Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December... my month of many celebrations!

Yes!! I turned a year older yesterday! A Year Wiser so the saying goes! Another number added to the 3 series. Yes I am getting very old! But wait for it...!! I celebrated in Penang! Why Penang? Because we just came back from Krabi - celebrating our 2nd Wedding Anniversary AND our lil one's 1 YEAR BIRTHDAY! Penang was the stop-over, the anticlimax after the sun and food in Krabi! So yes it's a 3-in-1 Holiday Package! And we just got home today! I'm still a little bit jetlagged (kononnya) cause we had an early flight! Of course everybody slept! But me, cause the lil one slept on me so I must stay alert to be her steady pillow!

December is my favorite month!! We get to do this every year I hope! I hope lah! If the finance permits! Oh Why am I shouting! Hahaha! Cause I'm still excited!! Ahahaha! *crazy old birthday lady*
No cake... A hot coffee to go is very generous enough... *sans makeup*

Sorry sorry, must be the adrenaline rush from the morning travel and lacking sleep.

Anywayyyyyyyyy... This is a short one okay, because I haven't been blogging much and none at all in December, but I'll be back! Stay tune for the Holiday Trip review for the best tom yam found in the unlikeliest place and best/worst hotels!

Meanwhile, if you don't hear from me again after today till New Year, here's us wishing you:
Have a blessed holiday everyone! Love you bye!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hello from the Otter side...

Oh Hello!

Have I been gone that long?

I try not to think too much about what to write these days because over-thinking things might end up with no writing being produced. Same goes to not giving any thoughts about what to write which will result in just sub-par quality entry. Who wants that, right?

Hence, this would perhaps justify leaving off blogging for a few long dry weeks and nearly two months of hiatus. But I am not one to give excuses since you all know I have an infant who will not be an infant anymore in a matter of weeks -- update: she will be 1 year old in exactly 3 weeks! - so yes, having a baby has definitely changed all my timetables and how I prioritize, and that is definitely not a bad thing. It's a miracle I still can't fathom even unto this day.

But enough about the glimpse into motherhood.

You see, having my time fully occupied has given me less time to sit and ponder about life in general, putting them in words, and publishing for people to read. There are so many current issues I wish I could touch on and yet words continue to fail me. Sometimes I think I am losing it -- the ability (if you can call it that) to write coherently and wisely (if not intelligently). Or perhaps I just need my mojo back, whatever it is and wherever it has gone to. Rome wasn't built in a day neither is a good piece of writing... but that's just me quoting lines trying to make myself feel better. 

Check and balance or so it's called: You gain some you lose some.You make some, you give some. You love some and you loath some. You come up you fall down. You live today you die tomorrow. And still life goes on just fine at the end of every day.

Before I get carried away, best to sum this entry in one sentence: I'll be back! * air fist-punch!*

Till then,
Coffee Girl.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Happy International Coffee Day!

So after completely missing out on September, I'm back! And coincidentally, today 1st October is also the International Coffee Day! Here's a little apt snippet (courtesy of the Huffington Post) on why you should drink coffee everyday. I don't need 6, I just need one.



So my dearest coffee mates, if you haven't had your cup of daily dose of goodness today, go have one now! Better still, buy a good friend a cuppa! Even better, make your own pot and share with your closest friends or family! Even better still, buy me one!

Here's my Caramel Macchiato... courtesy of Trenos Cafe, currently my favorite coffee spot.


Happy International Coffee Day everyone!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Homeland, Malaysia...

In the words of Mark Twain: “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.” Period.

In the patriotic sense, loyalty therefore, is not given, it is earned. And I quote, "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

Even though I can choose any country I want to live in, I still choose Malaysia. At times, she may have her downs, her ugliness, her imperfection, her destitution, her insecurities, and her unrest...but she also have her ups, her beauty, her wholeness, her assurance, her wealth, her peace. In spite of and because of those, it's the only home I can truly call my own. I don't know about you but I'm counting my blessings that I was born here instead of somewhere else. 

This is a Happy Malaysian post and I don't care what you may think or say. No matter what is currently broiling in my country, I will still stand by it.

HAPPY NATIONAL DAY MALAYSIA

The lil one in her Team Malaysia jersey...

Friday, August 21, 2015

Ah Huat Instant White Coffee...

Instant coffee current fix? Here goes...

I grabbed a packet of Ah Huat 3-in-1 White Coffee from Everrise fast lane counter the other day, and I've been hooked on this brand ever since. Grabbing just any on the go was actually a gamble since 2 out of 3 times I always ended up disliking the taste and therefore blacklisting the brand while the packet will be left untouched until it reaches the expiry date (and then disposed of). A waste of money.

But this one time gamble paid off. Who knew right? Which is why you should never gamble.

Anyway, back to Ah Huat brand.  The one that got me started was the 'Classic' type. Delightfully, it wasn't sweet at all and not aromatic either (I hate it when my coffee smells weird...). It smells like white coffee, thankfully, and tasted even better... creamy but slightly bitter on the side.

And then I tried the 'Low Fat' type. It was even less sweet and slightly more bitter than the Classic. The 'low fat' tag kind of give me a better feeling but of course we all know it's probably a lie, but who cares?

Ah Huat Low Fat White Coffee (blue), Ah Huat ClassicWhite Coffee (brown...
By the way, ignore the OldTown White Coffee satchet. I like the hot cup they make for me at Old Town cafe, but the instant one is nothing close to it. This one is actually bitter than I prefer, like it lacks sugar and cream altogether. So... this is one of the failed gamble I was talking about earlier.

While I would still take Aik Cheong 2in1 once in a while (I still have a few satchets left and the brand is also not too bad), I have altogether chucked Kopiko (too bland), Super (too bland and too smelly), CheckHup Ipoh White Coffee King (too sweet and creamy and gave me headache) and Nescafe (stopped being a fan since 2003, too sweet and smells weird). By bland I mean my system has probably gotten used to them and therefore just doesn't do the trick anymore. Sorry for these bunch, no offense.

Yes I agree instant coffee is not good for health especially on a frequent basis... but it's as close to having a good quick cup of coffee whenever I feel like having one. This one trick I swear by: When your pee starts to smell like coffee, do a few days' detox and go coffee-free until your pee stop smelling like coffee. Now I remember why I stopped taking Nescafe 3in1...

On a different note, the coffee at any coffee shops served using traditional cups and saucers, priced at RM1.20... is still the best kind.

Have a good weekend ahead people!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Short August...

Well will you look at that... no posts for August, until now. Seems like someone has been a busy bee indeed. And always came home tired to do anything but spend the rest of the day with mah lil family. How time flies. I wish I can take a holiday every now and then. But we're saving that for year-end.

Anyway... am still here. Life must go on etc. And right at this moment, making full use of this breather to pen a short one for now.

If I didn't say it earlier, I'm saying it now...Have a great August! Till September comes. Bidding you a short good one with this caffeine fix from Trenos Cafe, Jalan Keretapi, Kuching.

