February 28, 2009


The scariest moment in my life happened about 24 hours ago. Early yesterday morning, my Alden had a fever so we took him to our GP at Kaiapoi Medical Centre immediately. After he was given fever medicine, he got better and seemed to recover. I didn't send him to playschool because hubby was at home to keep an eye on him. So as planned, I went to campus and attended a few seminars. After a hectic day in campus, I got home at about 6.50 pm and immediately checked on Alden. Hubby told me that Alden had taken his medication and was being a bit cranky while I was gone. His temperature was still going up and down despite taking the fever medicine. Wanting to comfort him, I put on his favourite Thomas and friends cd and sat with him. After a while, he insisted that I carry him so I held him in my arms and stroked his hair. When he was lying on my shoulder, I noticed that his eyes were dropping shut. It was then that both hubby and I noticed that Alden went limp and was shutting his eyes. Alarmed, both of us yelled "Alden! Alden!". He was not responding to our voices. He went pale and that's when he started seizing: his body was involuntarily jerking and his lips turned blue. Hubby gave him CPR and at the same time screaming "Let's go to the clinic now!". I took the car keys and hubby quickly got in the car with Alden in his arms. On the way to the clinic, hubby kept telling me that the seizure has stopped and that he was okay but I was too panicky to listen. I was not convinced and sped to the clinic only to discover that it was already closed. Hubby dialed 111 for me and I told the operator our situation. The operator got our details and told me that as long as he was breathing we should just wait for the ambulance to come. About 10 minutes later, what seemed like an eternity, the paramedics arrived. At that time, Alden has stabilised but was still pale. After assessing him, they decided that it was best to go to the hospital. Panicked, I quickly dumped Alden's clothes, diapers and milk formula into a plastic bag and got in the car. Alden and hubby were already in the ambulance and I had to tail them from behind. When we got to the hospital, about 20 minutes later, Alden started being more responsive. I was so relieved. At this point, his temperature was 39.8°. One of the nurses told us to take his clothes off to get his temperature down. Covering him up seemed to aggravate the fever. We were then registered by four different nurses at the emergency ward before we were finally brought to the children ward. There, we were taken to Room 6 to wait for the doctor. A few moments later, she came to the room and started asking questions. She then took Alden's temperature, checked his ears, lungs, took his blood pressure and got him to wear a urine bag for some urine samples. After the examination, Alden's heartbeat and temperature were monitored closely. (This photo here shows Alden's wrist tag at the hospital) After 2 hours, another pediatrician came to explain what really happened. According to her, Alden had a febrile seizure and it is relatively common in toddlers from the age of 6 months to five years. When a fever gets really high, some children respond by having convulsions. While I was relieved to hear this, I was still shaken and couldn't help feeling like a lousy mother. The doctor told us that according to studies done, fever medication does not stop young children from having febrile seizure. “It just happens” she said. She explained that the reason behind the sudden-high rising fever was probably due to the ear infection he had. This was discovered by our GP earlier that morning but she did not make a big fuss out of it. Knowing the cause of the fever made it easier for the doctor to diagnose him. Alden was then given a dosage of fever medication and we were advised to give him lots of fluid. We were also told that children that have had one febrile seizure are at a higher risk of having another – however, it may never happen again. Though Alden had somehow got better, we were advised to spend the night at the hospital so they could monitor him. At 2am, Alden woke up feeling better and his fever subsided. We spent 3 more hours at the hospital just to make sure that he was really okay. At 5.15 am, we checked out from the hospital and finally headed home. For hubby and I, this was the most terrifying thing we had ever experienced. Seeing Alden having the seizure and not knowing how to handle it is the worst feeling in the world. The experience was so traumatic that it took me some time to digest and realise that he was really okay. I'm praying that this never ever happens again, but if it does, now I'll know what to do. *I am so thankful to God that his seizure didn't last more than a minute.He is now okay and has since recovered from fever. I leave you with a description of the seizure Alden had experienced yesterday. It is comforting to know that febrile seizure is medically harmless and has no long-term effects on children. This is taken from www.healthnewsflash.com/conditions/febrile_seizures What are Febrile Seizures in Children? Febrile seizures are convulsions brought on by a fever in infants or small children. During a febrile seizure, a child often loses consciousness and shakes, moving limbs on both sides of the body. Most febrile seizures last a minute or two, although some can be as brief as a few seconds while others last for more than 15 minutes. The majority of children with febrile seizures have rectal temperatures greater than 102 degrees F. Most febrile seizures occur during the first day of a child's fever. Children prone to febrile seizures are not considered to have epilepsy, since epilepsy is characterized by recurrent seizures that are not triggered by fever. How common are febrile seizures? Approximately one in every 25 children will have at least one febrile seizure, and more than one-third of these children will have additional febrile seizures before they outgrow the tendency to have them. Febrile seizures usually occur in children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years and are particularly common in toddlers. Children rarely develop their first febrile seizure before the age of 6 months or after 3 years of age. Are febrile seizures harmful? Although they can be frightening to parents, the vast majority of febrile seizures are harmless. There is no evidence that febrile seizures cause brain damage. Large studies have found that children with febrile seizures have normal school achievement and perform as well on intellectual tests as their siblings who don't have seizures. Even in the rare instances of very prolonged seizures (more than 1 hour), most children recover completely

