October 13, 2016

FemiVa by Alainn: My (and my vajayjay's) experience!

Sponsored Post

Look, I've shot out three kids through my vajayjay. That's three times that my hoohaa has been stretched out to its limit and then shrunk back down to normal. And the standard of "normal" changes each time! As a matter of fact, according to Dr. Nurul Ain Abdullah of Alainn MediSpa, multiple childbirths can lead to Vaginal Relaxation Syndrome (VRS) caused by a loosened and weakened vaginal wall.

So, when I was pregnant with Adam, I was very concerned with how things were going to change down there. How different will things look? How will intimacy be affected? What can I do to make sure things spring back to normal (and ASAP)?

One thing I did was to take all measures to ensure no tearing would occur. Perineal massage and a water birth meant that I was successful in that regard. But what else could I do?

Well, during pregnancy I started researching non-invasive things I could do to get things back to usual conditions. Let me tell you, there are SO MANY creams, gadgets, and procedures out there these days. And one of them is FemiVa.

FemiVa is a good option for:
  • Women who experience decrease in sensation and stimulation during intercourse
  • Women with gaping vaginal opening
  • Women who notice that tampons usually slip out easily or during intercourse partner slips out easily
  • Women with vagina that produces “gas-like” sounds during intercourse or “popping” sounds while walking
  • Women who are not satisfied with the appearance of the labia due to sagging skin
  • Women who have vaginal dryness, lack of moisture or pain during intercourse
  • Women who have frequent itching or burning sensation of the vulva
  • Women with involuntary release of urine, especially during coughing, sneezing or laughing
  • Women who are looking for an overall improved look and feel of the vulva and vagina post-delivery
Full disclosure: Dr Nurul Ain is a beloved family friend. When she approached me to try out the FemiVa procedure, I jumped at the opportunity. It was exactly what I was looking for! So when I went back to Malaysia for a visit recently, I finally got it done.

Alainn MediSpa offers two FemiVa treatment options: FemiVa which is just vulva rejuvenation (external) and FemiVa Plus, which is both vulva and vaginal rejuvenation. I opted for the FemiVa Plus treatment. This way, my jazzy-vajjy will look AND feel better.

The Alainn MediSpa is located at the Park Lane Commercial Park in Petaling Jaya, which wasn't too far from where I was staying. The MediSpa is exactly what it sounds like - a medical clinic combined with a spa. I was immediately relaxed once I walk in. No harsh clinical lighting here!

The entire Femiva Plus procedure took about half an hour. The first part was the internal vaginal treatment. A prong is inserted into my kitty, and a series of lasers flew around my cavern (that makes it sound cavernous. It's not. Things haven't gotten that bad, you can't hear echoes in there and there are no bats, lol). There was absolutely no pain, just a weird series of knocking sensations deep inside. This went on for about 5 minutes.

Next is the external treatment AKA vulva rejuvenation. First a jelly-like fluid is spread across my lady bits. It's similar in consistency to the stuff they put on your belly during pregnancy ultrasounds. The best way I can describe the following procedure is its like ironing away your wrinkles. The wand that is used gradually heats up while it is rubbed around your flaps. It starts out okay but does get very very hot towards the end. It's not too painful but definitely uncomfortable. I just told my therapist to stop for a bit when it got too much. This part of the treatment is about twenty minutes long. The procedure is done for ten minutes on each side of your labia. It's entirely non-invasive and is a good option if you only want things to feel nice and tight on the outside. It also has zero downtime, compared to the internal treatment that requires at least 24 hours abstinence afterwards (Daniel was mortified, but he survived).

For best results, you should plan on repeating the treatment 2-4 times, making sure to have 2 weeks between treatments.

It's been three weeks since I underwent the FemiVa Plus procedure. I took photos of my lady bits before the procedure and every week after. I won't be sharing them (lol) but I can assure you that there's a definite difference in how things look externally. It's all just...smoother.

As for how things feel, there's definitely an improvement there as well. Intimacy has never been an issue for Dan & I, so I didn't necessarily feel the need to "improve" anything, but I must say that things are definitely feeling better than usual!

