Saturday, May 27, 2006

Family Matters

Warning: Graphic Post (if you have very delicate sensibilities and squirm at the mention of breasts and such like, you are invited to skip this post)

Some months before Sophie arrived, Fabien and I discussed our post-natal action plan... I have to admit that as good as our relationship is, I was initially a bit uncomfortable at the idea of Maman (Fabien's mom) coming over to help us out. I don't like people seeing me in discomfort or pain let alone half naked, and I was pretty sure that after the birth at least 2 out of the 3 were high possibilities.

This week, I take it all back. I am SO thankful that Maman was here! She helped us with cooking the meals, grocery shopping etc.. sure we have other great people who provide us wonderful support like Gina who did everything from cooking fishy milk-producing soup to buying the giant sized bras (when said soup does its thang) .. but there is nothing like Maman being on call 24/7.

There is something about childbirth which strips away any illusion of privacy you may have had. It starts from the hospital during labour where it seems like everyone and their neighbour has put their gloved hand up what usually is called private parts of your anatomy - except there's nothing private about it. At the moment, let's just say that my vagina has seen better days, and sitting, standing, or any kind of movement reminds me that something the size of a cantaloupe has recently passed through something usually much smaller than that...

Then there is the fun and joy of breastfeeding which involves fairly complicated manuverings of baby and boob. After being clawed by baby's delightfully long fingernails, masticated thoughtfully whilst baby contemplates life on earth, and sucked on by a pint-sized vaccum pump, my nipples and the surrounding area feel fried. Even contact with my T-shirt is painful, so I try to leave my breasts to air. I have given up on the idea of sparing the neighbours the sight of my 38D milk jugs. In any case, I have to whip them out every 2 hours or so to feed the Ravenous Little Monster.

In case you think life is all bad - it's not.

At least I have time to blog this, to keep me sane!

UPDATE of 30 May 2006 -
We've got loot! Thanks to Shaun (the post box) and my parents who lugged it over:
the Boppy Pillow, the Sassy Mirror, a musical mobile, and books! The v. hungry caterpillar, But not the Hippopotamus, Katie meets the impressionists, and Carnival of the animals!


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Pretty in Pink

Okay - we didn't find out the sex of our kid by ultrasound before the birth for 2 reasons. Firstly, the key thought to get me through labour was that I NEED to find out whether we got a girl or boy, and secondly, we could get nice unisex presents which we could (possibly) recycle for our other kids.

Nah... scratch that. Whilst the first reason was really useful for my long and exhausting labour, the second one got out-foxed by most of our friends. They WAITED untill they knew we had a girl, and then... voila! everything comes in pink...

Heheheh - but who's complaining? Sophie is delighted with her pink collection and I have started dressing the part!


Friday, May 19, 2006

Sophie's World

This is me and my trusty sidekick - Olga. We're plotting to take over the world.
But we'll need some equipment. They don't do nuclear reactors on e-bay, but this is my
Amazon Wish List

My Mommy is collecting the book "Sophie's World" by Jostein Gardner in as many languages as possible - she'd be happy if you can help her out!

You can send it to our address:
Sophie Thibault, Via San Massimo 53, Turin 10123, Italy.

UPDATE as at 9 August 06 - we currently have "il mondo de Sophie"(Italian) and Soffin Svet" (Czech) "Sophie's World (Chinese - traditional script)" "De Wereld van Sophie (Dutch)" We need to get it in as many languages as we have people to want to read it to us

Now for a nap. Plotting World Domination is so exhausting...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sophie's Grand Entrance

Hello everyone! I'm Sophie and I may only be a couple of days old, but I have quite a personality already. My parents think that they are in charge, but don't worry, I will soon free them of any such illusions about who they think is The Boss.

Lesson One: Timing is dictated by ME
My parents thought they would have some more time before I arrived. According to the doctor, I was still taking my time to come, so when my mommy started getting contractions, she thought they were just the Braxton Hicks "practice" kind (she didn't understand why they were kinda strong, but she thought she'd just tough it out - which she did for 2 days). Then I broke my amniotic sac, at about 11pm on 9 May, so that's when my parents FINALLY understood that I was actually going to arrive.

Lesson Two: You can try to prepare, but you control nothing
My Mommy went through the rest of labour with just her birth ball and yoga mat - For more than 11 hours! My mommy now understands why according to Norse legend places are reserved in Valhalla, for warriors who show courage in battle, and women who show courage in labour. My daddy is so proud of her (especially because he expected a bit more yelling violence and screaming), but there was mostly just a lot of deep yoga breaths, and someone trying to break all his fingers by squeezing them. He reminds all other daddies to TAKE OFF YOUR WEDDING BAND, otherwise the yelling and screaming will come from dad.

