My Little Miracle

The exciting story of God's very special gift to Mama & Papa…

The Unexpected Birth Story

The birth of the Little Miss was unexpected. Unexpected because I didn’t expect to have her so “early” and I guess I wasn’t really ready mentally. Anyway, the overall experience was a great one and I’m here to share her birth story.

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February 6, 2016 – Saturday (39 weeks)

We had a Chinese New Year reunion dinner with my dads family that night. The food was delicious and I ate a lot! On that day though, I realize her movements were a little off. She did not move as much and despite me shaking my belly, drinking cold water, lying down sideways, she did not respond. It was a little worrisome for me because I’ve learnt the importance of counting baby movements during this pregnancy and also aware of the issues with stillbirth; or just paranoid because I’ve been doing a lot of reading and recently read that someone lost her baby at 37 weeks! EEEEEK! I did not want to take any chances. When we got home that night, just before bedtime, she moved and responded pretty well. Still, it was almost midnight and I wasn’t sure of that could be counted because it should be 10 movements in 12 hours; at the very least.

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February 7, 2016 – Sunday (39 weeks + 1 day)

Tonight was the main event. The reunion dinner with my family; at my uncles place every year, seeing all my cousins and extended family was a yearly event. We also had a reunion lunch planned and I was ready for a full day! I woke up still very conscious of her movements and still felt that she was not moving as much as I’d like. I told Daddy that I think its best we visited the hospital and get checked. After all, if there wasn’t any issues, I can go home, right? WRONG. I didn’t know that the procedure at HKL was that you will be admitted for 1 day for observation.

11.00am

After breakfast, we went into the Maternity Hospital at HKL and the nurses checked on baby’s heartbeat and movements. Her heart was beating strong – I was super relieved. But fetal activity was slightly on the low side. Though she did kick a few times, they asked why didn’t I come in earlier. They explained the risks of decreased movements at late pregnancy and told me that it could be serious if I didn’t come in earlier. After being monitored with the CTG machine, the doc came in and checked me; I asked for it since I wanted to know if I was in any way dilated or effaced. She said I was a good 2cm dilated and they will have me admitted. After much discussion, she said her instincts tell her that I should be admitted because labor is very near. She gave me a membrane sweep and assured me that staying over is best.

2.00pm

At this moment, I was unprepared. I did not expect to be admitted right away and definitely wanted to at least spend one more day with Leo before the new baby arrives. I had mixed feelings and was slightly sad. But again, I knew that baby is in good hands and that all will be fine. I got up to the ward and laid in bed for awhile. Daddy had gone home to make sure Leo has his nap because the poor guy was so tired and cranky the whole time.

I used the loo and saw that I was already spotting. Then, I knew for sure that labor is near. Maybe in a few days or so. I started to have mild contractions later in the day, but nothing too painful. I tried to take naps here and there, but I was more concerned about going into labor naturally, not being induced.

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7.00pm

The doctor on rounds asked me if I wanted to be checked and see my progress, I declined. I said that I wanted to wait till later on and if I did progress then I will stay and if not, I wanted to go home. He said ok and will come again later tonight. True enough I was having more and more contractions, on and off. But again, nothing too painful. I prayed and prayed that my cervix will dilate naturally and that my body will complete this pregnancy and progress further. I was monitored again with the CTG machine for 2o minutes and baby’s heart was beating strong. By this time, I’ve already had more than 1o fetal movements and not concerned anymore. Suddenly the issue was switched from just a fetal check up to early labor!

February 8, 2016 (39 weeks + 2 days)

12.15am

I couldn’t sleep that night. It was past midnight that I finally felt like laying down and preparing to actually go to sleep before the marathon begins. I was too tired all day and having infrequent contractions. The same doc came and see me and said that it’s time to get checked. I said ok; praying in my heart that there is a good progress and that admitting so early to the hospital was not in vain. 4cm he said! He told he nurses to book the labor room for me immediately. I was shocked and I said that I didn’t want to be in the labor room so early. I know that labor could be long and I didn’t wanna be strapped on the bed, unable to eat AND sleepless. He told me that in the labor room, they will most probably break my water to get labor going and give me Pitocin to help me dilate. Again, I declined and said that I didn’t want them to break my water so early and allow me to labor on my own first. He agreed and said he will come back at 2am to check on me. I texted Daddy and asked him to come around 3am.

2.00am

I fell asleep for about an hour and realize that it was already 2am. By now, the contractions were getting more painful; but still not frequent enough to be in active labor. I walked around and they would go away. I laid on the bed most of the time and breathed through every contraction. The doctor did not come back – which I was very happy about so I continued sleeping and focus on more rest to regain my energy. I texted Daddy and told him that I’m not in the labor room yet so there’s no need to come at 3am anymore. So I told him to get more sleep and come later on maybe around 4 or 5am.

4.30am

I woke up and made myself a cup of Horlicks. I was pretty hungry and I knew I had to eat something before labor or I wont have the energy to push. Contractions were still  coming on and off, mildly painful and I used these contractions to practice breathing. In through nose and out through mouth very very slowly. I didn’t know what time the doctor will come again so I just packed my bag (what they told me to do; as needed in the labor room), and walked even more. I couldn’t walk through most contractions by now – I had to stop and stand over the bed and breathe through them. The nurse on duty asked of I was ok and if I wanted to get checked. She also told me not to wait till its unbearable or it’ll be too late to prep the labor room! (In my mind, I doubt I was that far along to be in active labor).

5.30am

I finally agreed to get checked. I remember praying so hard that there will be progress and that I don’t have to be induced. The doc said that I was a good 5cm! Time to prep the labor room! So at this point, I texted Daddy and asked him to come when he’s ready, after settling Leo. They wheeled me into the room and got the CTG working to check on baby’s heartbeat and contractions.

