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My Elective Caesarean section, birth plan and FAQs

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I wrote this post some times ago, and have revised it for few times when I acquired new tips. Hope that the sharing is useful to expecting mothers with similar experience like me.

Thank you to the advance of medicinal sciences and technology, pregnant women like me have a tremendously increasing chance of survival. However, it is also possible that because of the advance ultrasound, we got the prediction that our baby was too big for natural vaginal birth, that resulted in me ending up for an elective C-section.

Good bye my birth plan for natural birth!
Initially, I wanted to have a natural vaginal birth without epidural. My paternal grandmother, maternal grandmother, and mother have delivered nine, four, and four babies, respectively, through natural birth and without epidural. I have prepared my mind to have no fear in enduring labor pain. However, since I am going for a C-section, the birth plan can be put aside for the time being.

Since my pregnancy was considered not to require C-section, no maternal obesity, no high blood pressure, no gestational diabetes, no pre-eclampsia, our baby is not in breech position, I have prepared for the best. I only read up about natural birth, we watched videos about natural birth but not Caesarean at all. OK, I read a little bit about Caesarean.

Our baby was underweight all the way, then he started to have normal weight. That’s good. Then, in the last 2 weeks, he gained about 0.5 kg per week. Well, our baby is a late boomer.

On my 39th week 3rd day (in the evening), the ob-gyn recommended me to go for an elective Caesarean the next day or the day after. We did not have any mental preparation.

The C-section was scheduled 2 days before our baby’s EDD (expected due date). Until the day before the C-section, I had no major contraction, no bloody show. I only suffered from back pain from growing tummy, and could only sleep on left side, with a little pillow to support my belly (with baby inside).

Since the operating theaters were not available the next day after we saw the ob-gyn, I had a day extra to find out more about C-section.

To quote Marie Curie, "nothing is to be feared, only to be understood." I think and feel that the more I understand, the more prepared I will in facing challenges in lives. That is what happened when I prepared myself mentally and physically for tandem skydiving, paragliding, many academic examinations in the past, delivering talks, and venturing into the foreign countries on my own. In addition to my birth country where my parents took care of me, I have lived and survived on my own in five foreign countries, learning the systems from the scratch, making new friends, finding ways to my accommodation. To learn about making peace, I have also traveled to war torn site where soldiers with gun pointed at our bus. I have nothing to be fearful of except God.

In the evening we saw the ob-gyn, we decided to follow the ob-gyn’s advice. He told us that he was worried that the baby may have shoulder dystocia or injured nerves as he might be too big to pass through my birth canal. The ob-gyn even did not bother to check if my cervix was dilated. Shoulder dystocia affects less than 1% of birth, but our baby might have an increased risk.

As of the 39th week 3rd day, our baby has not reached the criteria of macrosomia (big baby syndrome). Note that fetal weight estimations late in pregnancy are pretty imprecise.
Perhaps, the ob-gyn thinks that our baby is big, I am small (though not small by Asian standard). I still remember my Spanish girlfriend remarked that I looked slim while pregnant, without a big belly. She teased me "I hate you". Well, now my belly looks big, I agree with the ob-gyn that our baby is likely to be a big size but I was hopeful that I can deliver him naturally.

The ob-gyn prefers the election C-section instead of an attempt of natural labor followed by emergency C-section with high risk in between. Emergency C-section has increased risk of surgical and anaesthetic complications. Post-surgical remark : I think my anesthetist was cool! He estimated the right birth weight of our baby with a difference of 0.002 kg. I may consider anesthetist as a career, if I had a chance to go to a medical school.

For the safety of our baby, we consented for an elective C-section. It was difficult to book an operating theater at our hospital of choice, they seemed to be unwilling to give us a slot, until the ob-gyn personally spoke to the hospital staff. The latter thought that we chose an elective C-section for horoscopic purpose. Actually, we did not care about the timing, as long as our ob-gyn feels comfortable and not in rush, of course we understand that he wants to see patients at his clinic at particular time slots. The most important thing is the safety of our baby. When I tried to think positively about the hospital, I come out with a positive explanation (as advocated by Martin E. Seligman): they perhaps reserve the operating theater for emergency C-section for mothers who have not succeeded to try to deliver naturally.

