Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Second Pregnancy: Two Blue Lines II

Well, not exactly blue in the photo above, but if you keep reading, you will find the vague blue lines eventually.

How did it all start?

Eidulfitr. In Yorkshire, England.

Almost every person we met at the family gathering to open house asked if were expecting another sibling for The Little Girl soon (do they realise the cost of decent education these days?).

Then the bug caught on.

Relatives in Malaysia also started asking when we celebrated Syawal month for family gathering.

My MIL started asking and hinting the same until one fine day, she gave up and resigned to the fact that we were seriously considering the single child policy.

However, Allah certainly has a way of softening our hearts and removing obstacles.

One night after The Little Girl had gone to bed, The Other Half and I were performing our solat isya at home, with The Other Half as imam. At the end of the solat, we each said our supplications.

I was so moved that night. I prayed for Allah to send us His blessings and gift when He thinks we are ready to serve Him in raising one more child. A sibling for The Little Girl. So that they may have each other to lean on, in learning to love and worship Him.

The Other Half saw me crying after the supplications but did not ask for details, as I am usually in tears if given time to unload all my burden, hopes and fears.

So we left it at that and watched DVDs together in our attempt of home movie night.

Eiduladha arrived, our zakat were paid, sacrifices were offered and we celebrated with a little Thai lunch feast at The Curve.

The next day, we woke up on 27 October 2012 with unprecedented excitement. I do not know why, but we were all brimming with happiness and positive vibes after a very good sleep the night before.

So off I leapt, to the bathroom, for my morning habit when one of the home pregnancy test kits were ripped off its packaging.

One minute later, I called out to The Other Half.

"Yes, darling?" was his response. Standard response. Cool, calm, collected.

So different from a few minutes later.

We were celebrating, laughing, jumping on the bed, thrilled, silly, crazy, giddy after I said, "We are pregnant!"

The Little Girl was there too, so we explained how she is going to be an elder sister. She immediately responded," I want (a) mei mei, Mummy!" to which we had to further explain that maybe, possibly, it may turn out to be di di. The Little Girl was alright with the explanation and went back to being happy. She had on earlier occasions requested for a mei mei to play with her dolls house etc.

As insurance, I took another test, which also turned out to be positive, much to our joy.

After that, we went about getting ready for a day out. All that was planned for the day was for The Other Half to take us out for lunch with his best friend, Uncle Tan, whom we have not met for some time.

While we were at Suria KLCC for breakfast, I bought a few more home pregnancy test kits, including a digital one with estimation of weeks since conception.


We then left Suria KLCC for lunch was at Bangsar Village II. I politely excused myself to use the ladies, but really my motive was to take the test with digital display just to be triple sure. The numbers 2-3 weeks showed up on the screen and I was thrilled once more.
We did not share this news with anyone for a few more days and basked in secret happiness.
Dreams of how The Little Girl is now going to be a loving and caring elder sister.
Dreams of how The Other Half is going to be a father of two.
Reality of how I am going to be a mother of two, tandem breastfeeding, and trying to cope with it all without a live-in-maid. Despite that somewhat "harsh" reality, deep inside me, at the bottom of my heart, I felt very blessed.

Oh, syukur alhamdulillah! The timing could not have been better. His timing is perfect, as always.
All we pray for right now is a safe pregnancy with safe delivery and recovery, healthy and perfectly formed baby who will grow up to be Allah fearing, and all possible obstacles to be removed by His will.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Second Pregnancy: Overcoming Nausea

My least favourite part of pregnancy (so far) has to be nausea and vomitting.

During my first pregnancy, I was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum. It lasted 20 weeks. This time, only Allah knows.

My skin is the first sign of my body taking this beating. Dehydrated skin and flaking is common now despite the best skin care simply because I am losing much fluids. Slapping on barrier cream helps with my skin condition but really, if I can only keep the fluids in!

With The Little Girl to care for, I do not really have the luxury of dwelling on the nausea. Even when I am at the sink, vomitting, she sometimes cling on to my legs crying for attention (or maybe she thinks I am gross?).