Really nice coffee and nicer food at Trenos Cafe, 3rd Mile, Kuching

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Holiday home-cook experiment ...

Since it's a long holiday Raya weekend, I thought it would be a good time to finally try out that pork belly with salted fish recipe I saw Rose did... She made it sound so easy, so yeah, I tweaked the recipe a little to suit whatever ingredient I had at hand and our taste buds.

My Ingredients:
1 strip of 3 layer pork, sliced to bite size
1 salted fish (I used ikan kembong... is that what it's called?)
Garlic and onion
Fresh chilli
2 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of Tong Nam soy sauce (for the colour only) --- of course must be Tong Nam
And a teaspoon of cornstarch diluted in a cup of water
Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing

My method:
- I fried the salted fish first until a bit crunchy. Taking it aside and using a fork, I shredded up the salted fish.
- Next, using the oil from frying the salted fish (the oil by now would have the smell and flavor of the salted fish, just the way I like it), fry the garlic and onion until fragrant, then add in the 3 layer pork. -- Mix, fry and then cover so it will cook on its own, for at least 5 minutes. Uncover, mix and fry, cover again until the meat becomes slightly tender, for perhaps another 5 minutes.
- Then add in the shredded salted fish and fresh chilli. Mix and then add fish sauce and soy sauce. Mix and then finally add in the diluted corn starch.
- Fry and cover for another 5 - 8 minutes. Or you can take a bite to see if the meat is done.
- Transfer to a plate and garnish.
- No salt or chicken stock needed. The salted fish would be all the seasoning you need. Next time I'll try Salted Ikan Tenggiri, it's smellier and nicer :D...

VOILA! My version of 3 layer pork with salted fish!

3 layer pork with salted fish...
Served best with steamed white rice and best eaten when fresh out of the wok. And because it's for dinner, I also dish up a simple easy-to-fix vege: steamed brinjal in chilli oil paste. These days I prefer to steam my vege because it's simpler, faster and healthier (and because I'm kinda lazy sometimes).

Just mix the ingredient (garlic, sliced brinjal, chilli oil paste, Maggie chicken stock powder, mustard oil) in a bowl, and steam for 20 minutes and voila! You may also opt to use olive oil for this steaming business. :-)
Steamed brinjal in chilli oil paste...

So there you have it... a no frill easy peasy home cooking. Who says cooking is hard? Have a great weekend everyone!


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Home is where the heart is...

I didn't realise how true the saying is until the little one came along.

Since becoming a mom, my life has made a 360 degree turning. My focal point has switched from career and money-making to family and home life. About now, I found that I don't really worry how much I'm making as long as I get home safe at the end of everyday. Even traveling for work seems to be off putting these days. I'm even considering changing career to a more laid back one that doesn't require me to think much or travel much, but one that keeps me constantly able to spend more quality time with my little family at home.

My constant worry now is that I don't spend enough moment with my little girl, watching her grow up, enjoying and capturing her precious milestones and achievements, and making sure she knows I'm the one who brought her into this world. I'm also worried she'll be close more to her nanny than me... :'( or to anyone else than me. I know she's always in good hands when I'm not around, it's just me being paranoid much.

But then, maybe motherhood does that to every woman. With the joy comes the concerns. Oh well... As of now, unfortunately, I cannot entertain the thoughts of becoming a full time mom because we do need the money. Cost of living these days is too high... baby products are more expensive than adult's, and there are also the bills and miscellaneous debts to pay off.

I am however, looking into having a career that allows me to work from home. Wouldn't that be fantastic? Then I could have an early retirement... This daydreaming is not bad really. Hmm...

Anyway, since I have a knack for home-cooked meal, maybe that meal business is still on the line. Home made kuetiaw soup everyone! Good for any time of the day, but most especially when you feel down or under the weather or simply craving for a hot healthy meal. =)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hello July...

How is it that it's already July? 
Yesterday was June and you're already coming by? 
Not a merry laughter nor a wailful cry?
Not a single hello nor a tearful goodbye? 

But July is here and soon it will end
Let's herald it on and try to make amend
Things we said and money we spent
Let it all be worth it while we can. 

Here's a gift, a cuppa on me
A small dose of contentment be
Life's short, drink up and be happy
Happy July, stay safe everybody!
 - Coffee Girl


P/s: Not much of a poet, but admit it, at least I rhyme consistently.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Beautiful inside...

How do you define 'beautiful' in a harsh and judgmental world that we live in today? Do you look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself 'Am I beautiful?' Or is beauty truly lies in the eye of the beholder?

I don't know. I don't call myself beautiful to begin with. But that's just some superficial thought and it is irrelevant anyhow. You can easily lose this face in the crowd, or don't remember it after the first glance. But that's not important at all. Because to have true physical beauty, you have to be either born with it or have it re-engineered at a later life stage. But true inner beauty is simply there and sometimes you don't even know you have it until circumstances and situations bring it out in the open. You either have them or you don't.

Whether you have or do not have beauty, there is no need to justify yourself. Here are some reasons to ponder should you ever have to ask yourself: "Am I beautiful inside?"

1) If you have a kind, good, generous heart (and that's not just merely saying your strength in the interview sheets), then you are beautiful.

2) If you love a child (or all children who you are in contact with) and are gentle with them, then you are beautiful.

3) If you show respect even when respect is lacking in the other person, chances are it's because you have inner beauty and you see something worth respecting in that person. You are beautiful.

4) If you are honorable, of mature and thoughtful character, sensitive to the needs of others, help people in desperate situation, then you are beautiful.

5) If you show respect and honor to your elders, especially your own parents, then you are beautiful.

6) If you see a starving, wet kitten meowing outside looking for food and shelter, and you take in the poor creature (or at least feed it before letting it go because it might be someone's), then you are beautiful.

7) If you shed a tear every time you read about an abused child, injustice done to women, an abandoned baby, an innocent bystander being killed or beaten for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, an innocence stolen, a life needlessly snuffed out, all the atrocities done to humanity, and you pray and hope for a world which recognizes peace (as hopeless as it may sound at the time), then you are beautiful.

8) If you act selflessly to correct a wrong, and to stand for the poor, the defenseless and the voiceless, then you are beautiful.

9) When you think of the welfare of others and do something to lessen their sufferings, then you are beautiful.

10) If you adopt an orphan, an unwanted baby, an abandoned child, a scared or traumatic child, a child of special needs, then you are indeed beautiful.

11) When you reach out and touch the hands of a scarred person, a disfigured person, a person whose body bears the ravages of diseases, because they need that human touch, then you are beautiful.

12) When you look at a picture of an ugly child and thinks he is absolutely beautiful

13) When you give aid to someone in desperate need of one without asking for something or insisting on nothing in return, and doing it quietly so no one will know or praise your for it, then you are beautiful.

Google pix

The list goes on. Some are perhaps too big or to handle, but focus on yourself and what is truly important for your soul. Being beautiful on the inside is perhaps all about having a heart with a heavy conviction. After all, inner beauty is paramount.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Kuih Tako...

