Saturday, August 23, 2014

Two Months Already?!

I thought I juuuust updated the blog about the first month's progress. And now I'm back at work! *cry*

1. Hari Raya

Razeen is one chubby baby. Many people couldn't believe he was about 40+ days young when we brought him out during Hari Raya.


Lucky him, on the third day of Raya (at 43 days young) he has gone for his first vacation. A short Hari Raya getaway is more like it. Our family spent one night at Gold Coast, Australia.


I wish. Sepang actually.

It was the first time I came across a coffee house with a baby cot outside. Super convenient!


Since we had to do a bit of walking, Mer borrowed the laundry bicycle to get Razeen back to our room. We got the 'look' from the hotel staff though.


It was a short but relaxing trip nevertheless.



2. Expressed Breast Milk (EBM)

We were at not home for just one night and came back to a major disaster!

MY EBM THAWED.


It did..quite bad actually. The maid said the freezer somehow - mysteriously - was not plugged in properly...hence no power. She only realised it when the freezer didn't feel as cold as it should be.

I had 66 packs of EBM in that freezer and after assessing the damage, the final total loss was 19 packs (totally thawed). The rest still had ice crystals in them, so I was able to freeze them again.

3. Weight - His & Mine

Razeen is gaining weight like nobody's business..he's gained 2.6kg within 2 months! Glad to say it's all thanks to his great appetite for breast milk.


And I'm surprised how fast I'm losing weight too. After 2 months, I have less than 2 kg to reach the pre pregnancy weight. Woohoo!!


Many ask if I went on a diet or worked out. Truthfully I have a big appetite. Just today I ordered 2 regular pizzas for lunch and finished about 3/4 of them myself :D

My only secret to weight loss is breast feeding. So that's my motivation!

4. Bottle

There was a time when Raees refused the milk bottle when he was a baby. We tried various bottles and teats until he settled with the one he prefers.

Of course, I was afraid the same will happen with Razeen. About 2 weeks before I was due to start work, we were ready to try the various bottles.


But Razeen proved to be different from his brother. The very first attempt and he has no problem with the bottle! Phew ! I could return to work in peace.

5. Smiles & Coos

Razeen has reached the stage where he's able to respond to us. He smiles a lot especially when we call out his name.


I love that we're able to have 'conversations'. His coos are just too cute!

Meanwhile Raees enjoys imitating his little brother. From his coos, yawn, cry..you name it. He's quite good at it. Funny boy :)


I initially planned to take a couple of weeks off work after maternity leave so I could spend more quality time with my baby. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to start work right after maternity leave ends :(


It's been a week since I came back to work and there's so much to share already! That..coming up in my next post.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shopping Made Easy...Virtually

Note: This is NOT a paid post.

For the older generation, confinement literally meant being confined at home and somewhat cutoff from the outside world.

Confinement for the Gen Y is a whole different story. Although most are still confined at home but they are no way cut off from the outside world. With the internet, anything is possible.

Over the past 2 months (last few weeks of pregnancy + confinement), I went shopping like nobody's business. Online shopping, that is.





A few weeks before I delivered Razeen, I was already surfing around for Hari Raya clothes for myself (the boys' clothes were settled much earlier...conventionally). Since I had a huge belly that time, it was difficult to estimate what size I would be wearing during Hari Raya. Not to put my hopes up too high, I bought size M. It wouldn't be good for my self esteem if I couldn't fit in the smaller size. I made sure I bought clothes that I can return/exchange for free...just in case.

2 weeks after I had Razeen, I tried them on. Waddaya know, M was too big for me *happy dance* So I returned them for a smaller size. You girls would know that feeling, right? :)





I also bought a piece from a designer's ready to wear collection in size S. It didn't fit me nicely though but my self esteem was in tact. That's because the skirt fits just nice however I couldn't button up the kebaya top properly...particularly at the chest. Ah, my milkshakes are to be blamed. RETURNED.