"My attitude is Que sera sera. Accept things that I cannot change. Now, we can only make decisions based on our limited knowledge."

Our baby was still moving happily in my womb on the day -1 of C-section. Soon, I will be able to see and hug the little one whose tiny feet and knee often protrude on my belly. However, I was concerned with the slower recovery from C-section, how I was going to take care of our baby. Post-delivery note: it turned out to be a huge challenge! Since my left hand was poked with medication, I have no strength to bring my baby to my side to breastfeed him.

FAQs (note: you should always consult your healthcare provider):

Q Why did our baby suddenly grow so much?
1. Since I complained about abdominal pain and my cervix was relatively short as compared to normal, I was prescribed 200 mg of Utrogestan daily to prevent premature delivery, for a period of 2 weeks (until the safe date for our baby’s birth). I did not took it for the last 2 days of prescriptions. I was also asked to rest more, which I enjoyed as I love reading, gazing at the park nearby, and freed me from the need to commute to work. I love to work, but I find that fighting for a space in public transport is like a daily battle and I had to be extremely careful of irresponsible people who run to rush for the train.
2. Honestly, I ate some chocolate cakes, though I do not think that I ate excessively based on my normal weight gain. The ob-gyn told me that my baby weight has nothing to do with my diet.

Q: How do I know if our baby is really big?
A: A friend had a baby measured using ultrasound for 3.5 kg, but the baby girl arrived weighting only 2.8 kg. That is why they said that the ultrasound weight prediction is imprecise. Both father and mother of our baby are not fat genetically, how can our baby be so big? Perhaps he is lengthy, and the weight measurement of ultrasound is based on the length.

Q. If I have a short cervix, will it be a shorter path for our baby to pass through, then why I cannot attempt a natural vaginal birth?
A. In my consent form, the reason for elective C-section is Cervical dystocia.
What is cervical dystocia? difficult labor and delivery caused by mechanical obstruction at the cervix.
I also read that "In preparation for childbirth, the woman’s cervix shortens."
I am confused.
No matter what, we are grateful that our baby did not end up as a premature baby.

Q: How do I know my cervix is dilating?
A: " if my cervix was in fact dilated, then I’d be able to feel something hard on the other side of it"
www.babycenter.com said that a pelvic exam can result in too much stimulation and more dilation of cervix.
Self-check may be dangerous / unhygienic, risk of breaking water bag, feel for the "hole in the donut".
"you could go 3 weeks more without going into labor after you have become effaced or started dilating"

Q: Does short cervix cause cervix dystocia?
A: I cannot find answers to this.

Q: Is C-section less painful than natural birth?
A: No, this is a misconception. The pain that is experienced because of surgery is greater than that of labor and therefore requires a more intense nerve block. It seems that I was going to endure more pain but the effect was minimized through anesthesia, but for the subsequent days I had to endure more pain as compared to natural birth.
It seems to me that
natural birth: short-term severe pain, long-term mild pain.
C-section: short-term mild pain, long-term severe pain (with the risk of longer recovery).

Post-surgical note : I heard that some women opt for elective C-section to preserve their vagina, in order to keep their husband happy.

Q: What are the risks of C-sections?
A:
postoperative adhesions.
incisional hernias: may require surgical correction.
wound infections.
placenta accreta.
emergency hysterectomies.
postnatal depression.
newborn mortality before 39 weeks.
C-sections for subsequent pregnancies & deliveries.
Emergency C-sections have additional risks:
anaesthesia risk: due to stomach not empty.
severe blood loss.
postdural-puncture spinal headaches.

Q: Will C-section reduce the chance to conceive / have the subsequent baby?
A: There will be an increase risk of
1. placenta accreta (only 0.13% after two Caesarean sections, but increases to 2.13% after four and then to 6.74% after six or more surgeries).
2. emergency hysterectomies.
40% or more of women having three or more C-sections will experience the complications of heavy bleeding and needing hysterectomy.
"By the time a woman gets to her third cesarean, she’s at serious risk for life-changing and even life-threatening complications," says Bernstein.

Q: Can one have a vaginal birth after a previous C-section?
A: Yes, but there will be a risk of uterine rupture which is catastrophic. We had a heart-to-heart discussion and decided that we are happy with 2-3 children, even if just 2 children.

