Image Slider

Baby Story : The night


// Note : This is a long kept post. When I posted this, Sofi is already 10 months old.

My contraction started one day before I was supposed to be admitted to the hospital. I was having much intense Brixton-Hicks contractions and pelvic pain for over 2 weeks before the date - making me question whether I was in labour or not every day. When it started to really happen, I thought that it might still be false labour. 

My back pain started to get intense throughout the day and around 4 pm I started to get the first real intense contraction. I had to stand out and breathe through the contraction (that's how I know it was different). Sitting down was uncomfortable. I told my mom-in-law and she told me to slowly walk around the house. Then I told my sister because she was in the area (she came right after). Af was getting ready to come back home from work, so I didn't want him to worry. I told him when he arrived home, "it's happening".  

The contraction faded in the evening, and slowly built up again. I rested around 9 pm to get ready (just in case), and around 11 pm it got super intense and I no longer could sleep. We then decided to go to the hospital that night.

I remember we stopped by at 7/11 in Putrajaya near the hospital so that I could buy some bread to eat.

When we reach Hospital Putrajaya :
  • I registered
  • The nurses asked me to change to their hospital clothes
  • They took some blood, checked my pulse, put something like a belt on my tummy to check the baby's heart rate and my contraction level (the nurse mentioned that my contraction was really intense and how was I holding up ? - it was mostly around 80%+ )
  • It was late at night, so there weren't any doctor around except intern. 2 intern doctors tried to do vaginal examination on me and wasn't sure how dilated I was =.= ( It was around 1 cm ). 
  • I was admitted and sent to a room (shared with another Chinese woman with a baby). Af came to the room later with my bags.
  • I didn't sleep much, it was an intense night. My contractions were strong and long, I remember holding on to AF, tears falling down on my cheek without I realized I was crying, silently. I guess I was in pain.
  • Morning came, I was exhausted. The nurse checked my blood pressure and my contraction level. The nurse asked me to walk around the corridor, so I spent the morning walking. 
  • At 3pm, I finally met my doctor. She did another vaginal examination, it was only 3 cm. I'm not sure if I'm right, but she had to do a 'membrane sweeping' to help induce the labour. In this procedure, the doctor wore a glove, and swept the inside of the cervix in circular motion. It was painful. This was the most traumatic moment during my whole stay at the hospital. I cried afterwards because I felt somewhat abused (by the procedure). Later I decided to take an epi.
  • Things moved fast after 3 pm, I was already 24 hours into contraction. They took me for an epi, prepared me, I waited in the labour room shaking (because I was cold due to the epi and had really strong surges), they also gave me something on a drip to induce the labour and they broke my water as well. Most of the time I was just trying to follow the surges. Already too tired to function, I haven't eaten for so long.
  • At 8 pm, the doctor came. I think Sofi came out in less than 10 minutes *by the doctor's help. She did sucked the head, because I was losing it. I became too tired, I knew to push when they asked me to push, but I didn't know how far did I go - with epi I don't really feel the piercing pain, just a lot of pressure.
  • By the time they put Sofi on my tummy and she cried, I was too tired, I can't open my eyes. 
  • I didn't see her until they cleaned us up. 
The two days after was chaos. I fainted in the bathroom after I tried to pee, I was still too tired. No one mentioned how much blood that I'll be seeing afterwards, huh. The whole experience was surreal and exhausting. I just wanted it to be over.

Sofi had jaundice so she had to be put under the light. She won't sleep without sucking, so I hardly slept. We stayed a bit too long before the doctor released us *due to the jaundice. Af didn't sleep for 2 days. Things were a bit overwhelming. 

--

Personally, the whole 6 months after Sofi came out was physically and mentally challenging. I was trying to heal, and at the same time cope with a new baby in our lives. Writing this down is odd, because I didn't enjoyed the process much. But it became much better after 6 months. 

I could write so many things that I struggled during the early phase, I guess I really don't like to be weak and unpredictable. I am someone that need to plan things and want to be in control. This situation put me in an odd phase of "just follow the flow". It was so painful to endure. I had to ask for help, a lot. I didn't like that, at all. 

I always thought that I was ready. 
But motherhood is a life-long learning phase. 
And I don't think we will ever graduate from one.  
--

Do you want to know what I remember that intense night ?

Apocalypse, by Cigarette After Sex :


I can't thank Af enough for helping me get through the night, and Aja for so many things in my life post-pregnancy.

Baby Story : Sofi and Her Sleep


I started writing this when Sofi turned 4 months old :

We are currently sleep training Sofi.