I also explored online businesses on Instagram and got myself some good deals from trustworthy sellers. All I did was search for hashtags like #SayaJualBarangBaby and I'm furnished with so many choices.





Besides Instagram, I also explored some web portals and blogs to fuel my need to shop. (I don't know what got into me. I think it's a post pregnancy thing.)

I must've transferred money from my account too often that one day I got a call from Maybank to verify that I actually did the transaction. Haha!

Most recently I began exploring online grocery shopping. Mer once asked if I would consider shopping for groceries online and I said I wouldn't. Reason being, sometimes I need to feel and choose what I'm buying.

But one thing that led me to try online grocery shopping was this...





I've been longing to have this but it wasn't available every time Mer or my mom went to the hypermarket. Did you know Raees and I can finish up this whole packet in one day? That's how much we like it.

Plus, there's nothing to munch at home. For many days I opened the kitchen cupboard looking for something to snack on but ended up disappointed. (Hey, a breastfeeding mom needs 2500 calories a day ok.)

I went to Tesco's eShop and found the stuff I want in the list. Apa lagi..stock up lah!





But they charge for delivery between RM8-10, depending on the time slot you choose. I chose for them to deliver between 6-8pm the next day. Then I thought, why buy so little when they charge the same rate no matter how much you buy?

So I decided to stock up on things that I personally like and hope it's sufficient for a few weeks' supply.

They deliver in a refrigerated/freezer truck. I thought might as well get my money's worth and utilise their facility (I'm can be calculative like that). So I got ice creams for Raees and myself (as a reward after I'm done with confinement).

Here's the stash of yummy goodies purchased from my first online grocery shopping experience.





Besides that, I also got some necessities for Razeen - diapers and soap.

Online grocery shopping has its pros and cons. It's convenient, of course. But I faced some problems along the way.

1. Punctuality and sense of direction

So I booked a delivery slot between 6-8pm. By 9.30pm there was still no news. I decided to call Tesco customer service. The person who attended to my call said he will check on it for me and call me back.

As soon as I hung up, I received a call from the delivery person. Apparently he was lost and had about 5 other deliveries before that (from what I gather he was lost searching for some of those places too). But he found a landmark to my house already (which is just a few hundred meters away). So I was expecting him to reach within 5 minutes tops (that's the duration it takes to walk to my house from that landmark).

An hour later, he called again. He's lost, again. Apparently the guards at my area pointed him to the wrong direction. Gave him the correct directions and within 10 minutes he was at my doorstep. Time was 10.30pm.





I'd imagine a delivery person should have a reliable reference since it's their nature of job to search for addresses. Waze would've saved him a lot of trouble and time.

2. Substitutions

When I made my order online, there was a disclaimer that says they might substitute my order with some other product if the item is unavailable.

Razeen's diaper was at critical level. Only 2 pieces left at home. That definitely wouldn't last the night. I thought it was timely that I made this order.

However the particular type I order (which costs RM29 for 64 pieces of diaper) is unavailable and they substitute it with another type of the same brand that costs RM23.10 for 24 pieces! They suggested that I take 2 packs.





Erm, that's double the price from what I initially budgeted ! Since Razeen poopoos so often and requires a change every few hours, I didn't see the need to get a premium level diaper. An ordinary one that does it's job to catch the poopoo is more than enough.

But since I was desperate for diapers and it was late at night already, I decided to take just one pack of that expensive premium kind (when product substitutions are made, they don't force you to take it. We have an option to reject and they wouldn't charge for them).

I also ordered chocolate digestive biscuit bars but was substituted with chocolate wafers. Another ice cream I ordered was not available and they didn't include or charge me for it.

Those are snacks so it didn't really affect me. But necessities like Razeen's diaper really caught me off guard.

Lesson learned: if you're desperate for an item, get it yourself from the shop coz you don't necessarily get it when you buy online.

3. Payment

There's only one method of payment option given to me after I made my order online, which is payment by credit/debit card at the door upon delivery. Cash wasn't an option, they stated.





