Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Seasonal wish...


Whew!

I, gentle readers, am having a whirlwind of a festive season and that whirlwind is taking both Darling and the Bumtrinket along with it.

Best of all, is that my Mum is home for the holidays, though only for a week. It's great to have her around and be able to lie next to her and talk to my heart's content. We're both having so much fun with Baby... loads of hugs and kisses and silly songs involved... Hopefully she'll be back again next month, so that's something to look forward to!

Of course, no celebration is complete without literary fare, so during the past couple of days, I have been digging into these...

Yup, 15 of Roald Dahl's finest titles. The collection was a gift from me to Darling... but it's actually a gift for myself! :)

The Phizwizzing Collection

Now, one cannot live on love, books and fresh air. For the Bumtrinket's first Christmas, we went to a celebration at her great grandfather's place (D's grandfather). I have no pictures of the scrumptious lunch we ate, simply because no one wanted to wait long enough for pictures! However, I need to place on record that Darling's grandma makes THE BEST pork curry I have ever tasted! My humble contribution was a peaches and cream cheesecake, adapted from my secret recipe. Happily, pictures are available!

Yummy!


Scrummy!


And you know what else made my day? My biggest cousin got me my most favourite chocolate ever, because he heard I was hankering after it...



Yes, that is ONE KILOGRAM of chocolate, and no, I am not sharing!

Naturally, the little pipsqueak had to be garbed in a suitably festive manner. Last week, I went a little crazy at baby shops, visiting about half a dozen (accompanied by Baby and the nanny). The stuff cost the better part of Rs. 3000/-, baby clothes seeming to follow the same trend as lingerie, i.e. the smaller it is, the more it costs... You have to admit though, my purchases are oozing with cuteness and the baby was a picture to behold when she was all dolled up to my heart's content!




Finally, Darling and I watched the Hogfather, punctuated in between by feedings, burpings and rockings to sleep.. .

Gentle readers, may you have a festive season full of joy love and good cheer... and wishes for the very best from myself, Darling and Baby!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How NOT to furnish a baby crib


Cuddle overload!

During my baby shopping days, I went a little crazy with the cot furnishings... bumper pillows, bolster pillows, ordinary pillows, quilts, blankets, cot sheets, draw sheets and lots and lots of cuddly toys. A few days after the cot was lovingly decorated, I received an email with the updated guidelines on preventing SIDS - Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Although there is quite a kerfluffle about SIDS in USA, Aussie and Europe, we rarely hear about it in Asian countries. There are many reasons for this... all of them worthy of some consideration.

One is that in SL, small babies are almost always with their mother/grandmother and generally under supervision. I feel antsy about leaving the little Bumtrinket alone even when I go to brush my teeth. I would never dream of having her sleep in another room... as it is, her crib is right next to the bed, and she is only a couple of feet away from me. I can touch her when I want to, I can see her movements and I can hear her breathing. Studies have also shown that close proximity to the parent (mother) helps regulate infant breathing. I think there is a cultural/economic aspect here as well since the vast majority cannot afford the space for a separate sleeping area for a baby.

The other, of course, is breast feeding. Now this is also supported by traditional and cultural values and has been the rule rather than the exception in ancient SL. Exhibit B below is a woodcarving from the Ambekke Devale, and stolen from here.


During the 1970's there was heavy advertising by the milkfood companies, promoting infant formula but thanks to research and heavy lobbying by Prof. Priyani Soysa, Prof Dulitha Fernando, Dr Hiranthi Wijemanne and team, legislation was passed not only to ban marketing (Sri Lanka Code for the Promotion of Breastfeeding and Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes) but also to allow mothers maternity leave in order to feed their kids (Maternity Benefits Ordinance). Since 2005, there has been overwhelming research evidence that breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS.


Source : Unicef, 2009

Our traditional choice of bedding is another factor. Babies sleep on mats or in makeshift cradles made out of a saree or bed sheet. No toxic foam, no soft pillows, good ventilation. Also not much chance of being placed face down as in the West... less chance of suffocation.

Unfortunately, several studies have noted an increase in SIDS in Asia, which is attributed to adopting "Western" practices. In Sri Lanka, opinion is divided as to whether the rarity is due to good practices or due to under-diagnosis.

The American Academy of Paediatrics parental guide to safe sleeping can be viewed here.

My safety tips would be as follows

1. Use a coir (kohu) mattress, with a cotton lining. These are natural, no toxic products like in foam mattresses, allows air to circulate and is cooler for the baby. Make sure it fits firmly in the crib.

2. If you're using cot bumpers along the sides of the crib, make sure they are firmly secured (check every day or even more often).

