Friday, June 24, 2011

F.A.I.E.Z - Funny.Agile.Inquisitive.Energetic.Zest

It's been more than a year since I last blogged here. I has been a busy year for me trying to juggle work, family and studies all at the same time. Multi-tasking...that's the buzz word for such things!

I have not shared anything about my 3rd child - Faiez, who portrays all the adjectives that forms the acronym of his name and more like creative & smart. Faiez, is Allah's gift to me and my hubby after we went through a rough patch in our marital relationship about 8 years ago. But that's another story for another post.

Faiez was quiet when he was a baby and toddler. So very much different from what he is now...chatty, loud and always actively jumping up and down, running very energetic.He's like the bunny in the Duracell advert that keeps going on and on and on.....I can't keep up! The only time the house is quiet is either when he sleeps or when he's at school!

He started Year 1 primary school this year and he hates homework. Getting him to do his homework is like getting blood out of a rock and I have to keep reminding him over and over again. He can't sit still in one place for more than 5 minutes!

Here is a true story about what happened to his pair of shoes earlier this year.

After a week of Chinese New Year holidays, Faiez (Year 1) went to school on the following Monday wearing his sister Miza's (Year 5) shoes. I only realized it after we have arrived at the school. So, later when my hubby went to pick up Fikrie (Form 2) at his school nearby, Fikrie went to send Faiez his shoes so that Faiez can change. Ok... all is well right after that....... NOT! 

When I went to pick up Faiez in the evening... taadaa.... I found that he has LOST his shoes. Apparently he went playing in the field after school and took off his shoes because according to him he can run like the wind WITHOUT his shoes! After much searching by both myself and Faiez, he ended up going home barefoot in my car as we couldn't find the shoes anywhere, not even in the drain or the garbage bin.

But that's not the best part.... The best part is that this particular pair of shoes was a bit torn after 3 weeks of school. So I became a cobbler and worked hard at repairing and mending the shoes during the Chinese New Year break, by stitching the torn part... thus making it look almost new again. Alas... now that it's all better and looking brand new after surgery, the shoes decided to leave for greener pastures.....sigh... what more can I say!

Of course when Faiez returned home without his shoes, my hubby was quite mad. In my case, I didn't know whether to be angry, laugh or cry. I was angry at the beginning when I first saw him barefoot at school...but later on in the car when I thought about how funny it was...I silently laughed inside (hey, I have to maintain the angry Mum look so Faiez will learn his lesson).

So, not wanting to lose the shoes, the next morning my hubby went searching for the shoes after he dropped off Fikrie and Miza at their schools nearby. Surprisingly, hubby found the pair of shoes that morning. The shoes were sitting quietly and meekly on the shoe rack outside the school's prayer room (Surau). Great!!! The best part is, the shoes are not the same sized pair! The right side (size 11) which had surgery during the CNY break found an older left side partner (size 12) and decided to stick with this new partner. We don't even know what happen to the other pair. 

And to this I'm writing this, Faiez still wears the pair of shoes regardless of the different sizes. He seems to be unfazed by it (the different shoe size that is)! What can I say .... kids....if they're happy, then I'm happy too!

Faiez can still smile even after he fell and got his eyes swollen. Luckily, it didn't hit his eyes. The cut was about  1 cm away from his eyes! Thank you, Allah...for keeping him safe!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Our Ears and Grommet


Just some images and short info about our ears and the Grommet tube that was inserted in Sarah on Wednesday.


As you can see there's fluid behind the eardrums that can lead to some hearing loss in a person. It is important that the fluid is sucked or drained out from the ears to assist hearing. That's the function of Grommet.

The position of the grommet tube in the ear.

Check out the position of the Grommet tube in the eardrums... to suck out the fluid from the middle ear.

Ventilation grommet placed in ear drum. By providing an artificial opening in the ear drum, pressure fluctuations between the middle ear and outside world can be avoided. In short, a sucker to suck out the fluid from the middle ear.

Sarah can still smile while waiting in the ward for her surgery time to come. Her last meal was 12midnite the nite before. She had to fast because she will be under general anesthetics (GA) during the surgery. This was around 8.30am in Kuantan Specialist Hospital.

Sarah is playing with her Mickey & Friends sticker collection and is still smiling after the surgery was over. She just had some water and milk... no vomitting, and later some noodle soup, so she is allowed to go home. This was taken at about 2pm after the surgeon came around and told us that Sarah can go home. Yeay!

Alhamdulillah, everything went well and she is now playing and being her cheeky self again at home. Thanks everyone for all your prayers. We really appreciate it!

Fazz & Sarah

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

C.L.E.F.T - Courage.Love.Enthusiasm.Fabulous. Transformation


I meant to share with you about my 3rd child, Faiez in my 3rd entry, BUT ... something important came up that I just had to share with you about my 4th child, Maisarah, whom we call Sarah. Sarah is special. You'll know why if you continue reading.

