Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Dear Isabelle - 3 months old

Dear Isabelle

You turned 3 months old on Christmas Day! You're such a chilled and sweet baby, Mummy has no complaints whatsoever. We took your newborn photos when you were only 2 weeks old! You already look so different now! *sob*

Here's looking at you kiddo

I absolutely adore this photo of baby girl in her tutu skirt




A Daddy with his princess






Still feels so surreal to be able to dress my baby in a dress!

I'm a Mom of 4 now! 

Look at how proud Gabriel is!

Sam is such an amazing older brother!


You did your first flip a few days ago. I have no idea how you did it. Mummy rarely makes you do tummy time as you've always been so contented on your back. But a few days after Christmas, you made your first flip! I think you were so surprised by yourself!


Sleep-wise, you've slept through the night a few nights. But it is not consistent. That's totally fine baby girl. You're allowed to wake up anytime in the night because I do treasure those middle-of-nights bonding times. #4thchildsyndrome

Your grandfather came to visit us over Christmas and New Year's. You totally charmed the socks off grandpa! He loved to carry you and you would coo and give him your beautiful smiles. This was definitely a breather for grandpa in comparison to your rowdy brothers who couldn't stop creating mayhem at home. 

Size-wise, you're really tall my girl! You're wearing clothes meant for 6-months old and most clothes for 3-month olds are too small for you by now. 

You enjoy taking showers and are  ever-so-patient to wait for me to pick you up and put you under the running water. Patience is truly one of your virtues!

You're such a cheerful little girl. Even at night when you wake up for your feed, you would smile at Mummy when you see me in the shadows. Oh boy, how my heart melts when I see your dreamy smiles with half-closed eyes!

Your eye-to-hand coordination has improved by leaps and bounds! You're starting to grasp objects around you and wrap your little fingers around them. It's so fascinating to watch you discover the world around you, little one! 

Gabriel continues to shower you with so much attention and hugs. He's got such a soft spot for you! 

Mummy sees so much of myself in you. I do wish I have a baby photo to do a comparison, but let's suffice to say that you got your eyes from me!

Your maiden experience with snow! 

Look at how much you've grown in the past 3 months! 






My smiley girl in her Ralph Lauren dress from my Dad for Christmas

Keep growing well little one. Our precious little Princess! It's usually massively chaotic at home but we trust that God will keep holding and shaping your heart, so you'll experience the fullness of God's love for you everyday! 

Love
Mummy & Daddy

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Pregnancy #4 - Birth of our Princess Isabelle Sophie Tews

Who do you think she looks like more? 


Sooo, its been 3 weeks.

3 weeks since I gave birth for the 4th time. 

3 weeks since we welcomed our princess into our family. 

3 weeks since I became intoxicated with the smell of having a newborn again. 

Still, there are moments when I find it hard to believe that I'm a Mom of four now! 

Time has become an even more precious commodity. So, without further ado, I shall attempt to summarise the last stage of my 4th pregnancy in words. 

------------------------

Baby Isabelle Sophie Tews was born 4 days past her due date. I was feeling sooo uncomfortable and huge that I was just one grumpy preggie whale towards the end. Gosh, I feel sorry for my husband and kids for having to bear with me those last few days!

All my previous pregnancies became progressively shorter with Liam being born at 39 weeks. That's probably why I expected Isabelle to be born before 39 weeks. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I went past the 40 weeks mark with her! 

Usually I'm fine about waiting past my due date but with gestational diabetes, I was under time pressure to get baby out because my gynae did not want to wait too long. In the worst-case scenario, they would induce the baby and with my previous C-section history with my firstborn, it would not be the most fun thing to do. 

On Monday, at 40+3 weeks, I remember feeling off. I had a bit of cramps but it was nothing like real contractions. 

25.9.18 (Tuesday) slightly past midnight -

We wanted to go to bed when I felt the crampy sensation getting worse. I wasn't sure if this was the real thing because I've been having Braxton hicks contractions all the time. 

I decided to take a nice warm shower to see if the contractions would ease off. They didn't. 

