Thursday, July 31, 2008

Awakened

An awakening it was for me the first time I breastfed Khalish. His mealtime was at three-hour interval. Each session could last for three hours.

The longest session was recorded on his first day of phototherapy session at Hospital Tampin. All he wanted was milk. Ah, he was only four days old. Breast milk was the best cure for jaundice anyway. I ended up undergoing the phototherapy session as well, breastfeeding him beside his lighted cot throughout the night to ensure he was exposed to the blue ray. My only break was when he needed a diaper change or when I needed my pad change.

Back from the hospital, for the first time, my blouse was wet from excessive milk. Khalish, he would be hungry every two hours. As I was haggard from spending my recuperation period at one hospital after another, I started to let my husband or my mother feed Khalish the expressed milk after midnight. That was when we noticed the increase of portion consumed by him. Thus, a new challenge.

How did I increase my milk production?
Thanks to blog-hopping, I gathered tips and now consume the following:

+ Enfamama for nursing mother.
+ Fenugreek beverage.
+ White radish.
+ Spinach.
+ More of oat-based food and beverage.
+ More of soy and dairy products.

I welcome more tips. Preferably, food items that would only increase my milk production. Not fat.

I also express my milk at a regular interval. In my wish list is Medela Freestyle Breastpump. For now, I am contented with the Mini Electric model. Nevertheless, once I enter office, a more efficient model would assist production. Other Medela accessories that I have tried and immediately loved were the City Style set, the contact nipple shields, and the milk collecting shells though these particular items could be improved with respective covers for their openings.

When I had a fever due to breast engorgement after being discharged from Hospital Tampin, post-midnight breastfeeding sessions became challenging. I was still tired from Khalish's increased demands while being hospitalised and there was the discomfort of fever to deal with. A knackered mother could say the darndest things. I told Kamal that I have had enough of breastfeeding. Istighfar. God is Great. Khalish contracting jaundice was a blessing as he needed breast milk to heal.

I am grateful I persevered. Nowadays, satisfied after each meal, Khalish would smile. Oh, he would even laugh. At times, during burp session, he would entertain his grandparents with funny faces. Our favourite is his bird expression.

Seeing him growing up healthy is worth the sleepless days. Today, the visiting nurse weighed him. Last week, he gained 0.2kg after losing weight from jaundice while in Hospital Tampin, weighing only 2.9kg there. His birth weight was 3.0kg. On his 20th day today, he weighs 3.9kg. Alhamdulillah.

From tomorrow onwards, the world celebrates Breastfeeding Week. To support the campaign, and myself, I shall put a photo of milk in abundance on my vision board. Amin.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Home with Khalish

Day 4. The day Kamal and I brought Khalish home.

Labour of Love, the Chronology

Due to a technical problem, the photos for this post are currently unavailable.

The Weekly Appointment

Photo 1

July 11, 2008. Friday. There I was, about to update Chech:Eccentric on the induced labour scheduled that day. The weekly appointment with the obstetrician revealed that the amniotic fluid was insufficient for Little C's survival. The pregnancy was a day shy from reaching week 40 anyway.

Here is a documentation of the day. The chronological of my labour day, to be exact. It might be two weeks late, particularly now that my baby's remnant of umbilical cord and circumcision ring have dropped off precisely on his 14th day in this world.

Yes, I might be late in documenting the precious experience here. As cliche as it may sound though, the memory will always be in my mind. As long as I am blessed with the luxury to remember.


The Labour

Photo 2

The obstetrician asked Kamal and I to be ready at the hospital after Zuhur that Friday. We decided to use JM Bariani House discount voucher, thinking I would need the calories to endure labour later. Nevertheless, once admitted into Rose 6, Hospital Pakar An-Nur Hasanah, the kilojoules were merely used for a photography session. The obstetrician decided to postpone the induced labour to the next day for two reasons. Firstly, the cardiotocography record indicated that the baby's heartbeats were stable. Secondly, the mommy needed a good sleep. She was frustrated though that she had to attend a conference the whole of Saturday. I felt the same, too. I have been a patient from her days at the other hospital to the six courses of clomid. Nevertheless, the other obstetrician is as exceptional.

