Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Mom and Life with a New-Born

When I was still pregnant, I imagined that life with a baby would not be that simple. Still, I was expecting my new life with my first baby blissfully. Now, at only 10 days after I gave birth to my beautiful bundle of joy, I must admit that my body is already beyond fatigue. The marathons of waking up several times at night and during the wee hours to feed my baby and change her diapers, painfully expressing (not so much) breast milk, battling with down-right pains from breastfeeding, cleaning my baby’s bottles, etc. have really taken their tolls on me physically. My can-do attitude in doing household chores that I used to be able to settle very fast had indeed gone out of the window because I just can’t find the time to do all those any more with my new round-the-clock schedule and am still recovering from post-partum aches and pains. These days, my body constantly yearns for a deep sleep.

I was so grateful that my parents were here during the first days of my life with my baby. The last time I saw them was in early May and they came all the way to Malaysia last week to see their first grandchild and help me cope with my first baby.

My Mom feeding my baby.

Right after I brought my baby home from the hospital, my Mom had been an enormous and trusted source of help I could ever had. She taught me how to gently care and nurse a newborn. She gave me tips on how to organize the baby stuff to make my life much easier. She prepared and bought tons of important baby stuff that I missed to buy simply because I did not know that I would need them so badly. She helped me do my baby’s laundry on daily basis. She cooked good Indonesian food that I have craved for ages during the so-called lenient ‘confinement’ period of mine. She looked after my child whenever she could so I could catch up with my much needed rest. She woke up at 5am or 6am and took turn in caring the baby when I was about to collapse in any minute after dealing with my baby’s long crying spells during the wee hours. Every day, she patiently put traditional Indonesian herbal medicines on my tummy and wrapped it with post-partum abdominal binder so I won’t have post-natal flabby stomach. Whenever I felt overwhelmed and needed my Mom’s assistance or advice, all I had to do was knocking at my parents’ room’s door and my Mom was always there to sort my problems out. In short, I was just so used to have my Mom's presence in our house and felt incredibly pampered with my Mom’s being around in the past 10 days or so.

In a blink of an eye, gone are the days when all the confinement 'luxury' was all mine. As my parents returned to Indonesia today, armed with little experience, I am now almost solely responsible for the care and nourishment of my baby. Not that my husband would not help me with our baby, but I have to bear in mind that the man has to work and can’t accompany me becoming an owl all night long.

My hairdresser Mom styled my baby's hair. 
She just adores her luscious black hair.

As I watched my parents left our house and headed to the airport earlier today, the only word that I could drag out of my vocabulary to describe my feeling now and then is EMPTINESS. Yes, I am feeling empty now. I dreaded today to come and miss my parents already.

God, please give me the strength to get by my days without my Mom by my side. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Naomi's First Week

Hello, world!

My Mom decided to dedicate one post to record my first week with my new family. She thinks my face changes every day so she thought of keeping a record of me on daily basis to find out if I look more like my Dad or Mom. Also, she wants to share how hectic and beautiful a new Mom's life could be, with a new-born on her hands.

Day 0 - Thursday

My Dad and me at the hospital. Oh, yeah.. I have dimple!

Ta-Da! It's my birthday! My Dad could not stop smiling and thought that I looked like my Mom when I was born. Most of the time, I stayed at the hospital's nursery and got to see my Mom in her room twice a day.

Day 1- Friday


That's me sleeping in my baby cot. 
My baby cot smells so nice.

My Mom could pass urine after she gave birth to me and I could pass motion and urine too after our one-night stay at the hospital. This said, on my second day in this world, both my Mom and I were discharged from the hospital. Today, we're going home to my Grandma's house first because my Dad's new house isn't ready yet. By the way, I could not wait to meet my Grandparents from Indonesia for the first time. They came to see and take care of my Mom and me for the next 10 days.

Day 2 - Saturday

I am this cute. 
Whenever my Mom feels exhausted after my crying spells that last for hours, 
she instantly forgives me.

My parents were trying hard to fit my new-born schedules. They had to wake up many times at night to feed me and change my wet or soiled diaper. Also, my Grandma noticed that my skin's a bit yellowish today so she asked my Dad to sun bathe me tomorrow morning.

Day 3 - Sunday

I turn to an owl at night.

