Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy Clement (2nd Month)

When I told friends that I rarely log on to PC during my confinement and remaining of my maternity leaves, some of wondering why is the baby occupying so much of my time. Well, it was pretty routine of feeding the baby, entertaining the baby, bathing him, help him poo poo, changing the lampin, soothing the baby when he awakes halfway in his dreams. Well, I miss the 1-1 time with him after started working. I especially miss the talking time with him during the weekdays. Am glad still have weekends to accompany him.

Clement is an adorable baby, and will always be, in my heart :)

My favourite photos of Clement (1st month)

Family photo in Nov2009

Many people were surprised to see Clement's dimple, which he has on both side of his cheeks. His mummy only has one her her right cheek...

Little Clement with little arm, little thigh, little feet, little face...

Notice the skin peeling off on some part of his body. Dr says it's due to he is overdue, but some says it's due to the water bag residue.

This is one of his sleeping pattern. He likes to have a feet stepping on the mattress when sleeping.

Daddy's favourite burping position, Trust me, he is not strangling Clement.

Mummy's favourite burping position is above the shoulder, then will follow this "koala" position which Clement likes.

This was Clement's favourite expression when he was 1month old.

Space Discovery Gym by Lamaze. Guess Clement wasn't really know how to enjoy it yet. How daddy and mummy wished we have such lovely toys and playland while we were young...


The first labour experience

Finally I'm enthusiastic again to complete this blog entry which has been saved in the draft since Nov09..... Before my memory fades, let me complete it....

"The First Labour Experience" (don't ask me when will the next one be since I just survived the first one)

2-3 nights before the REAL labour(10Nov), I experienced "contraction". It was like the tightening in the abdomen, starts from bottom and extended to the top. But Dr told me that contraction (note that there is no inverted commas here) is the tightening in the abdomen, which starts from top to the bottom, and I will definitely recognise it when I feel it. The "contraction" disappeared after I changed position, so it was a false one, even if it was a contraction...

Being confused, I asked 2 close friends who went through normal deliveries. I asked them how did their "contraction" feel like. One says it feels like you gonna have a bad diarrhea, another one says it's like menstrual cramp. Sounds like different people experience differently?

Anyway, 13th Nov 4am, I felt menstrual cramp. Haha... I was surprisingly happy. Maybe baby is coming out :) But I did not tell YS since he was sleeping soundly. First baby not so fast one la since this is only the "early phase" of first stage.

7am when YS and I went out for morning walk around the housing area, I could feel the Braxton-Hick + menstrual cramp contraction. We started to time the "contraction". It was pretty regular, 15s every 3-5mins interval. Shortly after that, I could feel a small patch of warm liquid flowing down. Worrying that it might be water bag burst, we stopped walking and I told YS we need to walk home. Thank God it was not water bag burst since I felt only a little wet and not water gushing out, nor water dripping out continually. Later at home I found out that it was blood-tinged mucous (show) discharged from the vagina. Good. Clear sign that this could be the REAL labour.

After reached home, I immediately went to take a bath, wash my hair as clean as possible since I might not be washing it for coming few days (well, actually no matter how clean you wash it, you gonna sweat a lot while pushing in the labour room right?). Then we called Adventist midwife to ask if we should be going to hospital directly, or later. After we told her the details on the contraction and show, she asked us to go to the O&G since it was a working day, and Dr can advise further.

YS and I, feeling 'excited' somehow, packed the necessaries and head to Adventist. Haha... baby "keeps his promise' and looks like will be coming out before 15Nov. On the way to the hospital, the contraction was still there, but felt less intense and irregular now :( When we arrived at the O&G, the nurses were surprised to see us. We told them I might be in labour. After taking my blood pressure and weight, I was scheduled to be the next patient to see the Dr. Haha... no need to wait, straight away jump queue :p Dr checked and said that I was 4cm dilated, water still quite a lot, and baby's head is still quite high (not fully engaged). When Dr was checking on the dilation, he did help to stretch the surrounding so that the body will release certain hormone to accelerate the dilation (we found out about this during the 1st checkup after the delivery, interesting). Mixed feeling. We need to continue praying... Since Dr will have an operation scheduled in the afternoon, he said will come and check on me after that. He might want to break the water bag, or induce me so that he can try to reduce the risk of cord prolapse and placenta abruption. He said I should be able to deliver by night time. Ok... night time. I was thinking - still got a lot time to relax (typical last minute attitude...)

