Saturday, 25 September 2010

My Journey to Motherhood (Part 2)

September, 25th ... exactly on the same day 5 year ago, we spent our last few hours in lboro, UK after 4 years of memorable stay. We were going home.. yes, home to our family where we belong to.. if only our family is in UK, we won't leave this very meaningful place!! We could feel the sadness & loss in the air, seeing those faces of our dear friends & kids whom we love most. Truly, this place & its people had a very special space in our heart. We have learned a lot about many things from here.. Also, I was in 28th day of confinement after delivering little 'Affaf. Alhamdulillah, we brought four 'ole2' for our family; 2 ph.D & 2 adorable kids!

During my final year in ph.D, I became confident to finish this journey on time, that is by end of September 2005. At this stage, all necessary data had been obtained & analysed. Just need to be properly presented in few more chapters while the earlier ones mostly the literature reviews are almost done. Abang was almost completing his.. If I was in his shoes, with tremendous data & findings, continuous flow of ideas,  plus an extraordinary gift in expressing things into words, I would burn the candles all night to get the unfinished business done! That was in fact our deal.. he went off completing his ph.D with fullest speed & promised that he will assist me in completing mine..  So I slow down in my writing up & gave more room to Abang. With Allah's will, during this crucial time, I was pregnant again which will be due in August!This means that I had double deadlines; PHD & BABY at the same time. Previous pregnancy history made me extra cautious in self-care; meaning that no hard work & no stress physically, mentally & emotionally which are almost impossible to be avoided.. I left everything to Allah..for He is the All-Greatest Planner.. whether I realized or not I was in my best pregnancy condition. Every morning 6-9am, I pushed heavy trolley & cleaned the badminton complex all alone. Yes, I was a 'floor engineer' where I learned a lot about the cleaning skills, hehe! THis has been the prevailing career among students since our scholarship are not really enough to cover some necessities. In my case, I would say that I was not categorized as 'darurat' to work because Abang is a superb financial planner who managed monthly flow very efficiently.. every month must balance! I guess that has been the most favorite words among Accounting graduates!!

My supervisor & Abang's internal examiner: Prof John Presley & family
Dr Humayon Dar: Abang's supervisor & my internal examiner
In early 2005, Abang had practically completed his thesis.. as agreed he passed the baton to me for the final race with fullest speed. If people asked me, when is the most beautiful moment you spent with your other half.. that very time would be my answer.. just imagine that we were almost going to reach the end of a very long journey which we could see the finishing line in front of us.. we were like holding hands, working in a team & with a high spirit to complete the race! I was 6 months pregnant by then.. I applied for early maternity leave (the leave is 6 months in UK) so that I could focus in completing my research. I worked non-stop from dawn till dusk even during weekends; while Abang managed other household tasks like washing up & feeding Ammar, getting him to school, cooking, cleaning d house, laundry, garbage, packing, shopping and even going to carboot!! Sometime, I miss seeing my Abang doing all these chores again, hehe!

Affaf: 1 yr (2006)
Each time when I looked at Affaf, I am not surprised by her character- strong, matured, intelligent, focuss but very sensitive & sometimes grumpy a bit.. for she grew inside me along with my ph.D progress. Despite finishing my main task as student, I took the time again to study my condition & prepared for any possibility in labor. I was very careful in food-taking, fearing that the baby will be too big for a normal birth, though chances to undergo C-sec again is not impossible. My focus in work also affected my appetite. That's why Affaf was only 2.8kg during birth!

By end of July, I had completed the writing up & finally submitted the thesis on August, 8th.. the same day where Abang had his ph.D viva. ALhamdullilah, his hard work pays off when he successfully defended his thesis without any correction. After that, our main focus were packing our stuffs to go home for good & preparing for the birth. 3 weeks later, I still remember.. it was Sunday, we went to our favorite shopping place i.e. Quorn carboot where we spent more time & money than usual buying toys in particular. That nite, we packed again till 1am. At 2am I felt the contraction becoming more regular & closer between the intervals. At first, I was hesitated to wake Abang up, but my breathing somehow woke him up. We called Olin to stay with Ammar & dashed to Queens Medical Centre at Nottingham. The journey took about 20 minutes & Abang kept on reminding me to recite Salawat Tafrijiah & address 'Ya 'Azim' repeatedly between the contractions. Upon reaching the hospital & placed in the labor room, the nurse on-duty who was aware of my previous labor history put me under antibiotic to ensure I was clear from Grade-B Stripe (GBS) infection before the labor this time. Abang was all there by my side, reciting Al-Quran and supporting me with everything that he could. When I struggled to push, I could feel that he was pushing too, coz he pushed my head really hard, hehe! Even the doctor said to him, "wow, you are pushing as well!". Finally, little Affaf was born at 8.20 am on 29th August 2005. Alhamdulillah, she was clear from GBS & looks very fair with pink lips.

I was discharged a day later & had my confinement at home. Abang cooked for me everyday while I handled the tiny baby by myself. I had a good confinement care for the first 2 weeks only. 'Good' for me at that time means less movement, no climbing stairs, healthy food-taking & enough rest. Of course during that time, no berurut, bertungku & berbengkung. We were very busy getting our stuffs ready for shipping. We had about 150 boxes of books and few other boxes full with toys. 13 days after the delivery, I had my viva & passed with minor correction. I was determined to do the correction and submit the final thesis before going home. Again, I stayed up to finish the task while feeding little Affaf all nite. During this time, I felt healthy & energetic, unlike during the first delivery by C-Sec. I also started doing other household chores like cooking, cleaning the house, washing toilets, mopping the kitchen, brushing sinks & stoves! We got all our stuffs into the container by ''gotong royong' with the Malay community members on September 23rd.. and we left lboro 2 days later..

At home in Malaysia, we stayed at my parents-in-law's for few months before moved to our present home. We were fullly occupied with work & trying to settle down, unpacking the stuffs from the boxes. That didn't include trying to adapt with 'culture-shocks' like hot weather, driving style, working routines, administration efficiency, money value etc. What I could say is.. the time at that moment moved very fast.. we could feel wide differences from our lives in UK, yet we tried to survive with it. Few months later, I felt very bad pain in upper part of my leg. The pain became worse especially early in the morning to the extend I had to crawl to the toilet coz I could not stand up properly otherwise, the pain became unbearable. When we went to my hometown in KB during 'Idulaha (5 months after the birth), I went for berurut & bertungku and was told that my 'urat keting' were swollen badly & took time to heal. This was due to my 'heavy' routine during the confinement. After few sessions of berurut & bertungku I felt much better, alhamdulillah.

From this experience, I realized that;
1) Delivery by C-Sect requires extra care in order to heal the external & internal wound. Its pain would require us to have the rest needed. The body is weak usually for 6 months & generally, we will feel completely healthy after a year.
2) Normal delivery usually causes pain for few days only; generally after 2 weeks, we will feel very healthy. But internally, we are not fit as yet. Still we need to undergo the normal regime of confinement till end for a complete recovery.
3) Our body is like processor which needs to undergo extra care, service & maintenance especially after a very hard work from a labor. If we can spend to maintain other property like car, house or machines, whatmore to invest in ensuring that our body stay healthy.

Wallahu A'lam.

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