Tuesday, May 30, 2017

My son, Noah.

After 3 long days being cooped up on the ward, the day we got to meet Seed was finally there!

I remember feeling nervous the night before when midwife came in to remind me that I needed to be nil by mouth (fasting) and gave me the ranitidine (anti acid) tablet. The uncertainties were overwhelming! I told the midwife, if myself, a doctor, working at that very hospital, was feeling that way, imagine other patients. Future mums. Being at the receiving end of NHS couldn't feel weirder.

That Monday morning, I was up early. Not that I could sleep much anyway. Adam came, and I was told to change into the hospital gown and put the TED stockings on (they were horrible!) and make my way to labour ward. Specifically, the operating theatre. Not sure why, I wasn't particularly anxious anymore - Adam instead had this worried look all over his face, haha. The consultant did another scan. Seed was still breech, but wasn't footling anymore. Oh well not that it mattered at that time.

Right before I popped!

After a whole lot of check by the obs gyn and anaesthetist, in I went.

The consultant anaesthetist was amazing. He was too kind - he put lidocaine (local anaesthetic) onto my hand before putting in a grey (largest possible) cannula! Yes, I judge kindness by how unlikely you're going to inflict pain on me, lol.

But no, really, Dr Salter (the cons) was just too sweet - when I said I was an FY1 - he asked which med school I was from, what I wanted to specialise in later (ha!) - and I suddenly felt like an FY1 again, it felt normal. Instead of the "paediatrician parents" the midwife have been referring us to! (so much pressure).

Aaandddd, the spinal kicked in, I was paralysed waist down. Again, another super strange feeling.

Aaaanddd Adam was called in.

Aaannddd less than 10 minutes later, we heard the loud strong cry.

Aaandddd the whole theatre was amazed at how chunky this baby was.

Aaaandddd even more amazed at his actual birth weight - 3.945kg.

Aaaanddd here's our little man, born 15th May 2017, at 1107 via elective caesarean.

My two boys.

I want to remember this look - fresh out of oven, covered with icky gooey stuff from the womb, with blotchy face and newborn rashes.

"Your first breath took mine away."

Meet my son, Noah.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Seed: 39 weeks.

I have to backdate this post as a lot of things happened in the last week but I'm so determined to finish this Seed series until he gets here!

First off, my mum arrived on Thursday at Heathrow, Alhamdulillah!

Man I was huge D:

39 weeks was quite a drama. We had the growth scan on Friday. I was having pretty bad backache and contractions (at least that's what I thought) at the clinic. Midwife did the scan..

And boom. Our world was turned upside down. And Seed took it quite literally.

He was breech! Like literally upright breech! You know when I said I could feel his bum stuck up in my ribs, it was actually his head. And we've been poking that head (haha, sorry buddy) all this while. Quite funny when I think about it.

Not funny for the midwife though. She had this worried look all over her face. Asked me how long have I had the pain, if it was changing, and all that jazz..

Apparently Seed was footling breech. That took breech to another level, ha!

Footling breech is when baby's feet inside the pelvis. Imagine the baby "floating" cross-legged in the tummy, that's how it looks like. Thing about footling breech is, it's the rarest form of breech with highest risk of complication, namely cord prolapse. And cord prolapse is when the umbilical cord gets squashed before baby is born, cutting the blood supply and oxygen to the baby. What happens is that baby's tiny foot pokes through the cervix, creating a vacuum, causing the cord to get "sucked" out as well. We're talking about vaginal delivery here. Which is pretty tricky in footling breech.

So I was hooked up to a CTG machine, and walla, they found some uterine activity, albeit irregular. Cervix was completely closed, so good thing I was not in labour. But since I was already 39w, the safest option was to be admitted. Yes, admitted straight from clinic. Over the weekend. With a semi-elective caesarean section planned on the next Monday.

Woha, did I say caesarean?

Wohaaa, wasn't I dead scared of being induced, and now we're talking caesarean?