YS asked if we could still go jalan-jalan, Dr told us to jalan-jalan in the labour room, since already dilated 4cm. haha... Well, MIL said that jalan-jalan can help to speed up the labour mar.

The nurse then asked me to sit on a wheel chair, and a macho guy pushed me to the O&G ward. Felt so paiseh as many eyes were looking at you. Argh, ok la, nice experience, also able to access the "special lift" where visitors are forbidden to use.

I was sent to a wardroom-like place with attached bathroom and some basic equipment while YS go pay the deposits. The midwives were not quite friendly though. One of them shaved the episiotomy-to-be area without giving you heads up. I was a bit tense as I was not sure what to expect. And when I moved a little as reflects, she just said, "Don't move! Later got cut!" Then she asked if I've already have my big business and I said yes. Then she just walked away. Some mothers told me that they were given some medicines to clear the bowel... Well, better try my best to clear it myself as much as possible later.

Later on only I found out that there are 2 more ladies going to deliver that very morning. No wonder the midwives are so busy and not very patient while answering your questions. Anyway, those few hours of waiting was pretty ok, since I no longer feel the regular contraction nor menstrual cramp. During the wait, we actually "witnessed with our ears" 2 labours. Both were normal delivery. Only then that we realised that I'm actually lying in an actual labour room, not wardroom. At first I did not believe it, but after the 1st mother delivered, that room was left with clothes with blood stain on the floor. What really surprised us was that labour room's door is wide open. People next door can hear you scream!!! Gosh. But it was a good "preview" for us on the actual labour since we can hear the midwives cheering for the mother, together with the doctor (who only arrived last minute). We also learned that you need to convert the "crying strength" into "pushing strength" since the midwives kept reminding them... I was praying for the 2nd mother as she was near labour and when the midwife called the Dr, we heard her responding "Ok Dr. You try your best to come as quickly as possible, we'll do our best here..." Thank God the Dr did make it within sufficient time to help the lady through the labour. Hahah.. after pushing for quite sometime, we heard the midwife said, "Ok, already fifty cent..." YS was like, "Huh? so long already, only fifty cents?" He used his fingers to form a circle. Ooohh.... fifty cents is not very big ooo.... After more cheering, we finally hear the baby's first cry. Wow, so touched. I told YS I'll be crying when I first hear my baby cry later... Different Dr different style. The 2nd Dr was actually a better "cheer leader" than the 1st Dr. But since both were able to deliver smoothly, it was an encouragement to me too. Others can do it, I can too :)

At 12pm, I was already hungry and asked if lunch is included. The midwife was reluctant to give me food as she scare I might throw up if the delivery is soon. After checking with the Dr, she gave me some "soft diet" - porridge and milo. Nice :)

On and off the midwife will come to the room and strap 2 belts on my tummy, one to check baby's heartbeat, one to check contraction. She asked me to press a button when I can feel the baby moving. Err... challenging, I told her I can no longer differentiate contraction and baby moving. Both feelings already like blended together... Hahha...

At around 1pm, there was a shift change. A friendly midwife aunty was on duty and she was very very friendly. She talked and joked a lot with us, made me so at home :p At least I left much more comfortable with her. She'll share a lot encouraging stories when she put on the 2 belts on me and checking the baby heartbeat and contraction. At 2.30pm, the Dr came to visit me in his operating theater uniform. Looks like his operation ended earlier than expected :p I told him that I dont really feel much contraction now. And he suggest breaking the water bag, or induce to expedite the labour - i think that's what normally Dr will do here in Malaysia, at least from few friends I know. But I've also heard of many stories where after breaking the water bag or performing induce, most will end up going to the theater for C section. I told Dr that I would like to discuss with YS since he was out for lunch.