My Dad woke up very early and prepared me for brief morning sun bathing so my jaundice would go away. My Mom tried to breastfeed me but she could not produce much breast milk for me just yet. My parents had to feed me with formula milk for the time being. Do you know that I sleep a lot during the day and am more awake at night?

Day 4 - Monday

Do I look yellow to you?

My umbilical stub had fallen off! Today, my Dad resumed his work as per normal. My Mom had to survive taking care of herself and me with the help of my grandparents during the day. After my Grandma registered me to the local government clinic for my future vaccinations earlier today, a health officer from that clinic came to check my Mom and me at home. The officer noticed that my skin was quite yellow so she said I needed to see doctor immediately. My grandparents brought me to the clinic and the doctor there did a blood test on me. My first blood test revealed that my bilirubin level was 238.2. Tomorrow, I need to do a repeat blood test to make sure that my bilirubin doesn't exceed 240; otherwise I'd have to stay in the hospital for phototherapy. Did I mention to you that the blood test was painful and I cried a lot when the nurse drew blood from my left hand?

Day 5 - Tuesday

This is my cheeky look before my grandparents took me to clinic today.

This afternoon, my grandparents took me to clinic for my second blood test. Unfortunately, my bilirubin level had increased to 264 overnight and doctor said I had to be admitted at the hospital for few days. This news broke my parents' hearts. At the hospital, I cried and cried and cried when I was put under the light for phototherapy. The blue light was kind of hot and scary for a baby like me. My Mom cried too after she left me alone at the hospital's nursery. Too bad, she's not fully recovered yet to stay by my side 24/7 at the hospital. At home, my Dad kept on smelling the baby mitten I wore today because he misses me already. Wish me speedy recovery so I can go home and be with my parents again soon, will you?

Day 6 - Wednesday

I'm home again!!!

Thank you for all your well wishes, everyone! After one night phototherapy at the hospital, my bilirubin level has finally dropped to 201. *Hurray!* My skin looks fairer than previous days (Grandpa said I look prettier now!) and I was discharged from the hospital this late morning. Now, I am home with my parents again. The nurses at the hospital recommend my Mom to fully breastfeed me from now on. I hope she can do it! 加油, 妈妈!

Day 7 - Thursday


Ahoy! I am one-week old today!

Last night, I made my Mom wake up almost once every two hours or so, just to feed me. I am such a hungry little bear. Sorry to interrupt your good night sleep, Mommy! I know you are very tired but I get really hungry very fast these days...

Enjoying early morning sun with Daddy.

To avoid severe jaundice again, this early morning my Dad briefly sun bathed me again before he left for work. This afternoon, the nurse from the government clinic advised my family to do another blood test on me to make sure that my bilirubin level doesn't go up. This time around, the hospital staff drew a drop of blood from my tiny foot. I didn't cry. Apparently, my bilirubin level today has dropped again to 181. My family is so happy to learn that. Drinking water when consuming both formula milk and breast milk seems beneficial for jaundiced new-born like me.

P/S: Do you notice that most of my photos here were taken when I was sleeping? That's because my Mom is very busy attending to me when I am awake. Oh, I just wanted to let you know that my Mom took my above photos using Instagram. If you'd like to see more photos of me, do follow my Mom's Instagram account, ok!

With love,

Naomi

The Birth Story

Last Wednesday evening, I planned to take my 40th week maternity photos. There were chances that those photos would be the final first maternity photos that my husband would snap for me. Who knew that right after I finished blogging about my 40th week pregnancy update, I had a bloody show?

Wednesday, 19th September 2012

3pm: I woke up from my afternoon nap with contractions. I tried to ignore the pains because I thought they were just Braxton Hicks contractions.

4pm: I noticed bloody show on my panty liner but I was not sure it was really that 'bloody show'.

5pm: I told my husband about the potential bloody show and he said that he would send me to the hospital soon after he finished dealing with the furniture delivery guys from IKEA. I was not panic at all. I still managed to update my blog, call my Mom, have a shower and wash my hair too. I knew that labour was imminent but I still had time.

6pm: My husband came home and had shower.

6.30pm: My husband and I left our house, not forgetting to carry my hospital bag.

7pm: My husband and I had dinner in an Indian restaurant near the hospital. I ate fried rice and drank Teh Tarik. The contractions I felt were shorter in interval. Now, I could not wait to reach the hospital.

