Browsing Category



T minus 5 days

It’s T minus 5 days till this baby is scheduled to make an appearance. It’s been a long, long pregnancy and I’m so ready to get this baby out of here.

I’ve been ready a month ago, but baby Hayley, like all my other babies before her, is so comfy in this uterine home that she has no desire at all to come out. It’s nice to know that I’ve got a very cosy and homely uterus, but she’s already at a chubby 3.1 kg as of yesterday and I feel like a momma bird who needs to give this baby bird a kick in her sweet little bottom so she’ll get a move on out of the nest and learn to fly.

Except this baby bird is all like “Go away, I just want to curl up right here and sleep because I can” and there’s literally nothing I can do to make her come out sooner so I’ll just be like “Fine, be that way.

According to my OBGYN, induction is out of the question, and we can go all the way up to T plus 2 weeks(!!) before even considering any form of intervention.

So we’re just here waiting.

Waiting to give birth is a bit like waiting for Christmas morning when you know you’re getting a really cool present and a little like waiting to get your teeth pulled out. Part of you is like “HURRY HAPPEN NOWWW!” and part of you is like “okay, maybe don’t happen at all I think I don’t want to do this anymore.”

And you’re looking out anxiously for all these signs of labour like did my water bag burst or was it a case of incontinence. Or what does a mucus plug look like? (Fair warning: I do not recommend that you google this.) Braxton hicks? I’m so done with you.

For a few weeks now, I’ve been having these terrible contractions that last several hours at a time. I went into the labor ward once thinking it was GO TIME, but after a whole night of very painful contractions coming in at 8-12 minutes, I only dilated all of 1cm. Since then, the contractions come and go. Sometimes the pain level is like a 7-8 and I think I can’t do this anymore, but after a few hours, it goes away and then, nothing. At this point, I’m determined to power through the pain and I’m not going back into the labour ward until I see the baby’s head. I’ve also been making the husband watch youtube videos on How To Deliver A Baby just in case he has to do this at home. You’d think I’m kidding, but not really. Hot water, towels and a pair of scissors, those are all of the things I need and I’ve got them ready right here.

One way or another, something’s gonna be happening soon!!


Down to 4 weeks

Week 36. I’m pretty sure this is the point where I start to panic.

I’ve been trying to enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy because this is the last time I’m ever doing this. For real this time, y’all! This will be the last time I’m going to feel the flutter of a baby’s feet against my ribcage while I try to sleep at night. Or be able to stop in the middle of a busy day just to talk to my belly because the baby needs her daily dose of mommy time. Or have access to an unlimited stash of coupons for extra massages and special attention from my big kids.

Just over the weekend, I woke up to Finn whispering “You’re so cute, baby Hayley” at my stomach. I’m going to miss that.

But as each day passes and I get closer to the delivery, reality (and mostly panic!) starts to sink in.

Am I really gonna be able to cope with 5 kids??!! The logistics of getting everyone where they need to be at various points in the day is going to be insane.

And another newborn??? Remember the soul crushing exhaustion from not sleeping for 300 hours?? Have fun with that.

I’ll also have to get through another round of labor + delivery before we get to the screaming newborn part.

Why did I ever think this was a good idea?

The only thing that makes it better is knowing that I’m meeting my baby soon and she’ll be the most beautiful tiny human being I’ve ever seen. Ok, I’ve seen 4 ridiculously cute ones but each time, it’s like meeting the love of your life for the first time and that takes your breath away.


And how’s baby Hayley doing? Very well.

She’s enjoying herself a little too much, it seems. There are 4 more weeks of baking to be done and baby Hayley’s already pushing 3kg, which puts her at the chubbiest of the lot by far. At this rate, she’ll make it to 3.5kg and beyond, which is super adorable once she’s out but seeing that I’m the one having to birth a chubby baby at the risk of a possible c-sect wound rupture, I’m under strict orders to dial back on eating as a whole.

