Friday, 16 November 2012

Awal Muharram

Yesterday marked the first day of the first month in Islamic Calendar. I have never really sincerely celebrated Awal Muharram. Admittedly, Awal Muharram to me was just like any other day. Nothing to celebrate about (Astaghafirullahalazim) and I've never made an Awal Muharram's resolutions. To be honest, I was such a slacker muslim (I still am). So, this time around, like every other muslim, I think I would like to celebrate my Awal Muharram by promising myself to also become a better Muslim. One thing I really wish to change for now is: I really want to pray 5 times a day (I don't want to miss my isya' prayer anymore). I have a lot in my mind but I realized that sometimes things are better left unsaid. Thats it.

To end this entry, let us all take this opportunity to reflect on what we've achieved the past year and strengthen our resolutions with actions for this new exciting and challenging year!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Biggest Breastfeeding Challenge

Before you read this post, I would like to emphasize upfront that I don't have anything against formula-feeding. I think, there is no need for judgmental attitudes either way.  I support both breast and bottle feeders and I am not going to judge you. In fact, I was a formula fed baby and I still think my mom had done a great job raising me. I am 100% a pro-breast-feeder. I am still breastfeeding my 5 months baby and praying that I have the guts to continue breastfeeding her until she turns 2. 

Okay, lets get to the real point. Breastfeeding is not easy or possible for everyone. It does take some work,practice and patience to get both you and your baby used to each other. Based on my 5 months experience of being a mother, the hardest thing about motherhood so far is breastfeeding. The most common breastfeeding problems are low milk supply, cracked nipples, clogged/plugged ducts, engorgement/high milk supply, painful/overactive let down, nipple confuse and yada yada yada. However, I don't think that these problems can stop me from breastfeeding my baby. I think the most challenging thing about breastfeeding is the society's knowledge of breastfeeding. I continue to be amazed at the lack of knowledge that many women (especially muslim women in Malaysia) have regarding breastfeeding. As a breastfeeding mother, I have heard numerous questions and comments implying that breastfeeding needs to be supplemented with formula, that it is painful and that the sooner you can be done with it the better. I believe this lack of knowledge is a result of cultural trends for formula feeding in the 70′s, 80's and early 90's.

Admittedly, most of the people I know discourage me from breastfeeding. I get comments like "Breastfeeding mothers usually have saggy boobs, Your EBM is disgusting, You are giving a hard time to your mom (my mom takcs care of my baby during the day) for relying on your EBM, your baby cannot sleep during the day because she is not getting enough baby is gassy because of your milk, stop breastfeeding your baby and start giving her formula.. yada yada yada." I am pretty sure that you have stumbled upon these kind of situations too right? To all expectant mothers out there, whenever you feel discouraged, just remember that our human race previously depend entirely on breastfeeding milk. There wasn't a bottle back then. Of course then people say “It’s her CHOICE to formula-feed – leave her alone!” But I don’t believe that most women are making this “choice.” The CDC shows that 3/4 of women are initiating breastfeeding in the hospital, but only 13.6% of women are still exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months.  What this tells me is that somewhere along the way, they gave up on themselves, and the reason I hear most often is, “But, I tried! I just couldn’t make any milk!” Here is the cold hard truth ladies:  You have been lied to. If only 13.6% of us could make enough milk, the human race would never have survived.  And it’s not your fault. It’s the fault of this system that completely fails mothers and babies, and sabotages a mother’s good intentions.  Somewhere along the line, some one told you that you couldn’t make milk, and you believed them because we’ve all grown up in a culture that tells women their bodies aren’t good enough for much of anything except being toys for men.  Is it easy to make this milk?  No, not always – but neither was bringing that baby into the world and your body did a fine job of that.  Think about that.  Think hard. Your body created an entire human being inside from nothing more than the joining of two single cells.  Your body is a miracle worker. So what leads you to believe that, after creating a whole person with organs and tissue and a beating heart, that your body would call it quits when it came time for feeding this thing?  The major problem here is that someone in your life probably put their own ignorance ahead of the short and long term health of you and your baby, and you believed them because women are used to feeling shamed.

