Finding My Me-Time

I need my me-time.
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Despite all those self-help books, preparations for child births and a guide of things to expect upon child birth, nothing could really prepare me for the change in life that I soon experience when a baby is born. The life that I once know, no longer exist.

I just wish that there could be a proper class or training sessions here in Miri for first-time parents. The first month was tough. As my body heals, my mind still thinks that I was pregnant. I needed some time to adjust to walking normally and the joy of being able to bend down to my knees (yay!).

I admit that there are times that I feel so overwhelmed. It was no longer about me, everything was about the little baby. I lost myself during the 1st month and I miss the old me. Finding my own Me-Time became so desirable that an hour to catch up with book-reading felt so accomplished.

I wonder when will I be able to go out for a relaxing spa session without having to worry too much if the little one is ok, if he is feeding well via the bottle, if he is settled to sleep. I guess, never?

Hubs and I went out for our first date night to watch Transformers: Age of Extinction (i was disappointed with the movie). My body is in the cineplex but my mind keep wondering to my little one back home with his granny. I kept checking on my phone to see if there are any text or calls from le Parents. I wondered if he cried looking for me, etc.

I love my little one so much, but I have to be frank, that I too, need some time for myself. And the best time to do that is when he is taking his nap. That precious 3 hour nap. I’ve learnt to understand his demands, the different tone of his cries, understanding if he wants milk, to be burped, to play, to be held, to have his diapers changed or simply to sleep. Gaining that understanding has helped me to set a daily rhythm.

Like, in the morning when he naps, I took the time to do some basic house chores. And when he naps in the afternoon, I could pick up a book and read, or simply get my nails cut or catch a movie on Fox Movies channel. That serves as Me-Time enough for me.

p/s: Another week to go before I go back to work from this long maternity leave. I don’t want it to end. Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Can I bring baby to work? :p

Breastfeeding and Etcetera

Hello all!

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Travis is now 2 months, weighing at 6.2kg and getting fluffier day by day. Oh my arms! He is getting so heavy, i think i will have toned arms in no time. 😁

Yes, currently he is exclusively breastfed. Directly latched the 1st month and alternating between DL and expressed breast milk in a bottle in the 2nd month.

Most people commented that Travis doesn’t look like a 2 month old baby, they claimed that he looks big for his age. I don’t know how to react to their comments, it’s my 1st child anyway, so most of the time i answer; i think because he is breastfed.

 

Which comes to the main point of this post; THINGS NOT TO SAY TO A MOTHER WITH A NEWBORN BABY. Please take note.

#1. Do you have enough milk?

This gets on my nerves all the time. BF is my choice, but if i know that i am not producing enough milk, surely i will be the 1st person to know.

There was one time when Travis was being fussy during his feed, one family member asked me, “is your milk enough?”.

*TING* *TING* *TING* *PISSED-OFF MODE TRIGGERED*

Of course i have enough milk! I took out the nipple from Travis’s little mouth and squirt out milk for her to see. See!

 

#2. What’s wrong with him? Why is he crying?

Note: only when asked in an irritated tone, as if like his cries robbed you off from the peaceful, serene moment a while ago.

Hello! If i know why he is crying, i would have done something to stop his cries. Like if he is hungry, i’ll latch him on my boobs. But how would i know, it’s not like he can talk yet. Right now, my best approach is to try everything. You either shut up, or you help.

 

#3. He has rashes here here here. It’s so thick. I didn’t remember (insert name) having such thick rash before.

Are you saying that i am not doing a better job compared to the other parent? Is that what you are implying? No? But it surely does sound like that to me.

Every babies are different. Just because you’ve never seen it on the other baby, doesn’t mean that Travis should not get them. It’s ECZEMA.

He has them, and there is no way i can get rid of the rashes immediately. I can only prevent and hope he’ll outgrow it eventually. As a mother, of course i hate to see those red blotches on his face. I try my best to keep them away.

 

#4. Is that how you do it? Last time i used to do it this way on my baby.

Oh i see. Good to see that your child is all well, but this is mine. Your time is over, let me decide how i should get things done for my baby. You don’t dictate how i do things.

 

#5. Why are you losing weight? Why are you not eating a lot?

I’d like to clarify first that i am thrilled to be losing my pregnancy weight. I am so happy that i am now weighing even less than my pre-pregnancy weight. Hallelujah! But do you really have to accuse me of not eating enough for my baby?

