Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Shed Me Some Light

I brought Naomi to see her regular paediatrician this late afternoon because she needed a followed up check for her phlegm issue in her lungs. Thank God, she is much better than last week now. Last week, Naomi had to be nebulized for the first time to clear the massive phlegm in her lungs due to prolonged phlegmy coughs.

I told Naomi’s doc that we are going to Cameron Highland this weekend and he asked me which hotel we are staying. I answered, we are staying in an apartment but I don't know which one. He then commented that now is a good time to go to Cameron Highland because it’s not holiday season, bla bla bla. This paediatrician is a nice middle-aged uncle and Naomi has been seeing him in the past 2 years or so.

Since our visit was near to his clinic’s closing time and I noticed he had less or almost none patients after Naomi, I casually asked him other things.

"Doc, can I ask you something?" "Yes." "I actually gave birth to a stillborn last year. Can you enlighten me if that was because of me or what I ate during pregnancy, etc. I just don't want this to happen again." After he learnt this, he asked me how far the pregnancy back then, what the cause was, which hospital I delivered the baby, whether my husband and I carried any post-mortem investigation to the deceased baby, etc.

Once he got clearer picture of what happened to me and Dylan, he illuminated that statistically speaking, 1 out of 10 babies (during pregnancy) dies in the womb or has to be terminated due to many issues. Foetal death is a sad thing but unfortunately quite common.

Moving on, he explained that stillborn usually is not because there's something wrong with the mother nor what she ate that made the baby passed away, especially if the cause of death was umbilical cord related. He then took a blank white paper from his drawer and drew the picture of a uterus, baby, and placenta and how umbilical cord actually looks like in a uterus on that paper. Using this illustration, he told me that baby movements are the ones that cause umbilical cord issues and tangled umbilical cord cannot be prevented. There’s almost literally nothing we could do to prevent tangled cord to happen. Nonetheless, he thought Dylan's tight knot on his umbilical cord (that entirely cut his blood and food supply off from my placenta) was a rare unfortunate case.

After this brief explanation, this doctor told me to get past of my gone baby (re: Dylan) and try to get another baby soon. Further, he stated that usually babies who die in the womb are the results of them having some problems that led them not being able to go through the so-called “Nature Selection” process. It’s like the way Nature's implies that these babies are abnormal or will not live healthily later on. Often, babies who have some kind of abnormalities miscarry or die in utero. 

Not too satisfied with this answer, I questioned him. “How come my gynae never spotted anything wrong during my prenatal scans?” He replied, “Sometimes ultrasound scan can scan the baby’s face and so on very clearly but cannot detect certain abnormalities.”

Before I ended our visit, I shared with him that my efforts to be pregnant again so far have not been successful. He responded, "Just be happy and who knows after your Cameron Highland trip, you get pregnant again". I laughed. "I don’t know. There had been too many disappointments lately, even though both my husband and I seemingly don’t have major fertility issues."

He commented that I shouldn't think too much about TTC because pregnancy is a very elusive thing. The more you chase pregnancy, the further it gets away from you.

He gave me the example of his Sister-in-Law who had 4 or 5 miscarriages and failed IVF. When she finally gave up, by accepting the fact that her life would be fine with a baby but it will still be all fine without one, she got pregnant again.

I couldn't agree more to this example.

Truthfully, I had heard the same old things (notions such as baby comes when you least expect it or give up TTC-ing and bam, you made a baby! and many more) for as few as a thousand times and sadly, it's not that easy to live these words if you are overshadowed by your strong desire to have another baby.

I noted his example by saying that it's hard to give up TTC-ing because naturally, I want another baby again (read: badly) after I lost Dylan. I am still battling with my demon, called Envy, when I see other pregnant women and those with new baby. He remarked, "I see. But envy is a very negative feeling and it's not good for you. If you see other pregnant women or babies, you SHARE THE JOY. You will be happier when you feel their joy as well. And when you are happy, you can get pregnant more easily." 

I stunned when he mentioned the words “share the joy”. Good Lord! How hard it is to share the joy while I mostly feel sore about the above. (No offence to all pregnant readers, friends and families on this specific discussion, okay… This is an issue I am still working on).

Just before I ended this visit, his final advice to me was, “Be happy and enjoy life. Life is short after all. I hope my small advice help you a little”.

Thank you, Doc. Good bye. I’ll see you again in two weeks’ time.” 

So, I shared the above conversations I had with Naomi's doctor with my husband after I got home. This is the comment that I got from him, "I already told you exactly the same thing for a long time.. You never listen. Whatever I say is rubbish and other people’s advice is wisdom to you". I just gave him a big smile and said “Well, Doc’s advice on giving up was not novel to me either...”.

Ahhh….. Sometimes I do wonder why it is so hard to be a completely happy and contented person. Away from all negativities in life, particularly those in the head.

One of greatest blessings in life: My chubby checkers.

Good thing that I have Naomi who is my absolute anchor, constant reminder and reason to be happy and grateful in life. No matter the sourest lemon it threw me last year.