3. No loose bedding or bits of cloth/blankets on the crib.

4. No pillows.

5. No soft toys.

6. Burp the baby well, hold upright for 10-15 minutes afterwards, and then lay the baby on his/her back (not on tummy).

7. Any "tummy time" must be supervised.

8. If the baby is sleeping on your bed, make sure you/your partner don't fall deep asleep and roll over or squish the baby.

9. Breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed.

10. Make sure baby's immunization is upto date.

______________________

Edit:

11. Sleep in the same room as baby

12. Supervise constantly

______________________

Sources:

Department of Census and Statistics (2003) Sri Lanka Demographic and Health Survey 2002, Department of Census and Statistics, Sri Lanka: Colombo.

Fernando, R & Abayasinghe, N (2008) Sudden infant death syndrome/unexplained infant deaths in Sri Lanka, Medicine, Science and the Law, 48, 4, pp. 325-328.

Nelson, EAS, Fujita, T, Sawaguchi, A & Knight, B (1998) Is the incidence of SIDS increasing in Asia? International Journal of Legal Medicine, 111, 5, pp. 278-280.

Reid, GM (2006) Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): Microgravity and inadequate sensory stimulation, Medical Hypothesis, 66, 5, pp. 920-924.

Unicef (2009) Infant and young child feeding programme review: case study - Sri Lanka, New York: Unicef.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I love it when...


... she goes "brrrrrrrrrrrr" when being burped and blows milky bubbles

... it's feeding time and she gets all excited, starts kicking her legs and literally pants in anticipation

... she unlatches and then rests her cheek on my breast and looks at me (like, okie, thatz enuff miluk, I wantz to be wif my Ammi)

... she grasps my finger in her hand, even though I know it's a reflex

... she sucks on my pinkie, and then it slowly dawns on her that she has the wrong appendage

... she gurgles in the bath when I splash her

... she protests against a wet nappy by lifting her bottom off the cot and wriggling it

... she sleeps with her fists clenched over her ears (like, Shhhhh, I'z tryings to get some sleeps!)

I just love her... so SO much!

Monday, December 5, 2011

To C or not to C

So yeah, I had a C section. There were many reasons, and I won't be going into them here. It's not easy to decide between a normal vaginal delivery (NVD) and a C section (CS). NVD is the "natural" way to go... but also involves torn vaginal walls, a lot of pain, bleeding etc. Unless you plan on giving birth in a barn, it's not truly "natural" either... drugs such as oxytocin are given to kick start and maintain the contractions, and pethidine or even an epidural is given for the pain. This is because :
a) no woman should be in unnecessary pain (unless she wants to)
b) prolonged labour means loads of risks to both mother and baby

Almost always, an episiotomy cut is done, effectively widening the vaginal passage in a manner that will not affect the muscles controlling the bowel. So you end up with stitches, whether you like it or not.

CS is basically abdominal surgery... you get sliced open, there's a lot of blood and pain once the anaesthesia wears off.

NVD is safer for the mother, riskier for the baby. But it's better for the baby because the brain gets "moulded" and extra water is squeezed out of the baby lungs. CS is riskier for the mum, but the baby is born all pretty and rosy, not having gone through the trauma of being squeezed through a bony passage. NVD is unpredictable, you never know what might go wrong at a god-awful hour when no doctors are immediately available. CS offers a measure of comfort for the control freak.

I know a lot of people think that mothers going for C sections have it "easy". A couple of months ago, some of the Sinhala blogs on Kottu were discussing if mothers who deliver "normally" (NVD) love their children more. This offended me even then... how can pain be a measure of affection? I can't compare the two, since I didn't go through both*, but I can assure you that the C section is by no means easy.

The actual delivery is like the proverbial piece of cake, but afterwards, the mother has to deal with the contractions of the womb, since it is now going through the process of getting back to size (this happens naturally with NVD and is mostly complete by the time the baby is out). The process is helped by hormones that are secreted in response to feeding.

The difference? After a C section, the womb has a large surgical cut along the lower part... so with each contraction, the raw edges are squeezed tight against each other.... over and over again. For 2 days, every time I fed my child, I could feel the contractions one after the other, pain rippling through my insides in relentless waves. Sometimes it would make me moan with agony, tears dripping down onto the innocent little face nestling at my breast. The nice doctors offered me pethidine, but I refused, because I knew it would make the baby sleepy and make breast feeding more difficult to establish. And there's the pain from the surgical skin cut as well... a burning red gash across my lower belly.

I know it's not a competition, but on behalf of all the much maligned mums who go through a CS, I'd like to place on record that it's certainly not an easy piece of cake to eat!
______________________________
* I need to ask my Sis-in-law or my friend T who both went through hours of labour and then had to have emergency CS, yipes!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Out and about!

