Sunday, March 1, 2015

TTC-ing After Pregnancy Loss

After I found out that I'd lost Dylan, I was very eager or more like obsessed to have another baby right away. If possible, right then, right there. I remember I already had this kind of thought when I was just induced in the hospital and Dylan was still in my tummy. Days and weeks later, I gravely yearned to have another baby to fill the vacuum that Dylan left me. Baby #3 is not meant to replace Dylan's position because Dylan is obviously so irreplaceable. I mean, even if I give birth to other 12 babies - none of them is Dylan. Geddit? =)

During my post-partum check-up in the hospital last year, my gynae told me that I could try for another baby again after I got my first period cycle back and was convinced that getting pregnant again after giving birth would be a breeze. Many women who experienced still-births (and delivered the baby vaginally) are able to easily get pregnant again within the 6 months after they lost their babies provided if they are ready to be pregnant again. Hearing this, I silently screamed to my gynae "Yes, Doctor. You have no idea. I AM SO VERY READY FOR BABY #3!" My gynae mentioned that these 6 months are the best time for my husband and I to try again and the chance for me to conceive again would be VERY HIGH. Therefore, I was not supposed to delay the plan to get pregnant with baby #3. Further, research found that women tend to be fertile mertile post baby delivery (that's why those who just gave birth their babies safely are usually advised to have birth control as soon as possible to avoid 'accident').

I was very optimistic that in just few months after I lost Dylan, I would shake and surprise the world with the good news that I am expecting a baby again. I read a lot of online articles and they too proved me that there are numerous women in this planet who successfully got pregnant again less than 6 months after they delivered their angel babies.

Who knew that 6 months and few period cycles later, I am still struggling with getting pregnant again?

Before I go further, please note that initially I didn't want to share this particular TTC-ing (Trying to Conceive) effort of mine because it's quite a frustrating issue to me and I really wanted to keep this affair as private as it can be. For months, I've kept this matter to myself, my husband and a handful of close friends and family members of mine. My in-laws know nothing about this and I intended to keep it this way. Previously, I was not keen in sharing this issue in my blog because I know some of my husband's relatives read my blog and I am not too comfortable sharing this topic with them. In addition, no pun intended, I am lazy to entertain some people I know who will personally contact me for further clarification or questions about this not-so-great side of my life after they read this post. Nonetheless, I had a second thought about keeping this story to myself. If my story on TTC-ing journey after Dylan's loss would be helpful to other mothers out there who are also in the same boat, then I better share this. Especially if one day my husband and I would be successful in conceiving baby #3 and bring him/her safely to this world. This story could also serve as a lesson to learn to other couples who are trying to conceive their baby after they went through some kind of life duress. Try not to do the same mistake that I did.

How was the TTC journey after Baby Dylan so far?

Rocky, I would say. It's clearly not as easy and smooth as I once imagined. The past few months were mainly about religiously calculating my fertile period every month. Well, all this before my period cycles (which were always like clockwork before Dylan) became erratic and I couldn't determine my fertile period any more.

We're not pregnant again just yet. I got pregnant with Naomi after 4 months trying and was pregnant with Dylan almost immediately after my husband and I decided that we were ready for another baby.

What's the problem here?

STRESS. This is the main creepy culprit that I am aware as of now.

Stress and irrational pressures that I created for myself (probably I was emotional and hormonal too post-delivery) as I really wanted to get pregnant again for the third time gave lots of issues to my fertility. You can probably say: My mind is willing but my body cannot cooperate accordingly yet.

Few months ago, I pressured myself really hard to get pregnant again because I more or less felt like I've lost my train and needed to do a serious catching to be in the same lane as everybody else who is now carrying her baby in her arms or currently pregnant again. Once, I also ridiculously blamed my husband for not bringing me to a relaxing overseas travel or another honeymoon trip to take a break from the whole ordeal on Dylan's demise as I understood some women who went to honeymoon travel after giving birth to a stillborn got pregnant again not long after they returned home.