I do the reading and the researching, and Af is actually working on training her because Sofi likes to sleep on Af's arms (and I can't do everything, I need support). It usually takes twice the effort for me to make her sleep. It is always a struggle, a fight, a drama, or lot's of cries before she actually falls asleep. 

The 4 months sleep regression has just ended, and she's already reaching the 3rd week of 5 months (while I'm writing this). Af been training her since the 4th month after she graduated the forth trimester and ended the newborn phase. It is still a struggle, but we can now put her to sleep by herself after she fell asleep instead of sleeping in our arms for most of the time. She still cries at least once every hour throughout the night before her deep sleep phase (after 3am). Af does all that, the training, giving her bottled milk (at least twice), changing the diaper (once), attending to Sofi's every need - all through the night while I'm resting until 4am. Then I'll take the next shift until she is awake and starts her day. 

We are currently on the 7th week sleep training and still struggling. 
Major achievement : we can now finally put her to sleep on her own after she fell asleep. Baby steps.

-

Sofi's sleep journal :

First month : 
The first 2 weeks while she was having jaundice - she slept all the time and we had to force feed her. We thought she was an easy sleeper.
Afterwards - her personality arose, we were wrong : she is a super-light sleeper. It is hard to make her sleep for more than an hour without waking up. The sleeping pattern was all over the place, we were sleep deprived and exhausted.
She needed to be soothe most of the time, so I decided to find a pacifier. We tried several, she accepted the third pacifier : Philips NICU Soothie Pacifier for newborn. It was a success :F I can finally leave her side while she was asleep.



Second month :
She started sleeping through the night - there were several more than 3 hours sleep moments at night. We were hopeful :F We can put her to sleep laying down on her own at night.

Third month : The struggle started. She wanted to be held, all throughout the day and night. I can't do anything, at times, I didn't eat or had to run to go to the toilet, I was stressed out, sleep-deprived and depressed. Af helped me taking care of Sofi when he got home, but it wasn't enough. I was still healing and Sofi wasn't cooperating. She was still having colic many many times and it was bad. The fourth trimester was really challenging for me.

I also bought several essential oils for babies to help her sleep. Well, I don't know whether if it was working, because her sleeping was still a struggle.

Things I use :

  • Bedtime by Audelia Naturals  ( I put behind her ears / neck after shower )
  • Resty Oil by Tasneem Naturals (Spray onto her sleeping space before sleeping time)
  • Oil diffuser + Lavender (15 minutes before sleeping time, for 1 hour)


I can't give reviews about these items, because it was still really hard to make her sleep and she was the worst sleeper. I just hope it helped her a bit (at least if she understand the cue for sleep time).

-

Forth month :
The 4-months sleep regression started. She started wailing at night, she cried at least once every hour. We also started sleep training her during this time. The night-wails went on for about 7-8 weeks. During this time Af started working at home, so we took turn taking care of her while working. He helped me a lot. I got better, mentally and emotionally. I started working again. 

Fifth & sixth month :
We can now put her to sleep laying down instead of letting her sleep in our arms while she is sleeping.
She naps 2-3 times during the day, usually around 30-60 minutes (sometimes can even stretch to 2 hours - rarely). She will be awake around 1-3 hours depending on her mood and sleepiness, still gets super cranky when she wanted to sleep but usually gave up and let us help her sleep when we stretched her awake time.

-

7th month : Basically it is still the same. Af will put her to sleep quite easily nowadays - but she needs Af to pick her up and walk her several rounds in the living room. She still naps 2-3 times a day (usually 30-60 minutes). She mostly sleeps through the night, but will cry several times to be soothe by Af or she probably needs milk. There are nights when she cries at night and can't be soothe, maybe because of teething or it's too hot to sleep comfortably. We had to turn on the A/C nowadays :F

Her nap time actually improved after she started eating.
She can now nap 1-2 hours (this is a great improvement).

After the 4th month, she no longer can sleep on her baby car seat during long drive. She will get super fussy and wants Af (it is still a struggle for me to make her sleep because she has her 'favorite'). But I have to pick her up and help her sleep (she will sleep on me for an hour). A struggle, but still possible.

Note : I am still using all the essential oils that I bought in the fourth trimester (so even though they are crazy expensive, I'm still using those everyday until today).

-

Will continue this post until Sofi is 1 !

Baby Story: Surviving the First Month


I had a baby 6 weeks ago, on the 23rd of July 2019.
We named her Ana Sofi (I am wisdom).

