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Hayley

Hayley

A snapshot of 10 months

This is baby Hayley at 10 months. :)

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I’m trying to be more diligent about these snapshot posts because the moments just hang around for a bit and leave so quickly. In my day to day, all these minutes are floating by like little clouds of smoke and I try to catch each one and hold them in my hands a bit longer but I can’t catch them all and most of them get blown away like leaves in the wind and years later, all that’s left will be faded memories of these babies I used to have. When these kids are all grown up, I’m gonna need more than a few faded memories, is what I’m saying.

10 month old baby Hayley is like fluffy cotton candy sprinkled with popping candy bits. She’s mostly sweet and gentle and all delightful babyness. And she’s got the loveliest baby dimples, which are like the finishing touches on that adorable face. I used to be just ok with dimples but now, I can definitely see the appeal.

Most of the time, her idea of conflict resolution is to be sweet and docile, which is strangely effective in a disarming sort of way. All the other kids are like “ok ok whatever you like baby Hayley, kor kor and jie jie will give you.

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Unless there are beverages involved, then all bets are off. When she’s in the presence of any sort of drinks, she turns into an angry flailing monster who will destroy everything standing in her way. It doesn’t matter what the drinks are either – milo, milk tea, juice, yakult, soursop with sour plum, soya bean milk – she wants in on all of it.

She will have it in a mug

She will have it on a rug

She will have it on a chair

She will have it anywhere.

Nothing makes her quite as happy as when she’s sipping on a delicious beverage treat.

She still sleeps like an infant at night, in that she naps for 2-3 hours a stretch, then wakes up and demands to be babied back to sleep. During the day, she doesn’t sleep at all. She’ll take a 30 minute snooze at noon, then stays awake for the rest of the day till bedtime at 8pm. What kind of baby does this? The kind that delights in the misery of her momma, I suppose.

She’s also got the most bizarre sleep quirks. Instead of holding a blanket or soft toy like normal babies, she needs to hold her toes in a full stretch like one of those baby Chinese acrobats while feeding, which is a most ridiculous move because once she drifts off, she will involuntarily let go of her foot, causing her to twitch violently and wake up. I keep telling her that this is not sustainable and very poorly thought through but does she listen? No.

Developmentally, she’s more of a freestyler. At this age, all the other kids were proficient crawlers and they could pull themselves up to a standing position. But not baby Hayley because she does not care for such milestones. She can sit up and crawl very slowly with tremendous effort (and grunting), but as for standing, she refuses to even try. Zero effort. She just enjoys lying down and rolling around, and I totally get it. If I could, I’d spend all my time lying around too. All this standing and walking is so much effort and not even that enjoyable.

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The best part about 10 months is that this is gradually getting easier. In a year or so, I’ll be done with this demanding newborn stage forever and I’m not sure if I’m ready for that. While I’m looking forward to sleeping a full night the way humans are intended to, I’m really, really going to miss this chubby baby face.

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Hayley

6 months, I’m glad to see you

Look who turned 6 months!! Yeah, this little schmoopsie-poo.

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I’m generally a fan of 6 months – you still get the overall babyness but 6 months also comes with juicy baby cheeks and juicy baby thighs, both of which are my kryptonite.

6 months is great for fun developmental milestones. Baby Hayley has learnt to flip, which she does often and with much delight. She’s able to sit up unaided for 3-5 seconds; just enough time to look pleased with herself before falling over on her side. The big kids think its hilarious so they prop her up and cheer for her as she sways precariously before falling over, which sends them into giggling fits. She can also bat things and hold things and put them in her mouth. And thanks to Theo, she can say “mmm…mmmm…mamamama” when she’s upset.

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Typically, 6 months is when babies adjust to sleeping on their own but not this baby. She knows I’ve been all like “This is my last baby and I’ll really miss having a baby to hold” so she’s been making sure that I get to hold her ALL THE TIME. Awake or asleep, all day, everyday. So thoughtful and considerate, this baby.

Speaking of sleeping, in the past 6 months, these are some of the methods I’ve tried to get her to sleep on her own.

1. Blitz attack (Success rate: 0%)

This used to work splendidly on Theo – once he was fully asleep, I would lower him down into the cot in one swift and decisive move without hesitation, then walk away. He’d continue sleeping like it never happened. With Hayley, it has worked exactly zero percent of the time. Every single time I do this, she wakes up and looks at me like “Nice try, mom. Amateur move.