Tsk. I’ll eat when i’m hungry but expecting me to finish that ONE HUGE POT of porridge in one serving is crazy! I am not a cow with 4 stomach! Yes i take little portion, but i do eat frequently. Like every 3 or 4 hours.

Oh, mothers who just gave birth should look fat. REALLY? Well maybe that’s what happened to you but are we the same person? No right. Therefore, back off! Go do some exercise for all i care.

 

#6. You are going back to work soon right, you should start giving your baby formula.

Hell no! *gives that person a mortified look*
Just because you find pumping milk is inconvenient for you, doesn’t mean that i want to do the same. You took the easy way out by turning to formula, but i will try to keep it going for my baby. Breast pump will be my daily office essentials once i get back to work.

After all, i just want the best for my baby and that is breast milk. Breast milk contains good antibodies and i am planning to supply all of its goodness for my baby until at least 6 months. 1 year will be my milestone.

Please stop trying to brainwash me into using formula.

 

Those above are just spoken words.

The ultimate GREEN HULK TRIGGER would be; waking up my baby during his nap time.

Oi!

I just spent almost 2 hours nursing him, cradling him, rocking him to sleep while singing lullabies, and congratulations! Because you manage to wake him up within 5 minutes with your loud voice, your inconsiderate door-slamming, etc.

What? So he startles and cries? You go and put him back to sleep now.

Do you even care that those precious 3 hours of nap time is the ONLY time i have for myself? Or to get the house chores done, to take a long dump, to shower, to eat, to drink, to relax. Thank you very much for taking that away from me.

And before you even think of touching my baby, are your hands clean? Here’s a sanitizer, wash your hands now.

Some of you may not even realize that those little questions and gestures could annoy the hell out of a new mom, so just let this be a reminder.

Till then, please be nice to new Moms.

The Confinement Period

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Blergh~!

 

For the first few days, my confinement lady a.k.a Dearest Mommy has been serving me ayam kampung cooked in kacang mah everyday after giving birth to Travis. Everyday. Every single fucking meal. Breakfast, lunch & dinner. Kacang mah. Kacang mah. Kacang mah. Muak mahhhh.

After a week of kacang mah everyday, I think Mommy noticed that I began to lose my appetite. Finally she asked me, “Would you like it if I make chicken cooked in ginseng next time?”

Ohh yes please. *insert big watery puppy eyes emoticon*

 

Today marks the 28th day of my confinement period. Another 12 days to go. Mataii. I got asked this question by some few friends: How’s your confinement like?

So here goes.

I’ve been asking around and searching in the net to find out what “confinement” really is. The definition of confinement and how it needs to be done falls under a grey area, IMHO. Some families are very strict and stays to the original confinement method while some don’t really follow through what is considered to be olden days method anymore.

My mom?

I’m glad that she is lenient. I shower twice a day. I wash my hair everyday. I can walk around the house. I can help her a bit with the house chores. My limitation is not to eat or drink anything cold.

Yeahhh I can live with that.

Porridge is still my daily meal, but at least it’s being served with different variety of hot dishes now. Dates, ginseng and chicken essence included.

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I’m so thankful that she allows me to take a shower. I really could not imagine those newly moms that had to go through the conventional confinement method. Imagine not being able to wash my hair for 40 days?! Urghh.

 

Travis is exclusively breastfed. Thanks to that, I’m weighing below my pre-pregnancy weight now. Love love love seeing the numbers on the scale keeps on going on as I perform my weekly weighs.

Here’s Travis completely zonked from his feeding. :p

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Oh how time flies. Travis will be a month soon! xoxo.

Welcoming Travis

EDD on the 20th April, there was still no sign of the Little One wanting to make his appearance into the world. I had Braxton-Hicks contractions, but nothing irregular compared to what I have been having since I’ve started having them in my 8th month pregnancy.

No bloody show. No long-lasting contractions between short intervals. And most importantly, still no water break.

To be honest, I was beginning to be worried. No, God, please don’t induce me. I had a birth plan, which is to go au-natural all the way. No epidural.

 

At my last antenatal check up, my OBgyn advised me to re-visit him a day after my EDD if I was still pregnant. So I did.

Seeing my OBgyn on the following day, he said that I will need to be induced if my labour does not happen within 1 week.

  • He spoke to me about the risks that the Little One will face if my pregnancy went overdue.
  • He even asked if there is any particular date that I would like to choose within that week to be induced.
  • He reminded me that if I were to be induced, it does not necessary means that I will deliver on the same day. It varies between every mothers, some may have their water break on the very same day, but some had to wait up to 3 days from the induction to the water break.
  • And if labour still does not happen after pregnancy is induced, I will need to go through caesarean to have the baby out to avoid any risk to both of us.