Sounds dumb and lunatic to you? This happened to me.

Moving on, here's my TTC-ing journey to date in a systematic flowchart. It's not the prettiest flow chart you've seen but I think it's quite self-explanatory. Please excuse my ugly hand-writing here, OK? I hope the following is still readable.

TTC-ing journey after pregnancy loss.

In the past few months, I learnt my expensive lesson about stress and TTC. Stress would not make me pregnant. Instead, it inhibits me from getting pregnant again and ruins my overall health.

Late last year, my period didn't come for about 2 weeks but the pregnancy test was negative. Turned out, I had a 3cm cyst on my left ovary thus the Aunt Flo's absence. Seemingly, my high stress level messed my hormones and caused hormone imbalance which led to the development of a cyst. I was then treated with birth control pills for 3 days to make my period come back. Thank God, the cyst was gone 6 weeks later. My gynae warned me to watch my stress level carefully and stop acting like a 90 y/o lady who worries about everything. She gave me another 6 months to try for another baby naturally. If this fails, then I would have to begin some fertility treatments.

Early last month, I got really stressed again. This time around, owing to my manic work load before CNY, my stress resulted in mid-cycle spotting for more than a week. *sigh* Apparently, I didn't ovulate (anovulation) last month due to low progesterone level, hence the mid-cycle spotting. I was just off from taking progesterone pills for 10 days to return the healthy balance of my progesterone levels. Additionally, I am scheduled to see my gynae again in next month for another check-up and if by then, I'm not pregnant yet - I may have to start some hormones treatments.

Some friends advised me to try to get pregnant again naturally and leave this matter to God as there is a season for everything and God knows the best time. However, come to think of it, given so many fertility issues I encountered lately - if I don't seek professional help for this, wouldn't it be just a waste of time? Truthfully, I never thought I'd have trouble conceiving like this before.

Anyhow, this is my story of TTC-ing again thus far after my world was turned upside down in mid August 2014.

What is the lesson learnt here? 

If you can, don't beat your self up because... it's pointless. 

At this stage, I am not in the position to preach to other people who've lost their babies about being relax or taking this whole TTC-ing thing easily and such because I know this kind of advice is practical in theory but often times, it is hard to put this into real-life application.

I will update this blog again on my TTC-ing journey, hopefully with a more delightful news.

P/S: I've come to terms with Dylan's passing now and nowadays, am grappling with conception of another baby. Also, I had my husband's consent before sharing this blog post. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Checking Out Jenjarom Happy Village

After visiting Tanjung Sepat for the second time on Monday, my husband, Naomi and I tagged along my in-laws and some of our relatives to check out Jenjarom Happy Village later that day. Jenjarom Happy Village is actually an annual Chinese New Year Lantern Festival with Floral Exhibition held at Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Temple in Jenjarom, located about an hour away from Seremban and 45 minutes' drive away from Tanjung Sepat.

 Welcome to Jenjarom Happy Village!

When my Sister and Bro-in-Law brought the idea of visiting this place, I imagined we were going to visit a famous touristy kind of temple similar to Kek Lok Si in Penang or maybe a typical Buddhist temple with some food bazaar to celebrate CNY. Turned out, the festival held at this temple was so much better than what I had in mind. This temple's impressive garden was huge, beautifully decorated and had food bazaar too.

The super tree groves are also available in Jenjarom. Lol.

I didn't regret spending my time to do some sightseeing at this place and enjoy the festival. From what I observed, people of all ages who came to visit this place did look like they had real good time and fun here. Adults admired the splendid beautiful gardens and colourful flowers (too bad my parents are not in Malaysia to enjoy this festival!). Kids enjoyed exploring the gardens and taking photos with the cute lanterns and probably the decorations around the temple as well.

These monk lanters can do electronic story-telling at certain hours.