People always say that the fourth trimester is the hardest phase. I wasn't fully prepared for this phase - it was definitely not as easy as the months during my pregnancy. Although I finally got my body back and it slowly starting to feel like myself, the emotional and physical changes after the pregnancy phase was a bit tough on me.

Let me share some of it with you :
  1. The Pain & Exhaustion - My body was really weak in the first few weeks, even by the second week I still have to be aware of all my movements. My back was in a lot of pain after the delivery and even though 5 weeks passed and all my stitches were healing well, my back was still in pain (I can't sit properly and I had limited movements). I only took a 4-days confinement massage sessions, and I don't think it was enough (added extra massage session).  
    • What you can do : Get a 5 / 7 days confinement massage sessions, get help from your mom / sister / hire confinement lady in the first + second week after the delivery, ask your husband to take a full week off to help around (you will need the help and moral support). 
  2. The Jaundice Phase - Sofi got jaundice on the first day but nobody told us about how to get better from jaundice right-away, that she needed to drink a lot of milk and the more she pee/poo, the faster she will heal from jaundice. We thought she was an easy baby because she slept through most of the time (we found out later that it was one of the symptom), so we didn't wake her up during the first few days. Later when her jaundice spiked, Sofi was admitted, got blue-screened for the whole day, I tried to fed her my milk (and it wasn't enough). We got the hang of it after a week, we had to monitor her poo + pee, forced feed her every 2 hours, and went to the clinic to get it checked every few days. After 2 weeks of the routine, she was finally discharged. It was a tough phase for a person healing from delivering a baby.  
    • What you can do : You need to start milking up at least a week before the delivery, get milk supplements / booster. Pump it out and keep in your fridge so you can feed your baby first thing after the delivery. Don't wait because it might take days after the delivery for some people and babies with jaundice need milk every 2 hours.
  3. The Milk Issue - in order to reduce jaundice level in babies, babies need to drink a LOT of their mommies' milk and for some of new mommies, milk production takes some time. I had that problem, my milk wasn't enough and Sofi needs my milk to get better. What she had wasn't enough, so the first few days we had to combine with milk formula to cater to her every 2 hours feeding time. It was such a difficult time for me, because I felt like I wasn't enough for her that I can't even feed her. I was stressed out and exhausted, on the verge of crying all the time :F 
    • What you can do : Get supplement or milk booster : kurma, milk, halba, brown rice, horlicks, honey, etc. I tried the hot halba + honey (and it worked), now I also take milk supplement (MaMom) so I can get ahead of Sofi's need. I got myself an electric pump and pump out my milk every 3 hours to activate the milk production.
  4. The Breast Engorgement Phase - I wanted to produce milk as much and as soon as possible so we tried one of the nurse's tips : drink a mixture of hot halba + honey. A day after 2 drinks of the mixture, I woke up with a prickling pain all over my body, my mom in law said it was because of the milk accumulation and if I didn't treat it soon, it will caught on with fever (and we were avoiding that). Thank God my confinement lady was scheduled that day, and so I had the most worst breast massage session (because of the pain) but she taught me a great way to do breast massage myself to avoid future engorgement. I will never forget this lesson. 
    • What you can do : I don't want anyone in the world to ever have to experience this to know the seriousness of breast engorgement. Breast engorgement will happen to you if you keep the milk for long - so we need to avoid this. Just let your baby drink it up and don't forget to religiously pump it all out every few hours. Learn breast massage to let the milk out and on emergency cases when breast engorgement happened to you, please call in the professionals to help you out. In my case, here's a number : Kak Effa, Opah Heritage : 017 272 7278.
  5. The Sleepless Night - I thought we were ready for this. No. Sleepless nights meant waking up at random hours when your baby cries or when it is time for you to feed your baby (jaundice babies need milk every 2 hours). So the random hours were the tough part, sometimes every few hours, sometimes every hour, and sometimes even minutes right after we closed our eyes. There is no planning here, we weren't getting proper sleep for weeks now.
    • What you can do : Take turn, do it together with your husband. You are in this together. 
  6. The Postpartum Depression Scare - it was tough on me. I kept on getting anxious, my hormones weren't stable yet, I cried almost every day during the first 2 weeks. It was too much. I was constantly afraid of making mistakes, anxious every time I hear her cry, still in a lot of pain, I felt weak and helpless, I miss my husband so much - even though he was with me on the first week, I felt so far from him, I didn't feel like myself, I didn't feel connected with Sofi, everything felt wrong. I kept on repeating the past over and over again, and I shared all this with Af. Every time I talk about it, I cried. When I pumped my milk, I cried. Af was really worried with my condition - but we talked about postpartum depression or baby blues before and usually it will end in 2-3 weeks. I also shared + whined to my sister and Tasya (she just had a baby few months back). By the end of the 3rd week, I felt okay :F
    • What you can do : Share with your partner, or your close friends. In my case, I shared my whines and cries with my sister and my best friend Tasya (she just had a baby few months back and she survived the fourth trimester without whining to me). Without them, I don't know how I can survive this phase. Af also seen me cry the most during this 2 weeks - and I almost never cried in front of him in our 4-years of marriage :F
  7. The Postpartum Hives - This was weird. I got an allergic reaction for 3 days, and it was really bad (it attacked my whole body : lower body, upper body, head, face, back, lips). Everything went red, super itchy, and hot. Like huge maps all over my body. Nothing worked, I just had to stop myself from touching it and I can't even sleep at night. 
    • What you can do : Please please please avoid stress. It takes a toll on your body. 
  8. The Colic - Be ready for a colic phase. It is a tough phase, for the baby, for you as parents because your baby will cry and cry for hours. Nothing seems right and they will look uncomfortable and in pain. She cried, I cried T^T This is a normal phase for newborn (0-3 months), so be patient and try to avoid it at any cost. 
    • What you can do : Burp your baby after every feeding, bicycle leg exercise before feeding, essential oil massages to avoid gas. Every burp matters, invest your time in those small exercises and massages to avoid this awful situation. 
  9. The Awkward Public Breast Feeding - I hate it. It is so public and Sofi is crying :F
    • What you can do : Buy a nursing cover and practice. Try it while standing up, try it while sitting down, practice latching the baby under the cover, during stressful moments when your baby is crying like crazy. If lucky, go and find nursing room.
--