During this period of time, God actually sent us angel in human form. She encouraged us to make the right decision, and don't be pressured by the Dr. She said that if we would want to try natural delivery, we need to tell Dr and make our stand clear. Dr will understand and he will not force you into decision you are not in favor of, since this is our baby. Both of us prayed hard, and when the Dr came in at around 4.30pm, we told him our decision, that is to wait and allow natural birth to happen. I guess he was shocked a little and reemphasized to us the risk of this decision. Baby is already overdue, contraction not regular and if wait maybe next day also can't deliver yet, baby's head too high and water too much... Anyway, we really appreciate his detailed explanations to us so that we will not regret any decision we make. For safety purposes, Dr. requested the nurse to insert the little "water-drip-adapter" on my left hand, so that in case emergency cesarean is to take place, there will be no hiccups. At this time he checked my dilation is around 5-6cm. Still, no pain and irregular contraction. YS was joking that probably that's how "supernatural childbirth" feels like since I was reading the book during 1st trimester and few days before birth. Well, but at least the writer did says that contraction is a way God designed so that we know when to push and when not. If irregular contraction, it really doesn't sounds like the body is ready for delivering the baby...

At around 7pm, the nurses moved us to another delivery room, the bigger one. This one is more complete I guess, I least I see more equipments around. This was the room the first mother gave birth this morning, where I saw clothes with bloodstain? Haha, but it didn't haunt me.

All through these hours since the morning, the nurse has been asking me to wear maternity pad. It is a super big and thick pad compared to the normal ones. Strange? Yeah, I thought it was when she asked me too since the bloody show is just a little by a little. By evening time, I start seeing more blood coming out over time. It was bleeding like heavy flow menstrual after few hours. After 9months without menstrual, this was an indescribable experience. There was an instance when YS told me that there's some blood stain on the bed and I went to the toilet to change the pad. The midwife told him that that is only a small amount of blood. More is to come especially during the labour. She kept reminding YS as she scare later he'll faint. Haha. Anyway, joke aside, from 9.30pm onwards, I can start feeling more intense pain and regular contraction. And there were occasions where I felt I want to pangsai. I sat at the toilet bowl for some time telling nurse that I need to clear my bowel. Then they told me it's the baby's head pressing and kept emphasize NOT TO PUSH as it will injure some muscles or tissue. Argh, but pushing will really make you feel better... Anyway, got to hang in there. To be honest, at that moment with that baby head pressing on, I really wish I could just push the baby out there and then, and settle the "project of the day" Err... in the toilet?? At that time you don't really think much. ahha... Anyway am glad that was only an imagination.

Around 10pm, I start sweating. The pain is still bearable and as per the midwive's advise, I was trying to sleep to store my energy for later use. At times when the contraction peaks, I hold on to my fist, curl my body, whatever, to distract myself from the pain. YS must be regret offering his fingers instead of his arms for me to squeeze... Poor thing.... The aunty midwife did asked if I wanted an injection at the buttock for pain control, which also can make you dizzy and sleep a little before the stage 2 starts. I refused few times since the pain was still bearable and I was preparing mentally for greater pains since I promise YS I will try not to give in to epidural. After the midwife asked few more times, I decided to take la, haiya, perhaps it will make me enjoy the process more. After all it's already in the package and everyone takes it without side effects... But since my contraction has just begun to be consistence and slowly building up, the nurse scare that after giving me this injection, the "momentum" of contraction will drop and the labour time will be much much longer. Thus, at the end, I agreed not to take the injection, and the pain continue to builds up... Besides, I was dilated to around 7-8cm at that time. And the nurse says that it's too late to give that injection though since I've been able to stand the pain level thus far...

