Mombrain

MOmBrain can be dangerous. I am very thankful right now that so far, I have not made a grave mistake of leaving Ninie in the car or under a running water in the tub. But I still have those horrible forgetful moments.

Like how I just went to the kitchen a few minutes ago with the aim to get her clean bottles and put in on the dresser in our room. So it’ll be easy to prepare  her milk at night. On the way out of the kitchen, I saw some of the groceries have not been put away and so I placed the bottle on the table and proceeded to do just that. Mombrain made me forgot. I switched off the kitchen lights, went back to my study area only to realize that the bottles are still on the table.

2 kali kerja nak gi dapur balik.

There are other examples. And being forgetful can be tiring. As you tend to have to repeat a task. Being sleep-deprived is also tiring. Hence MomBrain is no fun when it’s already 5 months down the line with the Bebe turning 6 months by the end of this week. I am looking up on Youtube for tips from enthusiastic moms. Any readers with practical tips? I also pray to Allah that  He may ease my daily activities.

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The picture above is Ninie today as we brought her out to the mall. Look how lovely she is with her headband and little shoes which is for the first time today.

I just realized that she was never properly dressed to go out, often without at least a pair of socks until I browsed the many Instagram accounts of moms bringing their own babies out. Nasiblah I ingat nak pakaikan dia baju n pampers. At least she gets the cue that when we dressed her up nicely, that means she needs to behave coz we’re going out.

 

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Baby Ninie. Deciding between Daycare and Babysitter. Ended up choosing daycare. Why.

Mr Husband voted for daycare. I voted for a babysitter. I even made a few mental notes of the type of babysitter I’d choose or avoid.

  • Not having too many kids they babysit at home. Something like not having 2 babies less than 1 year old at one time.
  • Mothers with small kids of their own ( < 2 years old) is also not preferable because their kids would also demand attention. It’s normal. This is also for safety reasons as the carer could be stressed out and impose harm to the kids.
  • Avoid those with home/ online business that involves baking or food prep related products. My fear would be kids getting near hot utensils or sharp objects. But then comes the question – if they need to post their items for those selling cosmetics for instance, do they bring my child to the post office as well or have the postman pick it up?

I was hoping that once I choose a proper babysitter, Baby Ninie would be in a less crowded centre with personalized care. Full attention.

Mr Husband however, said it was dangerous to leave the child with A Babysitter. That one stranger whom you’ve never actually met before to care for an infant who couldn’t speak for herself. To him there are risks of unwitnessed abuse or assault, unwitnessed negligence, abduction (gosh) and what not. It does sound scary when laid out that way.

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While he agrees that in daycare, the numbers may be bigger and risk of negligence may arise – the key is to find a registered Daycare as a start. At least we know that a certain policy or training is in place to maintain the harmony and safety of the centre. And if reported for God forbid, some sort of offence – a penalty will be ensued. There may be bad apples but it would be rare for all of them to be horrible carers.

We found a daycare near our home. It had a registration number and was owned by a couple that my father in law knew. While the couple had a respectable background, we cannot say the same for the workers but we hope that surveillance is done promptly to monitor them. Because I understand how stressful it is to even care for one baby, what more with possibly 5 in one day. Not to mention the screaming bigger kids.

I took tips from friends and my sister – to ease the caretakers job and to protect Baby Ninie as well. Some of these tips include;

  1. Prepare a reasonable number of bottles to daycare, so they wouldn’t have to worry about washing the bottles too much. let them know you are okay with bringing back the unwashed bottles. Baby Ninie had 3.
  2. Choose a teat with a slow flow for infants. I personally chose Pigeons Peristaltic teat. It costs me about RM45 per bottle. mahal kan. sebab tak nak tersedak. It’s supposed to have that protective measure of not flowing if the baby is not sucking on the milk. But in a few months when she can sit up, I would opt for cheaper bottles.
  3. Provide enough milk formula and bring back the milk during the weekend. so you could monitor how much milk your child consumes and see whether it tallies with the usual amount you give at home. Some pre-packed the milk in small containers or straight in the bottle but I worry that sometimes Ninie may need small topups in between of an ounce or 2.
  4. Similar to diapers – some provide the whole pack. I prefer to supply on a daily basis so I could keep track how often her diapers are changed in a day. My magic number is 7. Some mothers advise in investing for the more expensive diapers that could hold urine more since diaper changing can be less frequent in certain centres.
  5. Prepare her grooming stuff in a bucket that is mobile so you could bring it back home at the end of the day.
  6. Finally, pray, Pray that god will look after her and keep her away from harm. InsyaAllah.