2. Pat and shush (Success rate: 0%)

Let’s just say that this baby is not a pat and shush kind of girl, that would be far too easy. I personally find this to be very calming and relaxing (as do all my other kids) but baby Hayley will not stand for it.

3. Slow-mo side roll (Success rate: 25%)

Okay, we’re getting warmer. This is a very complicated move that requires absolute precision. Once the baby has reached a state of deep slumber on my chest, I will very gradually roll her onto the bed while using a bolster to kiap her head and back.

Fairly effective but it’s extremely difficult to hold the position without twitching because any sudden twitch or quick movements = wake up and reset.

4. Ninja nursing (Success rate: 50%)

Unlike Theo who will take the boob every single time even when he’s full, baby Hayley gets upset if I try to nurse her back to sleep when she’s not hungry so this has to be done selectively. If she is in a nursing mood, she will doze off next to me on the bed and once she’s asleep, I just need to extract my boob like a ninja and done!

Except that about half the time, she will wake up during the boob extraction process and we’ll have to start over. So it’s about 50-50 here.

5. Play dead (Success rate: 20%)

This is a bonus move where I lie next to her and pretend to be asleep when she twitches and wakes herself up (which happens A LOT, basically every 10-15 minutes after she’s successfully asleep on the bed).

Her eyes will suddenly pop open like one of those creepy doll movies and if I try to pat and shush her, it just sends her into a fully awake frenzy. Instead, if I stay really still and close my eyes, there’s a chance that she will look around, get bored and then decide to go back to sleep.

//

Few nights ago, she was exceptionally fussy during bedtime and it took about 90 minutes to get her to settle on the bed. As she finally fell asleep, I could feel a sneeze coming on, which I tried very hard to suppress. I ran through the available options in my head.

I could hustle out of the room quickly to sneeze, but she has a strict no sudden movements rule and the chances of waking her up is very high. I could ninja my way out slowly but risk sneezing before getting out, which would also definitely wake her up. I could suppress the sneeze some more but I’m not very good at it and also, I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO LIVE LIKE THIS I WILL SNEEZE WHEN I WANT TO!!

So I did it. I sneezed. It was a muffled, very unsatisfying half sneeze but that was enough to make the baby open her eyes.

I try not to have many regrets in life but that moment for me was one of profound regret.

It was already almost midnight and I knew it would be another hour of walking and bouncing at least. So I froze and waited for her to cry but she just looked at me like she was trying to process the information and instead of her usual annoyed cry, she broke out into an enormous grin, like “It’s ok mom. You woke me up but I’m glad to see you.

We partied on the bed a little and it still took a full hour before she went back to sleep but I’ll take it.

6 months is pretty rad. :)

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Hayley

Stick with me, baby girl

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Today, my sweet baby decided she wasn’t going to nap on her own anymore. Wait, anymore would imply that she used to do it right up to this point and that isn’t true. She has never napped on her own and today, she made it quite clear that she has no intention of ever doing so.

It hasn’t stopped me from trying though. I’d do the same thing everyday – swaddle, nurse, burp, bounce, gingerly lower her into her swing, activate swing, pray for a miracle. Without fail, she would open her eyes in annoyance the moment her head touches the plush baby pillow, side-eyeballing me in disdain like I had lowered her into a lowly peasant barn.

“How dare you??” her eyes would say. Followed by “HOLD ME FOREVER, HUMAN SLAVE!”

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Put down = instant sian face

When I first heard about attachment parenting, I thought these mothers were unhinged. Have a baby attached to them every minute of every day?!! How will they ever find the time to do important things like enjoy a delicious cookie snack or lie down in bed for a nap?? It sounded nuts.

I would instil discipline! Lock in a schedule! Teach my baby who’s boss around here! In fact, there was a time where I used to be a sleep nazi and while it was delightful to have a baby (Kirsten!) who fell asleep on her own in the cot without fussing (I’d just put her down in the cot wide awake and walk away like its nbd), I’d get really stressed out about nap scheduling and if we were out of sync for like 5 minutes, my cortisol levels would hit the roof.

Now look at me and this little tyrant baby who has permanently fused her body to mine. Attachment parenting, come over here and let’s bond over a cup of coffee.

So I held her close as she slept. Having an infant in my arms all day can restrict mobility and there’s a knot the size of a golf ball on my left shoulder but on the bright side, I discovered that I’m actually really talented at doing things with only one arm. Things like eating cookies and napping ain’t no match for my one-handed-thing-doing skills.

