Archives for the day Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Yassy’s note: Pregnancy week 17 week – 21 week

In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s note: Pregnancy week 13 week – 16 week“,I wrote about how my pregnancy went from week 13th through 16th week,and shared some of the sonogram picture of Liam with you.

Here,I would like to share my pregnancy and Liam’s growth from Week 17th through 21st.

March 2014 was cold snowy month due to Titan,the ice storm,plus Vulcan, the snow storm,Wiley the winter storm.

As I wrote in the previous entry, my parents in Japan shipped the box to me, but it did not arrive within 10 days, even 14 days later.Therefore, at the both ends, we asked post office what has happened to the box they tried to ship.

The state side post office said that they only can see the record that says the box was scanned to get loaded into the plane to the states but no record shown it arrived on the state side.

Me and my parents both worried wondering if it got lost in the air, but early March,finally, it showed up.I still do not know what has happened to the box that made the box arrived so late but,it looked like it was not opened by somebody and not missing any items so,all was ok.

One of the stuff my parents sent me was “belly band”. It was pink and cute, and some pregnancy pants, and an amulet for safe delivery without complication.

When I received the box, I made a call to my parents to let them know about the arrival of their box and on the phone, my mother told me that my father will be visiting us in May 2014.I was so happy to hear about that.

I cannot see them everyday or even every special occasion because they live so far away ; 14 hours flight away,to be exact. Therefore, it was nice to hear that my father will be visiting us soon.

Right after we received my parents’ box that contained safe pregnancy amulet,I kept it inside my purse every time we visit OBGYN.I just felt like having amulet with me calmed me down.

As for how I was during the March, I felt warm,tired and somewhat pain in the lower belly and I often went to nap. When waking up.. I often felt better, but felt a little nausea.It was not as bad as I needed to stay in the bathroom to throw up,though.

Because of nausea,I did not feel like eating much, but I tried not to miss the meal because it would have been bad to Liam in the belly nutrition wise.

One thing I ate and could eat even if I had nausea was Yogurt with fruits. I do not like flavored yogurt because it is sugary and not nutritionally good either. Therefore, everyday I ate plain yogurt 3 times a day (2 scoop of spoons) over fresh cut fruits and, I fond myself finishing up one 32 oz yogurt cup container within 1 week:)

I remember I liked eating various fruits with yogurt so, I made yogurt plate like.. strawberry,kiwi,and grapes with dash of yogurt on top.No sugar added.

I think it was good routine for Palette as well, because when the container got empty, she got to lick the cup however she wants.She licked the cup squeaky clean…she does not mind that she is getting yogurt covered eyebrows.

Palette and yogurt cup 2

Palette and yogurt cup..

My belly was not noticeable to others yet,when I am wearing the clothe.

This month was when I was hitting close to 20th week;the middle week in the whole pregnancy journey. It was the time when me and my husband has started thinking about more on car seat arrangement or idea of parent-kid class he wants to take with him/her:)

Child birth classes and breastfeeding classes..

Child birth classes and breast feeding classes are two of the classes my husband and I were thinking of attending before Liam was born.

We are the first parents and everything what we went through was new to me,and we thought that attending classes would help us prepare for the big day and feeding after the birth.

The classes we could have attended had 2 options;weekly classes lasting for a month or so or one day deal taking about 3-4 hours long. We wanted to attend but around 20th week,we did not find the classes that suits to my husband’s work schedule, and we could not sign up for the classes until much later,when we finally found the hour we could go.

It would have been nice if hospital could offer online course on this matter but, I think teaching technique online for the birth might have been difficult, and might not be as effective as “hands on” approach.

Childbirth classes we wanted to go included information on the labor process, relaxation, breathing , role of the partner, medical interventions, cesarean delivery, & the post partum period. The class also included a tour of the maternity ward. Both classes were at the hospital.

I thought,as for birth classes, knowing what to look for as sign of labor, knowing the whole process, knowing what I needed to do during the labor, where we will be at after the birth looked good thing to know beforehand.

In the end, we did not to get to attend the birthing class because class was hold only about 2-4 times a month, and we had hard time finding the time that fits to our schedule plus, Liam suddenly decided it was time for him to come out before we get to attend the birthing class we have finally found the time we could and were supposed to attend.

However, we could attend breastfeeding class at the hospital.

It was 3 hour class for parents focusing on the basics of breastfeeding the babies. The class was great way to learn the basic of how to breastfeed the baby such as the skills and overall knowledge to help Liam and I to start.