We had our first major outing today... and by "we" I mean Darling, myself and the little Bumtrinket. After six weeks (six weeks!) of being cooped up in the house, I was like a bird, flapping away towards freedom, and in high excitement, babbling away like a bubbling brook. Seriously, six weeks and the only outings were two visits to the Paediatrician and one to my VOG... (specially considering my active pre-baby lifestyle), I mean, who wouldn't get postpartum depression?

Don't get me wrong, I love being with the little pipsqueak, changing her, feeding her, rocking her... just watching her sleep gives me little goosebumps of joy and watching her develop and grow is incredible. She gave her first responsive smile three days ago... her first social milestone. And it was amazing... instead of her usual slightly blank smile (also directed at the light bulb, the water jug and Eeyore), she looked at me, focused on my face and this wide, delighted smile just spread across her baby face as if she was thinking "Yes! There's my Ammi!" I was so excited, I was literally hopping about when I interrupted Darling at his very important meeting and told him the good news.

But I digress.

One reason for the new found travel is obviously, that she is 6 weeks old, and ready to brave the wide wild world. Another is our aristocratically named Nanny. Readers, introducing Charlotte, a gentle soul with just the right knack to handle the baby and the slightly neurotic mama at the same time.

Today being a "neketh" day half the eligible couples in SL are getting married, and we happened to be invited to two of them. So we went. Darling, me, Baby, Charlotte, Eeyore, changing mat, nappies, baby wipes, baby dresses, et al. We made a glorious and conspicuous entrance at one hotel, caught up with the "gang", mwah mwah'ed the Aunties, nicked the key to the room reserved for the happy couple, fed the baby, then breezed out, only to make a similar appearance at a similar hotel nearby.

We came home, nerves slightly frazzled, with a voraciously hungry baby and a dizzily exuberant mama.

Watch out Colombo, here we come!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Birthday!


Yes gentle readers, we are one month old today! (Her excellency has a tendency to use the Royal plural) :D

I've been meaning to write about what it was like.. the Big Day... but some memories are too precious to put to words well.

As it turned out, I had a Cesarean section (for a number of reasons)... it was good because, control freak that I am, I could decide on the date, time and the doctors who were to be there... not exactly an option for emergencies! So there I was, clad in theater garb, being wheeled into the waiting area. I hadn't got much sleep the previous night, so instead of being in a state of pleasant anticipation, I conked out, and the Anaesthetist had to shake me awake... erm, never mind.

Now I've had a lumbar puncture before, which hurt like hell, and had steeled myself to put on a brave show during the spinal anaesthesia. Honestly though, my doctor was so wonderful, I didn't feel a thing, not even that huge needle being plunged into my spine. So there I was, biting my lips and tensing for the pain and she says "okie, you can lie down" and I'm like "that's it?". She must have thought I was demented...

So once the drugs kicked in, I was stripped (farewell maiden modesty!), and then covered again with sterile cloth. My VOG gives me a thumbs up and I'm sure a big smile was there under his mask as he ushered Darling into the theater. The poor man (Darling, not the VOG) kept his eyes determinedly away from the scene of carnage and sat down on a little stool near me. It was incredibly comforting to have him near me... whispering soothing things and rubbing my shoulder while the doctors sliced me up. The drugs dull the pain, but you can still feel everything going on, and I was thinking, ok, now they cut the skin, now they pushed up the omentum, now they're mobilizing the womb...

Suddenly there was this huge sensation of pressure, making me gasp and making D pat frantically away at my shoulder... and she was born! There she was, pink with the effort of breathing for the first time, her eyes scrunched up against the brightness of the theater lights and body slick with our combined blood and fluids. Her mouth was wide open as she squalled with all her might, announcing her presence to the world.

I could only say "oh she's gorgeous" before dissolving in tears. You know how in corny novels they describe how someone's heart melted like a pat of butter in the sun? That's exactly how I felt. I kept craning to see what was happening while the Paediatrician assessed her and then the lovely, warm, wriggling bundle of joy was on my chest, snuffling her way towards the milk supply. How do I describe it... that first contact with my child, my flesh and blood? I'm sorry... there are no words... I was just floating on this fluffy white cloud, clutching her close to me.

Afterwards? Well all 3 of us donned out L boards and got on with being a new family... feeding, burping and changing nappies.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Words

He said

"Twelve years ago, I stood in front of the Taj Mahal, and thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world"

He said

"Four years ago, I saw you step out of the car in your wedding dress, and I thought the most beautiful thing was you"

He said

"I look at our little baby, nestled in your arms... and I know she is the most beautiful thing in the world"

I love you, my Darling!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Poopy tales*

*highly sensitive people are advised to stay away from this post

So yes, baby poop has now become a delightful standard addition to my daily routine. Newborns have only milk in their cute little tummies, so the poop is golden yellow, has the consistency of toothpaste and isn't really smelly. Darling begs to disagree with the last statement, and his pained face at every nappy change is a sight worth seeing... but that's because Ms Bumtrinket saves the messiest ones for him!