The floral exhibition that this temple carries annually to celebrate CNY was remarkable and so were the cute lanterns that are displayed almost everywhere in the temple's massive garden. Too bad, this festival is not available all year long. To celebrate the Goat Year, the lantern festival and floral exhibition is only going to be showcased to public from 14th February until 8th March 2015.

 When Naomi sat still in her stroller.

For someone who hasn't had the chance to visit Singapore's Gardens by the Bay, like yours truly, visiting Jenjarom Happy Village has indeed partially satisfied my desire to visit that famous Singapore's icon. I had an awesome time enjoying the beauty of the flowers at the exhibition, especially the orchids, and took a lot of photos with them.

Wefie with the husband.

 Real orchids for sale. Price range is RM 250 - RM 1200++.

We arrived to this temple at around 4pm or 5pm. My Bro-in-Law purposely didn't recommend us to visit this temple in the afternoon because that day was scorching hot and the heat would surely make us and the kids dizzy. I think the temple would only turn the lanterns' lights at around 7pm or when the sky gets darker. More visitors would flood this place by evening as they look forward to see the lanterns festival at night. Although I am sure the view of the lanterns at night would be fantastic, dark background tends to look not so nice in photos. As such, I guess our decision to visit this place when the sun's still bright was correct. It's better to take some nice pictures with the pretty flowers and beautiful garden during the day.

 Aren't they beautiful?

When can I have an orchid garden like this? 

Moving on, as usual, Naomi was very active and hyper when we brought her to a place like this. She refused to sit quietly in her stroller when Mom and Dad took a stroll around the beautiful garden and floral exhibition. She ran around the garden non-stop, wanted to ride on the animal-shaped lanterns and pluck the flowers. It was very exhausting to chase her and keep up to her running pace. It was also quite frustrating to stop her doing all the mischievous things like plucking the flowers or riding the lanterns. If I am not mistaken, my husband and I circled some parts of the garden three times just to follow Naomi's routes. 

Naomi and the colourful wind wheels.

One of my favourite parts of the lantern festival was probably the Chinese Zodiac lanterns. They were so adorable. My husband, Naomi and I couldn't afford to miss our chance to take some photos with our Chinese Zodiac lanterns there!

 Dog year for my man.

 I was born in Rat Year.

Which dragon girl is cuter?
 The one I carry or the one in pink?

My husband and I decided to leave this temple earlier because we were drop dead tired that evening. Not to mention that my husband would still need to drive for about an hour to get home. We didn't manage to enjoy the food galore sold at their food bazaar and had dinner in Seremban instead.

What a day! Tiring but certainly happy and satisfied. I love sightseeing opportunity like this and won't mind coming to this place again when they hold their next festival!

Jenjarom Happy Village
Address: PT 2287, Jalan Sungai Buaya, 42600 Jenjarom, Kuala Langat, Selangor
Admission fee: Free of charge
Opening hours: 10am - 10pm (14 February - 8 March 2015)

First Day at the Nursery

Few days ago, my husband called the child care centre or nursery (Taska) near our house that we've checked before and queried whether they have any slot available for Naomi. They said yes and she can start right away in March. However, based on their first meeting with Naomi few weeks ago, one of the teachers suspected that Naomi looks a bit hyperactive. As such, they would like to have their principal to observe Naomi for a day (full day) at their nursery to see if Naomi can adapt well at their nursery and the teachers can handle her. I asked the teacher if one single day would be sufficient for them to observe Naomi and see if she fits their center, considering that it'd be Naomi first day and everything is brand new for her. The teacher told me that a day is enough for their principal to observe Naomi. Well, then. No choice for us, right? (I understand that Naomi is a very active and strong-headed kiddo but to be honest, as her parent, I was perplexed and somewhat offended when someone who barely knew Naomi labelled her as a hyperactive toddler. Nevertheless, if she really does have this issue, I do want it to be addressed asap.)