July 12, 2008. Saturday. The estimated due date was exceedingly precise. I woke up as early as 5:00 a.m. To bathe, pray, and, meditate.The midwife prepared my cervix for labour at 6:30 a.m. I was to lie down for an hour for the procedure to be effective, all the while being attached to a cardiotocography machine. Never had I expected to experience contractions within that one hour. Then, they were ten minutes apart.

At 7:30 a.m., breakfast was served. It took me another hour to finish the egg sandwiches and hot chocolate drink. That was how painful the contractions were. In my mind, I was being ripped apart from all my limbs. By that time, contractions started to be at five-minute interval.

Kamal, who accompanied me the previous night, went back for a while to bathe and have breakfast. My mother took over his place as my company, guiding me with zikr. The zikr calmed me, but, I did squeeze her hands tighter each time the contraction came. The breathing technique I learned in order to ease contraction pain did help. A little.

By 9:30 a.m., the contractions were two minutes apart. Kamal arrived the moment I was wheeled from the ward to the labour suite. It was 10:00 a.m. Prior to the move, I did number two twice.

Photo 3 

In the labour room, Kamal sat by my side, offering his hands for comfort. Those hands were almost twisted when he asked "how is the pain?". At that time, the labour started to be a minute apart. Meanwhile, my mother waited outside the suite, praying for a safe delivery.

The pain getting more and more intense as my cervix dilated 3cm, I eventually asked for epidural. Having learned the technique of pushing, I was confident that the delivery process would be smooth even with the pain management. Amazingly, my cervix dilated rather fast for a first-time mother. Calmer from the epidural and the Quranic verses being subtly played in the suite, I managed to eat a quarter of my lunch, albeit with my mother's persuasion.

The obstetrician expected me to give birth at 7:00 p.m. Therefore, when she dropped by to check on my progress, she was surprised to see that my cervix has dilated 10cm at 3:10 p.m., which meant the baby would arrive in no time. My mother, who was told that I would only be prepared for delivery at dusk, was out for an express lunch then. The obstetrician reminded me of the pushing techniques as the midwives got the bed ready for delivery. Kamal took out our camera.

Photo 4

The first procedure was to break my water bag. The water was coloured, which meant the baby had done number two. Because of that, he had to be out soon as there was a possibility of him swallowing the remaining contaminated amniotic fluid. Therefore, I was given only 15 minutes to push, instead of the usual 30 to 45 minutes for first-time mother.

The obstetrician also explained the need for medical intervention, namely the vacuum, to assist the baby out. Anything but caesarian section. Of course, I have accepted the fact that episiotomy was almost inevitable.

The paediatrician was called to the room immediately to assist with complications on the baby, if there was any. As I was instructed to hold a device at both sides of the bed while pushing, Kamal had both his hands free for capturing the moments while listening to the obstetrician's explanations of what was to take place next. It did seem like a medical school.

Photo 5 

After five long pushes and innumerable words of encouragement from Kamal, the obstetrician, and the midwives, our Little C was greeted with a salam by his daddy, and I, the mommy. Kamal was the first to congratulate me. And, I him.

With a little assistance from the obstetrician and the midwives, I could hear his cries. Sweet, sweet voice. The moment the midwives put the baby on my chest, both Kamal and I felt him in disbelief. There was our three-year wait for a bundle of joy.

How beautiful those three years have been. How perfect it was now to have him as ours. Too bad he had to be taken away by the paediatrician for more procedures. The obstetrician kept my mind occupied with further explanation of the placenta birthing process and later, the episiotomy stitches. Haven't I told you she was exceptional?