Also, I get to steal kisses on her munchy mantou cheeks any time I want. I get to feel the rhythm of her breathing against my chest as I go about my day. I get to catch the fleeting goofy sleep-smiles flicker across her face; the kind that lights up your day like a supernova but only stays for half a second before it’s gone.

I think having 4 other babies who are growing up far too quickly makes me painfully aware of how little time I’ve got to do this. 12, maybe 18 months more and there will be no more squishy little squishes for me to squish all day. :(

Attach away, baby girl. Mommy will hold you for as long as you want me to.

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Hayley

2 months

Two months! It’s been two months of waking up to this squishy little face every morning. :)

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Two months is nice, it’s definitely a step up from the I-don’t-know-why-you’re-making-that-crying-sound newborn phase.

There are so many great things about getting to two months.

What are they? I’ll tell you.

First of all, munchies. The smell of a newborn is perfection but it takes a while before they’re good for munching on. The best age to start munching on a baby is right around two months, when they fill out nicely with juicy baby fats (which btw, I get to pass on to them via this magnificent process called breastfeeding and yes, I’ll have another slice of that cake please). I’ve been doing the chubby cheek test on baby Hayley every day since she was born and I can confirm that she’s starting to get to that delicious om nom nom level.

Which turns out to be excellent timing because these days when I munch on Theo’s cheeks, he puts his tubby little hand right in my face like “STOP! STOP!! DON’T BITE HIM!!” I’ll have you know that when Theo starts to refer to himself in the third person, it’s time to take him seriously.

It’s a good thing I have a new baby to take over the munch-ee duties. Babies get loved on a lot around here but they get munched on too, that’s how it is.

There’s also the smiling. We’ve discovered that two-month-old baby Hayley is a smiley one. This girl’s got a smile that lights up my entire world, the kind that’s so wide it pushes her eyes shut just so her little face can contain all that joy. And she’s generous with them too, always smiling back at everyone who stops to talk to her. You get a smile, you get a smile, you get a smile…everybody gets a smile!

The only thing two months isn’t great for is sleeping. I’m certain two months is way to young to develop FOMO, but yet here we are – me and my little sleep-fighting baby with FOMO issues. Everyday during nap time, I can tell that she’s tired because I’m watching her eyeballs roll back into her head as I hold her, and yet she will force herself to unroll them right back once she catches sound of her siblings playing in the next room.

She opens one eye at me. “Is that playing I hear?? Is everybody having a good time without me???

Shhh, go to sleep, sweetie,” I whisper.

She struggles to open the other eye, but fails. She tries again, her one eyeball rolling around, unable to focus. She’s resilient though. Soon, she has two half opened eyes with more whites than pupils looking up at me.

Everyone should have the chance to watch a baby struggle to gain control of her eyeballs, it’s a most delightful sight. But it also usually leads to a very grumpy baby so I’m not entirely sure about my feelings towards this at the moment.

Maybe next month she’ll figure out that sleep is good and we’ll both get more of it. Or not. But that’s ok, we’ll get there eventually.

Two months = this face = love

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Hayley

We made it to 4 weeks

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It’s been 4 weeks since baby Hayley was born; yay we made it!

The first month of having a new baby is always the hardest. All babies cry more in their first three months than any other time in the rest of their lives. That’s a lot of crying. Every moment feels like a blur – the days fuse into the nights, which fuse into more days and more nights and it seems like there is no end to this sleepless suffering.

How exhausted am I on am I on a scale of 1-10? About 12. Could be worse, I know. With Theo, I think I was at like 25 on the exhaustion scale, so I know what worse looks like.

And it does get better from here. Actually, it gets better from about 3 months, so I’ve just got another 8 weeks to go before the light at the end of the tunnel presents itself. That’s not so bad.

Apart from the hunger cries and general gas-related fussiness, Hayley’s been a really sweet baby. She sleeps like a log during daylight hours, looks most alert at about 8pm, goes back to bed at 10 and usually fusses from 1-4am, at which time she will strain and cry till she finally delivers a large adult-sized burp/fart/poop. Once that’s done, she falls back into the most delicious sleep.

While those hours of walking, singing, bouncing and shushing in the middle of the night can be rough on both of us, we’ve developed a kind of understanding. I may not be able to help her get the gas out any sooner, but I’ll be there to hold her and walk with her until she feels better, however long it takes. In return, she grunts at me with a mixture of annoyance and displeasure. Occasionally, she makes rude faces at me like this. So adorable.

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But I also get to have plenty of moments like these that are pretty rad.