So far Baby Ninie is OK. The other bigger kids seem to like her a lot. HAHAHA. The main caretakers although young, seems nice. I hope it is not a front. We are paying RM100 for registration and RM350 per month. We can send her as early as 715AM and hope to fetch her by 530PM.

Yes, she gets cranky sometimes as reported by her carers. Mosquitoes bite her smooth skin once in a while but nothing major. She seems to posset a lot judging from her smell and wet clothes. The colour of her poo seems alright which is consistent with what she is feeding on.

Caring for a baby requires cooperation and proper communication between parents and carers. The child will grow in front of both their eyes and it is important to communicate changes and growth spurts to each other. If everything goes well, we may continue for the next year before she goes to preschool.

 

Day 17 of life – how we’re doing so far

Baby Ninie is at Day 17 of life today. It is also Day 4 of me observing my confinement period SOLO. With the help of Mr Husband of course.

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Baby NInie on the dining table as I fix breakfast for myself in the kitchen

My mom needs to go back to her own place after 2 weeks for she’s got a few pending commitments to attend to. My sister and I used to dub her Wanita Umno for her ‘social obligations and mingling’ with her circle of friends and acquaintance never cease to finish. Ha ha.

Now I am physically capable to bathe Baby Ninie on my own.  I can do simple cooking for my own lunch and  light housekeeping which involves folding the blankets, making the bed and simple laundry. I can walk a tad faster but the pain lingers once in a while at a score of 2 or 3. Getting up from a lying down position is less painful but still needs the right maneuver in swinging the legs, flexing the abs and so on. Mr Husband also does his share in getting up for the baby  – only problem is he sometimes ‘tidur mati’. Most of the time I don’t expect him to get up to feed the baby for  he usually has classes the next day and I don’t want him to be sleepy during his motorbike commute. KL bukan dekat yerr..   

I have to pretty much be independent during days when he has classes. I even taught my firstborn, Ee how to call his grandmother if for instance I fainted or something. Also how to unlock the doors and sooth the baby. While I try to be careful and take great care of myself, I still have the fear of the unknown like a Pulmonary Embolism or a horrible Postpartum Haemorrhage. So yes – be prepared. Always know who to call for help. Draft a contingency plan.

It’s less worrying when Mr Husband is around. And less exhausting. He helps bathe the baby, prepare my meals and if I’m lucky a foot massage and a back rub. Baby Ninie may not have powder or minyak yuyi after a bath but at least she has clean diapers and clothes. Lets not push it shall we? *wink*

Baby Ninie is being predictable yet full of surprises. I can almost always be sure that she will wake up in the middle of the night every 2 hours for her feed and the occasional nappy change. Ouh, daytime as well. Thus, I hope to abolish my habit of procrastinating as even the most simple activities of daily living like taking a shower needs to be done A.s.a.p once an opportunity presents itself.

Kalau dapat makan, makan. Dapat solat, go now. Need a quick shower? make it 2 minutes. If I need longer time in the shower – I’ll wait for Mr Husband to reach home so he could mind the baby. While I try my best, my cup of hot milo still needs to be warmed up a few rounds in the microwave, a pee will have to wait and laundry can take up to half a day to be sorted out before it sees sunlight outside. Ha ha.

Still I am grateful for this phase of my life. I have been asking for this amanah for so long. I needed a break from work and its disasters (haha) through having a baby. Bolehkah itu macam? 

 

Did I knew I was carrying a baby girl?

Prior to being pregnant, I did pray very hard for a daughter. I had an inkling that once I was pregnant – that it might be a girl but I have nothing solid to put my hat on.