I thought I’d done a nice job keeping the weight gain to a low 8kg this pregnancy, but clearly this baby is a foodie, so I’m having to stage an intervention.

Last week, my OBGYN handed me a very long list of all the things I’m not allowed to eat until the baby is out and it is brutal. This is the one thing I enjoy most during pregnancy, to eat as I wish because BABY! But down to 4 weeks of my final pregnancy and I’m giving up food too. :(

There will be no milk, no bubble tea, no late night milo, no durians, no cake, no hokkien mee with extra crispy pork lard, no desserts of any kind, and a limit of 8 grapes each time??! No, really, who eats 8 grapes each time? It’s like when I tell the kids they can only eat 5 fries and I can see actual sadness in their eyes. If you’re going to be eating fries, then just go to town on the whole box until you get to the point of self loathing. At least that way, you won’t be eating fries for a while, so problem solved.

My doctor tried to make me feel better like, “it’s not so bad, you can still have a slice of wholemeal bread as a snack” and I was like “um thanks but you’re kind of making it worse.

In any case, 4 more weeks…we’re getting there!


27 weeks

It’s week 27 and I realise that I haven’t written much about this pregnancy. This is what happens when it’s your fifth time being pregnant, I suppose. It’s just 40 weeks more of the same.

Speaking of, I’ve spent almost 187 weeks of my life being pregnant. That’s just insane. A friend was commenting the other day, “You must really enjoy being pregnant!” and to that, my answer was “No, I most certainly do not.” I know some women are made to be pregnant and they spend the 40 weeks basking in that pregnancy glow. After 5 pregnancies, I know of no such glow. I only have one strategy to surviving pregnancy, which is to just buckle down and get past each day until the baby comes out.

I’ve had a really easy pregnancy (Finn!) and a really killer pregnancy (Theo!) and this baby is neither. So far, baby Hayley is like a 6.5 on the killer pregnancy scale, but then we’re just moving into the third trimester territory, so there’s the usual backaches, cramps, severe heartburn, shortness of breath, and general swelling of everything.

There are some really great unexpected perks with this pregnancy though, and I’m enjoying them immensely.

++I was out at the supermarket with Truett, Kirsten and Finn and they refused to let me carry any of the groceries. I could tell that they were struggling under the weight of the milk and fruits and supplies but they insisted that I couldn’t carry anything because I’m pregnant. Between the 3 of them, they took care of all the groceries all the way to the car. I kept offering to help but they were all “NO, YOU NEED TO RELAX!!”

++Now that my stomach is getting noticeably bigger, the kids are kissing and hugging the baby all the time, which basically means more hugs for me (without even asking!) and I’ll never say no to that.

++My back was hurting really bad a few days ago and I was like at my personal spa for the day. Tru and Kirsten were taking turns massaging my back while Finn was patting my head and Theo was singing the ABC song very loudly.

++ Having at least one baby attempting to hold my hand when we’re out, “in case I fall down”. So adorable. I wanted to tell them that I’ve done this successfully 4 times and being pregnant doesn’t make me an invalid but then I decided to milk it for all it’s worth.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset



One of the great things about having a 5th baby is that you can stop being politically correct about things.

1st, 2nd, 3rd baby, you feel obliged to be all “boy or girl, it’s all the same to me, as long as the baby is healthy…” even if deep down inside, you really really had a preference.

5th baby, you’re done with all of that.

Right now, I’m not even going to pretend like I’m the slightest bit prepared to have another boy. I NEED A GIRL. I just had the delight of spending my afternoon watching my 3 boys summon Captain Destroyer to my living room. What’s that? It’s like how Captain Planet is summoned by the combined powers of the Planeteers, except this guy is way more destructive and basically does not care about the environment.

And every time the husband jokes about <insert random activity> with his 4 boys, I try to mask my panic because I know he’s kidding and I won’t give him the satisfaction of watching me fall for it but my involuntary facial twitches will just give me away.