The upside is when I am done, The Little Girl asks if I am alright.

If I need some medicine to feel better.

If I need to lie down.

If she can cuddle me to make me feel better.

*aww, she can be so sweet!*

Below are some of my little tricks on overcoming nausea (sometimes they work, sometimes they just don't but I sure hope they work for you):
1. Ginger tea
Morning Wellness Tea, flat ginger ale, warm water with a slice of ginger, teh tarik halia, warm ginger syrup. Tea interferes with iron absorption so be sure to keep it to the minimum, or do not drink it with a meal. Keep it for meal intervals when likely to feel nauseous.  
2. Small, frequent meals
6 or more small meals. Slightly inconvenient but at least the hunger pangs are kept at bay, bile is less likely to back up. That means breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, tea, dinner, and supper for me.
3. Less spicy food
A little hard for me considering that I also crave spicy foods occasionally, my Thai genes crying for the occasional seafood tom yum or mango/pomelo salad. Key: eat in moderation.
4. Avoid strong smells
No cooking, avoid walking past or through food courts and poorly ventilated food outlets, sit near the entrance of restaurants and not near the kitchen, avoid perfume counters and fresh pop corn/cookie stalls. Durian is a major no-no for me even on non-pregnant days. I even time my going out time not to clash with the time garbage is being cleared from my apartment floor.
5. Getting up slowly in the morning
Try waking up slowly and earlier than The Little Girl so as to avoid her morning buzz. Works only on days when The Other Half is home.
6. Avoid getting too warm
The Other Half and in-laws fetches me from mall entrances instead of making me walk in hot and humid car parks. Occasionally, my head veil is taken off when in the car in the beginning but it is so bad now that I am going out and about without my head veil! The humidity, heat and tight head veil just at my throat works like a magic vomit inducer for me. May Allah pardon my slacking. I promise to return to my head veil as soon as I can (because I feel naked without it, and hate having to style my hair).
7. Eat before getting hungry
Time meals just before the hunger pang sets in, also prevents bloating and acid reflux in my case. A small portion of fruits can help fill in the gaps for vitamins and minerals. Favourites include blueberries, bananas and pomelos.
8. Rest when I can
The best nausea combat tactic ever. The vomit is less when nausea is under control. Having the 32 month old toddler being cared for by her loving grandparents on some afternoons is a real luxury! I throw up less on days when they watch her while I nap.
9. Sip water
Not the gulp 250ml in one go but sip maybe 100 ml over a few minutes - think French chic, not athletes. Sliced lemon helps to remove the metallic taste. Chilled water beats warm water for now, contrary to Chinese/local customs and prohibitions.
10. Protein-rich snacks
Walnuts, almonds, cashews. Small doses mixed with some raisins/blueberries/dates. A handful is sufficient to ward off the angry bile.
Most of all, think positive! This is just a phase.

Heh, so I tell myself.

All the best in conquering yours! If you have extra tips, do share!

Some remarks about nausesa and vomiting that irk me because women who do and say this seem to forget about nourishing and growing the foetus the best they can or are just totally ignorant/have body image issues:
- Women throw up to avoid looking like watermelons.
- Best time to binge then bring it all up without getting fat.

Final note: It is not cool to hunt and haunt the Duchess of Cambridge about her hyperemesis gravidarum. Al Fatihah to the poor nurse who committed suicide over this matter. Hopefully the ongoing Royal Inquiry will shed some light on this matter.


Monday, 12 November 2012

Second Pregnancy: Fatigue

I am so exhausted in this second pregnancy and I am not hesitating to ask for help.

The Grandparents have been roped in. One afternoon while I was nursing The Little Girl and trying to put her down for a nap, I was struck by exhaustion and panic mode. I sent The Grandparents a text message, a SOS message. An "I-need-babysitter-pronto" message.

They are ever so kind and understanding, for which I am eternally thankful and grateful.

