Monday, March 31, 2014

5 Months? What?!


Just dropping by for a little update. I decided that I missed blogging suddenly in the middle of ‘Vampire Diaries’ when Elena started burning pages of her diary. Lol.

It’s been overwhelming and new, this motherhood thing. I love it. Before I had Naila, my life was contently busy and me & hubs had a certain routine going for us. However, now it’s a totally new life! I KNEW life was going to change. I didn’t know it was going to change like this!

Anyway, she turned five months on the 22th March. My 5 months old little doll. And cranky has a new name because she’s teething!

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Melayu Asian Confinement

baby n me!

You don’t know what confinement means until you’re really confined for 43 days! Not being allowed to walk up and down the stairs! Not allowed out of the house! Don’t wear pants! Don’t eat heaty food! Don’t eat windy food!

My favorites are

1. Eating ginger everyday. Chinese tradition.

2. Wearing belly binders/bengkung. Malay tradition.

3. Only drink warm water. Malay/chinese tradition.

4. Post-partum massage. Malay tradition.

5. Sleep when baby sleeps. Universal tradition.

Funny thing is, some of the confinement practices actually clashes with each other. In the beginning I was trying to follow everything, then suddenly nothing makes sense.

For all the preparation that went into giving birth, I could’ve done some preparation for postpartum confinement yes? Wrong. didn’t do any. I simply take it day by day.

What I didn’t agree with

1. Wearing socks all the time (Nanti urat kembang). I’ve really no comment on this. Wearing socks all the time in this humid KL weather actually gave me athlete’s foot! So I stopped pronto.

2. Wearing tight hair bun high on the head (Nanti boleh meroyan.) I was wondering what meroyan was for quite a while. Sounded like food, but in fact it is used to describe post partum depression in its worst form. Wearing hair in a bun does not help with meroyan. Extra rest and sleep does.

3. Bengkung 24 hours (I tried this, felt suffocated)

4. Putting limau+kapur on stomach before binding with bengkung. Well the basis of it is that, it supposedly helps your belly/uterus shrink. When in fact, your uterus will eventually shrink to its normal size within 6 weeks. Belly pouch on the other hand, is the consequence of stretched skin+muscles which can only be fixed with proper exercise, and diet. So no thanks.. I use olive oil + virgin coconut oil to fix my stretch marks instead.

5. Limiting fluid intake. Our body survives on water longer than it does on food. Our body is 60% water. Every function needs water. Making milk for baby needs water. Enough said.

6. Jamu/postnatal herbs/postnatal care sets. This is very subjective. You either like it or not. You can choose to spend RM 300++ on a set that gives you virgin coconut oil, some herbal soap, some herbal supplement that claims to help shrink the uterus, a bengkung, all wrapped up in a nice box. It’ll make you smell like a spa for a couple of days/weeks depending on how diligent you are about using it. I decided in the last minute not to get it.

Anyway, for me, I think the best thing to do is to try to get a LOT of rest post delivery. The first two weeks felt like a zombie daze. I probably looked like a zombie anyways. Felt sore and a little bit miserable from the lack of sleep. Probably had some bouts of postnatal depression.

However, as with everything, that too shall pass.

And pass it did. Of course when you hit the one month mark, you’ll be like, did I really gave birth 30 days ago? Why is my baby so precious? Yeah the mommy love hormones kick in big time. It’s all worth it in the end. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Whirlwind 2013

Salam everyone!

Thinking back the year 2013 is such a roller coaster. In the beginning of the year, me and hubs sat down with Chanel (no baby yet!) and wrote down what we wanted for the year. I remember hubs saying ‘we can’t put having a baby as a goal, because babies are a gift.’ I guess God thinks we’re ready because in February, I conceived.

My pregnancy looked very easy, I was active throughout all 10 months (gasp) and I think it gave my husband a false impression on how difficult pregnancies actually are. However despite having a relatively easy pregnancy, I had a challenging time managing my other responsibilities.. which required me to drive a lot, walk a lot, and meet a lot of people. I remember my baby kicking hard when I was driving at 8-9 months. I don’t think I ever sat still my whole pregnancy!

Thinking back, because of my condition and my hectic work, me and hubs travel less this year. However, we still managed to make that one week getaway to Langkawi in January and Cameron Highlands in March.