7.30pm: The husband and I arrived at the hospital. We headed to the labour room immediately. We were so fortunate that my Gynae happened to be there too when I was admitted. I was asked to change to hospital gown and my labour room was the labour room no.1. The nurses attached me to the CTG machine. I was still 2cm dilated.

Me attached to the CTG machine. 
I still could throw my husband a smile at this stage.

9pm: I was about 4cm dilated. The contractions I felt were more intense and closer together. They were about 7 minutes apart. I was in so much pain and kept on squeezing my husband's hand and pulling his shirt when waves of labour contractions hit me. The nurses offered me some pain relievers like epidural, injection in the buttock and Entonox to relieve the pains. I chose Entonox because I was still determined to do the labour naturally. I opted out the injection in the buttock because the injection would only make me drowsy while the contractions pain level would not be reduced.

This is how I held onto my husband's hand every time the contractions hit me.

10pm: By far, whenever there was no contraction I always thought I could make it to the end. However, when the contractions came again, I just wanted to die.

11pm: My Gynae paid me a visit in the labour room. She noticed that I had about 3 contractions in 10 minutes. I was restless and could not feel any more break in between the contractions. I was about 5cm dilated and my contractions pains were not only in my stomach area but also went through my back. I was exhausted. I stopped thinking the potential of another pain should the dreadful epidural tube be injected to my spine. Finally, I begged and screamed for epidural to my Gynae when the contractions came over and over again. My Gynae said OK and broke my water to make sure that it's clear. Right after she did that, I felt gush of warm water running in between my legs. She said, my water's colour was clear so it was fine for me to proceed with epidural.

Thursday, 20th September 2012

12am: My left hand was hooked to IV drip. The anesthetist finally came and injected me with the epidural. I knew that epidural would have side effects such as itchiness or nausea feeling but I didn't expect massive continuous shivers right after this pain reliever kicked in. So, my grand plan to sleep after taking epidural was all gone as I literally shivered for the next five hours or so. My baby's heart beat dropped soon after I was injected with the epidural so I was asked to breathe from an oxygen mask too. 15 minutes after I was injected with the epidural, I could not feel any of contraction pains even though the contraction level occasionally hit 100%.

3am: I felt something in my bottom. Almost like a poop coming out from my anus. Turned out it was the baby's head. I was 9cm dilated. At this point of time, I could not feel my lower body and contraction pains at all.

4am: My Gynae came to check me again. She said I was ready for labour. I was fully dilated and she asked me to start pushing although I could not feel my legs any more. My Gynae was helped by two other nurses and the three of them kept on asking me to push in rhythm whenever the CTG machine showed that I had contractions.

4.24am: My baby girl was delivered, with the help of vacuum extractor because I had no mighty energy left to push the baby out. Sadly, I could not escape from episiotomy.

4.25am: I held my baby for the first time. She was so small, red and slimy. She started crying when she reached my chest. Post-delivery, I was still shivering like mad, felt nauseated and ran a mild fever. Not long, I vomited all my dinner!

4.50am: My baby was cleaned, but not bathed. I held her for the second time before she was taken to the nursery and I was sent to the recovery room.

Shivering and super tired but so relieved to finally hold my baby in my arms.

In all honesty, I don't know how I would go through all these ordeals without my husband who practically didn't sleep and gave me non-stop supports during my 13.5 hours of labour. His encouragements during the whole process were simply irreplaceable.

Nevertheless, everything was worth the pains as my husband and I are now the proud parents of this beautiful little girl. We named her Naomi, which means beautiful, pleasant and delightful.

My baby girl in the hospital's nursery.

By the way, I could only start feeling my lower body and legs back sometime in late morning that day. After the epidural effect was completely faded off, the pains from episiotomy crawled in. They were no fun.

My barely 1-day old baby and me, in my hospital room.

Now that I have a new-born on my hand, I must say that as much as I'd love to update my blog regularly like before, I just can't! It's difficult for me to find the time to write a post for my blog in between feeding the baby, cleaning the baby, pumping breast milk, resting and eating.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pregnancy Week 40: The Early Labour

After months of anticipation, I am finally in my, hopefully, last week of my first pregnancy. By definition, the bun in my oven is fully baked and she can come out any time now! These days, close friends and relatives have been checking on me almost on daily basis on whether I have popped my baby out or if I have any signs of real labour already. My answer by far was still the same, "Not yet. Just same o' Braxton Hicks contractions like before...".

