Thursday, November 1, 2007

When Will I See You Again?

Nur Aqilah Balqiss

When we opened the house door, we could hear the eery silence inside the house. It felt so empty now she is no more with us. Not that she was making much noise when she was here. She broke into the occassional childish cry only when she was hungry. Otherwise she would be as quiet as any other baby. Whatmore if she was sleeping. My wife and me peered into the room that she was usually sleeping in. We saw the empty bed that her mum used to let her lie down when we were not holding her in our arms. She is not there anymore.

Barely an hour ago that Nur Aqilah Balqiss flew off into the blue sky heading for Kula Lumpur and later to Labuan and we are missing her already. We had been anticipating this feeling and thought even before she was born. We know we were going to have her around for just a few months at the most. We were prepared for this moment and yet we couldn't take it.

Our youngest daughter was 7 months pregnant when she came back from Labuan to deliver her first child. She had to come back early since her pregnancy will prevent her to fly when the due date was too near. Since this was her first delivery, she wanted to do it back home where we could be close to her when the time comes. The husband would come back later when the time was due for her to deliver.

At 2 days old

Nur Aqilah stayed in Perdana Specialist hospital for another 2 days after her delivery. Since the mother was still weak from the delivery, and my wife teaches on most days, I have to do the bathing of the baby every morning. My experience with newborns like my first nephew and later my own child has made me a sort of expert in handling babies of such a tender age. Later when the baby was older and the mother was stronger, this job was taken over by the mother with coaching from her mother and me.

Giving her a bath

Since I am retired, I dont really have much things to do around the house. The baby was like a gift to keep me occupied everyday. Feeding him with the bottle is one of my job since the mother didn't lactate immediately after her birth. When the mother produces sufficient milk, bottled milk was alternated between breastfeedings. I made sure that the baby received the colostrum, that is the first milk which contains a very rich concentration of antibodies essential to the health of the baby later in life. Many people are ignorant about the importance of feeding their babies with the first milk. My own daughter didn't know too until I have explained the details. Without this antibodies the child would be susceptible to disease later in life.
The doting parents was bent on giving their child the best formula milk. The best may not be always the best for a newborn baby. Compatability is important. As such the baby developed constipation which needed to be resolved with the use of laxative introduced via the anus. The mother then agreed to a change of ordinary milk powder that she herself was fed on when she was young. The change to 'Lactogen' not only cost her much less but solved the problem of constipation with her baby.

Later the baby was infected with nasal infection which resulted in nasal congestion. She had problem sleeping.We were often disturbed from our sleep with her incessant crying due to the nasal congestion. Both me and my wife will wake up and alternately cradle the baby to get her to sleep. The change in position helped her with her breathing problem. We tried to change her sleeping position so that she will sleep on her stomach with her face facing sideway. Azini wasn't confident as she feared that the baby maybe suffocate if she were to fall asleep herself and if Balqiss were to change her head position downward against the pillow.

This sleeping position gave her some respite when having nasal congestion.

The next day we took Balqiss to Perdana Specialist Hospital to have her checked and there they tried to suck out the phlegm blocking her nasal passage. Even that didnt help her much. I presume one of the nasal passges was blocked by inflamation. Luckily she responded to medication after a few days and was able to breathe normally which helped her with her sleep and also the mother's own need for sleep.

At two month old, she had already exceeded by a kilogram over the normal baby's weight of a two month old baby. Most of the clothes bought for her which was supposed to fit babies of below six months became too tight for her. So were the nappies.

Look what the doting grandma gave her.

All these while Lokman the father, had to be away since Balqiss was about a week old. The plant where he was working in Labuan was having a major shutdown for maintainence and his presence on site was much needed. Later an explosion occurred at the plant. I was shocked to read about it in the papers since Lokman didn't mention about it at all in his many phone calls and sms to his wife. He didn't want his wife to worry about it. That accident costs a worker's life, the welder. Something that never happened before in the history of the plant.

After the maintainence work at the plant was completed Lokman was granted 3 weeks leave to comeback to see his baby. From that day we started the countdown for the day when Balqiss will be taken back to Labuan which will be on 23rd October 2007. As a trial we allowed Lokman to take Balqiss to away to his parents home which is just less tan 10 km from our own home.

When Idilfitri came on 13th October 2007, we had full house when all the children and their children came home not only for the Eid but also for Azuan's wedding. After all these years we were all united again. We made do with all the discomfort of a full house. Since not all rooms were not fitted with air conditioners, some families had to suffer the discomfort of a slightly warm rooms with fan only accompanied by pesky mosquitoes which managed to escape from my electric mosquito swatters. Without fail I would religiously swat those mosquitoes to smitheren with the assistance of my older grandchildren who love to hear the sound of mosquitoes being zapped. At every zap, they will shout 'yea dapat'. Even the two and a half year old Razin Irsyad joined in the fray much to the consternation of Fatthiyah who was scared that her many precious glass and crystal decorations adorning the house would also be destroyed in the process.
If you are wondering what a mosquitor swatter looks like, wonder no more. It's made in China with a built in rechargeable battery. The handle can be seperated to become a torchlight. It is priced at RM15.80. There are other versions of course which come with different price.

After the wedding reception on the 16th of October, the exodus began. Azrin and family had to leave that very night as he had to work on his coming exam before he could renew his pilot licence. He left that night after all the presents for the brides were opened. Razin Irsyad was most involved with the opening of the presents.

Next to go was Azura with hubby Joe and their two girls Nuralya Jazleen and Nurfarhana Jazreen. They went by the Cameron Highlands route with a nightstop at the highland resort. The next one to go was The Brides Azuan and wife Wan Hanizah. They flew home by AirAsia on the evening of 19th October. Azuan's in laws were there too at the airport to to see the couple off.

The final one to leave was Nur Aqilah Balqiss and her parents on the 23rd of October 2007. It was their being going to Labuan that made it so difficult for us to let them go. If only Labuan is located at the southern tip of peninsular Malaysia, it won't feel so heavy on us. At least I can drive to Johor and hop across to Labuan by ferry if it is so located. But alas Labuan is at the tip of Borneo which is across the China Sea. Of course I have to fly there. Upon checking on the internet, it would cost at least RM600 per pax to cover both the KBR-KUL and KUL-LBU sectors for a return flight. Still too expensive even on a no frill airline for a retiree living on a government pension like me. Anyway it is still too soon for us to visit them in Labuan. We will wait abit longer. At least by then Balqiss will produce a giggle when coaxed and not just the silent smile that she managed to give us thus far. That will be reward enough for us to travel that distance to see her.

The Smiling Balqiss

We missed the other grandchildren too. Come November 25th, I will be with the 'Budak Puchong' in Taman Amanputra, Puchong to stand in for their nanny who will take a month leave to visit her parents in Sumatra. After 4 years away from them while working for my daughter Azura, she definitely deserved the break. 'Budak Puchong' was the term Nuralya Jazleen used to proudly call herself when talking to her friends in the Taman Amanputra neighbourhood. While there I will be able to visit the three 'Budak Labu' in an enclave at Enstek, in Labu, Negeri Sembilan next to KLIA. I wont also forget to visit the newly wed at Brunsfield Riverview Apartments in Shah Alam to see whether Wan Hnizah has been affected by the feeling of throwing ups as often happen to mums to be.

Azini with daugther Balqiss

Tokma Fatthiyah on the last day with grand daughter.

Balqiss latest picture sent via MMS on 31st October 2007

All the grandchildren with Razin Irsyad, the only grandson not wanting to be photographed after a scolding by his dad for being naughty.

The other grandpa during the 'Bercukur Ceremony'


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