So straight to the ward I went. They wouldn't even let me go home for an hour to get my stuff! *cries*

But good thing was.. We got a room to ourselves! By "we" I mean Seed and I, as Adam had to go home by 10pm, sads.

Our own ensuite toilet, which Adam was clearly very excited about.

This room doesn't come cheap though. While my condition didn't warrant me for having a side room, (I was perfectly healthy!) it was given because I work with the NHS. And my husband too. And since we were both (Adam still is) in paediatrics, they call us the paediatricians. HAHAHAHA. Too cute I cannot.

#perksofbeingadoctor #savetheNHS

So yes, I was admitted for 5 days including the operation itself.. It wasn't too bad if I'm honest. I've had nothing bad to say about the service, cewah, but it could be due to the known fact that I'm a doctor at the hospital. Although I'm sure the standard of care wouldn't vary that much. Maybe no side room, but hey, if someone else needed it for clinical reasons, I'm sure I would be evicted too. #patientsafety 

Next up, we finally get to meet Seed!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Seed: 38 weeks.

38 weeks in one word: Painful.

It's not uncomfortable anymore - it's getting to a point where it's painful. Literally, pain. Every now and then I try to remind myself that someone, somewhere out there, is praying to have what I'm having now, a growing healthy baby cooking up nicely. A textbook pregnancy - says the midwife.

But I can't deny that it's not all rainbows and roses. I said it before, pregnancy is a whole new level of normal. And this, is a whole new level of pain.

Rainbow sans roses on our recent trip to Milton Keynes

And I'm only talking about irregular, pre-labour (if it's even that?!?) contraction kind of pain. And backache. Not even the 3:10 contraction when you're officially in labour. Not even the real deal. Who am I to talk about pain again?

Remember when I said I was feeling heavy pressure in my pelvis and crampy period-pain like backache when I made the trip to Nottingham and Leicester last time? I genuinely, hopefully thought that would be the start of things. How naive I was. The pain, they're staying, yes, but not actually starting anything.

As I'm typing this, my tummy is rock hard, Seed's squirming around against the confined space that already is. I have to lean back to make some space for those tiny little legs and arms to flail around, otherwise I'll get a jammed foot somewhere underneath my ribs.

My back hurts. And you're talking about someone who lives on monthly ibuprofen for period pain. Yes, I do get really bad period cramps and backache, up to the point I could be paralysed by them. But this, is a whole new level of backache. And ibuprofen is a no-no in pregnancy. Paracetamol? We can all laugh now, thank you very much.

Pain is worse in the evening and at night. That's when I wake up and look at Adam fast asleep wondering if it's worth waking him up for I'm-not-sure-what. I mean, I know I'm not in labour. And he can't really do anything. But the pain.. Maybe it's worth waking someone up for?

(I never did, though).

Salute to mums of 5. (Heck, even mums of 2. Or 1. ALL mums).

On the bright side, (there's always a bright side, you just have to look for it and acknowledge it!), 1st May has come and gone, so my OCD can now chill. It doesn't matter much when Seed's going to come out now, apart from the pain of course. I've accepted that he can stay as long as he likes, although please please I sure hope induction is not going to be part of it!

We've got a midwife appointment tomorrow, and although I doubt it's going to change anything, maybe it'll bring some good news! Oh well, here's to wishing.

Update on Friday 5/5/2017, post midwife appointment.

Apparently my bump is now measuring at 90th centile, when previously it's been consistent at 50th centile. It's a really steep jump from being average to being, umm, massive. (Midwife didn't say that, I did). So we're booked in for a growth scan next week, in which I really do hope that by then Seed would've already been here. Again, here's to wishing.

Also, we've been told that Seed might just be occipital-posterior (OP), which means that his back is against my back (back-to-back baby). Again, previously his back has always been on my right side, I could almost always feel the smooth curvature of his spine there. While most back-to-back babies rotate spontaneously to occipital-anterior (OA) position while in labour, some just won't. And they can take longer to be delivered, and more painful too. Ouch.

