Friday, 1 July 2011


Sitting here at my computer in my bedroom overlooking the sea, bridges and the cityscape of Macau, I hear the loud chatter of packers each masking tape screech tears painfully at my heavy heart. Why does it hurt so badly? When we first arrived I hated the oppressive grey and polluted skies of gloomy Macau, a country populated with rough Chinese people with a love of concrete and lonely slot machines ...I wanted to escape back to the smiling Thais with their appreciation for beauty and uncomplicated living. The smell of mould infiltrated my soul, lacing its hairy fingers around my blue skies, flowers, sunshine, spices and warmth.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Amandinho

A year and a half later I decide to return to my blog and it marks the occassion of Amandinho's birthday. My little angel born 52cm and 4.3 kgs is now a two year old, 90cm and 14kgs! Doesn't time fly.. my oh my.. I should have listened more when people said to savour every moment of the baby time and keep records

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

6 months

Length: 69cm
Weight: 8.8kgs

By Francis Thompson and William Blake

Know you what it is to be a child? ... It is to have a spirit yet streaming from the waters of baptism; it is to believe in love, to believe in loveliness, to believe in belief; it is to be so little that the elves can reach to whisper in your ear; it is to turn pumpkins into coaches, and mice into horses, lowness into loftiness, and nothing into everything, - for each child has a fairy god-mother in his/her own soul; it is to live in a nutshell and count yourself the king/queen of infinite space; it is:
To see the World in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

A video diary of Amandinho from 3 to almost 6 months.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

4 months

Weight: 7.2kgs
Heigth: 66cms

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

2-3 months

This past month was mostly spent with Amandinho's avos who doted over him and made my days much easier. He went on the plane for the first time to Krabi, behaving exceptionally well which is very much in keeping with his good humoured spirit. He rarely cries, except when he is hungry and then he is unconsolable. Mornings are my favourite time of day as he always wakes up with a huge smile and then spends some time lying on the bed between both of us, talking, laughing and playing. Last month we managed to establish a routine which suits all of us: (feedings at 6am,9am,12,4pm,8pm and 11pm... having baths at 8:30 in the mornings and 7.30 in the evenings) meaning that we reduced the number of feedings from 7 to 6 per day. Sleepless nights are a thing of the past now as he sleeps from 9ish to 6am, with only one bottle feed at 11pm during which he usually doesn't wake up.. only enought to suck on the bottle :-) Of course, as is natural in a sleeping cycle, he wakes up a few times at night, but now doesn't need me to fall asleep again. We've been training him to fall asleep alone after his evening bath to get him used to this. He is also not afraid to lie in his cot or plaly on his own, which I think is a real blessing!

3 months: 63cm and 6.8kgs

He is developing very well and during his monthly check up the doctor was impressed with the muscles in his legs (he doesn't stop kicking!!) and the strength of his neck. He is extremely alert, actively plays, responds to voices, repeats sounds, uses both hands, can hold his own bottle, has found his feet, rolls to one side, is now used to lying on his stomach, pushes himself around his playmat with his feet and is constantly in a good mood and smiling! Lucky or what!! :-)
He has taken to sucking his hands though and I often find him trying to push both fists into his little mouth, which I am trying to stop. Every time I say 'A Mama ralha' (mama will get angry) he quickly removes them .. which is funny to see. However, his Papa doesn't seem to mind and even encourages him by letting him slober on his arm! Funny to see how he can already distinguish what he can get away with with each parent. Despite my efforts not to let him use his dummy too much, he has started needing it to fall asleep and asks for it often during the day (something that sneaked in while his grandparents were here). Now, I have 'settled on an agreement' with him that he can use it to fall asleep at night time only when he is alone in his bed. I always take it with me for emergencies if we are out in public and he starts acting up.. though, I have never really needed it as he always acts like the angel that he is :-)
This may seem a bit odd, with my little rules and routines.. but well, no 1. I am Dutch (need organisation! LOL!).. No, I strongly believe that it is good to have some structure to make life easier for all of us (ie. not have a screaming baby on our hands if he is alone, one that needs to be carried to fall asleep, dependent on a dummy to be calm, wakes up and needs constant attention at night etc). So far it is working really well.. though I don't know if that is thanks to what I am doing, or that he is just a really good baby. Either way, I am in love and really enjoy his personality for now - independent, social, intelligent, playful, understanding, tender but with very masculine and strong manner and movements.... and most of all extremely determined!