You would think that breastfeeding comes naturally to both mom and babies, but I learned that breastfeeding actually involve practice,patience and knowledge.

Especially, Liam was born almost 3 weeks earlier than due date, and spent 3 weeks at NICU, when he was at NICU, he did not know how to suck yet which is the skill that babies would learn around 37th week in mother’s belly.

For him, it took more time with me to practice and his effort. It was not a easy start, but he got hang of it and he became pro for the breastfeeding. When he became pro, he spent like 40 minutes total.. really. I liked watching him sucking milk with his eyes closed and then fall asleep in my arms.

Often time, I found the drip of milk on his cheek. He was so cute. Well, to me, he is always be my son and he is cute always,but breastfeeding gave me different emotional level of comfort and love.

It was something you cannot feel when you give bottles to the babies for the feeding.

Anyway, the class was informative and it was good move to attend the class. Overall, the class gave us more knowledge on breastfeeding and it worked great for Liam and I.

As for OBGYN visit, we had only 2 visits;one for regular OBGYN visit,and the other for high risk OBGYN visit.

When we went to regular OBGYN, we could hear the heartbeat.Last time it was 144 bpm,but this time was 138bmp.I was told above 110 is good one so, I was not worry,then.

Every time we visited the OBGYN and had a chance to hear Liam’s heartbeat, it made us smile knowing he is doing fine in my belly.

I was expected to have sonogram done there too, but it was only heart beat monitor and we did not get to see Liam on the screen.

In fact, thinking back, I had only one sonogram done at regular OBGYN place and more often at high risk OBGYN. Maybe the reason why the regular OBGYN did not do sonogram after the first one is because they could see the sonogram picture taken upstairs;at high risk OBGYN.They were in the same building.

AFP test result and beyond..

The regular OBGYN visit in March was stressful after meeting my doctor because when the doctor came in, she told us that they have found an abnormality on AFP test, and we might have a chance of birth defect with Liam.. although there are possibility of false positive as well..

Back at home, I remember kept thinking about that.. I know I should not stress out myself because first screening test was negative, and the genetic test that I had done before IVF came out clean, plus when I check online how the odds are calculated, the factor of just being over 35 is already push up the risk number up,and I saw many posts on forum about false positive among IVF ladies..

Many IVF ladies who had negative at first screening test ,positive result with second trimester AFP test gave birth to a healthy child after all.

Plus last time we were at high risk OBGYN, I know that they were measuring size of the head but everything looked good (the date was after AFP test was done by general OBGYN),we were told.

Next appointment with high risk OBGYN was close then, and I though that since they would do the anatomy test, they would see it on the sonogram and tell us if anything was horribly wrong..,which I hoped that would not be the case.

I remember I kept  praying that the result was false positive…

According to pregnancyabout website, this AFP test is said to have over 80% false positive; 80% of pregnant ladies who got positive with AFP gave birth healthy kid.

The site says that the false positive rates depend on many factors, including inaccurate gestational age, maternal age, weight, and presence of diabetes.

You can read the full article on AFP test at pregnancyabout website here.

Later in the March, we visited high risk OBGYN,and spent 4 hours there for the anatomy test.There, we found out the sex of the baby; boy.

Since I had positive result with AFP test at regular OBGYN, the high risk OBGYN told me about it  before the anatomy test we were scheduled to do.

In the conversation, the genetic counselor commented that if I were spotting (bleeding) often,then, it could make the test positive as well.It gave me a bit of relief.

According to him, when AFP test comes back positive, chance of having open neural tube defect (NTD) is 1 in 47, and it also means that there are possibility of having babies with other birth defect such as abdominal wall problems (there will be an opening in the abdomen, through which various abdominal organs can protrude;intestine,stomach,organs can be formed outside the body), or placenta problems etc..

However, incorrect gestational age,which in our case would not likely be the case since Liam was conceived via IVF,  maternal age, and bleeding/spotting could make the result false positive.

He said that that the cut off number is at 2.5 and above that number is considered positive and I was 2.6.

My result was only 0.1 above the cut off number but, he wanted me to repeat the AFP test plus do another genetic test called “harmony“,which he says that it has over 99% accuracy to detect the birth defect.

Also, on the very same day, our doctor talked us about possibility of follow up test such as amniocentesis,which I read that it has a little bit of risk of miscarriage and I was not comfortable doing that,knowing Liam was conceived after so many tries, and waited for him for so long. Taking risk for that test did not look like good thing for us.

You can imagine how much stressful I was, and how much I was worried over this.

