Thursday, October 30, 2008

Birthdays and more!

We decided that kids birthdays should be celebrated quietly (or cheaply;). Anyway, it is almost a routine that the first ones must be accompanied with a little "makan-makan" with some guests.

Bea3 turned 3 on Oct. 14. Both her first two birthdays were in Ramadan, and this time it was her first party. Told my guests it was a smallish one, but to my standard it turned out to be the biggest gathering held in our tiny apartment.

I invited new friends, neighbours, students, friends that just got back from the UK for good, the babysitter and family. It was the first visit to our place for most of them. A total of 13 adult guests and 5 kids (excluding mine;)) of Malaysian malays, Malaysian chinese, Jordanians, a Sudanese, two Burmese neighbours.
I got nervous as usual, worrying that things might go wrong. As much as I love to have guests often, I'm not very sure of my capability to handle things (without a helper)). Adel was such an angel in the morning, allowing me to prepare as much as I could.
Don't be fooled by the look on the food;). Of course I was not trying to be a superwoman. I could not take a risk of having Adel clinging on my legs while food being burned;). The main dish at the center of the table is from my sister-in-law, who runs a food bussines and has 8 helpers. So that was easy-peasy for her. She could not come so hubby had to drive all the way to Shah Alam to get the foodie.
Look at the pic closely, the arrangement of the green plate and cutleries is certainly a work by a kid...I love it! We had the full set on the table but they were all gone even before we started eating.
Anyway, I cooked the Nasi Minyak (for the first time), fried meehoon, the cream-based pasta that my kids love (that Alhamdulillah, other kids love too as other food might be too spicey). And I made peach-custard pudding too. The custard turned 'watery' as by that time, Adel really felt neglected and while I was talking on the phone, asking a friend when to stop stirring, he was just tugging on my pants.
Thought of making choc-chips cookies but that's already too much, and I was not ready to bake the birthday cake too.
It was a great one, really. Understanding guests who help cleaning (though I kept asking not to), more than enough food (a very important thing!) that I tapau for each of the guests to bring home, neighbours helped decorating the cake and a chance to show off my new toy...I mean, the oven;). I told everyone not to bring gifts as we believe the birthday girl would be thrilled enough with the cake and the guests, but of course she got gifts. Hubby said by telling that, I did some reverse psychology;).
Bea3's hair was all combed nicely, and decorated with some hairpins minutes before she blew the candles, ok!.
All the other birthdays this year are summed up here.
Adel's first. Definitely a biggie, my parents were here and sister-in-law offered to cook. Guests mostly our close relatives.
Earlier this year Bea1 turned 6. A small one but we invited one of her friends and family. We got tired of secret recipe and for a change decided on an icecream cake that was trying hard to look like a cute pink rabbit!
Before that, Bea2 turned 4. A really quiet one but look at the face of the birthday girl, "kembang habis"!.
And now, I realise that the round blue table is really suitable for kids to gather around a birthday girl/boy!
Birthdays in 2008 are done, we will start again in January 2009 with an additional one in most probably June. Having said that, a little update on the new pregnancy.
Yesterday, we saw a fetus (or is it an embryo at this stage?) with obvious and strong heartbeats. The baby's thriving well, and despite having the worst morning sickness (anyway, I still think to a lot of people it is nothing) I really feel good. I just think that I'm having too much rest, and yearning to start doing filedwork again. Talk to any geologist, and you know we just can't stay too long in the office...rimas you!
With the measurement of the fetus, we could no longer rely on the date of my last period. I'm actually just 6 weeks (despite 8 weeks, according to last date), and new due date is 25th June, 2009. With the shift of date, I still can't stop asking myself of when it really happened. It also means I was only 3 week plus when I first did the test, and this is the earliest I know that the pregnancy test kit can detect the hormones (sorry for my English, ok!).
Now, eagerly waiting to pass the 12th week before I can really shout to the world (as if I have not done that already;)).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Seeing a little bud makes a difference!

The first doc. I saw (for this pregnancy), the ob/gynea at the private clinic said thicken endometrium could be a good sign of very early pregnancy, the second doc (at UMMC) said it was thicken but not like in a pregnnacy.