Anyway, I just had my 40th week appointment with my Gynae this morning. This could be my last antenatal visit for my first pregnancy because I have somewhat crossed the finish line already by now. The consultation with my Gynae today went pretty straightforward. I told her that I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions more often this week and my stomach has tightened since last Friday. At times, my stomach gets incredibly tight and painful and it becomes as hard as a stone when touched. My Gynae advised me not to worry and said that 'tightening' is really normal. The tighten stomach is actually caused by my uterus's contractions.

Not long after that, my Gynae asked me to prepare myself for the usual ultrasound scan. When my Gynae touched the lower part of my belly, she said she could feel with her hands that my baby's head has dropped really low now. The brief ultrasound scan showed that I have enough amniotic water level in my uterus and my baby's head has indeed dropped so low in my pelvis. Because of this, this time around, my Gynae could not scan the baby's head's part at all and was not able to measure the baby's head circumference nor estimate her current weight.

Knowing that my baby is seemingly set to see this world, my Gynae asked my permission to do internal vaginal examination to monitor my cervix's dilation. For the sake of my baby's and own well-being, I did not object. To those who don't know what 'internal examination' in this context is, this term simply means the Gynae undresses the expectant mother from the bottom down and inserts his/her gloved fingers into her vagina to check the opening of her cervix. Sounds really gross? Tell me about it. The process was quite uncomfortable and I kept on moving around during the check to the point that my Gynae asked my husband to hold my hand so I could stay still when she measured my cervical dilation. The result? I am already 2 cm dilated by this time and that means I am in the beginning stage of labour!

If nothing happens in the next couple of days, this Friday would mean -
Destination: Hospital's Labour Room.

In the end, my Gynae asked me to go home and wait for further signs of labour. If within these two days there are not much significant labour symptoms happening on me, my hospital bag and I will have to check in to the hospital's labour room on this Friday morning. By then, my Gynae plans to check the progress of my cervical dilation and we'll see what happens from there.

At present, I am so tensed thinking about the whole labour thing! On the other hand, I am pretty excited on how my life is going to change this weekend because if all goes well, my husband and I would ultimately meet our baby girl this week!

By the way, I did't gain any weight in the past week. I managed to maintain my pregnancy weight gain to 13.5 kg in total.

Doctor bills: RM 56.50 (for the Gynae's consultation fee and urine laboratory test).

Friday, September 14, 2012

Making Bird's Nest Soup for Pregnancy

Traditionally, bird's nest soup is believed to have cooling properties, improves general pregnancy's well-being and is potentially good for the unborn baby's complexion. Some Chinese expectant mothers would consume bird's nest soup or drinks regularly during their pregnancy or maybe starting in their second tri-semester onwards. I personally was always resistant in purchasing or consuming bird's nest soup during my pregnancy because (1) Bird's nests are very expensive and such luxury products to consume and (2) From my reading, there is no actual medical or scientific research result that proves the benefits of bird's nests on pregnant women; that's why I did not invest on buying bird's nests for my pregnancy early on.

As one of my birthday presents, my husband bought some dry bird's nests for me. Despite the fact that at the time he bought the bird's nests I was already about 2 weeks away from delivering our baby; my husband insists that I should at least consume a little bit of bird's nest soup to promote my pregnancy's well-being. He said, it is better late than never or not taking the soup at all. I complied. This said, I only started consuming this soup earlier this week.

Anyhow, my Mother-in-Law was the one who helped me prepare my first bird's nest soup because I had no knowledge at all in preparing this kind of soup. As you might have known, I am always careful in consuming herbal remedies during my pregnancy, therefore I refused putting any kind of Chinese herbs into my bird's nest soup. My Mother-in-Law had no problem with my request and just put some water and rock sugar for my bird's nest soup. Yesterday, when my Mother-in-Law was about to prepare my second bird's nest soup, I told her that I wanted to try preparing it myself so she taught me how to.

Before I forget the relatively simple steps in preparing this Chinese delicacy, the following is the methods I did in preparing the plain or basic version of home-made bird's nest soup for my pregnancy. The results of bird's nest soup below could be consumed by one or two persons.