If you’ve ever had a baby, you know that gender isn’t something within your control. You can munch on spinach while facing southeast during the full moon exactly 72 hours before you ovulate with a family of chickens running around under your bed while doing the naughty-naughty, but that’s no guarantee of having a girl. Short of going the IVF route, you just do it and hope that the odds are in your favour.

So the point of all of this is that…YES YES YES YES YES IT’S A GIRL!!!

I can confirm that Operation Baby Hayley is a success and balance to the force will soon be restored. I’m going to have one more of these sweet little things. :)))))

kirsten baby


Pregnancy talk

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, we need to take some time to talk about this pregnancy.

We’ve known for a while now that we’re going for a fifth baby. Sort of. The conversation gradually shifted from an “OH NO NO NO, NOT GONNA HAPPEN” to a “mmm we can consider talking about this eventually” to a “yeah maybe we can go for it next year” and then suddenly it was “too late, no more talking, it’s baby time!”

Incidentally, when I went for my OBGYN appointment, my doctor was all, “Another baby??!! I should put a self-service ultrasound machine at the corner just for you, you can do this on your own.” Touche.

With every pregnancy, there’s that one moment when it hits you, and you know even before you know for sure. I was out for breakfast with the husband and I stood in line for my favourite fried beehoon. Usually when I’m hungry, I’ll peer at the food while queuing to imagine how nice it will taste, but on this particular morning, I peered at the container of beehoon expecting to taste imaginary rainbows and immediately threw up inside my mouth.

I immediately turned to the husband and said, “babe, we’re having #5.”

“Are you serious???” He clearly thought I was messing with him and he wasn’t falling for it that early in the morning.

“You know I don’t joke about these things. I’m starving but I can’t even look at this beehoon right now.”

The two lines on the pregnancy test later that day was something of a formality, because my vomit meter detection test has a 99.99% accuracy.

At this point, most food smells and tastes like feet. There’s no fun in being able to eat for two when everything my brain tells me I should enjoy actually tastes like stinky socks. I used to believe very strongly that one should make every calorie count, and the food that goes into my mouth needs to be delicious. These days, I have a much lower threshold.

Does this taste like my son’s after-school socks? No? EAT THAT FOOD.


For more breakfast stories, we were out for breakfast yesterday and at the table next to us was a pair of sisters who were in their teens. I usually try not to eavesdrop…ok that’s not entirely true. It’s super fun to eavesdrop especially when the conversation is fascinating and in this case, it was.

The conversation topics were fairly mundane, but what was interesting was that they seemed to be really enjoying each other’s company. Like best friends just out having a great time.

I’d really like for the kids to have that when they grow up.


When there’s a new baby in the picture, the transition from being the smallest baby to a big brother is usually the hardest. The bigger kids are like, “there are already so many babies, what’s one more?” but giving up resident baby status, that takes some getting used to.

Although this baby seems rather pleased about the whole situation. I wasn’t sure if he knew what the fuss over the new baby was all about but he’s been pressing his face on my stomach and saying “KISS BABY!!” so I suppose he must know there’s an invisible baby baking in there somewhere.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

He’s a lot like Kirsten, in that he’s got that streak of wanting to grow up sooner rather than later. He’s all “I’m so over being the baby around here, baby Hayley can have fun with that.”

We’ll see how that all works out.


It’s a party of 5

party of 5

I’ve got news, y’all!

Yes, it’s happening. We are having a baby. Another baby. A fifth baby. I can confirm that this baby oven is fired up for one last babycake.

You’ve probably got questions and I’m here to answer all of them, Q&A style.


Are you completely insane?


No, seriously, WHY?? 

I know, we’re out of control. 5 kids!! This is borderline obnoxious territory. The short answer is that we really, really like babies.