A short one...

You have perhaps noticed that I post a picture of this tiny delicacy at every beginning of Ramadan. It's a tradition, somewhat. Because it's my favorite kuih. And they come out aplenty during the fasting month. I don't fast, but that doesn't mean I cannot share in the joy of good hard-to-come-by food.

So my fellow friends, followers and readers who observe the Ramadan mont, here's wishing you ...

Selamat Berpuasa!

Kuih tako...

Monday, June 8, 2015

The blank canvas project...

I have a daughter. She doesn't understand yet that she's a tiny little thing and that's why everything and everyone around her is either big, tall or wide. She doesn't understand anything much at all, let alone know that she is a Bidayuh, a Sarawakian, and a Malaysian, living in Kuching.

What she understands so far is that by crying, she'll let out the information that she's either hungry, sleepy, wet and need to be changed, or just doesn't want to be left alone.

She doesn't understand yet that there's a bigger world out there that might discriminates against everything she stands for. Or that somewhere in another part of this universe, a child her own age might not even have the privilege of having a peaceful surrounding to live in, let alone a happy one.

She's like a white canvas ... an empty starting point for someone so small, so innocent and so pure. While I am as excited as her to begin this little life shaping project, I am also every bit as anxious. You see, I have my painting tools ready in my hand but what I'm scared the most of is making a mess out of it or not producing a masterpiece in the end.
My little blank canvas...

But that's okay I supposed... we all have to make do with what we have to bring up a child in this world. I wish I could shield her forever, but that's no way to live a life. I made so many mistakes in my own life growing up, and sometimes I didn't want to heed anyone's advice because I thought I knew better. Sometimes I wish I had listened. But then where would I be today without learning from anything I've done wrong once to not repeat them? 

Our children is what we teach them to be, not just by words but by our every action. They watch and they copy. If you say one thing or do another, guess which one she will follow? And that's why I am a little scared whenever she stares at me because I can't tell which one of my expressions or actions or words she's going to memorize and mimic next.

Poor parents, the endless pressure to ensure a kid grows up right in this world today. Poor baby, there's so much more for her to handle!
The colours of life...

Anyway, the father and I are just taking it one day at a time at winging it because we know our parents brought us up right. Even if I may have strayed a little from their teachings, it's mostly me, nothing on them. So if they can do it, so can we. In God Himself in whom we trust, who gave her to us, this painting is going to be one colorful and beautiful masterpiece yet!

Here's quoting Dennis Leary the actor: "Racism isn't born, folks, it's taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list."

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Non fool proof weight loss plan...

I don't have any cut-out plans on how to lose weight, and neither do I join any of those paid weight-loss program. However, my short-term goal is to lose those extra post-baby kilos before Carissa turns 1 -- technically that's like 10 kgs give or take -- before December this year. The long-term goal is of course, to be fit and healthy, not so much to be slim lah. Konon.

I gotta start somewhere man.

So holding to one side the real fitness regime (to be mentioned at another time, i.e), here's my non-fool-proof plan when planning to lose weight...

1. Refrain from weighing yourself everyday. The digital scale cannot take it, and neither can your ego.
2. Do not skip breakfast. Breakfast is, as the age-old saying says, most important meal of the day. Starving oneself will only result in an all-consuming needs to have food later.
3. A minimum of 15min exercise at least 3 days a week. Do or die.
4. Coke once in every 10 days. Good job! Coke in every 15 days. Great job! Coke was, of course, the catalyst that got me ballooned up during the pregnancy. Crazy Coke craving.
5. Join a support group. Or at least get another person to join you in your quest for smaller waistline.
6. 8 glasses of water everyday. Good job. 10 glasses of water everyday. Great job!
7. Minimum 5 days of home-cooked dinner in a week. Optional 2s are reserved for eat-outs.
8. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Rest is scarce and must always be enough. As a mom, i.e.
9. Take the stairs. Always. If you can help it.
10. Avoid looking at food pictures. Those visuals are very powerful to trigger appetite. For the same reason looking at sexy visuals will make you horny.

GoRun...

Already kick-started Day 1 of this journey yesterday with a 20 minutes jog+workout. Almost literally didn't break a sweat, after almost a year on sabbatical. Man! My fats must've been jolted from sleep and refuse to wake up!

But all things in a positive light. Just taking this one day at a time. So help me God.

Report in a months-time! Hehe

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Tom Yum Goong project...

... Was a success! If I say so myself. For a first timer, i.e. I mean, using an instant tom yum paste is easy and all that, but after having tasted some of the most delicious original tom yum in Phuket, I just had to forgo the easy work and try to go conventional. Key word: Try.

I actually watched various YouTube videos on this from reputable chefs (Thai chefs, mostly of course, since they are the authority on the subject) and they made it looked so easy. Given, it looks easy in a way, but in reality the work is a bit tedious. So after a few deliberations, I finally decided that since my man and I both love original tom yum, why not try make one? YouTube is a reliable tutor, hey! And no instant tom yum paste! Yay!

I'm no chef, but thanks to technology, here's lil ol me sharing my humble bowl of Tom Yum Goong (Goong means prawn, so of course there will be prawns in this dish):

*This serving is initially prepared for 3-4 people.

The Ingredients:
A cup of medium sized prawns, deshelled (I should've used huge tiger prawns for this!)
Half a cup of medium sized squids, sliced (cause we had some leftover in the fridge...)
6-8 pieces of kafir lime leaves (also called daun limau purut)
Juice from 2 lemons
3 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 stalk of lemongrass (serai)
8-10 thin slices of galangal (lengkuas)
A handful of mushroom, sliced (I used medium shitake mushroom)
3-4 fresh chili (cili padi)
300ml of shrimp stock (using the head/shell from the prawns coz I don't have chicken stock)
Coriander leaves for garnishing (cause I couldn't find cilantro leaves anywhere... sama sik kah?)
And the secret ingredient: 3 tablespoon of Thai Chilli paste!! (although it's optional to some)

I found this authentic looking can of Thai Chilli paste at Everrise Padungan (after trying to look for them everywhere from Plaza Merdeka to Green Heights Cold Storage)... and they only had 2 left! Lucky me! This one is a popular brand in Thailand (I know cause I Googled, duh) and sometimes they have a different packaging. Priced at RM16++ I think, I don't remember because it didn't matter.

Maepranom Thai Chili paste...

I'm not going to tell you the how-to right here because it's very basic cooking once you have all the ingredients ready, besides, writing about this right now makes me salivate. Haha. Anyway, if you're looking for good video tutorials, I basically just followed Ms Pailin's step-by-step YouTube easy instructions.

Half and hour and almost a burnt tongue later...VOILA!

Tom Yum Goong Coffee Girl's version...

For an amateur, I think I did pretty well, thank you very much! Perhaps I should try remaking it this weekend, with a bigger prawn, maybe?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Breaking up...