By the time I got out of the shower, I knew that this was it. 

The in-laws had just left for their vacation so there went our back-up. We didn't expect baby to come in the night, so we did not really ask anybody to be on standby. 

I knew that we had to think fast, so we decided to ring our immediate neighbour's doorbell. Thank God, the guy answered and he agreed to stay over at our place while we made our way to the hospital. The timing was fantastic too, cos all 3 kids were already sleeping soundly when we left. 

Usually I would have laboured a bit more at home but I didn't want to risk anything because I remember how my Mom told me that she almost gave birth to my brother (her 4th child) in the car.




1.15am - Arrived at Charlottenhaus (the hospital)

I was the only woman in labour! Yay!! September had been an especially busy month at the hospital because more babies tend to be conceived over Christmas and New Year's. Lol. I prayed that the labour ward would not be busy when I was in active labour - Prayer Nr 1 answered!

Midwife checked me and I was only 3cm dilated. :(

I was monitored on the CTG machine for a while before she told me to walk around the hospital, go up and down the stairs and to come back in an hour's time. 






2.30am - 5cm dilated

Even though it had only been 30mins, I decided to go back to the labour ward because I desperately had to use the washroom. And since I was back inside, the midwife examined me again. I was 5cm! That meant I dilated 2cm in 30mins! Awesome! 

We discussed whether the midwife should break my water bag. I hesitated so much because I remember how much more intense the contractions get once the water bag is burst.

I kept asking if I could opt for an epidural if push came to shove. She said the anaesthestist was just a call away. We decided to wait.

2.45am - 7cm dilated

This was when the midwife said it's time to burst the water bag if I want to expedite the whole process. My cervix had softened and she said that baby would appear by 3am if we burst the water bag now. 

She burst the water bag and examined me after that. I was 8cm gone, but I was not allowed to push because it was still too early. 

I remember the first wave of contractions after the water bag was burst. 

It was very intense and looooong! And ohhh the pain!! 

Second contraction hit me like a rock and I started screaming for an epidural. The midwife said that baby would arrive before the anaesthetist came and I am totally able to give birth without an epidural - I just needed to believe in myself. But I was in so much pain, I insisted that the anaesthetist be called in. 

Poor anaesthetist was woken up in the wee hours of the morning. 

By the 3rd contraction, I felt the urge to push! 5 mins ago, I was only at 8cm so it was quite crazy that I would have to push after 3 contractions?? With NO epidural?!  

Midwife examined me again and true enough, I was ready to go! What? Just 3 contractions later?!

Husband and midwife held me in a death-like grip so that I had to stay in the right position to give birth. I was lying on my back and the midwife was giving me instructions on how to push effectively. But I would have needed to roll my back forward instead of arching my back backwards. 

Since I was having very intense back contractions, I would automatically arch my back backwards whenever the contractions came. But since I was held down by both of them, I had no choice but to stay in the most effective position to push baby out. 

All I remember was trying to push as hard as I could. It must have been 4-5 pushes at most. I didn't even realise the baby's head was out. So imagine my surprise when I felt a slimy, wet sensation sliding out of me!! 

3.15am - Baby Isabelle Sophie Tews was born! 

She slid out so quickly and easily! I had no tears and needed no episiotomy. It was incredible! She was 54cm and 3920grams! My entire labour lasted 2 hours in hospital! What an answered prayer!! 

I held my baby girl in my arms and was soooo overwhelmed by the fact that this baby girl was born! And she's a girl! I sorta knew baby would be a girl, but after 3 boys, I never really could believe this fact until I saw it myself! 

I remember feeling more alive than I ever felt after my other labours! This was after all the shortest labour I've had. This meant that I didn't feel like I got hit by a bus (#1 pregnancy) and I didn't faint after giving birth either (#2 pregnancy).

They placed baby on me immediately for skin-on-skin contact. As I held her and stared at her face, I was so mesmerised at how she reminded me of myself as a kid! It's sooo surreal to finally be able to hold the baby that you've been carrying in your womb for 9 months!