The Baby, Khalish Mohd Kamal

Photo 6 

My mother was dazzled to behold a baby being carried out from the labour suite I was in when she came back from late lunch. While Kamal attended to the baby, she dashed towards my bed and congratulated me. I was recuperating from the epidural then. We talked over tea.

After an hour, I could feel my feet and the stitches, particularly near the anus area. Somehow, I was on my own when a nurse wheeled me back to my room. Kamal was back home to plant the placenta. My mother was updating my family members of the latest arrival in the family.

I requested the nurse to stop by the Special Care Nursery, where Little C was. The whole 3.0kg of him appeared very tiny in the incubator. Oh, he was beautiful, as well. I stayed there for a while to soak the sight of him. The combination of his beauty and the fragility brought me to tears. Quickly, I asked to be wheeled to my room for I did not want him to sense my mixed emotions. Most of all, it broke my heart that he had to be in the incubator instead of in my arms.


The Breastfeeding

Photo 7 

Therefore, the next day, when I was called to the nursery to breastfeed the baby, I forgot the discomfort of episiotomy stitches. In fact, I sped towards him. Kamal and my mother were there for support.

Khalish, the name Kamal and I decided on upon seeing him the day before, found comfort in my embrace. He also latched on to my breasts intuitively. I wanted to bring him into my room, but he had to stay in the incubator.

From then on, I spent most of my time at the nursery. At first, breastfeeding became a challenge when Khalish cried even after hours of being latched to me. Particularly post midnight. Alhamdulillah, there always was a breastfeeding consultant to motivate mothers like me.


The Jaundice

Photo 8

All in all, I was in the hospital from Friday until Monday. After being taken out from the incubator, Khalish was diagnosed with jaundice due to the bilirubin that gathered at the swollen, vacuumed area on his head. Back in Rembau on Tuesday, a nurse from Klinik Kesihatan Ibu dan Anak Rembau visited my parents' place after Kamal and my mother went there to register Khalish and I for postnatal care.

Khalish appeared yellow still, thus a blood test at the clinic at 2:00 p.m. By 4:00 p.m., we were already in Hospital Tampin as Khalish had to be hospitalised. His jaundice reading was 290. After two sleepless nights in the hospital, his jaundice level dropped to 218. Alhamdulillah, the number has been stable since. According to the doctor there, the jaundice would linger until the minor swell subsides.

By the way, I did not feel any discomfort when doing number one for the first time right after labour, thanks to a friend's advice. She reminded me to turn a tap on as I use the toilet. Psychologically, listening to the water from the tap, I felt a free flow down there. Thanks also to lactulose syrup for enabling an uneventful number two experience for the next one week.


The Visitors

Photo 9

In Hospital Pakar An-Nur Hasanah, with each throng of visitors, I would find the opportunity to walk to Khalish's nursery. The visitors, they provided me strength. My cousin, Anita, and her family was the first to visit as they were nearby.

Next were my brothers. Bakhtiar brought along his family. My sister-in-law, Kak Ni, and her family, came the next day. Then, there were my chums and their respective families.

In the photo above were Ayue and Fique. With Fique were her husband, son, and brother. My officemates went to the hospital as I was about to be discharged. My brother-in-law, Abang Mashri, was the last to visit. Thank you, all, for your presence, wishes, and gifts.

Photo 10

The most special visitors were, of course, my parents-in-law, Ayoh and Mok. Being a little on the small side, Khalish could not properly fit into his newborn clothes. Surprisingly, he could fit into the pajamas Ayoh and Mok gave him.

Khalish has slept on Mok's lap when I was nursing a slight fever. He loved to listen to Ayoh's words. The boy is simply lucky to be loved by everybody.

I must mention the following: the most eventful visit goes to K-Lynn's. So much so, it deserves its own post. Later.


The Blogger

Photo 11

I will be back blogging once I am accustomed to Khalish and the new routines. For this entry, I have been sacrificing my sleep after the 4:00 a.m. breastfeeding session. My, it is refreshing to write again.