I think most women think it's taboo or shameful to speak candidly about their vajizzle, but the truth is that treatments like FemiVa are a huge hit, and for good reason! It is okay to admit that maybe your oft-neglected vagina/vajayjay/lady bits/hoo haa needs a bit of a treat. And now you know where to go to do it!

And good news for my readers: Alainn Medispa is currently offering 20% off the FemiVa Plus treatment until 31st October. For more information about FemiVa, please click here, or contact Alainn Medispa directly:
Alainn Medispa
J-2-3 Jalan SS7/26
Park Lane Commercial Hub
Kelana Jaya 47301
Petaling Jaya 
Call 03-78876499
WhatsApp 012-2710301 
Operating hours  
Monday to Saturday - 9.30am to 6.00pm
P.S: I must say, this post has challenged me to use my creativity to come up with effective euphemisms!

Note: This is a sponsored post, which means that I received the product and/or service in exchange for writing this post/review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

September 6, 2016

"Hey, don't you have enough carriers?"

The other day, upon seeing me "window shopping" for carriers on Facebook, Daniel asks me, "Hey, don't you have enough carriers?"

Bless him, he did not expect the almighty stink-eye he was given in response.

A lot of people will look at mine, and other babywearing enthusiasts', carrier collection (the one in the picture above is not even my whole collection...and I have a few more coming soon) and think it is a bit excessive. And that's okay, because it probably is. And the truth is, if all we wanted was to just carry our babies, and be utilitarian about babywearing, then yeah we've got "enough" carriers (and I think the vast majority of babywearers are like this!). But it's totally okay for some of us to have more than "enough". Babywearing doesn't just have to mean having just one carrier during your child's early years. And here's why:

  • It Makes Parenting More Fun
    Parenting can be a drag. If you can't admit that, you're lying to yourself and you're being a bit of a dick for making the rest of us look like dicks. Babywearing is a fun hobby that is both a coping mechanism and a great parenting tool. There are so many ways babywearing is fun, but among them are these: the great community of parents that you befriend over this very niche hobby, the joy of entering (and especially winning!) a draw to purchase or a giveaway for carriers, and - just like any collector - the joy of collecting the carriers you desire (especially if it they are hard to find! Anyone who plays Pokemon Go should be able to relate to this).
  • It Is A Fashion Accessory
    I love how my carriers accent my outfits. Sometimes I even love having my carriers be the focal point of my outfits. I just love how babywearing adds something extra to what I'm wearing! But just like how I can't spend years wearing the same t-shirt daily (we're not all Steve Jobs, y'know), I want variety in my carriers so I can have variety in my fashion ensembles. If someone can have more than one handbag, one t-shirt, or one pair of shoes, why can't babywearers have more than one carrier?
  • It Is A Temporary Thing
    Most of us stop actively babywearing by the time baby can walk. That's about a year of constant babywearing, followed by (if you're lucky) another 2-3 years of less frequent babywearing. It is such a short time to enjoy this amazing thing, so it makes sense to want to make the most out of this period. This isn't just something I know in theory - I very much lived this. After I stopped babywearing Afraz, I coveted so many carriers even though I didn't have a baby to actively wear. So once I had Adam, I knew the types of carriers I want to try, and I've been doing my best to collect them so I can use them for just the next couple of years.
  • Different Carriers = Different Qualities
    Not all carriers are made equal. Different brands, different types, different fabrics - all these variations are out there for us to try! And why shouldn't we? A silk blouse is different from a crisp cotton shirt. It's okay to have both, because each one feels and looks different, and serves a different function. It's the same with carriers - different sizes, shapes, and types have different qualities that you might need on one occasion but not another. So a variety of carriers keeps you covered! I've got carriers for hot days VS cold days, babywearing for short outings VS babywearing all day, fancy carriers VS casual carriers, carriers that take a while to put on VS carriers that are quick to put on. I could go on and on and on!
  • Carriers Have Resale Value
    This is something non-babywearers don't understand. On Facebook alone, babywearers number in the tens (and maybe hundreds!) of thousands. That's a huge community of people around the world who frequently buy, sell, and trade carriers. Most of us are able to recoup at least 80% of our total investment on any given carrier. Sometimes you might even get 100% of the cost back, seriously! So while collecting carriers can seem expensive at the outset (I'm not ashamed to admit I have carriers that cost more than some designer handbags), in the end I'll be able to get some - if not all - that money back.
So if you're worried about a babywearer in your life who is seemingly never satisfied with their stash of carriers, keep the above in mind. You have nothing to worry about - it's perfectly normal! And lucky you, because buying a gift for said person would be a breeze. All you'd need to ask instead of "Hey, don't you have enough carriers?", is "Hey, are there any carriers you're looking to buy?". Your query will get a much warmer reception than what poor Daniel got, I promise.