February 26, 2009

Geography quiz = F

I’ve always known that I suck in Geography but this flaw has never bothered me until today. Since I am still considered a new student, I had to attend a research orientation in campus which was scheduled from 9am to 3pm. The programme was meant to prepare new post grad students with necessary skills and information needed to embark on a research study. Most of the sessions were hands-on and required very little interactions amongst students, which suited me perfectly. However, during the last session, all of us were expected to put our best foot forward and mingle amongst ourselves.

There I was, lost in translation, thinking hard “Who should I approach?". Finally, a lady who seemed to be in her 40s approached me and started a conversation. Her name was Lucy and she came all the way from Papua New Guinea to do a PhD in Health Science. I scanned her features carefully and matched it to Papua New Guinea and the word Africa immediately sprung to life. Aha! She’s from Africa I concluded. Pleased with myself, I carried on with the conversation but as it went on, I became more and more confused. Lucy told me that a lot of Malaysians are actually working in Papua New Guinea. I thought “Wow! Malaysians go all the way to Africa to work?” Whatever...I just shrugged off my confusion and saved this little piece of information for my evening chat with hubby. Happy with how cool things were going so far, I moved on to the next person. This one’s from Seychelles, a country of which she said has a population of 80000, distributed over 150 islands. I must have looked so blur when she mentioned that, so she decided to quiz me on the location of her country by shooting me with a string of questions. “Do you know where Madagascar is?" (NO) "Do you know where Maldives is?" (NO) "Do you know where the Indian Ocean is?" (Errr..in the ocean?). I guess, she would have stopped pestering me if I had answered ‘yes’ to at least one of those questions. The thing is, I had no clue whatsoever where those places were. Defeated, I just smiled and blurted “I’m really bad at Geography”. I did try to locate the name of the country using my pregnancy brain but it didn’t ring a bell. So, as always, I did the matching strategy and matched her face to the word Seychelles. The answers I got: between Barbados and Hawaii. Since both answers didn't feel right, I kept quiet. There was no choice but to move on.

The next person I met was Alexander, a wonderful chap from France. The moment he talked, the image of Bertrand (my good friend’s hubby) came to life. He sounded soooooooo much like Bertrand and this time, I just had to show that I was knowledgeable enough to guess his citizenship. “You’re from France right?” I asked, beaming proudly. “Yes, how did you guess eh?” (with French accent) Ahh…finally, I could say something about a foreign country so I started with “You see, a very good friend of mine is married to a Frenchman. He’s from Toulouse. Are you from that part of France?”…From that point onwards, Alexander just couldn’t stop talking and talking and talking. Haha. A successful networking effort! So what if I didn’t understand half of what he was saying. It was way better than doing Geography quizzes! The session finally ended and it was indeed a fruitful one.

