Friday, 31 May 2013

Second Pregnancy: Recliner

The most expensive seat in our living room comfortable recliner for my pregnant body.
We bought ours at Harvey Norman, IPC, Malaysia a few months ago (as a present to me) to sit comfortably whilst being pregnant and soon to be breastfeeding again, in sha Allah. We saw many other models from many other shops but found this to be "the one".

No regrets! This is now my "go to sleep solution" when the cramps and aches get in the way of a restful slumber, especially at night.
Comfort: Buttery soft leather with the right lumbar and neck support. High back to suit relatively tall people in this household.
Recline Angle: Follows body contour and weight. Love how simply this works with your own body weight (increasing, in my pregnant case) and has no buttons or pedals (easy for handling when breastfeeding).
Childproof: No sharp bits, no sharp angles. No loose hanging bits. We have a 3 year old at home, remember? Soon to be born Bean who will eventually be crawling and exploring too, remember?
Care: Easy to maintain with soft wipe and full range of leather care products.
Price: Very reasonable since you cannot measure comfort, sleep and safety in terms of $$$!

Confinement Recipe: Baked Salmon

This is so simple that The Other Half can make for me without turning our kitchen into a post tornado scene...all he does is omit the marinade for The Little Girl's portion.

200g salmon slice, washed and pat dry
1 pc aluminium foil

2 tbsp pure sesame oil
1/2 tbsp black pepper
1tsp ginger, chopped
1tsp garlic, chopped

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius (180C if fan assisted).
Marinade salmon for 30 minutes.
Place marinated salmon into foil and cover well. 
Poke a  few small holes for steam to escape.
Bake for 8 minutes or until salmon is cooked.

Bon appetit!

Confinement Recipe: Banana Snack

In between feeding, burping and changing a newborn, I sometimes get frazzled from all that buzz and lack of sleep. This is one snack I can make in a jiffy and consume within a short time without losing much sleep, nerves or nutrients...

2 wholemeal bread slices
1 fresh banana
Some peanut butter or Manuka honey or butter
Dash of cinnamon powder

Spread peanut butter or Manuka honey or butter onto wholemeal bread slices.
Slice freshly peeled bananas onto wholemeal bread.
Sprinkle some cinnamon powder onto banana slices.
Press or grill for a few minutes until brown.
Serve with dusting of cinnamon powder.

*avoid bananas if newborn is being breastfed and has colic. Replace with red apple slices/dates/raisins.

Bon appetit!

Confinement Recipe: Papaya Milk Dessert

Confinement is a rest, relax and rejuvenate period for me. Sometimes after breastfeeding and feeling both peckish and thirsty in the late afternoon before meal time, I love a healthy dessert to tie me over without piling on the pounds.

This simple and tasty dessert is also a cure for constipation and helps in increasing breast milk supply.

1 whole ripe papaya
1tbsp rock sugar
250ml milk
Small slice of ginger, if baby has no jaundice.

Wash papaya and pat dry.
Cut off top part of papaya to use as a "pot lid".
Decore papaya to remove seeds, empty papaya will look like a "pot".
Cut the bottom of papaya so that the "pot" can "stand" on its own.

Pour ginger, rock sugar and milk into the "papaya pot" and close "pot lid".
Place onto a plate or bowl to fit steamer.
Steam for 45 minutes.
Serve hot.

Tip: If in a rush, skin and cube the papaya then place all ingredients into a bowl that can fit into steamer.

Bon appetit!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Second Pregnancy: Week 36

After the previous false alarm, we made it to Week 36, syukur alhamdulillah!. This is a big feat for me as The Little Girl arrived on Week 36.

Throughout this pregnancy, we have been praying that Bean stays in there at least until Week 38.

Evidently, and so importantly that Bean does stay put for at least two more weeks. Just look at how tiny Bean is, especially when it comes to head circumference size:

Measurements taken by Dr. Seri Suniza Sufian on 29.05.2013:
BPD: 8.75 cm (was 8.09 cm)
Head Circumference: 30.07 cm (was 28.43 cm)
Abdominal Circumference: 31.73 cm (was 28.30 cm)
Femur Length: 6.98 cm (was 6.71 cm)
Estimated Fetal Weight: 2.67 kg (was 2.1 kg)

I guess I have two new supplications to make.

