to go to a bubble tea place to just hang out and wait some more for any news. I remember checking that app every 30 minutes or so, but there was nothing.

Around 4PM, we decided to call it a day and headed home. On our way home though, I received a call from Kaiser! I was so nervous so I didn't catch the entire conversation - the only thing I heard was the blood test result shows that I'm pregnant. Soon after I got an email from my OB and she confirmed the previous phone call from the lab, and told me to schedule our first pregnancy appointment when I'm 7 or 8 weeks pregnant.

Both hubby and I were having mixed emotions. Of course we were very happy, but we never expected this to happen really soon so. We're also super worried, we started thinking about all things that we need to do to make sure everything is ready for the baby. Above all though, we were so grateful to God for his amazing gift to our family.

That night, we took our first "bump" picture although there's nothing to see yet *lol*

Coming next ... story about our first doctor appointment :)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Discovery

Last summer we went on our first Europe trip. We visited three countries - France, Switzerland, and Italy. We have decided to stop any "prevention" during the trip, but thank God I didn't get pregnant there at Europe because I ate so many cold cuts (deli meats) and other foods that are bad for babies. It was a fun trip but also super exhausting.

Some random pictures from the trip:

Our first dinner at Venice - Bancogiro

Selfie with the Iron Lady of Paris :)
Beautiful Luzern

When we were back, I was so stressed out at work trying to keep myself up to date after traveling for 20 plus days. We also still had some summer projects that have been extended until September. Additionally, a new career path opened up and I had to make a hard decision on where I want to grow more in my career. One night, I started having menstrual-like cramping at night. It was pretty bad actually. The pain literally woke me up from my sleep. This happened for 2-3 days straight. The funny thing was, my menstrual period was not due until another week ... Initially, I blamed the stress level at work. Maybe it messed up with my hormonal cycle.

I took a sick day from work after not getting enough sleep for 2-3 days straight. The next day when I'm back, my coworker asked what happened and I told her about my mysterious cramping sessions at night that keep me awake. She smiled and told me to buy a test pack. I remember when I heard that, I looked at her as if she was joking. Never crossed on my mind that I might be pregnant this soon. I spent the entire day actually mulling over this idea ... and that night on my way back from work, I asked my hubby to stop by at Safeway to buy a test pack. I thought there's no harm in checking.

The next morning, we studied the test pack packaging and learned that the accuracy level will be very low if I'm still far away from my expected period date on that month. Still ... curiousity made us try. Lo and behold!

First positive test pack result - Friday, October 2nd, 2015 

Both of us were in disbelief. Not that we were not happy. We just weren't sure if this was happening this soon. Plus, there were still question about the accuracy of test pack if used before the expected period due date.

I called my closest friend and she told me usually test pack is not accurate if it's showing you a negative result instead of positive. It's actually quite hard to get a 'false' positive from a test pack. I googled similar query online, and found similar answers. Basically I need to have enough hCG hormone in order for the test pack to show positive result - which seems to be the case.

Hubby were still in disbelief, he wanted a confirmation. So I emailed my OB and asked if we can get a blood test to confirm that I'm really pregnant. My OB kindly sent a request to the lab on the same day, so we could come tomorrow to any lab and get the blood work done.

To be continued ... :)


Friday, May 13, 2016

Update from 2016

Hello everyone!

I finally have time to update this blog. I stopped writing a few years back because something really sad happened, and I found it really hard to continue writing. But anyway ... things are getting better. In fact, very exciting things have been happening to us in the past 3 years.

The newest and greatest news from us:


So we have been married for a while, but because of so many reasons, we postponed having a child. Summer last year, we finally made up our mind and decided that we were ready ... and all praise to God, He instantly bestowed this great gift and honor to us to become a parent :)

I'm on my 36 weeks now - the final stretch. I just started my maternity leave yesterday, and now preparing myself mentally to become a mom. Therefore, expect to hear tidbits about my pregnancy and maternity journey showing up more in this blog :)