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Then it began to sink in. Yes, I'm now a mother! ... Grace Chen

The day we found out I was expecting was a mere couple of days before I was due to go on a business trip. My husband and I visited a GP just before the clinic was about to close and to our delight and surprise, the doctor confirmed my pregnancy with a smile. In any case, the business trip was canceled due to concerns over medication I had to take and it was not recommended to take flights during the first trimester. 

This was just the start of a series of changes that were about to happen (read: physical back aches, fatigue, hormone-causing acne, feet swelling, the bulging and ever-growing belly, as well as psychological - anxieties over whether the baby will grow well, expectations of whether we could be good parents, fears, and concerns).

Fast forward to around 9 months later. Just before the Lunar New Year, I went for my regular monthly gynae check up. Unexpectedly, the gynae prescribed medicine to prevent early contractions as the baby had not yet reached 36 weeks and told me to try to keep the baby in for at least a couple more weeks to avoid premature birth. Thus far, my husband and I had been great procrastinators. We hadn't even got a cot for the baby, much less the often-mentioned pregnancy hospital bag. The message from the gynae was to be prepared and in his words, "Could be anytime...". 

The visit to the gynae triggered us to start seriously preparing for Marie's impending arrival. This included a last minute maternity photo shoot just one day before she came out!

On the 26th of February, I visited the gynae in the morning, thinking that it would yet be another check up. After nothing that I was starting to have contractions and a 2-3 cm dilation, the gynae asked if we were ready.

"Ready? Oh man, the time is here..." Thoughts like these ran through my mind. Everything seemed to pass in a flurry. Cue frantic messages to family, friends, and colleagues. 

It was time to go into the delivery ward!

Being my first pregnancy, I had no idea what to expect despite going for childbirth courses prior to this. Initially, I was inclined towards natural birth without painkillers. However, after more than five hours, the contractions became stronger and greatly exceeded my pain threshold.
"Give me the epidural....!" was the plea to my husband. The injection helped to numb the pain and afterward it was a rather pleasant journey to the birth of our daughter. A couple of pushes towards the end, and just like that, out came the baby. 

Afer 37 weeks in my stomach, it was a surreal feeling to see the little one out finally. Then it began to sink in. Yes, I'm now a mother! Welcome to the world Baby Marie!
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