Then came the bloodtest result. The first one on Friday has a count of 947 (can't remember in what unit they use) of beta hCG. That looks good. Too high it could be a molar pregnancy, too low ectopic or the onset of a miscarriage. That's what I'd been told. Anyway, from my reading we can't really rely on the counts but rather on how it increases. At this stage it should double in two days or so.

Yesterday, the reading was 2479 and that was good. Either too slow increase or high jump may indicate problems.

During all 5 previous pregnancies, I never did beta hCG test and now I'm learning new things!
Though I was a bit relieved when I looked at the numbers, I can't really explain how I felt when I first saw the bud.

The doc took some time to locate it, and she was saying that we might have to try it transvaginally (which I hate) when she suddenly went "There you are....!".
That little 5 mm in diameter bud put a smile on my face. The more canggih machine at my gynea clinic would show more, and I can keep a copy of the image but at this stage, I'd just stick to UMMC

The doc later explain, the sac normally can be seen at 1500 counts. No wonder we didn't see anything last week.
A lot of times, I wish I could just do away with hospital visits but learning about these little significat details keep my mind occupied.

Not wanting me to have high hope, maybe, the doc said at this stage she could not confirm if it is a viable pregnancy. I really don't mind that as actually by then I was chirping like a happy bird already. I parked at the highest floor of the building but yet I pressed the 'down' buttom on the lift. Could not really take my mind off that!

I remember my colleague said "Take it easy (with work)...", many people said "Take care of yourself...". Now I really ponder on that words, sometimes to me they are just nice words to be blurted out, I tend to forget what all the caring people really mean. I must really take care of myself, I keep reminding myself now. Can't really get over with what I put myself through during the last one, when I didn't know I was preggie.

Anyway, will have another appointment in two weeks, I will be almost 8 weeks. Hoping to see heartbeats so badly;).

Friday, October 10, 2008

How long does the pregnancy hormones stay in your system after a miscarriage?

It never occured to me that I'd be asking that question. I thought I had moved on after the miscarriage, I felt grateful that everything was fine and I had found a nice place to bury the demised embryo.

I thought I'd just wait for 3 cycles of periods (as advised) before trying again. After Bea2, babies came as pleasant surprises but this time, maybe due to the loss, the feeling to have a newborn baby in my arms became greater. Maybe it's a natural thing, right?

Period came on 3rd Sept., just minutes before Iftar (buka puasa) but I was excited. Two more to go, I thought!

I waited, and waited....and on last Sunday I had little brownish stain. I was alarmed, it looked like the same thing I had in the UK, when I was not aware that I was already pregnant.

On Monday, in the toilet I was thinking it could not be, it should not be, it was not possible as I saw the second line slowly appeared on the stick!

Hubby said it was only a blur line, I knew someone was so in denial. My worst worry was "Could I still have 'leftover' from the miscarriage?".

And of course I looked for information on the net. Followed by visit to the hospital on Tuesday. Was told that a doc could only see me the next day. I went to a private gynea, scan showed nothing much, but thickened endometrium, had a second positive urine test. The doc. said it was very unlikely that I still have 'leftover' from the miscarriage as I had my period already. He said bloodtest would give us more clue but told him I would do it at UMMC to save some money.

I asked him to write a report for me to bring to the other doc. I was waiting outside his room when he called me in again, with a huge grin he said his funny hunch told him that it was a new pregnancy, looking at the period date and the thicken endometrium. It's just normal that at this stage, not much can be seen. He asked "Is it possible you're pregnant?" that rang "Have you been having unprotected sex (while you shouldn't have)?" to me. I just muttered "Well, we thought we were very, very careful...". He asked me to call him after getting the bloodtest result.

So very nice the him!

There goes RM160 that day for not being patient to wait for another day.

On Wednesday, the second doc also said nothing much could be seen, but she said her first impression was it's an early pregnancy. Third positive result and blood taken and result was out on Friday. Beta hCG counts looked normal for this stage. Had to endure another prick to hopefully see it doubled in that two days, the way it should be for a healthy pregnancy.

