Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Making Purple Sweet Potato Bread

A couple weeks ago, I was supposed to observe a strict one month post-natal confinement period but my parents and I are very open-minded about the Chinese Confinement practice post baby delivery so the three of us are generally quite relax about practising it. This time around, my #1 motto when going through confinement period is to make it as a stress free experience as much as possible so I didn't sweat much about observing all the taboos during confinement. My Mom mostly just warned me to watch the food that I put into my mouth I because I am breastfeeding and I should stay at home because Baby # 3 is too young and fragile to go out. I was technically confined at home because Baby #3 is not supposed to leave the house just yet.

One late afternoon, I was chilling in front of TV with my parents in the living room downstairs. My Mom suddenly popped a question, "Where is the machine that you use for making bread? Still can use or not?" "Somewhere in the kitchen cabinet. Shelved it because I had not been using it for a loooong time." "Why not you make some bread for your Dad. Use the purple sweet potatoes in the kitchen. I bought too many of them from the market few days ago." I said, "OK."

I went straight to the kitchen and took my dusty bread maker out from its year long hibernation. I cleaned my bread maker then started peeling the sweet potatoes and preparing other ingredients for the bread. Luckily, I still have a packet of bread flour, unopened and expiring end of this month - so I have more reason to make use of it.

Freshly baked fluffy bread for you, Mom and Dad.

Here's the recipe that I used to make my sweet potato bread using the bread maker.

Purple Sweet Potato Bread

Ingredients:

100gr (Purple) Sweet Potato, boiled/steamed then mashed
65ml Fresh milk (lukewarm temperature)
1 Egg, lightly beaten
250gr Bread flour
15gr Unsalted butter, at room temperature
30-40gr Sugar
2gr Salt
5gr Yeast

Fresh from the oven, using my new loaf tin. 

Tutorial:
  1. As per the general bread maker function: Place fresh milk, mashed sweet potato, beaten egg, sugar and salt first in the bread maker.
  2. Pour the bread flour then make a small hole in the flour.
  3. Put the yeast in the flour hole (make sure the yeast is not in contact with the liquid ingredients before kneading).
  4. Turn your bread machine on (I use the basic program).
  5. Once the machine starts kneading and all ingredients now have form a dough, put the butter in.
  6. Add more flour to the dough if needed. If the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour until the dough is elastic.
  7. Let your machine do the rest until the bread is completely baked. 
  8. If you plan to form a different shape for the bread and bake the bread in the oven, take the dough out from the machine after the 2nd kneading then shape the dough by hands. Let the shaped dough in the tin proof one more time (30-45 mins or so) and bake it in a preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

A lot of my friends wondered how I managed to bake bread two weeks after I delivered Baby #3. I was probably like a new mother on steroid. Truth is, that time I just woke up from my second or third nap of the day and my Mom took care of my food, Naomi and the house so when Baby #3 napped, I had some free time to bake a bread if I chose not to sleep or play with my phone.

Lastly, just like other home-made bread baked without any preservatives, better consume this bread within 2-3 days upon baking.

Monday, June 20, 2016

My Life with Two Kids

It's been almost 4 weeks since Baby #3 entered our lives. I planned to blog a lot of things about my life with Baby #3 around. However, catching up with my much needed sleep during the day is my top priority after tending Baby #3 at the moment hence the procrastination on jotting down all the thoughts in my head into writing and the lack of updates on this blog.

#tbt: 21 days old baby.

After Baby #3 and I were discharged from the hospital, basically I took the role as the main care taker of Baby #3. My husband acted as my confinement nanny for a week then my Mom took over this responsibility for the next two weeks. I am, however, still predominantly the one who takes care of Baby #3 every day since his day 1 at home.