Of course there were loads of old wives tales (tips) circulating around the WWW but I never did get a proper ultrasound session of which my sonographer/friend/medical officer was damn sure I’m going to have a girl. The Chinese birth chart predicted I was going to have a boy. So i can never be certain.

Retrospectively however – there were some clues that perhaps pointed towards me carrying a Nini.

  1. Horrible morning sickness as compared to my previous pregnancy with Ee. It was glaringly significant up to the point I had ketones in my urine which indicated how dehydrated I was
  2. I had a ‘natural glow’ which warranted no makeup whatsoever throughout my gestation. this however is in contrast to the belief that if you were to have a girl you would be grooming yourself really nice with makeup and what not. Also you’d be having zits all over the face – but I didn’t have any.
  3. I had less body hair. Somehow. It took longer than usual for me to have another shave of the legs and ‘friends’. It’s like the bulu bulu just don’t want to grow
  4. Sleeping on right lateral was more comfortable for me and that was something people tend to associate with having a girl.
  5. Simple instinct but just wouldn’t say it out loud

Hence you could imagine how excited I was when Nini came out. We have a girl!! LOL. GIRLS ARE JUST MAGICAL. Even if the baby came out as a Hakeem, I’d probably do a similar blogpost that highlights signs which points him out as a boy during my pregnancy. Ha ha ha. This is a merely for fun after all.

 

The Syazmins : Their Birth Story

It turned out that I have never wrote about Ee’s birth story. My previous blog entry (littlehealer) was last written in 2009. Ee only entered our lives in 2011.

  1. Ee (December 2011)

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Ee

I was a medical officer in the Anaesthetic Department when I conceived him whilst Mr Husband was in the Emergency Department in the same hospital. I did my checkup at the Staff Antenatal Clinic on a monthly basis, almost always on a postcall day. In short, there weren’t much issue in my antenatal history except for recurrent Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). And a threatened miscarriage at 10 weeks of pregnancy. He survived.

Ee was with me during my oncalls in ICU and also in the Operating Theatre. I was worried of threats like infection and biohazard stuff. I was once exposed to a patient with suspected meningitis and had to take an intramuscular jab as prophylaxis. It hurt. Apart from that – it’s just the usual polytrauma, emergency LSCS cases, intrabdominal injury stuff coming through the OT door.

Despite the work related hectic lifestyle – I still managed to balloon up from a booking body weight of 47KG to 62KG and Ee came out as a 2.8KG baby.

It happened in the early morning of 0330AM when I felt a ‘pop’ and gush of water coming out in between my legs. I was not in pain so I proceeded to the toilet to kind of check on myself and applied a sanitary pad. Only then did I woke up Mr Husband and together we collected my birth bag and made way to the delivery suite. I was 9 days early and was in fact still scheduled to provide anaesthetic services in the Eye OT the next day.

Somehow I felt safe that night knowing that the O&G and Anaesthetic Team on duty were very senior and experienced in their respective fields. It was also a priviledge to have Mr Husband with me at all times as he clerked me in, inserted my branula and urinary catheter, checked my vaginal opening and for the finale – was given the opportunity to scrub in during my C-Section and see to the baby.

I was leaking basically shit from Ee. Although the amniotic fluid was moderately stained, subsequent monitoring of the baby’s condition using the CTG was not assuring. We were given the option to induce or opt for C-section. We both chose to have a C-section – we were not brave enough to take the risk. And of course risau sakit 2 kali.

Ee came out crying and post-operatively my recovery was well… OK. I have to admit the pain does linger for quite a bit but I did have emotional issues to deal with. I was lucky then that Mr Husband was granted paternity leave for 7 days. He was a great help with the baby especially during feeding times and changing diapers at night. We had to supplement with formula because I was not making enough milk early for the baby.

Part of the factor could be because I had a C-section but part of it could be due to me the mother not feeling relaxed enough to produce more milk. I mean, we had loads of visitors dropping by the house in the first 2 weeks. That crucial time one needs to rest and recuperate and find their footing with a new family member in the house. Although I appreciate the kind gestures of visiting and offering advices – I think one should give space for the family to just settle in and get their bearings right and limit visits to immediate family members only instead of the whole kampung or something. I was really really stressed at the time. TRUST ME. I almost hempas Ee to the mattress.