Freedom is taking a scissor and cutting the plastic into few tiny pieces of redemption.

Thank you for being interested in me enough to send it over even after I repeatedly told you I don't want you at all. You thought maybe if I see you in person, I would change my mind and then take you in. Perhaps in those days I would be a fool to fall for your spell. But I'm many years wiser now. You're pretty, but you're deadly. And truth be told... I don't trust myself with you.

So yeah, sorry but I had to kill the relationship before it even started. Because I don't need another excess baggage, another heartbreak, another nightmare, another prison. One is all I can manage at a time, and I'm very loyal like that.

Die in peace yo.

Let's sing it!

... I'm gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I, I, I'm huntin
This is f****n awesome!...

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Here's to you mothers: You're A Good Mom...

Hey, it is my first Mother's Day celebration! Being a new mom opens my eyes to so many new feelings and adventures, sometimes it's truly unfathomable. I may still be new at this, but I do get you now mom. This isn't written by me, but it's so good that it's worthy to be shared. Here's a tribute to you mothers...

To the mom who's breastfeeding: Way to go! It really is an amazing gift to give your baby, for any amount of time that you can manage! You're a good mom.

To the mom who's formula feeding: Isn't science amazing? To think there was a time when a baby with a mother who couldn't produce enough would suffer, but now? Better living through chemistry! You're a good mom.

To the cloth-diapering mom: Fluffy bums are the cutest! And so friendly on the bank account. You're a good mom.

To the disposable-diapering mom: Damn those things hold a lot! And it's excellent to not worry about leakage and laundry. You're a good mom.

To the mom who stays at home: I can imagine it isn't easy doing what you do, but to spend those precious years with your babies must be amazing! You're a good mom.

To the mom who works: It's wonderful that you're sticking to your career. You're a positive role model for your children in so many ways, it's fantastic! You're a good mom.

To the mom who had to feed her kids from the drive-thru all week because you're too worn out to cook or go grocery shopping: You're feeding your kids, and hey, I bet they aren't complaining! Sometimes sanity can indeed be found in a red box with a big yellow M on it. You're a good mom.

To the mom who gave her kids a home-cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner for the past week: Excellent! Good nutrition is important, and they're learning to enjoy healthy food at an early age, a boon for the rest of their lives. You're a good mom.

To the mom with the kids who are sitting quietly and using their manners in the fancy restaurant: Kudos! It takes a lot to maintain order with children in a place where they can't run around. You're a good mom.

To the mom with the toddler having a meltdown in the cereal aisle: They always seem to pick the most embarrassing places to lose their minds don't they? We've all been through it. You're a good mom.

To the moms who judge other moms for ANY of the above? Glass houses, friend. Glass houses.

- Anonymous
(Borrowed from www.babysavers.com via Pinterest)

********************************************************
My 1st mother's Day gift from my babies...

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY ALL YOU AWESOME MOMS OUT THERE!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Post-pregnancy side effects I didn't know about until I had them...

[Note: Motherhood Journal Pt 4]
Read about Pt 1 HERE on Obstetrician, Pt 2 HERE on Pregnancy side effects and Pt 3 HERE on the Birth Plan.

My lil girl is 4 months 2 weeks now and I have been a new mom about the same length of time. The rejuvenation and recovery period started immediately after birth, and it is still happening today. Quite baffling that at 4 months, I am still undergoing this restoration period, physically that is. No kidding on this part. I know I read them before it happened (just to prep), but when it did, I'm still in a state of disbelief that those changes are happening and it's as inevitable as the sky is blue.

So here's a quick one because although I'm not that comfortable talking about them, I'm just going to share them briefly. Because it's constantly bothering me that I could've been better prepared for this (at least mentally) but didn't and I could've been better informed about them but wasn't.

1. The Flood
Well yes this part is expected - the bleeding. After having them on hold for 40 weeks, what do you expect to happen when the plug is finally pulled? It rained day and night, as in the days of Noah. Unlike a normal menses, the discharge continues for up to several weeks. In my case, it was like mm... 6 or 7 weeks. But then this is manageable as most new moms undergo a period of confinement at this time. How did I get by? I supposed it went unceremoniously as I had a more pressing matter to be concerned about e.g the baby, the confinement, the breastfeeding, the family, etc.

2. The Belly Paunch
I still have them, and doing plenty of sit-ups to try to minimize them. I can forget about a flat belly because my belly has always been cute and bumpy. Now more so. Haha. I supposed it can't disappear forever as my uterus shrink back to it's normal size. And I supposed I should thank all the Cokes and Sundrop I had when I was wading off the sugar cravings.

3. The Rock 
Perhaps I'm one of the more lucky ones because although I went through a brief period of breasts engorgement (sometimes they were hard as rocks, even I was a little alarmed), it was not as painful as what I've been told about. Or maybe I followed the program right (when to express milk, when to feed the baby, what to do when you can't express etc) so it didn't cause too much problem. Here's a big thanks to the nurses at Normah Hospital because they were really helpful with tips and advice and even encouragement. Oh by the way, if you don't have a water heater for warm baths at home, now is a good time to install one. Hot showers do wonders for them rocks. =)

4. The Breakouts
I don't normally have any problems with acne or pimples and my facial skin is clear at most times. During the pregnancy months, I actually experienced a smoother and clearer skin. Glowing, some may say. However, two weeks after the birth, my face went through a period of breakouts like nobody's business! Okay I exaggerate. It wasn't so bad but the red splotches here and there and sometimes appearing and disappearing without warning were really annoying. The skin was also kind of dry and although moisturizer helps, it doesn't do much to stop it. Inevitable... of course. Drinking plenty of fluid helps, and so does staying away from the sun. It naturally stopped on its own though.

5. The Hairball
This is the most annoying one. My doctor actually warned me about them but I didn't think it was anything I should worry about until it actually occurred. When I was pregnant, my hair felt thick and glossy and voluminous, they even stopped falling off, all thanks to the hormones. But about 3 months after giving birth, the hair-fall comes with a vengeance! It's still happening as I type this, to my dismay. I used to experience hair fall previously, but it wasn't as bad as this. This is literally hair-shedding! Every morning when I wake up, I'd run my fingers through my hair and like 5 - 10 strands come off at one go. The floor, on a good day, has strands of hair here and there. I couldn't even shampoo my hair without taking off clumps of hair from the drain cover. I think the thinning patches are showing and it doesn't look good on me. This is the one change I'm truly upset about and can't wait for it to end in a month or so before I go completely bald! Kidding. It's just the body's way of returning to normal and some stuffs need to mend.