Tell-tale signs are quite obvious in my case. I suspect he turned some time around last week, as I started having this backache at that time. OP babies can cause more backache than others as their back/spine, which is the heaviest part of their body, put in a significant pressure on mums' back. I could also feel wiggly movements just above my pubic bone, which might just mean that his hands/fingers are facing forward (baby's thumb-sucking!). The other thing is a dip/flattened shape of the tummy around the belly-button. Yup, definitely there.

While these news are not the most exciting to some, they definitely give me something to think about. 90th centile could mean anything from baby's just packing up fat at the very last minute to polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid) for whatever reason. Or maybe baby's positioning at time of measurement was slightly off resulting in weird numbers, who knows. But now the possibility of induction is there.

And being back-to-back.. (I prefer sunny side up, btw!). I have to start thinking about optimal foetal positioning (OFP) more seriously now. Basically it's the movements/postures that can encourage babies to turn/rotate to OA before labour. Not sure if there's any scientific evidence behind this, but there's no harm in trying, I suppose.

Anyways, I'm thankful that my midwife picked these up, so I can at least (sort of) prepare for it. Even more thankful that Adam was there for the appointment (he couldn't always be, talk about marrying a doctor). Not that he had a lot to say, but it's nice to have him around. I mean, who would've thought we're getting a growth scan at the very end of this pregnancy? And the fear of labour and induction.. That just magnified to another level.

This pregnancy is (literally) taking a whole new turn.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Seed: 36-37 weeks.

Let's be completely honest. Me at 36 weeks.. Was totally unproductive. So ironic considering my previous post is about increasing productivity, hey?

I've only managed to pack the 'baby' aspect of hospital bag. In which I once made a point to blog about, but now am totally exhausted (and not bothered) to unpack everything, lay them out nicely and take a picture of each and every one of them. I really should, though. One for the memory, and two, for future me. Did I over or under-pack? God only knows until I actually write them down here or somewhere. Well I guess baby number two will have to make do then. (Baby number two already??!?)

If there's one thing that's worth shouting about, it's my recent trip to Nottingham all by myself (and Seed, obviously) on the bus and train. Nadd was in Nottingham for a short while, so I thought maybe I should make a quick trip there and see her, stopping by at Leicester to 'pick' Lin up. You see, Northampton and Nottingham, although they share deceivingly similar name and look deceivingly near (they quite are, actually), the public transport says otherwise. 

Nottingham is directly up north of Northampton, after Leicester. If I were to take the train all the way, I'd have to change at Birmingham, which is more towards the west, and the journey alone is about just under 3 hours. The quickest/easiest way is to take the bus from Northampton to Leicester, then hop on the train from Leicester to Nottingham.

With a nearly 37w bump with me.


Grasmere reunited!

It was a successful trip though, Alhamdulillah! Although I did wake up aching all over, and the pressure in my pelvis felt heavier than ever. Could it be the walking encouraging labour? Baby descending down, engaging already? I don't know. But now that we're full term (yay Alhamdulillah!) I cannot wait to have him out. Well, I want him out when he's ready and healthy, obviously, but Seed, can we make it on 1st May, please? Nothing fancy, just because both your mum and dad were born on 1st of the month, and mum is a bit of an OCD, and by 1st May you're nearly 38 weeks so we should be okay. Deal?

#psychomum

Well at 37 weeks I also made another bus trip up to Leicester, just 2 days after the initial one! (You can tell I'm pretty desperate to get things going at this point). Adam had a whole-day course in Derby but I didn't think I'd manage spending 8 hours on my own lugging a 10kg bump around doing nothing. At the same time I wanted to meet him somewhere for a nice meal. So we settled for Leicester, instead. Actually the whole day I was having pretty bad back pain and cramps, almost like a period pain. I was so convinced that things were finally starting.. When.. Nope. As of today I'm still very pregnant.