6.00am

They doctor broke my water to get labor going. I remember that it felt very warm and almost like I am peeing on myself! There was so much water, it’s amazing how it was all in my womb and I was carrying it with me all along.

6.15am

After all the preparation, the only thing I could do is just wait. Wait until the contractions come more frequently and into actual active labor. Contractions are getting more painful and each time it comes, I picture the cervix dilating and that baby’s head is descending. By now Daddy was beside me and we were talking about how cute Leo is and thinking about his face and reaction when I get to see him again! Not having to be with him for the past 2 days was hard! I never knew that I missed him so much. We kept talking about what happened at the reunion dinner and the things he did and said. These conversations got me through most of the contractions.

8.30am

Another doctor came and checked me and I cant forget her words – She said I was only 4cm and not 5. I remember the same disappointment I felt even during Leo’s birth when I did not progress as much as I expected. I was sad but I told myself not to be discouraged. Dilation can happen at anytime and I know of some who went from a 3cm to a full 10cm in just 1 hour! So she checked my contractions on the monitor and said they were not frequent enough. I was only having 2 in 10 minutes and only lasting for about 30-40 seconds each time.

Close to 9.00am

The doctor ordered Pitocin for me and another IV was hooked on my right arm. Great… now I have one of my left AND one on my right. This wasn’t what I wanted, but I just followed the doctor’s advice and allow my body to work. Once the Pitocin came in; in a matter of seconds, my contractions were getting very very strong each time and VERY painful. I kept breathing as how I did but it was hard. Exhaling was hard not to let out some groaning or screaming. Nope, I didn’t scream… yet. By now, I was having 3 contractions in 1o minutes and they last for almost a minute each. I told Daddy to keep talking to me and keep my mind occupied so I don’t think about the pain. I remember clearly at each contraction, I visualized that I was at green pastures, drinking from the calm waters. Every contraction is bringing my baby closer and closer to me. I’ve learned how to control the contraction and not to push, try not to push or force it, and let it “breathe” through me. (I’ve learnt this the hard way from Leo’s birth experience and told myself that I don’t wanna bruise my cervix and I don’t want to force her head through when she’s not ready!)

9.30am

Contractions were over the top! There are no words to describe how it felt. I was shivering at every contraction and grabbing onto the bed very VERY tightly. If it was a wooden one, it would’ve probably be broken! Luckily, I told Daddy not to let me hold his hand, or he’ll suffer major bruises or maybe a broken arm, LOL. The doc said I was 8cm and in no time, the baby would be here! I was cold sweating, feeling very uncomfortable and that my spine was gonna break into half. Daddy used cold tissues to wipe my forehead and kept talking. I told him to PLEASE keep talking to me so that my mind is occupied. I thought to myself that I will have her in an hour or so. Hang on! Hang on!

Finally, I told the midwife that I can’t hold it anymore! I need to push, I need to push. And yes – just FYI, when you finally can’t hold it any longer, the urge to push is natural. With Leo, I kinda forced myself to push when contractions come but now I’ve learnt that it was the wrong way. When you’re at the final stage, the urge to push is so strong that your body takes over!

9.40am

THE RING OF FIRE! Oh, ring of fire. It is REAL and it is scary. I remember telling Daddy that OMG I can feel the ring of fire at the first “push”. It feels like I’m about to rip apart or something. By this time, I was a hot mess. I believe that I did scream for a bit. She was crowning and I can feel the doctor holding/touching something down there.

9.45am

The second push, I could feel her head come out. I could hear the midwife saying “wait wait”, hanging onto her head and asking me to hold my legs. Wait, WHAT? How on earth am I going to hold my legs? I can’t even. There was a short pause for a second. Obviously in my head, there was no breaks, it was painful. So painful that the IV hooked on my right arm was bent all the way from the pressure of me grabbing on so tightly (which the nurse told me after when removing it) causing a bruise on my arm.

9.50am

Finally the midwife said “Ok, push Eva”. One more contraction and one more push, her body came out. I could feel the warmth of the amniotic fluid/or blood? flow out and I can feel her warm body touching my thighs. Then, I remember feeling her legs/or arms moving and kicking me. Oh the feel or relief. Relief that it’s finally over and she’s out.

They did all the necessary steps and then placed her on my chest. SKIN ON SKIN. I never had this with Leo because he was taken away almost immediately because I was bleeding pretty bad. I loved every moment of it. The moment I saw her face and realized how tiny she was. My little baby girl. Daddy and I were talking about how she looks very similar to Leo.

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10.00am

I wasn’t really sure of the time here, but probably around so, I delivered the placenta and they cleaned me up. Honestly, the cleaning was more painful than birth. Kind of. I don’t wanna elaborate here because this is her birth story and I want to remember how she came into this world. But the midwife did do a good job and I was up and running the next day; did I just really had a baby?

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After all the cleaning, I was able to hold her again and start breastfeeding. I was wheeled back into the recovery ward around 2pm, and had my lunch then.

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There are no words to describe this birth experience. Even though it was unexpected, it was beautiful and I am so grateful that everything went well. The only thing that I felt pretty immediately was how much I missed my bump. I didn’t have time to digest that it was the last day being pregnant and I didn’t really embrace that feeling. Things happened so fast, I didn’t have a picture of me being pregnant just before entering the labor room. However, I am so blessed to have my baby girl in my arms and can’t believe she’s finally here. I can’t believe I am a mother of 2. God is so good and I have nothing to complain about. The hospital and staff was awesome and Daddy and I are so, so blessed and grateful.

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Evangeline Mikayla Lim came into this world on Feb 8, 2016 at 9.50am weighing at 3.01kgs.

Read Leo’s birth story here.

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When is my due date???

It is every pregnant moms wish to know when is her exact due date; even though it is just an estimate, having the peace to know that everyone is on the same page (and everyone means the doctor, the nurse, yourself, the ultrasound tech, etc) will really put an ease to your mind.