When I conceived Sarah, we were at that time living in Melbourne, Australia. My husband was doing his sub-speciality in Neurosurgery and worked as a registrar at the Royal Melbourne Hospital for a year. So we always joke around that Sarah was Made in Australia. I took unpaid leave from my job in Malaysia and became a housewife in Australia. My sister called it 'Domestic Goddess'.

I was still breastfeeding my 3rd child who was about 14 months old when I found out that I was pregnant again. It was quite a challenge for me being pregnant away from my other family members, breastfeeding a child and having no maid or helpers to help me out with the daily housework and chores. But I think I did the best that I could. And my two older children and husband were helpful when needed.


My first ultrasound scan was when the baby was about two and a half months. Everything was normal then. My second ultrasound scan was when the baby was about 5 months. The doctor took a very long time scanning my belly this time. I think I was with him for about an hour or so. After that he asked me lots of questions about my family history right down to my grandparents. He asked me about my husbands side too. It was quite an experience.

Finally, after much Q & A, he told me that based on the scan he saw that my child... a baby girl (what I wished for) has got a cleft lip. He informed me that he doesn't know how severe the cleft lip is because he can't see inside the baby's mouth through the scan. I was shocked, but I kept my cool. I wanted to cry but was embarrased. I pretended to listen as the doctor explained what it means ...cleft lip and palate. But my mind was already elsewhere. Only God knows what went through my mind at that time.   

After the appointment, I went home. But before arriving home, I went to a nearby park and sat on the bench. I was numb. I cried and didn't know what to do. I called my mom in Malaysia and told her about it. She consoled me and asked me to pray to Allah for guidance and to never lose faith in Him. I felt better after that. Then I called my husband and told him about it. He was disappointed, but told me to pray, as there is nothing much that can be done except hope and pray that the baby's condition is not so serious.

Once the 'why me' and 'blame me' phase was over, I was more prepared to face the challenge that Allah has set for me. I began to 'google' anything and everything I could about cleft lip and palate and educated myself about what to expect, management and caring for cleft babies and children. When I returned to Malaysia a month later, I contacted CLAPAM... Cleft Lip and Palate Association Malaysia ... to find out more and met up with one of their representatives to get more information, guidance and support. CLAPAM was very supportive. When I returned to work, at first I didn't want to tell anyone about my baby's condition. I only told my immediate boss, the Head of Department. She was very understanding and supportive. But slowly, i began telling more and more people...people that I trust. One of my friends whom I considered like a big sister to me told me this ...

"God loves you and he would not set challenges for you if he knows that you cannot face it. He only set challenges that he knows you are capable of facing. So don't worry, you'll be alright." 

Those words made me felt a whole lot better. So much so that I can't wait for the baby to arrive.

Giving birth to Sarah was the easiest among all the others. When I first saw her, I thanked God because her cleft lip was mild and later we discovered that her hard palate was not affected, just her soft palate. I fell in love with her straight away and I felt so protective of her.


The next day, when I had regained my strength, my challenge in caring for her started. Feeding her was a big challenge as I can't breastfeed her directly. I had to express my breastmilk and give to her using a special softplas bottle which can be squeezed to assist milk flow. Sometimes I have to use the syringe. I have to make sure that milk doesn't come out of her nose or ears, so I had to position her right in order for that not to happen. I had to ensure that she reaches a certain weight by the time she is 3 months old to qualify for the lip repair surgery. I had to make sure that she doesn't fall sick especially flu as this will affect her ears and nose. If she is ill and underweight, she can't go for lip repair surgery. Fortunately, I was already back home in Malaysia, so I had lots of support from my family members and also I had a very good maid who helped me take care of my children.

At the tender age of 3 months old, Sarah had her first plastic surgery to repair her lip. We joked that only Hollywood stars go for plastic surgery and here we have our Sarah, at 3 months already going for plastic surgery. The surgery went well. The doctor, Dr. Margaret, did a wonderful job. My challenge did not stop continued. We now have to make sure she's well for her second plastic surgery.

Sarah's second surgery was at the tender age of 9 months. Not quite a year old yet, already she went through 2 plastic surgeries. The 2nd surgery was to repair her soft palate. Compared to the 1st surgery, the 2nd surgery was a major one. The surgeon had to suture her soft palate so that it will be closed. The palate surgery is very important for feeding and speech development. The lip surgery also has the same importance as well as to beautify her. When she came out of the surgery, there was more blood compared to the previous one. She also had to be monitored at the hospital for 48 hours after the surgery. Once she's feeding well, then we were allowed to go home. This time round she had splints on her arms to prevent her from putting her fingers in her mouth and pick on the stitches. Feeding cleft children before and after surgeries is always a major challenge. I took 2 months half-pay leave to take care of her after the surgery. But it was all worth it to see her happy and healthy.