With my vast experience of 2 weeks, I have cautiously divided the poop into a few categories

1. The first poop: This is basically the accumulated gunk of 9 months being purged from the baby intestines. It's the colour and consistency of hot tar, and presumably equally difficult to clean off. During the first day we used over a hundred (yes, one hundred) cotton balls for cleaning purposes. Happily, after about 2-3 motions, things get a bit easier.

2. The relaxed poop: Baby gives due warning (squall, poopy face), and is positioned in a way to cause minimal damage. By manipulating the baby, it's possible to make attractive swirls on the diaper, rather like decorating cupcakes...

3. The gassy poop: The is minimal warning, usually an ominous rumble from down under, and usually when Darling is "on-call". Baby is rushed to changing surface. Poop comes out in a projectile manner, hitting the far end of the changing mat or the wall beyond, completely obliterating anything (cotton balls, clean nappies, baby cream) in its path.

I shall be updating this list periodically.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ahhh, motherhood!


This my dear readers, is the only occupation where the job description includes delight at the bodily effluents of another person... :)

1. Poop
As in : OMG she did her first poop....! OMG she did her 17th poop! (Ad infinitum)

2. Farts
As in : Better out than in, my darling! (Thank you Shrek)

3. Burps
As in : Wow, that was a *big* burp (Yes, and she will not regurgitate and choke)

4. Pee
As in : Yes! Her 10th wet nappy! (She is not dehydrated!)

5. Weight gain
As in : 200g! Brilliant! (That's equal to 2 whole marie biscuit packets!)

Await more additions to the list...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Names for Baby

So, Darling and I are considering the following options...
  1. Baby
  2. Bubbee
  3. Babsi
  4. Babsianna
  5. Babushka
  6. Bambina
  7. Ms. Poopy Bottom (aka PeeBee)
  8. Ms. Bootle Bumtrinket
You may begin voting now....

Friday, October 14, 2011

A relatively short guide to pregnancy for the completely clueless


A couple of my commentors were kind enough to say they learnt a lot about pregnancy from my humble posts, and some even followed up with more questions. I realised that we have access to very few sources about actual health experiences, pregnancy related or otherwise.

When I worked/trained at DMH and Castle Street, I used to spend a lot of time chatting with the mums-to-be and giving them advice on diet, exercise, what to expect in the labour room etc. Quite often though, I'd feel like a complete fool, because it was all "book-learnt" and never from actual experience. In fact, I had a 17 year old girl (let's ignore the underage bit for the moment) tell me off in the labour room after asking me how many kids I had. Her scathing comment went along the lines of "you haven't a clue about what you're talking about and what I'm going through, so be quiet and concentrate on getting this thing outta me!"

So this is one of the Bibles for our Ob/Gyn appointments.

Image from here

So as soon as the test came positive, I blew the dust off my copy and started thumbing through. My reaction was one of deep disgust, since (although it was obvious) everything was clinical and from the point of the doctor, not from the point of the mum. In addition, none of those much revered "Ten Teachers" were female... and the book was summarily discarded.

My cousin then lent me her copy of this.

Image from here

It's a bit wordy, but it became standard bedside reading and it includes chapters on pregnancy planning, week by week update about the baby, labour and best of all bits for the proud papa to read.

I'm not going to reproduce the book here, but just include a few highlights from my own experiences (wow, it feels so good to say that... am not a pregnancy-noob anymore!)

How do you know you're pregnant?

I've mentioned several times that I figured it out a couple of weeks before my period was due. One reason is that I'm frequently invited to do a lecture on the "physiological changes in pregnancy" to nursing students, paramedics etc., so I knew what to look out for!

It helps of course, if you're planning to get pregnant and have thrown your stash of pills/condoms out of the window. There are many ways to time doing "it", including counting dates off a calendar, checking your temperature daily for subtle changes. I personally recommend just getting rid of the... um... preventives and having a lot of relaxed fun with your significant other, but of course, to each his own.

The first thing I noticed that I was uncharacteristically hungry all the time and felt quite bloated. Then my boobs started to hurt (gah!!) and I actually went to work bra-less for a few days (no one notices under a saree anyway). Then came the need to pee all the time. By then, I just knew.

Of course the only way to be completely sure is to do a pregnancy test. The urine test (dipstick) costs between 40-50 rupees at the pharmacy and is simple to use... just stick it for a few seconds (5-15, it varies from brand to brand) and wait for the results. It's good to have a wide mouthed container (e.g. marmite jar) handy for moments like that. Note however, you need to be at least 5-6 weeks pregnant (i.e. about 2 weeks after your period is due) for this to be reliable, so any time before that, you may as well stir your urine with a hairpin.

