Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Harbouring no romantic notions about parenthood

"A friend told me you shouldn't refer to the baby as a parasite."

"Why not? It is one."

"The baby is intelligent and it's not good to harbour negative feelings about it."

"Well, I agree that it's intelligent but it doesn't necessarily have awareness right now. I certainly can't remember anything of my time in my mother's womb. Heck, I think I can only remember back to when I was one or two. I can't even remember when I first started walking or speaking. And I'd like to think of myself as fairly intelligent."


"Besides, the kid will be a parasite at least until the day he/she turns 21. Look at me, I'm still a parasite! Look at all the free food and fruits my parents keep dropping into our house and fridge every weekend.
And I'm 33!"

Week 15

The twin peaks are blossoming like crazy. A friend remarked to me at lunch today, "Gawd, your boobs are huuuge!"

Yes, I much prefer them small.

I resorted to buying two sets of exercise bras from WH over the last weekend and can't believe the comfort of wearing these instead of my one cup-size larger bras. This week I've dug out from the depths of my closet a couple of skirts I'd stopped wearing; beggars can't be choosers: they're jerseylike and expandable and more importantly, comfortable. I've also resorted to sticking to whatever knit and jersey tops I have in my closet that can be worn for work. The total amounts to four. I'm sure I have more. I just have to dig deeper.

I'm abandoning my shirts. Buttons threatening to pop and expose twin orbs do not a professional image make.

On a more serious note (no, seriously!), I experienced some light staining last friday and not wanting to subject myself to two needless weeks of agonizing over the cause (next scheduled appointment is Feb 9), I carted myself over to the doc's that evening after work.

He pronounced my uterus small and placenta low but that everything was normal and prescribed a regime of no sex (again!!) and non-vigorous activity; salsa out, slow dancing in. Rizal will have to keep himself busy with his Digital Playground playmates while I figure out if the blob is setting me up for a life of celibacy.

And I saw its elbows while it wiggled its fingers on the ultrasound. I experienced a mild 'wow'. It disappeared with my next gush of discharge.

Speaking of which, I have been replacing pantyliners like crazy. Somehow, when the books say that there will be extra discharge, they never mention anything about the discharge gushing right after you've gone to the toilet to pee. No, it always happens after you cleaned up and wiped yourself dry and then, the dam bursts.'s just one of those things you find out your darned self after you've thought you're clean and dry.

On a brighter note, I suppose little jr. is more appeased with my eating habits these days: I start off with a packet of nasi lemak in the morning, then lunch as usual and by teatime I try to keep it happy with a snack and then I'm ravenous by dinner. I still have gas, especially in the evenings but it's not as nauseating as before.

It will be interesting to see if the blob will decide to grace its parents with a glimpse of its gender during the next gynea visit. Drawing on the last experience with the nuchal fold test, I'm not keeping my hopes up.

The extent of my crafty fingers

The other foot,the tail, muzzle and an ear were completed about a week ago. I still have one ear left. Already I've lost interest and started (but have yet to finish) a piggie.

Rizal brought home a cup of plastic pellets today.

"These pellets were hand selected by experienced polymer engineers."


"I was picking out the pellets today when two of my colleagues saw me and asked what I was doing."


"I told them I was selecting pellets for my wife's stuffed toys. They told me I was picking crap: the pellets I picked were biodegradable ("you want them to last, right?") and that they were too big. So they ended up handpicking these high grade [insert intelligent sounding scientific name here] pellets for me."

"Wow, I didn't realize your people had so much free time."

Time to shop for that roll of cotton wool and stuff this kitty.

The other brown cow

Friday, January 19, 2007

Rediscovering an old passion

Trawling on the web, I came across several talented craftspersons: people who spend their time making crafts and showing them on their blogs.

Several tabs and many blogs later, I stumbled upon
Amigurumi, the Japanese art of crochet animals. Suddenly I was reminded of my years growing up and the various handicraft projects I used to undertake with gusto.

And so my new project is this:

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Garh! Drat my shaky hands

I love taking photos sans flash. However, my shaky hands, poor indoor lighting and the lack of a tripod (simply put: lack of skill) resulted in this less than satisfactory shot of the otherwise compellingly cute boy.

