Tuesday, September 28, 2010


If you care about car races in the US (at least in Michigan), you're most likely a hick. I realise this might be offensive, and it's by no means true, but it's what I thought. If you care about car races in Singapore you're most likely a rich European.

Singapore has hosted the Formula 1 race for the last three years. I couldn't care less (I'm not a rich European). The first year was really annoying, because it was at the same time as Rosh Hashana, and that was just inconvenient. The second was also annoying, because 1) we were meant to get somewhere for a shabbat dinner, and it took us FOREVER and a half, and 2) our friends canceled plans with us, since getting into town was just too annoying. Last year we could hear the race from our apartment. That was annoying too.

This year, we got invited to an F1 party, and we thought, eh, why not see what this is all about (plus it was in a place with a fantastic view and with people we like). On the way up the elevator (it was a long ride to the 68th floor!) I asked Matt, "is this race like ten minutes or like two hours?" I had no idea. We got up there, and we could see the track. Is this it? They just go around and around? That looks boring. Then I learned that they have 61 laps to do. That's REALLY boring!

Luckily the sound of the cars was cool, and the company was nice, so we stuck around for about 20 laps, but that's enough. I'm just not into cars. I am more interested in:
  1. How do all the cars get to Singapore? Boat? Plane? Must be plane, but I didn't know you could FLY a car!?
  2. Does all that driving, so fast, cutting corners, damage the roads?
  3. Does Singapore actually make money from any of this stuff (we just had the Youth Olympic Games, which was equally annoying)?
To make it more annoying, yesterday after work, I walked to the bus stop, which should be a two or three minute walk, but since my hips feel like they're going to fall apart when I walk, it took me almost ten minutes to get there. I thought the bus would be better than MRT, since it's less walking, even though it takes longer and makes me nauseous. Well, by the time I got there, I saw that actually no buses were running because of the F1. Made me hate it even more. Then I had to walk back and then take the MRT. Just the commute was enough to exhaust me.

I also have to say that yes, I'm due in about four days, and yes, I'm really huge and pregnant - like really huge. My hips feel so much pressure, I really think they might split. Each step hurts and puts pressure in places I have never felt before. STILL I walk faster than about half the people in the MRT station. That means there's a problem with THEM, NOT me. I always just thought I was just impatient (which I am).

In other news, we went to the doctor today, and the baby is still growing (though now I'm LOSING weight, which I don't understand), and its head is engaged (hence all the pressure). All is good to go. We made an appointment for next Tuesday, but I'm really hoping we don't have to use it!

In yet other news - I have had multiple unsolicited tummy pats in the last week. We went to volunteer last Friday, and a lady in the Red Cross Home for the Disabled was all over this belly. Then we went for lunch at a hawker stall, and the lady who cleans the table (with really dirty hands) was rubbing with two hands saying, "boy. boy. boy." Then at the F1 party someone was trying to find the bottom of the bump (I was wearing a dress) and really went quite uncomfortably low. I think it was a cultural thing, but it was awkward and I started walking backwards without even thinking about it.

In the best news yet - Dena and Jill have both given birth to beautiful babies! Dena gave birth to Alma Mia about two weeks ago, and Jill gave birth to Joseph Brady on Saturday, early. I'm so proud of them, and I can't wait to meet those babies!! While everyone at work, at Jewish holiday services and everywhere else tells me that there's no way to do it without pain meds (I try to just tune them out, but it's really all the time), Jill and Dena proved them all wrong. MAZAL TOV!! Even cooler than the fact that we're all giving birth at the same time is that our kids will always be the same age. That's just such a cool thing to share with your best friends.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bris in Singapore

I thought I should write about this now, since I might not have time later (or we might find out that it's not relevant - as we're having a girl!?).

Having a bris in Singapore is no easy task. Let me share our experience in setting up the infrastructure in case we find it necessary when the baby comes...

First, we met with the rabbi from our progressive community. He said that we can use a pediatric urologist that other people use, or we can just get it done by anyone. We can do it in the hospital and have a ceremony later - lots of options. I felt confident, until I emailed a Conservative Rabbi friend and an Orthodox Rabbi friend, and both said that you kind of really need the person who does the cutting to be Jewish, at least for it to be a halachic bris (a circumcision according to Jewish law).