I was sooo tired but I couldn't sleep during the 2 hours when I was lying down on the bed in the labour ward. I was too afraid that baby would slide off me! I breastfed Isabelle and had a whiff of the smell of BABY-freshness out of the oven! 
-------------------------------

I read this book "Supernatural childbirth" by Jackie Mizie. She talks about how we can pray and trust God for a painless childbirth with no complications and tearing. I remember being challenged in my faith. I just prayed the same prayers that were written in that book. And honestly, those things I prayed about specifically actually came to pass! I was flabbergasted! My baby weighed almost 4kg and her birth was simply the best!

This is my 4th birth experience and I will never ever get tired of witnessing the miracle of life. A human being is made so intricately! When you're pregnant, you're so well-aware of everything that can go wrong. Pregnancy is such a minefield of emotions and learning to deal with the "what-ifs". You never take for granted a baby that is born healthy. How a baby forms in the womb is such a testimony of the existence of God! Yes, a baby is made between a man and woman. But that's the same as saying, I put flour, butter, eggs and sugar into an oven and expect a cake to come out. Someone has to do the baking and measurements and that person is GOD! 

We are slowly adjusting to life with 4 little ones. Isabelle has been a pretty calm and relaxed baby so that helps a lot. Evenings are still very chaotic with having to prepare dinner and get all kids in bed, but we will get there! 

I'm still on cloud 9 at having my own Princess to doll up and be my real-life model! All of our girly clothes have been given / lent to us by our friends! I love these hand-me-downs cos they are sooo gorgeous and well-loved! I'm so so so thankful to God for giving us a healthy baby to love on! This was the verse I sensed the Lord gave us when we were pregnant with Isabelle.

"Delight yourself in the Lord & He shall give you the desires of your heart". Psalm 37:4

Li En means "beautiful grace of God". I chose this name to sound like my late mother's name, "Lydia". To live in grace and grow in grace. That's my desire for Isabelle and myself!

------------------------------

Compare Isabelle's birth with:

- Samuel's birth
- Gabriel's birth
- Liam's birth



Isabelle Sophie Tews (Li En)
3920 Grams 54 cm
25.9.18


And after 2 hours, she's finally here!!! My precious daughter!




 1- day old Isabelle meeting her siblings for the first time! The look on Gabriel's face says it all! He was the one who started asking & praying for baby sister! 


Going home after 2 days at the hospital! Let the pink explosion begin! 

A dress on my baby! Say what?! 


3 boys & their little lady! 


Another beautiful dress! Albeit with a hangry baby!

By far one of my favourite photos of Isabelle & I!

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Pregnancy #4 - 38 weeks with 3 toddlers under one roof

I'm well-aware that I'm almost done with this pregnancy but this is only my second blog entry! Truth be told, this pregnancy hasn't been a bed of roses. Sooo, I decided to write a summary of how the last couple of weeks of my pregnancy have been for me!

Warning: looooong post ahead!


MAD Braxton Hicks contractions 

The most tiring part of this pregnancy has got to be the daily Braxton hicks contractions I've been experiencing since week 30. When they first started, I couldn't get out of my bed for 5 days! The effort it took for me to go to the washroom was intense. I was seriously worried that I would go into pre-term labour! After 2 visits to the gynaecologist, he reassured me that things are looking fine but for women with repeated pregnancies, sometimes the uterus can be "more active". I should try to take things slow. *great*


Having a NANNY for the first time


The sliver lining was that he prescribed me "family help" for the following weeks up until the birth of baby! I now have a nanny who comes by 8 hours a day to help me with the housework, kids and just be around as an extra set of hands and legs!

I can't tell you how AMAZING this is! I've never had a maid in Germany and this is incredible! The health insurance pays for the nanny and I'm able to have a breather in these last few weeks. This is seriously the first time I'm soo WOWed out by the amazing German state health insurance! And how AMAZING is God right? When I was feeling so trapped about how to survive the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, God provided such timely help in the form of a paid-for nanny!

Our nanny arrived just in the time for the start of the school holidays when all 3 kiddos are at home and my cleaner left for a 4-weeks holiday. I mean, how incredible is God's timing right?