6. The Thyroid Nods Swell
Ah. This one. Tricky. And it doesn't happen to everyone. So ask your mom if it runs in the family especially after you've had an operation, because it happened to me and I had to undergo another operation to deal with it. The doctor said it wasn't cancerous but at the same time, there were no medications for it and if the swell is left unattended, it could go bigger in years although still non-cancerous. I had a tiny lump the size of tiny quail egg on the right neck after I had the C-Sec, which wasn't even there before. All that hormone overdrive allegedly triggered it. Couldn't really see them unless you look closely. I survived them --Thank You God-- and I have the visible scar to prove it. My best friend said it's my lucky natural necklace that only special people have. True, that. =)

There are actually other changes but they're not as obvious as the above. So how do I deal with all these changes? They will eventually stop naturally and that should indicate the body is done doing its round and is back to normal. All in its time. But most importantly, I tell myself everyday that my beautiful and healthy baby girl is totally worth it all. :-)

And so, will this make me think twice about having a sibling for Carissa? Nah. Babies are God's gifts to mankind. Remember that it's a blessing to even be able to conceive.

That's all for today, and sorry no visual aids. But thanks for reading!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Baby essentials in dealing with a cold...

*Achoo!*

Ha. It's the flu season again. Most everyone I know has caught the cold bug and happily spreading the love around. I'm sniffling as we speak as I write this post.

I don't mind the adults getting them because they can very well take care of themselves. It's the babies I'm more worried about. A sick infant is every mother's nightmare. And my husband, bless his heart, were infected alongside lil Carissa, both ahead of me. I supposed it's always the case for mommies ... they are usually the last to fall sick or stay fine.

In a way, I've read that it's also a blessing in disguise when a baby undergoes her first cold... she would be developing her immunity system one cold at a time. The first time she ran a cold was on her 3rd month... mommy and daddy panicked like WWIII just hit the household. But when we visited the doctor, all we got was some advice on how to keep the baby warm and happy to ease her recovery because a cold is common and nothing too serious. There were no medication given due to her very young age. The one mystery then was where she got it from because obviously both of us were fine at the time.

This is her second cold which she (and her father) evidently picked up from my nephew when we visited the extended family over the weekend. Being a little experienced on the subject, we were less panicky but still a bit worried. By worried I mean no restful nights for mommy and daddy who take turns to play nurse cum comforter. Besides, how could we even sleep when the little one is not having much? She sleeps, i.e., just not restfully. Same thing.

Doctors advised against giving meds to babies below 1 year old due to their young age because it will make them drowsy and won't want to feed, and therefore could cause other risk factors. They'll normally just allow a brief period of using a nebulizer to clear her breathing. So here's a bit of baby essentials we learned about first-hand as newbies on how to go through the common cold baby blues together:

1. Digital ear thermometer
For constant fever checking. Anything above 37 degree Celsius should be a cause for alarm. It's always tricky with an infant so it's forgiven and accepted if you refer her to a doctor every time you're not sure yourself.

Digital ear thermometer...

2. Baby nasal hygiene (nasal spray) or infant nose drop
Honestly, I didn't know this thing existed until recently. This natural isotonic water is made from pure sea water, supposed to help diffusing mucous and unblock stuffed nose. Carissa however, doesn't like it very much. Of course if someone spray inside your nose, you would be pissed too. The nose drop given by the clinic works the same way, except less practical. This brand is available in many categories (for adults, infants, toddlers and kids, sinus, congestion, spa etc)... just read the label when you buy one at your nearest pharmacy.

Sterimar nasal spray...

3. Baby cooling gel pad
Back in the olden days, our mothers would put wet cloth on our forehead when we have fevers and such, however it tends to fall off and get lukewarm fast. So thank God for the invention of cooling gel pad to work in its place. For infants, watch out for pink boxes.

Kool Fever...

4. Baby Nose Cleaner/ Suction Bulb
This comes in real handy to physically suck the mucous out from a baby's nose because at 4 months old, she does not have the ability to blow her own nose yet. *I've heard of some parents actually sucking the mucous with their mouths too... I really respect them, however I can't imagine how that works* There are many types of suction bulb so be careful when choosing one and read the instruction manual before using one. The one my hubby bought is this Japlo brand, with special built-in valve design to ensure mucous or air would not be sucked back into the nose. The nozzle is soft and gentle for babies. Carissa actually preferred this method over the nasal spray, however she just couldn't sit still so inserting the nozzle into her nose is like a game to her. Haha.

Japlo suction bulb...

5. The Mighty Pacifier! aka Pepet
Ok don't judge me. I know a lot of people (even those who aren't parents) have been giving off stern advice not to offer a pacifier to babies because it will interfere with their teeth growth. Yes true, for a prolong use without proper control. However I have learned that this tiny thing is very powerful... it helps her sleep when she gets restless and soothes her when she gets cranky. Try the flat-head ones (preferably all made in silicone), it's supposed to have less effect on the teeth than the round-head ones. I don't worry too much either because she can fall asleep on her own without the pepet these days.

Silicone pepet with cover...

6. Gripe Water
Carissa's doctor suggested we give her gripe water to ease her discomfort and crankiness (colicky related) and also to cause her to drink more plain water. The thing tasted sweet... no wonder. Gripe Water can be bought at the nearest pharmacy too.

Traditional concoction passed on for generations...

7. Try the baby cot/swing
 ... only as a last resort. Thankfully for me, my little girl prefers I cuddle and rock her to sleep most of the time. That can be tiring, which is why I should justify buying a rocking chair soon because she has grown heavier. Haha. However, the baby swing is a good alternative although I don't know why so many people are afraid of it. Don't worry what people think of how you bring up your child, as long as it helps. Mothers know best what her child needs after all, to each her own way.

The stand-alone 'uyut'...

The rest of the baby care tips are warm body wipe in favour of warm bath, warm water feeding, warm clothing, co-sleeping, and yes... a lot of tender loving care.

Do you have any other tips that perhaps could work as well from your personal experience? Please do share.

One good thing however is that she is always cheerful and playful in the daytime, and not even cranky altho she nap less too. This would of course resulted in her being easily tired at night. And then she would just cry her heart out when it's bedtime but her stuffy nose gets in the way.

All I can say is that, two colds later, she still seems to be handling everything much better than mommy. Haha.

So here's for the weekends everyone! Stay safe and take care!

Always remember: A common cold is not the same as a flu. Always check with your pediatrician first especially when you have a baby below 3 months old.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter Monday home-cook day ...

Note: This was supposed to be last Monday's entry... but the pictures came late.

Spending a day off resting at home with lil Carissa on Easter Monday because I had to work over the weekend and I miss the late mornings with her. This is me trying to compensate for those precious moments. Babies grow up very fast, I know, so I don't wanna miss out -- at least trying my best not to -- on her day-to-day development.

Ah. Since it's rest day, I had a bit of time and energy to visit the kitchen. So here's Easter Monday dinner! Simple dish of dad's organic ayam kampung cooked with terung asam. I'm not sure if the term 'spring chicken' is the translation for 'ayam kampung' but as a way of explanation, my dad has a small chicken farm which he tends to every day as a hobby. Ok maybe 'farm' sounds too big... chicken coop then. He bred them organically, more for the meat, so I'd say they're lean, mean and very healthy. Dad's chicken meat supply never runs out, halleluyah for the family.

