Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sick, sick, sick

With my due date coming up tomorrow, sickness is the last thing that I want to worry about in our house. For one, I don't want anything to infect our newborn and for her to start her life with some virus. And for two, I don't want any of our sicknesses to separate us from her when she's in the hospital, particularly when she's in NICU.

On Friday, however, our whole family took a trip to the doctor. For Lana, it was just to have a vaccination (which she was amazingly good for, didn't cry at all - since she was promised a chocolate which she was staring at during the needle ;) ), I had been starting to come down with a cold, and Bernard had a weird kind of nerve pain in his leg. The doctor told us that I seemed mostly ok, and Bernard probably had some infection in his nerve - but we had to watch for a rash because it may be shingles.

The weekend was downhill for both of us - I started sneezing and coughing, and Bernard was feverish and had a bad headache which kept him in bed for a lot of the weekend. And on Sunday, he started developing a rash as well. 

I know that for colds such as mine, there's not much that a pregnant lady can take other than to relieve the symptoms - so I spent the weekend sucking on Strepsils and drinking lots of water. Fortunately for me, the cold seems to be pretty mild and I'm 99% better now with just a little bit of residual congestion.

Bernard on the other hand went back to the doctor on Monday and it was confirmed that he has shingles. He's now on antiviral medication and has some cream for the rash and pain medication for the headaches. Fortunately it's not very contagious and it also seems like he has quite a mild case. Also it's in his benefit that he got the antiviral drugs early and has been able to rest for the past four days - although he will probably go back to work tomorrow, even if it is just for a half day. 

Now I'm glad that the little girl hasn't come yet - and I'm kind of hoping that she'll give us another couple of days to recover a bit more. But only a couple of days - I'm hoping she'll be born before the weekend, if I have any say in the matter ;)

Friday, July 23, 2010

39 weeks, 2 days

Today, I'm 39 weeks and 2 days. When I was pregnant with Lana, I was 39 weeks and 2 days when my waters broke. I was induced the following morning and she was born that night (at 39 weeks and 3 days). 

I was so sure that this bub would come earlier than Lana did - with Lana, until my waters broke, I had no pre-labour symptoms at all. With this one, I've been having irregular contractions, some quite painful, for a couple of weeks now. I also feel like this bub is much lower than Lana was as well.

I was really hoping that this baby would wait until my sister left Hong Kong, and I was a bit worried because I felt like she might not be able to wait - however my sister left on Monday and 4 days later, I'm still here. 

My mum is getting to Hong Kong tonight, she will be here for 2.5 weeks. I was pretty sure that the baby would be born before she got here. Now, unless I go into labour right now and the baby is born within 7 hours, it's not going to happen! The good thing about that is my mum will be able to see me visibly pregnant. Throughout my two pregnancies (three, if you count the one we lost at 6 weeks this time last year), I've only seen my mum once - and that was when she came over in February. She came to be my moral support when we were meant to have the amniocentesis, which ended up not happening - instead we found out about the skeletal dysplasia. I was only 17 weeks then, showing slightly - but the bub wasn't really kicking very hard then, no where near hard enough  for Mum to be able to feel. 

Because I was expecting this baby to come early, I already feel like I'm overdue - but in reality my due date isn't until next Wednesday, and my next doctors appointment isn't until August 3 - and I'm now wondering how late I'm going to go! Usually the doctors here won't let you go more than a week late (which for me would be August 4) without starting to induce. I'm really hoping that I don't go that long because I'd rather have Mum here when the baby's born than just sitting around waiting for things to happen!! And she's leaving on the 9th.

I know that ultimately, baby will come when baby is ready - but in the mean time, I'm drinking my raspberry leaf tea (which hasn't been shown to do that much anyway - but it can't hurt) and hoping that she comes soon - because I'm so ready!! Although my hospital bag is STILL not completely packed ;)

Sunday, July 18, 2010


John Waller - While I'm Waiting Lyrics
I'm waiting, I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful, I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful, But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident

Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting, I will serve You
While I'm waiting, I will worship
While I'm waiting, I will not faint
I'll be running the race, Even while I wait

I'm waiting, I'm waiting on You, Lord

And I am peaceful, I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy, But faithfully, I will wait

This song has been in my head lately. There's 10 days today til my due date. Lana was born 4 days early, so if this one is the same, then I've got less than a week til this one will be here. In some ways I feel so ready - this pregnancy has been so long and so emotional for us and I'm ready for our little one to be here so we can start our life together with her. But in other ways I don't feel ready at all - I still feel in so many ways completely unprepared. Actually, I still haven't even finished packing my hospital bag yet. Sometimes I feel like I could go into labour any time - I'm having far more contractions than I did with Lana at this stage (or maybe I just recognise the signs more this time around), but then I also feel like it might happen a bit later this time as well. 

