The Last Time 

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms, you will never be the same.

You might long for the person you were before,
When you have freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.

You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feedings and burping,
Nappy changes and crying,
Whining and fighting,
Naps or a lack of naps,
It might seem like a never-ending cycle.

But don’t forget …
There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed
your baby for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.

One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake to this.

One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus”
and do all the actions,
Then never sing them that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face.
They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.

The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
Until there are no more times.
And even then, it will take you a while to realize.

So while you are living in these times,
Remember there are only so many of them
And when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them.
For one last time.

-Author Unknown-

Photo credits to Karen Sim from The K Studio for this lovely image!

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The ‘Mummy Look’  

The title makes me smile (I’m thinking Egyptian mummified Pharaohs, perhaps not too far off from my current physical appearance, lol!) 

{Note the inside out T-shirt and the designer bags under my eyes.} 

I’m consciously reminding myself to enjoy this season with my newborn. Though the nights can be long, the days will pass swiftly, and if I do not treasure this moments, they will soon be gone. 

Baby David’s Testimony 

Baby David’s Testimony 

What do you do when things don’t go according to plan? 

There were two things very specifically that I wanted and prayed for in regards to David’s delivery and birth. 

1. I wanted to deliver naturally, and kept the option of an epidural open, depending on my threshold of pain on the day of labour. 

2. I wanted to breastfeed David immediately. Hence, I reminded my husband more than once (3987 times, to be exact), that I wanted immediate skin to skin contact with my son once he was born. I read that having immediate skin to skin contact not only allows mother and child to bond immediately as well as promote a sense of well-being for the baby; it also helps the baby breastfeed quicker and more easily. 

Both did not go according to plan. 

Due to my SLE condition, my doctors (both in the government and private hospital) advised me not to prolong my pregnancy to the 40th week (full term) as it would carry risks to the baby. 

So at week 38 on the 20th of July at 1am, I was induced. Barely an hour after I was given the medication, I started cramping really badly and initially did not realise them as contractions. But 6am the pain had grew intense and by 9am I was already dilated to 7cm. I really wanted an epidural by then because I didn’t want to fight the contraction pains anymore, but it was not possible due to the baby’s weak heartbeat. By then baby D had pooped in my womb which signalled distress. At 11am I was fully dilated but somehow could not push little David out, even with the help of vacuum extraction. I was then wheeled in for an emergency C-section. 

I was fully conscious during the surgery, but had no sensation waist down from the spinal anaesthetic. It was not long after that, when someone came over to me, started cleaning me up and told me that the surgery was over. 

“What do you mean, my surgery is over??”, a warning sign came up in my head right away.  

“Where’s my son?”, I asked the lady. She promptly turned and walked away. 

Again, I turned to the other man on my left and asked if my son was alright. They all ignored me and avoided eye contact. 

It was then, I knew something was wrong. I slowly turned my head to look around the room and saw in a corner, a medical team huddled over my baby. My baby. 

Before I knew it, I was wheeled into the recovery room. I hadn’t the faintest idea if baby D was alright, and neither could I see my husband. I just wanted to be wheeled out pronto! 

Finally when they did wheel me to the corridor, Nick got to come to the hallway and meet me. As he held my hand and kissed me, I could tell that he wasn’t quite alright. With a slight tremble in his voice, he told me that baby David was not doing well and was being attended to immediately. 

Thankfully I had family there to accompany me post-surgery in the ward while Nick waited anxiously outside the NICU. Four excruciating hours passed before he could speak to the doctors in there. David had suffered from meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS), where the baby has passed meconium (stool) into the amniotic fluid during labor or delivery. MAS may occur if the baby breathes in (aspirates) this fluid into the lungs.

David had to be transferred to the neighbouring hospital, a separate building a few blocks down the road from where I was warded. Because of that, I could not see him until the 3rd day after I was discharged. 

David suffered a few episodes of seizures in his first few days and also had to be assisted by a ventilator in his breathing. He was such a fighter! Despite his frail state, he was feisty enough to pull at all his tubes! 

Day 5, some tubes were removed from his body, and I was able to carry David for the first time. 😭

Each day brought different progress and David recovered remarkably, we give all glory to God for sustaining him, and also us throughout the 10 days he was in the NICU. 