Image from here

Unfortunately, when my test came positive (yay!) I noticed that the strip had expired (it was a remnant of my days working in the female casualty wards). So we went and got a blood test done the next day. The blood test is a bit more reliable and can read positive as early as 3 weeks after your last period. There are 2 methods, one tests just positive/negative, while the other gives the actual hormone levels, so that the doctor can estimate how far along you are... this is useful if your periods are irregular. The test can cost between Rs. 1500/- to Rs. 3500/-, and if you're doing it, I would recommend one of the more established/reliable labs.

To be 100% sure, an ultra sound scan is needed, and this gives additional information like where the pregnancy is (some conceive outside the womb), whether it's a singleton or multiples (eeek!) and a more reliable estimate of how many weeks the baby is. The test can cost between Rs. 1500/- to 3,000/- depending on the hospital and doctors charges. You'd also probably need a referral or at the very least a positive urine/blood test, before you saunter in and ask for a scan!

Planning for a pregnancy

Of course, it's always better if you can do this (cue flashbacks of all catastrophic-unwanted-unexpected pregnancy movies). If you like, you can have a pre-conception chat with a doctor/nurse/midwife/nutritionist and find out how you can optimise yourself for the baby. This is very important if you have a medical condition needing long term treatment.

This means having a chat with your significant other, checking your blood sugar, blood pressure and haemoglobin, avoiding smoking (even second hand) and alcohol, getting a dental check up etc. It's also good to start on the vits: vitamin B-complex, vitamin C and folic acid. In fact, I'd recommend them to any young female of reproductive age because, apart from being good for the teeny tiny baby, they give you nice healthy skin and shiny hair. You can also take iron and calcium if you like, but this can be saved for later in the pregnancy as long as you have a healthy diet.

AVOID the vitamin A supplements and foods that have loads of it like liver and cod liver oil because it can cause birth defects. Some acne medications contain retinol related compounds and should be avoided as well. The usual amounts of vitamin A obtained from yellow fruits and veggies are perfectly adequate and necessary for mum and the baby.

If you HAVEN'T planned and still find you are pregnant, no need to get all worked up and panicky about bygones... just decide to take it from there... :D

_________________________________________________________

Hmmmm... I just realised that the "relatively short" in the title is totally misleading. I'm not even sure if anyone wants to read all these details. Anywez, await part 2 soon (unless the Baby arrives, in which case, await part 2 later!)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Comic of the day

9 Chickweed Lane

Image stolen from here

Just a few more days...

Counting, hoping, praying...

:)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chuti-Baba

This post is dedicated to my 2 year old nephew, A.

I spent a very relaxing day at his (or rather, his parents') place, being waited on hand and foot. It's amazing how everyone is so kind and accommodating when you are pregnant... it almost makes up for looking like a beached whale!

Towards the end of the day, A finally cottoned on to what everyone meant when they kept pointing to my belly and saying "See A, there's a Chuti Baba in there for you to play with". He started laughing and stroking the tummy, while cooing "Chuti-Baba" over and over again. He then ran to his toys, and comes back with a pile of lego stuck under his shirt, pointing to it and saying "Chuti-Baba" much to our amusement.

When his mother said, no, that's something different, he ran over to me, pulled up my preggy top (ooops!) and discovered my belly button, that recently started popping out (that deserves a post of its own!). Laughing delightedly, A started pressing my belly button, obviously trying to get the incumbent playmate to hurry on out!

Kids, I tell you!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bop Bop Baby!

Just the 2 of us

I don't want my pregnancy to end! In spite of all the worry and the complications and the fear and uncertainty... I swear, this has been the best experience of my life.

Pregnancy symptoms

Baby has truly been the sweetest and most considerate foetus anyone could wish for. When I first figured out I was pregnant (and this was a good 2 weeks before I missed my period), I just hugged the secret to myself. Just me and Baby - the two of us in our own private universe. Darling was let in on the secret... and then there were three.

Awesome threesome!

I hardly had any morning sickness... I may have thrown up a grand total of 4 times during the past 9 months, and on 2 of those occasions it was food poisoning rather than the preggy hormones. Sure, I felt queasy sometimes, stopped being able to taste certain flavours, and was completely put off by others... but on the whole, Baby and I managed to eat healthily and heartily.

Things are a little different now... I get excruciating cramps in my legs at night, that make me wake up literally screaming in pain. Getting off bed involves complicated wriggly movements and a lot of effort. Whenever I walk more than a few steps or climb stairs I feel absurdly breathless. And I need to pee... all. the. time. This is complicated by the fact that I keep dreaming that something terrible has happened. I've always had vivid dreams, in full colour, and with smells, sounds, the works. I've woken up distraught more times than I can count, sobbing because Baby had "disappeared" or "never existed" or had been "taken".