Sup Ayam Kampung Terung Asam
The What:
- A quarter of a spring chicken or ayam kampung (I select the best parts)
- Half of a terung asam (because the one I had was big in size)
- a stalk of lemon grass
- onion and garlic (blend or crushed)
- dry chilli (blend or crushed)
- fresh bird's eye chilli or cili padi
- Maggie chicken stock cube
- a young turmeric leaf
- 150ml water

The How To:
- Easy lah. Throw everything in a pot, and cook over slow fire.
- Ayam kampung meat is known to be a bit tough so simmer until tender for 30 - 45 minutes
- You may taste the seasoning every now and then to see if the broth is nicely flavored and if the meat is tender enough.
- If you prefer, you can always exchange the turmeric leaf with coriander leaf, although it probably won't taste as exotic.
- No oil is used in this cooking. What you see came from the chicken... =)
- When it's done, just scoop and serve hot with a plate of steamed rice. Simple right?

There you go... Voila! A simple anybody-can-cook meal. 

Easy peasy chicken soup...

I'm a budak kampung and so I kinda like my plate of rice submerged with the glorious spicy hot broth, the more banjir (er... flooded) the better.

Flooded...

HAPPY BELATED EASTER EVERYONE!

Monday, April 6, 2015

And it's April!

Hah. Only managed one post last March. See if I can do better this month.

As a working mom and wife, I can say I have my hands full but there's never a dull moment. Like every new mom, I look forward every day to come home to my gurgling wide-eye infant and my strong loving man. They are like the bane of my existence. When things go crazy at work, I find my thoughts go back to my little family at home. When my spirit is low, I scroll down at photos of my little miracle to get an instant boost. When I feel tired of all the routine, her big innocent eyes will remind me that I have to keep moving on... for her, for my family, for those I come home to at the end of every day.

Does it happen to anyone else I wonder?

Anyway... lately I realized my posts have been a lot about personal journey and recounts. I think I have become a boring writer that I feared to be. Even my words are becoming jumbled up and my vocabularies limited to motherhood, babies, happiness, etc. I know I like reading deep emotional writings that most people can relate to, but I guess I graduated from that along with my single life. And it isn't something I want to complain at all about because everybody deserves a happy ever after.

I don't know where I'm going with this post right now either, but I just want to state that I have changed. Or more like, my state of mind has. And I like it that way.

P/s: An excuse to explain why I write such boring empty posts these days.

Happy Easter Monday everyone!

Yesterday's quick breakie of Hot Cross Bun from Caffe Cino, Kuching Hilton...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Back at work...

[Note: Must update this. It's March. Sorry for the remiss.]

Been 15 days already since I came back to work after a three-month leave. Boy have I got a lot to catch up on and get used to all over again... waking up early, daily wardrobe battle, skipping home breakfast, getting caught in the morning traffic, hair woes etc... etc... etc... Workwise, I just need to refresh my memory and sharpen my skill once again.

The hardest part about coming back to work after a long official inactive existence is not the work. It's about being away from my baby for the first time after spending every second with her for the past 3 months. But I supposed if other working new mothers can do it, so can I. I just have to brave it every day and keep myself busy for the next 8 hours before rushing home to my little family.

Gotta look excited, right? =)

The kind of work I do however does not always include going home on the dot. In fact it also includes being away from home for a few days when the work requires it. I used to love traveling and going outstation or visit new places when I was single, because it was the only way I could escape from reality. The irony of it is of course the relaxing and soul searching part that I used to find when I did get away.

Now... I'm not sure how to put it. I still love traveling, it's just perhaps with a heavy heart.. .what's with it being left at home with the baby/daddy and all. However, if it's a holiday travel together, that would be a totally different thing. :D

How's the baby doing? She's fine! The first month was an adventure as clueless new parents, both us and the baby getting to know each other and setting up a routine (or upsetting a routine hahaha then reset). The second month was independence period, me learning to handle the baby on my own without my mom around. The third month was a revelation... when the baby begins to coo and smile and learning to recognize faces. Her sleeping routine though hasn't changed much.

And how is the daddy doing? He has been such a tremendous pillar of strength for me. Because we're doing this alone without staying-in parents or nannies or babysitters, he has been very involved with Carissa's development since day one. I must say he's such a natural with babies. :D He is even a pro at bathing an infant, trust me. Even Carissa love her bath time, judging from her cooing and smiles when she's in the tub with daddy holding her.

Baby-mommy leisure time at home... pardon the mess...
 
I miss one thing though... little baby otter moving in my womb actively for the past few months before her delivery. I tell her that every chance I get now. When I look at that adorable lovely face, I just couldn't fathom how such an amazing miracle ever lived in my belly for 10 months. The wonders of God.

So here I am.
Back at work.
Life goes on.
Happy to return.
Have a blessed Wednesday everyone!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Nibbly itty bitty chubs...

Asks every new mom with a new daughter: 
"How is it possible that out of all the little girls in the whole world, we got the best one?"

"Because she is mine!" Answers each one. 

Thank Heavens for little girls.

 Itty...

 Bitty...

 Mynie...

 Moe...

Sweetie petiteie...

My Baby Otter, everyone!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Postdated journal: The derailed birth plan ...

[Note: Motherhood Journal Pt 3]
Read about Pt 1 HERE on Obstetrician and Pt 2 HERE on Pregnancy side effects

Part of me want to share some valuable notes here while another part of me rebel at the idea of parting with some personal information. And then I thought about how I went through this motherhood experience feeling quite unprepared, overwhelmed, and didn't know what to expect, and I thought, it shouldn't really be like that. And I realized I get much moral support from reading blogs written by other new moms. Given, every experience is different, but they're not too far from the grid.

So here goes Part 3.

Upon nearing your due date, one of the first things your obgyn (obstetrician/gynecology) will ask you is: Do you have a birth plan? Honestly, I didn't know I need to have one (let alone know what is one) until my second obgyn asked me about it.

BabyCenter.com actually has a good Birth Plan sheet that you can download, print, fill in and bring to the hospital for their reference. Show it to the midwife or nurse who will arrange your admittance, for their attention, in case they don't know what you've discussed with your obgyn. It's the same one I use, although I ended up not using it at all because my delivery process changed due to some unforeseen circumstances. Thus most ticked points in that sheet became void.

A birth plan is basically your preferences on how you wish your delivery process to happen, with some important decisions that could affect the whole birth experience... like do you want natural or C-section birth? do you want inducement? do you want pain killers? do you want to give birth lying down, standing up, water birth or etc? do you want to be asked first before any major decisions need to be made especially life-threatening ones? who do you want to be in the delivery room with you? Etc... It's just like a guide so both you and baby will have the ultimate experience. Most private hospitals require a Birth Plan. I'm not sure about government hospital though.