That led to discussions between me and Matt that debated whether or not we thought this was important. Seemed like the baby would be Jewish regardless, since I'm Jewish, and that's REALLY all that's necessary...but I have a weird feeling about this stuff and want to make sure we do things halachikly (like our wedding) in case it ever comes up later, even if we don't care that much right now.

So, back to Jewish options...so I started asking around. Excuse me, who circumcised your son? Do you know anyone who has had a bris here in Singapore? Please tell me about your experience with this tradition (that I find DEEPLY troubling on a lot of levels!!!) and how I can do this to my potential child!?

I found that a few people that seemed normal had used this rabbi from Melbourne. Apparently he comes in on a specific flight, he is friends with the local rabbi, so he stays with him, and then he flies right back. He does it all the time...Okay. Sounds good. Matt got in touch with him, he sent us the link to his website, we found out he was chabad, but we decided it was all fine, and we would go with him. We just had to make it through the high holidays so he could for sure come.

Mission accomplished. We made it through. Then we found out there was a bris on Monday, after Yom Kippur, and I suggested that Matt go so he can meet the rabbi and see what happens at a bris (it had been a while). He went, he came back, he told me it was all fine.

Then, that night we were video chatting with my mom, and he said, "yeah, it was fine. Though he did touch his mouth to the wound, which was weird." He WHAT!? I flipped. My mom hung up. What? That's a horribly outdated tradition that I want nothing to do with (and to be honest makes me embarrassed to admit that my people do it at all!). I called our other friend who was there too and asked if this happened. He thought it did indeed happen.

Shit. 1.5 weeks till due date, and the rabbi we think can circumcise our maybe son isn't going to work out, and we don't know what other options we have...After doing some internet research, Matt emailed the rabbi and asked nicely if "metziza" is part of his tradition. The rabbi wrote back and explained that yes, that just means sucking out blood from the wound, which is required. But, it can apparently happen by mouth, by a sterile tube or by a sterile gauze pad. He said it's up to the parents.

Gauze pad please.

So - it got a bit stressful over here, but now it looks like we're good to go again. Phew.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Missing Lap

I seem to have lost my lap. It has come up for me on three specific occasions.

1) In general, people jump up to give me a seat on the MRT. I can get a whole row to get off at the next stop if I walk on the train. That's all nice and good, but when you're carrying a big purse (with lots of snacks, a book, a water bottle, a computer...) plus a bag with yoga clothes, it might be easier to stand up so you can hold the bags. When I sit down, I want to ask the person who stood for me to hold my bags also. I just can't seem to find my lap to rest them on!

2) At the doctor today, he was running a bit behind, which actually only resulted in a half hour wait, which is not bad at all and is totally out of the ordinary (he's usually very on time). I had left work early to get to the doctor, and I hated that I couldn't do work. So, I whipped out my laptop, booted up, and I tried to find my lap. The computer kept sliding off. The only solution was folding my leg - like left ankle on top of right knee - and putting the computer on my calf. There was no lap to be found!

3) When I look at super pregnant women who have 1-2 year olds (my friend Margaret and lots of women at the doctor), I don't understand how they put their kid on their lap. It has baffled me for the last few weeks. They have no laps!

So - now we're at 38.5 weeks, and all is going fine. The head is still down, starting to engage, and somehow the baby is still growing, though I haven't gained weight in about a month (I REALLY don't get that one - if the baby is gaining weight, where is it COMING FROM?! I mean I am eating a tonne, but come on!). I've got good (lowish) blood pressure and strong and good speed of a baby heart beat.

I have thought throughout the entire pregnancy that we're having a boy (I don't know if I'm allowed to say that out loud, but I don't think it will mess our kid up too much...), and so does EVERYONE else (other than two people), but today I had a sign that we're having a girl. When you order a taxi in Singapore, your name shows up with your phone number for the taxi driver. I have always been Melaine or something like that, but today, when I got in a taxi, it was a TOTALLY different name, and it had all of the letters of the name that we have chosen if we have a girl - actually it was exactly the name, but two letters were switched. Hmmmm....I guess we'll find out soon!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pregnant Around the World

It just happens to be that some of my bestest friends in the world are pregnant at the same time as me. In fact - three of my four "bridesladies" from our wedding are pregnant, and we're in four different countries.

I tried to get them to participate in an "unsolicited tummy-pats" experiment with me. I wanted to see if it's cultural - i.e. maybe more people touch your belly in Israel? Maybe in Singapore? I seemed to be the only person who counted (22 as of today).