I'm still a big, fat whale who has to alternate standing and sitting / lying down. I feel the stab of Mummy guilt when I just wish I could bring the kids for a nice day out but I also know that I can't overdo it with my physical activity.


Making it to full-term pregnancy!!! 


I'm 38 weeks today and I'm such a huge ball of relief that I managed to make it this far! I delivered my 3 other babies between 39-41 weeks, with each subsequent baby arriving earlier. That gives me hope that this baby will make his / her appearance before the due date.

Sam went for this thing called "Forest home" for the past 3 weeks. He spent the entire day from 8.30am to 6pm outdoors and gets breakfast, lunch and dinner provided. I missed my big boy a lot but I knew that he had an awesome time.


Gabriel's very persistent cough and changing dynamics between Gabriel (5 yrs) and Liam (2 yrs) 


During Sam's absence, war broke loose between my 2 younger ones. Gabriel missed his older brother with whom he does everything with. He hates sharing his lego with Liam who has a very destructive nature.

Gabriel's kindergarten closed for a 3-week summer break and this coincided with him  nursing a very persistent cough. I've had to throw out all my plans of going to the outdoor pool / sending him for swim courses because the doctor didn't want him to exert himself. The poor bugger has had a very sedentary lifestyle in the hopes that this would help him to recover quicker. He hated going to the playground or cycling on his own. *sigh*

The level of screaming between my #2 and #3 was intense! I had no idea that Liam can scream that loud! Gabriel absolutely LOVES annoying his younger brother and Liam won't hesitate to yell at the top of his lungs. I have no idea how to teach Gabriel to stop annoying his brother! Or sometimes, Liam just yells because he can't stand Gabriel singing to himself. What's with all this yelling??!

After 3 weeks of WWIII, kindergarten finally started but I've not been able to wave the victory flag yet because.... Gabriel is still nursing this horrid cough. We are unable to send him to kindergarten because of his coughing fits.

The kids' original paediatrician was gone for a 3-week break and during this time, his father (also a PD) refused to give Gabriel any form of medication except for the usual "inhale some saltwater" advice. We made the effort to visit the PD 3 times!!! With no results!

When our doctor finally got back, I had a very serious conversation with him because it can't be that my boy has been having coughing fits for 4 weeks with no end in sight. We finally started on some proper medication yesterday and we hope and pray that things will improve quickly!

It's crazy how life is easier with 3 kids instead of 2! I'm so thankful that I can reap the benefits of a close age gap between Sam & Gabriel because of their ability to play so well with each other. I know that Liam and Gabriel will get there too, but at this point in time, they just fight like cat and mouse.



WORST heatwave in decades


We had the worst and hottest summer in decades! Since 2003 as a matter of fact. I moved to Germany in 2006, so this was the worst summer I've had! I know, I come from Singapore so I shouldn't complain about heat right? WRONG! We don't get such sweltering temperatures like during a heatwave in Europe. Temps soared to 40 degrees in some countries! There's no air-con and the clear blue skies made sure that there wasn't any cloud layer to filter out the stinging sun rays. It was hard figuring where to bring the kids to especially since we couldn't go to the pool - Gabriel's cough remember? Surviving this heatwave with a heavily-pregnant belly, I think I deserved some form of Academy Award! #nojoke


Day trip to the Animal Farm 


Once, we managed a day trip to the animal park where the kids could feed the animals. I honestly felt like the best Mom in the world! The 2 boys played so immensely well together! It was a pretty shaded park so we managed to get some respite from the sweltering heatwave. I managed to take short breaks to alleviate the Braxton hicks contractions.



Love how happy we looked!

Playing so nicely together

They play so well together when we're outdoors

Liam was fearless when feeding the deers



Love how he eats his chocolate ice-cream! 


My reflections for having a #4 child soon!


For myself, I'm such a ball of emotions these days. After experiencing it 3 times, I know how much life will change with a new addition to the Tews family. My biggest nostalgia is knowing that Liam will no longer be the baby of the family. It happened with Sam, then Gabriel and now Liam. And even though I know this is part and parcel of having a new baby, it still doesn't make the feeling of loss any easier.