 

I really appreciate that he pointed out all the facts to me and gave room for me to decide. I know that sooner or later the baby will have to come out. I told him that I was scared and have heard stories about how painful an induced pregnancy could be.

He said, labour is painful. Either it happened naturally, or induced, or a caesarean delivery, it will be painful. If it isn’t painful during the labour process, it will be painful during the healing process, like the case of a caesarean delivery. It all depends on how high your pain tolerance is. Some mothers can take it, some couldn’t and need to resort to an epidural.

He gave me some time to decide.

 

At 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant, I was literally done being pregnant. I was tired. I was feeling sores all over my body. I was exhausted. I was scared. Nervous. But at the same time, I just couldn’t wait any longer to meet the Little One.

Pushing aside all worries and surrendering myself to God’s hand, I told my OBgyn that I would like to be induced, the sooner the better. I was all like, “Let’s get this done and over with.”

I was admitted the same night, at 8pm at Columbia Asia Hospital.

 

After checking-in into my room, i was hooked up to the fetal monitoring system so that the baby’s heart rate and my uterus contractions could be monitored.

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At 10pm, the OBgyn and the midwife walked in and spoke to me. It’s time for me to be induced, they said. The midwife had a huge tablet in a container in her hands.

Then the OBgyn said, “Lay down.” So I did.
“Open up your legs, like how it would be like when you are giving birth.”

I was like, err. “Are you telling me that the tablet is to be inserted into my vagina?”
“YES.” *insert mortified emoticon*

I was expecting a drip or a tablet that I will need to eat. Not this. *facepalm*

Clearly, I didn’t do my homework and read about induced pregnancy. HAHA. Apparently, a prostaglandin tablet was inserted into my vagina. It is a hormone-like substance that causes my cervix to ripen and helps to stimulate contractions. As the prostaglandin was inserted, the OBgyn also did a membrane sweep at the same time.

Once that was done, the midwife told me to get a good sleep as there may be chances for me to wake up in pain tomorrow morning if the contractions has started. I asked the midwife, “How long does it normally takes until my water break?”

“About 12 hours. Or else, we will insert another tablet and perform another membrane sweep.” *insert another mortified emoticon*

The next morning…

I woke up still pregnant. I had bubur mcD for breakfast. The midwife came in and hook me up to the fetal monitoring system. I had some contractions, but not strong enough to cause labour.

Sigh, baby baby come out already. Mommy can’t wait to see you.

The whole day was basically spent watching tv in the hospital room and taking an evening nap after lunch.

 

Fast forward to about 4pm, when I finally woke up from my nap, the midwife came in and hooked me up to the fetal monitoring system again. She said, “Your contractions are starting to look more frequent. The OBgyn will come and see you about 6pm later.”

So at 6pm, the OBgyn came in.

“OK, i had a look at your charts, how are you?”
“I’m good, but I feel like the contractions are getting longer, and I feel it here.” *points at an area underneath my lungs*

“Good. So are you ready? What I am going to do now is to manually break your water.” :O

Hubs was with me the whole day. I was suddenly filled with so much anxiety. Call my mom now, I told the Husband.

 

At 6.30 pm, my water was broken manually. Yes, the OBgyn inserted his fingers into my vagina. “You are already about 3-4 cm dilated, and I can feel his head.”

It felt like a gush of water flowing uncontrollably from beneath. I was wet, so so so wet but at the same time I suddenly had a feeling that I wanted to take a shit.

“Can I go berak?”, I asked the midwife.
“Yes, you can.”

The Husband helped me walk to the toilet. As I sat on the toilet bowl, I was in so much pain. The pressure to push something out of the anus was so strong, but nothing came out. Imagine my frustrations. :(

I grabbed on the Husband and hugged him tight as I felt a sudden wave of pain. I walked back to the bed but couldn’t find any comfortable position to lie down. So i stood at the edge of the bed.

Mom walked in, as she just arrived the hospital.

I grabbed the Husband, “Baby, I can’t take it. Call the nurse. I want an epidural.”

I was already crying, curled up on the bed. Mom said, “Shh, don’t cry.” I snapped at her and said, “Shut up, I’m in pain, how not to cry?!” (Sorry mommeh!)

The midwife came in and pushed me into the labour room for an epidural. As they were preparing for me, they checked how much I have dilated and was quite surprised to know that I was already 8-1/2 cm. So fast!! No wonder you look like you ARE in so much pain. It dilated twice the amount within just an hour, they said.