When it was near to 11am, I was a little sad, as the aunty midwife shift will be over. She did shared a lot on breathing techniques since I already forgotten most of it after the antenatal class. Her techniques are those more practical ones, she said those taught in the class are too theory and it may not help much. Well, thank God that she did shared with us the practical techniques verbally before she's off duty. Cos the next shift midwives did not tell you anything. Just tell you "push... push... ah, push harder..."

My next option of pain release will be the laughing gas, again, this is also part of the package. The aunty midwife did let me "practice" how to use it few hours ago when she was explaining about the breathing techniques. This time, I really cant stand it and straight away reach for the mask. After breathing in the gas while contraction peaks, it really helped to "distract" you, though you may still feel painful if you keep focus on it... I did not really feel good if continually breathing in the gas. It made me felt dizzy and blur. Thus I only breathe it when the contraction peaks. And I've shifted my focus to "ok ok ... the contraction is coming... ok ok ... standby mask... ok breathe!!!!!... ok now let go the mask and breathe normally". To be frank, I did still feel the pain when the contraction peaks, but the loud breathing in the mask reminds me of my diving experience. haha... those relaxing moments :) so I closed my eyes and made my mind imagining that I'm currently diving! haha. The last dive session was during our honeymoon in Sipadan 1.5 years ago. Sweet memory le... Those diving imagination really helps, since the contraction peaks were so frequent, felt like every 15s or 20s.

I asked YS to ask the midnight shift nurse to check on me. She said I was 8cm dilated. We request for the Dr to come, she says still too early. After few minutes, I felt really really painful and got a very strong urge to push. I asked YS to ask for the nurse again. The nurse, who sits outside at the counter most of the time, without monitoring my contraction and fetal heartbeat as dedicated as the aunty midwife, brush YS off saying that she just checked few minutes ago and won't dilate 10cm too soon. I guess YS got really angry and almost wanted to pick a fight. Reluctantly the nurse came in again and check on my dilation. Then she said "wait..." and went of. We heard her calling the Dr in, "Already 10cm, Dr..."

Argh.... YS was very angry. At that time, I was more worried, since the water bag is not burst yet!! Will it burst itself before the Dr comes in? We really pray hard. It was amazing that this "natural birth" decision has brought us this far. I was thinking, if we've allowed Dr to burst my water bag (which the earlier shift nurse called it my "bao bei"), probably I'd have delivered? Many people said that when the water bag is burst, contraction is more painful due to the friction. Guess I was really blessed with God's favour that all the peak contractions I "suffered" through was milder ones :p

I was kind of dizzy and blur when YS told me that the Dr has arrived. I was glad he made it on time. He checked on my dilation, not sure if I heard wrongly, dilated 11cm... I think my legs were lifted up on some holders at both side of the bed. It helps you to open your legs wide. The Dr. then burst my waterbag, and I could felt his hand pushing slightly on my stomach, trying to control the water from flowing out too quickly. The warm sensation was felt. A lot of water... ahah... I could still ask Dr, "Has baby pangsai inside? Got meconium?" and He said, "No." Wow, thank God. And thank God that no cord prolapse nor placenta abruption.

Next, the Dr asked me to start pushing. It was pretty natural that when the contraction peaks, you'll push to reduce the pain. Wow, felt so much better now since I've been having the urge to push for so long but am not allowed to, and now all you need to do is PUSH. Really felt much better. At first when the nurse took away my "diving mask" I felt helpless, ah, how to distract the pain? But it actually wasn't so bad as you'll stay more alert.

To conserve energy, I was closing my eyes most of the time during the pushing. Partly to be more sensitive to the upcoming contraction, partly to rest while no contraction. At this moment, I realised that I have a lot of stamina to breathe in, out and hold on to it, and push while continue to breath out. Haha.. I took me few rounds to really catch the "tricks" to make the pushing more efficient. Halfway through the pushing (cant really remember the sequence), Dr asked if I need his help. I replied no. Then, I asked him, "Err, what kind of help ar?" Some friends did told me some Dr will help to press on your stomach to top up on your pushing. "Forcep?" I asked. He said, "No, vacuum..." "Err... no thanks..." That's really neither of my options.

