I was last year! And hopefully sometime next year too! *wink*

But anyways, in this blessed month of Ramadhan, I thought it would be very helpful if I could share last year's experience of being pregnant and fasting for the very first time. If at all possible, I would want to hug all my lady friends out there who are going through this for the first time ever and say "Hey, its ok to feel a little bit anxious! And I totally understand if you feel like you just want to crash at the end of the day, you've got a firework of joy inside your tummy after all!"

So hang tight and check out if my tips can help you have an awesome Ramadhan...

Last year was a very eventful Ramadhan for me
So last year, not only was I pregnant and fasting, it turned out that the whole of my 2011 Ramadhan month was full of travels! I went twice out of town which averaged at a 2 hours drive each and flew out of peninsular Malaysia twice as well. And not to mention that I was one month pregnant which means morning sickness in the first few days. But despite all of that, alhamdulillah, I managed to fast the whole of the month except for one day because I was a musafir on a 9 hours flight.

Easing that morning sickness
No denying that I had the occasional morning sickness but luckily it wasn't that bad for me. In fact in the first few weeks I never had any pregnant mom symptoms. But it was a weird feeling when I would even throw up a glass of water. And it was made even more delirious because I almost always manage to wake up totally late for sahur (a super early meal before dawn) and with just 15 minutes on the clock and throwing up and being sleepy...seriously, I almost gave up! But alhamdulillah, I figured a way out. I just needed to take my morning aloe, tea and shake a bit slower to stop the gag reflex. And I have to admit, its all in the mind! I keep repeating my mantra of "This is for the baby, this is for the baby, this is for the baby" and I got myself so psyched up that I got over the nausea on most mornings. So yes! First, eat up slowly. Second, mind over matter!

Have some fun and travel!
Personally, being pregnant does not mean that mommies have to sit all day at home for 9 whole months until you pop, unless of course there's some medical issue (disclaimer!). So I made the most of it and travelled to my heart's content as seen here. Me and hubby made several trips in and out of Shah Alam and in and out of Malaysia during the fasting month. Essentially, I didn't find it too hard to travel by car or by plane during that month. The most crucial thing to have when traveling by car or by plane in my experience, is to have a small pillow handy because an achy back is bound to happen. And you can opt for one of those neck support pillow thingy which does an excellent job at keeping your posture more or less straight in the car. Because be warned, the way that your body lines up during pregnancy is going to change drastically. So you've got to adjust. I can still remember that I still felt pregnant and habitually walked like a penguin even though Baby Riduan was out. I mean, just check out my before and after posture here:

pregnant posturenormal posture before pregnancy
My preggy posture and my normal posture before pregnancy, whatta difference!

And one other super important tip when traveling by plane is to get your doctor's advice and consent letter to fly, which most flights need before you can board. Safety comes first! ^_^

Eat right!
Sahur is really important before fasting during the day. It provides us with energy to go about our daily activities and for new mommies, this is especially important for your baby's growth. When I get up in the morning for sahur with my hubby and my brother in this house, we go for our Herbalife meal so that we can get:

  1. awesome energy to go about our daily activities
  2. to regulate our appetite throughout the day 
  3. for proper balanced nutrition 
  4. and of course because I can't be half arsed to cook a full blown breakfast before the break of dawn. Go figure =p

With Herbalife, I can just blitz it all together and within 15 minutes, I'm done making breakfast AND making sure everyone have downed theirs. Isn't that super easy? I love it!

Herbalife breakfast sahur
My Herbalife sahur

For breaking fast, I have the same exact Herbalife meal and after prayers me and darling hubby will have a normal healthy meal together. 

herbalife dinner breaking fastnormal meal with Herbalife
The first picture shows the Herbalife aloe and tea mix that I take before I take the yummies in the second picture ^_^

Pregnancy and fasting is hard work, but its worth it!
So don't sweat it ladies. Being pregnant is all about our body changing so that we can better carry our babies in the warm cosiness of our belly. Yes it is going to be hard at times but I heard somewhere that tough times doesn't last, only tough ladies do ;) (ok, I tweaked the last portion of that proverb hehe). Hopefully this post will be helpful for you first time mommies and also lovely daddies who are fasting together while taking care of the little one in there. 