I knew that for every hard work, and the bun baking in the oven will be unveiled towards the end of the year. In October, 2 weeks after I celebrated my birthday, and after many guesses from everyone, baby Naila decided to pop out! And my husband was offshore for a good 3 weeks! And alhamdulillah my business was running well with minimal supervision.

Towards the end of the year, I feel very humbled and thankful. Having a baby makes me humbled. Makes me value time more. Makes me appreciate women more, especially my mom and my grandmas. I am thankful for having an easy pregnancy, a memorable birthing experince, a healthy baby and a great support system during my berpantang recovery period, and people to care for baby while I needed to get work done. 

I don’t know what else to say… I’m just in that thankful mode, ya know, great things are still happening—ongoing—the love hormones are still flooding my system. So yeah, I can’t wait for another great year! Maybe more travelling this time? Maybe to visit baitullah? Who knows?

Have a great year ahead!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

My Labor Story Part 2

hospital room

Disclaimer: Perhaps this is a super long, TMI sharing post intended mostly for those interested in birthing stories, so please beware.

If you missed part 1, click here.

So even though I requested for minimal CTG or you call it fetal monitoring, my doctor insisted on CTG for half an hour. After 30 minutes, they unstrapped me, and allowed me to walk around. I was also allowed to eat yaay and when I requested the bright lights to be dimmed, they did. Yaay. I didn’t get a drip so I could walk around the room, triple yaay. (The reason I insisted on walking is because gravity helps baby come down the birth canal okay ^_^)

I had my headphones on, listening to surah Maryam & surah Yaseen, and had a water bottle in my hands. I started pacing the labor room.  You could’ve sworn I looked like I was preparing for a race. The contractions by then came every 5 minutes, intense and long. This went on for an hour.

The head midwife came in to check on me, and I was 8 cm dilated. My mom was busy communicating with dad/ the in laws and I updated hubs every few minutes. The doctor came and asked to break my waters to make things go faster. I blankly said no. Well actually, at that point I was saying no to everything. Do you wanna eat? No! Do you wanna lie down? No!

I couldn’t stop walking! Doctor said, ‘let me know when your water breaks’. 5 minutes later my water broke. Doctor told me to lay on the bed starting then. The contractions got a lot stronger and I started to feel like pushing hard.

The midwife came to check on me and she told me I was fully dilated! She also told me to push whenever I felt like it. So I learnt about breathing down baby but it was impossible because the urge to push was so great. My contractions was still steady but after each peak, the contraction subsides. So up to now the birth was exactly the way I wanted it.

I felt in control before, but once the pushing sensation came, I kind of panicked. The midwife wanted me to push, and yes, I pushed. The doctor said baby was still up high so I need to push harder!! Starting then I completely trusted the midwife and my doctor. Doctor said something about my contractions are not strong enough to push baby out, so I had to work hard.

With each contraction, I pushed. And pushed. Mom was beside me reciting zikr. Then the midwife said baby was posterior! The ideal position for baby to come out is anterior, which is a position that makes labor shorter and mom progress faster. So I had a posterior baby and midwife was doing serious compresses on my stomach in an effort to turn baby around. In my head I was like, oh no poor baby must be so pissed to have someone twisting her from outside!

Ok ideally I would love to be standing when my water broke. So now I understand the feeling of wanting different positions to birth because lying down is just so messy! Something funny was also happening because once I was belly up, I couldn’t feel my contractions eventhough they were happening! Major disaster when you’re actually in the pushing phase. I’m shocked when my doctor told me that a contraction is coming, because they felt it on my stomach but I, on the other hand, didn’t! The doctor told me that because I opt for no episiotomy= no cuts down there, I had to push hard because she can’t help me!

I’ve been pushing for two hours by then. Two blood* hours. Ok literally. Then doctor dropped the bomb when she spoke to the midwife. “Her contractions aren’t strong enough yet.. She should be really ready when baby descends and her head showing.. She’s not ready yet actually.” What? what?? But but you told me to push!!! And I pushed for 2 hours!!!

Doctor then asked me if I wanted help or to let nature run its course? If you want all natural, then you have to bear with contractions and it’ll take a while. What? what? By then I’ve lost practically two buckets of sweat and blood, I don’t know.. Even then, I said I’ll wait. But here’s the thing. It’s like giving your all for a warm-up session, and naturally you’ve lost all energy for the real game.