So I got my credit card ready. Then Pak Cik delivery said,"Sorry the machine is broken. Do you have cash?"

Whaaaat? And they said cash wasn't an option!

I was caught off guard again. I didn't prepare any cash. I'm in confinement, I don't go to the ATM. That's why I've been paying for things via online transfer/credit card/store credit.

The Pak Cik delivery said,"if you can't pay today, I have to come back here tomorrow. It's actually quite far for me. I came from Mont Kiara."

Deep inside I thought,"It's not my problem that the machine is broken."

But it is Ramadan after all. He also looked exhausted after a whole night of going around getting lost and, in his words,"tak sempat berbuka lagi."

Kesian jugak la this elderly man. So, I didn't take out the steering lock. Instead I usahakan jugak to get the cash.

Mer didn't have enough cash with him at that moment. So I had to ask others in the house if they had cash I could borrow. In the end it was my mom to the rescue. *sigh* I shall pay her back via online transfer.

But the night ended on a high note after all. He handed me the receipt as I needed to confirm the items and amount. I was about to return it back to him and when he said,"Tak apa. Copy tu untuk puan...eh, cik."

THAT MADE MY DAY.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

The First Month

Condolence to the family and friends of the passengers and crew members of MH17. It's difficult to digest that such tragedy could happen furthermore to our national airline yet again, after all its been through.
___________________

Dear Razeen,

You are a month young today! It feels like just yesterday you were brought into this world. You're growing up too fast *sob*

Although you're always vomiting (on me, on the bed, on your clothes, everywhere-lah), I'm glad you are gaining weight quite well. Last I checked, you've gained more than 1kg already !Your cheeks look chubbier too, which make them quite pinchable. In fact Abang Raees also finds them irresistible.


Mommy's glad your Abang and you are getting along very well. Although sometimes you get annoyed with his endless kisses.


I guess he's just glad you're finally here. Being the only child for almost 5 years must've been quite boring for him.


You also have quite an appetite, huh? Ah well, that's what this first few months all about..susu anytime anywhere. But what I'm concerned about is when I get back to work.

Mommy thought of taking additional days off after maternity leave to spend more time with you and have a smoother transition when returning to work. But looks like work is already waiting for mommy. As soon as maternity leave ends, I'm all set to go out shooting again. It's one of those I-don't-have-much-choice situation. I hope you understand, Razeen.


Sorry dear, although you're dressed the part, you can't follow mommy to work.

But fret not coz over the last 3 weeks, I've been stocking up milk for you. Lucky you coz I've had experience with your brother. Now the stored milk is taking up so much space in the freezer already. It's probably 2-weeks worth of supply. So if I ever need to go out station anytime soon, there's sufficient mommy's milk for you already.


As you may have noticed, I've been pumping while you feed on the other side. In one day I'm able to get between 12-20 oz of mommy's milk pumped. Yay for mommy! :)


I keep the milk in storage bags between 4-5 oz each. I assume is the amount of milk you consume in one serving.


What mommy likes about breastfeeding besides the bonding experience is the fact that I don't need to work out to lose weight. That's because breastfeeding is equivalent to about 1.5 hours of aerobic workout ;)


Did you know I gained 20kg when I was carrying you? Today, 1 month after giving birth to you, I went on the scale for the first time. I liked what I saw. I've shed over 15kg already. Yahoo! The more I breastfeed/pump, the more calories I burn, the more weight I lose.

So that's the 'report' for the first month. Who knows that next month's progress will be like? I have yet to introduce the bottle to you. That would definitely be next month's milestone. Will I reach my pre pregnancy weight? Will there be a new freezer in the kitchen to store all of mommy's milk? How will I prepare to go back go work?

We'll just have to wait and see.


Love,
Mommy

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Confinement Chronicles

I know some people dread the confinement period. As for me, it feels like time is swooshing by and before I know it, it's close to a month already!