When I got home, I told hubby about the orientation, the workshop and of course what I got from the mingling session. It was then that he told me “Dear, Papua New Guinea, is tempat om lah, not Africa. Dekat Indon bah”. Oopss...I explained to hubby how I used my matching strategy and said "Muka dia macam orang Africa bah". A map might come in handy for tomorrow's session. No more matching matching game.

February 25, 2009

Week 22 - The need to be normal

This week marks the 22nd week of my pregnancy and I can hear myself letting out a long sigh of relief. I am relieved because literally speaking, I’m halfway to the finish line and in 4 month’s time, I’ll be normal again. Though I am still capable of ‘acting’ normal at this state, deep inside I’m anything but. When I look at myself in the mirror I’d go like “Oh my, is that my belly? What happened to my collar-bone? Are those really my boobs?!! ” It’s not that I’m in denial, NO. It’s just that, I need to feel that I am myself in order to function.

That explains why I am still wearing my favourite low-cut, size 28 jeans to campus. Yes, I know it’s not a perfect fit anymore, but heck, I feel good in it. You see, once I succumb to my pregnancy blues, I’d be this immobile person who prefers to watch TV all day and do nothing. Though this is my second, second trimester, I can’t help the way I feel. I guess my first second trimester with Alden was a breeze compared to this one. Yesterday, in response to all this personal turmoil, I decided to have a one-day break and be a tour guide for a day. Es’ friend Carol, who is currently in town for a holiday was in dire need of a tour guide in Christchurch city. Since Es is now heavily pregnant and having some kind of complications in her pregnancy, I came to the rescue and became the substitute.

I picked her up at 9 am and after dropping off Alden at the UC Childcare centre, we zoomed to the main UC campus for a quick tour of the university. Although the gloomy weather didn't warrant us the time needed to tour the campus on foot, I still managed to take some awesome pictures of Carol at a few strategic locations.

After the uni photo shoot, we headed to the city and went to the Cathedral Square. The cathedral is the city's primary landmark and is regarded as the heart of Christchurch, attached to the historic Worcester Boulevard, the metropolis Colombo St, and sits close to the meandering Avon River. Carol was lucky that I was in such a good mood to be her photographer. With my supervision, I got her to do a lot of outrageous poses at the cathedral. It was a lot of fun.

The last place we went to was a 3-storey souvenir shop called DF Souvenirs, situated at 730 Colombo Street. I have been to 6 souvenir shops in Christchurch and based on my reliable observations, this shop has the best pricing. Carol got histerically crazy when she went into the shop. She was going like "Alamak!! Murahnya di sini. $1.70 saja! Di kedai sebelah $2.50 kan Alice? Oh my Alice, cantiknya ni spoon, $8.90 saja!! Huh?! ni T-shirt $12.90 saja. Oh, I must get this...bla bla bla". I was going like "Ya, ya, beli lah semua. Cantik kan? Mana ko dapat di KK ni". If I were the salesgirl, I would have gotten a lofty comission. We spent about half an hour shopping and if it hadn't been for the fear of exceeding the parking time-limit, we would have stayed longer and Carol would have bought the whole shop. Surprisingly, I behaved the whole time and only bought 2 items; a pair of marine opal earings and a matching aqua-marine necklace :-).

Glad that the 'tour' went well, we headed back to the uni to get Alden from school. The day finally ended for Carol when I sent her back to Es' place. Before she got out from the car, she thanked me feverishly and said "Nasib kau ada bah...Walaupun ko pregnant buli juga ko bawa sia jalan jalan. Thank you Alice". Translated version: For a pregnant woman, you make a good tour guide ;-) Hehe.

The whole tour guiding experience was well worth the effort as it made me feel 'normal' again. I went home rejuvenated, eager for the next outing.

February 19, 2009

Lake Coleridge

After submitting the first draft of my proposal to Yoda last Friday, everything seemed to move in slow motion. I was able to breathe and not think about writing for two days. To celebrate my temporary freedom, we went for a picnic trip with my friend Es and her husband Andrew during the weekend.

To get to our picnic site known as Lake Coleridge, we passed through Hororata and drove approximately 100 km on the West Coast road through farmlands where we encountered many curves and small hills. I probably saw thousands of sheep grazing in fenced pastures. and herds of cows grazing on green fields along the road. The lovely scenery made driving such a pleasure that we didn’t realize we had been on the road for two hours.

After a long smooth drive, we turned off the main road onto a hilly and narrower gravel road. Another fifteen km on the gravel road finally brought us to Lake Coleridge Basin. Hubby and I just stared in awe at the magnificent landscape, gaping at the beautiful lake surrounded by soaring mountains and hills. The glazier blue water was so clear; you could see reflections of the hills and mountains surrounding the lake. Even Alden appreciated the view, smiling and saying "nice, nice" while nodding his little head :-)

Apart from being breathtakingly beautiful, the lake is also a perfect spot for salmon fishing, picnicking, rafting and jet boating. In the winter, you can even go snow boarding or skiing at Mt Hutt ski field, one of the three ski fields easily accessible to the area. There were so many exciting stuff to do at the lake and jet boating was so tempting, but with two pregnant ladies on board, we had to resort to picnicking. One fine day, when my Kangaroo-belly days are over, I will definitely try skiing! ;-)

* It wasn't easy getting a nice shot from where we parked, so I've included some pics from the net as well as the ones taken myself. 


February 11, 2009

An Apple a day keeps the blues away

It’s amazing what an Apple computer can do to a hormonal, snappish, unmotivated pregnant woman. Yes, I’m still hormonal with zits popping out on my chin, but my mood has dramatically improved the moment I got my PC!

I won’t go into the details of my new Apple or how it felt like love-at-first-sight the second I touched the keyboards. Let’s just say, it has made me a better student, a better mother and a better wife. Now, you might be raising an eyebrow, asking “come on, what has a pc got to do with you being a better mother?” right? Well, allow me to explain.

With my new Apple, I have a reason to go to campus and do work in my office. I feel like a real student now, being more productive, reading more and participating in academic discussions, just like the models in this prospectus here (btw, notice anyone familiar? someone with a pony tail maybe? Hehe...

Having my own pc and being in this work-condusive environment has definitely spurred me to do my proposal in my office. No more crazy hours of doing last minute work at home. I think this is what efficient means (kunun) hehehe.

With this new-found efficiency, I have more quality time with my family, more time for Desperate Housewives and blogging. These are elements of happiness and being pregnant, I need them to feel sane and calm so I can be a better mommy (okay, forget the Desperate Housewives bit).

So before this baby pops out and cause havoc to our tranquil family of three, I will now relish these few months of calmness with a cheery smile on my face. I owe this new perspective to Apple :-)

February 9, 2009

Little Einsteins Wannabe

Like his cousin Demita, my Alden routinely goes gaga over the Little Einsteins show on Disney Channel. Having no choice but to sit with him and watch the 30-minute cartoon thrice a day, I have now memorized the characters and the song in my long term memory (pathetic, I know). Sometimes, I find myself subconsciously singing the theme song in the shower and a few minutes later, I'd hear hubby chanting the addictive melody over and over again. What makes this cartoon so appealing to little tots like Alden and grown ups like us?