Q: Should I choose between GA (general anaesthesia) or epidural?
A: Regional anaesthesia (e.g. using epidural) is preferred as it allows the mother to be awake and interact immediately with her baby.
You may still feel some pressure or a tugging sensation at some point during the surgery.
A catheter is then inserted into your urethra to drain urine during the procedure, and an IV is started (for fluids and medications including antibiotics) if you don’t have one already.

Q: Does one have to shave for C-section?
A: The top section of your pubic hair may be shaved (http://www.babycenter.com). My ob-gyn prefers full shave.

Q: What are the types of C-section, their pros and cons?
A:
1. VERTICAL / Longitudinal incision. Con: more complication. Pro: more space to deliver baby. Used in emergency C-section to allow a quicker access to baby.
2. HORIZONTAL / lower uterine segment section / a transverse cut just above the edge of the bladder. Pro: less blood loss.
The procedure involves an incision through the skin, abdomen, muscle, and then into the uterus. From start to finish, including pre- and post-op, a typical C-section lasts 3-4 hours.

Q: Should I request for antacid medication?
A: You may be given an antacid medication to drink before the surgery as a precautionary measure. If an emergency arises, you may need general anesthesia, which puts you at risk for vomiting while you’re unconscious and inhaling your stomach contents into your lungs. The antacid neutralizes your stomach acid so it won’t damage your lung tissue.
For me, since I suffered from gastric pain in the past, I would prefer to request for an antacid.

Q: Can my birth partner attend C-section?
A: Your partner, freshly attired in operating room garb, may take a seat by your head.
Sometimes no for emergency C-section, in which GA is used.

Q: What Bible verses can help to prepare Christian mothers for C-section?
A:
2 Corinthians 12:9,10 "My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness. … For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Psalm 103:1-5 "… who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, …"
Proverbs 31:10-31 "A mother’s love is like a beacon burning bright with faith and prayer. Through the changing scenes of life, we can find a haven here. A mother’s love is something that no one can explain — it is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice and pain."

Q: How expensive is C-section?
A: Caesarian is $500 + $925 = ~ $1,500 more expensive than normal delivery.
Note that this calculation has not included:
room charges.
equipment usage fee.
medication fee.
anesthetist fee.
baby’s stay.
pediatrician fee.
doctor’s daily visits (even just to ask "are you ok?").
Eventually, several thousands $ are required.
Personally, I try to save money by sharing a room. I can still have privacy of view thanks to the curtain, but patients have limited privacy of sound. My first night roommate heard my family’s and relative’s conversations, and by default I have to listen (& get to know my second and third night roommates because some (I think many of) their relatives speak loudly). An ear plug is a rescue.

Q: How is placenta removed during C-section?
A: The ob-gyn will do it.

Q: How is the suture done?
A: The stitches used for your uterus will dissolve in the body. The final layer – the skin – may be closed with stitches or staples, which are usually removed three days to a week later (or your doctor may choose to use stitches that dissolve on their own). Closing your uterus and belly will take a lot longer than opening you up, usually about 30 minutes.

Q: How to breastfeed after C-section?
A:
1. you and your newborn lie on your sides facing each other.
2. football / rugby position.
To minimize discomfort, place a pillow over the incision while holding your baby.

Q: How is lochia removed after C-section?
A: According to Mayo Clinic, “Expect a bright red, heavy flow of blood for the first few days after the C-section. It might contain a few small clots. The discharge will gradually taper off, becoming more watery and changing from pink or brown to yellow or white. To reduce the risk of infection, use sanitary napkins rather than tampons. Contact your health care provider if your bleeding soaks a sanitary pad each hour for two hours, you pass a clot larger than a golf ball, the discharge has a foul odor, or you have a fever of 100.4 F (38 C) or higher.”

Q: How to recover from C-section?
A:
As soon as the anesthesia wears off, your doctor will encourage you to get up and walk around, which reduces the risk of a dangerous blood clot (pulmonary embolism) forming. Post-surgery note: I only remember a voice telling me to move my legs after the surgery, even though I was immobile.
Avoid strenuous work (e.g., lifting objects over 4.5 kg, running, walking up stairs, or athletics) for up to six months.
Rest as much as you can.
Talk less.
Wait ~ 18 months before attempting to conceive another baby.
According to babycenter, pee often, even if you don’t feel the urge to go. In the first few days after you give birth, your bladder may be less sensitive than usual, so you may not feel the need to urinate even when your bladder is quite full. In addition to causing urinary problems, a full bladder makes it harder for your uterus to contract, leading to more after pains and bleeding.