Firstly, Bean to catch up on growth in the next two weeks until we see Dr. Seri again. She will be issuing the pre-admission letter only then, as over preparation may encourage Bean to think it is time *hehe, gotta love Dr. Seri*

The kind doctor did confirm that in the event Bean makes a grand exit before the next appointment, all we need to do is exactly as per what we have done during the false alarm.

1. Call the hospital, let them know that I am coming over.
2. Head towards E.R. and tell the staff that I am in labour.
3. Ask for wheelchair and be taken to the labour ward.
4. Get on with business while the midwife calls Dr. Seri.

Secondly, Bean is in occiput posterior position. Hope Bean turns to occiput anterior or else I will be in for so many variables which may include back labour and higher risk of c-sec. I guess I will try going on my hands and knees for 10 minutes daily for now to try turning Bean.

When we saw the ultrasound scan, my heart swelled a little more with love and affection. Bean was taking a gulp/yawning then rubbed both eyes with both fists before settling down for a bit. I presume it was a nap.

The Little Girl was as sweet as ever to Dr. Seri. Instead of giving a running commentary like she did last time, she occupied herself with the step ladder and blankets when the ultrasound was being conducted. The Other Half was too busy making sure The Little Girl was not disturbing the kind doctor that he missed most of the session.

Dr. Seri also hosted an intern this time. She, the intern, must have overheard one of the most robust discussions on, inter alia:

- dermatology of pregnancy (I look like I have a watermelon plastered onto my belly now)

- pain management (yes, epidural at 3 to 4 cm dilation pretty please. I want to enjoy birthing suffer less back labour, even if some say epidural hinders turning at the very last moment)

- allergy management (let's just stick to KY Jelly instead of Hexidin Cream)

- vaginal exams and how uncomfortable they can be if not done properly (choice, or the lack thereof when it comes to midwives on duty roster)

- external perineum massage using virgin coconut oil (Tanamera set)

- drinking virgin coconut oil to prime the body for labour (Tanamera set)

- breastfeeding support network (some cyber bullies out there, watch out!)

- breastfeeding flash mobs in support of nursing in public (I have nursing cover and seek out nursing rooms most of the time. More on this later)

- gentle birthing group (I am not really into an all natural home birth/water birth)

- home care for The Little Girl while I go into labour (The Grandparents, of course!)

Oh dear, I think I may have chat too much into the appointment time. I hope the intern didn't get the impression that all pregnant hormonal ladies give that much feedback...

In sha Allah, two more weeks, Bean!
Monday, 20 May 2013

Second Pregnancy: Week 35

"Not time yet, Bean!"
"Stay in there!"
"It is not June just yet!"
Alhamdulillah, I am leaking colostrum. Treatment for my cracked, dry and chapped nipples, I use Lansinoh and Medela Purelan 100.
Alhamdulillah I am still having Braxton Hicks (but sometimes it is a wee bit painful and I actually time the intervals - just in case). My body reacts to stress. When The Other Half and The Little Girl get into one of their many battles of the wills, I end up with painful contractions! Totally not fair.
Alhamdulillah I am taking enough fibres and manage to keep constipation and piles at bay.
Alhamdulillah the hospital bag is packed into my preferred small size black trolley bag (no heavy lifting required). Note with missing items have been handed to The Other Half so he knows what to buy if I need them.
Alhamdulillah the hospital route has been worked out and practiced for different traffic conditions/time of day.
Alhamdulillah work is almost complete with just a few more documents to draft. I do most of my work at night after The Little Girl has gone to bed.
I still have not gotten pre-admission letter from my ob-gyn (obviously it is still too early). Our next appointment is at the end of Week 36 and I may request for one. If anything happens now, I will just have to head to ER without any letters. I hope a credit card security for payment will do.
Maybe I should line my bed tonight, just in case my water breaks.

23 May 2013: False Alarm Episode

After dinner at The Flat Upstairs, at about 9.30 p.m., I started noticing contractions that were lasting 3 minutes or more, and totalled more than 6 in one hour. Rang the hospital at 10.30 p.m. and informed them that there was no show/no water bag leak or break but my contractions were within that frequency. Hospital staff said to go to in for monitoring via CTG at the labour room just to be safe.