(P.S: Daniel, if you're reading this, I really want to get this carrier. Ok thanks, love you, bye!)

August 21, 2016

3 Ways To Wear The Sangha Waterfall Wrap

Sponsored Post
When the folks at Milk and Love reached out to me for a collaboration, I was beyond excited! I'm a big fan of their products, especially considering the fact that I'll be wearing nursing clothes for a few more years at least. Heck, I'm still wearing the nursing clothes I bought 9 years ago when I was nursing Aqil! It is really difficult to find stylish, flattering, and non-mom-looking nursing clothes, so Milk and Love's product line is a lifesaver. In this post, I'll share three ways to style their best-selling Sangha Waterfall Wrap.

Here's why I love the iconic Waterfall Wrap: first of all, it's made of bamboo fabric, which means it feels absolutely gorgeous against my skin and is really flattering too. Secondly, it's a versatile piece that you can use whether or not you're nursing. Thirdly, it comes in very chic colors - including classic black - which means you don't have to sacrifice style for convenience! And fourth, it's a great transition piece for the unpredictable spring weather here in Melbourne.

One of the main draws of this versatile piece of clothing is the fact that you can use it as a breastfeeding cover by buttoning one end of the wrap to a loop inside the wrap. However, I'm not a fan of covering my babies up while nursing (mainly because I like looking at my cutie pies when I'm nursing so I'd have to put my head in there as well, and also partly because I feel like it's less discreet because it's like you're holding up a sign saying "I'M BREASTFEEDING" which is totally fine but not my style), so I'm also sharing some ways you can use it as a convertible nursing top.

The Peekaboo With A Twist

I loooooove me a cute crop top and high-waist jeans combo. Not only is this look very current, but the high waist is great for tucking my belly pooch into, hahaha. Also, check out my awesome stretchmarks peeping out the top of that waistband. My body's carried three humans to term, man. I'm proud of those battle scars!

All I did with the Waterfall Wrap was cross the ends in front of me and twist them once, and then I tied the ends in the back. Super easy and quick!

To nurse baby, simply nurse through the top, or the "cutout" sections on either side. 

The Stretchy Cardi

For this style, I simply wore a belt to give the Waterfall Wrap some shape. I've paired it with a simple low-cut body con dress, but you can just as easily pair it with a tank top and jeans for a more casual look.

To nurse baby, just nurse as usual from the outfit you're wearing underneath the wrap. You can use the tails as a cover if you so choose.

The Classic Wraparound

This is a classic way to use the Waterfall Wrap, and for good reason! It's super simple - just cross the tails in front of you and then tie them behind your waist. 

To nurse baby, just nurse from the top of the wrap. Hardly discreet, but if that's your style (it's mine, most days!) then go ahead with courage and conviction, mama!

You can get the Sangha Waterfall Wrap from the Milk and Love website by clicking here. You could also win one of five Sangha Waterfall Wraps the generous folks at Milk and Love are giving away. Check out the Milk and Love Facebook page for more information.

Note: This is a sponsored post, which means that I received the product and/or service in exchange for writing this post/review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

August 1, 2016

Adam Axl Caldwell - His Home Water Birth

The night before Adam was born, Dan and I stayed up super late watching X-Files. We had downloaded the episodes of the latest "season" ages ago but never had time to watch it. It just so happened that June 30th was Dan's first day of paternity leave (because it was Adam's due date), so we had time to stay up late watching TV. It was also the only night we decided not to do anything to encourage labor. You see, at 36 weeks, I experience false labor. It was so convincing and lasted around 8 hours before the surges completely stopped. Since then, I had been impatient to get baby out, and starting at 37 weeks we did what we could to naturally and gently get baby out - essential oils, massages, acupuncture, stretch & sweep, and of course, sex. Obviously, baby came out on the one night we didn't do anything at all, hahaha.