But then again, not everybody can breastfeed their babies until they turn 2 especially for working moms. Even I can't guarantee this. Whatever it is, formula-feeding-moms wouldn't make you a lesser mother than the breastfeeding moms. I just thought that the society should not discourage breastfeeding. Thats it.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

When does it get easier?

I'm feeling awful today because work is killing me. I feel like giving up my career and become a home-maker instead. But I know that being a home maker won't make my life any easier. Imagine working 24 hours doing the house-hold chores?  I don't think I can be a home-maker. Not everybody can be a home-maker. Admittedly, I am not used to keeping a whole house perfectly spick and span by myself. I don't even know how to cook. 

Anyway, Nuha is 5 months now but she still does not role over. I think Nuha is just being cheeky and she is just being pampered too much by everybody in the house. She sleeps through the night just fine, usually eight to ten hours. Nah! Wait! she doesn't really sleep through the night. She wakes up 6 times a night for feeding and I don't know how to do the side lying nursing position. My problem is that she will only catnap during the day (ten to 30 minutes, two or three times a day). My mom tried rocking her to sleep, giving her the pacifier (she totally rejects pacifier), putting her in a dark room, stroller rides, car rides but nothing works. I feel really guilty for leaving Nuha with my mom. 

Breastfeeding is still hard for me because I have to sneak into pumping sessions during office hours but Alhamdulillah I can still manage to pump twice during the day even though my production is running low. The most I can produce is 5oz per pumping session from both left and right. Quite frustrating but this is not an excuse for me to quit breastfeeding. 

Ooops. lunch hour is almost over, I think I gotta stop babbling about my not so challenging life. Chow.

To Nuha,
In case if you read this one day.. Don't get it wrong. I still love you even when you get fussy all day. 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Things that change when you have a baby

I remember when I was pregnant with our child and everyone would say that having a baby changes everything. I was a little irritated because I thought I understood that already. Why did people keep telling me like I didn't know? Then, Nuha came and I suddenly understood. I don't think that is something anyone can really grasp until they have their first child. Having a baby changes a person's life in so many ways, regardless of how old you are when you have it. Here's how Nuha has changed me in so many ways:
  1. I respect my parent and love them in a new way. Having Nuha makes me love my parent even more because I am now going through what my parent had gone through for me. And the fact that they never make a fuss about their hardship makes me realize that I am one lucky girl. 
  2. Once you are responsible for another human being, you see things differently. You start to see things in a different light. The way you think about money changes. I would rather buy a plastic tricycle than those shoes that I've been dying to have. Now, I think in terms of how many diapers, or clothes that RM50 could buy.  I see the world differently because I see in terms of how it will effect my baby.  Having Nuha really changes my perspective on absolutely everything. My priorities shift 
  3. You find that your baby's pain feels much worse than your own. Nuha had her first fever recently. I swear to god that I've never felt this sad and worried when I saw the symptoms at the start of a cold hit her. I cried when I saw mucus running down the back of her throat. 
  4. If you didn’t believe in love at first sight before, now you do!
  5. I've never felt this accomplished before. Having Nuha is by far the greatest achievement in my life. 
  6. My social life drastically taper down because Nuha does not usually take well to restaurants or other outings. However, this is going to depend on your baby and how you two are as a couple.
  7. Sudden sleep deprivation. Caring for baby requires a tremendous exertion of energy. You have to continually feed your baby, burp it, and change its diapers. It is also important that you monitor baby—even if the baby is napping—to ensure her breathing is regular. On top of that, you have to go to work and do the house chores. Can you imagine how tiring it is?
  8. As a breastfeeding mom, I dress differently than I used to. Now. whatever I wear I have to think of my baby. I can't wear tight fitting top as it would give me a hard time to feed my baby. 
  9. I go to bed as early as 8 pm and wake up at 5 am everyday.
  10. I've never been this happy!!! In fact, I am happy all the time even when my job is killing me.
  11. I discover an inner strength I never thought I had. I think I just became a superhero because my love for Nuha is limitless. I never knew I had this capacity to love. I am now more intuitive, sensitive, protective and caring.
  12. I think about Nuha all the time. I have this new habit of doodling my baby's name when in meetings or when I'm bored. And I can't think of anything else to write about other than Nuha. My blog bores you.. I know. heh
So, yes. Having a baby will be a life-changer. Along with the sleep deprivation and loss of freedom will come things you never even imagined.  This is her, the girl who changes me in a lot of ways.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

My Childbirth Experience

There is something very special about childbirth because while there are so many people around you that have been through it, no two are the same. When I had Nuha, it was really quite strange. I absolutely had no idea what to expect. To tell you the truth, I was not really ready for this whole 'motherhood' thingy. I was scared all the time when I had her in my tummy. Anyway, here's how it all began.....