Rang The Grandparents (who had left The Flat Upstairs and went back to The House, 40 minutes away) at 10.40 p.m. They promptly did a U-turn and arrived at our place at 11.40 p.m. to watch over (then, a sleeping) Little Girl.

Grabbed the hospital bag (see above, alhamdulillah!), went to ER, got wheeled into the labour room, changed, passed urine, got the CTG strapped on and the nurses rang the ob-gyn up.

A vaginal exam was ordered. No dilation, which was a good thing as we are still "premature". My most uncomfortable vaginal exam ever, I confess. I now know that I am allergic to Hexidin Cream 1%. It was like a ring of fire, burning and painful.

The first "school prefect" type of nurse tried giving me a vaginal exam without first propping me into the right position. She just went ahead and asked me to adjust my position as she probed when I kept saying, "No, no, no. This is not nice!".

I told her to stop.

She went out to get a second nurse. Her exact words before leaving the room were, "I will get you another nurse, maybe her fingers are smaller."

I was like #%*@!

In came the second nurse. The sweet, smiley, gentle but firm person.

She spoke gently and adjusted my posture first. Politely, she requested, "Lie back and relax, please spread your thighs this way. Can we straighten your back? OK, let's breathe in, breathe out, good, let's keep breathing. There. No dilation, we are done."

It was over in less than 2 minutes.

The only irritation left was from the Hexidin Cream.

Before we left the labour ward, the nurses took my urine sample for tests, just in case of an infection. As for the Hexidin, we were advised to request for water based gel next time since we now know about my adverse reaction. The immediate treatment for the irritation is to rinse as much as possible off.

My ob-gyn also asked the nurses to inform me that I need more rest. 

Needless to say, I am not allowed to handle any drama from The Little Girl whenever she insists on being carried in the haste of emotional meltdown or tantrums (she is a mere 13kg!) since then. Earlier that day, The Little Girl had a two hour meltdown (refusing to change her diapers, refusing to go on the potty, speeding on her indoor car, jumping up and down the sofa, running at top speed at home etc.) I had to carry her on my hips when "all hell broke loose" just to calm her down.

Oh what a long night it was.

I was discharged at 2 a.m. when the Braxton Hicks ceased. Amazingly, Bean was as cool as cucumber and stopped practising. Stealth mode on, I kind of looked like a complete idiot.

The bill came up to RM10.


Home we went, The Grandparents went to sleep at The Flat Upstairs. We went to bed. The Little Girl did not notice anything amiss. We showed her photographs taken at the labour ward the following morning before she went to school.
Back to positive reinforcement.
"Not time yet, Bean!"
"Stay in there!"
"It is not June just yet!"
Question: Is your pregnancy this interesting/dramatic/memorable too? *hehe*
Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Second Pregnancy: Week 34

My BabyCenter app beeps every Monday to remind me how far along this pregnancy is a.k.a. how far away the EDD actually is.
The beeps make my manic Mondays a little sweeter to wake up to, I'll admit.
Nesting instincts have crept up on me, albeit a bit early.
Little pieces of evidence:
1. Planning to cook, store and freeze stocks for use throughout the 44 days confinement period in the next few days. This is because I do not like soya sauce and salt in my food. Commercially produced sauces and stocks laden with MSG and other replacements flavouring agent names of which I cannot even pronounce properly are out of the question. Some are IBS inducing, I kid you not.
2. Stock pile of red date tea ingredients, wolfberries, dried oysters, dried scallops, fenugreek, Manuka honey and Milkmaid tea. These are my trustworthy breastfeeding companions.
3. Fine tuning of the hospital bag - the packing list is done, some items have been put in. I am down to changing from a red bag to my preferred black mini suitcase. I just don't like red. Just like how some people don't like black *hehe*
4. Last fitting of nursing bras, and purchased enough to last me the wash and wear cycle for 44 days.
5. Decision on the Avent breastpump (new and improved model - the motor sits in its own casing and less tiring to hold when pumping) purchase, still waiting for discount. The Other Half knows which model exactly we want. No trouble at all for him to get out and grab one when the sale is on.
6. Decision on the Avent steriliser (new and improved model as well with square-ish instead of round shape to save counter top space) purchase, also waiting for discount. The Other Half is tasked with the same get out and grab mission.
7. Ironing as much clothes as I can to be rid of the pile of ever-growing LaundryMonster. Reality: It is a never ending task as more newly laundered clothes will join the basket on a daily basis.
8. Purchased The Little Girl's current size clothing (she grew taller overnight!), including her EidulFitr outfits. You read right - done. Let's just hope she won't outgrow them all come August!
9. Purchase of extra Corelle, Glaslocks and LockLock for Ramadhan frozen sahur meals. I am going to enlist some muscle help from The Other Half on this. Too heavy for me to carry.
10. Wrapped up outstanding work matters. I can now relax and not worry about work as my maternity leave is for 90 days starting 1 June 2013. I will still drop by the office to file papers as and when I can, and I still have access to work from home before labour starts. Not having to be physically in an office 5 days a week from 9 am to 5 pm has certainly improved my life-work balance in the last 2 years!
Having planned or done all of the above, I guess this tops it all:
11. Newborn diapers are home! I haven't seen them since The Little Girl last used them - aren't they the cutest tiny diapers?
Tick tock.
Stay in there until your EDD, Bean!


