First Pregnancy

The Day I Found You, Isa

Isa is two years old today, and I can’t praise and thank Allah enough for that. For this special day, I am reposting a post from my old blog, an account on the day I found Isa, originally posted in October 2011.

 

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I was on an emotional roller-coaster the day I found you.

I worked hard on my presentation slides I for the whole day, only to find out it was lost when my laptop system hanged – that’s disappointment and exhaustion.

I received the official letter stating the amount of bonus I were to receive in a few days, which was a really nice figure – that’s exhilaration.

And I had a lot more to-do item under my belt I felt like it won’t be over – that’s the worn-out feeling.

Then I texted your father. I told him I was sorry I could not cook this evening, as I had to make up for the lost document I was diligently working on. He knew I was all stressed-out, he didn’t mind a bit.

Then I texted him again: Please get me a pregnancy test kit.

To be honest, my period not coming was at the bottommost  of the list of things I need to worry about. But I just hate uncertainties at times when I have a lot to handle. Knowing whether you are there or not would at least help, I thought.

Then I went back home. It felt much nicer to be home seeing my good friend Adibah – who happened to be staying over in my house for a few nights. Just the night before I remembered her asking me whether I am planning for a child soon, and my answer was firm : We do not use any family planning method for the time being, if it comes now, alhamdulillah. If it’s not now, then surely Allah knows when is the best time for us to expand our little family.

Then I found both of us lying on our prayer mats right after our congregational Maghrib prayer. Your father was extremely tired, I know, and having heard me saying that I won’t use the test kit until tomorrow he didn’t expect me to use give him surprises any sooner than that.

But my curiosity heightened, and I could not help but checking.

I remembered seeing my fingers shaking out of nervousness – what a life-changing event it could be if the sign turns out to be positive.

And it did.

It did show a positive sign.

I almost fall out of my surprise, because you are there inside me – there’s one little creature inside my belly!

Then I went to see your father. He was still lying, his eyes were closed.

“Dear, do you want to read this?’

I handed him the instruction leaflet. Then he saw me holding the sacred stick – and was like, oh my, she already did the test! – ‘Alright, this cross sign means positive, if it is minus sign, it’s negative,’he repeated what he read,  trying to register all the info.

Then I showed him the stick.

‘Oh man, I haven’t found a house yet!’ – In case you are wondering why such reaction, that’s because he has been saying to himself that he will find a house to buy before the first baby comes, and he’s still in the process of doing so.

Then came the praises to Allah – and some in-denial-father-to-be  jokes your father produced throughout the evening (Could not blame him for that, I presented him the news in the most unromantic way possible. People come out with creative ideas and make it an occasion, but your mom unfortunately ain’t a sucker for such thing).

We are indeed so pleased to have you around, inside my belly and outside soon, God willing.

He snapped the photo of the monumental stick – which I am yet to upload, and my half-crying face because at five weeks, the nausea had just started saying hi to me!

And that – that was the day I found you.

You at 9 weeks. Had to scan because of my bleeding.

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The Aftermath

Isa is fast asleep so I figure out I’d rather take some time to write than catching up with my (deprived) sleeping hours. The fact about living with a newborn is that my life seems to now being divided into three-hour blocks – to wake him up for feeding if he’s sleeping more than this, to check his diaper even if he’s not being fussy and the list goes. I’d rather write now I guess

I wrote about my birth story previously. Most of us (including me) thought that after the birthing process, the worst is now over. That is not so true.

I don’t intend to write on this, until yesterday when I read one of my doctor friend’s Facebook status; on a father who requested for his wife and newborn child to be discharged a couple of hours after delivery, against the doctor’s recommendation. The reason: he had some work matters to attend to, and need his wife to take care after their other child.

That is, in one word, is CRUEL.

Because from my humble experience, the aftermath could be even worse than pregnancy and childbirth combined!

I talked to some of my friends, and most of them agreed that the first two weeks after giving birth could be the hardest – both physically and emotionally.

I remember my first night in the hospital, a few hours after I gave birth. I could barely move; I did have the energy to do so, but include my low blood pressure at that time, the hollow neddle (for the IV drip) on my left hand, the urinary catheter between my legs, the pain at my pelvic, that was pretty difficult. I was forced to calculate my every move – is it worth the pain?

I haven’t had many uncomfortable experience, but there were several nights in my life that would definitely fall in the hall of shame. This one tops it – it beats the winter night spent in Scotland without a sleeping bag.