At present, my daily routines with Baby #3 revolves around nursing the baby about every two hours day and night, acting as a human pacifier, burping the baby, wiping poo poo and changing nappy several times in a day, bathing a newborn who despises bath time once a day (I bathed him myself since we got home yo!), rocking a fussy baby and helping him to fall asleep. Oh yeah, in between, I also try to feed myself three heavy meals a day, catch up with sleep when the baby naps, take a shower and do the usual house chores like washing dishes, doing laundry, vacuuming the floor, etc.

When my parents were here, my Mom and Dad helped me care baby #3 when needed so I could sleep or nap more and didn't have to do much house chores either. Now that they have gone back to Indonesia, it's mostly just me and baby #3 during the day. My husband has resumed work as normal while Naomi is normally in day care on weekdays. As Naomi is on MC now, she stays at MIL's house during the day because I am honestly not in the position to take care of one toddler and a newborn all by myself just yet.

Happening much?

Of late, I feel like I am so old already. I get tired and easily irritated over small things. This time around, the sleep deprivation from caring a newborn round the clock is so real and really depressing at times. Eight hours of sleep is now a thing from the past. Just when I am about to drift off to sleep for the 5th time at night, my tiny human alarm rings at max volume because he is hungry or his diaper is wet.

My challenge at the moment is that Naomi has been suffering from nagging cough for weeks and she has a runny nose too. She has skipped school for almost two weeks and when Naomi is not feeling well, she throws a lot of tantrums and turns herself into a very demanding toddler. Given this situation, Baby #3 and I have to sleep in the guest room at night so he doesn't catch the virus from his sister. This also means that I have to work the graveyard shift totally alone tending a baby who loves to party in the wee hours. Usually, my husband would help me if I could not peel myself from bed to attend our crying baby at an ungodly hour. Yet, lately I try my best not to wake my husband in the wee hours on weekdays because he has to wake up early for work and he also experiences broken sleep when Naomi is not feeling well. Technically, both of us are sleep deprived but I guess my case is more severe.

25 days old fatty in Muar.

Talking about sleeping in different room.. Seemingly it didn't really work in preventing the virus spread between the siblings because Baby #3 has officially contracted Naomi's virus as of last Saturday night. I brought him to see Paediatrician this afternoon because he is so pitiful and cries a lot. Due to his runny nose and cough, he wakes up almost every hour or less (and so do I), his breathing is so loud and noisy and he is practically not a happy baby since he fell sick. Baby #3 is not even one month old yet but he was already nebulized at the clinic today.

While I thought that Naomi is much better and finally ready for school again, she had trouble sleeping last night. She woke up almost every hour, whining and almost crying while mumbling "Ouch, ouch, ouch". She tossed and turned a lot when sleeping but when I asked her which part of her body is painful or whether she wanted to go to the loo to pass urine, she kept quiet. This morning I learned that she had fever.. and she must have had body aches hence the sleep problem and relentless "Ouch, ouch, ouch" saying.

My conclusion is the stress of having sick kids is so overwhelming. The whole experience is really draining me and this period really attests the notion that Mommy's job is 24/7 with VERY LITTLE rests even though the husband is around. There are days when I am at my wit's end dealing with my ill young children. For God's sake, nothing is more torturing than having one child just falls asleep and the other one wakes up and each of them alternately keeps you awake every frigging hour at night - and this can happen for few nights in a row! I am just praying that I stay sane and don't fall sick too because I cannot afford to lose my mind nor fall sick right now. #truestory

Get well soon, kiddos. I can't wait to see you both happy and healthy again. Your Mommy here desperately needs a much deserved sleep... 3 or 4 hours undisturbed sleep is already good enough for me now. Not joking.

P/S: Drafting this not-so-long post took me 3 days. I hope I can find more time to update my blog more regularly in the near future. 

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/health-family/moms/moms-columns-blogs/article9110537.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Arrival of Baby #3

Hi all.. As per the obvious title of this blog post, I am overjoyed to announce that the bun I was baking is now out of the oven!

Baby #3 has arrived safely into this world last week and we are excited with this new addition to the family.