It has been interesting, though, to compare experiences - particularly with regard to what each country does for doctor visits. In each country the tests are at different times (or we don't have them), we have different number of scans, and generally it's just different. Apparently in the US they test everyone for gestational diabetes. Not so in Singapore - only if the baby seems really big, if you have gained a lot of weight, or if your pee on some stick turns it a funny colour. In Singapore we get scans every time we go to the doctor, if we want. In the US you get one at 14 weeks and one at 20 - for tests. It's all been quite interesting.

Now - we just get to wait. Freya gave birth about three weeks ago. Jill and Dena are due on Yom Kippur, then I'm due two weeks later. Canada (not sure how out she is on facebook...) brings up the rear in December.

In other news - after a lot of effort, the baby has flipped and is now head down, and the head is apparently starting to engage. The doctor said that s/he's not likely to flip back. That's really good news and has made me extremely happy. We're very proud of this little baby, because apparently flipping at this point, with all of my body and muscles' limitations, is not easy. Way to go little one! (It has been nice, though, going for acupuncture, massage, and making sure I relax everyday...Chiropractor not as much fun, but still nice).

In yet other news, we are mostly settled into our new place, getting our last furniture delivered on Wednesday. Then we'll be for real.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Flipping Out

For the last week, I have done nearly everything I can to flip this baby to a head down position for a natural birth. I suppose I could have stood on my head for a while longer, but I worried that the blood flow might be disrupted, and we don't want our baby to be too stupid.

So, in between calls (I had about 10 calls in between 9 pm and 11pm and then again at 6 am this week...but I won't have any more until I'm back from mat leave) and work, I packed in many things over the past week.

I propped my hips up on pillows and laid on the couch nearly everyday. We made sure my hips were at least nine inches above my head. This uses gravity to push the baby into a different position - i.e. go into my rib cage or something - at least it felt like that. It is really hard to breathe, and if I have eaten within two hours, I feel like I'm going to puke, but it does move the baby. We even turned off all the lights and shined a flashlight where we want the baby to move to. Matt also made farting noises on my belly with his mouth. Again - I'm not sure what this does, but he seems to think it's funny, and the baby does move a lot for some reason.

In addition, on Wednesday, Thursday and today, I went to the chiropractor for the first time (and second and third...). I tried one twice, and then I went to a different one today (the first went on holiday, and I actually feel a lot more comfortable with the second...). They're using the Webster Technique, which tries to align your hips and therefore your uterus and open it all up to allow the baby to shift better. I learned that because of the way my spine is shaped (I always knew I had some sort of scoliosis, but I had NO idea this affects the way you carry a baby, though it definitely makes sense...) my right hip is more forward, which creates more space on the right side for the baby. Because the baby is constantly on that side only, the muscles on the left side compensate and get very tight, and the muscles on the right also get tight and hold the baby in place. Between aligning my hips and loosening the left ligament that comes down from my uterus, they're hoping to open it all up.

I also tried acupuncture for the first time. I laid on my left side, and the guy found a few spots that apparently need more energy - weak spots - and he put in needles. I have no idea what else he did, since I couldn't see anything, but he must have attached something to the needles, because they were definitely pulsing, sometimes at different speeds. Then he did something with suction, where he grabbed the skin around the spine and went up and down with suction. Apparently those spots will help my uterus/all other relevant muscles relax as well. I definitely felt better after that - more energised, less uncomfortable and definitely more relaxed in my brain. I don't know what it does or how it works, but something happened. Also, about halfway through the treatment, the baby started moving around like crazy - I think it was possibly doing an entire yoga class in my tummy. Hopefully it felt the tension release and realised that it could have a party in the other half of my tummy.

The good news is that the baby is definitely in a different position - even Matt said the outside of my tummy looks different. The bad news is that I have no idea what the position is. It was in a breech position for at least a month, and I know what the head feels like at the top, and I know what the kicks feel like down at the bottom (and on my bladder, obviously), but what I'm feeling now is completely new, so I can't quite place all of the appendages. There's still something big at the top (which I really hope is a bum, but I'm not that optimistic), but it is different, so I'm hoping this is all doing SOMETHING.

I am going for acupuncture on Monday, to the chiropractor on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then I will pray on Thursday and Friday (it's Rosh Hashana, so I might as well count that as part of the treatment, right?). We have until next Saturday before the ECV, which is apparently not too comfortable, but if that works, I'm happy to have that as well...Hopefully after all of this, though, it won't be necessary.