Do have a blast and happy Ramadhan people!
{ Aisyah }

Check out my luverly husband's great blog on wellness and weight loss by clicking here. It has a massive amount of great tips and advice!
I get quite a few questions on how I can possibly bring with us Baby Riduan who is now 2 months and a half old, when we go on trips and vacations by road or air (we haven't done any sea travels...yet!). I am tempted to say..."Hey, its so flippin' natural, I know how to do it since the day I was born!". Hmmm... Well, I do hate to burst my own bubbles...but heck no! I learnt a lot from other mothers who does a lot of traveling with their bouncing bundle of joy. So I am here to share their experiences and my own so that all mommies can enjoy their vacation trips by air anytime they want ^_^ 

First up...

Tip #1: Does Your Baby Get Cranky In Flights?
This is the most Frequently Asked Question that I get from moms who are planning on flying across the country or gearing up for a fabulous holiday overseas. Yes they do cry. But they cry for the usual things. Like "Mommy I'm hungry!" or "Mommy my diaper is wet!" or "Mommy I'm bored!". Its normal! In the first few days when I became a new unexperienced mom, Baby Riduan was crying all the time because I struggled to breastfeed. Then after much stress and hopelessness, me and hubs went to see a midwife. She got the breastfeeding sorted out for me (Yeay! Thank you so much Jenny!) and she told me that babies cry because they are shouting at you to help them get what they need to thrive and grow. And crying is actually a last cue that your baby is giving to you so that you know that your baby needs something. So on flights, I really watch for the cues that Baby Riduan is giving me. Check it out:
  • Hunger: His head will turn to one side, his body will follow as well and his mouth will pucker up, searching for milk. 
  • Wet diaper: Hmm....he doesn't really get cranky about wet diapers. I guess he feels really warm and cosy in his diaper when he poops. Hehe. But I keep a routine of changing his diaper every 3 hours so his bum-bum doesn't get rashes. 
  • Tired and wants to sleep: He'll avoid my gaze. Its weird but true. And he'll trash his head from side-to-side trying to sleep. He really fights sleeping. So I have my methods of putting him to sleep (comment below if you'd like to know how I do it, that's a whole other post for sure ^_^) 
  • Bored: Its not actually crying, but more of like "Wa!" *pause* "Wa!" *pause* "Wa!" *pause* and so on until I notice and transform myself into a world class entertainer for babies =D 
  • Randomness: Sometimes, Baby Riduan just cries for no reason. Testing his lungs I think. But eventually we have to pick him up and walk up and down the flight isle so that he'll be amused and starts to comment on the surroundings. He'll be like "Cooo" *smiles* "Gurgle gurgle" *smiles* *smiles*. InsyaAllah, he's always a happy bunny afterwards.  
One super great tip that I got from my good friend Zamila is how to pacify your lil' one when the flight takes-off or lands. This is especially easier for breastfeeding moms. Just when the flight is going to take off or land, feed your baby! The pressure changes dramatically during take-offs and landings, so when your baby swallows milk, his ear will pop, the pressure normalizes between his body and the inside of the plane and he'll be alright again. Baby Riduan does get a bit confused sometimes but I hold him really tight to me and comfort him that way too.

All comfy and happy in Ummi's arms. Love you so much!

Tip #2: The bassinet
This is another great great service that most long haul flights will offer (so far, short trips airplane that I've been on don't have this). I mean, imagine holding your baby for 8 hours straight! You've got to be cousins with Mr. T to accomplish that. So yes, request for seats with a bassinet for you, your hubby and your baby.

Yes...baby sleeps good, ummi and walid sleep good too

Tip #3: Get a Red Carpet treatment
And I literally mean Red Carpet. Ever since Baby Riduan came into our world, we ALWAYS add on a Red Carpet package for a small fee whenever we fly with Air Asia. And we only have to pay that fee for just me and hubby! Baby Riduan gets the Red Carpet treatment for freeeeeee *I love free*, until he's 2 years of age. There's a whole bunch of first rate services that we get with the Red Carpet treatment, but the most awesomest thing that I love about the Red Carpet treatment is that we never ever have to stand so long in line for checking-in for our flights. And we all know how crazy it is sometimes at Air Asia check-in counters. So my baby don't have to wait so long in line as well. If you would like to know more about the Red Carpet treatment from Air Asia, just click here.