Have yet to decide on expressed breast milk storage. We are not keen on BPA free plastic bottles and bags as they emit a strange plasticky smell when reheated. In our experience, Life Factory has the best glass bottles and we have some - maybe we need to get a few in the freezer is not a problem as we have a fairly large freezer.

That brings me to the question of whether we need a bottle/baby food warmer to reheat the expressed breast milk, or will we just stick to sticking the glass bottle in hot water for a few minutes. We just feel that being "low tech" frees us up a lot when travelling!

Which brings me to the conclusion that direct breastfeeding is still best.

So, why would I need the breast pump, steriliser and extra bottles?

Mastitis relief? *pray not!*

Baby's un-ability to latch on? *pray not!*


Here is more digress:

Pre-pregnancy weight: 48 kg
Current pregnancy weight: 61 kg

Last random share:
Stopped driving as of this week.
Low down chassis with hard suspensions on my car + potholes in the city = a very uncomfortable ride.
Luckily for me, The Other Half drives me around in a very comfortable 4WD. Traded some loss of freedom for comfort there, no trouble at all.

Toodles for now.
Thursday, 9 May 2013

Second Pregnancy: Week 33

Check up date was on 8 May 2013. The Little Girl came along as it was a late afternoon appointment.
There was a landslide at Bukit Tunku onto Jalan Mahameru which caused a massive traffic diversion and jam in the morning. Black Wednesday gathering at Kelana Jaya Stadium had been confirmed for that evening at 8.30 pm so you can imagine the amount of "let's not get caught in traffic jam" planning that went into the first half of our day...
We thank Allah for making the day as smooth as possible. We couldn't possibly have asked for more. Shukran!
Good news: The Little Bean is growing well, Alhamdulillah!
The Little Girl asked the doctor upon seeing the scan image, "Where is Adik's hair?" to which the doctor laughed and replied, "Sayang, it will grow, don't worry! You will see some when Adik is born." Priceless!
We also checked if The Little Bean's head is engaged or otherwise. During the check up, it was not. Just head on down to my right. Phew!
Looks like The Little Bean is going to be handsome look a lot like The Other Half.
Not so good news: Purple veins on my lower abdomen despite the regimented application of sweet almond oil. The kind doctor said it stems from heavy weight of both the pregnancy and carrying The Little Girl (The Little Girl can now negotiate for 3 seconds carry carry). At the end of the appointment, Dr. Seri sat down with The Little Girl to explain that Mummy cannot carry her but Daddy can. The Little Girl fawned the most pitiful hazel eyes at Dr. Seri. It was one of those moments you can tell she is trying to melt the doctor's heart...and trying to change that "no-carry-carry-rule".
When asked about my Braxton-Hicks: my answer was that I have gotten used to them. If it gets too strong, I shift my position/drink some water/walk around/do an interval timing while resting. Anything more than 10 minutes apart in one hour is not worrisome. That said, I asked Dr. Seri how close she lives to Prince Court Medical Centre. After finding out the answer, I was quite assured of her usual record of timely response in case of an emergency.
My backache is also almost gone from having less stress, more lie down, back massages from The Other Half and light stretching. Pacing is important so I do not overload myself with groceries, shopping, house chores, laundry and cooking. I do what I can in piecemeal. I let slip what can wait. I delegate whatever possible.
With all that concluded, we set our next appointment at Week 36. Everyone is praying that The Little Bean will grow safely/healthily and stay put until the next appointment at the very minimum!
Measurements taken by Dr. Seri on 08.05.2013:
BPD: 8.09 cm (was 7.72 cm)
Head Circumference: 28.43 cm (was 27.63 cm)
Abdominal Circumference: 28.30 cm (was 25.07 cm)
Femur Length: 6.71 cm (5.49 cm)
Estimated Fetal Weight: 2.1 kg (was 1.4 kg)