Specially after the most recent scare, I've started to welcome the symptoms... even the cramps. It's "proof" that I'm still pregnant and Baby is still there with us. I think they're not even bitter-sweet anymore. Just pure sweetness.

The kicks

These, I think are the sweetest of all. The textbooks call it "quickening", the sensation of feeling the baby move. At first, I wasn't even sure if that was what I felt... it was so small and so gentle... as if a flower petal had bumped against my belly. And then a few days later, it was as if someone was blowing bubbles inside me, that gently floated around, bumped against the walls of my womb and then went "bop".

That's what Darling and I call it... bopping. I tell Darling that I pity him, because he will never know how wonderful it feels to have this wonderful, living bundle of joy wriggling inside. And day by day Baby keeps bopping more and more, making my tummy bounce and wobble... and it's so difficult to suppress a delighted smile or laugh when that happens.

Baby somehow seems most responsive to Darling. Baby is Daddy's little love bug... and the bops are the strongest when D reads aloud to both of us, or spends time talking to Baby about his day at work and what not. Baby also bops in time to pirith and classical music. Excuse a mother's natural pride when I say that Baby has impeccable taste.
_______________________________

So here I am, counting my days and enjoying every bump and wriggle inside me...

Part of me never wants to let go of this warm wonderful feeling...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Friends for Baby



This is Eeyore.

Eeyore was the first birthday present I got from Darling, and I remember how (7 years ago) he sheepishly walked into Faculty, carrying this large shapeless bundle wrapped in red wrapping paper. Eeyore has since graced my bed... being cuddled and talked to, especially when D is away on trips or holidays.


This is Little Eeyore. When in Hong Kong 2 weeks ago, this is what Darling bought first... Baby's first soft toy! Apparently he couldn't resist getting the little cute cuddly thing... doesn't he have the most winsome expression?


So there they are... Big Eeyore for Ammi and Little Eeyore for Bubbee. But Darling had been worried that Little Eeyore would be all lonely until Baby came along. So he decided to bring along his friends as well...


The more playmates for Baby, the merrier we'll all be!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bottom's up!

These days, when I look down at my tummy, it no longer appears uniformly round, but strangely lopsided... like a bullet.
The view from the top

Sometimes it looks like the badly drawn picture A (above) and sometimes like picture B. My last scan confirmed that Baby had flipped over, and is now in the recommended "head down" position.

So that large bump is the nice little rounded bottom, which Baby keeps moving from side to side in a sort of slow but enthusiastic rumba... :)

Darling says what ever Baby's other features may be, Baby has certainly inherited my posterior! Lol!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pregnant with song...

Hello everybody...! Well, you can see the sad outcome of my resolution to blog more. Darling - of course - took off with the laptop... and the desktop crashed shortly afterwards. Maybe it was lonely too. I managed to keep up with my bloglists at work, but felt guilty about blogging during work hours... and many posts just remained unwritten.

So even though JP and Chavie had some great ideas with links and the TV series, I did end up doing far more housework than was strictly necessary, including cooking a meal for my cousin (who is also pregnant) and her family. Am utterly exhausted today, but happy because I took the noon dane to the temple near my house and also found some time to meditate.

The good news is that Darling is back!! Yay! (Does happy dance)... And now I have laptop and interwebs while he sleeps off the jet lag. We watched the latest episodes of a couple of TV series, so I am very happy! The goodies brought home deserve a post of their own, and I shall get to it the moment I snaffle the camera and the cable from Darling's stuff.

I've been listening to a lot of great music these days, both for my benefit (keep down 'em raging hormones) and for Baby's benefit too. There's a lot of classical music on my play lists, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart and music from Swan lake and the Nutcracker Suite.



The Moonlight sonata, my favourite!


Also Yanni (esp. the Acropolis tracks... love them, totally love them!) and the more contemporary cute songs like Firefly



Getting a thousand hugs, from ten thousand lightning bugs... so cute!

I've also developed (not surprisingly paerhaps) an affinity for preggy movies/songs. Obviously, classics (ahem) like Juno and the Waitress top the list.



This is definitely going to be a "sing Baby to sleep" song



Great expectations indeed...



Ignore the slightly disturbing pregnant teen back-up singers in this!

So, yeah, that's what I've been up to last week. No internets, no skype with Darling (thank goodness for Dialog-my 10), lots of music and a reasonably clean house!

How has your week been?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lonely


So here I am, sitting all alone in my room, hoping the days will pass quickly. Darling has flown out of SL on a work related trip, and I can't describe how much I miss him. Of course there are advantages in travelling on company moolah, like getting to fly business class, and being put up at a swanky hotel. Thanks to Halik, however, I have been having visions of svelte Cathay Pacific stewardesses cooing "oh hello, Mr. Darling, would you like unlimited refills of assorted nuts?", not the most restful, you would have to agree.