Bird's Nest Soup for Pregnancy

Ingredients:

1pc Dry bird's nest
1 cup Hot water
1 cup Drinking water or boiled then cooled water, for soaking
5-6 pcs Rock/Lump sugar

Methods:

1. Soak the dry bird's nest in a bowl of water for about 30 minutes. Use drinking water or water that has been boiled and cooled down to soak the bird's nest. After 30 minutes, carefully strain the bird's nest and throw the water away.

A piece of dry bird's nest for the soup.

2. Put the soaked bird's nest and pour 1 cup of hot water into a slow cooker. If you prefer thinner soup, you may add more hot water into the slow cooker. Cook the soaked bird's nest and water in the slow cooker for about 2 hours.

The slow cooker I use to cook the bird's nest soup.

3. Once the bird's nest is soft and cooked, add the rock sugar into the bird's nest soup in the slow cooker and stir gently. You may add more rock sugar into the soup if you wish for sweeter bird's nest soup. Turn the slow cooker off.

The rock sugar for preparing the bird's nest soup.

4. Consume the bird's nest soup when it is cooled.

The cooked bird's nest looks like thin white strains of jelly or seaweed.
Can't see them clearly in this photo? Me neither.

I think the home-made bird's nest soup tastes more natural and possesses a pretty strong 'egg-like' smell than instant or bottled bird's nest drink bought from supermarkets or TCM shops. Nevertheless, the plain home-made bird's nest soup is still bearable to drink.

I found this article that may be useful in preparing bird's nest soup and alternatives in cooking home-made bird's nest soup to make it more delectable by adding pandan leaves, dried red dates, dried longan, etc..

P/S: Thank you, my husband, for the bird's nests gift! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My First Guest Post

A few months ago, a fellow blogger, Nava, approached me and asked whether I'd be interested in contributing an article on pregnancy in her lifestyle blog, Nava-K. Unfortunately, I somehow accidentally deleted her comment in my blog about this invitation and could not retrieve the deleted comment ever again! It looks like once you delete a comment in your blog, there is no 'undo' button to bring it back to your blog's comment page. In short, I only managed to reconnect with Nava again via email last week to further discuss about this potential collaboration.

After some email exchanges, I agreed to contribute an article from my blog to Nava's blog. She suggested that I send her my article on preventing stretch marks during pregnancy to be posted in her blog. I said, "No problem.".

Without further ado, please check out my first guest post in Nava's blog here.

By the way, don't forget to follow Nava's blog too. Her blog contains updates on fashion, beauty, travel, health issues, food and many more interesting topics to read.

Thank you again, Nava, for the opportunity in contributing a guest post in your esteemed blog!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pregnancy Week 39: Labour is Just Around the Corner?

After 4 hours of waiting in the hospital, I finally had one of my last antenatal visits earlier today. Some of the first things my Gynae discussed when my husband and I saw her today were my second blood test result that I did early this morning and the vaginal swab test result that I did last week. It seems like the iron supplements that my Gynae prescribed me a month ago really worked well on me. My haemoglobin has now increased to 13.1 (Bye-bye blood transfusion!). Also, the swab test result revealed that I have normal flora. Not sure what that accurately implies but in simple English, it seems like I don't have to worry about the bacteria issues during my baby delivery.

Next, I told my Gynae about the menstrual-like abdominal and leg cramps that I felt since I woke up this morning. I also mentioned to her about the torturing feeling of stomach discomforts and constipation that I experienced in the past few days. Because of this, I requested her to prescribe me with some lactose based laxatives that are safe for expecting women, if possible. My Gynae suspected that I might be having contractions at this stage thus I may not need any laxatives. However, before she confirmed anything further about all these, she wanted to do an ultrasound scan on my tummy.

Gynae's latest record says D-9 but nobody knows.

Today's ultrasound scan showed that my baby has indeed dropped and she is 'in-term' to see this world. My Gynae could not scan my baby's head nor measure the circumference of her head to determine her estimated current weight because her head's position is already down in my pelvis. With afore-mentioned additional information on my on-and-off the stomach discomforts and leg cramps, my Gynae concluded that I might be having early contractions and advised my husband to stay in town this week because his wife might be going into labour any time.