Second Pregnancy: Week 32

At 32 weeks, one of the most memorable activities The Little Bean and I did was to walk down the hill slope to a school nearby to cast my vote in General Election 13, Malaysia.

The Other Half too.
The Little Bean was co-operative. No Braxton-Hicks. No cramps. Maybe The Little Bean understood the process of democracy involves allowing me to cast my vote without drama.
Mine was a fast and pleasant experience simply because the Polling Agents were fast to recognise that I am heavily pregnant (I was pulled out of a long queue to join a special lane for the old, infirm and pregnant, got my identification verified, asked to see a police officer manning the polling booth entrance, got my identification verified, left index finger inked, given one Parliamentary and State Legislative seat ballot paper each, marked my cross for each candidate of my choice, popped the ballot papers into its correct ballot boxes and left!).
The tough bit was the walk home. Uphill. Scorching sun. Bearable but if The House was any further I would have collapsed from the heat! The umbrella I had did its level best, I am sure.
The first thing that I headed for when I got home was to drink some cool Ribena!
The Other Half had to queue for his turn and only came back about an hour plus after I did. His shirt was all drenched in sweat but looked so happy to have fulfilled his obligation as a rightful citizen.
After a good Sunday home-cooked lunch with The Grandparents, The Little Girl, The Other Half and I went home to our usual abode at The Apartment in the city. We had on the day before stocked up on essentials just in'd never know.
That night, dinner was served with the news on the TV but the local channels were all stalling and the results feed from Malaysiakini was more prompt. At The Little Girl's bedtime, we followed the routine and went to bed.
However, upon hearing The Little Girl snore, The Other Half and I got up excitedly to go online searching for more updates. He then gave up at midnight while I then stayed up that night eating mango yoghurt and followed the results of the General Elections online until about 1.30 a.m. when Barisan Nasional hit 112 seats simple majority.  
The progress of the nation since then has been somewhat tense but that makes reading the daily news interesting again (it was really boring during 15 days leading up to the General Elections!). Facebook newsfeed is now alive with frequent updates not limited to just OOTD and photos of friends' BLD/holidays/kids/bakes but videos of speeches and the national anthem being sung with much patriotism.
Whatever the outcome is going to be in the days and months or even years to come only Allah knows.
I know this much:
Why did I vote?
I voted for my children's future.
I am sure you would have too.
Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Second Pregnancy: Confinement Food Recipes

Stumbled upon "Falling in Love with Confinement" by Peiling Goh at Kinokuniya yesterday. Retails for RM46.00. See also

I got myself a copy and after flipping through a few pages, I am loving the recipes. Excited enough to share my thoughts here after trying out a few simple dishes (omitted those with black fungus and mushrooms so as not to trigger more contractions).

Note: Mine is a bilingual copy - very handy as The Other Half and I can then read the English version while my confinement helper can read the Mandarin version. Literally, we are on the same page, pun intended.

The healing food and drink recipes are so delicious looking I am looking forward to testing the safe ones now and wait for the rest during confinement. I like how it is a practical handbook, simple enough for The Other Half to follow on days when we are on our own.

Here's finally looking forward to confinement positively/not dread the lack of support network/avoiding limited food and drink choices/having to explain every single recipe that I have used before at every single meal preparation.

Caveat: I cross refer all ingredients with Halal & Haram, The Prohibited & The Permitted Foods & Drinks According to Jewish, Christian & Muslim Scriptures by Muhammad Umar Chand.

Syukur Alhamdulillah!