Well, according to BabyCentre AND every single pregnancy due date calculator online, my due date for QB2 is on Feb 10th, 2016. How accurate are online calculators? Well, I used it with Leo and my doctor then revealed the same date too, so I believe they are correct. But this time, my midwife said that it is on Feb 13th, 2016 and not the 1oth, based on her manual calculation which they add 7 days to your LMP (last menstrual period). I’ve always sidetracked her calculation coz I felt it wasn’t accurate and preferred to stick to Feb 10th. I had my final ultrasound with a gynae on Tuesday and I asked him about my due date; again. According to his calculation, he said it was Feb 13th! I was shocked. Not because I didn’t believe him but because every single calculator says 10th according to my LMP, but his and the midwifes’ says 13th. He also said that it is only a difference by 3 days, so it doesn’t really matter. True but NOT TRUE. If you’ve been pregnant, you KNOW that the last month of pregnancy has 365 days! I wouldn’t want to be overdue either, and every single day counts when you’re in the home run.

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If you’ve been in the TTC (trying to conceive) moment and you are the kinda mom that knows your cycle very well and know about fertility and conception, you will know that there are other methods to determine your due date.

  1. Using your LMP – which most doctors use and what the online calculator uses too. But I don’t know why the manual calculation and generic calculator differs by 3 days? So according to this calculation, my due date is on the 13th.
  2. Date of conception – We all know what we need to do to conceive. And I know the exact date, because we only tried once. They can argue and say that this method is not the best because sperm can live in the uterus for a couple of days and you never know when you ovulate. But my cycle is very regular and I know when I am in the fertile window. So since we only tried ONCE, I keyed in the date of conception and that had put my due date to the 7th! Now that’s a huge difference between 7th and 13th. That is 1 week ahead of what the LMP says.

In case you’re wondering why am I so anal about my due date; it is an estimate anyway. It is because I was overdue with Leo and had to be induced. That wasn’t fun at all. And at the end of pregnancy, baby is growing bigger and bigger each day. If baby gets too big, there are chances that they may now allow you to birth naturally and/or say that there are risks involved. I had to be induced with Leo because my water broke and I was overdue.

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I am only hoping that I will not go overdue this time. I don’t want to be induced and I don’t want baby to get too big, as she measures 2.7kg already. Each week they gain about 300 grams. So the remaining 3 weeks I have left means she could put on 1kg. That would mean she could be born at 3.7kgs! That’s gonna hurt… and no C section for me please! I know these are estimate figures, plus minus 10%, but still, my heart just feels kinda unsettled.

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Anyway, I just wanted to get this out of my chest. Ultimately, God’s timing is best. He knows when she will be here and she will be here when she’s ready. The only thing I can do now is to prepare my body for labor and trust that it till complete the whole process. If my body can conceive and sustain the whole pregnancy till full term, my body can birth this baby out naturally and the process will be complete. It will not fail me and it will not go haywire suddenly.

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34 weeks + 5 days

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HAPPY NEW YEAR GUYS!!!

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I meant to do this bumpdate last Wednesday when I turned 34 weeks, but heck, I was so tired from being unable to sleep between 2-6am (literally!) and then waking up at 9am. And then, the next day was New Year’s eve and I had a horrible day at work. Come Friday, it was New Years and I wanted to spend with with my family through the weekend so I decided to delay this update until today.

I have quite a lot to talk about this week, things have been pretty challenging. Let me break it down for you a little.

Physically

Stretch marks: I can feel my belly is getting bigger and tighter by the day. That means that baby is growing and she should weigh about 2.5kgs by now.

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Stretch marks are saying hello to me too! Now, I know there are many products outside to “prevent” these marks, but really, there is nothing you can do about it. It’s partly genetics and with the rate of how fast your belly is growing, it is inevitable. My skin is not that elastic and the marks have gone up above my belly button stretching even more from the precious marks I got from Leo. I know of some people whose belly went super huge and no stretch marks; NONE. Well, good for them. I am not super sad about it. In fact, these are my battle scars. A reminder that life was formed and that my body did whatever it needs to do to support it.

Fatigue: I am feeling very tired the past week. So tired that I just want to lay in bed all day and go to bed at 7pm. Of course I didn’t coz I couldn’t fall asleep. Even when I do, it’s not long before I have to wake to pee and then the cycle repeats itself. I decided to hit the gym instead to join a BODYPUMP class which helped me get my mind off things and I really enjoyed it. I forgot how nice it was being a member and not having to teach.

Pains: I have been having some pelvic pain especially on my right side. It’s like as if my legs are gonna detach from my body. My tailbone is hurting too which is weird, because I didn’t have that with Leo. Someone told me that it could be because my pelvis/birth canal is widening hence it affects the tailbone too. Thankfully though, that my feet aren’t swollen and my blood pressure seems good. Oh, and I almost can’t see my foot!

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Braxton Hicks: These practice contractions are happening so often especially at night. They don’t really hurt, but they are uncomfortable. When it happens, my belly would get super tight and then I can’t breathe normally. It almost feels like I needed to hold my breath or breathe out very very slowly. There was one day (that day that I didn’t sleep from 2-6am), these contractions were coming so regularly that I downloaded an app to time the contractions, just in case it may be the real thing. But thankfully they went away. I wonder if the regularity of these contractions are caused by the Red Raspberry Leaf Tea that I’ve been drinking daily.

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It tones the uterus and supports the organ to prepare for birth. If it is, then it is doing it’s job well. So far I have been loving this tea. I drink 2 cups throughout the day and then another at night before bed.