Anyway, we went to bed around 2am and I just could not sleep. I felt like baby was really pushing down and it was too uncomfortable for me to get settled. But at around 5am on Friday, July 1st 2016, I felt the first surge which around 30secs long. At this point I noted that it felt different, but after a month of false starts, I didn't get too excited. However, then there were two more that were 10-15mins apart. At this point I knew it was real! So I woke Dan up to tell him ("This is definitely the real thing, babe!"). I did tell him to go back to sleep but I don't think he actually slept. I can't blame him, because I didn't either. We were just so so so ready to have this baby already.

At 6am, after timing the surges for an hour, I texted our midwife, Andrea, to let her know what was going on. There was a little bleeding, but the surges were still pretty far apart at 10-15minutes between each 30-45 second surge. Usually you wouldn't call your midwife at this point but Andrea had told me to let her know as soon as something happened because I was likely to have a quick labor. 

By 7am, the surges were a minute long but timing was erratic. I was getting nervous that maybe this was another false labor so I kept myself busy pottering around. I put on some makeup (of course), had a bit to eat, changed into my "laboring clothes". I texted our birth photographer, Emily, to let her know what was going on as well.

I needn't have worried about it being false labor again though, because by 8am, the surges were 5 mins apart and a minute long. At this point, I ask Andrea and Emily to come. I go to the the birthing room (which is usually the guest room in our house). I was really focused on my breathing, on feeling the surges and breathing through them. I also stop timing the surges - I knew by then that this was the real thing and it was only a matter of time before baby makes an appearance!

At around 8.30am, Andrea arrives and checks on me. Dan starts filling up the pool, with hot water by a hose connected to our laundry tap. Then he actually adds cold water using a bucket. I have very vivid memories of him running in and out of the room carrying that bucket, hahaha! I was still relaxed and chatty between surges at this point in time.

Around 10am, I start asking to go into the pool. After Andrea checked the temperature to make sure it was okay, I got in. Immediately the surges were 80% less intense! I relaxed straight away, smiling and laughing and bonding with Dan. I was practically limp, I was so relaxed. I was also really really gassy. I burped a lot, and farted too (which is impossible to get away with doing discreetly when you're in water, as you can imagine).

Flatulence aside, the next couple of hours were quite emotional for me - at one point, I remember saying to Dan "I never thought I'd ever experience this again, now here I am about to have another precious baby. Thank you. Thank you for making all my dreams come true!". I think there were quite a few tears in the room at that time, mostly from me hahaha. 

I also kept saying, "Oh man, laboring in water is the BEST! Why doesn't everyone do this?? Everyone should do this!". Seriously, if laboring in water is an option for you, DO IT. 

Throughout this time, I was able to freely change my position based on what felt comfortable for me. My favorites were squatting and being on all fours, but eventually I found that I enjoyed floating in the water on my back (this would also end up being the position baby was born in!). During surges, Dan would support my lower back and press into it to counter the pressure I was feeling around my abdomen. He would also scoop water on my back, which felt incredible.

Andrea would periodically check baby's heart rate with a doppler monitor, and she would just work around me in whatever position I was in. This is my first time having a medical practitioner put my comfort first, and it felt so reassuring to know she had my needs in mind first and foremost. She still did what she needed to do, but never made me feel like I was in the way. I love midwife care! 

At around noon, I felt my water break in the water (which made me lose focus for a few seconds, and the only time I really felt fear because I remember how much it "hurt" after my water broke during Afraz' birth) and the surges really start getting more intense, but I started feeling really tired (remember, I hadn't slept at all the night before!) and Andrea asked if she could check me. Turns out there was still a little more cervical lip in the way. 

Andrea suggested that I get out of the water and walk around for a bit to help things along. I began feeling a little discouraged and in despair, but most importantly, I didn't wanna leave the comfort of the water! But in the interest of just getting this baby out already, I finally got out of the water. 