The Facebook updates while I was in labour did not count as they were done by Kamal through his telephone. In Hospital Pakar An-Nur Hasanah, I could only use the computer and the mobile modem when he decided to take a rest from work. Now that the WiFi in Rembau has been fixed, I am back again.

Hopefully with more posts here. About myself. About the new family member.

Monday, July 14, 2008

First Moments

See more photos here.

Friday, July 11, 2008

SuperPokes

Little C is coming today.

Kamal and I are to go to the hospital after Jumaat prayer, so the obstetrician decided. During what was to be the final weekly appointment at her clinic this morning, Dr. Khamsiah detected a low supply of amniotic fluid in the womb albeit Little C being active as usual. Consequently, labour has to be induced.

I pray that everything goes smoothly.
Amin.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Punctuations

Yesterday, I,

encountered a funny side of a new friend,
for the first time paid bil hasil tanah,
eventually found a favoured antenatal care set,
surprisingly was full of appetite eating a hearty lunch alone,
experienced a smashing swimming date with Nana,

and,

bonded with a cousin's family.

Would Little C be an artistic Cancer or a born-leader Leo?

Monday, July 07, 2008

One Piece

I am still intact, albeit out of breath. The answer to what seems to be everybody's universal question for me is "there is not a single sign I would deliver the baby except that he is now in week 39, going to 40, as indicated by the stretched belly."

Everybody here includes strangers who think I walk in a manner that belongs only to labour room. No disengagement of mucus plug. Not even vaginal discharge. The edema has not subsided, either. There is only accumulating cellulite.

So, I walked and walked. Eventually, I ended up in a bookstore, where I got myself two books. Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Mitch Albom's Tuesdays With Morrie. I hope I will be able to save one for the labour room. The ambitious me.

I have pictures from the weekend, but I would like to enjoy my personal masseur's kneads first. Bonne nuit. I will walk more tomorrow.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Groundnuts, Again

My goodness. I was high on groundnuts that I sipped Coke to the last drip and got even higher. The ranting below this post explains it all.

With energy-laden mind and soul, I dreamed of an adventure set in the 50's. There were a mysterious poem lost during a train journey, a pair of white canvas mary janes lost during an expedition in search of the poem, an encounter with a lady in luscious red whose men entourage discreetly passing a scarlet package towards me. I was a chic private investigator. All in sepia glory.

Deep sleep. Awakened only by the Fajr Adhan. It is a sign from God for me to get a good book.

The Groundnuts

When sleep-deprived Kamal retired to bedshire early, I

+ make myself comfortable, with the feet perched high and the back rested on heaps of pillows;
+ compose my thoughts on Chech: Eccentric;
+ hum a feel-good melody for Little C;
+ read parental blogs; and
+ munch a handful of groundnuts, leftover of a recent activity.

After a sinfulicious dinner combo of Nasi Bariani and Sirap Bandung at the newly opened JM Bariani House in Seksyen 9, Bandar Baru Bangi, Kamal suggested a movie date under the comfort of our cosy duvet. It was an animated adventure comedy. While he configured the technical aspects, I prepared the snacks. Groundnuts for both of us. Coke for the husband and lychee juice for me. We never had any problems with movies saved in the computer, but today.

A wisdom agreed universally: eat and be merry. Exactly what we did. Stories were exchanged. Snacks devoured. I talked about my adventure at the clinic, and later, in search of a fancied lunch menu; today's conversation with my mother over the phone, particularly how the abundance of durian back at my parents' place formed an idea to request Pengat Durian from Mak for a weekend indulgence; and how I napped away the late afternoon because I have never felt this haggard throughout the pregnancy. How would week 40 feel like?

He, meanwhile, has been burning midnight oil for two consecutive days in order to complete a project. Somehow, he felt fine. He even managed to play golf with his clients. Before the conversation took place, he surprised me indeed with the suggestion to commit two hours this evening for the aforementioned movie. When I placed a bottle of oil in his palm, he gave me a massage right away. Then, at that very moment, the downloaded film failed to play and he withered. Thus the unusually short story on his side.