I could not sleep though I tried hard to. I could not lie on my back comfortably due to the pain on my hip (and the feeling of my doc tearing me down there could not go away it had me traumatised for one night). The episiotomy could not be harder on me. I tried sleeping on my side (my mother and husband tried putting some pillows to support my back) but it didn’t work, and funnily, I felt that I needed another pillow to support my belly as if I was still huge and pregnant!

And of course, since I chose to breastfeed exclusively, the baby was sent to me every three hours for feeding. I was a new mom, and finding the right position to feed proved to be challenging in my condition. I threw up at 3 in the morning when I was about to feed my son (due to the empty stomach), and the I had to send back Isa to the nursery because of that – despite me wanting to room-in fully with him initially. The first two weeks, like many new moms, I struggled with latching on, sore nipples and the anxiety of whether I have enough breastmilk to feed him.

I lost a lot of blood during delivery which left me feeling dizzy and weak – I had to rely on my kind husband (and mom and other family members) to help me with walking, bathing and changing for the first few days.That’s the kind of dependency I have, which is more than when I was heavily pregnant or delivering.

That’s why I could not comprehend the idea of a husband who is supposed to be the protector could ever ask the kind of things said before.

It is just unacceptable.

p.s. For every pain we feel, should we be patience and steadfast, it will compensate our sins inshaAllah – so cheer up!

Source: AnswersInGenesis.org

An Account of My Labour

My baby, fresh from oven

*This is a long post, intended mostly as a record of what happened. Feel free to read if you have time! Pardon the incorrect medical terms used by the way. 

I gave birth to a boy last Saturday, all praise be to Allah. I know a post on such a momentous event deserves a more dramatic opening line but i suppose the first line summarises every important points I’d like to convey. It was not until I hear how my mother described my labour process to others that I realised mine was not exactly a smooth one – the truth is I did not know what exactly is normal!

It was on Thursday when I went for my weekly checkup that the doctor again reiterated the fact that I didn’t ‘look’ engaged (and I was not) and we found out that i was 1cm dilated. She warned me, it could be tomorrow the D-day – and I should come back tomorrow for another checkup. The verdict was still 50-50 on whether It would be normal or Caesarean, given that my baby is looking upward and the head is considerably large at 9.8cm. I prepared myself for the possibility of C-sect. I am not at all sentimental about how I’d deliver; vaginal or otherwise. The most important thing is the safety of the baby. I informed everyone necessary that I might go into labour the next day, and at 1 cm dilated I didn’t feel a thing. I drove my way back home (the partner, for the first time could not accompany me to checkup), even managed dropped by a stall selling coconut juice after having my lunch.

The next day my husband took a leave – one that we thought would be a paternity leave – and went to the hospital, only to find out that i was only 2 cm dilated (I’d have been warded if it’s 3) with mild contractions. The doc said that since it is slow-progressing we should only come back on the due date itself which is 4 days away.

That afternoon both of us paid a visit to my parents who arrived in Shah Alam the day before. There were contractions along the way but mild enough for me to ignore it.

The night came and as usual I woke up several times to go to the toilet. At around 3 in the morning when I woke up for the third or fourth time perhaps, the contractions were already bothering me. I managed to sleep but the pain got me turning left and right – I was restless by the time we rose for Fajr prayer.

My husband was concern of course,  he kept asking on whether we should head for the hospital, which is less than 5 minutes away. I said no – with the sole reason of me not knowing what contraction should feel like! I had breakfast in such a discomfort, and by 10 am I have basically tried every single position suggested in Miriam Stoppard’s book to ease early labour pain. I told my husband if this lasted until 12 we’d go to hospital, but at 11 things seemed to get better I refused to go, to the dismay of my husband who called my doctor.

The doctor asked how far apart the contractions were and I said 20-30 minutes. Funnily, as soon as I hung up the contractions came less than 10 minutes apart!

My husband went to buy lunch, as I said I could wait until after Zuhur prayer before going to Tawakkal and if I were to deliver I would want a full stomach. I was hungry, but I could not finish the meal – I tried squatting (which was the most efficient position to reduce discomfort so far) but it didn’t help – then only I begged my husband to rush me to hospital – not to the A&E, but to get CTG done (even at this time I still did not think that I am actually close to labour).CTG showed some contractions and upon internal exam I was found to be 3cm dilated – which means I had to be admitted.

I was then transferred to the Labour Room (I think it was LR2 for record purpose), asked to change, given enema and told to relax. Seeing me in so much pain (I would not call that pain actually, it was more like menstruation cramp that does not go away), the nurse asked whether I would like to get epidural – I said I would think about it (and no, you could not think while you have a cramp) and when my husband arrived in the labour room after settling the admission thingy, I already surrendered.