Besides "push...push harder... ok ready, push again...", there was a moment the nurse shouted, "ok, can see 10cents already." What? 10cents only? I remember that the new mother this morning, after 50cents, there were quite some time before the baby's first cry. Now mine is only 10cents, not even 50cents!! Oh my... haih... I guess I wasn't pushing enough. After many pushes, I heard "50 cents already....". And YS kept shouting, "ok... one more. One last push... Ok.. you can do it. One last one..." There were so many LASTs until finally I could felt that the head is coming out and I just need to hang in there, continue to push, but harder and hold that breathe longer to sustain the pushing momentum. Something big came out, and later on baby cry. I was aware of the episiotomy cut i guess. I couldn't recall if the Dr said, "Congratulations, it's a baby boy", but I only remember that I was too tired to shed my tears as what I told YS I would earlier. Hahha... I remembered asking if the baby was born on 13th or 14th (the next day).

Later on was the 3rd stage of delivery, the delivery of placenta. There was an injection given near the episiotomy area. I thought that it was some pain killer for the episiotomy, but later on I read somewhere that it is for easing the delivery of the placenta. The delivery of placenta was quite smooth. The following many minutes I was lying on the bed, as the Dr patiently doing the stitches for the episiotomy. I guess the process was pretty long. Tried to chit chat with him since I was a little board (YS already left me to go take video of Clement) but I was afraid the Dr might be distracted and affect the stitches quality. After that the nurse passed the baby for me to see, asked me to check my name on 2 tags tied to his legs, and the baby was put on my breast to initiate breastmilk. I didn't managed to look at him clearly at such closed distance but I knew he made it too. The miraculous journey of him leaving his comfort water zone for 9months to this world filled with air.

By the time I got back my glasses, it was already 1.30am. What a long marathon. I told YS i felt like I've climbed a very very high mountain, or ran a very very long marathon. That night I could not urine, just the muscles are not responding somehow though my brain told them to. During my confinement I read about it in "What to Expect when you are expecting - Postpartum", apparently it's very normal. Thank God haemorrhoid did not gave me much problem throughout the delivery as well as during postpartum.

To God tbe all glory.

For more info on the labour stages, you may refer to

Friday, January 29, 2010

Lesson learnt 101

After blogging about 'almost' forgot to take the expressed milk from my working place, on 29th January, my 7th day in office, I missed the boat. I attended a teleconference till 6.01pm. And I totally forgot bout the milk until I saw the clock - 6:01pm.

Gosh, I walk at top speed to the clinic - where the mother's room locates. I was hopeful that the clinic is not closed yet. After all last few days a lady in-charged told me that she usually works till 6+pm, and I've still seen her around at 6.15pm. Was rather shocked when I see the clinic chained with padlock, and all lights off. Ah....... How? I remembered now that the lady in-charged is an Indian and probably she needs to leave on time for Thaipusam. As I did not bring my handphone with me, I needed to walk back to my cubicle, at top speed again. It's not very nearby though....

While I was walking, I was counting the days the milk will be "trapped" in the clinic. Since Monday is public holiday, by the time I collect it on Tuesday, the milk will be spoilt already :( I purposely pass by another mother's cubicle. She's gone. Guess no one stays on late on Friday, further more it'll be long weekend...

When I reached my cube, I immediately call the only Avago mother's hp number which I have (suddenly regretted not getting more numbers). Thank God she picked up the phone and told me that the security guards have the clinic's keys.

Filled with joy, I ran back towards the nearest guardhouse from the clinic. I bumped into 3 securities and requested them to open the clinic for me. The most senior guy was very reluctant to help. He told me that the clinic has recently changed a new padlock which they don't have the keys; and even if they have the key, I need permission from the lady in-charge to open (which they also do not have the lady's hp number, so how to call???)... I later on discovered that these guys were simply too selfish as they were on their way to the smoking area.

