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Friday, November 16, 2018

What You Should Do After Finding Out That You're Pregnant

If you're reading this right now, chances are that you just found out that you are pregnant. Yay, congratulations! Okay, now what? After the initial excitement (and disbelief - trust me) gets over, a hundred and one questions now occupy your mind. Oh no, what should I do? What should I eat? Is this safe for the baby? I heard the first trimester is unstable, should I let out the news? As Lady M and I stepped into another phase of our lives, I suddenly felt qualified to write about a brand new topic - Pregnancy.

Our pregnancy story
My wife had a hunch that she is pregnant, although her menstrual due date is still a few days away. How she did it still remains a mystery to me, perhaps it's the prompting of God, who knows. We bought a pregnancy testing kit (#1) from 7-11, and we tested the next morning since the human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) a.k.a. pregnancy hormone is at its peak in the morning pee. Hmm. An extremely fade, undisguisable line, are we pregnant? Maybe not. Later that day, we got another pregnancy kit, this time an expensive one (#2), and the line was clear...

"Am I going to be a father? What? So fast??" My mind was in a state of disbelief mixed with a little excitement - we were only planning for a baby after one year, and we were just married for less than two months! Just to make sure, we bought another testing kit (the same brand as #1) and tested in the morning. The line became really fade. WHAT? Oh no. This is not happening. Out of anxiety, we bought another expensive one (#4) and now the line was clear. 

Very clear.

We are pregnant. 

And that's how we spent almost $60 on pregnancy kits. Don't be like us. Just get the expensive one and test once. We used Predictor Express (~$17, from 7-11 as well) and it's fantastic. It's gross, but I'm still keeping them for memory keepsake. Come on, it's the first visible sign of our daughter. If you're wondering, testing kit #1 and #3 is First Choice, which should probably be your last choice.

What you should do
Okay, I'm assuming you tested out positive, for sure. If this is your first child, chances are you are anxious, you have worries, you wonder if everything is okay. Take a deep breath. Relax. Trust us, we have been through it. You can do it.

#1. Calculate your due date.
There are plenty of resources for this. Although it provides you with an estimation of when is the baby arriving, do realise that this is just an estimation. Give it a +/- two weeks, your baby boss will decide when he or she wants to exit. FYI, our due date changes almost everytime we visit the gynae.

#2. Be sensible.
Now that there is a life squirming in your tummy, if you're still living life like there's no tomorrow. It's time to slow down and kick some habits. Smoking, drinking, dieting, extreme sports are some examples. Research has shown that stimulants like nicotine and alcohol can have huge, negative impacts on the fetus. Now you're gonna be a parent, start thinking like one.

#3. Research and research.
The Internet is an amazing invention. Without it, you won't even be at this page finding out what you should do. Make changes to your diet, find out what supplements you need to support the fetus. Download relevant apps (What to Expect, BabyCenter, 宝宝树 - highly recommended, etc.), read books, listen to the older generation and people who have been through this journey. Educate yourself with all the need-to-knows. Think about suitable names. If you're like my wife, the amount of knowledge could already get you a PhD. If there's one.

#4. Think about your finance.
One of the major concerns is money. Have you saved enough for a baby? Rearing a child is one of the highest and greatest investments you would ever invest on. For a start, childbirth ain't cheap. Depending on the hospital and delivery method (caesarean, vaginal, with or without epidural, etc.) will have vastly varying costs. Sit down with your partner, make adjustments if needed, and plan for this really long financial journey. It's all worth it.

Watch this space for a breakdown of our total expenditure and hospital bills soon!

#5. Book a gynae.
After figuring out your finance, it's time to search for the next important person (besides your partner), and that's the gynae. Find a trustable one, perhaps from reviews or recommendations, and book the doctor as soon as possible. As no two bodies are the same, the information you garnered from some websites might work for someone but not for you. If you have questions, doubts, or anything that is unclear, the gynae is your person to go to. Just a note, some gynaes might not see their clients before you hit a certain number of weeks into pregnancy.

#6. Visit a doctor (optional).
In your early pregnancy, although light bleeding, spotting and stomach cramps are normal, if you are worried, visit a clinic with this expertise. Just to confirm that the baby is growing at the right place and put our minds at ease, we visited one at Kovan. It's amazing to see the little heartbeat even at 7 weeks of gestation.

This is gonna be a long journey, but it's one that will be one of the most, if not, the most rewarding journey you will ever go through in your life. Bearing life is beautiful and it's what God called us to do. You can do it. Everything will be okay. There will be times when you question your child's existence, be anxious, and worry about almost everything, but you know what? At the end of the day, when your child smiles at you, you know. 

It is all worth it.

If you would kindly read on, I would love to bless and offer a prayer for you and your child.

"Dear Heavenly Father, 

We thank You for this amazing gift that you have bestowed upon [your name]. Lord, we pray that You would guard and protect both mother and child as life is being knitted in her very own womb, that Your hand of grace will be upon them, giving them healthy bodies and a complication-free pregnancy. You know my child by name, every single detail, every bone, sinew and muscle are all fearfully and wonderfully made by You. 

No matter what comes, we know that You are always there, bringing comfort and assuring us that everything is going to turn out fine. We proclaim peace and favour throughout the pregnancy, labour and beyond, that the journey will be smooth and rewarding. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen!"

May God bless you and your child.