My other tips which I think most airlines have especially for couples with babies and kids, make it a point to cut long lines, go onboard first before everyone else and request for anything necessary on board the actually flight to make the journey enjoyable for your baby and also you and your hubby. InsyaAllah, you'll have a super happy flight all the way to your vacation spot ^_^

Red Carpet by Air Asia. I LOVE IT!

Tip #4: Yes, you CAN bring along your baby's stroller!
There are I think, two main questions many many couples have and are so worried about when it comes to bringing the stroller along on flights. I will share with you guys my experience.

Question: Won't I have to pack it up and check-it in at the counter?
Answer: Nope. Once you've checked-in your luggage, the nice people at the counter will also "check-in" your baby's stroller by putting a paper tag on it. But you can wheel it in all the way to the door/stairs of the aircraft! Here's Air Asia's guide for your baby's stroller.

Question: Won't it be a part of your luggage allowance?
Answer: Nope. It won't be counted as part of your luggage allowance no matter how heavy it is.

Awesome right? So do bring your baby's stroller on flights even though its super bulky like most newborn's strollers are.

"Yezza, I get PRIORITY over everyone else!" says Baby Riduan hehe.

Hope that helps!
Ok then people. I do hope that my simple tips will give you that extra comfortness whenever traveling with your coo-ing, gurgling bundle of joy. If you do a bit of research, insyaAllah, yes you definitely can travel pretty smoothly with your baby.

So with that, I'd like to say happy vacationing people, as it is that time of the year and click below if you would like to see pictures of our recent trip to Tokyo!

{ Aisyah }

Check out my luverly husband's great blog on wellness and weight loss by clicking here. It has a massive amount of great tips and advice!
Salam and ***good morning all!
***Yep, its morning no matter at what time of the day is when you take good nutrition!

I've got a longish kind of story today that I want to share of how I delivered my baby boy, Muhammad Riduan Iskandar. For 9 months, I've been planning the perfect vaginal birth complete with fainting husband and all. I was going to be super mom right from the beginning. But subhanallah...Allah is glorious and His plan is WAY better than mine by a kazillion miles. Baby Riduan's birth was full of suspense, critical decisions and a miraculous moment of bringing a tiny version of my husband and I to the world. If you guys want to know what the suspense and critical decision is all about, you guys HAVE to read on. So lets hear Baby Riduan's story ^_^

Morning, Friday 30th March 2012 - Full Term With Way Too Much Energy
So there I was 40 weeks and 6 days into my pregnancy with no signs of labour yet. Past that 40 weeks mark, my husband and I decided that we're going to give it one more week before we have to go in for induced delivery. The doctors worry that my amniotic fluid might not be enough to wait for my natural contraction and my cervix haven't opened up at all. We decided to induce on a Friday night and as usual, I was super busy finishing up the week with Abang - morning at the nutrition club, meeting afterwards with the Shah Alam Herbalife leadership team at another local club, afternoon visiting grandma and then finishing up housework in the evening while waiting for my mum, dad and brothers to arrive and convoy over to the birth center. Seriously, I had no indication that baby Riduan was going to come very very soon on his own natural way. I felt really energised and active the whole day. I even drove the car around! When my family finally arrived, we had a huge dinner. I ate pizza (ok, not at all recommended for a healthy lifestyle =p) and then Nasi Bukhara Briyani. I was so famished! I even took a Herbalife shake just before taking that huge dinner.

9.45pm, Friday 30th March 2012 - Baby, Its Time
I was really enjoying time out with my family that night. At about 9.45pm, I nipped out for a second to go to the loo and lo and behold, I passed my mucus plug! (or bloody show as some people call it). Some people would be scared, but I was super delighted! I got hold of my husband and said "I've just had a bloody show, lets go". I'm pretty sure it was a bit more dramatic than that, cause yeah I am all drama like that hehe. Anyway, eventually the whole house was in an uproar. My family rushed me out the door and straight down to the local birth centre. I told my husband to park a little bit off from the birth centre since I really wanted to get the contraction going.

Here's me arriving at the hospital...yes, way too much energy hehe

And yep, I didn't have to wait long. When I got into the consultation room, the gynae checked me under there and said, "Girl, you just popped your water bag". What! That was fast. So to make it go even faster the doctor put me on a cervix-dilation-medication-thing and that's when the contraction REALLY started going. Heck it was painful! Funny thing is...I remembered it was painful, but if I try to recall how the pain felt I really can't remember. Weird huh? So yes, I'm going for another 6 babies ^_^ *Whoops, my story is going off on a tangent here, lets get back on track...* 

The doctor told me to sleep the pain off...I was thinking, "You crazy woman you!" There is NO WAY I can sleep with this unbelievable pain. The contractions was coming every 5 minutes! But...I just don't have the mood to argue, so me and my husband checked in a ward with 2 beds because hubby dearest needs his rest as well. Once settled in, I took my herbal tea mix and my shake to keep me in good form. Needless to say that I couldn't sleep a wink. I even got up a few times to walk off the contractions and I was exhausted by the time the gynae came around again at 6am. But honestly, the nutrition really did help me to go through the night. I took another round of nutrition then because I was due to go in the labour room at 8.30am and I have the feeling that I need all the energy that I can get.

8.30am, Saturday 31st March 2012 - Cue Suspense Music
8.30am finally came. I took a hot shower, got dressed and actually walked over to the labour room, one flight of stairs up which really helped me to take my mind off the pain. Hubby dearest was right beside me all the way and I felt really great, ready to go through my dream vaginal birth. But then, out of the blue, everything turned upside down.

Once in the labour room, the gynae did a last check up, hooking me up to the baby heartbeat-monitor-thing and prepping me down under. She first tried to find the baby's heartbeat but no matter whichever way the heartbeat sensors were hooked up on me, she couldn't get a proper reading of the baby's heartbeat. She said that my baby might be in distress. Her guess was that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the neck. At that point, my heart just dropped to the floor. And to make matters worse, when she checked out my amniotic fluid it looked a bit green, it might be the baby's poo. There's a danger there of the baby swallowing the poo down and choking on it. Plus I was only dilated at 2cm! The gynae said that if I was 5cm dilated then she's ok just to let things go its natural path but in my state, she lost the confidence to help me deliver baby Riduan. She simply said, save the baby and sign here *while handing over a consent letter for a caesarean birth*. My heart was pounding and my hands were shaking when I took that letter to sign it. I looked undecidedly at my husband and he smiled and nodded. Thank Allah he's there. And with all faith in Allah, I signed the letter. The nurses then quickly prepped me for the surgery and had me wait 30 minutes before the c-section specialist came in. By that time it was already 9.30am and I was super exhausted since I was still experiencing the contraction just like before a natural vaginal birth.

9.30am Saturday 31st March 2012 - The Delivery and Then Some
A nurse came over with a wheel chair and helped me into it. Just before the nurse wheeled me off, the gynae asked me "Don't you want to say goodbye?". I was really in a daze, so saying goodbye was definitely not on my list of things to do at that moment. But I managed to catch my husband's hand, kissed it and then he kissed my cheek. My emotion was in a complete turmoil but my sweetheart's kiss soothed me and my mind immediately switched gear to get my baby out safe. The nurse quickly wheeled me off to the operating theatre with husband dearest following behind me. At the operation theater door, I had to leave my husband behind and go in solo. Surprisingly, I had this feeling like I was going into battle and no one can stop me. Syukur, Allah gave me the strength to go through this alone. Although I felt like a soldier heading out to battle, in my mind, I was blaming myself for not being able to deliver little Riduan like nature intended me to. Blaming myself for putting him in danger. Subhanallah...I shouldn't have second guessed what Allah has planned out for me. This is when I experienced the miracle of Baby Riduan's birth.