Every time Hayley fusses, the bigger kids run over to pat her head and say “It’s ok, baby Hayley, don’t cry cry.” Amazingly, it seems to cheer her up, or at least distract her from whatever it was that was making her cry in the first place.

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I try to savour these fleeting newborn moments when I can remember to but they pass too quickly. Her skinny newborn chicken legs are already filling out nicely, her cheeks are getting chubbier, and I feel her getting heavier with each passing day.

Maybe I’m feeling sentimental knowing that this is the last baby I’ll get to baby. :'(

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*And we’ll talk more about this but no, there ain’t gonna be no baby #6, we’re done here.

Hayley

Well, that was fun.

I think it’s time to talk about baby Hayley’s birth story, now that I’ve had time to sufficiently recover from the trauma of childbirth.

It’s always surreal once it happens. Leading up to the due date, I spend all this time waiting for labor to happen, like “Is it now??“, “How about now?“, “The pain is getting worse, it must be time!” and after a while, you just give up, like “This baby is never coming out and I’ll be the only woman ever lived to be pregnant forever” and you try to go about your day not thinking about how your uterus feels like it’s going to explode.

Until it happens. And then everything starts happening all at the same time.

11 June (Sat)

7.45 am

It’s far too early for me to wake up on a Saturday morning (hahahaha those days seem like such a long time ago) but I’m up with a start because my stomach hurts. It’s been hurting for several days now so I’m not entirely alarmed. I also discovered that I might have wet the bed. UGH I’m too young to have to deal with incontinence on top of an exploding uterus.

I get up to go to the bathroom and just as I step in, more water is spilling out involuntarily. It takes me a while before I realise this is my water bag breaking. Phew, not incontinence then. This is the first time I’m experiencing this in all 5 pregnancies.

I do the first thing I always do when I’m about to go into labor – wash my hair.

Rule #1 of labor: When one is about to give birth, one must do it with shampoo commercial kind of hair.

8am

I wake the husband, get the kids changed and drop them off at my mom’s house before heading into the hospital.

Do we have time??” the husband asks with a great deal of concern. “Please don’t give birth in the car.

Don’t worry, won’t be so zhun one. We got time.

I get a very severe round of contractions while we’re on the TPE and more water is flowing out onto my pants. Suddenly, I’m not so calm anymore.

BABE, I THINK YOU NEED TO DRIVE A LOT FASTER THAN THIS IF YOU DON’T WANT TO DELIVER THIS BABY IN THE CAR.

I’m sitting there in a pool of my amniotic fluid and all I can think of is “Keep the baby in, keep the baby in…don’t let it drop out.

9.2oam

We finally make it down to Thomson Medical and the contractions are coming in every 5 minutes. I stumble my way to the labor ward trying to look inconspicuous as I’m dripping a trail of amniotic fluid in my wake. Nurses are coming in asking me to sign forms and checking my cervix and putting me on a drip. I hate IV drips, it hurts and makes my hand feel like a useless stump.

Would you like your epidural now?” one nurse asks.

YES! I thought you’d never ask. The answer is YES.

10am

The anaesthesiologist comes in looking all chirpy and happy.

Hi I’ll be administering your epidural. Do you have any questions before we begin?

Yeah, is there anyway to make this painless?

She laughs.

Okay don’t answer that. I’ve done this enough times to know it hurts like hell before it gets better. Hang on, let me take a moment to get my zen on before we do this.

She makes me curl up real tight and just then, I get another wave of contractions.

This is nonsense. Just do it now. I’m dying here.

Chirpy doctor asks me about my other kids to take my mind off the pain. She doesn’t believe I have 5 kids and I’m like “yeah, most days I don’t believe it either.

Sure enough, it hurts like crazy but then it’s over pretty quick and all I feel is numb. I thank the nice doctor for a job well done because with glorious epidural in my bloodstream, I’ve now become a civilised human being again.

11.30am

It’s been 2 hours but the labor isn’t progressing quite as well as it should. The cervix is still stuck at 3cm. My OBGYN comes in to say hi and he’s equally chirpy.

We’ll let your body take it’s time and see how things go in a few hours. There’s no need to risk any induction at this point. Just sit tight and I’ll be back to check on you.

Yes, sir!

I’m feeling pretty good at this point. As good as one can feel when one is in labor without any pain. I think I might just nap for a bit.

5pm

It’s been many hours and my cervix is still at 4.5cm. I think the extra 0.5cm is just the nurse trying to make me feel better about the progress. My OBGYN comes back looking slightly more concerned and he tells the nurse to start me on oxytocin to induce labor.