Click here and here and here to see some photos of the third month of his life.
link to a video diary I made of his life from 1.5 - 3 months.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

1-2 Months

1 month: 56cms + 4.6 kgs
2 months: 60cms + 5.7kgs

He spent most of this month with his Oma and Opa Sprangers and travelled by car to Pattaya. He didn't sleep through the night, having two feedings at 2am and 5am which was torture for me :-(. He learnt how to do many exercises from his Oma and didn't stop kicking his legs. He started seeing us at the end of this month and trying to reach out to toys (the red monkey in his crib was the first one he touched). His smiles while sleeping developed into full blown smiles very early on, delighting everyone around him. BAthing time was fast becoming his favourite time of day as he learnt that kicking led to water being splashed out of the tub and onto his mama :-) He loved being held by papa in a belly down (monkey) position on his arms. Mama tried desperately this month to put some kind of routine to make him distinguish days from nights. My main aim was to keep him upstairs in the bedroom after his evening bath. Previously, we had always taken him downstairs to be with us if he cried and only really went to bed when we did at 11/12. Then, naturally he slept a lot during the day (which didn't help me, cause I find that impossible, no matter how tired I feel). The doctor suggested using a dummy to help keep him quiet at night time (had some cholics at the end of his first month)which I agreed to, but was also wary of as I hate seeing babies who cannot calm themselves without sucking on one.
What was cool this month is that Oma,Mama and Amandinho all had 31 years between them (62,31 and 0 respectively which is also double our ages) that is until Oma had her birthday on 2nd June and Mama on 30th July.

See link below:

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

D- Day

After a restless sleep, at 6:00 am the alarm clock marked the beginning of the day when Amandio Gabriel was born. Apprehensive yet strangly calm, I went through the motions of preparing for our departure to the hospital. The taxi ride there was excruciating. I hated that we were sitting in morning traffic when we could already be there and starting the process of finally getting to meet our son. With a cheery 'good luck' from the nurses in the Fertility reception area as we passed by, we entered the labour room. The staff there sprang into action, urine test, blood pressure check, temperature, blood tests, hospital gown on, IV inserted and hooked up to the fetal heartrate and contraction monitor. Lying in the bed with Amandio sitting beside me, the labour process was induced. 60ml.. then 80 mil of oxytocin. Wham.. my stomach tightened, sharp pains but still manageable when I focused on my breathing. I distracted myself successfully by reading 'Country Living' magazine and its peaceful garden photos and beautiful home renovation projects transported me to a very calm place.. which particularly helped when the time between each contraction shortened to 2minutes and the pain intensified. After almost five hours of this, I decided to lie down to get some rest (relatively speaking!) to conserve my energy for delivery. Imagine my letdown when after 10 hours of battling with the pain and being 'courageous' knowing that the end would come and was worth it, when the doctor informed us that I was still only 1cm dilated. Knowing of my preference for natural birth, he suggested we continue for another few hours to see how things progress. However, when I questioned him in detail about what he anticipated would happen, we decided to throw all my notions of natural birth and its benefits out the window and not delay the birth any longer. The doctor thought that at that rate I could be in labour for at least another 10 hours, but still may only reach 8cm max.. by which point the baby could be so distressed (my blood pressure soaring) that we would have to go for c-section anyway. Put that way..operating room!! I insisted on showering first..I guess as a kind of way to mark the end of one idea/stage and prepare for a new one. 15 minutes later the operating team was ready. Then, lower body numb, legs like heavy rocks, suction sounds, kisses from Amandio (who was wonderful and not at all phased by what was going on), eight hands on my abdomen, a heavy pushing feeling on my stomach (people say this lasts only a few seconds.. well, for me it was two minutes cause the doctor had been so careful to make a small incision that it took four people to push the baby out) and out he popped. FIrst thing I heard wasn't his cry but 'look at his big scrotum'! LOL! Needless to say, I know of someone who was pleased :-) Then, came the cry... weird feeling but beautiful too. The doctor placed Amandinho next to my head, photos were taken. The whole thing was magical, but in a surreal sense (hard to describe really as it all happened in a total of 15 minutes with plenty of jovial chatter in the room - hard to take it all in. I did feel my eyes well up when I saw him and it was probably Amandio's face while looking at his son that touched me most. For him it must have been easier to really 'live' the experience.