If I don't push myself to write all this down, I'll probably forget this after several years. But I don't want to forget this phase, I want to remember and remind myself (so I'll consider if I want to keep making babies) :D Surviving the first month for new parents is tough, depressing and super stressful, but you'll adapt and it will be over soon.

May the force be with you.



Pregnancy : The Last Few Dates before The Baby Comes


We had 4 silent years together.
We are both introverts and we hardly have any friends, so we were just together most of the time.
We fill each other's silences.


Those time we spent together next to each other, doing our things and not saying anything. When we walk along the beach, when we hike during our trips, when we explore new places on foot, when we go on dates after dates. I love that we can stay silent and be ourselves without feeling uncomfortable. And I love how we can talk endlessly to one another as well. No one knows me as much as he does. 

I'm thanking God for the time I had with him when I was not sharing him with anyone else. He let me be myself, and I can't thank him enough.


*



Our lives will definitely change once the baby arrives. 
We are saying goodbye to our honeymoon phase at this moment and getting ready for parenthood with open hands. Thank you Af for the blessed 4 years together ♥️

Wish us all the love and strength in this world.




Pregnancy : 8 Things I wish I'd Bought from the Start


I discussed with Af before about how the uncomfortable phases during pregnancy can be avoided/reduced if I had known what to spend on from the start. But it is already too late (for me) because I'm already reaching my final weeks but hopefully this will help new mothers in the future. 

This is for you, as a pregnant woman, not for the baby yet :D

--



1. Pregnancy body pillow - starting from the 2nd trimester
Yes, it is ugly, I understand that. But, to be honest, pregnancy is one of the most uncomfortable phase that I've endured for almost 7 months (especially after the first half of the pregnancy). If you have the budget for it, do spend it on the U-shaped pregnancy pillow, or you can always put a pillow shield around you every time you want to lie down (what I did throughout the pregnancy). But the pregnancy pillow will definitely help - I can assure you that because you'll be needing the good rest every day and sleeping is no longer your best friend when you are heavily pregnant. You can always pass the pillow to the next mother (like your siblings!) once your pregnancy phase is over. 

Alternative/cheaper way : You can get the affordable ones for RM RM 30+ to RM 100+ from Shopee/Lazada or you can make pillow fort every night using all the pillows at home. 

--

2. Lotion/oil for your tummy (or stretch mark) - starting from the 2nd trimester
I've been using Cosmoderm's Vitamin E oil for few months since I got pregnant. But by the 7th - 8th month, I started having these tiny rashes bumps on my tummy due to the sudden third trimester stretch. It got worse day by day. The oil (+the hot weather) didn't help much. It got to the point where I need to expose my tummy part for air at home and avoid fabric to reduce the friction =.= 

What changed was the free trial I got : Garden of Eden's - Jojo E Stretch Mark cream + skin serum. That helped a lot, the rashes got better, and the skin around my tummy got softer and moistured well enough. If I had known better, I would definitely splurge on this from the start. They are definitely expensive - but it works wonder. No more annoying rashes :F

Alternative/cheaper way : I didn't have time to experiment on this. I wish I know about this product earlier so I wouldn't have to endure the rashes phase. 