Q: What are food precaution after C-section?
A: My mother: do not eat hard food (e.g. rice) immediately after surgery, but drink something warm or eat porridge. If the porridge is cold, do not eat.
Do not eat TianZiWang.
Do not eat fried food.
My mother in law: do not to eat poultry within 12 days after C-section because today poultry is heavily injected with hormones.
My confinement lady: Do not eat ginger and wine within 12 days after C-section.
My confinement lady: Do not do post-natal abdomen massage, but hand, foot, back massage are ok after 12 days of delivery. A friend A of CW who also delivered via emergency C-section went for the post-natal abdomen massage, and felt uncomfortable after it. Personally, I think foot massage has risks too because of the linkage of acupressure points.
See also my notes on confinement.

More details:
www.webmd.com
www.mayoclinic.com
www.babycenter.com

Things I did on day -1 of my elective LSCS:
Read, watched, learned about C-section.
Drank a lot of water because I felt so thirsty.
Drank red date tea.
Paid all my outstanding credit card bills. I did not know how long it would take me to recover.
Requested the father of our baby to help us take photos of my tummy with the baby at the park.
Trimmed my eyebrow and fringe.
Clipped my nails to prevent scratching our baby.

New birth plan for my elective lower segment C-section (LSCS):
To ask healthcare provider:
Will my IV contain antibiotic?
Will I be given antacid? to request.

Before I head into the operating room, let my doctor know that I would like to see our baby as soon as possible after the delivery (as long as he is healthy).
Tips: if you have myopia, you will not be allowed to wear your soft lens, so bring your spectacles with you (and do not let any nurse to take them away). If they insist, pass it to your birth partner. Like me, you want to see your baby clearly.

If the ob-gyn allows, ask the father of our baby to play soothing music. Post-surgical note: I forgot to request. Then, I tried to console myself that music may distract my ob-gyn.

After C-section, to confirm with the ob-gyn if I do not have vertical incision.
If there was vertical incision, uterus is more likely (8 – 10%) to rupture during a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).
Note: outside incision may be horizontal, but invisible inside incision may be vertical.
My ob-gyn said I have horizontal incision.

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Written by blueroselady

March 8, 2013 at 11:07 pm

How not to listen to non-constructive criticism?

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This article is inspired by John Gurdon’s experience on criticism. He received Nobel prize in 2012. Though I have never met him, I counted a blessing that in a period of my life, I walked / cycled passed the Gurdon Institute (named after him) regularly.

An Eton teacher of John Gurdon wrote that the then 15-year-old John Gurdon wouldn’t listen, couldn’t learn simple biological facts and, horror of horrors, "insisted on doing work in his own way". In one test, Gurdon scored a miserable two out of 50.

The report made John Gurdon disheartened, but fortunately one of John Gurdon’s early decision on not to listen to non-constructive criticism indeed played an important role in his subsequent research work, including the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells (and ended up winning a Nobel prize).

How not to listen to non-constructive criticism?

1. Be prepared that in life, no matter what we do (including noble actions), some people will criticize us. To protect ourselves against these peace robbers, we can
# enhance our inner strength by reminding / focusing ourselves on our strength
# have a thick face

2. Be aware of the reasons why people give non-constructive criticism

# jealousy and justification attempt. They are jealous of our achievements and attempt to gain self-importance by criticizing us. They justify themselves at the expense of us. Do not fear those who criticize us because of their jealousy. Perhaps, those who criticize us suffer from low self-esteem and meet their need of having self-importance by criticizing, instead we can be kind by giving them empathy and sympathy.

# ignorance and inexperience. For example, you want to attempt a new venture and you seek advices from people around you. Those who never start up a company or those who have failed will project their fear and criticize you. Do not listen to these naysayers. Instead, consult those who have successfully achieved what you want to achieve.