Darling has been trying very hard to lessen the impact on me... taking me on a delightful mini-break to Bentota just before he left, and calling me three times a day since he got there. He has also left instructions to Brother to maintain regular supply of chocolate eclairs and apple juice, and admonitions all over facebook, email and elsewhere not to be a pundit and do any cleaning or heavy lifting. This is quite justified because generally being jobless and lonely tends to trigger my OCD, which results in me cleaning the bathroom tiles or the floor skirting with a toothbrush.

Meanwhile, I've set myself a long "to-do" list, which includes blogging more. But gentle readers, do forgive the over abundance of preggy-posts. Nothing fills my universe more than the minute human being inside me... and nothing gives me more joy.

Have a great Monday!

Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm pregnant... what's your excuse?


Last week saw me waddle into one of the better known 5 star hotels in Colombo. I hadn't been to one of those for some time, and even better, my sense of taste was getting back to normal... so I was obviously looking forward to enjoying the fun, music and the food at the wedding.

We were late, but not late enough to dive into the buffet right away. After about 15 minutes of smiling serenely at the rest of the crowd and swaying gently to the strains of classical music, the hunger pangs hit. It is incredible how quick and intense the sensation of hypoglycaemia is these days... I get irritable, my head hurts, tummy rumbles and Baby does the cha-cha on my internal organs. There was no sign of wedding cake or the welcome drink. I waved frantically at a waiter who was loitering nearby, desperate for sustenance.

Angel (smiling sweetly) : we only just got to the hall, do you think we could have some drinks served to this table?

Waiter (somewhat loudly) : NO

Eh? What??? How dare he... what's wrong with him... can't he see I'm pregnant? I need special treatment...! Hang on.... I'm entitled to a welcome drink, dammit!!

I sit there, massively pregnant, wrapped in my cream silk saree, the voluminous folds making me look more like a beached whale than anything else, and stare up at him in shock.

Angel (stammering) : But why not?

Waiter (miffed) : we have been instructed not to serve drinks, Madam.

...................

...................

??????????

...................

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The penny drops.


@##$@&&****!!!!!


Angel (in a voice so cold that hell would have frozen over) : I meant a welcome drink you moron not an alcoholic drink!

Waiter : Ah... um... sure.... (and scuttles off)

The rest of my unsympathetic table-mates burst out into gales of hysterical laughter. The general consensus was that the waiter has (quite understandably) put down my dimensions to alcoholic cirrhosis!

Hmmmp! I don't get no respect!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Our little survivor

Thanks so much everyone for all your good wishes and for sharing our joy at the impending arrival of a wee bundle of joy. I owe everyone a bit of an explanation as to why the announcement was kept so late. Trust me, you weren't the only ones, some of our close relatives didn't find out till almost six months into the pregnancy...

Let me digress a minute on our traditions associated with pregnancy... among them eating jackfruit and brinjals (to ensure abundant milk), not completing the baby clothes before the delivery, not bringing the cot home before the baby, and reciting religious chants (Angulimala piritha) to ensure smooth delivery. In other words, there is no assumption that the birth is a certainty and that all will go well. Life is uncertain... and obviously, someone from my field will have abundant evidence of this uncertainty.

I knew I was pregnant a good couple of weeks before I missed my period. Maybe because I was more aware of the changes in my body... maybe because I just had a sense of not being "alone". So Darling and I waited, all starry eyed until it was time to do the blood test. I can't find the words to explain how I felt when I looked at my HCG report... nothing I have ever done before or since was comparable to this big jolt of joy that ran through my body. Some of you may remember that in the past, my views about kids have changed from ambivalent to negative to "whatevah" to expectant... mostly because (career woman that I am) I had little faith in my parenting skills. Over the last eight months, not a smidgen of a doubt has crossed my mind... even when I tested myself by deliberately thinking "will I be a good mum?" my gut reaction would always be "Good mum? Of course I'm going to be a good mum... I'm going to be the best mum ever, because no one can love my little Bubee more than I do".

One of the first pics... Baby lies between the green and yellow crosses

That said, the last 8 months have not been a bed of roses. Soon after the first scan, a contaminated sandwich gave me Shigella food poisoning. The fever, vomiting and diarrhoea nearly caused a miscarriage... Baby was 1.29cm long... and 1cm of the sac had separated from the protective walls of my womb! I was terrified... but our little survivor kept hanging in there.

After about 3 months, I kept feeling lousy, got odd fevers, swollen lymph nodes and developed a leaky valve in my heart. My blood work was crazy... and I had three consultants (still do actually) scratching their heads and wondering what was wrong. During the next 2 months I was tested for every nasty and obscure disease under the sun, from TB and HIV to toxaplasma and Epstein Barr virus. And throughout it all, Baby continued to thrive and grow in leaps and bounds.