I know that I can neither keep my babies small nor under my wings forever, but the very-preggy me still feels so teary thinking about it. On the other hand, I'm deeply convinced that God will provide me with a bigger heart and grace that I so desperately need for this new stage of my life.

I guess the conundrum of motherhood is loving children enough to want to have more children and yet feeling your limitations that you can't have one-on-one time with each child as much as you'd want to. If only I had unlimited energy and capacity, I would have kids and still be able to shower each one with the undivided love and attention as I could a single child.

Still, I look at Sam and think about what a responsible and independent child he is and I just know that he got these traits because he's the oldest in the family. And oh, how I love ALL my children! I'm just so happy being a Mom. So thankful. So grateful. So soaking in the knowledge that it is such a blessing and privilege to be able to pour out my love on my kids and teach them God's values.

I'm no perfect mom. But I know that motherhood is God's purpose for me in this season of my life. And oh boy, how I would want to grow in my character and be so dependant on God. Thank you God for entrusting these young ones to me. Please help me to love on them and in my imperfections may your strength be made perfect. In Jesus name, Amen.

"You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, training them up in God's fear, minding the house, and making your household a church for God as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts" Charles Spurgeon 




Me at 35 weeks pregnant when we had a combined birthday celebration for the boys - blog post coming up! 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Dear Gabriel - 5 years old

Dear Gabriel

You have turned 5 years old!! Come September, you would enter your final year at kindergarten and eventually start school officially next year! How does time fly by so quickly?!

We had a simple birthday celebration for you surrounded with family and close friends. What a lovely afternoon it was! You totally basked in the centre of everybody's attention. We just had a huge children birthday party for you and Sam at a farm!

My dear lovely Gabe. You've really grown into your own skin since your older brother left kindergarten. The teachers at kindergarten say that you're a confident young boy who enjoys kindergarten.

I know its not easy being a middle child. Mummy was a middle child myself. You have an older brother who sets the standards for you to keep up with and a younger baby brother who seems to get all the attention.

But you know, you somehow seem to sail through this whole middle child syndrome. Mummy's prayer for you is that you will never feel like the sandwiched kid but you will know deep in your heart that you're oh so precious and important! You're so unique in your personality and there is nobody else like you in the entire world!

You do children's gym and go for swim course every Friday and you absolutely love it! Your swim coach tells me that you're pretty advanced in your swimming skills.

You have a very caring nature and have such a soft spot for your little brother, Liam and would very often give in to his wants and wishes. Sometimes though, you insist on getting on his nerves by riding the Bobby car and beaming gleefully that you managed to get the car before your brother. That's when WWIII ensues and Mummy would have to intervene before both of you beat each other up.

You're still the best and fastest eater among the 3 children and you very often tell Mummy that I'm the "best cooker in the world".

Whenever you're upset or angry about something, you don't take much time to get back to your usual happy self. That's something I really appreciate about you because Mummy makes mistakes and I'm so grateful that you're not one to bear grudges or make me feel bad when I say, "sorry".

You have a real child-like faith and you started praying for a "baby sister" even before Mummy & Daddy decided if we would even want a 4th child. A few more weeks and everyone will  know whether baby is a boy or girl!! We're so excited!

You have such a way with words. Mummy is 9 months pregnant now and feeling like a total whale and definitely not attractive. But whenever Mummy wears a dress or just something nice, you'll be the first to say, "Mummy, you're so pretty!" If only you knew how much your words light up  my heart! You're so encouraging, thanks for loving Mummy the way you do!
 
We love you our little firecracker. Life is sooo beautiful with you in our lives and we pray that God will continue to guide and grow you little heart everyday. 

Love
Mummy & Daddy

A very simple summerly birthday spread!

Last few photos as a family of 5!

With your grandparents

Love how happy you looked!



With your friend P. and your presents

Excited to get a bigggg present!

It's a snorkel and snorkeling flippers!

Mission impossible to take a photo with all kids looking at camera


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