One of my concerns about c-section was the fact that I would only see Amandinho again after two hours in recovery and one hour in my room. This posed a huge problem for me and was one of the main things we discussed with the doctor prior to making the decision to go ahead with the surgery. It is proven that a baby who doesn't start breastfeeding within half an hour of the birth may have problems with breastfeeding. True to his word, the doctor made sure that as an exception Amandinho could be taken to me in recovery (depending on my condition of course). I requested them to 'send me to sleep' while they sewed up my insides as the feeling made me extremely nauseas. I woke up to find hands and faces above me, holding Amandinho to my breast which was being poked and squeezed at vigorously. It was actually quite comical :-) I just went with the flow, all inhibitions lost.

So, Master (the title printed on his Birth Cert and all other hospital documents)Amandio Gabriel Martins was born on Tuesday, May 19th, at 18:37 with the 11th Waning moon in the year of the Ox (also on his Birth Cert!). He weighed 3.43Kgs and measures 52cms.

Saturday, 16 May 2009


It is official.. my pregnancy-induced hypertension has now a high risk of becoming pre-eclampsia with traces of protein in my urine and blood pressure of 160/192. This is a disease occuring soley in 8-10% of end of term pregnancies and can be quite dangerous to both the mother and baby. The only known treatment is delivery (to rid the body of the placenta). It is related to a condition within the placenta which restricts blood flow and thus reduces oxygen and food supply to the baby. In my case it is only mild, but nonetheless the doctor is concerned because during the stress of labour it is likely to worsen. Therefore, the delivery date has been set - Tuesday 19th May - if it doesn't occur naturally prior to that day. Having a good look at my cervix today though indicates that this isn't likely to happen tomorrow.. but we are leaving a window of two days open for it to occur naturally.. hence the wait. This is due to the fact that though my cervix has softened and thinned (2cm to 1cm), it still hasn't lifted from a posterior to an anterior position nor has it started to dilate. The more time given for this to progress naturally, the easier labour could be.
How do I feel? Quite relieved to finally have a date to look forward to and definitely more relaxed. At the same time, I am sure that on Monday evening it'll be difficult to sleep in anticipation of what is to come. Sometimes it is better not to know .. :-). We have to be there at 7a.m and the doctor predicts that, provided there are no complications (blood pressure, oxygen levels) it could all be over in 8 hours. He will be keeping a watchful eye on the pre-eclampsia symptoms and did warn us that we may need to do c-section if labour doesn't progress as it should. I'm fine with this.. all notions of natural birth for me have blown out the window.. I just want our baby - with the least trauma possible :-)
As for the date, for some reason I was fixed on the 18th.. no real reason why, but it just 'felt right'. I like the fact that our baby will be Taurus and also the Chinese year of the Ox (highly compatible with Leos and the year of the Snake which both Amandio and I are).. of course, I don't read into astrology all that much but I do find it interesting. Amandio, forever the 'numbers man', made an interesting observation too; the 19th lies exactly in the middle of both his birthday (08th) and mine (30th) meaning that 11days separate all three of us. What is he like!!? In addition, 9 is also the luckiest number in Thailand. Right, now we know - Amandio Gabriel is due on 19-05-2009.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

The journey so far

journey so far
Video sent by footprint-s

From 13-08-08 to 14-05-09

The above is a link to a movie I made with all the photos and ultrasounds from conception to now (lol.. I am bored of waiting!).

Did I mention that I am ready!?? All the baby clothes are washed and ironed, the bedding in the craddle, the nappies and all the baby products in place on the changing table, my hospital bag packed and mentally geared up for labour.

Amandio bought me three South Sea pearls (silver white) for the birth from a wholesaler/ jewel trader colleague friend. Despite 'birth presents' being a tradition in his family, I wasn't expecting anything seeing as we already invested a lot in the IVF treatment and I had already received the blue sapphire ring at the beginning of the pregnancy. My sweety had saved for it though and of course I was very chuffed! The next surprise was that I had to go to our jewellers and design the ring itself. That was fun and I am sooo pleased with the result. Now I just have to wait until I can actually wear it.. another reason (though, of course, not the main one) for Amandio Jr. to make an appearance!

Most of these past two weeks I have spent my time 'nesting' a medical term coining the period when the mother organises her house and decorates etc. In my case, I am permanently in this condition as I love making home :-) Preparing my parents room did take up quite a lot of my time. I had nothing else much to do anyway and as I was feeling good and mostly energetic, browsing through fabric shops (in the end I designed an embroidery pattern on Thai silk to create a frame and hang above the bed), bedding departments, plant nurseries etc was a perfect way to pass the time. I've also continued teaching private students at home and completed Season 6 of 24.