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?


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..


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.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Seed: 34 weeks.

Hitting 34 weeks feels like taking this pregnancy to a whole new level. No joke.


Look. At. That. Bump. Smile.

If I'm honest there were times when I doubted myself if I really could do it - doctoring while being heavily pregnant. The tiredness, the stress, the lack of sleep.. Everything! I even wondered what would happen if I took the last 2 days off because I was in so much discomfort over the weekend that by Monday I was just exhausted.

But I made it through, Alhamdulillah!

Speaking of the weekend, here's what happened. Braxton Hicks. Yes, Braxton Hicks was what happened. I've had them before, so it's not like I didn't know what was coming. But over the weekend they were so strong and frequent and lasted for what felt like hours! My bump could go rock solid for a very long time, that sometimes I found myself doing the deep slow breathing just to ease it off. 

Btw Braxton Hicks are false contractions in preparation for the actual labour. They're often irregular without any pattern. Not particularly painful, but CAN be very very, very, uncomfortable.

I rang the midwife on Monday just to check if what I had was normal - first pregnancy, not a clue. She advised that it did sound like my tummy was just practicing for the actual day, so nothing to be worried about. And Seed's been moving fine too, not that I'm overly worried anyway. I think I was just so exhausted from the discomfort, more than anything. It's easing off now, thank God.

Speaking of Seed, we can often feel his feet sticking out just under my ribs a lot of the times. It's pretty funny because I like to poke them and he would then kick back in annoyance (I imagine). Haha.

Adam and I also went to an antenatal class aimed for first time parents last week. Free on NHS, so why not. 

And the class was.. Okay. I was hoping for more practical advice, like real-life solution for things. But it was a lot of medical facts, e.g. stages of labour, pain relief ladder.. Most of them I already knew. I guess it'd be more useful for laypersons, not quite for those who are well-acquainted with hospital and medical stuff.

I am now sitting in bed typing this while thinking of the amount of chores to tackle while I'm off. It's very tempting to think that I've got all the time in the world to do them, but so far my only achievement are cooking lunch and doing one load of laundry.

Hoping for a more productive me soon. Phew.