Now Ee is all grown up and well. Rarely sick and very obedient. Technically the apple of our eye for almost 6 years until Nini came along. Well. He is still our apple.

2. Nini ( November 2017)

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NIni

This time I’m a medical officer in the Emergency Department whilst Mr Husband is a postgraduate student in Public Health. My routine checkups are done at the nearby Klinik Kesihatan Ibu & Anak and well.. it could be an age factor as I not only have recurrent UTI but also anaemia in pregnancy. The later stages of my pregnancy also revealed myself as having oligohydramnios which means very little amount of amniotic fluid for the baby to float around in the uterus. Which kind of explains that extra pain I experienced down below when I walk or sit too long. Especially when the baby moves.

Nini and I braved through our little storm in the Emergency Department. Sometimes its a trauma case, others could be a respiratory problem. But what I fear the most are well – undisclosed infections like Hepatitis C, Tuberculosis and kids that come with rashes. Had a few scares but the rest as they say – is Tawakkal to Allah. Occasionally I’d have to perform a postmortem on a body brought in dead. Not my cup of tea but sometimes it has to be done.

This time around my weight gain was more controlled. A booking weight of 61KG to 69.5Kg upon delivery and Nini came out as a 2.95KG baby girl.

It was like any other routine appointment day. Only this time I get to see the Specialist for the 2nd time. On my 1st visit – she did caution me that my liquor was on the low side but she’ll give me a chance to hopefully deliver early before my next appointment in 3 days. I had 2 SWEEP done on that 1st visit – which hurt like hell – my toes were curling during the simple procedure. I almost vowed not to have another intercourse for the rest of my life. However my ‘opening’ was still small, about 1.5CM on the 2nd visit with the liquor index getting lower. The fact that the baby had a cord round her neck got me worried eventhough her CTG was Reactive. Mr husband helped to decide – DON’T TAKE RISK. WHAT TO DO. CAESARLAH – So yes.. I was immediately admitted to the ward for a Caesarean section.

This time it was a bit tough. Mr Husband was not with me during the birth journey. I had my branula and catheter inserted (of a big size with minimal LA gel) by inexperienced personnel. And failed during first attempt. *cried blood but persevered* up to the point that I was damn relieved when my spinal block went in. Not to mention the countless times I was stripped half naked to ease the procedures being done in a crowd of people and men that I recognise. I just feel that its weird to be in just your skin in front of people you know as opposed to complete strangers but well… hadap je lah. After all – they guy who gave me the spinal was so good – my Bromage score was still 3  – despite rested in recovery for 30 mins. Thank you adik. 

Post operatively I was struggling with breastfeeding and caring for Nini as a whole. This time Mr Husband is not entitled to have Paternity Leave and I was against him taking his personal leave for we may not know what he may need them for later. After all – thankfully his classes that week were spaced out and some were even cancelled to our relief. It does irk me however – when on the second day of delivery his supervisor made a remark reprimanding and enquiring why he did not attend that ONE session that day and reminds him that he does not have paternity leave.

LIKE COME ON LAH – aku caesar kot.. budi bicara skit boleh. He had always attended your other lectures prior to this. I was so pissed off. And because Mr Husband sometimes have early morning clasess – I try not to wake him up during the night to tend to Nini because he needs to be well rested for his daily commute on his motorbike, a 90 mins journey to campus for class. So yes, its a struggle to feed Nini with a painful abdomen at night. Tapi bertabahlah… 

Since I’m having my confinement at my own home – there is less visitors. The only stress I get is from the confinement practices itself (some of them) which hinders efficient breastfeeding. Like application of minyak muyan to your whole body, the selection of food and the too often, herbal baths. Nini refuses to latch,(smell factor?) so I have to express my milk. Rasa nak pitam using the machine for the first time but it got easier. The suction force was I felt – kuat sangat but tolerable I guess as opposed to Nini biting on me.

Nini is now at Day 8 of life – fighting jaundice. Grrr.. beraklah byk2 anak oiii.. perhaps later I can share stuff from my Postpartum Journal. the frustrations, the joy and what not…