I guess there's not much really I can do at this stage besides just waiting. And packing my hospital bag. But mostly, I know I just need to wait...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dwarfism: Disease, disability or just different?

I don't pretend to be an expert on the subject of dwarfism and skeletal dysplasias. I've just been thinking about this subject for a while. I'm part of a yahoo group called "Parents of Little People" and these issues are some that they have recently been talking about. I'm not even yet a parent of a little person so obviously my experience is pretty limited but since I've been thinking about it, I figured why not write about it? 

Many parents of little people seem to take offense to comments like "What's wrong with your child?" or "isn't it sad that he has that disease" etc. They say that their child is perfect the way they are and that instead of wanting to change the child, more effort needs to be focused into changing society to be accepting towards people who are different. There are things like extended limb lengthening surgery that can add up to a foot onto a person's height and while some people with dwarfism are pursuing the surgery as an option to help them become more "average height", most of the dwarfism community seems to be quite anti-surgery as the costs, risks and pain of the surgery are high and they can outweigh the benefits. 

Back to the original topic though, is dwarfism a disease, disability or just a difference? I kind of think that in some ways it's all three, depending on what aspect that you're looking at. 

A disease is anything in the body that doesn't function "normally". And ultimately, all forms of dwarfism are that. In proportional dwarfism, the pituitary gland doesn't release enough growth hormone which results in stunted growth. In other forms of dwarfism, there are other mutations etc that lead to the bones growing abnormally. Pretty much all forms of dwarfism come with their share of serious health risks, from things like hydrocephalus to sleep apnea, mobility problems and severe curvatures of the spine. I feel that "disease" deals a bit more with the physical aspect of a condition whereas "disability" describes more the social aspect of a condition (I don't know if that's really correct, or just my personal interpretation of it) and I do know that some people with dwarfism have very few serious health concerns associated with their condition - so I can understand why they may shy away from the term "disease" when physically they can function as well as someone without dwarfism. But I do think that in general, these conditions ARE diseases in the strictest sense of the word. I hope and pray that our daughter has as few health complications from her conditions as possible though!

Is dwarfism a disability? Again some people with dwarfism who can function as well as others without dwarfism do not like to be considered "disabled". Probably no one likes to be considered "disabled" though - but in reality, there are aspects of dwarfism that do fit the definition of disability. Their physical condition can impede their physical ability to do certain things since the world is set up for people who are a foot or two taller than them. On the simplest level, they may need a stepladder to do things that 95% of the population can do standing on their feet. They can drive, but the car needs to be adapted to them with extension pedals etc. The sad thing about the issue is though, many times someone with dwarfism is not treated as an "equal" when it comes to things like applying for jobs etc. They may be passed by even though they are as qualified as everyone else. When it comes to the term "disability", I think it's important to note that most forms of dwarfism do have some level of physical impairment which can usually be dealt with by simple things like stepladders, those extension grabby things (what are they called anyway?) and just plain common sense - but when it comes to  the mind, dwarfism is not a disability in that area at all.

Are people with dwarfism just different to everyone else? I think that the real thing here is that this is how they want to be seen. Not as someone who is diseased. Not as someone who is disabled. But as someone who just happens to have brown hair while you have blond. Someone who doesn't wear glasses while you do. Someone who is a bit shorter than you but is completely your equal in every way.

Even though I do think that dwarfism does, in certain ways, fit into the category of "disease" and "disability", I understand why parents of little people don't like people putting their kids into those categories - it's because of the underlying things which say "your child is not normal" and "your child should be pitied" and "your child has such a hard life". I know that I get frustrated when I get those "vibes" from people. Yes, I do think that our child may have more obstacles to overcome, but I also believe that this will make her (and our whole family) stronger and that it will give us certain advantages through her differences as well. There are aspects to that which should be envied, not pitied.

There are people who are praying for us - but praying specifically for our child to be "normal". It upsets me to think that these people seem like they may not accept our daughter if she does not fit their perception of what "normal" is. 

There are scriptures that say "And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?" (Luke 12:25, and virtually repeated word for word in Matt 6:27). We can't add any height to our daughter. And the bible tells us clearly that it's God who forms us in the womb - so He's the one who made her the way she is.

The bible tells a story of a man called Zacchaeus who wanted to see Jesus - but he was so short that he needed to climb a tree to be able to see Him. The bible doesn't specifically say, but I personally think that Zacchaeus may have had dwarfism. It's not common for the bible to comment on people's height, so when it does it usually is significant. It's interesting to note that in his encounter with Jesus, Jesus never "healed" him or made him any taller. He just accepted Zacchaeus as he was, and changed his life in the process.