3. Be mindful of your perspective (mind), emotions, and body

# Must be able to see the BIG PICTURE
When I was a primary and junior high school student, I accept the fact that teachers are role models. I did not question their authorities. They were the grown-ups with more knowledge and wisdom than me who was only a fledgling individual. I did not realize that teachers are also human beings, subjected to human conditions (both positive and negative attributes). Few of my teachers had ego and misused their authorities. They criticized students who refused to follow them, e.g. if a student refused to learn bad words, he would be labeled as self-righteous. Fortunately, I moved to a better school and I learned a lot from my kind teachers – those who teach for the passion of teaching and nurturing the next generation more than for earning an income (of course everyone has to earn a living). Looking back, those teachers who criticized things I thought as right, did no longer matter.

Then, when I started my study in a famous place, an unhappy professor told me that the only reason I went there was because of the fame. Well, while that reason honestly contributed to my decision, I had bigger reasons why I fought all my ways to gain admission there. At that time, when such a professor with his authority / power and perceived superiority (in knowledge, ability, etc) said such things to students, the impact could be huge. However, I did not listen to him. I shifted my focus to my purpose (FOCUS ON YOUR PURPOSES). I managed to work with more successful (and more generous and kinder) professors, produced results, and graduated. My mentor CNC loves to say that success is always the sweetest revenge (without harming our past offenders).

My learning journey then brought me to meet inspiring entrepreneurs. In some aspects, I look up to entrepreneurs who create jobs for many people and excellent products / services with great values, more than to professors who care only about their tenure, publications, and self-importance in their fields (of course, there are always kind professors, I was fortunate to meet and work with few of them). My experience with the entrepreneurs unleash an inner desire of me: to be an entrepreneur. That is why I am working everyday to prepare myself for my venture, to provide values to my customers. I believe that I will be invited to teach / give talks at universities because of my expertise, instead of having to apply and fight for limited faculty positions.

To summarize, I have met more people and seen the world, my perspectives have changed. When you climb a mountain, your standpoint / perspective has elevated, you can see wider and hence the bigger picture.

# Must be able to be the master of our emotion
Often, when one is criticized, one will end up feeling sad, shameful, worried (worry is a kind of fear), or angry. All these emotions are of lower consciousness.
Be aware of your emotion, then you can shift those of lower consciousness to those of higher consciousness (e.g. courage, patience).
For example, you can manage your anger through techniques such as loving yourself, Siberian North Rail Road, and detachment.

# Learn to relax our body
Criticisms from people whose matter to us (e.g. parents, teachers, bosses, co-workers, or even peers) can result in racing heart, sweating, shaking, flushing face.
When you are aware of these physical reactions of your body, use relaxation to calm down. Breath deeply. Visualize / imagine serene places that you remember from your travel. Recall prayers that you have said countless times.

"Let nothing disturb you,
nothing frighten you,
all things are passing.
God is unchanging.
Patience gains all;
nothing is lacking to those who have God:
God alone is sufficient."
St Teresa of Avilla

Related:
How to Handle Criticism and Nonconstructive Feedback by Nicole Wolfe
*Davidson_not_hopeless* (in my ref folder)

More readings:
http://www.economist.com/node/21564525
http://www.talentsmart.com/articles/

A prayer for my baby in Aug 2012

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God
Please help my baby to grow healthily and happily.
Please help my baby to have positive outlook of life, always think positive and solution-oriented.
Please help my baby to find a role model from maternal grandmother who is persevered and calm in the face of difficulties, disasters, and death.
Please help my baby to find a role model from paternal grandfather who is a big dreamer and multi-talented (a former entrepreneur, martial arts teacher, impromptu designer and engineer, and a lifelong learner).
Please help my baby to grow kind, sweet, polite, gentle in words and actions especially towards parents and the weaker ones.
Please let baby to grow into a beautiful child and adult, with innocent, kind, encouraging eyes and charming smiles.
Please help my baby to grow up to be multilingual (at least 3 languages), to respect people of diverse backgrounds, to have many friends and few close lifelong friends.
Please let my baby to learn about internally generated happiness and peace, because many times people cannot expect too much from the world.
Please let my baby to grow inner strength, not easily affected by bad peer, if any, and negative influences from media.
Please let my baby to grow up to like reading books and appreciate nature, to dislike watching TV and playing computer games.
Please let my baby grow up to like healthy food hailed from worldwide, to dislike junk food, to care about his nutrition.
Please help my baby to be proactive and responsible at his study and work.
Please let my baby to find the love of life, just a person, no multiple partners, no divorce, but a person who deeply loves my baby and allows my baby to live and grow happily together till old ages.
Please let my baby to live passionately.