That Tuesday afternoon, I showed up at the hospital for my 39-weeks pregnancy check up. I was alone that day because my husband had to work and couldn't take a time off. My water still hadn't broken and I remember feeling so energetic that day. It was around 12 pm when I brought my pregnancy check up book to the nurse for my CTG scan. A few nurses came in the room while I had my CTG scan. One of them keep popping in and out of the room and told me that I had to do another CTG. I wasn't in pain at all at that time and felt so hungry. I slept all the way for my 2nd CTG scan. I was only awake when the doctor came in to check on me. He was quite surprised when he saw me sleeping and said "Eh, you are sleeping? Don't you feel any pain?" Apparently, I was already 4cm dilated when he did the VE on me. The first thing that I said to him was "But doctor, I still haven't had my Nasi Ayam.. I am not ready." I had my eye on the Nasi Ayam in front of Ampang Puteri while I was driving to the hospital. He then laughed and said to me that I can have my Nasi Ayam and should come back to the labour room at 3pm. Can you guess what happens next? Yes!! I had 2 plates of roasted Nasi Ayam while waiting for my husband to come to the hospital. At the same time, mom kept on calling me and reminding me to recite all the necessary Quranic verses. 

It was 3pm and I went straight to the labor room without bringing anything with me. My bag was at home and I had to wait for my husband to pick it up before we met. The nurses prepped me up and I waited but I wasn't so sure what I was waiting for. In my mind, I was like "Am i waiting for my husband or my doctor?" Like I told you, I wasn't ready when Nuha wanted to come out of my tummy. Doctor came in and asked me whether I want an epidural or not. I was about to answer yes when he said "No need la.. I think you can go through this whole thing without an epidural" and I went along with it. To cut the story short, husband was already there when the doctor broke my water. I remember feeling in pain when it was 6 pm. The pain was excruciating that I felt like kicking and punching my husband. I took the happy gas and my doctor gave me a shot of pain killer. Trust me, those things weren't helping at all. 

0800 pm and I was 8 cm dilated. At this point, I regretted that I went along with my doctor when he told me that I shouldn't take the epidural. 

1130  pm, 10 cm dilated. The contraction pains were killing me! The doctor briefed me on how to push my baby out. I listened to his instructions. I remember a nurse cheering me up after every push. 7 pushes and Nuha was out. I could hear her cry immediately. She was so loud that my doctor and the nurses said "wow! kuat nya suara dia.. panggil dia Miss melalak.."

This was Nuha when she was just a few seconds old. 2.93 kg and she was a very very loud newborn baby that every nurse in the hospital gave her a nickname "Miss Melalak." 

This is Nuha now. 6 kg at 3++ months old. Having a kid changes your life. Everyone knows that having a baby is a life-altering experience. Things that were once important seem meaningless, hours of free time soon shrink into seconds, and you find yourself having conversations about subject that you never thought you would. it is as if you have been invited into a secret world of wonder and shame, embarrassment and joy, and a thousand little quirks that only another parent can understand. For better or for worse it is a change that can not be undone.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Stroller Dilemma

Husband and I have been looking at strollers for a while *Pause*

Nah, actually, we've been eyeing for this one stroller before we even knew I was pregnant. *Pause (again)*

Correction. I've been eyeing for this one stroller before we even knew I was pregnant. My husband did not share the same opinion as the stroller that I was aiming for costs too much. Considering our income, he thinks we should opt for a less cheaper stroller. But I believe that a more expensive stroller is always a better choice than a lower priced model. I know what you are thinking. While price is often directly relative to the quality of a product, higher price tag does not necessarily mean that you’ll get a stroller that is better for your needs. Yes, I get that! But I think this one stroller that I've been aiming for or I aimed for is very well made/invented and worth every penny.