Heaps of pillows propped against the aching back prove to be a good alternative to a male masseur. Now, let me wither away with my midnight activities. My mind is infested with groundnuts.

Friday, July 04, 2008

38 Weeks

The weight scale at the clinic I frequented surprised me, the nurse, and the obstetrician who replaced Dr. Khamsiah for today. I lost one kilogram despite appearing big. There I stood right after having two pieces of curry puffs and a carton of chilled chocolate for breakfast, with the remaining of last evening's dinner nicely disguised as the pregnancy bulge, expecting the machine to crash.

The obstetrician did expect me not to add any weight as my estimated due date is nearing. She was concerned though that I lost weight. A question and answer session ensued.

"Were you not eating the six meals per day, dear?"
"I had a slice of cake, topped with a mug of hot chocolate, in between lunch and dinner yesterday, because my husband was around. When I am with a good company, I simply indulge."
"Good for you to not skip a meal. Do tone town the indulgence though. You made me hungry."

I had to laugh at her subtlety. Noted, Dr. Fatimah. Healthier menu next time.

"Oh. Apparently, your weight plummeted because the little champ's weight rocketed. He clearly has the idea when to be in the limelight."

The obstetrician then stated that he is now 3.0 kilogram as compared to 2.7 kilogram last Friday. The right weight. Neither too small nor too big. There, the mystery of the sudden weight loss has been solved.

Meanwhile, it seems like Little C would extend his stay at The Bulge Hotel. The pregnancy term has reached its 38th week and 6th day today, which means it will be 39 weeks tomorrow. By the next appointment, it will be a day shy of being 40 weeks.

My parents-in-law are coming to the Klang Valley tomorrow for a one week stay. Kamal's wish is for Little C to make his debut into this world before the paternal grandparents return to Kelantan. I told Little C to wait until I got my hands on a suitable duvet set for the room where both of us would spend our confinement period. I must choose the right carpet and curtain as well. From my mother's collection, of course. Blame it on nesting instinct.

The pelvic pain has subsided little by little as I now know how to soothe it. It is a call for me to walk, walk, and walk. All to ease Little C's journey through the birth passage.

Bleak House

A bleak Friday morning surprisingly seems like a promise of a vibrant day ahead.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Bags

In the course of three weeks, I have packed a bag for both Little C and I, only to pack two different and smaller bags for each of us, before removing the baby's items from the bag that her grandmother got for him to another that I thought was more suitable with his character, judging from the spirited kicks and punches. I do not know what would happen if he decides to come at week 40 instead of my obstetrician's prediction of an early arrival.

For the time being, I am thinking of packing another bag. For Kamal. I read that a husband usually needs reading items, food, and more importantly, gadgets, to keep him in the labour room. Heh. Seeing how attached he is with the gadgets at his new workstation, I shall at least remind him to bring the laptop to the hospital. Perhaps, I myself could update this page in between contractions. Who knows, it might be an effective pain relief.

For the time being, to distract my system from the pelvic pain, I humoured myself with a Sepi date. With Kamal. That was followed by Fatty Crab. Desserts were durians by the roadside.

Yesterday, my parents joined us at Famosa House for dinner. Too bad I am not in a situation to travel back to Rembau. It is raining durians at the mini orchard. Until the next appointment with the obstetrician, I am looking forward to more dates. Not necessarily with Kamal. Ayue, Fique, and Seh perhaps. Then, there is the possibility of a swimming session with Nana. Humour me do. I walk like a tai chi maestro, so, it is very therapeutic to date me. Or else, I might take seriously the idea of packing for Kamal's items.

List of items to get before Friday:

Herbanika set
Milk collection shells
Indoor footwear
Ponytail holder
Minyak telon

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

When Kamal and I Talk

Emotion seeks beauty.
Intellect seeks truth.
Will seeks goodness.