Moving on, my Gynae cited that we are aiming vaginal birth for my first baby and told my husband and I to just let the labour happens naturally. She explained that normally she won't do labour induction easily due to its risks on both mother and baby. According to her, labour induction is only necessary in emergency cases such as big baby delivery, expecting mother with hypertension, not enough amniotic fluid in the uterus or the baby is not moving a lot during delivery. On top of that, I raised the issue on episiotomy during vaginal birth to my Gynae. She convinced me that she will not do episiotomy unless she sees lots of potential serious tearing on the mother's perineum due to baby's head position that is not straight during vaginal delivery. After I heard all these clarifications, I felt somewhat relieved.

Although I thought I have eaten more this week, I have apparently lost 1kg in the past week. My Gynae said it is very normal for expecting woman at the end of her pregnancy to lose weight as the unborn baby is absorbing more food from the mother's body. This said, I have gained 13.5kg in total during this pregnancy.

Before we headed home, as advised by my Gynae's nurse, my husband and I had a brief tour in the hospital's labour ward. One of the hospital's customer service executives taught us how to go directly to the hospital's labour room when my 'time' comes. For women in labour, it is not necessary to go to the hospital's emergency unit before 5pm so they can receive immediate assistance from the nurses in the labour ward.

In summary, if I experience no more significant labour symptoms (the bloody show, water leaks or unbearable contraction pains) in one of these days, this means I will have to go for one more antenatal visit in the hospital exactly one week from now.

Doctor bills: RM 66.50 (for the Gynae's consultation fee and blood and urine laboratory tests).

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pregnancy Memento at 38 Weeks and 3 Days

Once upon a time, I had a wishful thinking to share my 28th birthday with my daughter because it's just pretty cool if we could have such coincidence. On my 28th birthday, my unborn baby was already considered 'full term' and there were chances that she decided to greet us earlier. However, the more I ponder over it; I realized it was not necessary. My baby should come into this world whenever she is ready. A healthy baby is worth the wait. True enough, I didn't go into labour during my birthday but I was not sad or upset about it. In fact, I am quite enjoying the last bits of this waiting game and taking my sweet time with the last couple of weeks, or few days, of my first pregnancy. I am savouring the quiet moments, or more like the freedom, that my husband and I have now before the hectic life with a new-born takes place.

Yesterday, I asked my husband to snap more pregnancy photos of me. As you can see, my tummy is as big as a large watermelon now.

38 weeks and 3 days pregnant.
Already gained about 14.5kg so far.

I have read and heard many times how very pregnant women may feel like beached whales to some extent. I can now completely understand what they meant.

No significant labour signs 
but mild Braxton Hicks contractions that come and go sporadically.

Anyway, less than 2 weeks to go!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My 28th Birthday in Words

I turned 28 yesterday!

As much as I looked forward to my 28th birthday, obviously because there's only one day like this every year, there was virtually nothing special happened. I skipped all those symbolic birthday activities like blowing out candles on birthday cake or cutting my birthday cake while making a wish, simply because there was no birthday cake for me. Sad! I did not eat any birthday noodles that signify longevity either. I wanted to cook instant noodles as my birthday noodles but I am cutting out my instant noodles intake and it was somehow kind of pathetic to do so because I did that already, many times, when I was still single!

I didn't know if the ice cream I ate the day before my birthday contributed to my sore throat and runny nose, but since I woke up early morning yesterday, I got the flu symptoms and felt incredibly lethargic the whole day. My mood was no good and I think it's got nothing to do with my pregnancy hormones. I just felt so awful as early as I opened my eyes on my birthday's morning. And this was just the beginning.

As I went through my actual 'plain vanilla' birthday, I think the only consolation I had was the facts that there were still lots of my friends and relatives out there who still remembered my birthday and flooded me with sweet birthday greetings via SMSes, Facebook and Whatsapps. Thank you so much, everyone!

Anyway, my husband was away for almost 3 days for work. He promised to come home earlier on my birthday but I don't know what stalled him at work, in the end, he showed up at home at about 8pm. I should have known that he didn't precisely say 'earlier in the day', he merely said 'earlier'. 8pm is indeed earlier than 10pm.

Moving on, my husband asked me to dress up as he was going to treat me with a birthday dinner, just for the two of us. Off we went to the restaurant. He chose Kensington Restaurant in Seremban and yes, we had a really nice western dinner. Unfortunately, for the first half of the full-course dinner we enjoyed, I still could not beat the bad mood that I've accumulated since morning. Despite his best efforts in making the birthday girl woman happy, my husband and I experienced lots of those couple's awkward silent moments during my birthday dinner. Sorry, love!