Both my husband and I have been very busy and worn out at times trying to adjust our new routines with a toddler and a newborn at home hence the late sharing of Baby #3's birth story. Anyway, I sacrificed my nap opportunities to type this and here's the birth story of Baby #3. =)

Week 35 - Week 38

During my 35th week's antenatal visit, my gynae began discussing my birth plan, including my ideas for labour pains management. By then, I had started seeing her on weekly basis. Little did I know that my gynae had actually scheduled my antenatal blood and HVS tests way earlier than what she did with my first pregnancy as she planned to induce my labour when I entered my 38th week of pregnancy. Reason being is because I had a stillborn record (it's better to have baby #3 out once the baby has matured) and my gynae didn't want to see me having troubles pushing out a big baby as I didn't gain much during this pregnancy but the baby did.

Last bump picture taken:  37 weeks.

On the first week of this month, my gynae broke the news to my husband and me that she would like to induce my labour by end of May if my labour had not started naturally by then. Baby #3's head had dropped to my pelvis by Week 35 and my gynae declared the baby's head was 'fully engaged' by Week 36. From Week 36 onwards, I started experiencing on and off tightening and pre-labour contraction pains every single day. We all thought that these were the strong symptoms that natural labour was imminent thus induction may not be required.

Week 38: D-Day Minus 4

Something cropped up the weekend before my scheduled baby delivery week and my husband and I had to dramatically alter our game plans for Baby #3's delivery and confinement last minute. Because of this matter, I had to carefully schedule baby #3's delivery's time so I could be in labour during the day instead of evening or night. Else, I'd be in labour in the hospital sans husband as my husband needed to be at home with Naomi after 6pm. Also, he would have to take leave from work for at least a week until my parents arrived to Malaysia to single-handedly take up the role as my confinement nanny/helper.

Week 38: D-Day Minus 1

At Week 38, I still didn't have any bloody show, my water bag was not broken and the pre-labour contractions were still irregular. As such, on my 38th week's antenatal visit, my gynae asked both husband and me when exactly we would like to check into the labour room. My gynae explained that if my cervix had already dilated before the induction process started and the medicine worked on me, I could deliver Baby #3 within 6 hours.

Given the above circumstances, the three of us concurred to have me check into the labour room first thing in the morning on the next day.

When I got home, I got a bit nervous and anxious about what's going to happen on the next day. I looked forward to have Baby #3 in my arms but at the same time, was pretty scared of the labour pains. I could not sleep well that night.

Week 38: The D-Day

6am: I woke up super early to a rainy Tuesday morning. I could not stop thinking of the busy day ahead of me e.g. labour induction, labour pains, baby delivery, hospital stay, husband attending Naomi alone and many more. I had light breakfast alone while my husband and Naomi were sleeping soundly upstairs.

7am: I tried to get back to sleep again but it was too late. I had to get ready to the hospital as we were supposed to check into the labour room by 8am.

8am: We dropped Naomi to her school/day care then immediately rocked our way to the hospital. Once there, we quickly registered my name. My labour suite was already booked the day before.

8.30am: We entered the familiar labour room area and checked in. I was offered Labour Room 2 but the room was too cramped so I requested Labour Room 1 which is a corner room that we used to deliver Naomi back in 2012. The nurses in the labour room asked me to get changed and put the CTG belt on my belly to monitor Baby #3's heart rate and my contractions.

#wefie with my pregnant belly.

9am: Nurses said that the baby's heart rate was good but my contractions were deemed irregular. I asked if I could eat breakfast one more time because I got hungry again but the nurses said I better wait for the gynae first.  My gynae would decide if I could eat before labour or not.

My CTG reading, hours before Baby #3's birth.