We had a very nice fulfilling meal at Karamay Chinese Restaurant. Highly recommended when you're in Leicester. Not your typical eatery - you can find plenty of steakhouses or Indian/Asian food around, but this, is completely different. It's on London Road, if anyone's interested. 


And then we met Lin again for an unfinished business. Talk about overly-attached housemate, hmm.

So that's it, the story of my super unproductive life for the past 2 weeks, apart from riding buses and trains. So far there's no signs of labour just yet, I'm guessing Seed's just getting too comfy in there..

#thismumneedstochill

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Increasing productivity.

Staying at home with no fixed routine.. It's really easy to lose track of what I did/have been doing the whole day. By the time Adam comes home from work he usually asks, so what have you been up to?

Most answers will usually begin with, hmm.. think!

I have to, since then, find a way to keep track of things - be it what I want to do, or what I should do. So I came up with this.


My own personal planner/organiser.

Inspired by bullet journaling, except that I still can't seem to get my head around the concept. Given that I'm partially OCD to things, I like to have a bit of structure with my planner. Not so carefree, after all. So I came up with a layout that I thought suits me best for now. You can see on the right side things are still a little bit all over the place - I'm working on how best to tackle it. But the main focus is on the weekly spread/layout.

Note that tasks are not arranged in order of importance or time of the day. Also, I just have to break down tasks into small chunks, especially when it comes to daunting things. In my case it's always the laundry. So to make it less painful, I often break laundry to 3 things - angkat, lipat, kemas.

You can argue that they all fall into the same chore of laundry, but since I really dread doing them, I often take my own time with it. (Sometimes, too much time). Often I angkat dried clothes and dump them on the ironing board next to drying rack and leave them overnight. Or I lipat them, and leave them on the bed, alternating between bed and chair, before I finally simpan them nicely into the clothes drawer. Now that's the whole of laundry done.

Another thing that I find really useful is this little tracker.


This tracker is specific for my spiritual daily habits. Before I went on maternity leave, I was so determined to up my iman game. Work got in the way all these while and I just couldn't seem to adjust these into my daily life. So this weekly tracker helps me to get back on track.

If anything, a tick alone is enough to become my motivation. For example, I've been feeling so sluggish after asr prayer that I just wanted to skip mathurat pm altogether. But comes maghrib, my mind starts to ponder.. If I sit another 5-7 minutes longer after prayer for mathurat.. I can get another tick.

Hopefully I'll get to a point where it becomes a habit, rather than merely a tick..

Anyways, this is one of the things that I do to increase my productivity, and so far it works brilliantly. I'm continuously trying to improve the layout, probably add another few things to it. But feel free to tweak things/add different kinds of tracker, e.g. healthy eating, less spending, exercise, whatever works for you!

And oh, I learnt the hard way - it doesn't have to be pretty to work. My OCD level is quite annoying in a sense that I won't do/write/plan things if it's not pretty. So I decided to go simple with black pen and a blank book. And like I said, it works. :)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Seed: 35 weeks.

This week's been pretty odd, I have to say. It's an alternate between fasting and non-fasting days. I know, I know. I haven't actually finished my ganti puasa just yet. (Head hung down). I have a few days left and am so determined to finish it before giving birth, because there'll be another 30 days of fasting awaits once Seed pops out. He's due just before Ramadhan, so I'm pretty sure that's the whole month of no-fast for me (nifas, or lochia as they say here, gross, sorry). (Btw no-fast, nifas, geddit geddit?). Anyways, a little bit about fasting at the end of pregnancy.

I don't think it's entirely recommended, but I can imagine if you're actually pregnant in Ramadhan itself, you wouldn't want to just skip them altogether. There's no right or wrong to it, everyone's different. But here's what I've been doing.

1. Fast on alternate days. Maghrib here is now around 8pm, and fajr around 4am, therefore not much time to gulp down that 2 litres of water overnight. And even if I manage to, that means no sleep at all as I'll be on a conveyor belt between the bed and bathroom. So fasting on alternate days give me time to recover my fluid intake.