About 80% of the time, I look at our 4 kids and I think, “WHAT HAVE WE DONE?? This is madness.” But then the other 20% of the time, I look at them and I think, “they’re ridiculously adorable, we should go for one more.” You know what they say about the 80-20 rule – the 20% always wins.

Also, it’s a gut thing. 5 feels right for us.

Are you really done? Or will there be #6?? #7???

Oh I’m done. So done. This factory has done it’s job, it’s time to shut it down.

I distinctly remember you saying this with the last baby. 

That is true. You should know by now that when it comes to babies, I cannot be taken seriously. I don’t have a good track record in this particular area. All it takes is for me to hold one cute baby and all bets are off.

But again, 5 feels complete for us. Besides, this body isn’t getting any younger and I don’t think I can make it through a sixth pregnancy.

Is it a boy or a girl?

This baby has to be a girl. I can feel it. I NEED A GIRL.

I can’t be the mom of 4 boys. I’m not mentally prepared for another boy at this point so just work with me here.

Have you decided on a name?

I briefly considered Chanel. Just so that I can call her Chanel #5.

Sadly, the husband did not seem to find it as amusing as I did, so that’s a no to Chanel Kao. Hahahahaha.

Hayley is still the frontrunner, with Riley and Harper following close behind.

How are the other kids taking it?

They’re actually really thrilled. I think a by product of having parents who are obsessed with babies is that the kids pick up on our baby mania instincts. They’re great at handling babies and if they had a say in this, they’d want me to have another 5 more babies. The answer to that is no, by the way.

When we broke the news to them a few weeks ago, they squealed and spontaneously broke out into a crazy dance around the room. They’ve since been taking turns to sing to the baby and tell her bedtime stories.

Like I said, these are the 20% ridiculously adorable moments that cause my lapse in judgement when it comes to making more babies.

How’s pregnancy coming along?

It’s week 10, so not great. 5 pregnancies and all of them were truly awful during the first trimester. I feel ill most of the time, until I get these massive cravings for a mcspicy and fries, but then once i eat it, I feel immense self-loathing and way more ill than I started out and I eventually end up with my face in the toilet bowl vomiting my insides out.

But with the benefit of experience, it’s easier to buckle down and ride it out till it gets better.

Is there a plan to cope with 5?

Not at this point, no. The plan is to wake up everyday and get past that day, and then the next, and the next, and the next. I fully expect the mayhem to escalate and we’ll all have to make adjustments but the kids (especially Truett and Kirsten) have really stepped up and I’m so glad to have them in my corner.

Kirsten seems to have it all worked out though.

“Easy,” she said, “I’ll be in charge of the girl’s team with baby Hayley and kor kor will be in charge of the boy’s team with Finn and Theo.”

Sounds like a pretty solid plan to me.

Final thoughts?

We’re so happy to be having this baby. I don’t for a single day take this for granted, to have these amazing kids in my life. I’m grateful for each baby that God has given to us and we take this privilege very seriously, to love them and be there for them and give them a shot at being the kind of people God planned for them to be.

We can’t wait to meet this little one. :)

pregnancy, Theo

The birth story

Ok, I’ve finally had time to write down baby Theo’s birth story. It’s not terribly exciting but one day he’ll grow up and I’d want him to have a chance to read about how he came into this world and be completely grossed out.


2pm: Contractions start coming in intermittently. 10-15 minutes apart. Contrary to my usual philosophy of avoiding pain, I find myself hoping for more pain. Pregnancy does strange and wonderful things to your brain.

6pm: More pain, indeed! Celebratory dance in between contractions.

6.15pm: Phone call to the husband – “Babe, I think you should come home now, it’s time!” After all the false alarms, I think he doesn’t take me seriously anymore but points for still making it home in record time.

6.25pm: Wash my hair. One needs to have priorities when one is giving birth and one of them is to wash one’s hair.

7.25pm: Finally leave for the hospital. You know what, I think we’ve got time for a detour to get some tang yuan, the peanut kind in piping hot ginger soup. Again, priorities! Clearly mine are spot on.