That’s what I was at that moment. My mom basically has had enough of my stubbornness. She asked doctor about my options. Doctor told us that we could proceed with pitocin drip to strengthen my contraction and assured us that baby will be out in no time. Mom was soo sold. I was less happy. Midwife just couldn’t wait to go back home to sleep. Doctor remain impartial and waited for me to make my decision.

Mom looked at me with pleading eyes. Midwife was pushing me for the drip. I was sweating and my hands were cramping from pulling that lever, on top of the painful contractions. I felt soo cornered and desperate. So in the last minute I said, oklah let’s do it! I just want it to be over. At the time I was sure baby is never coming out and I’ll be pregnant forever. As if.

Midwife inserted drip needle (I envisioned leaving the hospital needle-free), administered pitocin in increasing amounts (I envisioned drug-free). I felt my uterus started contracting like malibu waves. I pushed with the waves and baby was out on the third push.

I heard a strangled cry, some suction and came face to face with baby, all covered in sticky vernix. I can’t help thinking, ‘how weird, she’s so tiny and so angry… must be all the pitocin and massaging pissing her off.. did she really came out of me?’ I held her to my chest feeling relieved and utter disbelief. I had a slight tear down below because I rejected episiotomy but doctor said it wasn’t much. I wouldn’t bluff, I’m so happy about that part.

However, I envisioned baby to come out calm and alert, a tell tale of no-drugs baby in theory.. but she was inconsolable. So they let me have some skin-to-skin, then they whisked baby off for normal medical procedures. After an hour I get to hold her again <3

Salam baby Naila Zahra, the labor was 15 hours long but you held your ground. I felt your strong kicks from the very beginning till your birth. If I had any doubt that you’re okay in there, I would be the one to rush the doctor for emergency c-section. However I didn’t have to worry because your heartbeat was strong throughout the whole labor.

I wanted to give you time, I didn’t want to force you out. I didn’t want to drug you. I know that any drugs entering my bloodstream will enter yours. Having pitocin causes constricted blood flow to you and would’ve caused you distress. I wanted to give you a gentle beginning. I hope the pitocin in the final minute didn’t touch you. We just needed time.

You were pissed when you came out, must be the pitocin and the midwife pressing aggressively on your body (!) Yes it made me pissed off too.

Looking at your past month, I’m glad I made all the decisions that I made because people keep saying you’re a happy baby.. seldom cry and progress well. You latched on for nursing in the first hour, you didn’t have any jaundice and you steadily gained weight. I made all the decisions during my pregnancy and labor hoping for a good outcome. I read up so much about the natural birth process before giving birth to you. Thank you to daddy also for making me see the light. He made me realize that I’m capable of giving birth naturally and that I should just trust nature. After all, if my body could support your growth until full term, then my body can support the labor too. Alhamdulillah, thank you Allah Smile

Saturday, November 16, 2013

My Labor Story Part 1


Salam guys,

I just wanted to share my partial gentle and natural birth. I never expected to go this way, I was PRO-epidural all the way until I stumbled across ‘gentle birthing’ during my 36th week of pregnancy. I never went to any prenatal class or any birthing class but I did plenty of research before deciding to submit my birth plan to the doctor. I changed doctors so many times, but only because I found myself in certain situations, price vs treatment factor (we’re fully paying patients because our insurance does not cover maternity at all), and also taking into account doctor’s willingness to follow my plan.

My birth plan:

birth plan

I would like to point out that some things in the list are actually against some doctor’s or even hospital policy, so you can imagine how I had to look for the right doctor. Lucky me, I found my perfect doctor after switching 3 times and the hospital is just 5 minutes drive away from my parent’s :)

So here’s my story :)

I went over my due date, despite people’s positive assurance that I’ll go into labor early because this is ‘my first child’. The dates doesn’t really matter to me, if not for the fact that my husband has to leave for his offshore assignment on the 16th October. My due date was the 19th. So you can imagine how sad I was when my husband left… My doctor said she’ll allow my pregnancy to go until 41 weeks MAX, after that we’ll have to schedule for inducement. At that point, I thought, well… no husband, no natural birth. I felt hopeless and depressed.

I wallowed for a while, then get on with my life, still drove, did my work.