Written by blueroselady

August 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Posted in God

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Positive affirmations for pregnant Moms

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Birth is safe for me and my baby.
I accept my labor and birth.
I accept the help of others.
I am a good mother.
I am a strong woman.
I am surrounded by those who love and respect me.
I know how to take care of my baby.
I know how to take care of myself in pregnancy.
I love my baby.
I love my baby, my baby loves me.
I trust my body.
I will make plenty of breast milk for my baby.
I will make the right decisions for my baby.
My baby feels my love.
My baby knows the true birthday.
My baby loves me.
My baby senses the peace I feel.
My baby will be born at the perfect time.
My baby will find the perfect position for birth.
My baby’s head fit snuggly into my pelvis.
My body knows how to give birth.
My body knows when to give birth.
My pregnant body is beautiful.

For Christian Moms
Be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead! I Peter 1:6
Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act. Psalm 37:5,7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:19
I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 43:4
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
The kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21

Written by blueroselady

August 21, 2012 at 8:27 am

How to conceive?

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God, please give us a baby to love and nurture.

Here are strategies worth trying:
1. pray, always pray, never lose faith and never give up!
2. Use ovulation kit.
3. Have sex during ovulation / PEAK and every other day during fertile period.
4. Avoid lubricant, hand lotion, saliva. They can slow down and kill sperm.
5. Sex position: the husband is on top of the wife. After lovemaking, wife lies still for 20-30 min, put a pillow under hips.
6. quit smoking, avoid smokers.
7. relax and reduce stress: cut back at work, do not bring work back home.
8. rest: have enough sleep.
9. exercises, e.g. pilates can strengthen pelvis, yoga
10. food: eat fertility boosting diet.
11. be careful with herbal remedies. Avoid St John’s wort, Echinacea purpurea, gingkgo biloba.
12. avoid pesticides, chemical solvents, dusts, sprays, paint thinners. If not possible, wear a mask, long pants, long sleeves, vinyl gloves (latex gloves are useless)
13. treat infection immediately because infectious discharge may stop sperm from entering uterus.
14. Husband: avoid heat e.g. hot water (bath tub soak, sauna), tight pants. Overheat sperm cells can be damaged. It takes 74 days for 1 full cycle of sperm production!
15. Wife: check your thyroid hormone level. Low level can impair ovulation.
16. Tell your doctors / physicians that you are trying to conceive before they prescribe any medicine.
17. regular check up with gynecologist. Babies worth more than the $ spent for the specialist.

What is PEAK?
(i) the last day of fertile mucus / slippery sensation (ii) not necessarily the day of most mucus. (iii) sensation of slippery (wet) is important.

See also:
https://blueroselady.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/notes-about-endometriosis/
https://blueroselady.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/tips-first-gynecologist-visit/
https://blueroselady.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/how-to-achieve-pregnancy-billings-method/
https://blueroselady.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/how-to-conceive-and-have-a-baby/
https://blueroselady.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/what-if-the-way-you-live-now-affects-the-life-expectancy-of-your-children-and-grandchildren/
https://blueroselady.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/pregnancy-early-signs/
https://blueroselady.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/hope-for-older-mothers/

Written by blueroselady

July 8, 2012 at 5:26 am

How do I know God's will for me?

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Fr Paul Boudreau suggests need no further than Scripture, the Church and my own personal history.

Finding the will of God is really important for those of us who love the Lord and want to live our lives according to His purpose for us.

We have the Bible, the Word of God that "was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4)

By prayer we can discern ‘what is the will of God and obtain the endurance to do it’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church no 2826).

We already know the will of God.
It is spoken somewhere deep within us, in the hidden part of our hearts where God is known and encountered.
It is where God’s love is generated in us, in our strongest desires.

GOD IS ALWAYS WITH US,
through the crooked ways and the straight,
the successes and the failures.

People have a natural desire for happiness.
This desire is of divine origin:
God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it.
Catechism no. 1718

Look in my heart.
What is my true desire?
Follow that desire; do what I love.

I love to share my love, my knowledge, my encouragement and my smiles.