The only thing I don't like about confinement is I have to keep away from ice creams and cold drinks. With the weather nowadays, it's quite a challenge for me. Plus, I LOVE ice creams!

This photo taken just days before I went into labour. Last kopek!



So what do I do during confinement? Well, not much difference than previously. My mom takes care of me everyday by putting on the traditional corset with lime juice and limestone paste spread on my tummy.



She is always on a look out whenever I do things that are frowned upon during confinement e.g not wearing socks (and stepping on tiles), walking too much, sitting inappropriately etc.



Once in a while I go to Taman Tun (the very neighbourhood where I grew up) for my massage sessions with former neighbour Mak Cik Peah (Mer refers to her as MCP for short). She was also my massage lady back when I just had Raees.



Razeen tags along of course. A good reason to get out of the house! Here he's seen with MCP while she helps him burp.



Most of the time when I'm at home, I attend to Razeen. I feed him while pumping on the other side (by far the best way to stock up EBM as letdown happens more often - will write more about this soon).



I bathe him.

I change his diapers roughly every 3 hours (he poo-poos almost after every feed).

I burp him (he gets bloated easily and often vomits).

If he doesn't fall asleep at the boob, I dodoi him.



I treasure this moment as I get to spend quality time exclusive for Razeen 24/7. It wouldn't be long til maternity leave ends :(



Raees was a cryer back then and I remember struggling to get him to stop crying in the middle of the night. My mom would usually come to the rescue.

With Razeen, I would say I'm more independent (read: experienced). I'm able to handle him even without extra hands.

Now I spend confinement in the guest room and other people in the house get their undisturbed beauty sleep. Razeen doesn't cry as much though (phew!) although at times he's on a different time zone.

In short, Razeen is much easier to take care as compared to Raees when he was a newborn. Then again, maybe it's the experience that plays a major role.

So that's pretty much how I spend my confinement. Some days I get to sleep at night. Some days not so lucky. Whatever it is, I cherish each and every minute I spend with my new baby boy :)



Uh yeah, timing is perfect too. Day 40 of my confinement falls on the last day of Ramadan. That means our little family can go raya sakan this year (although Mer's the only one fasting but hey, just enjoy the festive season).

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Two Nights Of Separation

On the second day at the hospital, Razeen's bilirubin level was at borderline. The doctor's advise was to put him under the light. Thus staying an additional day at the hospital.

I remember how I broke down when we had to extend a third day at the hospital because Raees' jaundice. We ended up with home phototherapy and everyone was happy.

That's why this time with Razeen we decided if he has jaundice, we're going home anyway. And home phototherapy was our option.


Since his bilirubin reading was borderline, we followed the elders' recommendation which is to let him sunbathe instead of renting the home phototherapy machine (and save some $$$).


We brought Razeen for a follow up at Ara Damansara Medical Center when he was 6 days old. Oh boy, the bilirubin level didn't go down one bit. In fact it spiked...close to being 'very high'.

The doctor wrote a note to get Razeen admitted to SJMC ASAP for phototherapy. So we drove straight there and on the way I was considering my options: should I admit myself there to keep him company and breastfeed directly OR should I stay home and pass the nurses the EBM I have stored?

I was weighing the options and truthfully (although I hate to admit it) I was more incline towards leaving Razeen there with my EBM. It wasn't just the financial aspect that but I thought it was a chance to let my nipples heal (at that point I was still screaming during each latch).

So while I got Razeen admitted, Mer went home to get his EBM supply. Truth be told, that time I was still wondering if I made the right decision.








So my post natal blues hit me as I watched the nurses prepare Razeen for phototherapy. He was crying nonstop. And I tried so hard to control my tears too. I have this I-am-a-bad-mother feeling all around.


One of the nurses was saying,"it's normal for babies to cry a lot within the first few hours. It's because they're separated from the mother whom they have a very strong bond with."

OK..that didn't make me feel any better.

So we left 5 packs of frozen EBM about 4-5 oz each. They were supposedly able to last until the next afternoon. I was also hoping that Razeen could go home the next day.