I called back the Avago mother. Thank God for good timing that she's at the main guardhouse at that time. Over the phone, I heard her pleading with the securities to help me get my milk out. To cut the whole story short, she told the securities that we needed to talk to the top management and finally approval was given to me to get my milk out from the clinic. One of the smoking guys were called back to unlock the clinic for me =)

It took me almost total 40mins to get the milk back. When we arrived home, Clement was already very sleepy and luckily he managed to strived through the bathing time without tears...

Lesson learnt, set alarm at 5:45pm daily, and even if got conference or meeting, leave temporarily. (Hehe, many colleagues support this idea after listening to my bad experience). Again, thank God for His favour. From that day onwards, I always tell Clement to appreciate every drop of his milk....

Started work since 21 Jan

I've started work for a week plus now. Thanks God Clement has been cooperative and wakes up around 6am every morning. With the daily routine below, YS and I are able to leave our house at 8am and reach office by 8.30am. We've made a point to reach office early, and leave office latest 6.15pm (without short-changing our earthly employer) so that we are able to reach home play with Clement before he goes to bed and sleep for hours.

Morning routine:
1. Clement drink milk (1st half)
2. Clement on potty for big business
3. mum go take bath while daddy play with Clement
4. mum prepare baby bath tub, warm water, soap, towel...
5. dad bathe Clement then dress up Clement while mum groom herself
6. mum play with Clement and ends the session with milk (2nd half)
7. dad brings Clement downstairs to handover to mother-in-law. Usually Clement is sleeping by then
8. mum continue expressing milk since Clement may not have emptied them. Dad will have his breakfast and prepare breakfast for mum
9. Mum packs breastpump and accessories, then have breakfast while dad sterilizes the used accessories which mum needs to bring to office.
10. Mum will continue her breakfast (usually 2 slices of bread) in the car and daddy drive the car

Sounds like daddy is doing many things. Am really blessed with a lovely husband. Most of my time is on feeding and pumping... Sometimes I do feel that I want to spend more time with Clement, hug hug Clement more, but for time efficiency wise, the above routines looks compacted already. Probably some sacrifices to be made while I'm still blessed with breastmilk, the best food for baby. Thus my best bonding time will be his feeding time, though he's mostly half awake and half asleep during that session.

In office, mum is always looking at the clock. 11am and 3pm is the time for mum to report to her 2nd full time job. Mum is blessed with a very efficient pump (Medela Pump-In-Style), loaned from a close relative. This pump saves her much time and mum is really happy about it. As the pump is in a backpack form, it's pretty easy to have outsiders thinking that mum only arrive work at 11+am or leaving office around 3+pm... Haih... Should I put a big tag telling that "I'm not going home" or "I'm in office since 8+am"... haha... some mothers did tell me that the breatfeeding room is safe enough to keep your belongings there so that you dont have to carry to and fro. Well, majority of them are using manual pumps, but the pump I'm using is pretty pricee, and it's not mine... Better take good care of it. Occasionally there are meetings that clashes with mummy's 2nd job. So need to make adjustments here and there. Really pray hard that I'll not have strings of continuous meetings, and also will have understanding colleagues and bosses. Haha. After all I'm just sacrificing my teabreak time for this 2nd full time job in office. Mummy almost forget to go collect her breastmilk from the room yesterday. (The place will be locked at 6pm).

After arrive home, dad and mum has very little bonding time with Clement as he usually is awake since 5.40pm and his awake time is pretty limited. When reach home, depending on what time, and also depending on the awakeness of Clement, the routine below is done flexibly (not in sequence):

1. mum and dad to eat dinner if Clement is not showing crankiness
2. mum will bathe Clement since in the morning dad does it
3. mum will feed Clement and express out the remaining
4. mum/dad will put Clement to bed
5. mum/dad will take turn to eat dinner we did not have it earlier while the other party stays upstairs with the baby

Weekends are very precious, and I understand why many new working parents say that. Am glad this coming weekend is a long weekend (with Monday as replacement holiday for Thaipusam). Really looking forward :)