Life with a restraint

Not exactly the world's most ebullient cat at the moment. He has a bacteria-caused bald spot on the back of his neck which require an antibacterial cream and this cone to keep him from licking it off.

That pitiful look is only a facade as that thing is on him for twice a day for an hour each, long enough for the cream to sink in.

Oh where did they go?

I miss my small, plain, average 34Bs (34As if I'm shopping anywhere outside of Asia). They are now 34Cs. They need new and sturdier support. I don't like said new and sturdier support. I miss my flimsy, thin mesh or lace underwired minimum coverage bras.

Even lightly lined bras now don't do the job of covering up those pert ends. They look like they've been shoved permanently into the freezer: enthusiastic twin peaks that aren't hampered by a thin layer of cloth. They now strain my current work tops; buttons look like they're apt to fly off at any sudden movement. In fact, a few have popped open a couple of times. They're heavier and more cumbersome. My veins are starting to show; blue networks run under the cover of my pale never-seen-the-sun skin.

Like I said, I miss my plain Jane average Bs; for now Rizal gets to enjoy the new Cs.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Kitties no longer allowed

Rizal and I have established a new routine and it's one which I feel somewhat guilty about; we no longer allow the kitties access into the bedroom. This after my bout of sneezing, sniffling, snuffling fits where I stopped my nasal spray and anti-histamines cold turkey for three months.

It's only been two nights and the guilty feeling is not going away. The cats normally spend the night sharing our bed, well, at least two of them do: Meg and Pixel. Pixel takes the foot of the bed in between or against Rizal's legs. Meg likes to mosey on close by next to my chest or my pillow. It's Meg's closeness I can't stand, mainly because she sheds so much fur.

During the daytime, they get full run of the bedroom and take over the bed, the bathroom mat and, basically well, the whole room. Trixie had also taken to conquering Rizal's side of the bed as compared to before when she claimed my reading chair for her own. Every night, I have to make sure I roll the bed with my trusty lint remover, thereafter known as fur remover before we retire for the night.

I must say that it's a relief not to have to roll the bed anymore; also not to have to wake up sometime in the middle of the night to find an unwanted ball of fur next to me.

But I am plagued by the kitties' wake-up wails in the morning. Pixel especially, makes it a point to wail outside our bedroom door after or slightly before my alarm goes off. I also dread to think of the shed fur collecting on various parts of the couch where Meg might have parked herself for the night or the parts of the day when we are off at work.

My reasoning is that we don't see them for that many hours in the day anyway, so what's the harm in allowing them to sleep close by in the night? They deserve as much for being alone most of the day.

The consenus isn't out yet on whether this will be a long term arrangement. But I'm a known softie. It doesn't make much of a difference to Rizal because 90% of the time, I'm the one rolling the bed and his nose isn't as vulnerable as mine.

I foresee the furballs taking control of the bedroom again before long.

Why having heightened senses can be a very, very bad thing

Part II: A Keen Sense of Smell

My nose usually isn't the keenest on the block. In fact, it's normally too busy either dripping or getting stuffed up to worry about such details as smells.

Not any more.

It has somehow developed into a lean mean smelling machine. Again, I blame it on the blob; it seems to have developed a distinct hatred of onions: fried, sauteed, chopped, raw, quartered, urgh!! The absolute worst is the smell of onions cooking. It got so bad that everytime Rizal cooked up a dish with onions, I had to retreat into our bedroom, with door closed. Even after the cooking, the reek of leftovers is too overwhelming to bear. And still, no throwing up. I don't know which is worse: feeling nauseous or just puking it all out.

Another smell I can't stomach is the smell of fried food. Or the smell of frying oil. Too, too gross to even go into.

The other day I walked into a friend's kopi tiam and I could have sworn it smelled like the chicken stalls at the market; the bit where the chicken sellers slit the chickens' throats and let them flap about while the blood drains from their cut. The pungent smell of fresh flesh and blood mixed with feathers. It was a jolt to my nose. And there I was planning to have afternoon tea. My friend swears the shop didn't smell any different from normal. Like I said, it's the blob's fault.