And right there and then, I had another strong urge to take a shit again. I told the midwife, I want to berak. She said, just let it out, we will clean it up for you. Oh mannnn, my worse fear came true.

I shit on the labour bed. I was so embarrassed, but I guess this is normal for them.

 

I was given the epidural and that was when everything went numb. Ahhh, relief~

The OBgyn came in and told me to follow what he tells me to do. Mom was with me, I call her my push assistance. :p

On the monitoring system, my baby’s heart beat was beginning to slow down. I became alarmed and scared. The OBgyn said the his cords are around his neck. i don’t know what the OBgyn did, but whatever it was, I am glad that he is very experienced in what he does and the baby is ok.

When he tells me to push, I pushed.
When he said, take 5, I relaxed.
When he said, push as long as you can, I took a deep breathe and push as long as my breathe could hold.

I haven’t had anything to eat since lunch and I was struggling to keep my energy. I was literally panting.

After about 5 pushes, mom exclaimed, “Oh I can see his head.” And after one hard, long push, Baby is finally out.

It’s a boy!

 

I called the Husband in. After the OBgyn cut the umbilical cord and deliverred the placenta, Baby was cleaned up and placed on my chest.

That moment. Was when all the pain that I endured just few minutes ago went away. It felt so surreal. Is this really ours. How did we made such beautiful baby? It’s truly amazing.

Baby was 3.65kg and I had a normal birth.

 

At 8.43pm, on 22nd April 2014, little baby Travis Lawai is born.

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And he is such a darling. Thank you God for this precious gift that you have given to my family.

Here’s Travis a week later:

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I am enjoying every moment being his Mom. :)

 

Hanoi: Ha Long Bay

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Finally!

Since learning about Ha Long Bay being recognized as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has been in my list of Must-Go Places.  It features thousands of limestones Karst. Karst formation is something that is discussed everyday in my line of work. I didn’t know what it looks like, until recently. And this trip to Ha Long Bay has helped me to visualize how it looks downhole even better.

 

We started our journey from Hanoi.

Along the way, the tour bus made a toilet pitstop at one of the handicraft center, where tourist can get some light food to eat, and at the same time, purchase some souvenirs to bring back home.Image

 

These were not paintings. They were actually embroidery works made by the local Vietnamese. It was so pretty, I got so tempted into buying one. Or two. :D

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We were in Hanoi in December, and the weather was chilly at 12 degC. And these 2 monkeys didn’t even mind the chills at all. Hentam saja itu ice-cream. Tsk.

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We finally arrived at the pier noon time. Which is just about the right time to savour on some local seafood delicacies for lunch. Lunch was served in the cruise.

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I was 23 weeks pregnant during the trip. It was supposed to be a Babymoon but the Husband couldn’t join me, so it turned out to be a Family Trip. ;)

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The water was super duper trooper cold, and it was the jelly fish season, therefore swimming was prohibited. Shucks because I would love to jump into those clear pristine water and just enjoy the sun.

We arrived the Vung Vien floating fishing village and we can opt to continue staying on the cruise or disembark and take a rowing boat fitted for 6 person max or a kayak fitted for 2, where we can experience the daily lives of the villagers.

You could see how simple their life is, with their sole income coming from fishing and of course, tourism. I thank God For providing my family with enough food and necessities to carry own our daily lives. Sometimes we often forget the blessings that we have, and seeing how these villagers are happy and contended living their daily lives left a big impact in me.

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That kid there, looks about 12 years old and is already rowing boats to help her family earning some income through the tourism activities around her village.

When I was 12, I was privileged not to worry about not having any food for dinner. My parents made sure that we always have enough.

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I love my Mom & Dad.

Oh and here’s our boat rower. Dad gave her tips in addition to the normal fare that was charged.

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There were were caves around the village, accessible by boats. We were brought into the caves for some sight-seeing.

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That’s the Baby Sister. I think this suits as a caption for this picture: “You can take a geologist out of her classroom, but here, the whole place is her classroom.”

 

After the floating village, the next pit stop was Sot Sung Cave.

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It was literally a huge playground for the Geologist sister. She took her time exploring the Karst in the cave, while Mom and I were already panting heavily after a long climb out of the cave, waiting for her to finish her little exploration. :D

After the Sot Sung Cave, it’s finally time to head back to main land.

hoc Lung

 

I would definitely make another trip back to Ha Long Bay, preferably on better days. I dream of jumping from the top deck of the cruise into the water. BAM!

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