The nurse then prepped me for the procedure – the drip and urinary catheter. I did squirmed when the anaesthetist tried to insert the catheter; my spine is always too sensitive to touching. Looking at the unusual mess the anaesthetist left, my doc guessed that it was an abnormal procedure- because he is a neat one in normal condition!

And now I have to say, epidural is such a Godsend mercy! As soon as the epidural took effect I felt relieved and my body started to relax. I recalled the fact that I have been restless since 3 in the morning – which means my body is tired due to 12 hours of turning left and right, sitting and standing due to the contractions, so the pain relief is very much welcome.

At 5pm I was 6 cm dilated, and the doctor said she will come back at 7.30, predicting that by then I’d be ready for delivery. I was laden with surges of tiredness at that time, and I told them I wanted to sleep and rest. My husband went off to pray, and came back informing me that my parents and siblings, as well as my in-laws were already there.

The truth was I could not sleep except for a bit during that 2-hour window. After a while the pain came back, though of a lower level than  before – to the dismay of my husband who thinks I should not feel any pain AT ALL. The nurse told us that at 8cm dilation it is normal that I would still feel the pain – and I could not help imagining how much worse it could be without the relief.

The nurses trained me to push – which mostly was a failure because they could not feel a thing when I said I have pushed, in rhythm with the tightening of the uterus. My husband was coaching me on breathing (thanks to the antenatal class we attended and a partner who doesn’t suffer pregnancy brain) – but all I could think of at that time was how cold it was that I shivered. Lying there in a hospital gown, there was nothing much i could do – I tried pulling the blanket but the nurses persistently removed it from me.

The doctor came at around 7.40 pm. I was not so sure if I was already fully dilated, but what I knew was that the baby was still high. The nurse had to help pushing him down while I waited for the contraction to come to start pushing.
It did not work even after a number of tries – I was sleepy ( my eyes were half-opened most of the time.)The doc and the nurses were, credit to them, a very good team of cheerleaders I would say. And so was my husband who’s there, catching my hand whenever I took a break from pushing.

With the baby pretty high and his head in posterior position, the doc gave me until 8pm to push on my own, and if he’s still not out I’d need the help of vacuum. She kept motivating me to push ‘Buat geram, betul-betul geram’, ‘Doktor cuma boleh tolong je, ibu sendiri kena usaha untuk anak‘. But by 8pm I still could not have him out, so the doctor started briefing me about using vacuum – the fact that I still need to push hard because the work is still 50-50 between me and the machine. And she gave me three pushes max – or we’d have to resort to C-sect.

I waited for the tightening to come – it was all on my own time having told the nurses not to help push the baby out of my belly until I started pushing (I could not feel the contractions when my belly is being pressed). My husband, without any invitation help out too – and to the surprise of the doc, a father’s push worked wonder – it seemed to give more effects than the nurses’!

To tell you the truth, I almost gave up that I asked for a C-sect (of course the doc rejected this idea seeing me still able to produce polite smiles now and then) in the middle of pushing – what was I thinking, right? My husband still teases me about this – and I guess he is right to do so: you claim to be tough and now half an hour into labour, fully dilated and all you choose to Give up?

In the midst of all that, there were several things that I noticed: it was raining outside ( which contributed to my shivering) and the tv screen before me were showing a documentary obout crop circles on Nat Geo.

Despite epidural giving me a dry mouth and stuffy nose which didn’t help when I was to make several pushes in one breath, All praise be to Him, I managed to nail it in one try (and one continuous push) – I remember telling myself just do it once and for all, and when the husband told me the head was already crowning that he could see the baby’s hair (I doubted it though, he was beside me he could not really see any of that) and the nurses cheering in high pitch that I should not stop.  I kept pushing until this weird sensation came – as if you are passing a very big stool – then I knew it was almost over.

The next thing I remember was a warm little creature was put onto my chest that is my little angel. There was my son, my child – one that I carried for nine months, who causes such a mixture of feelings – but still a blessing I would not trade for anything.

Within seconds all that I could hear was his screaming – loud and clear – announcing his arrival. I remember my husband kissing my forehead whispering softly ‘Afni, ni Isa, Afni’.

And no, I did not cry. Or to put it correctly – I could not cry. I have rehearsed this moment in my mind so many times before, and I knew I would not be able to hold my tears when it actually happens but the sleepiness took the best of me. All that I do was hugging my baby while the doc finished her job and stitched me up.