Check out what my husband and I had last night for my birthday dinner. Aren't they sumptuous? Thank you for the nice treat, husband!

Entrée: Crispy Duck Salad with Plum Sauce.

My husband demonstrating on 
how to eat the duck salad properly with the veggies. 
Hong Kong's style?

 Main course for the husband: Chicken Casserole.

  Main course for the wife: Grilled Dory Fish with Cajun Sauce.

Today's dessert: Apple crumbles with ice cream.

The husband forced me to smile, so I did it. 
Obvious, eh?

Near the end of the dinner, I felt slightly more uplifted. I started talking more to my husband and initiated more conversations with him. The high sugar content in the dessert definitely did its trick on me and melted my crappy mood to some degree. Both of my husband and I were too full with all the food served on the table and could not finish everything. Shortly after my husband picked the tab, we went home.

At home, my husband presented me with my birthday present that he bought when he was out-stationed. I was so happy with his thoughtful and lovely gesture.

Later that night, my flu was not improving. I took a flu medicine and went to bed rather early.

Around midnight, my baby niece in the next room screamed and cried literally for an hour or so. I waited long for the silence to come but I heard more loud noises. As much as my body was too tired to get up, I got up. It was about 1am. The baby still cried, cried and cried her lungs out non-stop. Her parents could not make her sleep or at least, stop crying. Both of them gave up and asked for my Mother-in-Law's help. Three of them failed to soothe and calm the baby. By then, my eyes were wide open and both sides of my head were so painful. The baby's cries drove me totally bat-shit crazy and I felt like someone was hitting my head with a hammer over and over again. Finally, my husband woke up from his slumber too, went out of our room to find the baby and held her. She stopped crying, I think. I didn't know much about the details. Next, my mind would not switch off after the whole baby-crying ordeals and I could not stop imagining how my life would be with two babies under the same roof. I rubbed my favourite medicated oil on both sides of my head three times to relieve my headache but it didn't work. Thus, I resorted to one pill of Panadol as my last rescue to sleep. At last, I slept until morning. As the aftermath of last night's interrupted sleep, my eyes are still heavy and my head is a bit dizzy as I type this post.

7th September 2012. I won't forget you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Making Carnival Chocolate Glazed Butter Cake

Gone are the days when I could travel long-distance with my husband. As my tummy gets bigger and heavier (plus I have to pee way too frequently), I get a bit lazier to leave the house when it's not necessary or if there is no exact destination to go. The farthest place I went in the past few weeks was IKEA Store in Kuala Lumpur because my husband and I needed to get some stuff for our new house. Also, the nesting instinct has perhaps kicked in because I have been incredibly obsessed with cleaning my room, preparing baby's stuff and washing dirty laundry as often as I could!

On top of that, my baking mood has somehow decreased too, thus, I have not been vigorously updating my blog with lots of recipes or baking stories of late. Yet, I am not sure what went into my mind, yesterday afternoon I got the strong urge to have fun in the kitchen again with my baking ingredients and utensils as I knew that I am going to miss all my baking frenzies, when my baby arrives.

To cut the story short, in an attempt to finish my butter leftover in the fridge, yesterday I decided to bake a really simple butter cake and glaze the cake's top with some melted chocolate. The recipe I share below may result in a pretty thin butter cake, so if you wish to have thicker cake, you might want to double the ingredients or use a smaller but taller cake pan.

Aren't the colourful sugar sprinkles cute?

Carnival Chocolate Glazed Butter Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 Eggs
  • 50gr Fine sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Cake emulsifier/SP
  • 35gr Cake flour
  • 5gr Corn starch
  • 5gr Milk powder
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla essence
  • 60gr Unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 100gr Cooking chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 30-50 ml Heavy cream or liquid full cream milk (as the cream's substitute)
  • Rainbow sugar sprinkles

Tutorials:

  1. To make the cake: Sift together cake flour, corn starch and milk powder.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the flour mixture, sugar, vanilla essence, eggs and cake emulsifier by using high-speed electric mixer until the cake batter is thick and white.
  3. Add the melted butter into the cake batter and incorporate well by using rubber spatula.
  4. Pour the cake batter into a cake pan already greased and lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake the cake in a preheated oven until the cake is golden brown or use a toothpick to test if the cake is done. If the toothpick comes out dry after you poke it into the middle of the cake, it is done. Let the cake cool before removing it from the pan. Set aside.
  6. To make the chocolate glaze: Put the cooking chocolate pieces and cocoa powder in a large bowl. Set aside. Heat heavy cream or liquid milk until it comes to boil. Remove the heat then pour the cream/milk over the cooking chocolate pieces and cocoa powder. Stir with a balloon whisk until the chocolate glaze is completely mixed and glossy. If you want a thicker chocolate topping consistency, stir in more cooking chocolate into the mix. Let it cool before pouring into the cake's top.
  7. To glaze the cake: Pour the chocolate glaze over the top of the cake then immediately decorate the cake with rainbow sugar sprinkles or any other edible sugar decorations as desired. Once the chocolate glaze is dry, cut the cake into squares and serve.

Melt-in-the-mouth butter cake.

Despite its simple ingredients and baking methods, this butter cake tastes really delicious and has soft texture. The chocolate glaze is not so sweet so I think it's pretty much safe to be consumed by adults who have concerns with sugar intake, as long as they don't overeat the cake. After his first bite, my husband complimented me on this cake. Also, I guess this cake would definitely serve as a nice treat for children too.

** Get the printable version of this recipe HERE.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pregnancy Week 37 and 4 Days: The Head 'Engagement' and Group B Strep Screening

I just had another bi-weekly antenatal visit in the hospital this morning. I have sailed more than 37 weeks of pregnancy with my first baby and that means my unborn child is now considered 'full term'. The waiting game has officially begun and I have to start noticing on potential signs of the onset of labour such as the 'bloody show', unusual vaginal discharge, water breaking or intense contractions.

During today's consultation session, I told my Gynae that my haemorrhoids have made a comeback. For more than a week, I often experienced rectal bleeding during bowel movement. On some unlucky days, I even had swollen blood vessels in the size of a pea that protruded through my anus after passing motion. *apologies for sharing too much information here but I could not think of other ways to best describe the sufferings from haemorrhoids during pregnancy* I must say that the swollen blood vessels in my rectal area were really painful, literally irritating and super uncomfortable for walking, sitting or even sleeping. In short, thanks to them, passing motion has become a traumatic daily affair for me. Nevertheless, my Gynae said that haemorrhoids are very common on pregnant women in their last tri-semester and usually they will be gone post giving birth. Unfortunately, haemorrhoids may revisit women on their next pregnancies as they already had haemorrhoids during their first pregnancy. In the meantime, my Gynae advised me to just continue applying the herbal haemorrhoids cream that my husband bought from the pharmacy to relief my haemorrhoids.

Next, from today's 2D ultrasound scan, my Gynae found out that my baby's head had 'engaged' or settled into my pelvis. She was happy to learn this but seemingly, this doesn't mean that labour is imminent for me as my baby's face is still pointing up. My baby's current head position explains why I had been having occasional sharp pains around my vagina and inner upper thighs in the last few days. Also, because my baby's head has engaged, there was no 3D baby's ultrasound scan photo taken today.

After the brief ultrasound scan, my Gynae did a vaginal swab test on me. A vaginal swab is apparently done at around 35-37 weeks of gestation to check whether the expecting mother has Group B Strep bacteria in her vagina that may be passed on to her baby during labour. I have read about this bacteria screening online before but it never actually crossed my mind that I would have to go through this screening too. The test sounded scary and gross when I first heard it from my Gynae because it involves my private part, as its name implies; but turned out when it was performed with a long cotton swab/bud, it was not painful at all and could be completed in two seconds. I felt so happy that I chose a female Gynae for this matter! My Gynae mentioned that the laboratory result of this test will be available in 10 days and that is when my next antenatal visit will take place.

On my next visit, I would have to do a repeat blood test to see if my Haemoglobin level has gone up. If it doesn't improve, my Gynae would have to arrange some standby red blood cells (as per my blood group) for possible blood transfusion in case I need those during my labour.

Lastly, I managed to gain 1 kg in the past two weeks which translates that I have gained a grand total of 14.5 kg during my pregnancy thus far. As for the little bun in the oven's weight, she has apparently gained a whopping 0.4kg within the same period. Her estimated weight is now about 2.7 kg. No wonder that her kicks and movements these days are so strong and painful!

Doctor bills: RM 169.60 (for the Gynae's consultation fee, urine and swab laboratory tests, iron and fish oil supplements).