Emotionally

Emotionally it has been rough. I’ve done so much crying this past week and it’s still on going. I cry at every emotion that runs through my body. Memories of my late grandma made me cry and parenting made me cry too. Sometimes I wished that the people around me would understand and at least try to accommodate my feelings and appreciate the effort I put in to make this house a home. But I’ve reminded myself to never expect anything from anyone because I’m just gonna be disappointed at the end. I will stop expecting anyone to help carry furniture, heavy groceries, laundry baskets and so on. The nurse told me to stop carrying heavy items (because of my weak pelvic floor), but what am I to do? It upsets me when people chose to see without their heart.

Rants aside. I am thankful for my husband who helps me when he can. I couldn’t have done it without him. Thanks Darling.

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I also have been having some mild anxiety as to how am I going to birth this baby out. The memories of the pain I went through with Leo plays in my head and I am so scared. I know in time, that it will all be alright and it is going to be ok. It’ll be over before you know it. But still, the anxiousness makes me nervous and I hope that it’ll be easier second time around.

Spiritually

I have been asking God for a quick and easy delivery for this baby. I’ve also learnt to pray specifically for my body, that it’ll do that it needs to when time comes. I am also so thankful to Him for this gift and miracle. So grateful to have a daughter and appreciating life more than ever.

Honestly my spirit has been up and down. Probably my hormones are out of whack and it may stay the same even till after the baby is born. I have no idea what’s going to happen after she’s born; how are we going to manage a newborn AND a toddler? How am I gonna keep the house running and making sure there’s food on the table? How is laundry going to be like for 5 people? Am I ever able to go back to work? Who is going to take care of the baby? All these thoughts circulate my mind daily. I am reminding myself that God is the Almighty and He is in control. If he opens a door, no one can ever close it. I am trying really hard to remember the scriptures and see things in His eyes. Ultimately, He is my provider and everything will fall into place when time comes.

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One step at a time. One day at a time. 

I guess these are all the reasons for the tough week last week. Waves of emotions as time gets closer and closer. I hope this week will be a better one. I am also trying to find as much time to spend with Leo because I know, in less than 40 days, he will not be the only child anymore and I may not even have the time to spend with him. He’s such a joy and he makes me so happy. I thank God for a good toddler and I hope he’ll love his little sister too.

Thanks for reading this post. I know it’s kinda “all over the place” but I wanted to let it out and express how I am feeling. Looking forward for a better week and I hope 2016 has been kind to you!

 

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Baby Moon 2015

They always say you should go for a Baby Moon before the new baby arrives, and before adding another addition to the family, you should enjoy whatever time you have left with just the current family. Because it’s all gonna change forever after that.

We were so blessed by our aunt & uncle who sponsored us a trip to Port Dickson over the weekend. We were supposed to go for this trip since July or August as a short break for me; as I was expressing how tired and exhausted I was over Facebook and my aunt took note of it. I was then still in early pregnancy and was feeling all the hormonal roller coaster and just really needed a getaway. Then, there was the haze that took over 2 months to clear, so we couldn’t really schedule the trip. Finally, we decided to use it as our Baby Moon since I am in the home run now and our finances did not allow us to travel anywhere further.

This trip meant a lot to us because it means that we have ‘us’ time and I don’t have to think about chores and work for a moment. We never really get that because I live with my dad in law. And most of the time, we have dinners together and it is never just ‘us’ at home. There are a lot of challenges a when you’re not living with your ‘own’ family; if you know what I mean. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not entirely a bad situation, but it challenges me especially after having kids.

The days when we’re alone, I also realized that we behave differently; at least for me. I am more calm, more patient, and more gentle I’d say. Sometimes at trying times, it makes me raise my voice, having to stand up and prove myself, constantly feeling like a lousy mother, and just bringing me down. And it brings out the worst me in, which is not the real me. It’s really, really hard and there are days I only cry because I know that I am not a bad mother and I can handle whatever the situation. I just want to be me. The real me. And I am only able to be that when we’re a family with just ‘us’.

Anyway, those aside (and maybe in another post when I get the courage to share), we really enjoyed ourselves! Little did we know we will enjoy Port Dickson as much as this. I was never a fan of the beaches in West Malaysia, but this time was different. Maybe because we had QB with us and it was his ‘first time’ actually playing on the beach. We did go to Boracay last year when he turned 1, but he was too young to really do anything or remember anything. This trip has stored many memories in me and it is one that I will never forget.

God has been so good to us. Things we never would’ve thought possible came through and He is forever faithful. The weather was great and the whole trip was eventful. Psssssstt – I even recorded a name reveal video! Not sure how we are gonna announce it, but it’s very exciting!

Here’s some photos to share our trip with you guys and I can’t wait for the next family trip; whenever it may be; with QB2.

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Waking up to this silhouette was one of the best feelings ever.

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QB wasn’t so sure about the beach at first. He didn’t wanna touch the water.

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Goofy family photo!!!

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All ready for the beach with his bucket of sand toys!

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A little more brave the next day! And loving the Applecheeks swim diaper.

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He definitely loved the sand and helped us dug a hole to sit in it.

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I love this photo of the boys in my life.

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Beach time is also ice Popsicle time!

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My 30 week belly. With battle scars. And no thigh gap. LOL.

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Real and raw. A photo with my little lion! I love you, son!

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Picnic breakfast at the beach!

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Daddy dug a hole to sit inside to watch the waves. Pure bliss ~

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One of our favorite photos of QB! He loves the Trunki and is looking forward for our next family trip too!

We all came back slightly sunburned, but Daddy got it worse. I came back with a bruise on my left arm. No idea how I got it. And I had 2 sand fly bites on my face! Not exactly the best place but it’s been a week, and getting better. Beware of sand flies though, if you’re travelling to PD 🙂

 

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Toys that should NEVER be given to a toddler!

I LOL-ed at myself in my head when I saw Quackaboy receiving a whistle in a party pack. The first thing that came into my mind was how I gave whistles away during a Sunday School lesson in church (this was before I had kids myself). I remember what one mom said to me. She said “These should never be given to kids! Imagine how noisy the house would be!”She was saying it jokingly but half serious as well. And then I realized what I had done. She was a good friend of mine so she was just ‘letting me know’ in that conversation. I have never forgotten that incident. Then, I learned about toys and what kids are like with them.