Written by blueroselady

May 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm

I no longer want to visit Tibet in China

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In 2006, I was greatly inspired by the photos of Tibet taken by LD (2004) in travel and documentary style.
Then, I seriously put time and efforts to learn photography on my own and from good photographers around me.
The blue sky, the white clouds that seem touchable, the colorful flags, and the gold-covered Potala Palace make Tibet sounds like a heaven on earth.
You can be so close to the sky (and heaven) in Tibet.

For the new year of 2007, I told one of my best friends KS that as a traveler in my life, I want to visit 1 of 3 main destinations.
We dream and set goals, then we realize our dreams.

Do not entirely believe photographers.
They are a combination of artists, engineers, scientists and magicians.
Those who are madly in love can make mundane places look so dramatically beautiful.
A friend of mine told me that the photos of magic hours that I took look more beautiful than real scene.
The simple secret is long exposure.
To me, this is “seeing beyond seeing”.
How I wish I know the secret of “living beyond living”.
We are all on journey.

In 2011, HM – a charming girl from Sichuan whom I like, visited Tibet.
Her SLR-produced photos of Tibet appear normal to me.

In summer 2012, I firmly decide to substitute my dream to visit Tibet with a better dream – a better destination, according to my perspective.
I review the photographs by LD that inspired me. They were fresh to me because of his style of using wide-angle lens, again allowing me the possibilities of “seeing beyond seeing”.
But now I am uninspired.
So what?
What has happened to me?

I wonder if my global wandering for the past several years to multiple countries, my diligent research and reviewing on how to produce beautiful photographs that the professionals achieve, have driven myself to be so perfectionist.
Being perfectionist is tough to live, I do not mind to raise my standards of work, but I feel that we need the act of balancing.

Tibet is situated on high altitude, beyond 3000 meters (risk of altitude sickness).
Honestly, I am concerned of altitude sickness.
Health and lives are the most important.
Though I am a risk-taker, I am a calculated risk taker.
The longer one lives, the more fearful one can be.
I have always attempted to overcome my fear.
See https://blueroselady.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/how-to-overcome-fear

While we visited Zhongdian, we had our first encounter with a Tibetan. He is our tour guide. He could be funny and cruel at the same time.
He force people to pay $ to join a dinner of RMB 260 per head.
It is an expensive dinner by the standard in China.
The Shanghainese middle-aged lady sitting in front of me was not aware of the “compulsory” dinner as her tour agent did not tell her about this.
Lesson: when we travel, we have to do research, at least check the travel forum for safety precaution or “compulsory” things.
At a foreign land, we are at the mercy of the locals.
I witnessed how our Tibetan tour guide purposely elbowed her head after she refused, he forced her to call her tour agent, and he moved on to collect $ from us.
The Tibetan tour guide declared that anyone who did not pay for the dinner had to get down of the bus immediately.
He said every Tibetan tour guide will do the same thing.
OK, perhaps tour guides worldwide are in tough economic situation (due to increasing competition, economic recessions that make people less keen to travel).
Really?
For that dinner alone, the Tibetans collected
4 buses x 50 people x RMB 260 = RMB 52,000 ~= USD,8,200.
Now, I understand why our tour guide can afford to wear foreign branded sport shoes. Branded things (in particular foreign brands) are luxuries in China.

According to our Tibetan guide:
1. The Tibetans can carry knives around, including at schools.
2. The Tibetans can freely and are given money to attend schools. He once studied in Kunming and no matter he scored 100 or 0, he would graduate.
3. The Tibetans marry at the average age of 13. Our guide said he was late for marrying at the age of 14.
4. The Tibetans do not have to pay taxes.
But based on my limited observations, the Tibetans sell same products more expensive than the shops in Yunnan.

I am curious on the Tibetan medicine and spiritual teachings.
Most likely, I will learn them outside Tibet, through the perspectives of overseas Tibetans, Westerners, and Chinese.
I succeeded to learn on using chopstick in Canada, so I believe that I do not have to be physically present in Tibet in order to learn all these.

Tibetans living at high altitudes have no more oxygen in their blood than other people, they have 10 times more nitric oxide and double the forearm blood flow of low-altitude dwellers.
NO = blood vessel dilator.

Bye Tibet!

Written by blueroselady

May 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm