Assalamualaikum wbt.

Sleep program

Assalamualaikum wbt.

It's been a week since a post, so I think I'm gonna try to keep up with updating this blog once a week. Though at first, I was thinking of writing at least one post per day but- that's just too ambitious of me!

The topic I want to write today is about putting a baby to sleep.

Since I was pregnant, my passion had shifted to anything related to childhood education. Now that I already have a baby, I'm getting even more passionate. What I'm gonna write is not even a parenting manual, it's just my two cents- hoping it would be beneficial for others, especially for my own self. Plus, I'm a new mom as well, still a baby-mom (if that'd a label :P), I don't think I'm good enough to write a parenting manual.

I know that people would have different thoughts and opinions about this, but anyway, this is my story and my opinion.

My baby sleeps through the night at 7 months old. I've been a sleep-deprived mom before that- God knows how long I've waited for my baby to grow till he's 6 months so that I can train him to sleep throughout the night. Of course, being a first time mom, it's been quite an emotional journey; I missed my baby being so tiny. I did my homework on how to take care of my baby, asked experienced moms, then only I chose to follow the Controlled Crying Technique- one of sleep programs.

For me, my baby is an easy baby, alhamdulillah Allah made him easy for us, to ease our difficult journey. For 6 months, my baby slept with me- well, not really. At 3 months old, he slept in the cot, but he would woke up for feeds - every 3 hours. Though I'm a stay-at-home mom, I do need my me-time- where I can sort my life, take a breather now and then, to have the optimism to start a new day.

This technique, is one of the sleep programs. so you might want to do some homework before starting on any of the programs. Malaysians may have different opinions regarding sleep and crying. Since becoming a mom, I have been receiving opinions from two school of thoughts- one, take the baby right after the baby cries and two, just leave the baby to cry he'd eventually stop crying after some time (read: even if the baby screams his lung out). Which school of thoughts am I?

I believe that leaving a baby to cry would eventually affecting his psychology. Have you ever read about a mom who went to a refugee camp (if I'm not mistaken), and found that not a single baby cried? It's actually because the babies know, even if they cry, no one would ever attend to their needs. That's how severe affected they are.

There are three types of stress - positive stress, tolerable stress and toxic stress. You can read more on these stress further, but the name has already explained what it really is. Positive stress is a stress where it provides healthy development, tolerable stress isn't good but it's tolerable, and toxic stress will develop mental health problem- which this may due to complete neglect, abuse, war victims etc.

Oh anyway, the sleep program that I adopt is not a complete neglect, where the parents leave the baby to cry, and plus, I believe it's a kind of a positive stress for my baby. My baby needs routines, and he needs a good 12 hours of undisturbed sleep for him to be able to enjoy his day.

So what I did, I set a bedtime routine- bathe him, read him a book, feed him and put him in his cot, while he's drowsy and still awake. If he cries, I would let him cry for 2 minutes, and then came into the room, pat him and then leave. I would then leave him for 4 minutes. I would double the time each time. But since it broke my heart listening to him cry, I would do  2 mins, 4 mins, 8 mins, 15 mins, and if he still cries after all the steps, I would just leave him for 15 mins, 15 mins, 15 mins ... until he learnt to self-soothe. It took perseverance, really. And it also took teamwork- a partner who would encourage and support you, and most importantly, both parents need to be on the same page on the sleep program.

How long it took me? A week. After that, if he were to wake up in the middle of the night, he would just go to sleep by himself, without crying and having me to feed him to sleep. Different baby would take different time, but perseverance is the key. Don't just give in to the babies' tricks and drama :P
That's why, it's important that, before starting the sleep program, the baby needs to start eating solid (so that we can be very sure he's not crying because he's hungry) which means 6 months and over, the baby needs to be healthy (he can't be unwell, if he is, he needs lots of hugs and cuddles.).

My baby sleeps from 7 pm to 6 am usually. From 7pm, I can do lots of things! Even usrah without having to worry that my baby would wake up. That's the advantages :D
Enough-sleep-baby --> Happy baby --> Happy mom --> Happy day inshaAllah.
Oh, hello optimism!

What questions/doubts do you have in mind after reading this post?
1. Oh, she's a stay-at-home mom, of course she has ample time to train her baby!
2. How do I train my baby? I work 9-5, reach home at 7pm, when can I actually spend time with my baby?
what else what else what else?

Btw this is just my two cents. Manusia kerdil, a baby-mom with shallow knowledge.

Syawal 2

Assalamualaikum wbt.

Today we went to visit one of Malaysian kakaks here. I have never known her personally, but the good tradition of us, Malaysians, is that Syawal is the month whereby we visit each other (AND the month of food =,=) has really given me the opportunity to get to know her

If you're wondering why I started writing again after months, it's because of this kakak has inspired me to write.

It's amazing how Eid has driven me to get to know this kakak. I have never spoken to her at all. There are quite a number of Malaysians here, so yknow, of course I didn't get to know everyone. Though that may be just an excuse, I should have put extra efforts to know people. I think me being me, sometimes (read: often) I feel more comfortable sitting with people of the same age as me, the same craziness, the same shoes (not really) and I don't know. I guess that's just rapport. But I do think I should've got more involved with the community!

Okay enough of my reflections. Did I just spend the whole paragraph talking about how I should be doing better? Mann, I'm sorry I've wasted your time, readers (as if there's any reader, except my loyal silent reader- dear husband) reading that whole paragraph.

Anyway, continue with the story.

On the 1st syawal, the Malaysian community held an Eid celebration, right after Eid prayer. We came quite early, and we stayed quite a while too. But during the celebration, I sat with Maktok (a nenek), a PR (whose age almost as my mother's), the people of my age and younger, andddd the kids. Hmm, these are the people I'm comfortable being with.

While I was with the kids, there was a seven year old boy that was very interested to play with my baby. I left my baby with him (I still watched them from afar) because he was so excited. But then my baby became tired and he wanted to sleep. So the boy couldn't play with my baby. He kept coming to see if baby has woken up - so sweet of him! In the meantime, I got to know him more, asking him whose his mother is, and more details about him. Then it was time for him to go and he didn't get the chance to play with my baby anymore, so that was then it's initiated me to visit them.

Today's the first time ever, I spoke and talked to the kakak. She's an inspiration!

#SyawalUK

Syawal 1

Assalamualaikum wbt.

Eid Mubarak!

So today's the 4th Syawal. Muslims here, in the UK don't celebrate eid for a month like we do, as Malaysians. Living in the UK, doesn't make us any less Malaysians, so on the 2nd Syawal when we were in a hospital, we greeted a sister; she wore a hijab, from the look of her, we wished, 'Eid Mubarak!'.

HAHA.

She looked puzzled.

Then it was our turn to see a doctor. The doctor was a muslim, so we then greeted him and wished, 'Eid Mubarak, brother'. He replied and wished us back. But afterwards he asked, 'I celebrated eid yesterday, do you celebrate today?'

HAHA.

And my husband answered, 'No, we celebrate eid yesterday.' .........too. :P

Mind you, my husband used present tense there. We, Malaysians are still celebrating eid, in fact, for the whole Syawal!

Here's one of our #SyawalUK stories.
Islam has brought us together, despite our differences.
And Malaysians, are still Malaysians, wherever you are.

Ties II

Assalamualaikum wbt.

" u yg vvygjhh gugh gj       fv                 "
typed by my baby.

Blogging hasn't become any easier with this lil one chewing on the laptop wire, craving for attention, with a parent unable to distract him.

6 weeks since.

His tremors and speech improved, alhamdulillah. though they still couldn't come out with diagnosis, merely 'midbrain inflammation'. Lots of things going on at a time, I couldn't keep up without the people around me.

MCiB
The first week of mr hubs admission was hard. I had to drive from Coventry to Birmingham everyday, and I was exhausted. Needed to entertain in laws, made sure they're well taken care of while mr hubs in the hospital, tried to give my best for my son's development. Too much at a time, I decided to find a place to stay in Birmingham, closer to the hospital.

For the first few days in Birmimgham, we stayed in one kakak's house, and the next, a doctor friend offered her house. And we've been staying till then.

The words spread out about mr hubs admission, and for the second and third week (during my in laws' stay), the Malaysian community took turn cooking for us. I know few of them, but the rest I don't. It's a blessing to have them helping out though they didn't even know me before. And such circumstance brought us together.

It drained my energy going back and forth to the ward and running errands by myself. After two weeks of admission, I decided to leave lil one to my MIL for about 3 hours (before the next feed), in order to be with mr hubs during the ward round.

Doctors said that the inflammation is affecting the memory part hence the details mentioned to him were blurry - I needed to be there for first-hand info. And since my baby was wheezing at the time, he was on inhaler and antibiotic, I even had to rush him to A&E due to bronchilitis - the doctor said not to bring him to the hospital anymore. So the arrangement was - leaving lo to MIL while I walked to the hospital (20 mins) and joined the ward rounds; in the evening was in laws' turn to visit, in other words, it's mommy and baby's quality time.

Three weeks had passed, it's time for the in laws to go back home, Malaysia. SIL offered to stay just a lil bit longer, but after we had a thorough thought about it, off she went. So I asked the Malaysian community who would be willing to take care of my baby 3 hours/day and we're willing to pay reasonable charges. And one of them offered willingly, free of charge.

I've never met that kakak before. The first time was when I left my baby with her. Though I was a bit nervous to leave him alone with someone I didn't even knew, I pray that Allah will take care of my baby whenever, wherever and with whoever.

The first hospital admission due to neurological symptoms last year had introduced me to one kakak who lives near the hospital. Both she and her husband allow me to park my car in front of their house, so I can walk to the ward (10-15 mins). Instead of having to pay for parking fees, I got to park for free.

Our expenses and spending could've been bigger if not because of them. And my optimism could've been crushed to ashes without their supports.

What more could I ask for oh Allah, You made things easy for us despite the challenges we're facing.

I want to give my best, in whatever challenges I'm facing. I hope Allah always allow me to give my all to my son, to my husband, to my family, friends and the ummah in whatever costs.

(To be continued)


Ties I

It really breaks your heart seeing your loved one unable to text, write, feed himself and even struggle to speak.

Been three weeks since being admitted, months since the symptoms came back.

Teach me and guide me to be optimistic oh Allah.

The All-Knowing IV

Assalamualaikum wbt.

It's been a while, and hadn't got a chance to update. Since husband's asleep, and since i received a news about a friend's dad had a stroke and she needs urgent help financially, i thought i'd help by writing this. Click here,
Where did i last left off? I'd better write before i lost everything on those depressing moments. Thought i still and will always remember em, but i guess bitter moments are better forgotten, and only the good side of em should be kept and remained. Hence ive started to forget the details.
Saturday
His symptoms did not worsen, he could walk, a lil bit stable alhamdulillah. But other symptoms did not seem to improve. Perhaps the 3-day steroid drip had started to kick in. Since he seemed like a bit stable, though the effects of LP hadn't gone away, we thought we could try asking for a day leave on sunday from the doctor. What we had in mind, was, i could bring him from the hospital for just a visit to a friend's house just for a couple of hours. Thought that it'd be a good practice for him to walk a lil bit further(?). Glad that the doctor didn't allow us to. Mannn, what was i thinking?! He was unable to walk not because of his legs, but because of the brain! How can he practice when his brain couldnt even control. 
Sunday
I came very early without anyone's permission, like a boss. Lucky that i hadnt got caught for violating the visiting hours. I guess because my husband's in private room, so me being there early wasn't a bother to anyone. 
Anyway, since we were only spending time in the room, and i thought he's fit enough, i  asked him for just a quick coffee date at costa downstairs (still in the hospital building). This time, he walked. Without bringing a wheelchair with us. Just as we were about to have seats, he said he felt intense headache and wished to be back in the room as soon as we could. So i decided to bring him upstairs and cancel the so called date. While waiting for lift, he vomitted that right instant. A lot. Even if he tried to control, he couldn't. There was a nurse waiting to go upstairs at the same time, rushed to help. A lady, with just even a ply of tissue came to me, handed the tissue and said, 'this is all i have'. Obviously the tissue wasnt enough. But the thought of helping soothed me, a bit. I felt awful. It was a bad idea to bring him down. 
Then, a nurse from his ward came down with a wheelchair to pick him up after the nurse at the lift area called her.
Monday
He had a second MRI. Well, that was quick. They just had the steroid in for a couple of days. The MRI results showed that there was a slight reduction on the inflammation. Alhamdulillah. The steroid works, it just needs time before they can fully kicking in because we're dealing with brain here. And being a human, I was somehow expecting his symptoms to fully improved within just days.
Tuesday
We asked the neurologist in charge that morning to explain on the MRI images. He explained about the inflammation and we had to wait for other diagnosis.They had him for eye tests, with neuroopthalmologist assessing. It took hours for the tests. From the neuroopthalmologists point of view, the brain inflammation didn't reduce that much. They still couldn't find the reason to the inflammation.
Wednesday
A junior doctor had him tested for metal exposure, since maybe they suspected that my husband's phd work might be the cause of the swelling. He also mentioned that an 
endocrinologist would come and assessed my husband since they found from the MRI that his pituitary gland is a bit bulky.
Thursday
My husband had his third MRI. This time specifically for the pituitary gland part. They just had to make sure everything's fine. Plus they stil couldn't find the cause. Neurologist in charge said may be my husband needed to undergo biopsy and may be, he had to undergo an operation so that they can take his brain cells to be tested. Gulp.
Friday
I came a bit late but i came just about time for Friday prayers. Since the porter that we requested hadn't come to pick him up, and to send him to the chapel, i decided to accompany my husband to the prayer hall before heading for lunch. I was planning to come back afterwards but instead, he came to me right after he had his jumuah prayer. Hmm impressive.
Saturday 
Seeing that he's walking a lot more stable, had made me asking the doctor when will he be discharged. Heh. His slurring speech improved compared to last time.a but tremors are still there. Yes, still.
Oh and also on Saturday, he treated me with a cup of hot chocolate downstairs! Glad that everything went well so far alhamdulillah.
Sunday
We had a picnic by the hospital compound. We sat on the green grass, the weather couldn't even be better. I guess with his current condition, i was a lot more confident to bring him home and take care of him myself. Though the thought of the same thing to recur is still there. Oh and btw he was transferred to a bay and no longer was he in the private room. A good sign huh? We speculated that he might not need the private room anymore now that he's more stable. Plus it might be a sign of he's gonna be discharged soon.
Monday, discharded day!
Early in the morning, during ward round, the specialist said that he was good to go. But still needs follow ups. Yeay, he's an outpatient. No more depressing space and moments alhamdulillah. Recoverring period can be continued at home. Btw, the doctor still couldnt provide with exCt diagnosis hence they couldnt say much. It's now a wait-and-see period. They couldnt conclude something exact yet, hence they couldnt provide the exact treatment. 

The All-Knowing III

Tuesday 30 Ramadhan- 1 syawal

From the MRI, the doctors could tell that theres an inflammation at the midbrain. But they couldnt rely on just the brain slices taken through the MRI. They had to reconfirm, that it IS inflammation, then only they could start on the treatment; which explained why they seemed to just let the symptoms be. They didnt know the cause, hence they needed to do lumbar puncture to take cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) ; or brain juice they call it, to have it tested.

Please bear with all the medical terms.

My husband underwent the lumbar puncture (LP) that day. I couldnt stand seeing him in pain of which three doctors tried taking the fluid from his spine (about six attempts), but they said it's an empty tap. They decided to stop doing it, and gave him a rest before they could try again the next day, depending on the condition of the bruises and swellings as a result of the attempts. We're well-informed that the procedure was a difficult one, we didnt blame them.

Better luck next day.

I had my husband's baju melayu ironed before coming to visit him, so that he could wear them for eid. In UK, no one could stay overnight with patients, unless the patients are below 12. I was refused on my request to stay overnight straight on my face the first day he was admitted. But well, for eid, I requested to come early in the morning (visiting hours 1430-1930 btw).

Wednesday it's eid!

I came early. We had requested a porter to push my husband's on a wheelchair to the chapel downstairs. They had eid prayer in the hospital alhamdulillah, so we took the opportunity to join them.

It was such an experience praying with staffs who didnt manage to have leave on eid just to take care of patients, and with patients who in what conditions theyre in, still struggling to perform eid prayer. I love that the imam recited verses from albaqrah of which the meaning,

"And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, Who, when disaster strikes them, say, "Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return." Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided." 2:155-157

and also, the duas after the eid prayer were very meaningful, I cried.

We had the doctor informed that we'll be back after an hour, so we used the the remaining time to call our families and to take pictures (tho the pics were taken in hospital. He wasnt allowed to leave the building definitely).

Happy moment was over, and it was the scary part; LP. The doctor that carried out LP for the day was a different one. He tried twice, but he managed to get the fluid out tho it took him approximately an hour and a half. Alhamdulillah.

They had to do several tests using the fluid and the results for each test might take different time span before they'll be out. But that evening, we're told that it's now confirmed that it IS, midbrain inflammatory, just that they couldnt tell us the cause of it.

My husband's given steroid drip right after they knew the disease. So he needed to be on the IV drip for three consecutive days. Well, not for the whole 24 hours actually, just for about an hour each day.

Thursday 2nd eid(?)

One of the effects of LP is backpain. So my husband found it hard to sit and even lying down. Every position wasnt feel right, but it was worth bearing such pain. May Allah wipe his sins, and mine.

We were visited by friends who kept motivating and praying for us. Everyday, since the first day he was admitted, we had visitors. They brought chocolates, eid dishes and even books to keep us occupied. And most importantly, they brought with them duas. That's all I ask for.

We even had friends coming all the way from Preston (approx 3 hours drive) and also from Oxford just to visit my husband. May Allah reward all friends, who came to visit, who are planning to visit and even friends whom prayers are with us wherever they are. May all of us find the silver linings behind what happened.

Friday 3rd eid(?)

The symptoms didnt worsen, Alhamdulillah. My husband could walk, but still unstable. His slurring speech improved, people can start hearing him saying words clearly. He still had tremors that he sometimes spilled food/drinks, shaking when holding things, find it hard to text and had a bad handwriting. But Alhamdulillah, the symptoms didnt worsen, at least.

In the evening, we were visited by my husband's friend, who's a Syrian. I love the way he reminded us of Allah, and having him to visit us was a blessing. His visit reminded me about the Syrians, who lost their family members and who arent guaranteed the next second breath (everyone's not guaranteed, just that we always forget about such fact. Theyre reminded all the time by the situation theyre currently in).

He'll have a second MRI insyaAllah next week, and hopefully the steroid drip works and the disease wont recur. The consultant (specialist) didnt say that he can fully recover but with Allah's will, insyaAllah he will.

Please keep us in your duas. People around the world who know us, am sure are praying for us. Am sure you readers too. I cant thank you enough.