You see, this is the one week break at play school. The Little Girl has been going to a play school on weekdays from 9 am till noon, which gives me some shut eye time in the morning with The Little Bean instead of catching up with housework and cooking. On weekends, we sort of rough it out when The Other Half has to work.

Not this week! She is home 24/7 and I just cannot cope.

Yes, I am lame.

But wait!

Thank God for The Grandparents! I send The Little Girl to their flat upstairs after breakfast at about 9 am and I only see her at lunch for a bit at noon. I sleep as much as I can, whenever I am not sick at the sink while she is playing and spending quality time with The Grandparents! From noon till dinner time, I repeat the sleep or sick cycle, as The Little Girl resumes her fun day out with The Grandparents or something cool like that.

As much as I miss The Little Girl, I console myself that I must take care of myself too.
*Insert Mummy guilt aplenty here*

We then all have dinner together, after which we come home downstairs for her evening bath, change of pajamas, settle into story time and cuddle (breastfeeding!) before calling it a night.

Truth: I do not do much but I am so tired from nausea and vomit!

Truth: I miss The Little Girl very much, although I know she is in very good hands.

So there, it is working out for a couple of days. Then The Other Half will be off work and take over the challenge of keeping The Little Girl clean, fed, entertained, learning and happy. Plus tackle the laundry and ironing - no easy feat.

Does she miss me in return? You bet!

Happy Blessed Diwali

We would like to wish all our Hindu friends and readers a very happy, blessed Diwali.
Ignore the following paragraphs/read at your own peril:
*My mummy ramble mode on*
Travel safely, keep to the speed limits and follow the rules. Do not put your hazard lights on in a thunderstorm (hazard lights are meant for stationary stalled vehicles). Indicate your next manouver.
Turn your home gas supply off, cancel the newspaper deliveries and place the timer lights on. Set up a neighbourhood watch and do not rely 100% on your gated community guards for safety.
Most of all, be polite and gracious to your hosts when visiting or attending an open house party. Greet your hosts when you arrive, and thank them for having you before you leave.

Do not debate on religion/politics with complete strangers (guests of the host) - start with the weather, will you? Now that we are experiencing global climatic changes, there should be more than enough to talk about to last you one major session of capati and vindaloo buffet binge. 
*My mummy ramble mode off*
Happy blessed Diwali! Enjoy your holidays.
Note: No muruku and spicy food for me this Diwali - these delicious treats don't seem to agree with my first trimester, as evident from the post-treats nausea and vomit last evening. Boo hoo!

Second Pregnancy: Toothpaste for Pregnant Women

My sense of smell and taste in both the first and second pregnancies can be summed up as overly sensitive. Before you think I am being overly dramatic, there is a scientific explanation for this.

I went from my usual modus operandi of brushing with toothpaste after waking up, after every meal and before sleep to throwing up at the mere whiff of mint toothpaste!
I did try fruity toothpaste in the first pregnancy but have yet to venture that way this time, simply for fear of throwing up at the supermarket aisle. Yesterday, I got as far as the entrance to Isetan KLCC supermarket before the nausea stopped me in my tracks.
Do you have any suitable toothpaste for pregnant women to recommend? Please share!

An update: Toothpaste with kayu sugi is not too unpleasant, as there is hardly any strong mint scent. I managed to brush my teeth without too much gagging and vomitting the last few days (11 weeks of gestation).
Friday, 2 November 2012

Second Pregnancy: Sleepless in the City 2

In my first trimester when I was carrying The Little Girl, I used to feel nauseous, so nauseous it kept me up all night reading the Al-Qur'an and solving crossword puzzles while snacking on almond biscotti and sipping ginger tea.

This time, I am so exhausted from caring for The Little Girl all day long once she returns from playschool at noon that I would konk out with her at her bedtime, at about 8.30 p.m. daily.

Only to be awakened after a few hours in the wee hours of the morning either from breastfeeding The Little Girl or trying to suppress heartburn or nausea from The Little Bean.

The upside? Lots of ironing gets done!

*big satisfied grin from looking at neatly empty laundry basket*