As I entered the operating theatre, four nurses, two doctors and an anesthetist were ready and waiting with masks on to aid me in my caesarean birth. I was in so much pain but when the anesthetist injected into me the spinal block, all the pain went away. I was fully awake, numb from the waist down when the c-section was performed. The doctors and nurses were throwing jokes around probably trying to lift the suspense off the air and it worked! Surprisingly, it really didn't take that long. A curtain was put between the top part of me and my pregnant belly, quickly when I couldn't feel or lift my legs anymore, they slit an opening in my belly with something really hot guessing from the burnt smell of meat in the air, held my belly open and with a big push from the top of my tummy and some sucking noises, out came the most beautiful sound I've ever heard. Its my Baby Riduan ^_^

When I heard that first cry...it entirely broke down my wall of negativeness and despair and I cried happily. I can't exactly tell people how I felt then. It sort of feels like...like a miracle which only happens in fairytales. I mean...I can't be that lucky can I? They had to rush the baby out because the operating theater was super cold and started to work back on me to stitch up my wounds. This is where the miracle doubled in intensity. An ovarian cysts was found in me. Check out the photo below (not for the faint hearted! The red is not blood, its the preservative they used to store the cyst):

ovarian cyst
Ovarian cyst

It was 8cm in length and was a complete surprise to everyone since not once in my 9 months of pregnancy did any check-up revealed its existence nor were there any other indications or a slowing down in physical activities that hinted that it was there. I'm guessing it has been there for a long long time and only the c-section revealed it. I had then to sign with trembling hands, yet another consent letter to cut out the cyst. The doctor said that if that's not taken out then I might lose one of my ovaries. Alhamdulillah, I felt so grateful that the c-section was performed....I am yet humbled by His greatness and went ahead with the procedure...

Sometime in the afternoon, Saturady 31st March 2012 - Babe in arms
So when all of the stitching and cleaning up was over, they wheeled me back into my ward. I can't feel anything from the waist down and was strapped to tubes and wires and beeping machines to keep check of my wellbeing. They still haven't brought in my baby yet because they were worried I would have no energy to hold him and nurse him. Well I'm worried sick that I haven't seen him yet. We had to really insist for the baby to be brought in and just let it nurse on me. And after much arguing with the medical staff (who were just looking out for me I'm sure), the baby finally was handed over into my arms. He was crying a fit and looked absolutely devastated that he couldn't see his Ummi and Walid. He finally quieted down when we held him and yep...that was true happiness.

First few minutes of Baby Riduan coming into the world

after labour post-pregnancy caesarean baby after caesarean birth
Yeay, Aki made it from the UK! (oh yeah, my dad is on sabatical leave to the UK and he made it back in time for his grandson's birth! Yippie!)

What I learnt
Through out the experience, I came to realise that everything that has happened was way out of my control. The labour pain and the nail biting uncertainties really thought me a powerful lesson. For every unexpected turns in the road of our over-planned life, there stand challenges which promises huge rewards if we only take the chance and have the gut to see it through. And the rewards may be so unexpected, that we could only stand in complete awe of His greatness. It brought me back down to earth. And I think one other thing that baby Riduan has helped me learn is to never ever give up reaching for your dreams even if it literally means going through much pain and seeing through many challenges. InsyaAllah, the rewards are going to be priceless...

To baby Riduan, Ummi and Walid love you sayang xoxoxo

my baby

Check out my luverly husband's great blog on wellness and weight loss by clicking here. It has a massive amount of great tips and advice!

Do you find it hard to find the time to go on holidays? 

Well I did. I've always been an avid traveller during my student days but I really had to forget it all when the career world struck me. I'm not sure if it was just the disorganised old me that kicked in and left me with barely enough to spend on the extras, barely enough time to lavish on me and barely enough energy to plan out a special trip somewhere. It all just went flying out the window. And that was 3 whole years of endless and merciless repetitive trips from home to work and back again.