A night before the big day... Couple sans baby... 
(see my swollen nose)

For the most part and from the beginning, I was assured that I would have a normal delivery. In fact, both my gynaes were confident that I would undergo a normal delivery. This, based on the monthly progress as per the monthly routine antenatal checkup and based on the growth of the baby, and/or whatever symptoms I was having. In fact, up until the very last few minutes, I was sure I would have a normal delivery.

So then, why didn't I, in the end? The Birth Plan sheet that I printed nicely and put in my hospital bag, well... it didn't make it out of the bag.

This is where I tell you that sometimes, some things will not go as well as you plan out or as accurate as any doctor will tell you. Sometimes your body just sort of has a mind of its own. You just have to go with the flow and trust your instinct, but most importantly, stay calm and trust in God.

Having a bony physique made me a bit resistant to pain. In fact, throughout my term, I was surprised by the energy burst I had on a daily basis which made managing work easier, and outstation duty more bearable. Plus, an amazing appetite.

So what does a contraction feels like, if you ask me? I won't know until now. My husband and I once joked "I'm feeling kinda strong throughout all this. What if I had a contraction and didn't know it?" That would be kind of scary if that happened. 

I went from Week 38 to Week 40 feeling both excited and agitated more and more every day, coupled with that anxious feeling of not really knowing what to expect. That Braxton Hicks? I hope that was what it was. If it was, it felt more like an annoying tiny inconsistent muscle spasm. And for the record, I've never done so much shopping and window shopping than while waiting for the contractions to hit. There was no mall we didn't visit around town, or visited more than once. Hahaha.

Even managed to shop for Christmas tree while waiting...

When I reached Week 41 without even a tiny contraction, we began to panic. Me, mostly. And here's where my doctor repeated the information that private hospital's protocol in which they would allow only 7 days allowance after your due date. According to her, government hospital allows 10 days allowance but that wouldn't really be advisable, depending on the fetal condition.

A week before my due date, the checkup using a scanning machine (kinda like the kind they use to detect and measure tremor) showed that there wasn't any contraction. Further inspection using the "stretch and sweep" method showed the cervix was fully closed, and the baby's position -- although already head down gearing up for delivery since week 30 -- the head did not engage well at the opening of the cervix. And this, because her size was quite big.

And then I thought about all those maternal milk I drank, the cans of coke I consumed, the amount of really awesome calories I've piled up on since getting pregnant... and I went "I did that. I fed this baby too much! It was my fault she grew big in there..." It was kinda funny, but at the same time worrying. That talk about pregnant women eating for two? Well it should not be taken literally. Something to note should I have that chance to get pregnant again later on.

The scanning machine used to check signs of contraction and detect fetal's heartbeat...

There were a few factors that in the end, decided the method of delivery, all from a medical point of view and after checking my condition on a weekly basis and up till the date of birth:

1. The size of the baby...
2. Which caused the baby's head to not engage well at the birth canal ...
3. Which caused the cervix to continue to close and not ready, even though it had begun to thin out...
4. Which caused there to be no contraction at all because the body isn't ready...
5. Which resulted in the baby being overdue because she wasn't primed up for birth...
6. Which would make attempt to induce labor having a high failure rate and might result in emergency operation (which will affect fetal condition, and of course ... cost)
7. Also because there was one cord wound around the neck. Even though this was informed much earlier in the early trimester, the doctor assured us it was normal and not a cause for concern, although it is something to be taken into consideration...
8. Which, in any case, we were advised not to wait any longer but to decide and to decide quickly...
9. All things considered, the doctor advised that we either go for inducement or go straightaway for operation, in which case there won't be any more waiting...
10. And thus, after a few moments of weighing all possibilities and talking to my family, we opted for scheduled operation.

What was soothing was when I texted my sister about the whole thing, she replied that having an operation was okay too because she went through the same experience and things turned out well (a fact that if I had known about earlier, I would've been less scared). Having someone you know go through the experience acted as a moral support that does help, see?

Okay then I'm gonna stop here because it's already getting too boring and wordy. My point is, I was kind of disappointed I did not have a normal delivery, but in the end it all worked out for good. I actually had a day and a night to mentally prepare myself for the ultimate life-changing moment.

And you know what else is awesome? Hearing the first cry of my baby right after she came out of me was the best moment ever. Thus history was written that on the 16 Dec 2014, I was no longer the same person that was wheeled into the operation theater ... I came out a mother.

Tadaaa!! Meet little Carissa Dhea...

It is true the saying that goes "You don't know unconditional love until you've had a child." Falling in love is magical, getting married to your true love is stuffs of fairy tale, but giving birth to a baby... that is the ultimate life altering experience.

Post Note: Thanks for reading! More on Motherhood Journal coming up!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Postdated journal: Some pregnancy side effects I didn't know about until I had them...

[Note: Motherhood Journal Pt 2]
Read about Pt 1 HERE (Choosing your preferred obstetrician)

[Hello! Blogging while the baby's asleep... ]

Been a month now since the birth of Carissa, and it all went by so quickly as if in a dream. Feels like just yesterday I was this big awkward ballooning woman who went about town waiting and waiting for the ultimate experience that would finally make me a mommy. And now that it has passed... I guess it's normal to say that I miss those moments of having her growing and constantly moving inside me. Unbelievably amazing and delightful... to finally hold her in my arms. Who knew it'd be such a moving and emotional experience?

I wanted to chronicle this pregnancy journey before, but due to some factors, the whole period came and went and all I did was just mentally keeping tab of the details for documentation later. I supposed now is a good time as any. Sharing is caring, right? I hope that it would be helpful to some ladies out there because reading about them is one thing, knowing your friends went through them is another thing.

It's true what they say about seeing is believing, or in this case... experiencing is believing. Here are some of the side effects, symptoms and occurrence that happened throughout my 9 months journey. Bear in mind that not every woman go through the same things. Some had it easier, some had it rougher, some had it slightly mediocre, and some breezed through it like it didn't even happen. Every woman is different and unique, and therefore it's really hard to tell.

At Week 35...
Here goes mine:

1. Easily tired by the end of the day and thus early bedtime every evening for the first 2 months. But we didn't know we were pregnant then, I just assumed it was due to work and mental exhaustion. Usually bedtime would be 11.30pm onwards for the both of us, but when I started nodding off on the sofa by 8.30pm, something must be happening. This happened on the 1st trimester.

2. Heartburn and indigestion. I began to realise I get full very fast and that my normal meal portion just didn't make the cut any more. If I happen to eat the whole plate, I would end up having to make myself throw up otherwise I would be very uncomfortable all day/night. I did a little reading and found out heartburn is caused when the contents of the stomach is flushed back towards the lower part of the oesophagus (where the food goes down). Heartburn is very uncomfortable. Started on the 1st trimester.

3. Numb fingers and tingling palms upon waking up in the morning, as if I slept on my hands all night. It hurt more when I tried to flex the fingers, however it went away 15 minutes later, or after I showered. This started happening on the 2nd trimester. Yes, I thought I did sleep on my hands all night, which could also happened, but when it happened most nights, I did a little net research.