Baby @ 13 weeks


Somehow, I got the ok to travel abroad, and honestly, those 3 weeks in Malaysia were a godsend. Of course the training was hectic... but I had no other responsibilities... I did minimum shopping and spent most evenings and weekends in my room with my feet up, reading Terry Pratchet. Once I got back, my Mum needed cataract surgery and Darling was hospitalised, (food poisoning again - honestly, we seem to attract the worst bugs).

And Baby continued to grow and develop. I felt the very first kicks exactly when I was supposed to... and the growth scans were right there in the midline. The "anormaly scan" is usually done at about 20 weeks and the doctor looks at everything visible... the brain, spine, heart, face, palate and nose, the stomach the kidneys and the bladder. Baby got gold stars in all of them... somehow managing to overcome the limitations of an illness prone mother.

I wish I could be in better health, for Baby's sake, but even as I type this, I am on medical leave, lying on my left side to maximise the blood flow to the placenta. Somehow, during the last few weeks, Baby hasn't grown as expected. I'm just 32 weeks pregnant and hoping against hope that we will not need to go for a pre-mature delivery. The worst thing about being a doctor is knowing full well of all the nasty things that can go wrong and having a dozen worst case scenarios playing through your mind.

Hang in there my little Angel, my Sweetie, my Cutie! You're a fighter and a survivor... You're the best thing that has ever happened to your Mum and Dad... we love you so very much and are rooting for you all the way...


Stay with us...




Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I can't do a shoe post because... (part I)


I have ugly feetz.

No, seriously. I return from Malaysia, all ready to get pampered and petted by the usual ladies at my regular joint. I call them to get an appointment and I get this heavily accented female voice tersely informing me that they "do not provide services anymore". Hmmm.... I think they have gone bankoloth, though I doubt it had anything to do with my not gracing their premises with my custom.

So here I am, as hairy as big foot... make that big-ugly-foot, since I haven't had a pedi in ages, and the sight of my poor callused feet is not for the faint of heart.

Luckily, DeeCee in her timely and helpful manner has put up a post regarding her waxing experiences... and hopefully her wax-lady will be of help to me as well.

I've been waxing for about 4 years now... and trust me, although it hurts like hell at first, it's totally worth it because the hair grows slower and finer and softer each time and the skin gets nice and soft too. I get my upper lip waxed as well because threading hurts WAY more and the wax takes like 5 seconds.

I really wish my old place was still there though... the place was cosy and comfy, there wasn't much of a crowd, so more attention and the staff was very friendly. They also used this funny green wax imported from Singapore (I think). I found it differnt to the run of the mill hot/cold waxes I've had before. The wax hardens very fast, and the best thing is, it can be peeled off by itself, without the use of wax cloths or papers (less effort, more hygienic).

Oh well, no sense of crying over spilled wax... lets hope I have nice super smooth feet and legs soon!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I quit!!

Image stolen and mutilated from here

So yes. I quit.

My job.

I am no longer attached to the Ministry of Health. And no, it had nothing to do with the previous post.

I know this is not news to some of you guys, but I thought I'll come out of the er.... closet and make an announcement to the world in general. In fact, this whole quitting thing took place some time ago, catalysed by a number of events, and is to blame for the dearth of patient related posts on the bloggie. Also responsible, I think, for the reduced traffic. As one so-called fan put it, "I really liked your angst filled gut wrenching posts more than the twinkly happy ones". Hmmm....

So what does this mean? It means I'm no longer prowling the wards in high heels or lurking inside clinics. In fact, I won't be seeing many patients for the foreseeable future unless I want to (like volunteering at women's health clinics and in health camps). It means I joined a university as a lecturer, for a substantially lower pay, I might add. It means I'm doing a bit of teaching and a lot of research. It means I no longer work weekends, night shifts or casualty rotations. It means I don't have to be on-call and get the jitters every time the phone rings.

I hear you, gentle readers screech out "why???" in tones of outrage.

Like I said, there were a number of reasons. I saw the vacancy advertised in the paper and decided to go for it. It meant having more opportunity to go places and see things, like here and here and here and here. It meant not being stressed like I've described here or having moments of frustration and sadness like here and here.

It may be because I want to spend more time with Darling, just chillaxing, just the two of us. The ability to go pee whenever I want to (note cartoon) is also a great advantage, since I have had patients/relatives diss me when I get up to drink some water or go to the washroom instead of writing out their cards.

I'm really happy at my new job... I work in a nice office, in air conditioned comfort. I work with a great team of like minded people. I have research assistants and a secretary to ease some of the boring work. I don't have to wear saree everyday.

Will I ever go back? May be. It was something I negotiated when I went for the interview... so yes, I may do a clinical degree as well. It's nice to know I still have the choice.

So yes, I think it's all for the best.

Happy weekend all!