How does one try to even eat with such an assault on the nose? Eating is as much immersing oneself in smells as well as taste. No wonder I lost weight even though I had no morning sickness.

I still abhor onions. I can stomach fried fish if it's drenched in soy sauce with garlic, ginger and spring onions. I can't bear the thought of Shanghai noodles; one past meal filled me up so much I was left reeling from fullness for a full two days.

Lukcily my aversion has been limited to food only. I can't imagine what it'd be like to suddenly discover that you absolutely cannot stand the smell of your husband. Not being able to stand the snoring is bad enough.

Testing my limits

It's now x nights of interrupted 6-hour sleep. My quota is 7 uninterrupted. The snoring IS. KEEPING. ME. AWAKE.

I need my own room.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Why having heightened senses can be a very, very bad thing

Part 1: Bionic Hearing

I don't know how animals live in our sensory polluted world. Domestic cats and dogs, with their heightened sense of sight, smell and hearing seem to thrive or maybe they have just learned to tolerate how dulled the human senses are and live with the assault of noise and smells as best they can.

I, on the other hand, am being driven up the wall into insomnia by Rizal's snoring. Apparently, I have been sleeping in oblivion, totally unaware of how earth-shattering his snores are until recently (or so he claims). I just think that his snoring has reached decibels of unbearable proportions. Either that or it's all the blob's fault for the hormonal imbalance that's causing my heightened sense of hearing. And this is how bad it gets: if Rizal should fall asleep before me, I can just as well grab my pillow and blanket and head to the couch. Not five minutes into his slumber, the beginning strains of a roadside electric drill racket will begin and I won't be able to sleep until at least 30 minutes later.

He starts off sometimes with a low stuttering, then building up to a wall-ricocheting series of lawnmower sputters. His favourite position right now is on his right, facing me. I have tried pushing him or rolling him over to his back or to his left. The racket doesn't diminish, or he rolls back to his right.

I have tried stuffing my ears with tissue. It cuts out the noise by probably one iota. I have tried counting sheep. I have tried breathing in rythmn to his snores; counting the seconds between his snores; thinking of anything other than his snores. I have placed one finger on one nostril (his, not mine) and held it there so it would cut down the noise; I get a little respite but at the risk of suffocation, he's always moved away or turned away, only to begin his medley right after. I have drummed my feet on the bed incessantly in frustration; he's too deep into slumber and snoring away to notice the mini earthquake ripping through the mattress. The only thing that works is moving myself onto the living room couch, making sure I close the bedroom door before I leave. If I don't, the snoring carries its way from our bedroom to the living room; it pings off our bare walls, navigates the corners and hurtles down the stairs and echoes into the dining area right into the living room where I'm sleeping on the couch.

When my bladder's so full towards the morning, usually an hour or two before my alarm goes off at 7am, wouldn't you know it but my body seems to enjoy playing this joke on me, I need to get up to pee or I would probably wet the bed. It happens every morning without fail. And when I've relieved that distended bladder, I return to bed and am serenaded by Rizal's snores. Needless to say, going back to sleep requires either a superhuman effort or that I get struck deaf right then and there.

I am at my wits' end.

I don't want to sleep on the living room couch for the rest of my 29 weeks, neither do I want to create cause for him to report me in for domestic abuse. "Officer, my wife pokes and prods me every night just because I snore. Just look at the bruises on my arms and chest." As it is, every night that I poke or roll him into (shortlived) submission, he never fails to accuse me of just that the next morning. How can I relegate him to the living room couch?

We have a second bedroom that is currently being used as a storeroom. It's quite empty and practically unfurnished save for the window fixtures and the nominal lighting and ceiling fan. It's going to remain unfurnished at the most until the end of this week. As of this morning I have decided that rather than subject either of us to sleeping on the couch for the remainder of this pregnancy and end up with severe back pains, getting another bed for the second room would be preferable. I am going bed shopping tonight. There are some boxes and portable plastic storage chests we have to clear out from the room or organize. Other than that, the room is ready to go; all we're lacking is a bed frame for the forlorn twin-sized mattress that is leaning against the wall. All it seems to be good for right now is as the cats' scratch pad if we fail to close the door and bar them entry into the room.