Towards the end of our pregnancy, Nick and I had being doing catechism studies together as a couple. The first question we had learnt was – what is our hope in life and death? And the answer is that we are not our own, but belong, in both body and soul, in life and death, to God and to our saviour Jesus Christ. It is this very promise that we were assured that David’s life was in God’s hands. 

When I had suffered a threatened miscarriage earlier in my pregnancy, I had also come across a verse in Psalm 118 that I saw as a promise for David’s life. “I shall not die, but live, and proclaim the wondrous works of the Lord”. 

All these promises that the Lord gave to us prior to the delivery strengthened us for the uncertain days in the NICU where doctors could not give us answers, we rested in the knowledge of Him who is sovereign and in control. 

Over the 10 days in the NICU, we witnessed God’s faithfulness to us in so many ways. Grateful for loved ones who surrounded us with prayer, love and support and for family members who brought us food as well as provided practical help. We had to ‘camp out’ at the hospital each day, spending 7 to 12 hours there to ensure we could spend as much time with baby David there, as we believe strongly that human contact and our voices were vital in his recovery. 

Through all this, we remember and have been strengthened by the devotion that we read during our prayer together just before we went to be admitted to the hospital on July 19. (Devotion to be attached in the following post). We give thanks for the Lord’s wonderful dealings with us; for His working in all this to reveal our weakness and helplessness, and to show to us and through us, the outshinings of His glory.

A week after his birth, we witnessed many miracles. David was very alert and responsive, and opened his eyes clearly for the first time when I called his name. We then tried skin to skin contact with David, and he started suckling almost immediately. We know that this is a remarkable milestone as David has been fed intravenously all these while, and even with his improved condition, been fed by cup or syringe. 

The Lord seemed to answer all our hearts’ desires, for David also cried (very lustily) for the first time. David also had his MRI done and we were so grateful to know that he has suffered no brain damage despite the fits he went through the previous week. 

We are so glad to have David home now. It is both a sacred and joyful time for us, as we savour this humbling process of learning to be parents as well as enjoying our time together as a family.

We would appreciate your continued prayers for us that we may raise David up to be a man after God’s own heart, wholehearted in His pursuit of Christ. 

Pregnancy Notes 

I thought I should blog a little more before my hands get full with soiled diapers, milk bottles and a myriad of baby paraphernalia. 🙂

Some random facts about our first pregnancy

1. It was a surprise. However unprepared we felt, we saw God’s hand in baby D’s life from the time he was conceived. In the fragile first few weeks of his implantation in my uterus, God prevented Nick and I from travelling to Tamong (a mountainous village with treacherous road conditions) through a terrible cold I developed which lasted a week. We would have gone, if not for the dreadful cough and fever that kept me awake for many nights, as I was unaware of my pregnancy at that time. After all, I wasn’t due for Aunt Flo’s visit till the next week. Through this incident, we look back and realise that baby D’s life has truly been covered with the fingerprints of his heavenly Father since the very beginning.

God also revealed to us baby D’s gender way before it was revealed in an ultrasound. At week 5, Nick and I already had a word given to us from the Bible (individually, at different times and through different passages) that we would have a son. (The gender of a baby is usually only known at week 16).

This brought us comfort and joy; knowing that despite our feelings of unpreparedness and inadequacy, God has already ordained all the days of our son.

The day we found out that we were expecting, a butterfly emerged from the cocoon we had earlier kept to observe.

2. I gave my poor Hubby and loved ones a headache during the first 5-6 months of pregnancy with my incredibly restricted diet. I felt too sick to stomach any Chinese food, meat especially poultry, and often craved for Japanese food and McDonald’s. (which obviously, is not available where we were in Kalimantan). 😄

Thankfully for my poor husband, I managed to win in two sushi competitions, one which won me a two hundred ringgit voucher at Sushi Tei, and another free thirty plates of sushi at Sushi King. We believe God had mercy on the both of us. 😂 I got my sushi cravings fixed, and our household budget was preserved. 😂

Now, I’m happily making up for lost time and enjoying my ayam goreng, chicken rice, Nando’s and KFC. Tee hee hee.

Our winning entry for Sushi Tei, accompanied by a poem I wrote for it’s caption.

3. I really love the feeling of baby D’s movements in my tummy. It makes up for all the physical discomfort I feel at each stage of the pregnancy, be it nausea and Dizziness, back pains, heart burn or indigestion. It feels so good to know that this precious little one is growing, woven by the skillful hands of His Father in heaven.