Likewise, I love and accept our daughter however she is - whether she ends up being six foot tall, or only 4 foot tall. My prayer for her is that a) she is healthy (something that can be achieved regardless of whether or not she has dwarfism or not) and b) that God will use her life for His glory (maybe this is something that can be achieved specifically through her having dwarfism - I'll not limit God!). I hope and pray that all our family and friends can feel the same way about her.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I will trust in You

I've been finding that the closer that I get to my due date, the more I have to deal with my crazy emotions and fears. I know that a lot of this is normal, pregnancy hormone related and every mother goes through it in the weeks leading up to when her child is born - but it is also augmented by the complications of the pregnancy and all the emotions that have surrounded that as well. 

When I look back at the past 20 weeks since we first found out there were issues, it's a bit like I'm looking at someone else's journey, not my own. I am amazed by the strength that we have found through it all - strength that I'm sure has come from our faith in God and from the prayers and support from many family and friends, some who we have only met because of this situation. 

But we are still human and we still have fears, we still are experiencing that sense of loss... We still struggle with the fact that if we could have chosen whether or not we would be in this situation, we wouldn't have chosen it. No mother wants to think about her child being born anything less than "normal" and "perfect" and "healthy". No mother wants to imagine her child growing up different and wondering what cruelties they will have to endure, wonder whether life will treat them fairly, whether they will find love and happiness - knowing that much of this will likely be more difficult for them, just because they look different, even though inside they're just the same as everyone else...

Yesterday I was catching up on my blog reading and I came across one of my favourites - the blog of little Evie Jayne - Evie was born 9 months ago and her parents were told that she would not survive her first day but the diagnosis the doctors gave was incorrect. She's now a happy and adorable 9 month old. I've always loved this blog because of the faith and strength that her mother, Lindsey, has shown through all the struggles they've had. And they have the most adorable pictures on their blog too (I should be inspired - I've rarely posted pictures here!)

Yesterday, Lindsey wrote a beautiful post entitled the prodigal daughter. It talked about how she is struggling with the fears and worries of Evie's upcoming surgery (she needs surgery on her skull on the 16th, so if anyone needs another prayer point, please pray for little Evie and her family!!) and how we can give our worries to God and "nail them to the cross". I could relate because I have so many things that I am scared about with the birth of our child, so many things that I can't control, so many things that aren't ideal. So like Lindsey, I choose  today to give my worries to the Lord and trust that He has a plan for our lives. I'll rely in the knowledge that He will work everything out for good. 

Psalm 56:3
When I am afraid,
I will trust in you,
In God, whose Word I praise,
In God I trust, I will not be afraid.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


On Monday, the first of our pre/post-baby visitors arrived. My sister is here for 2 weeks while she's on school holidays. She's just started high school so it's harder for her to take time off during the school term, so instead of coming with my mum later on, she's coming first before the baby is born. Hopefully the baby doesn't decide to come while she's still here for two reasons - one, the bub will be bigger and hopefully more healthy if she comes a bit later, and two, we're going to dinner at Disneyland with some of Lana's friends and their families on the 18th and it'll be a lot easier if the baby's still inside rather than here already!! It reminds me of when I was pregnant with Lana, I planned to go to a Chris Tomlin concert when I was 38 weeks pregnant and once I passed that milestone, I was ready for her to be born any time after that. So my sister will leave on the 19th and my next prenatal appointment is on the 20th. I'm aiming to go into labour on the night of the 19th so I can get my sis to the airport fine, then I don't have to go to my prenatal appointment. That's the plan ;) If only it was that easy ;) 

After my sister leaves, I have a few days before my mum gets here. She arrives on the 23rd and will be here for just over 2 weeks, leaving on August 9th. If the baby isn't here before Mum gets here, she'll definitely be born by the time that Mum leaves. My due date is the 28th and here, they don't tend to want you to go more than a week overdue. Lana was born 4 days early though, and hopefully this one will be similarly early (but not TOO early). 

My mother in law will also come for a visit for two weeks in late August. The baby will be a few weeks old by then. 

When Lana was born, we decided to have both our mums and my sister all come at the same time for 2 weeks. I guess we'll see after this time which way works better! The benefit of having them here separately is that we get more one-on-one time with each of them. Another benefit is that we won't need to get a hotel room for them all - something which was very expensive last time around! (plus now with just moving, our budget is much more tight so it wouldn't have been a viable option anyway). But some of the cons mean that it may be harder/longer to be able to settle into our "normal routine" with having 6+ weeks of visitors over the next 2 months. But then again, what is routine in the first month of a baby's life anyway?