However,knowing the test is known for lots of false positive result, it gave me a bit of relief.

I do not understand why AFP test was needed when the test is known for high false positive result. It is good to know the possibility of genetic abnormalities before birth when it comes to care at home or care at the hospital but still, if it gives lots of false positive, it will give pregnant ladies a lot of stress,which all of us know that stress is not a good friend to pregnant ladies.

If the doctor wanted to provide birth defect information to parents-to-be, then, I thought that skipping the AFP test and,instead, offering the harmony test which has more accurate result than AFP would have been much more understandable and practical.

Anyway,there was still a bit of concern with birth defect but, no matter what outcome will be, me and my husband have  had already decided that we will give him best care possible and he will be cared with lots of love.

Here are the sonogram pictures taken in March. I was in 21st week;20 weeks 2 days to be exact. Our sonographer captured Liam’s itty bitty foot prints and I thought it was very cute!

With 20th  week development, according to pregnancy corner website, Liam would have been around 11 oz and around 7.5″ long. Then,his lung would not be yet mature, but he would have been breathing.

It also says that the  dark green sticky substance called “meconium” is being produced. Meconium consists of cell loss and amniotic fluid that has been swallowed with digestive secretions. Lanugo (fine hair) still covers the body, and the hair is growing. The ears are fully functioning on their own.

You can read more on what is happening with you and your baby in week 20 here at pregnancy corner website.

Liam 20 weeks 2 days March 24,2014-1 blog

Liam 20 weeks 2 days old..

Liam 20 weeks 2 days foot prints  March 24,2014 -2 blog

Liam’s foot prints…

Naming the baby..

After the baby’s sex was revealed, we had fun thinking about his name. Having something positive in my thoughts was good one for sure.

We already knew that we will name the baby with Irish origin name for the first name, and Japanese name for the middle name.

In Japan, parents name kids wishing for the baby to be.

For example, my name means “healthy kid” in Chinese character because it is what my parents wish for me to be. My sister’s name in Chinese Character means “graceful kid” because my parents wish her to be. My mother’s name means “honest and beautiful” because her parents (my grandparents) wish her to be.

We named our little one “Liam” because the name had the meaning of “strong willed”,”desire”, and “protector”.

His Japanese middle name “Tsubasa”in Chinese character means ” Just like birds, open the wings and flies high in the sky to the goal; set up the goal and make an effort to get there.” The Chinese character also means “wisdom/smart”, “support/help others (considerate)”.

Liam’s first kick in the belly..

After the high risk OBGYN visit day, I started feeling Liam’s kick. As you know, this is my very first pregnancy and I did not know what to look for when doctor asked me many times whether I felt his kick or not. However, as day passes by, I started feeling what I am feeling on my lower belly (I was always being told I carried Liam very low) is actually his kick.

March 25th,2014.That is Liam’s first kick anniversary date,lol.

Now I felt his kick in the belly and knew that he now can hear us talking, it was around this time that I have started “ta-i-kyo-u” ( the prenatal care of an unborn child through the attention of a pregnant women belly; talking to the babies, listening to the music, playing games with unborn child in the belly).

What is Ta-i-kyo-u?

Ta-i-kyo-u is the prenatal care of an unborn child through the attention of a pregnant women belly; talking to the babies, listening to the music, playing games with unborn child in the belly.

It is believed that how pregnant ladies communicated with unborn child through babies (Ta-i-kyo-u) would have some effect on babies’ brain development and personality if not a lot.

According to joseibigaku website (written in Japanese), there is a story about pregnant ladies gave birth to a baby who did not cry as much (colic) and not too handful when she did Ta-i-kyo-u throughout her pregnancy.

It also says that by doing Ta-i-kyo-u, you too could relax and it could help keep you from feeling irritated, or any worries or stress from taking care of babies after they were born.

Ta-i-kyo-u itself is said to be the tool to build the relationship even before they are born that effects babies’ brain development and personality. Also, by stimulating the baby’s brain cell, it is also believed that you would have a baby who is curious about many things around them, have a babies that has less crying spell during the night.

When to start Ta-i-kyo-u?

Often times, I read that starting Ta-i-kyo-u from around 5th-7th months in the pregnancy. I have started this around 20th -21st week,because I read that babies can now hear our conversation through belly. It was also the time that I have started talking to Liam in the belly everyday,explaining what I am doing, what I am eating, what I hoped he would be liking etc..

Many books or magazines that I read say that it is good to simply talking to the babies, explaining things in your daily life and let their father talk to the babies as well.