Fast forward to now, QB is 2. When I saw that whistle in that party pack, I never took it out, let alone show him what it was. I didn’t want to make that mistake and then regret later on. Sure, he will play with it one day and sure, he will know what it is and how to use it. But I decided that THAT one day will not be now. Maybe when he’s 4 or 5. When he can understand better instructions and have better control of his emotions.

Today however, he got hold of a whistle. Being 30 weeks pregnant, I freaked out and panicked for a few seconds; reminded of that incident in church. But thankfully,  it was right before dinner time so he only blew it for about 15 minutes. I told Daddy to please hide it, and hope he doesn’t remember it!

Here’s some of the toys/things that I personally think should NEVER be given to a toddler:-

  1. Xylophones

Daddy said he didn’t mind the xylophone and thought it was good for QB to learn tones/music. But I said no. Mama is not ready for this.

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2. Mouth Instruments

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Thank goodness we haven’t had any of that plastic trumpet toy, but we did have these paper trumpets from a party pack. QB was too young to use it anyway and he didn’t know how to blow it. They got all yucky from saliva so we threw it away.

3. Tambourine

QB got hold of one in church one day and didn’t wanna let go. It was a challenge taking it away and some tears were shed. Never again.

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4. Bell

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These are just 4 of the toys/things that I find annoying, based on my personal experience. Some may love it and that is fine. QB does have other noisy toys like a gun a makes crazy sounds each time you press the ‘fire’ button or a drum that beats when he taps it, or even a toy piano. But those toys are bearable because they at least have an ON/OFF switch. Or sometimes, we just leave the battery out.

Now why do I fuss about these things? I have my reasons and sometimes I wish that those around me would understand and support my decision. And hopefully see my point and think a little further. I am not a fan of noisy toys. There are so many toys out there in the market, but there are some in particular, I really would avoid in my house as much as possible. My reason is this – the unnecessary noise.

  1. With a toddler in the house, it is already noisy, don’t you agree? QB talks all day and sometimes he just cannot stop. I don’t mind him talking. I fact, I love hearing him speak and getting his way around words and learning new words (LOL, I may regret saying this 1-2 years from now). So with the noise he’s making, and the noise we make while playing with him, who needs a noisy toy to add on to more noise?
  2. Quackababy 2 is due in 10 weeks. Now that’s in about 2 months time (ONLY!!!). I can’t imagine one evening when she’s sleeping, and QB would blow the whistle, along with the usual noise from playing with toys and it may wake her up? I know babies sleep better with white noise and some sorta background sounds, but these toys/things are just out of the question. Knowing QB himself was a terrible sleeper as a newborn and baby, I just want to prepare that QB2 may be the same. A sleeping baby is a bliss.
  3. Sleep. We co sleep in the same room with QB and on weekends, he usually wakes up earlier than us. Imagine if he had taken that noisy toy and start playing? I think my head would be aching and I don’t wanna start the day nagging at him to stop playing with it. Mama needs her sanity and peace too. Especially when QB2 arrives.

Having said all these, I am so grateful that QB is an easy toddler. When we take something away from him, he doesn’t throw a huge fit. In fact, often, we are successful at it and he will understand and cooperate. We haven’t had to deal with any serious tears or meltdown from him. With him being such a great kid, sometimes he will still manage to get hold of these items. I only hope that when QB2 arrives, the situation will get better. And we will make better choices.

Have you experienced the same or have other toy/thing that you feel should never be in a toddler’s hands? Please share it with me!

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Baby all grown up!

Leonidas has officially weaned. YAY 🙂 and BOO 😦 !!!

Leo has been a boob fan for as long as I can remember in his first year. Nothing else could comfort him more than the boob and he’s never rejected it in any way. Around the end of October (then, 15 months old), I decided that I wanted to slowly wean him. Honestly, I wasn’t too serious about it. More like I wanted to just give it a shot and see how he would react. There were some supporting factors though:-

1. I am leaving for a trip for 5 days in Feb 2015 without him. It makes me worry just thinking how he’ll cope without me around. Which means, no nursing before sleep, in the middle of the night, and comforting him with it. He would wake up around 1-2- times at night, with eyes closed, crying… and only the boob can soothe him.

2. I just did not want to pump anymore! I loved my Spectra M1 and it has served me so well. I just didn’t want the hassle to find time/place to pump and worrying that I may not have enough for the next day (I don’t think that 1 bottle of 3oz is enough for him at daycare anyway). Also, the fact that I am more mobile now, travelling to different places for work and pumping/storing is getting really challenging.

So the main reason was because I’m travelling. And so I thought of giving it a try, slowly and steadily. I was going to nurse him at night still until he is ready, probably until early Feb when he turns 18 months. I knew for sure that he’ll still need milk-any kind of milk. I know many moms recommend fresh milk after 1, but he wasn’t a fan. I wasn’t going to deny him so I bought a pack of the basic Dutch Lady/Dumex Dugro 123 for him to try. He rejected it many times. I probably wasted a whole pack of it. Offering him and then throwing it away.

I would prep one bottle of breast milk and one bottle of the formula to daycare daily. Surprisingly, he accepted the formula (given by someone else and not me) and it has been going great for about 2 weeks. I had totally stopped pumping (no more freezer stash), and some days I would prep two servings of formula to daycare as well. Then, he was only getting breast milk at night or whenever he’s with me. I practiced the “Don’t offer, don’t reject” style. For some reason, one day I just decided to give him a bottle at night before bedtime. He rejected it altogether and would cry. He only wanted me. I can’t remember how long it was, but some time in November, he started accepting it. I will make around 5-6oz for him and he would happily take it, and fall asleep, on his own…

That is when my heart started to ache. I knew I wanted him to wean, but didn’t expect it to be so fast. I was targeting by January or something. Not nursing to sleep was a great deal to me. It was our bonding moment and moments for cuddles and snuggles and lotsa kisses. My heart was aching and I was sad. I actually don’t know what to feel or what I was feeling. Having said that, I still did nurse him in the middle of the night between 3-5 am if he wakes up. He would fall back asleep quickly. Slowly, my heart ached less as days pass by with this routine. I would still spend time with him as he is having his bottled milk and I would cuddle and pat him to sleep.