2. Keep an eye on baby's movement. This is key. I learnt it the hard way when I was dehydrated while working and had reduced foetal movement (baby not moving much). This time while fasting, although I don't feel particularly tired or hungry, I'm always alert whenever Seed moves. I even talk to him, reassuring him that we only have however-many-hours left to go. Baby pep-talk, anyone?

3. Sahur. Self-explanatory. Drink plenty of water. If you missed sahur, I honestly feel it might be safest to just skip fasting on that day.

4. Or just ganti puasa awal-awal. Take it from me. I had the chance to do it in winter time when maghrib is at 4pm but I was working like mad so didn't quite feel like it. Looking back, I really have should.

Anyways, on to baby things now. I managed to sort quite a few bits out. Productivity is catching up!


The view before. I always joked that we could've set up a baby garage sale in the living room.


Managed to do some laundry of these tiny things. Still quite a few left, but I think if Seed comes out tomorrow (please don't!) we're good to go.

Wait, we haven't bought nappies yet (!!).


Tiny socks for tiny feet. Adam thought my socks are annoying enough (I have 5 pairs of identical grey socks), so when he was hanging these up.. My heart goes out to him.


Even managed to sort out a little corner for Seed!

Here's the tricky thing about preparing for this little one's arrival. We're going home for good in around August, inshaAllah. (I'll go into that some other day.) So we want to really limit on things to buy, given that we then would have to think about shipping later. I'm desperate to focus on necessities - what babies really need, but at the same time I'm trying to be well-prepared too. It is hard. For example, how would you know if you're gonna need that breast pump later? What if baby latches perfectly fine so we won't be needing it at all? And pumping means bottles. Do we buy them now, or should we wait? Hint: we didn't wait.

Another thing worth mentioning is that, most of Seed's stuff are second-hand. Being thrifty is one thing, but for the most part, I don't see why babies need brand new things (especially clothes) since they grow up so fast. This is, of course, each to their own. If you have the capacity for it, by all means. We, on the other hands, are rather tight on space, mainly. We can afford them if we want, Alhamdulillah, but we'd rather save up, especially given that we're going home soon, and that means no income for a while until we figure something out.

So most of the clothes that you see are all second-hands, bought from Gumtree, at a total cost of £15. I appreciate some would disagree, what more with this as our first-born and we're both earning pretty good amount, so why not just splurge a little bit. It's more of a personal choice, really.


The real challenge is not resisting to buy new, but how to make do with what we already have. So here's part of the solution - little boxes! There's absolutely no point in buying new rack or wardrobe, so I figure these shoe and Amazon boxes work pretty neat. 

So.. The boxes you see on the shelves.. Yup, they're practically Seed's wardrobe. Not sure how long they'll stay organised in this way, but I do hope at least until August!

Also the highlight of this week..

We had an adorable little surprise in the mail!


This came while Adam was at work. Since it's addressed to S. Adam, I thought I'd let Adam open it (his name is vaguely there, how mysterious). Apparently he was just as clueless as I was. 


But then.. Mystery solved! This came from Nadd. And the "S" stands for Seed.


Well this thing is just too cute. You know how we always say "I don't want to adult anymore"? This is just the thing for tiny humans.

I call it the "How to Baby" guide book.


Look at that. The one on the left? Thanks Nadd, I foresee myself watching/rehearsing word by word of whatever cartoon there is in future.

So yes, I still have plenty to go through - haven't washed the towels and beddings just yet. And I need to think of what to put into the hospital bags. But I'm already pleased with this week's achievement so I'm just going to put my feet up a bit and chill!

Also, it might be worth saying this now as a reminder for future me - one whole week into maternity leave, and it already feels AWESOME. Adam comes home to nicely cooked food every time, his clothes laundered and ironed.. It's a satisfaction on its own. I mean, is this what the stay-at-home-mums feel? Pretty awesome I'd say.