But late in 2010, all of that changed

I met a wonderful man (Who is now my husband yeay!! Love you sweetheart ^_^) who showed me that there is more to life than the vicious cycle of:
  1. Work
  2. Earn money
  3. Pay the bills
  4. No extras hence use the credit card
  5. Repeat step 1 to step 4 as many times as necessary
He started to get me thinking of the possibility of being your own boss, learning to earn your financial freedom and making every moment in life as meaningful and exciting as possible. Yes its possible!!! And the past year has been anything but boring for me. What with getting married, leaving my day job, getting pregnant and running our nutrition clubs…it has all been an awesome experience. I expect to write about all of the above mentioned sometime in the near future. But this post has a different purpose.

This post is all about taking the time off and enjoy your hard earned money!

In my mind, there are a couple of things I've promised myself before I take leave and tango into the sunset:
  1. I MUST pick two consecutive days in the month and swear that I will go on my holiday on those days no matter how crazy the world gets
  2. I MUST travel out of my city 
  3. I MUST blow my Play Jar (more on this soon) and get first class treatment
  4. I MUST take pictures because I'm lazy like that hehe
And so for the month of January 2012, my husband and I started our vacation off with a bang. Like literally! We blew our car tyre half way down to our holiday spot in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan. Check out the pictures below:

blown up punctured tyrechange out blown up punctured tyrechange out punctured tyre

A blown car tyre is REALLY scary. Luckily we were just cruising along the highway, not particularly in any sort of hurry, so when the tyre blew, we were safely in the emergency lane in 2 seconds. And luckily I have this strong man with me! As you can see, a retired doctor can also be a super handyman *beam* And I am so surprised at how unsurprised we were with the blown tyre. We just laughed it off and blamed our unconcerned-ness on the holiday mood. See! One more reason why you must definitely go on a holiday every month!

But but but…actually, my hubby didn't get to finish his tyre-changing session because the Plus Peronda came and changed it out in 2 minutes flat! Heee….so we're like super surprised that happened. Plus Peronda is the best ^_^

changed punctured tyre
Husband is happy. Darling, you really need to trim that sideburn lol 

Onwards to Avillion Admiral Cove Port Dickson!

Avillion Admiral Cove Port Dickson

First of all, this looks like and editorial shot from a travel magazine! Its ok for eye-rolls right now, just humour me lol. The view is amazing! This shot was just off the window from the hotel lobby. After check-in and all that, we went around the hotel. Check out the pictures:

Avillion Admiral Cove Port DicksonAvillion Admiral Cove Port DicksonAvillion Admiral Cove Port Dickson

Avillion Admiral Cove Port DicksonAvillion Admiral Cove Port DicksonAvillion Admiral Cove Port Dickson

And then our must have makan-makan section

First off we went to the other Avillion water challet hotel for lunch:

Lunch at Avillion Admiral Cove Port DicksonLunch at Avillion Admiral Cove Port DicksonLunch dessert Avillion Admiral Cove Port Dickson

And my dessert went splat!!
Lunch dessert Avillion Admiral Cove Port Dickson     …………….……

And then Ikan Bakar! 

Hotness, Seri Mesra Ikan Bakar & Seafood corner is the best. I got a review off of this website and got instantly hooked with the pictures! Here's my own pics:

Seri Mesra Ikan Bakar & Seafood Port DicksonSeri Mesra Ikan Bakar & Seafood Port Dickson

Seri Mesra Ikan Bakar & Seafood Port DicksonSeri Mesra Ikan Bakar & Seafood Port Dickson

I am absolutely no good in reviewing food. I can only describe it in one or two adjectives like "nice!" or "delicious!". Boring. So I will leave it up to hubby who's passion is food to do the food reviews :)

So is there going to be one more vacation before baby comes out?

Yes insyaAllah, my second babymoon yeay! Going to plan that sometime this month. The aim of the game is not to spend a fortune on making yourself happy. The aim is to take out a portion of your earnings, take it somewhere far from where your normal daily routine runs and spend it with someone you love *smiles!*

So watch this space people!

Check out my luverly husband's great blog on wellness and weight loss by clicking here. It has a massive amount of great tips and advice!
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