One day, he woke in the middle of the night and started crying. I offered the boob and he would suckle so hard, it started to hurt. It went on for a few days, I felt very uncomfortable and he would not unlatch! I still had milk, but maybe not as much as it was and a slower letdown. I figured he may be thirsty so I prepped a bottle of water for him. I offered it to him if he wakes and he started taking it more frequently and falls back asleep. It has been a week plus, maybe 2, that he’s been taking the water and no boob 😦

TODAY, he woke up happy and cheerful as he has always been. While preparing to go out, I realized that my boobs are probably slowly getting back to it’s normal size now and wondered if I still had milk. So I cradled him in my arms and offered him the boob. Guess what?

He suckled for maybe 2 seconds and then started smiling at me! I tried to offer again and said “nen nen”, he repeated after me and just stared in my eyes. He turned his head away, smiling and showing me a sign that he doesn’t want it anymore. It was TODAY, I knew for sure he has weaned a 100%.

Part of me is really happy, that my little baby has grown up and being more independent. He would take a bottle whenever and now, he actually looks forward to it and sometimes asks for it. I am happy that I can leave him in the care of someone else without concern (sometimes it’s nice to be able to have some time out alone!).

Another part of me is sad. Well, not sad, sad. But bittersweet. It has been a beautiful journey and an experience I will never forget! I am so blessed to be able to breastfeed him fully until 15 months. The process was quicker than I had expected, and less painful as I expected. We have achieved another milestone and it is time for new challenges and finding new ways to bond with him.

Here’s some moments of our breastfeeding journey :’) Thank you son, for the wonderful and precious experience. I love you!

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Changes and Challenges

I know I didn’t mention to most people that I had stepped down from my previous job. I was a FTWM in a fitness company and it was a pretty demanding job. I have been in this line since 2011 and I enjoyed work very much. If I hadn’t had kids, I would probably still be doing what I did.

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Having Leo changed it all. I started going back to work 3 months postpartum in November 2013. From Nov 2012 until August 2014, I was a FTWM. Those were the toughest months, in my whole working life. I thought I could do it. Just like most moms out there, it pretty normal to go back to work and life just goes on. If you haven’t known, the work I was doing is not an office job. I don’t sit with a desk and computer in front of me most of the time and I don’t get the normal lunch hour and working hours. The fitness industry is great. You meet a lot of people and let me say, it’s a busy, busy day all day, every day. It requires a lot of physical activity and sweat. I teach group fitness and also manage a bunch of trainers with my colleague. The working hours can be very long and tiring.

For that period of 10 months, I haven’t been the “best” employee. My gut tells me and I have nothing to hide. I wasn’t like that before I had kids and now things aren’t the same anymore. I live with my husband, baby, father-in-law, and dog at home. Not a huge family, but there are a lot of thing to be done at home. Often I feel that being the only girl at home, I have much to do. Ok, this is not about me complaining that I’m doing all the chores ok? My husband helps me a lot and he’s been working hard and sharing the chores with me. But there are some stuff that I feel I need to do and it is what mothers/wives do (i.e. cleaning out the fridge and throwing old stuff in there, rearrange the closet and pack away baby’s old clothes, washing laundry, drying and folding them; laundry is NEVER ENDING here, changing bed sheets, preparing meals for the day, sewing some buttons that came off our clothes, filing our bills, etc). Yup, that’s a lot! Maybe not all of them need to be done daily, but you get the idea.

I only get home typically around 7 or 730pm, sometimes even later. And then I start to prep dinner, by the time we eat, it is 830pm or sometimes 9pm. Is that crazy? YES IT WAS. But I had no choice. Slow cooker meals are great but sometimes, I forget to prep them the day before too. If you are a mom that cooks, you KNOW that you plan a day or two ahead and rarely have a last minute decision. After dinner, its bath time and time spent with baby before he sleeps which is 10 or 1030pm if we’re lucky. I did write about my schedule in a previous post, you can read it here.

So it was a struggle for me and I have come to face the fact that I am not a super human. I cannot do all of that perfectly and I am not a super mom. I was so tired and sleep deprived. Leo wakes up 2-3 times at night and I was breastfeeding. When I get home, I was a cranky old goat! I didn’t have smiles on my face and I was grumpy. I took it out on my poor husband, screamed at Leo, frowned and I was just too tired. I cried a lot and struggled at work. It dawned on me that I have to give up something in order to be happier. I gave up my steady income and stepped down to a group fitness instructor. I teach classes, and then I’m off to do whatever I need. Depending on the day, my hours are different. It does gives me some sort of flexibility but teaching classes in several different places takes traveling time and time to shower/change after class and then travel again. But I’m sure you get the idea.

Honestly, I took a huge pay cut and I don’t even know how we will manage our finances in the months to come, but I do know that my Father in Heaven will provide for us. If one door closes behind me, another will open. If there are no doors, the Lord can build one. This is how we are placing our trust in Him and that everything will work out just fine. I know for sure He wants me to be happy and to live life experiencing His blessings and peace.