4. Coca cola craving. With lots and lots of ice. This occurred since the pregnancy began. You can't mention Coca Cola to my face, otherwise I'd be wishing and craving for it and won't let up until I actually get it. Sometimes I'd down two cans in one go. This was, I swear, my only vice. Too much sugar is not good for pregnancy if you have high blood sugar, thankfully I had a healthy history. For the record, Carissa was a little large at birth which made natural birth difficult... but I'd like to believe the size was probably due my really good overall appetite. :-) Weirdly, craving for coffee is non-existent, None at all.

5. Nosebleed. This is actually caused by blood vessel burst on the front part of the nose. The bleeding was irregular and happened sometimes when I blew my nose in the morning or when it got too cold in the day. No blood flowing (thankfully), just spots of blood clot that were easily cleaned with tissue. This occurred since the pregnancy began but I only discovered it was related due to hormon change after Googling it. I was alarmed at first, but much research proved helpful.

6. Minor prurigo - dry rash and red dots of skin on the soles of the feet and part of the hand palms. Not itchy, just annoying looking, like skin allergy. Happens throughout 2nd trimester. By 3rd trimester, disappeared altogether. Some of the ways to relief the dry rash is to wear padded sandals, reduce jewelry especially ring (including wedding ring). No rubbing or scratching, just leave it be. My gynae explained this quite in detail so it wasn't so scary, and he did say it will go away.

7. Less hair falling. This used to be a daily woe whenever I comb or wash my hair, seeing lots of hair falling out. But throughout the pregnancy, I noticed less and less hair falling, sometimes just 1 or 2 strands, upon pulling them roughly off the head. They actually stayed on my head and each strand even began to grow thicker... or maybe I was imagining it. I read that it's common for some pregnant women to go through this stage of lustrous hair, due to the hormon change. Well I do hope it stays that way.

8. Swollen ankles. This occurred on the last month of the 3rd trimester, thank God. Manageable by lying down and elevating both feet above body level every 20 minutes or so. And by drinking a lot of water and avoiding salty drinks (like plum juice). And walking around to encourage blood circulation. Some women might experience a more extreme case of swollen feet, puffy hands and face, due to excessive water retention.

Huaa... fat feet!

9. Feet went a size bigger. Let's not talk about fingers... I took off my wedding band on the second final month, not just because the wedding finger got chubbier, but also because the edge of the ring started biting into my skin that taking it off took extra effort with lotion. I almost cried when inching it off painstakingly, thinking it would get stuck there... Overdramatic. The feet size went back to normal after delivery though, thank God for that.

10. Constantly out of breath when speaking. It's like my heart was racing and went head over heels! Giving a talk or doing presentation is actually a challenge at this stage.

11. Soft snores. Blame those swollen mucous membranes again. The congested nose forces you to breathe through your mouth and snore. Another factor is heartburn in which food wasn't digested properly and gave that feeling as if you have bones stuck in your throat, and interfere with normal breathing. Well... I didn't know until I actually heard myself snorted in the beginning of slumber while my brain was arrested in that space between wakefulness and sleep. I am glad to note that this side effect disappeared after delivery, thank God.

12. Vivid dreams. I once had a dream I was a fairy cum python catcher who lived in a swamp full of lochness. At one point, I also dreamed of Magic Mike lookalike giving me a birthday party dance. Sometimes there's a harem involved. Well... not all vivid dreams are sexual of nature, some are just downright ridiculous. Maybe there's something in the prenatal vitamin...

Google Pic

13. Excessive salivation. Pretty much why I prefer not to talk too much. Also why snores happen, because the excess saliva caused the throat to contract and block breathing.

14. Constipation. This is a more common side effect among pregnant woman it seems. Eating veges and fruits and drinking lots of water helps. Other than that, it would actually get worst as you progress in your pregnancy because the bigger the baby becomes, the more it restricts bowel movement.

15. Frequent urination. This is well, a given. Towards my third trimester, I visited the loo like 2 -3 times after midnight. Sometimes the sensation of wanting to pee is just too much, but when you visit the ladies, there isn't much pee at all. Again, as you progress, baby growth will put pressure on your urine system.

16. Backache. Sometimes I didn't do much work but still the back aches. Better to rest more if this happens in the early part of pregnancy. We need to reserve our strength. :-)

17. Skin turned a shade darker. My gynae explained that due to hormonal change and the excessive production of melamine, dark-skin women will just get darker while fairer one will go down a tone. I'm a cross between brown and fair so going down a shade darker is more obvious.

18. Slight goiter. I noticed this happening a few weeks before delivery. It was quite alarming seeing a tiny lump on the side of my neck which wasn't even there before, but some reading really helped. It is supposed to disappear a few weeks after delivery, so I read, but medication should help to reduce the swell faster.

19. Linea Nigra. I developed that vertical line on my belly as my stomach got bigger and the skin got tauter. The line is actually pretty sexy. Myths had it that the line determines the sex of the baby. I still have the line, it's fading now.

20. Dry skin. This is also another common side effect.

21. Increased antibody. Throughout my pregnancy, my body seemed to be developing extra antibody on its own causing me to be extra-resistant against common illness such as flu or fever. Maybe it's the prenatal vitamin too. :-)

Fetal movement tab to ensure baby is fine and moving...

I think that's it. Weight gain is also a given. What women don't gain extra pounds when carrying along anyway?

What I didn't have though, was morning sickness or nausea. The only dizzy feeling I had was right after I ate and is full, any other picture of food will render me nauseous. So that doesn't count.

One thing that's probably is a myth but perhaps can prove to be true: Ask your mom how she went through her pregnancy when she had you (and your siblings). No matter if she had it easy or if she had it bad, chances are you will likely go through the same things.

So ladies, whatever symptoms or signs you have that weren't there before, make sure you talk to your Gynae about them during your routine antenatal visits. He/She should be able to point you in the right direction and ease your nerve.

Remember, this is just for sharing purposes from one woman's experience, hoping it would help some other ladies out there going through their pregnancy journey. Like my Gynae said, "A pregnancy is a blessing, not a sickness. Live your life as you were and enjoy the moments."

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Coffee Girl reaches 4-year milestone today...

First post for the 2015, and here I go registering my 4-year old existence today as Coffee Girl.

For a long while, I have kept writing and drafting posts all along going by the rule that a blog is about being written and not about being read. Some things however do change, have changed and will keep changing. And sometimes I hit a wall and thought of taking a break, but I wrote on because having gone this far, it'd be a shame to just stop midway. And also most importantly, because having you as readers have kept me going all this while.
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So whether you're an ardent follower, outright supporter, silent reader, subtle stalker, shadow chaser... This is for you. Thank you all for reading me and following my blog, Not to be dramatic, but you have no idea how much you mean to this blog.

I didn't choose the mug life. The mug life chose me. And so today I will drink coffee, smile and be thankful.

Happy 4th Year Coffee Girl! Let's hope we can make better posts and more meaningful writeups this year.