I also read that listening to the music is also fine thing to do.

Many Ta-i-kyo-u CD includes piano music or classical music played with other instrument or music from music box (o-ru-go-u-ru). I did not buy them but rather, I was listening to Japanese artist “Yoshiki” playing classical music. He is very good piano player although he was originally from band “XJapan” where he played drum often.

Here is one of the music that I used to listen to for Liam.

I will be your love by YOSHIKI

Another music that I used to listen to is by “yu-min” (Japanese singer/song writer). This is not a classical music but I read that whatever music you choose, music that makes you relax and feel comfortable and feel good about is good to listen to.

The song is titled “Babies are popstars”. I liked the lyrics too.

Babies are popstars..

Another one that I was listening to although it is not a slow tempo,classical music is that the theme music from my favorite Korean historical drama ” Chuno”. This music is uptempo but, i really liked the music so,I was listening to it often.


My husband would have seen me being strange,but I was okay with it. Outside the house, I talked to Liam through my thoughts,without actually spell it out loud.

Besides talking,listening to the music, reading the books for babies are said to be good one too.However, babies cannot see the pictures ad stuff so, I read that explaining what are on the book is also good to do when you read the book to the babies in the belly.

Besides all of these, back home in Japan, some pregnant ladies like to talk to them in English or play the English speaking CD hoping for the advanced development for the language area.

You can actually find English CD for Ta-i-kyo-u in Japan.

Theories behind this talking to the babies in English is because it is believed that if the babies hear the English spoken by native English speakers, the babies’ ear would learn the pattern of English pronunciation better than  they would learn much later after they were born.Therefore, they could understand or learn English easier since it was the language/sound they would feel familiar with from the time in the belly.

In my case, Liam would have already been listening to English through TV,music, or wherever we go, so I talked to him in Japanese. I still do. Because I would like him to be able to communicate with my side of my family well as well.

Kick game..

Besides all of these above, some people like to build the relationship with unborn babies by playing game.

This game is called “kick game” in Japan, and it is very simple to play and I used to play with Liam in my belly too.

Basically, you would gently tap your belly and wait for the babies to kick back. I read that you can play this game from 6th months pregnant time.

First 2 weeks, babies would learn that the tap on the belly from mother is the sign that says “Lets play” and then another 1 week, they would learn the rule of the game; kick back number of taps mothers have tapped on the belly.

Here is how to play the kick game.

Level 1

1. tap your belly gently where you felt your baby’s kick and say “kick”, and wait until babies kick back

2. repeat

Level 2

1. Once level 1 is easily done with babies;when the babies start kicking back with your saying “kick”, tap the opposite side of the belly to where the baby has kicked by saying “kick”

2. wait til babies kick back at the spot where you tapped

3. when the babies could kick back the opposite side of their original kick point, you can change the tapping spot

Level 3

1. Up until now, you were waiting for the babies to kick back where you tapped, but now, you will go first

2. You can say “one”, “two” etc and tap the belly as you count and let the baby kick back the number you have tapped the belly

This game was quite fun to play.

I miss Liam’s kick and this kick game I used to play with him….

I sometimes felt my belly around talking to Liam saying “Is this your butt? Is this your head?” etc.. Checking the position of Liam was fun too.

Husbands cannot feel all of these wonderful babies kick etc..,so I always let my husband place his hand every time I felt Liam’s kick,and encouraged him to talk to, and also let him feel how Liam was positioning etc..

I think doing so was good relation building way for him and Liam:-)

I was always being told by doctors that I carried Liam very low. It was funny when I had the rectangle belly now and then;Liam must have been stretching or something. One side got bulged round, the other bulged but not round,making my belly rectangle.

I really should have taken the picture of rectangle belly.. I missed the chance.

I do not know if Ta-i-kyo-u helped Liam’s brain development,personality etc.. but one thing that we know is that he does cry but he does not cry to extreme. Only time he cries are wet diaper time, and food time.

He sleeps well. Everyone who we talked to seem to wow him hearing how well he sleeps especially night time. Since when he was around 3-4 months old,he slept around 10 – 12 hours or so without waking up.

When he was around 4 months old, his aunt,uncle has visited us too, and they were surprised how long he was sleeping without waking up.Liam was actually the last one to be up in the family:-)

One thing that I read regarding talking to the babies in the belly,by the way, is that you should talk to baby slowly,clearly and gentle tone.

Did you do anything similar to Ta-i-kyo-u while you were a pregnant?


Mar 10, 2015 | Comments are off | Pregnancy