10am: My gynae finally arrived to the labour room to check my cervix dilation. To our surprise, I was not dilated at all. If I was not dilated, my gynae could not induce my labour using Pitocin drip like she had originally planned. Instead, she would have to start my contractions by ripening/softening my cervix with a pill inserted to my lady bits just like what she did when she delivered Dylan two years ago. Normally, this pill will only take effect (helps cervix to reach 1cm dilation) after 6-8 hours. She asked my husband and I if we're okay with this option. Otherwise, we could go home and wait for labour to come naturally. She remarked, however, that she would not do so if she were me. I told her to go ahead with her plan B since I was already lying on the hospital bed and mentally prepared to have the labour this very day.

10.05am: The pill to ripen my cervix was inserted down south and I was asked to lie down for 30 minutes so it didn't come out. My gynae said she would check back my dilation at 4pm.

10.20am: I ordered my husband to go to the hospital's cafeteria downstairs to buy me a packet of Nasi Lemak because the hungry pregnant lady was ravenous. When he was gone to buy my food, I started to feel mild contraction pains, almost like menstrual pains. I thought this could not be real. The last time I was given this pill, the mild contractions only started some 5-6 hours after it was inserted to my lady bits.

11am: I ate my Nasi Lemak brunch while succumbing the contractions pains that got stronger by the minute but were still bearable.

Possibly the best Nasi Lemak I have ever had.

11.50am: My husband asked me if he could leave me alone in the hospital for a while so he could have lunch. I said, "Of course."

12.20pm: Lunch was served. Nurse asked me to eat some food because I would need a lot of energy later. I only managed to eat half of the food, although I would love to finish the whole thing, simply because the contraction pains had officially kicked in.

#selfie attempt in between contractions.

12.45pm: My contractions had become more regular and painful. My husband still had not come back from lunch and I was moaning alone in the labour room. The on duty nurses who heard my moans checked on me several times and asked me not to moan so loudly because moaning wasted my energy. I better kept my energy for pushing the baby later.

1.00pm: The contraction pains had gone to a whole different level now. One nurse checked my dilation and declared I was 1cm dilated already. The pill worked so fast this time around! I asked the nurses to call my husband to come back to the hospital but was informed that the man was not contactable.

1.20pm: The contractions had gotten stronger, longer and closer together. No words could describe the immense contractions pains that came from both my back and uterus so frequently. My husband was still nowhere in sight. I kept squeezing a nurse's arms whenever the painful contractions hit me. I begged for epidural but was advised that it could only be administered once I reached 3-4cm dilation. At one point, I murmured "I want to die now..".

1.25pm: I was offered with entonox and pethidine. Both nurses convinced me that pethidine should help me with the contraction pains and speed up labour too. I shared with to her that the last time I had pethidine, Dylan came out within 1 hour. She assured me that it was a different case because Dylan was such a small baby. Desperate, I made the executive decision all by myself and agreed to pethidine. Nurses also notified me that I was already in the early phase of labour and had begun experiencing three contractions in 10 minutes by now. Good progress.

1.30pm: Pethidine shot was administered to my right buttock, followed by anti-vomit jab on my left hand. The contraction pains still didn't subside. The other nurse whose arm I squeezed with all my might several times until it got all red highly recommended me to take entonox as well so I could relax and handle the labour pains better. I gave up squeezing her arm and grabbed the gas handed to me.

2pm: Pethidine had taken effect. It made me drowsy at times but was not strong enough to make me sleep because the contraction pains had elevated from worse to worst. Every time the wave of contractions hit me, I quickly breathed in entonox like a man stranded in Mars gasping for O2. Pethidine and entonox combo felt so good and this analgesic happy meal made me hallucinating how all these pains would end very soon... My throat had become very dry from the non-stop vigorous breathing I did to go through active labour phase.

2.25pm: I began to feel the urge to push and confirmed to myself that it was the real deal. I was not hallucinating anymore. My husband had still not come back yet. I naively thought he could not hear his phone ringing because he was in a busy wet market buying chicken and gingers for my confinement food. When the urge to push came again, I frantically inhaled and exhaled the entonox once more while trying to locate and press the nurse call button that was dangling somewhere near my head.