But regarding whether it works for stretch marks, I'm not sure - I haven't got them yet and I'm currently on the 38th week of my pregnancy. I'll update this after the baby comes out !

--

3. Pregnancy/nursing Bra - starting from the 1st trimester
You have to spend on this in 2 phases : 
  • The first trimester when your body starts welcoming the pregnancy phase, 
  • The third trimester, when it gets ready for the baby (the breast milk phase)
Say hello to your new body and just embrace this phase. 
No wires ladies, opt for comfort.

Alternative/cheaper way : You can buy bra extender clip for RM 1 - RM 3 on Shopee/Lazada, this will buy you some time during the early pregnancy phase. But eventually you'll be needing new bras. Checkout those online shopping sites (Lazada/Shopee), you can get good quality nursing bra from RM 9+. You'll go through changes, for sure. 

--

4. Spray Sanitizer - starting from the 1st trimester
You'll be visiting a LOT of public toilet (you can't avoid this) and sometimes those toilets aren't so friendly and you can no longer use the Asian squatting toilet because you are huge and no longer flexible :F Embrace the sitting toilet, use the spray sanitizer, bring tissues all the time when you go out. 

Alternative/cheaper way : Buy the combo pack, I think it will be enough throughout the pregnancy.

--

5. Compression socks - starting from the 2nd trimester
Please do spend on compression socks because you will have to endure the pain throughout the second half of the pregnancy. Muscle sores, feet aches, cramps at night. I didn't buy compression socks, so I know I'm talking by experience here. I do wake up at night because of the cramps, and every single day during my third trimester was tough on my legs and feet. It felt like I did half-marathon every day. 

Alternative/cheaper way : I don't know any cheaper way to reduce the muscle sores because they are every where, from your pubic + pelvic bones, down to your thigh, your calf, and your feet :F Daily foot massage from your husband helps too ! :D

--

6. Gym ball - starting from the 2nd trimester
I read that it helps reduce back pain, it gets you to move (minor exercise) and it helps a lot during your labour. I'm not talking based on experience because I didn't have a gym ball so I'm not sure whether it works or not. My back pain started during the 2nd trimester and it got better by the 3rd trimester when the pain moved to my lower body instead. But anything that help with your pregnancy exercise is supposed to be good :) 

Alternative/cheaper way : Pregnancy pilate/yoga 

--

7. Pregnancy clothes - starting from the 2nd trimester
I wish I bought at least :
  • 1 comfy maternity blouse,
  • 1 maternity jeans/much leaner comfy pants, 
  • 3 x lower waist maternity panties (the high-raised ones didn't work for me)
I don't have to go 'out' to work, but I do go out a lot for my checkups so I need outing clothes that are comfortable throughout the pregnancy (until the last few weeks). My maternity friendly clothes did worked for me from month 2-8, but probably not in month 9 when everything I wear looked hanging because my body was still not that big but my tummy is pretty huge and high-up. You can always wear loose blouse/jubah on repeat - those are the ultimate maternity-friendly clothes. but you need to figure out about the pants because it gets uncomfortable eventually.

--

8. Nursing Chair - starting from the 2nd trimester
I'm glad I bought Poang from Ikea quite early - I wanted a reason to buy a resting chair for reading actually and that's how I decided on Poang during the 2nd trimester. But I didn't realized how useful the armchair turned out to be during my back-ache phase. No chairs/sofa/bed in my house that are as comfortable as sitting on that chair (but I need to put a pillow behind my back during my 3rd trimester because of the huff-and-puff). I spent a LOT of time there during my pregnancy phase and I am soooo glad I bought it.  

I spent : RM 300 for the chair, but I'm sure there are other affordable nursing chairs around.  

--

Pregnancy is different for each person and even for each pregnancy itself. So you might find things that works for others might not work for you. But from what I can see, a lot of maternity products do help with the pregnancy symptoms, ease some discomforts, or make life better throughout some  of the phases. If you have some money to spend on any of the items, do so, if not, then improvise :D 

You don't have to spend on the most expensive/branded items because it is just a phase :) They are just going to make your life better. Good luck !