Spot the little bird saying hello to baby D 🙂

4. Despite all the challenges of pregnancy, my friends who are mothers already say that pregnancy is a breeze compared to actual motherhood! I believe them. 🙂 Nick and I feel so in need of God’s grace and wisdom as we charter into this unknown territory of parenthood.

Nick has been an amazing husband and support during this period, I could not ask for more. So glad that he’s with me in this together!

5. We are also treasuring our last few moments together alone as a couple (every day feels like honeymoon for me still, even after 2+ years of marriage). Hehe.

6. Lastly, I personally feel so blessed and grateful to God for His providence to us and baby D through the love of the people around us. Baby stuff can be so pricey and confusing at times for newbie parents like us, but everyone has been so kind to rally around us with their support, availability and all the wonderful hand me downs and gifts we have received. Most of our baby stuff are pre-loved items from relatives and friends who have generously given/loaned us stuff without hesitation. Personally, we would rather use hand-me-downs for these reasons – we save a lot, we don’t have to go back and forth deciding on the brands, prices and benefits and disadvantages of each product that we are considering to purchase (my husband is extremely thrifty and OCD, haha) and each product has been tried and tested from its previous owner. Anddddd, we just feel really blessed and loved as we sorted through the different items we received from family and friends.

Through this pregnancy, I’ve also come to experience for myself God’s providence for His children. Even though we have chosen in some ways to give up many things in following Him, He has proven Himself faithful to provide & we have never lacked anything.

Can’t wait to share all these stories with you, baby D. See you soon! 😚

To the Beautiful Women in My Life

“God has many He wants to embrace and love through us, so amidst our own pain and sadness we have to wipe away our tears and give out of our own broken-heartedness. I’ve realized that running on empty sometimes is the best way to go. Empty of ourselves and filled of Him, we may surprise ourselves at the outcome of our abundance from which we give out of.”

This is an excerpt of what mummy wrote me a few months into my life as a missionary and wife last year.

Her words carry weight because she has lived a life of incredible courage, sacrifice and love.

I am so grateful for both my mums, who have undoubtedly sacrificed so much for us and our families. They are people whose prayers I covet and know I can depend on. I can’t remember the many times I’ve sent SOS prayer requests to them. They have always, always, been there for me.

I miss you both so much this mothers’ day.
Love you both.

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

I’m glad you’re spending your birthday in beautiful Scotland with your even beautifuller wife 😀

Thank you for being my father and for always desiring the best for me. I recall you barging into the doctor’s office with comical aplomb when one of the junior doctors broke the news to us about my illness. I found it so humorous even at that time, when most patients would be grim and worried.

Thank you for constantly saying that you enjoy my piano playing, and for paying attention to my music whether you’re busy watching the news on TV, catching up on Malaysian politics and international and unbiased news on the Internet or even more importantly, very important business in the bathroom (okay, I got a little too far… Whoops).

It is difficult to put into words what I’m grateful for, for a father does many things that we can and usually do take for granted. Unlike a mother, a father is usually more detached from his offspring due to time constraints and work responsibilities, and more clueless when it comes to their children’s emotional and social needs. But a father bears many difficulties in the outside world as he shoulders the responsibility of providing for his family. A responsible father is willing to bear the burden of seeing his children grow up well and ensures that their basic needs are provided for.

Thank you for being that father to me, and so much more.

I love you.

Happy birthday. 

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Dear Sam

The day has come for you to spread your wings and leave the familiar to pursue your dreams.

In your pursuit of knowledge never forget that one can be perfectly learned and yet utterly foolish. My word for you remains the same, “it is possible to have everything and yet nothing, but it is possible to have nothing and yet everything”.

Run the race with the end in mind.

I love you so much and wish I could be home to send you off.

You will always be my Sam baby. 🙂
I will always remember with fondness the times we got to spend together, especially when you were still very young. Putting you to bed and making up stories to amuse you (remember Apuneneh?), taking care of you when you’re sick in my usual crazy way, going marketing together and you accompanying me in my shopping, teaching in Hokkien Sunday school, and basically being my sidekick and little lamb.

I am sorry for the many times I have not been patient or kind with you. Thank you for loving me and being a faithful and supportive brother to nick and I. You are indeed the best third wheel in the world. We would hope to love to visit you someday and maybe, by then, we would have a little one to offer third wheel services to you and your beloved. 🙂

Know that with God, you will be able to rise above adversity, emerging only stronger and more useful for His kingdom.

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Love you always.