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It has been one and a half months since I’ve stepped down and I am loving it. Am I still a FTWM? I would say yes, but with less hours and not in an office environment. Maybe you can consider it a PTWM but then my hours are fixed, from my weekly classes. Because my hours are here and there (some days it is morning, some afternoon and some evening), I get to stay at home a little longer to do what’s needed. Here’s what I get to do now, that I never could before:-

1. Cook dinner earlier and my family can eat at normal time. Sometimes we still do so at 8pm, but the difference is I am happy. I am not stressed that I have no time to cook. Also, if I have an evening class, dinner is already on the table and they can have home cooked meals at without having to take out all the time. It gives me an opportunity to prepare healthier meals too.

10411113_10152447668812998_7194448772227731247_n2. Laundry is done in the morning or noon, and no chores are after 10pm! If I had laundry waiting, I can easily say “I’ll just do it tomorrow!” This allows time for me to spend with Leo and my husband. Laundry is also dry by the day and I don’t have to worry if I have no place to hang them when it rains (we have TONS of laundry).

l3. On certain days, I get to be home when Leo gets back from daycare. Yes, he still goes to daycare because my working hours are different every day. I get to take him out of his car seat and see his precious smiley face! He is also less clingy when I do that. If I get home after him, he will not let me put him down sometimes.

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4. I no longer need to pump milk at work! (in the hot changing room, toilet; yuck, in the car). This is such an awesome change. I no longer need to worry if my pump is not charged or if I forgot to bring bottles/lids or if there is no fridge around. I still do pump outside on certain days when my classes are closer to each other. But I can easily just bring the milk back home afterwards.

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5. I don’t have to worry that I’ve no time to pump! If I didn’t pump before class, I could NOT fit into my sports bra. Now, I can just pump anytime needed, without having to attend meetings or excusing myself for it because I am engorged (like I said, I wasn’t the “best” employee coz I had to take time off to pump).

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6. Take Leo out for a day or two to have fun and play. Without having to take leave or step out of work when he’s sick. Do you know how many times I had to tell my boss I can’t come to work coz my baby is sick? (It’s not like they tell you a day before they are gonna wake up with a fever). If you’re a mom, you will know what I mean. There were days my boss wasn’t happy that I’m not at work and I felt that I was being judged.

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Those were just some of the major things/changes I could think of that I can do now. Surely there’s more. Having said that, there is one other con to doing what I do now in my nature of work. I am physically tired and sore. Teaching requires a lot of energy and strength. Yes, I am physically tired but I am happy. Does that make any sense?

Anyway, it has been a great 1.5 months. Who knows what would happen later on. Maybe more doors will open and things can only get better. This too, gives me more opportunity to write more and keep you guys updated and share experiences. Sorry for being away again, I will be more frequent now.

What about you? Have you ever taken a huge step like me? What are your thoughts and did you have insecurities too?

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HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY MY LITTLE MIRACLE!

On 2nd of August 2014, 10:05pm

I can’t believe you are 1! Has it really been 1 year since I gave birth to you? Where has time gone? I still remember the first time I held you in my arms. You were so tiny and fragile. I could not keep my eyes off you for days. I didn’t sleep when I should because all I want is to stare at you, in awe of what a miraculous work the Lord has done!

You have taught me so much this past year. Never would I know I would become the person I am today. I have learn to be patient, to be gentle, to be strong physically even without sleep, to be kind, to take each day at a time, to laugh when I can’t and to smile when I cry. I am sure you will continue to teach me even more this coming year.

Dear Leonidas,

I want you to know that I love you. I love your smile, your laughter and everything about you makes me go crazy! Do you know that I scroll through photos and videos of you multiple times a day when I’m at work? I miss you the second I leave home. I feel like I’ve missed some parts of your life this first year and I’m sorry. Sorry for not being there long enough and for being cranky at times. I promise I will make it up to you very soon. Next month onwards, I will have more time with you every day!  I am looking forward to being free from full time work and just spending more time with you. Even if it is for a few hours, it is very precious. I want to be there for you and do fun activities together. I hope that you feel the same and you will want to be with me too.

This birthday, I pray that God will protect you and guide you; that you will find favor in Him and the people you meet. I want you to know that God is always with you. Never keep your eyes off Him and don’t ever forget that He loves you.

Happy Birthday, Son.

Love,
Mama

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Breast Pump Dilemma and Review of the Spectra M1

Here is my review on the Spectra M1 breast pump. I have been a Medela Freestyle user since Leo was born and I started pumping about 1 month after he was born to keep a stash when I get back to work. The Freestyle was lent to me by a dear friend that was not using it anymore. The Medela Freestyle costs around RM2000+ at normal price and maybe RM1800 was the lowest I have seen. It is the most expensive pump out there is the market and very well known internationally.

The Freestyle has served me well for 5 months and really helped me relieve engorgement. However, after using it for 5 months, I felt that it was not performing as well as it would like last time. Maybe I needed to send it for servicing? But it was not the case. Somehow along the way, this pump cannot empty my breast and it takes me 1 hour to pump! 1 hour is just too long for me and my nipple would hurt. So it was because of these incidents, I decided to buy a new pump. Also, the Freestyle was not my own, sooner or later I will have to return it and since I am going to be breastfeeding for longer now, I think investing in one will help. Besides, I will need it for the next baby as well, so no lost there!

Right! So let’s get to it!

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The M1 fits on the palm of my hand nicely.

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I love the Spectra M1. And to be honest, I think it is so much better than Medela. Even though Spectra is not a well-known brand, its performance is hospital grade. I bought it at the recent baby fair in Mid Valley at RM471 for a double pump. I was so surprised to know that it is so easy to be made a double pump. Just buy the extra kit (tubing, valve and bottle), unlike Medela which a single pump is only a single pump. Only their double pump can be used as singles. After using the Spectra for about a month now, I find that it is much better than the Freestyle, IN SO MANY WAYS!

Here is my personal comparison and how I find it. Comparison is also based on how I use them.