I just hope the bionic snores don't travel through walls; the second room is right next to our bedroom; I don't think my bionic ears can compete with equally bionic snores. On a more positive note, the wall that adjoins both the bedrooms is buffered by our gigantic wardrobe and filled to the brim with our, or mostly, my clothes.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Mr Sandman is working overtime

My subconscious has been having a whale of a time every night ever since I hit Week 11 or thereabouts, the best being this week where I've had vivid dreams almost every night. My hormone overdrive must be stimulating my dream mechanism. What's resulted is my subconscious is being assaulted by extremely lucent and graphical, albeit somewhat nonsensical dream adventures.

Here's a brief summary of what's transpired in my brain so far. To elaborate in detail would take me days, so I'll just opt for the overview:

1. Shopping in a really large mall (and getting somewhat lost in it) and missing the bus resulting in having to wait for one that does not seem to want to come, which ended in me walking home through a residential area. (I know this doesn't sound very graphical but the details in this dream were amazingly clear and the grass on the sidewalk were verdantly green.)

2. Being dropped off at a late night movie and then abandoned by all my friends after the credits roll. I had to take a lift from a few acquaintances. Her car was an American junk on the outside, furnished with plush furry white upholstery on the insde, complete with video screen on the passenger side for viewing pleasure. We ended up stopping for the night because the driver was too sleepy and the vivid part of this dream was the lake that we stopped by. Oh, and also towards the end of the dream, I had sex with Leonardo di Caprio. I can't even imagine why. I'm not even a fan. I blame RTM1 for showing Titanic before Christmas.

3. Getting unlimited amounts of cash from the ATM without affecting my account balance only to discover that the ATM is the one that is out of whack and that I'd overdrawn on my account. In running around the Southern region to look for a working ATM to check on my account balance, I bumped into a client who in turn asked me about my machines and started negotiating with me. Cut to my friends and I heading back to our hotel (we were on a tourist trip in our own country) and a past significant other was sprawled out over the top of the backseat, reading comics.

4. Slumber party at a friend's new apartment before she let it out to her tenant. The apartment was vividly furnished and together with us was a roommate whom we had lost touch with. The apartment was slightly bigger than the original, complete with kitchen cabinets, living and bedroom furniture and even abundant with food. I remember vividly a string of garlic hanging from one of the kitchen cabinets. And that she had her cabinets installed differently because one of the kitchen walls had a water leak from somewhere.

5. Left my mobile phone at a restaurant and it was picked up by some guy. Ended up calling my phone, arranging to meet him somewhere to pick up my phone and berating him for even taking a phone that does not belong to him. Distinct area references: Section 14, Puchong, Subang, even Giant hypermarkt. Cut to an outing with a friend to a bird park where we were having tea at a solarium-like place and I was taking her photos with my Nikon D80.

6. Cooking dinner for my family while they were having dinner at my old home in Cheras. I was washing some greens in the sink and they expanded after the washing. A lot of cutting and preparing was involved. Cut to another scene where i received a call from Rizal that he was coming over to see me together with his monther. And then another call from ANOTHER Rizal telling me that he's also coming to pay me a visit. I remember thinking to myself, "Wait a minute, if there are two Rizals, which is my real hubby?".

I've spared everyone the other x-rated episodes where going into even mild detail would be more than a little embarrassing. I thought throwing in the Leo diCap bit is already gross enough as it is.

I wonder what my sleazy subconscious will cook up tonight.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Handling with kid gloves

It looks like I'll have to find a way to just bundle the D80 into a sweatshirt or an old T-shirt and chuck it into my bag with me, much like how Ken Rockwell does with his cameras. It doesn't look like I'll be getting my Lowepro camera bag anytime soon until after CNY.

If I'm to start practicing and using the D80, I have no choice. And I'd rather start using it now than later; my skills are almost non-existent and I need as much practice as I can get.