Between the age of 9 months and 3 years, Sarah didn't have to go for any surgery, but we always have follow-up appoinments ...  ENT, Speech Therapy, Audiologist, Dental, Plastic .... and this will go on until she's 18 years of age. During one of her follow-up appointments with a plastic surgeon, it was discovered that her uvula (the small tiny thing hanging in our throat) was not well formed and this could affect her speech. So the surgeon suggested that she goes for a uvula repair. Another surgery...!

Waiting for surgery...

So, Sarah went for her 3rd plastic surgery at the age of 3 years and 2 months old. This was to repair her uvula. Everytime Sarah goes for's always a traumatic experience...not just for her but for ME too. I can't really explain how I feel whenever Sarah is in the OT... lots of mix feelings...scared, worried, tired...only GOD knows how I feel.

Tomorrow, Sarah is going for her 4th surgery. This time it is under ENT (ear, nose & throat). Few months ago it was found that Sarah experienced some hearing loss. Several audio tests were done and discovered that there are some liquid in her ears...due to flu, fever, cold that she experienced in the past. Where the liquid/water comes from is actually from our internal system. Our body is made up of 70-80% water/liquid ... water & blood. The liquid in Sarah's ear could not dry up or come out from her ears, therefore presenting a barrier for sound to reach her cochlea/ear drums...thus resulting in hearing loss. If left untreated, there's a possibility of infection and Sarah can lose her hearing. So, that's why though tomorrow's surgery is minor and normal for cleft children to experience neverthless it's a very important one. The surgeon is going to insert a small device called Grommet in both her ears so that the water/liquid in her middle ear can flow out and allow sounds to flow through. 

I pray to Allah that everything goes well tomorrow. I never lose faith in Him and He has never let me down.

Umi & Sarah


Saturday, April 17, 2010

I wished for you...


In this entry, I'm going to share with you about my second child, Miza. If you look in the picture to your right, I have four beautiful children. I would have eight children if all of my pregnancies were successful. Yes, out of the eight pregnancies that I experienced, four of them ended up in miscarriages.

My first pregnancy was a miscarriage. I was very devastated after that because I really wanted a baby at that time. But I had wonderful supportive family members who were there for me when I needed them the most. That is still true even till today. Blood is thicker than water!

I had three other miscarriages after I had my first child (my second pregnancy), my son, Fikrie. So, when I discovered that I was pregnant again after going through three consecutive miscarriages, I didn't want to be disappointed again. I sought medical help (I did that for the other pregnancies as well @other clinics...but no success!) at a women's clinic in PJ. The doctor was very positive and told me that I had to be injected with some kind of medication to strengthen my womb. The injection costs about RM100 per jab and I had to take it every other day for the first month, twice a week for the second month and once a week for the third month - all this during my 1st trimester. Let's just say that it was one expensive pregnancy, carrying my second child!

However, it was all worth it! After the first trimester was over and everything was well, I had a wonderful and stress-free pregnancy. But I had to go through about 12 hours of labour as the baby was induced as soon as it reach 37 weeks of gestation. Again that was worth it because three years after my son was born, I gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby daughter. Now my family was complete... a son and a daughter!

Several years later, while driving with my two kids who were sitting in the passenger seats behind, I heard my children talking amongst themselves. My son was about 7 years old and my daughter was about 4 years of age. I was at that time pregnant with my third child. They were talking about the new baby that was soon to arrive when my son, Fikrie said to Miza, "You know when you were in Umi's tummy Miza, I wished for you, like I'm wishing for the baby in Umi's tummy now."

Fikrie was only three years old when he wished for his baby sister. I let you ponder on that thought for a while.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Umi in my heart...


In this first entry, I would like to share with you a song that my first son, Fikrie, used to sing when he was about 3 and a half years old. He's now 13. So, we're talking about ten years ago. But, the song really stayed in my heart till today.

It was at the time when the Disney movie Tarzan was popular. I can't really remember what year it was but it was back in the late 1990's or early 2000. The theme song for the movie was sang by Phil Collins, and the song was titled 'You'll be in my heart' (I think). 

My son loved to watch that film (it was one of his favourites...the other one is "A Bug's Life"). So, everytime he wants to drink his milk he would want to watch either one of the films. This phase continues for several months.

After watching Tarzan for several times, he became familiar with the lines and the songs from the film. He would follow Phil Collins sing the theme song whenever the song was played in the film. Being 3 and a half years old...some words that he sang was obviously not that clear. However, one line of the song he sang  very clearly ... the chorus ...'you'll be in my heart'. But instead of the word "You'll" , he would sing "Umi in my heart, Umi in my heart" ....! UMI ... which means 'mother' in Arabic is what my chiqlits call me.

Everytime he sings that, I would laugh... joy & happiness! Who wouldn' 3 and a half years old son is singing that I'm in his heart! Any mother would melt...well...I did! Till this day, I can never forget that and whenever I share with him and his other siblings about this, I would get lots of hugs from them!