It all went fine until (literally) the 11th hour when Mommy was at 9 cm dilation, she got into the Birth Pool, which was great, because the water was so relaxing. Unfortunately it was a bit too relaxing, because the contractions just Stopped. Worse, instead of dilating some more her uterus opening started getting smaller.So Mommy had to get some oxcytocin to get those contractions going again, but for some reason, despite maximum dosage, they were just painful without being useful. Mommy originally had big plans to give birth using water and in various funky positions. But it was clear this was not going to happen, and the doctor started contemplating a ceserean.

But Mommy wanted to give it one last try, so the doctor tried pushing on her tummy to fake a contraction whilst she tried pushing me out. It was either that, or a ventouse, which would have given me a nasty headache. We later find out that my head was asynclitic, which means that I tilted it to one side, which made the presenting part larger than normal. THAT was when Daddy got to hear the primal scream.

Still, this is me in mommy's arms afterwards, and it all seems worth it after all!! You know that I am a good little Singaporean because I got top marks in the first 2 tests of my life (Apgar scores of 9 and 9). I've been cleaned up in this photo, but since I came out a bit furry and white (lanugo and vernix) mum was concerned that I was a baby rabbit. Check out my pointy cone-head...

Lesson Three: Surprising little science lessons
The next thing which was surprising was that my placenta was stuck a bit too firmly to my Mommy's uterus. This means that it didn't deliver despite the hospital trying all kind of funky low-intervention treatment. This is called placenta accreta, and occurs in about 1 in 2500 deliveries (I TOLD you to buy 4D!). Nobody knows why this happens. One theory is that my placenta was orignally designed to support my twin who died before he or she got detected, but my Mommy doesn't like that theory because it is too sad. She prefers to think that my placenta was just too damn healthy.

After all that drug-free birth, Mommy had to go for an operation under general anasthesia to remove the placenta, so she was out cold for at least 2 hours. My daddy got to take care of me in the hours immediately after the birth, and for many days after that. This probably explains why I am such a daddy's little girl...

The average blood loss at the time of delivery is approximately 500 cc during a vaginal delivery, but Mommy lost about 2000 cc. For many days when she was in the hospital, the doctors were monitering her and trying to avoid giving her a blood transfusion (which happens in 50 percent of such situations). My parents are really glad that we had chosen a low-intervention kind of hospital!

To Conclude
Despite everything (or perhaps because of it) my parents absolutely adore me, and are really very very happy that I arrived to turn their lives upside down. We're all at home now, and Daddy is taking really good care of me and my mommy! That was a long post, but hope you enjoyed the story.

We're taking a break from posting for a while now, and will see you back here really soon!

big kisses from Sophie
(and her proud parents)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Proud Papa and Mama of...

Sophie Lee Min Hui Thibault

born on 10 May 2006 at 1415h at 3.3kilos and 49.7cm

Quick go and buy 4D...

More updates later, but now we need to do some serious R & R

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Important Announcement

In case you have not visited this blog before, this will update you as to what we've both been doing at work and play .

Wer're hanging around waiting for kid to arrive . He or she is coming ANY DAY NOW....

We don't know if it is a girl or a boy and are dying to find out! Please come and visit after our kid arrives. We are reasonably confident of being able to recieve overnight house guests again from 1 July onwards. Please email us if you would like to book your trip!

Hope to see you here then.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Happy Anniversary

For 5 years from this date, we've been a couple.

Signor e Signora Thibault as acknowledged by our doorbell ..

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Beautiful Sunday

It was a lovely spring sunday, so we walked to the valentino park near our house, I chilled out with my Economist on our picnic mat whilst Fabien did his weekly run around the park.

We promised each other we'd come back with our kid, and continue to do as many of the things we enjoy doing (subject to practical and financial constraints of course). There is no reason to stop being a couple after becoming parents. It's one of the things we're really going to be careful about. It's hard, but it's how we want to do it.

I don't think our friends will say we became any less concerned and caring friends after we became a couple. And of course, we don't stop being someone's son/daughter, brother/sister even when we got married. All our family obligations are perhaps enhanced since we got to know each other.

I guess that's when you know that you are supposed to marry someone - when he or she doesn't take you away from the human interactions that mean a lot to you, but somehow enhances them. I think we've definitely tried very hard to keep up with our seperate personhoods to avoid being too much of a "fused item" despite being married.

The real challenge will be can we keep it up after we become parents? I guess that's when we rely on YOU (our family and friends) to remind us that there is a world outside of the next diaper change.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

By the way - I'm Canada

Something I stole off Sohni's blog... Try it and tell me which country you are!

You're Canada!