And that stroller is........Bugaboo Cameleon

Why am I really in love with this Bugaboo Cameleon Baby Stroller?

Even though it is expensive it lasts from infancy to toddlerhood thanks to the individual seating that it comes with. The bassinette is perfect for baby and when he/she is capable of sitting up on his own the toddler seat fits perfect. Plus since there are two separate seats you don’t have to worry about either one getting too messed up. The Bugaboo Cameleon comes with a rain shield and a mosquito net standard. These are perfect for taking baby out and because they have a storage spot on the stroller you will not forget and leave them home. The stroller is easy to take apart in order to store it in the trunk of a car or closet and very easy to reassemble. 

After a few arguments with my husband, I still did not manage to convince my husband to buy this stroller. It took me awhile but i have finally come to my senses that the stroller is overpriced and we should not spend our savings on a stroller. And so, we decided to buy something that is within our limits of what we earn. Basically, we have agreed to buy a stroller that is not too cheap and not too expensive. Any stroller that is beyond RM1500 should not be an option for us. Personally, my husband and I have considered and tried a total of 6 strollers. 

But then, on a one fine day, I received an SMS from dad in London telling me that he has bought a stroller for our baby. I did not expect it at all. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the SMS because I somehow imagined that dad would bring me home a 'Bugaboo Cameleon' all the way from London. To make the long story short, dad has bought me an Xtreme Pushchair Travel System from Mothercare instead. 

When I first saw the stroller, I was like "is this really a stroller? or a motor boat?." I was quite frustrated at first because it’s a little bulky when folded which I think may not be ideal if you need to fold it on a bus or get it into the boot of a small car and I really think that the design is very old fashion. However, I am still glad and thankful that dad has bought me this stroller for our baby. And I am also grateful that dad has helped us to lessen our financial burden. Though it's not a compact choice but I've read reviews that the Mothercare Xtreme is a really good value travel system, with plenty of great features and added extras for your money. After all, I don't think our baby would mind being pushed in any kind of stroller. I'm so grateful to God he has granted me such a nice and an unbelievably thoughtful Dad. 

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Pregnancy Rambling

I am entering my 3rd semester of pregnancy and all i could think of right now is food. I think about food all the time and I go berserk if i don't get to eat the food that i crave for. Blame the weird pregnancy hormone.  One of the realities of motherhood is that from the instant you find out you're pregnant, your hormones and your instinct will take over your body and your sanity, and your perception of the world around you will change forever especially about food. Haha It is a common cliché that pregnant women crave for food, but no one ever told me that my taste buds would go berserk and I would end up eating tons of ... oranges! I hope you know what I mean, it is totally odd if you eat box after box of oranges until you got yourself a diarrhoea attack (this happened to me in my 2nd trimester). I was really really obsessed with oranges. I even bought citrus-scented shower gel/body soap for myself. Again, blame the pregnancy hormone. Haha

As per my usual routine, i sleep at around 9pm every night and I pee like every 15 minutes. I HATE having to get up at night to go to the toilet, it cramps my sleeping style. It's also quite disturbing wondering if, in the 45 minute drive home from work, I'm going to be able to hold it in or will I have to stop on the side of the road. Basically, i experience what other mothers experience during the 3rd trimester. I've been wanting to start swimming but i’m too busy with work and my weekends are usually packed with family activities.
My baby bump looks practically small compared to other expectant mothers. Trust me, people still think that I am about 4/5 months pregnant while i am now in my 31st week of pregnancy. I weighed myself on Monday and I'm officially up 15kgs from pre-pregnancy weight. And if I keep it up with the ice cream and chocolate, I'm sure it will go up quickly.  Need to be careful. Me + sugar cravings = very dangerous combo. I don’t quite get it though as my baby bump doesn’t really appear but i keep on putting more weight.

Thoughts: I am so excited to meet this baby. I feel like May should be a lot closer than it is...but it's going by fast. At the same time, i all psyched to buy all the baby supplies. Hehe 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Lost Count of How Far I Am

Someone just asked me how far along I am? and I was like 26 weeks, wait.. 25 weeks? errrrrr or probably 27 weeks?