27 February 2015: Naomi's first day at the nursery.

Anyway, my husband and I agreed to let the nursery observe Naomi for a day at their place. Yesterday, the last working day of February, marked Naomi's first day staying at a child care centre.

At about 8am yesterday, my husband and I drove Naomi, who just woke up, to the day care center. She was the first kid to arrive at the center yesterday morning. After we're briefly introduced to the centre's principal, Naomi was asked to sit on one of their colourful dining chairs and given her breakfast - banana cake slices or honey star cereal (sans milk). Naomi asked for the cereal.

In the beginning, Naomi was very clingy to her Dad and kept holding on my husband's leg. She refused to sit down. At this point, I predicted that we'd surely have to encounter a tearful drama episode when we left Naomi at the nursery.

Few minutes later, two little boys came in and joined Naomi for breakfast. Another boy came in and he was crying when his mother was about to leave him at the center. Naomi kept on looking at the crying boy curiously while popping some cereals into her mouth. My husband and I took this opportunity to sneak our way out of the nursery and leave Naomi there.

Naomi and her first lollipop.

At home, I kept my phone by my side, all the time. I made sure I didn't silent it like I often do. I was worried if the center would somehow call me and ask me to come over because Naomi's crying murder or something.

That call, thankfully, never came.

2y5m: Naomi plays music with a spoon at the nursery.

I drove to the center at around 5.15pm to pick Naomi up and hear the principal's feedback and decision on taking Naomi at her nursery. I was gladly surprised to hear that all the teachers including the principal gave pretty good comments on Naomi's behaviour yesterday. Naomi didn't cry at all at the nursery, ate her food well (in fact, I was told that my child ate 3-4 small bowls of macaroni for lunch), played well with the other kids (which meant no problem with her social skill), didn't use much of her pacifier (as she noticed the other kids didn't use pacifier), said few words (ball - ball, 什么来的 plus a couple more words I can't remember), didn't throw tantrums, showed very excited expression when the teacher let her see a cricket he caught some time ago, wore shoes by herself, drank water from the cup and understood the teachers' commands.

Stylo milo picnic in pyjamas. 

However, one of the teachers said that Naomi still had problem in sharing stuff with other kids, refused to brush her teeth and couldn't take her nap very well at the nursery. She didn't want to sleep on her allocated bed and only fell asleep for a while when she finally got super duper tired. She made one of the teachers carry/hold her to sleep. I was also informed that Naomi got incredibly excited and turned her very hyper mode on when she joined the nursery's routine Friday morning outdoor activity and picnic in the garden. The principal reckoned that Naomi sometimes becomes very hyper perhaps because she's very lonely (no peer kids) and often keeps herself busy alone at home so every time she sees places with lots of people or kids, she releases her major excitements this way.

Happy Naomi and the cricket. What's with your hair, gal?

To conclude, Naomi got accepted at this nursery and will start attending the nursery full-time (8am - 6pm) beginning next Monday! I am so relieved and happy. I look forward to see my child grow, learn new things, make new friends, develop her speech and most importantly, have fun at the nursery. I really hope everything goes well for her! By the way, some of the teachers did warn me that Naomi might cry when we drop her to the nursery next Monday because by now she already knows what to expect when we arrive to the nursery.

That's all for the updates for now. I'm off to reviewing and filling a bunch of child care centre registration forms for Naomi now!

P/S: The above lollipop was not a reward and got nothing to do with Naomi being accepted to the nursery. Someone gave her a mini Chup-a-Chup when Naomi threw great tantrums at the supermarket last night. It's Naomi's very first lollipop and she didn't even know how to eat one before this because in the past 2.5 years, my husband and I were very strict in indulging Naomi on sweets. Darn! I hope Naomi won't be asking for lollipops and we don't need to pacify her with sweets every-time we bring her to the mall or supermarkets. I'm not too happy with her lollipop experience last night.