I think it’s time to help you along a little. We’ll do this nice and slow to make sure the baby doesn’t go into distress.

All this talk about uterine rupture and emergency c-sections have gotten me a little worried but my OBGYN has delivered the last 3 babies naturally so I’m doing whatever he says.

5.40pm

There’s no pain but I feel like something is falling out so I call for the nurse. She does another check and the cervix is now 8cm. Wow, that escalated quickly. Oxytocin for the win!

6.15pm

SOMETHING IS DEFINITELY FALLING OUT and I feel like I need to push it out. The nurse tells me it’s 10cm now and I should totally not push until the doctor arrives.

I’m like “It’s involuntary!! It feels like this baby is going to fall out whether I push or not. You should like stand there to catch the baby if it happens.”

6.20pm

My OBGYN is back again and he starts suiting up in protective gear. Should have made the husband wear his Breaking Bad hazmat suit.

I’m going to need you to push when I count to 3 ok.

I’m completely numb from waist down but amazingly, I’m still able to push. Push, stop, rest, push again. In about 4 rounds, baby Hayley’s out and the feeling is indescribably satisfying. If you’ve never given birth, I highly recommend it just for that feeling of having your baby pop out. Damn shiok.

It’s time for the husband to do his job and cut the umbilical cord.

Then they put baby Hayley on my chest and suddenly, the whole day of labor was worth it. No, the whole 9 months of pregnancy was worth it.

She’s so beautiful,” the husband says. I couldn’t agree more.

After that, it was a matter of getting the placenta out and making sure everything is ok. Apparently it was such a success I didn’t even need stitches and I was out of the hospital the next morning.

***

TL;DR: I went into labor and came home with this baby.

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Hayley

Baby days

It’s been 10 days with baby Hayley this girl is the sweetest little lamb.

Look at this face. I can’t even.

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But woah, having a newborn is hard. I’ve done this 5 times and it’s still as hard as ever. And having a newborn with 4 other kids, I’m not going to lie to you, it’s really, really hard.

For now though, the hardest part is the sleep deprivation.

//Day 1 back home, you’re like, “It’s ok, we can do this!!

At 8pm, you start the bedtime routine – bath, songs, cuddles, feed, and you allow yourself to hope that maybe tonight you’ll get to sleep in 2 hour stretches. I don’t ask for much, just 3 x 2 hour stretches in a night and I’d consider it a huge win.

The baby dozes off at 9-ish, so I tuck her into her cot all nice and cosy before tucking myself into bed all nice and cosy. The bed feels deliciously comfy and it takes me all of 2 minutes to fall asleep. 5 minutes in, baby Hayley starts making little whimpers, just enough to make it clear that she’s not enjoying her sleep as much as I’m enjoying mine.

Maybe its nothing. Please, please go back to bed,” my semi-conscious brain says.

Okay, it’s now a full on cry. I get out of my comfy bed to burp the baby. 20 minutes later, no burp and she’s fallen asleep again so I put her down and crawl back into bed. This time, I know better than to fall asleep so quickly. Sure enough, several minutes in, the crying starts again. Check diaper, swaddle, burp, nurse, burp some more. I don’t know what’s causing the fussing so I try everything. This goes on for another 4-5 rounds.

By now it’s about 11pm and after putting her back to bed, I know better than to get back into bed because it’s so much harder to haul myself back out again. It’s easier to end the torture and make myself fully awake so I can commit to this without feeling quite as miserable or grouchy. So I’m sitting next to her cot ready to pick her up again but after 10 minutes, nothing. It looks like she’s finally out and I get back into bed to force my fully awake brain to shut off and go to sleep.

At this point, insomnia kicks in and I’m trying desperately to fall asleep, knowing that each minute I lie here awake is a minute of sleep I’m missing out on. But the anxiety makes it worse so I spend 20 minutes tossing and turning until I finally fall asleep. I get like 40 minutes of shut eye before I hear the next cry and it’s back to the burp/feed/fuss routine again for the rest of the night.

//Day 2 and 3, you’ve still got enough reserves to keep going on sheer mental strength alone but after a week of this, you just feel like you want to give up on life.

***

But then I get to hold this gorgeous baby and feel her baby weight on my chest as she sleeps and inhale that soft baby scent and look at her try so hard to open those sleepy baby eyes and I think that I’d be happy to do this a thousand times over no matter how hard it gets or how exhausted my brain tells me I am.

hayley theo

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