I bled – a lot – according to the doc and my husband who witnessed the whole thing and my blood pressure was pretty low. The doc most probably won’t say this out loud that I tore up pretty badly – and stitching me up took quite sometimes, but the doc kindly increased the epidural dose (previously lowered to help me feel the contractions hence assists in pushing) while letting me cuddle my precious child.

I think it was quite some times before they removed my son and put him next to me in his warmer, nicely swaddled.

I could not take my eyes off him.

He is indeed the most beautiful baby I have seen.

27 Days to Motherhood: Work from Home?

An evidence of productivity on a work-from-home day.

I was supposed to go on a business trip up North today, somewhere about 4-hour-drive away or 45-minutes flight, but given ‘my condition’ my boss is reluctant to let me go, and decided to give the briefing himself. Bless him. since he’s not going to be in the office and my to-do list currently only consists of reviewing some 700-page reports, I asked if I could work from home, and he is absolutely alright with that.

So of course, when I have time I’d like to cook – and luckily my mom introduced me to this simple recipe which has become a favourite of my father when I called her today: Black Pepper Beef. It is as simple as putting coarsely ground black-pepper, onions, beef, sweet soy sauce, salt, a bit of water, chillies and fennel. Since I am a lazy (pregnant) housewife with swollen ankles, I put long bean as veggie of the day. Served with rice – voila! Here’s my lunch, and potentially dinner too!

The truth is, working from home is not really for me – though I appreciate the opportunity to do so at certain times like now, when walking is proven to be quite burdensome or when the only way to finish a task is if there’s no one pulling me from every direction to do some other things. I like the flexibility, but I wonder if I could really be productive if I were to have kids running around.

My current company is yet to take the route of offering full flexibility in this matter, but I guess, if it comes to me as a mother, I’d love to work a few days a week from home. I doubt this kind of flexibility will become a trend in Malaysia anytime soon (even childcare at workplaces are yet to be a mainstream practice!).

Oh, by the way, just a week ago I was notified that one spot in the employee childcare service offered by my employer has been reserved for me – All Praise be to Him indeed. This means my child (God willing) will only be two floors away from during office hours!

 

 

 

28 Days to Motherhood: Get Emo

No new photo for today, but I found this hilarious quote I just can’t help but sharing!

I don’t think I had much of erratic mood (though I think the Partner would think otherwise), but sometimes what is said above is somehow true to a certain extent.

Though I don’t mind listening to your labour stories, despite how traumatising it could be (at least it prepares me for the worst).

Or taking note of your suggestions on the baby names (though it’s MY baby, and should you like to name a person, go get pregnant yourself!).

Or asking to touch my belly if you are a guy (find a wife and get her pregnant, full stop.).

And yes, I don’t care how much I eat because at 36-week pregnant I am yet to reach the minimum 11 kg weight gain that’s recommended for a woman with my pre-pregnancy BMI.

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Cafepress.com is selling t-shirts with the above print here http://www.cafepress.com/+i_dont_care_maternity_tshirt,456280705.

30 Days to Motherhood : The Welcome Gift

The welcome gift from a mama club.

Pregnology.com says that I have another 30 days before my due date – and since I found that my rarely-used camera is in my handbag today, why not start a 30 days photoblog!

Here’s the photo for today: The welcome gift to a mama club I received today – it’s a pink soft toy.

 

The Baby Scam?

I sometimes read Frugaldad.com, which I find quite beneficial, and now the author is producing attractive infographics.

A few weeks ago he came out with this one, and though some facts used are questionable and might not well fit the trend in Malaysia, some are true – and if you are an expecting parent like me, you might find it a useful reminder – that everyone seems to manipulate the maternal/paternal instinct of providing ‘the best’ to your children to make you spend money on something you don’t have to.

Babies Infographic

Source: frugaldad.com

 

I do not know if along the way of preparing for the arrival of my child, I have actually spent more than I need.

I was at loss of what to buy after listening to my friends on numerous brands that are good and long-lasting and high-quality. All I did was printing a baby item checklist I found on the internet, showed it to my sister (who has a 5-year-old son, so I assume she’d be a better reference than new moms who mostly operate by the principle ‘the more expensive, the higher quality it’d be’ and yet to arrive to the phase where they think ‘I wish I didn’t buy this’) and got her to cross unnecessary items. And that was actually quite a number.

All I worry now is if in 2.5 months time, God willing, I receive a baby in my hand and realise that I’m the furthest thing from being a mentally-prepared mother!