So after my husband left, I felt more strongly about letting my labor start spontaneously. My husband has gone anyway, why should I cave to doctor’s ‘inducement threats’. (OK my doctor is actually the bomb, she supports natural labor, found her name on a natural birth forum)  I learned so much about benefits of a spontaneous labor and the scary bits about inducement. I wanted to cry at the thought of a c-section. I did everything I knew about ‘natural inducers’. Pineapples, long walks, squats, eating dates and others… you name it. My doctor reminded me to do zikr a lot and talk to the baby.

Honestly I can’t tell you what works, because I did everything at the same time. Maybe that’s key, that’s what started the labor. Two days before my labor, I went to the park with my brother at 8 am and walked for about an hour. Someone should’ve pointed out that there’s a HUGE difference between walking in the mall and walking in the park. I could walk 4 hours in the mall but not feel tired. Walking in the park is a different story. You don’t stop to eat, or rest, or sit.

Anyway after the walk, I felt some pain in the abdomen. Well turns out it was nothing. Or maybe it was something…

Because two days later, I woke up in the middle of night feeling light cramps, the annoying type you’d get during a period. I thought.. no way.. this couldn’t be it, it’s just practice contractions. I sat up, and felt something gush. I checked and based on a thousand hours of looking up ‘labor signs’ on the internet, I was pretty sure that I was in early labor. At that point, my waters were leaking and I had a show.

I was like, YESSSSSSSS let’s get the show started!!

I started timing my annoying light cramps. I couldn’t believe it was rhythmic! Coming every 20 minutes. I stayed up feeling ecstatic until 4 am, but because it wasn’t strong I went back to sleep.

I woke up for Subuh, excitedly texting my hubby it’s ganna be today! Then I waited until 8.30am to tell mom. Mom was excited but we decided to wait until my contractions got stronger. At 9.00am my contractions did get stronger, to the extent that I couldn’t speak during one. I did a lot of research beforehand about surge breathing and took deep long breaths during a contraction. That technique helped a lot in managing the pain. My mom notified my MIL, and when she appeared at my front door at 11am, the contractions tapered off.

For real peoples.

So we ate and talked like any normal day, not in early labor at all. Around 12.30pm, the contractions came back with a vengeance. I excused myself from the dining table and sat near the tv. I told both moms that the contractions are strong and 14 minutes apart. My doctor and I agreed that I would labor at home until the contractions are 10 minutes apart. I remember watching 6 days and 7 nights while feeling the contractions come and go. At the same time I walked back and forth in front of the tv. Walking actually helped tone down the pain intensity.

Also worth mentioning is that around 3pm, I started feeling huge pressure in my back. Well well turns out I was experiencing the dreaded back labor. There’s nothing much I could do about it, but I remember that leaning forward and pressing into my back provided some relief.

Around 4pm-ish, I did my Asar prayers. Shortly after that, the contractions picked up in pace and strength. I was still doing the breathing techniques, but find it harder to manage. It was then that I started feeling a little bit panicked and out of control. I had my hospital bag ready and waited for my mom downstairs. By then my contractions suddenly jumped to 4 minutes apart, lasting about 40 seconds each.


Mom drove me to the hospital around 5-ish. I was really concentrating on my breathing because that is KEY in managing the pain and how I lasted that long. I checked in via emergency and was wheeled straight to the labor room. 

All the while I was like, I can’t believe this is happening!! I brought my headset, my phone, phone charger, a bottle full of water, a quarter bottle of zam zam water (spilled in the car nooooooooo) and of course my hospital bag. Felt like I was prepping for battle. Because my husband wasn’t around, they allowed my mom to be with me during labor.

The doctor came in, had me assessed. I was 7cm dilated!! Can’t believe I was so close!!

I texted my husband the update, feeling ecstatic. So far, the labor has been natural all the way and I thought well, it isn’t so bad. It’s been 9 hours of steady contractions but I‘ve eaten, I’ve prayed, and I could still walk around. I even slotted in a movie session in the afternoon and had a catching up sesh with MIL! Lol. I also felt baby actively kicking since morning. I can definitely do this. Little did I know that the drama was just about to begin.

Baby is waking up! I’ll continue in part 2!

PART 2 Here!


Thursday, November 7, 2013


baby naila

Welcome baby Naila Zahra to the world on 22 October at 11.11pm.

We’re so happy to meet you finally!

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