Think I could get more sleep with no baby around? Think again. I set the alarm to go off every 2-3 hours as I needed to pump. Unlike when Razeen's around, I could just feed him while lying on the bed.





The next day came and Razeen's bilirubin level was much lower but still not low enough. So he had to stay another night in the hospital.

I went there in the afternoon bring 5-6 more packs of EBM (again 4-5 oz each) and breastfed Razeen. The post natal blues came crushing back as I held him in my arms and I apologised to him for leaving him alone.


I came back at night to breastfeed him again which made me feel better.

According to one of the nurses, among all babies in the phototherapy room, Razeen demands for milk the most. He's hungry every 2 hours and drinks about 3 oz at a time. Heavy drinker, this boy.


The next day was good news all around. Razeen's allowed home! Annnnd...my nipples healed! Well although not 100% but it was good enough to stop me from screaming :)

So that's how I overcame the cracked/sore nipples. A common problem amongst nursing mothers and I'm glad I'm able to get pass this stage. Let's just hope it doesn't recur!

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Monday, June 30, 2014

And A New Journey Begins

Salam Ramadan to all Muslim readers. This is the second consecutive time I'm in confinement during fasting month. Gonna be a challenge to replace them all!
____________________

Baby Razeen is lucky coz I learned a lot about breastfeeding from my experience with Raees. I expected a smooth sailing journey this time...but it didn't exactly go as problem-free as I had thought.

Soon after little Razeen was born, the nurse took him out from the labour room to take his measurements, weight etc. and then brought him back in to show him to me. Although the doctor was still stitching me up, I asked the nurse,"Can I breastfeed him now?

I kid you not.


I didn't even think how I was gonna do that while lying down. The nurse gracefully replied,"after this ya.."

When all labour related procedures were done, I was being put under observation in the labour room. On the very same bed Razeen was born, the nurse brought him to me to initiate breastfeeding.

It took about 20 mins for Razeen to attempt latching. Around 2.25am, 53 minutes after he was born, bingo! He did it :) Successfully breast fed him within the first hour. He was latched on both sides for a whopping 1.5 hours.

However I didn't notice he was latched on incorrectly on my left side. I only realised when it felt sore after that.


Based on Raees' delivery with the help of pain relief, I was expecting to face the same side effects which is low blood pressure. However during the 1.5 hours I was breastfeeding Razeen, I felt fine. I thought probably this time my body reacted differently to epi.

As soon as I was done breastfeeding, almost immediately I felt light headed, ringing in the ears, almost fainting...all symptoms associated with low blood pressure. Amazing how breastfeeding pauses the on set of low BP.

Breastfeeding Razeen went smoothly except the part where my nipples were sore and cracked probably due to more improper latching. It reached a point where I scream in pain each time Razeen latched.

I even considered using nipple shields to help ease the pain while my nipples heal. Although some studies show that using shields might affect milk production, at that moment of desperation I thought that was my only choice. But somehow I ended up not getting nipple shields after all and bear with the pain anyway.

How my nipples eventually healed? Here's how..

Almost 48 hours after I delivered Razeen, my boobs started to feel quite full.

On day 3 and 4, they were uncomfortably engorged. I thought of pumping out milk to lighten the load but I was somewhat afraid to try the Freestyle thinking it will continue to hurt my wounded nipples.

But with my breasts engorged, it made latching more difficult. More pain too.

Day 5 came and I decided to give my new breast pump a go. While Razeen was feeding on the less wounded side, I pumped the other one.

Waddaya know..I didn't feel any pain at all! This was what I got on my first session.


So I decided on that approach - pump on one side while Razeen latches on the other...and apply nursing butter often to help them heal.


I stored the milk in packs of approximately 4-5 oz each. Within 2 days I managed to get more than 20oz.

Lucky thing I started pumping and storing early because the expressed breast milk (EBM) were being used earlier than expected and the breast pump then became my new best friend.


(To be continued...)

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