2.30pm: A nurse came over. I muttered, "Push". She checked my cervix and announced that I was 8cm dilated. Somehow, after she did the cervix check, my water broke. She ran outside the room to call my gynae.

2.32pm: The same nurse came to the room to prepare the baby delivery stuff at lightning speed while making me aware that my husband was still uncontactable. Where on earth could he be at this time, at this hour? I told her to get my phone from my bag. I didn't know how I did it but amidst the excruciating pains from holding the urge to push the baby out and being half in and half out of this world due to the laughing gas, I managed to send two SMSes to my husband. "8cm." "Come now." I sent those two messages without harbouring any hope that he would see them, knowing that he had not been contactable for the past 3 hours.

2.35pm: My gynae walked in. I was already in a crazy state by the time my gynae was prepping herself for delivering Baby #3. I was in so much pain that I screamed a lot of things and knocked the entonox's mouthpiece to the metal guard of my bed several times to signal the people in the room that the pain I felt at that point of time was not to be taken lightly. Seconds later, I recognized a male figure coming behind my gynae. At last, I saw my husband in the labour room again! He arrived just in time to witness his baby's arrival. Where was he when I was in my active labour? This was certainly a mystery greater than World's Top Ten Unsolved Mysteries that I very much would like to solve right after I delivered the baby.

2.42pm: After few agonizing pushes and endless encouraging words from my gynae, nurses and husband, Baby #3 was born. Baby #3 is a BOY! He was kicking and crying so loudly when he was placed on my arms. My husband had the honour of cutting his son's umbilical cord. I was relief that Baby #3 was finally out but I was not in euphoria as yet because I still had to practice more breathing techniques and inhale more entonox when I realized that my gynae had performed episiotomy and was busy stitching me up after she delivered my placenta. I still vividly remember how she administered the numbing jab down there then I screamed "OUCH!" when she gave that shot. I also witnessed how she pulled a long thread when she was doing the stitches. Once my gynae was done with the stitches and pushing my piles back in, my misery in the past 4-5 hours eventually came to a merciful end.

2.45pm: Baby #3 passed urine when I was holding him so a nurse took the baby over from me then transferred him to the nursery for further check-up.

Baby #3 is here, weighing nearly 3.3kg at birth!

2.50pm: A nurse cleaned me up while telling me to lie down for at least an hour or until my room was ready. While waiting for the nurse to clean me, using the last ounce of energy left, I casually asked my husband of his whereabouts when I was in labour earlier. He sheepishly admitted to me that he went home for lunch then fell asleep. He genuinely thought my labour would take a long time and only start at around 4pm or so. OH WELL. #likethatalsocan After this, I just remember falling asleep several times while waiting for the nurse to send me to my ward because I was just terribly exhausted and likely the effect of pethidine was still around.

Hi there, my Rainbow Baby!

So.. This is the story of how Baby #3 made his entrance to this world. I am so thankful that Baby #3 came out perfect and he actually kept the intense labour short for me. He was delivered in just under 5 hours! I still remember the voices in my head kept on uttering "God is good. God is good." when I pushed the baby out and learnt that he was born during the day just like what I had wished for - which meant my husband could still go home to get Naomi from daycare and take care of her at night. I didn't have to be in labour alone at night.

Happy birthday, little man.

"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him."
1 Samuel 1:27

Finally, my husband has been a terrific confinement nanny thus far. I must give him tons of credits for being so caring and helpful since I gave birth to our son. He cooks my confinement food from scratch, delivers my food to the bed room three times a day, cuts fruits for me every day, cleans the house, takes care of Naomi, does the laundry and dishes, etc. I am glad that he could be with us during this hectic period. It was hard for us to do the DIY confinement on our own for the first few days but overall, things did get better as days go by.

Someone is very happy with her promotion.

P/S: Read my pregnancy journal with Baby #3 here.