From what I've read in Wikipedia, the show is designed to teach demographic art and music appreciation by integrating famous, significant art works and classical music. All the four characters; Leo, June, Quincy and Annie have special musical talents and they encourage viewer interaction such as patting their legs, gesturing, or singing along to help them succeed on their "mission". Interactive + musical + adorable characters = good cartoon. That sums it all. Though he's still in love with Barney and Friends, Alden is now moving on to a new era; The Little Einsteins era. I leave you with the Little Einsteins song lyric. Sing along will ya? :-)  

We're going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship 
Zooming through the sky, 
Little Einsteins 
Climb aboard, get ready to explore
There's so much to find, 
Little Einsteins 
We're going on a mission,
start the countdown 5-4-3-2-1! 
Everyone to rocket, rev it up now! 
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (Blast-off action) 
We're going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship 
Zooming through the sky, 
Little Einsteins 
climb aboard, get ready to explore
There's so much to find, 
Little Einsteins 
Come on, let's go - 
Little Einsteins 
We need you, 
Little Einsteins - Yeah!  

Disclaimer: I'm not sure whether this is the correct version and won't be accounted for any mistakes

February 6, 2009

Yes, everything is pink and peachy :-)

Good news everyone, Alden's having a baby SISTER! Though not a 100% guarantee, the doctor was quite certain it’s not a boy (duh...). I was quite puzzled as to why she wouldn’t even give me a 70% conviction, but what she said was enough to light all the fireworks in my head. I am still ecstatic at the moment and the finding has such a huge impact on me.

Now, I finally have a reason to buy that pink-snaps all-in-two cloth diaper after months of hopeless longing. And those cute bunny mittens from Pumpkin Patch? That too is in my list of MUST-HAVES. That’s not all, remember those horrible withdrawal symptoms I talked about? Well, they have miraculously disappeared the moment I laid eyes on this adorable Snuggle Bugs cot quilt cover at Countdown. Amazing cure huh? That’s just my first purchase for the baby and the pleasure of finally buying something in pink is simply pure bliss.
I've been walking on air since 4.00 pm yesterday, daydreaming about the future. I picture myself and my baby girl wearing synchronized dresses to the mall, having a good time trying on countless of outfits and shoes (sis LW and CL are probably in some coffee shop fuming mad for having to wait..haha). Yes, life is great and I thank God for his blessings. I could not ask for more :-)

February 3, 2009

I want a Barbie doll!

I have an ultrasound scheduled at 3.30 pm this afternoon and we will finally discover the sex of the baby. You can't imagine how excited I am right now!!!! This is going to be such a revelation because I've been dying to shop for baby clothes especially cute little pink rompers with matching bunny mittens and those adorable all-in-two cloth diapers that come in pink, pastel green and sweet lilac (check out this cool website at www.mumandbubs.co.nz)
Ohhhh..the agony of not being able to shop is excruciatingly painful.

Since we don't know what's in the oven, all logic tells me it's not wise to shop. So what happens is, I've become this withdrawn shopper who has no interest in baby clothes whatsoever and refuse to even glimpse at Baby City or Pumpkin Patch outlets. My friend CL tells me I have the "withdrawal symptom", the same kind of symptom experienced by heavy smokers who are trying too quit smoking (ahem, for the record, I'm not a shopaholic). I have succumbed to those withdrawal symptoms for two months now and it's finally going to end today. I will once again be whole :-) Major baby post coming out tomorrow!

Just suck it

The past couple of days have been chaotic and it was my entire fault. Nothing tragic really, but it was enough to make me yell at myself and scold myself silly for being so incompetent. You see, I was doing last minute work and the mission was to condense various ideas from countless of boring journals I’ve read. I was a total wreck and had no proper sleep for two days. Then Monday came and I found myself in my Yoda’s office, selling my last-minute piece of work. Yoda scrutinized it, knitted his brows and finally said “Good, but try to be more focused when.....bla bla bla”. The rest of the sentence didn't matter. The main thing was I got away. Phew! Safe for another week. Next week, who knows? This love affair is going to go on till end of March and for the time being, I just tell myself to suck it. No other options really.