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Medela Freestyle

Spectra M1

Section level 6-7 (out of 10). Section level 1-2 (out of 5). Very good suction!
Slightly heavier and more parts (motor, tubes, breast shields, membranes, valves, connectors, back caps, bottles) Super lightweight and less parts (motor, tubes, breast shields, membranes, bottles)
More parts to wash! Only 2 parts to wash (breast shields, bottles)
Causes backflow of milk Backflow proof
Battery lasts pretty long. I charge every 2-3 days. Battery goes weak fast. I charge every day.
Very super expensive! Affordable
Fits most normal narrow neck bottles Fits wide neck bottles
Pump is less quiet and vibrates/shakes Pump is more quiet and hardly vibrates

That was my personal opinion on the comparison. I like the fact that it fits the Avent wide neck bottles and I do not have to transfer and pour them from one to another anymore. Another plus for me is the washing. I pump at work and only have to wash 2 parts! Saves time and I can get back to work quicker.

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I really didn’t mind charging the M1 more often because I only use it at work and I direct latch whenever Leo is with me.

The last MAJOR plus is the price. I mean, seriously… RM2000 for a pump? It makes me think that those who spend on formula are no different if we wanted to breastfeed to save money besides the health benefits. Servicing the Medela pump is expensive too and even the parts! I enquired about the connectors and one costs RM129! Whereas the Spectra only costs RM12! The reason I am writing this review is to create awareness on breast pumps and options for those who are not able to afford an expensive pump (like me) and those who are looking for a good, handy, effective pump. The Spectra M1 is value for money and good in handling most daily task.

I would only yield about 3-4 oz from both breasts with the Freestyle. But with the M1, I manage to yield 5-8 oz! Of course, my body needed to get used to the new pump as well. After a few tries, I saw the increase in yield and believe that the M1 could empty my breasts well.

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The first week yield.

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The second week yield. Getting more than the first 🙂

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TA-DAA!!! This was taken last week! Yield increasing slowly…

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Again, this is only me. Every woman’s body is different and so are our boobs! Do try out different pumps and see which works for you and how effective it can be.

What pump do you use? And have you ever faced such problems like mine? Do share it with me in the comments below.

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How much can one person take? (of no sleep)

Here’s my daily routine on a weekday

730-800am: We both get up at this hour usually. Days when I have to be at work by 730, I get up at around 630am.

800am: Change Leo’s diaper and bring him downstairs to get ready, kiss him goodbye and say a short prayer that he’ll be a good boy at daycare and papa to have a good day at work. Hang the laundry if I haven’t last night, then I will prep my lunch and get ready for work.

900-600pm: At work. Most days I have classes which require me to get moving and sweat. Lotsa energy output here with 6 classes/week.

700-830pm: I should be home by this time, some days can be earlier. Prep dinner and feed Leo. Most days he will eat with us, unless he’s cranky.

830-900pm: Leo’s bath time. Often as well, he have his bath past 9pm 😦

930-1000pm: Bedtime for Leo. After bath, I will have some downtime with him. Play with him for a bit, read to him, sing to him, just getting him ready to sleep. Once he’s ready, I will nurse him and he falls alseep.

1030pm: Start laundry and fold the current laundry, and then put them away. Then I will prep his daycare items for the next day (pour milk into his bottles, refill his diaper bag).

1100pm: If I have early workday the next day, I will prep my food at this hour. If not, I will wait for the laundry to be done. Sometimes I start baking at this hour to release stress.

12midnight: My turn to lay down and try to sleep. It’s my resolution to sleep before 12 daily but so far it’s impossible. For the past few weeks, Leo wake up again just when I wanted to go to bed. So I will nurse him again and he will continue sleeping.

1230-630am: I probably wake up at least 6 times within this hour. The first 2-3 times he wakes, I will pick him up and try to put him back to bed in his cot. By the 3rd time in exhausted! I lay him beside me to feed and then sleep. Not much sleep too coz he kicks me and moves around too much. Not to mention, I sleep like a log this way and my back would hurt.

And before you know it, the next day comes and the whole routine repeats itself…
Now tell me, what do u think?

I barely have time to turn on my computer or even read a book or even do something that I really wanted. By the one of the day I’m just tired. I actually realize that it gets worse because it is compounded over the days and weeks.  Often when asked “How do you feel now that baby is older? Is he sleeping well?” I tend to say yes, but in actually fact, I think I got used to it. I’m used to being tired, having dark circles under my eyes, cranky and feel sick at most mornings. People around me thinks I’m older than my age (NEVER I thought would have happen, but it did). Sleep deprivation is one of the worst conditions anyone can ever be in! Lack sleep=lack mood, low metabolism, low energy, bad skin, weight gain, low oxygen to the brain, unable to think properly/clearly, bad mood… you name it!

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I wished I had more time to spend with my family. Quality time and just being stress free/away from typical daily duties. Times where I do not feel tired. Time used for social rather than catching up with sleep. So why do I do what I do?

I do it because I want to. I do it because I care. I want my family to have a good meal together at the table. I want to help my family save money and eat cleaner at home. I want Leo to have fresh clean diapers for daycare. I want Leo to have more milk available to him, rather than him coming home crying from hunger. I want my family to have clean clothes to wear and look good. These things come naturally to me and I’m hoping to get much support on it.

To those who relate to events like these and wondering why women like to nag/do do do/complain, you can make yourself useful and help. Do not assume that all is done. Offer help and you will realize that what another person do might be more than what you thought. Most importantly, ask. Ask if there is help needed. Sometimes, just talking will help ease off the chore and get conversations going.

I love it when hubs talk to me while I’m doing something so that I can keep my mind on the conversation and not the task. It can be pretty lonely most of the time. I actually enjoy those conversations because it is like a “catch up” moment of the day. I need these catch ups. I need to feel wanted and spoken/listened to.

And… It is 11:45pm, Leo just woke up (1 out of the 6 times of the night). When will this get better?

I think I only get to Stage 1… and somemetimes 2…

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