8.20pm: Arrive at Thomson Medical.

Me: Hi nurse, I think I’m in labor.

Nurse: Ok, come with me. Your husband can proceed downstairs to settle the registration and paperwork.

Me: Yeah, about that…I think you should check my cervix first. If it’s another false alarm, I’m getting out of here.

Nurse: Um, why don’t we wait for the doctor to decide?

Me: Just check the cervix. I’d do it myself but I don’t possess the necessary skills to check my own cervix, Seriously, if I’m not dilated, I’m going back home.

9pm: OBGYN arrives. I’m 2cm dilated and contractions still erratic. It could be hours away or days away(??!!) I had half a mind to just go back home and ride this out with some deep breathing techniques but then a really bad contraction comes on and all my willpower disappears. I’m staying close to the epidural.

11pm: I make the husband go home. “Don’t worry,” I said. “I’ll call you if the baby decides to come out. Or I’ll just post the photo on Facebook.” And I wasn’t even really kidding. After 4 kids, this is how we roll.

4am: OHMYGODITHURTS!!! If the pain level was about a 5-6, this was an 8. Definitely epidural territory. Also, thank God I didn’t go home.



5am: Is this what it feels like to be dying? I’M PRETTY SURE I’M DYING. The nurse says I’m not dying and the epidural will be here soon. But she’s been saying that for the past hour and I’m starting to question everything she says.

5.20am: Epidural in progress. The needle hurts like hell but oh, sweet relief. No, wait. Sort of. All the epidural seems to be going to my right side. I can still feel everything on my left. It’s a totally weird feeling, not like 50% of the pain, but 100% of the pain concentrated in my left half.

5.40am: I’m told to lie on my left to make the epidural flow to the left. 20 minutes in and still not working.

6.15am: Nurses are coming in to witness this phenomenon. “See, the right leg is warm but the left leg is very cold,” says one.

“I can feel everything on my left side. I can even wriggle my left pinky toe,” I added helpfully.

6.30am: 2 more nurses come in to observe the MAGNIFICENT LEFT TOE WRIGGLING. Followed by some prodding. “So strange, the left leg is like ice. Can you feel the pain?” another nurse asks.


9am: After 3 hours of fiddling with the epidural tube, the great one-sided epidural mystery is still not solved. The pain is worse than ever.

9.25am: OBGYN says I’m 3cm dilated. “NO WAY,” I said. “After all of that and I only progressed by 1cm? At this rate, I’ll be here for days.” He decides to burst my water bag to help move things along.

10.15am: The husband is back and I feel better. Hahahha, no I don’t. The pain in my left half has reached a solid 10 but at least I have someone around to tell me geek jokes. He repeats my favourite one and I still crack a smile.

“Yo momma so fat her patronus is a cake.” Hahahahhaha.

12pm: They decided to pump me with A LOT MORE epidural and that seems to solve the half-sided problem. My left side has gone numb too and I can finally breathe again. Life is beautiful with epidural.

12.30pm: OBGYN returns and decides it’s time to induce. “This has gone on long enough,” were his exact words. “We need to speed up the process. Induction raises the risk of wound rupture but we’ll take it slow and we’ll monitor it closely.” I get a bag of oxytocin attached to my IV.

1.15pm: Good call. I’m suddenly 7cm dilated. With any luck, the baby should be out by 3pm.

2.30pm: I feel like something is falling out. Which is weird because I can’t even feel my legs but something is definitely falling out. I have this overwhelming urge to push. The nurse does a quick check and 10cm, it’s game on!

3pm: OBGYN puts on his scrubs and the nurses form like a cheering squad. It’s surreal having 4 people peering at my lady bits and cheering for me to push. There’s no modesty in childbirth. Naturally, I oblige.

3.21pm: Theo’s out and he’s the most beautiful slime-covered tiny human I’ve ever seen.

The end. Or rather, the beginning.