Ok lah.. Let's just be happy and no more living in the past. 2014 was undoubtedly a bitter-sweet year, 2015 so far is a soul searching chapter for me. I think I have come a long way since Dylan's incident and I really need to let go the past, whatever it was, in order to have a future. A much brighter and happier one, hopefully. 

Good things come to those who wait, they say.

Oh yea, recently I set up a Dayre account which I sort of update on daily basis (yep, mobile blogging is apparently very convenient!). Please follow my Dayre, if you have one.

Making Banana Raisin Bread with Bread Maker

You may think I am crazy for baking bread and posting the bread recipes three times in a row in the past few days... But I think I am just too overjoyed with my new toy.

Last night at round 7.30pm, I decided to make bread with my bread maker using some ripe bananas in my kitchen. I planned to put some walnut in the bread but sadly, my husband could not find any walnut in the small supermarket near his office - and we resorted to raisins.

First trial on making Banana & Raisin Bread.

This is the recipe of Banana and Raisin Bread that I made last night.

Banana and Raisin Bread 

Ingredients:

140gr Ripe bananas, mashed
65ml Fresh milk
1tbs Condensed milk
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp Banana essence
300gr Bread Flour
15gr or 1 tbs Unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
3 tbs Sugar or brown sugar
2gr Salt
1 tsp Yeast
50gr Raisins or chopped walnuts (you can put more if you want to)

Tutorial:
  1. Double boil or heat fresh milk and condensed milk in a heat-resistant bowl until lukewarm.
  2. As per the general bread maker function: Place fresh milk, condensed milk, mashed bananas, beaten egg, banana essence, sugar and salt first in the bread maker.
  3. Pour the bread flour then make a small hole in the flour.
  4. Put the yeast in the flour hole (make sure the yeast is not in contact with the liquid ingredients before kneading).
  5. Turn your bread machine on (I use the basic program).
  6. Once the machine starts kneading and all ingredients now has form a dough, put the butter or margarine in.
  7. Add more flour to the dough if needed. If the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour until the dough is elastic.
  8. When your machine starts kneading for the second one, add the raisins or walnuts into the dough.
  9. Let your machine do the rest until the bread is completely baked.

After we sliced the bread.

This banana and raisin bread was yummy and soft. My husband said it was nice but I personally felt that the bread's banana flavour was not strong enough because I didn't put any banana extract into the machine (since I didn't have any). 

Anyway, make sure you use very ripe bananas for making bread or cakes. I usually use up bananas which already have lots of black/brown patches on their skin.

Also, I would not recommend baking bread at night unless you don't need to wake up early in the next morning. Making the bread itself already takes 3-3.5 hours including preparation. Then, you'd still have to wait the bread to cool completely before you can store the bread in a container. Cooling the bread takes about another 1-1.5 hours. Only after you already store the bread safely and nicely, you can go to bed without worry. Imagine if you make your bread at 8pm - that means you can only sleep after midnight. Zzzz.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Making Potato Bread with Bread Maker

A day after making the pumpkin bread using my bread maker, I was intrigued to alter that recipe and replace pumpkin with potato. For all I know, potato buns or donuts always taste so nice, soft and sweet - so why not using potato for home-made bread?

Actually, I was a bit gambling when I used potatoes for the bread because the textures of mashed potato and pumpkin puree are not the same. Mashed potato is way more starchy than pumpkin puree.

To my surprise, the potato bread recipe that I used worked well and I had very nice and soft potato bread. The bread loaf looks so soft and fluffy like a cute pillow before I sliced it. It was so soft and fluffy I almost put my head on it and sleep.

I mean look at this.

The bread looks so soft and fluffy, right?

And here's the recipe that I used to come up with my yummy potato bread.

Potato Bread 

Ingredients:

130gr Potatoes, boiled and mashed
65ml Fresh milk
1 tbs Condensed milk
1 Egg, lightly beaten
250gr Bread Flour
15gr or 1 tbs Unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-3 tbs Sugar (as you desire)
2gr Salt
1 tsp Yeast

Potato bread baking and looking tall. 

Tutorial:
  1. Double boil or heat fresh milk and condensed milk in a heat-resistant bowl until lukewarm.
  2. As per the general bread maker function: Place fresh milk, condensed milk, mashed potato, beaten egg, sugar and salt first in the bread maker.
  3. Pour the bread flour then make a small hole in the flour.
  4. Put the yeast in the flour hole (make sure the yeast is not in contact with the liquid ingredients before kneading).
  5. Turn your bread machine on (I use the basic program).
  6. Once the machine starts kneading and all ingredients now has form a dough, put the butter in.
  7. Add more flour to the dough if needed. If the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour until the dough is elastic.
  8. Let your machine do the rest until the bread is completely baked.
Want some?

I haven't made any home-made white bread as yet so I can't compare its taste with potato bread nor tell which one tastes better as yet. However, I think I prefer the potato bread better than the pumpkin bread. Somehow, I found that the potato bread had softer texture and tastes better than the pumpkin bread - just a thought. I felt that the pumpkin bread was nice but potato bread was kind of nicer.

All in all, the potato bread I made yesterday was so delicious that it tasted good when eaten plain, without any spread.