People make fun of you a lot, but they're stupid because you've
got a much better life than they do.  In fact, they're probably just jealous.
 You believe in crazy things like human rights and health care and not
dying in the streets, and you end up securing these rights for yourself and
others.  If it weren't for your weird affection for ice hockey, you'd be
the perfect person.

Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid

Friday, May 05, 2006

Life without God is absurd

Fabien and I had really big issues about getting married in a church in France. The crux of it all was that I didn't want to get married in a church unless I was sure that there was no spiritual hypocrisy involved in our decision. Fabien is more of a "cultural christian", so he hadn't exactly considered the possiblity of getting married anywhere else.

Having opened pandora's box, we proceeded to go for catholic marriage preparation classes and embarked on a series of intense discussions. Fortunately we reached certain conclusions/resolutions before getting married (in the church).

Now that we're preparing for the baptism of our kid, we are going through those arguments again in its practical application - what are we going to tell our Tabulae Rasae about moral choices and God? A child learns not only by what you SAY but mainly by what you DO...

I call myself a very skeptical christian. There are many things which I still do not know and I still do not understand about our faith. Just some random examples include, my stand on abortion (I support it), the truth of other faiths (blind men and elephants?), and the existence of hell (what's the deal really?). How do I reconcile all this with Christianity? The answer is - I don't know right now, but I am still looking, and I'll tell you if I ever get this all figured out...

However that doesn't change what I already do know and believe. That God exists for me, and gives purpose, absolute moral standards and comfort to my existence. That I think my life without God in it would be absurd - in the sense of "deviod of meaning" as opposed to "comical"- because I would consider it intensely tragic!

Nietzsche's Parable of the Madman:

'Have you ever heard of the madman who on a bright morning lighted a lantern and ran to the market-place calling out unceasingly: "I seek God! I seek God!" As there were many people standing about who did not believe in God, he caused a great deal of amusement. Why? is he lost? said one. Has he strayed away like a child? said another. Or does he keep himself hidden? Is he afraid of us? Has he taken a sea voyage? Has he emigrated? - the people cried out laughingly, all in a hubbub. The insane man jumped into their midst and transfixed them with his glances. "Where is God gone?" he called out. "I mean to tell you! We have killed him, you and I! We are all his murderers!'

You see, having killed God, we're stuck with Sartre's "l'etre-pour-soi", because without God, human freedom is experienced as an intolerable burden: "man is condemned to be free." If God is dead, then there can be no objective standards of life. This was the "moral argument" point made in this 1948 Radio debate between Betrand Russell and Father Copleston.

Mood - pensive

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Robby refuses to sell eggs

I just came back from the market (yep I am still trying to walk around and keep active despite stopping work), and I am chuckling over what just happened.

Robby - the guy I normally buy my parma ham, cheese and eggs from, just refused to sell me some eggs. You see, I stopped eating cured meats from him because I only can eat salami and other uncooked meats from the more expensive but higher quality butcher during pregnancy. But I do still buy eggs from him.

So I went and asked for six eggs from Robby and he refused to sell them to me. The reason, he explained was because they were not fresh enough, and he didn't want to sell them to a pregnant woman. If he were to sell them to other people, he would just explain they would have to be consumed before this weekend, but he flatly refused to sell them to me on the basis of his ethical principles!

Since I come from a culture which is a mix of caveat emptor/laissez faire capitalism, and sharp chinese money-making dealing, the principles of this guy in the market place was really quite impressive to me.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Reality is trickling in...

OMG.. We are having a kid!

Sometimes the reality doesn't quite sink in. I have these phases from being completely over-prepared (with long lists plans etc..) to this vague disconected from this all feeling.

I think that (apart from a couple of food poisoning nasties) I have been really pretty healthy all through pregnancy. So there's no real feeling of wanting all this to end yet..

Then again, I CAN'T WAIT to see whether we have a girl or boy. I think we did a smart thing by telling our doctor not to tell us the sex of our kid, because the 9 months just sped by and now we are going to know for sure!

prettty cool that.

**Post Script on 4 May 2005 - We had a medical appointment today, and we are told that our kid is 3.5 kilos and still growing - phew!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Sharon apologises for lack of know-how


I just realised that I didn't publish all the comments l'd recieved, because I had no idea that I had accidentally activated the "moderate comments" feature. I was trying to get rid of the Spam comments but I think it was all abit of wasted effort.

So I was wondering why nobody loved me - GAH!

Sorry, sorry to anyone who commented. I read them all and I know I am loved!

Everything is fixed now (I think)...

Mood = sheepish (*bahhhh*)

Spring is Here!

Spring is here again in Turin... Fabien and I are walking around in the sunshine at the river near our house.

Looking at all the pretty spring flowers...

And having yummy fresh mozerella and tomato salads (we grow our own basil) this is prepared by Chef Fabien..