The result will be out tomorrow. If I do not sound too excited, it is because I'm not really excited. I can't help it, with the same sympton (the discharge) I'm just too worried it would end up as another heartbreak. Docs do not seem to care much about it, and yes we know that it is common to have that during early pregnancy.

I have not shouted to the world yet, ok maybe 4 friends (you know who you are;)), mom, one sister (who may already passed it around the family) and this entry in this blog. Yeah...I thought I should wait after the 12th week to even open my mouth, it is just me!

While looking through the net, I read more about molar pregnancy...I thought I might be at a risk. And I thought since we were very careful, it does not involve a swimmer;). I was wrong...a molar pregnancy also needs a sperm, but due to abnormal cell division, no fetus is developed.

I'm still wondering..."How'd that happened?". Someone said I was just made for breeding...;).

I pray I will have a smooth pregnancy, we will be blessed with another healthy baby soon!

And I'm glad if I get you to be excited with this news...and please, scrol down and read what I wrote about my new oven and see some Raya pics. I took ages to finish that!

Thanks for reading! Have a good and productive week ahead!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Satisfaction is....

Baking our own Raya cookies at home....

or seeing the look on Bea2's face as she admires the cookies that she got involved in the making, it did not really matter if Bea1 decided to decorate them as some rabbits!

Actually I'd love to write more about my new toy. The weekend before Eid was spent 'testing' it. We managed to bake around 300 almond london (with colourful hearts on top, not almond nips that got completely burnt while being toasted in the old felt neglected, maybe;)), 150 pieces in one shot, they are from 250g buttter and about 400 g flour, and 300 choc chips cookies (also in two batches).

I figured out the heat distribution already. The good thing to 'test' the first time with cookies like almond london is because the uneven colour won't be visible after they are coated with chocolate;). I could also estimate the temperature which I think a bit off.

Well, I don't know if all ovens would have certain behaviour (that's what I read) or maybe mine is just worse than the others as I consider it as 'rejected' item.

Anyway, cookies turned out great except for a batch of choc chips. That is due to some stupid recipe;). Too much brown sugar made them denser and harder..grrr, how come I never thought about that!

It was really time to pack for balik kampung and despite the clues from hubby that I should just stop it, I could not wait to see how it would perform on a cake. I whipped a mixture of a butter cake recipe. Alhamdulillah, it turned out good too except for it's a little brown at the top. Next time, I must place it at a lower shelf.

My Kak Long who is a great cook (like mom) commented on how good the cake was *kembang* but reminded me that I could use a little milk to moist it a bit more. Anyway I had forgotten the take the pic.

Now, I can't wait to roast a whole chicken with it, or to have cupcakes in two trays in one go, or to try grilling with the door ajar (it is mentioned in the manual;)), and I must make scones too.

With all that said, I finally wish that it won't be a white elephant...certainly not!

Enough of the oven for now...I'm sharing some Raya pics. We were at my kampung on the first day, arrived hubby's kampung at 1.30 pm the second day, and due to some reasons returned to mine on the 4th. and reached KL Monday 4 am. Both our kampungs are 8 hours drive away, so that's kind of crazy but we did around 6000 km in the UK recently, so that's nothing much really. Two of the kids got fever but they recovered fast.

My girls on pagi raya.

Adel Rayyan refused to have anything on his head.

"Bila nak dapat duit raya ni?"

Bea2 with a very shy cousin "Did you just pick your nose, sayang?"

Another round of almond london for Bea3.

At a relative's house, Adel's in his best behaviour;), and giving me a peaceful time to dig in.

A combination of ketupat pulut, lemang, rendang (no longer there) and tapai...heavenly!

I missed my parents as they were in Makkah doing umrah, but knowing that's what they loved most made me feel better. I wept a little with I read the Yassin at my sister's grave and that reminded me of late brother-in-law too but I could only pray, and that made me cherish the ones who are still around me more.

Alhamdulillah, we had a great Eid and I wish everybody had one too.