I just hope I won't somehow damage this baby one way or another.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A New Baby

Here's my new baby:

Photo courtesy of Nikon Malaysia

Complete with DX 18-135 lens. Although the lens came second hand but it's almost as good as new. Set me back a few grand but I figured, this will be my first DSLR and the last thing that I indulge myself in for a looooooong time to come.

Pretty soon we'll be driven deep into debt by the blob, so what the hey! I might as well splurge now while I can.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Vital Statistics

Measurement from head to rump: 42mm
Nuchal fold scan: normal
Limbs: all accounted for

The blob is healthy as of Tuesday. Other than making the mistake of drinking two and a half mugs of water, the nuchal fold scan showed the little blob is 85% chance free of Down's syndrome.

I had my normal morning quota of microwaved bun with butter and mug of milo. The milo was flushed out while I was getting ready. Remembering my doc's advice to drink plenty of water before going in for the scan, I downed 2.5 mugs of water right before getting into the car.

Big mistake.

By the time we got there and I'd parked, I'd difficulty just making those few steps into the doc's office. I swear I looked like I had something stuffed up my ass except that it was more like I had to pee, REALLY bad.

By the time I got up onto the bed and the doc was rolling the scan over my abdomen, I was practically whimpering. The great thing about the technology is that we could see just how distended my bladder was.

Dr. Viknesh turned to me and asked, "Just how much water did you actually drink?"

Still trying not to whimper, I said, "Only 2.5 mugs. Oh I had milo in the morning, but that was flushed out already!"

He took pity on me. "Go to the bathroom. Your bladder's too full and you're too uncomfortable. At the same time, you might as well give me a urine sample."

I just about scrambled to empty my bladder. While I was weeing enough water to put out a small fire, Rizal was left alone with Dr.Viknesh and I wondered if the good doc was recounting his tale of his whole family falling sick in India while on holiday.

Try as i might I couldn't expel all the fluids I taken in. "Phew!! That's is such a relief! But I think there's still more water in there," I announced as I came back into the examining room and clambered up the bed.

"Ah, this is perfect. Now you have just the right amount of fluids in you," he said as he ran the scan over me.

No wonder Dr. Viknesh ordered me to empty my bladder first. I would not have been able to lie still and not whimper or squirm for the next 10 or 15 minutes or even guaranteed that I would nto wet the bed as he tried to get the blob into position so that he could do the nuchal fold scan. To perform this scan, the blob's neck fold and the bridge of its nose needed to be measured. And it was not cooperating. Instead of bobbing and moving about, it was happy to stay stationary in one position.

It was Rizal's first visit to the doc's where a scan is done. For a first timer, there wasn't much of a reaction. I wonder if his expression would be as bland if I'm delivering?

So there I was, with belly exposed, jelly smeared over it and the doc moving the scan all over it and the stubborn blob still wasn't budging. Not even when he tried probing a little. It wasn't until I coughed that the blob decided its water coccoon was not so comfy and moved just a tiny bit. A bit more of a cough and it moved again. Ahah, bingo! Caught on screen.

The test done, Dr. Viknesh took my weight: 51kg. He was not happy. I'd weighed 52 kg four weeks ago. Take into account my brush with fever and gastric, I think I was doing pretty OK. "I want you to put on at least 1-2 kg by the time you come and see me in 5 weeks' time. You need more carbo," he admonished me. OK, we shall try to accomplish that as long as I don't feel too nauseous eating full meals.

So next appointment with the doc will be in early February. Week 16. I wonder if we'll be able to tell if the blob's a she or a he?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Myopic vision

Why is it that when you are pregnant, you notice more pregnant women walking around than you have ever noticed before?

We were at Ikano during the late morning, getting our groceries done, getting a bolster for me and getting a bite for lunch. In the span of under 3 hours, I saw about 8 pregnant women walking around; with hubbies, with children in tow, with baby carriers, or just by themselves, but definitely pregnant. The only places we went to were Ace Hardware, Aussino, Cold Storage and lunch. That covers about three floors of shopping space and less than a fraction of the stores at Ikano.

Maybe it's the ever mysterious moon cycle of the sisterhood working in balance to bring all hormonally imbalanced women together.

Go figure.

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