From the first moment I took a step back on dry land, it was awful. I felt so HEAVY, like I weighed a tonne! And the surges were super super super intense. There was a sharpness to the pressure that wasn't there in the water, a heaviness that felt almost unbearable. Through those surges, I managed to make it to the toilet to pee. However, the temperature change from the warm water to cold air made me really really dizzy. I decided I needed to take a nap, so I laid down on the bed, which felt good for about ten seconds, lol. I was soooo tired and wanted to nap but the darn surges were interrupting my rest! 

It was then that I began vocalizing really loudly, like I did with my previous birth as well. My vocalizing was almost operatic, and probably sounded ridiculous, but it felt so good! At some point during this time on the bed, I start going into transition. How do I know? Because, like someone trying to buy drugs on the street, I whispered to Andrea, "Hey, do you have something I could take? I know you've gotta have something. Just to take the edge off?" It is so hilarious to think about it now, hahaha. I kept asking too! Maybe like three times! Each time she just said, "No, sorry, I don't have anything. But you don't need it! You can do this!". I think I also started getting emotional about not having my mom around. Just using any excuse to wimp out, really! Lol. I was also just so very tired. I had been snacking on dates and drinking water and energy drinks, but Andrea asks Dan to get some honey for me, and a spoonful of that really worked to give me a boost of energy.

At around 12.45, Andrea checked me and confirmed that everything was nice and open. Time to get back in the water! The moment I went back in, my whole body just loosened up. I could focus again. Not long after entering the water, I start feeling the urge to push. I was so exhausted but I had a renewed sense of purpose - it was time. 

Now, in HypnoBirthing, we are encouraged to breathe baby out. But I just couldn't help but be absolutely primal. It felt amazing to actively push baby out, to work with my body to get baby out into the world. I was moaning, swaying, following my body as it took me to another place altogether (I'll write more about that at a later date, but I suggest looking up "orgasmic birth" because it is REAL, guys!). 

It took a while, and I actually pooped (Andrea just scooped it out of the pool. People get so nervous about pooping when giving birth, but almost everyone poops during labor and those attending to you would not be grossed out by it at all), but soon enough, just before 1.52pm, baby's head was ready to come out. I didn't know this, though. Not just because I couldn't feel it, but because everyone around me was so calm!!!! There were no loud voices or overly excited faces - just a bunch of faces with completely zen expressions staring at my vagina. So when I felt the ring of fire and baby's head popped out in a single push, I was shocked! 

It was then that Andrea and Dan started talking to me, telling me to breathe and just push a couple more times to get the rest of baby out. I was freaking out and exhausted, but after a few deep breaths, I pushed a couple of times and baby came out. Dan picked him up out of the water and placed him in my arms. He also checked between Adam's leg and announced "It's a boy!". 

I looked at my beautiful new son and said, "Hello, Adam!". He cried for all of five seconds, takes a quick look around at his family (at this point the older boys had entered the room), then promptly fell asleep. I birthed my gorgeous placenta a few minutes later, and Adam stayed connected to it for a few hours after that - talk about delayed cord clamping! By the time we cut the cord, it was completely white and limp. And guess what? I did not tear at all. That's right - I birthed a 3.69kg baby naturally and with no injury whatsoever to my perineum. Thank you, perineal massage and water birth!!!

The few hours after the birth were a bit of a blur. Adam peed on his dad and pooped on me. I latched him on several times in those first few hours and discovered immediately that something was wrong - turns out Adam was born with a tongue and lip tie. I will definitely share our experience with this soon! 

We decided against announcing the birth that night. It was mostly because we were beyond exhausted, but we also felt this need to just "be" for a while. It felt like we were still in a dream, and it was wonderful to really enjoy that. Like an extension to the beautifully intimate birth we just experienced.

I still think about Adam's birth and smile. While Aqil's birth was traumatizing and Afraz' birth was healing, this birth was just...ideal. It was more meaningful than I could have ever dreamed. I felt so empowered and beautiful. I felt so connected to my nature as a woman and a mother, in that my body was capable of doing this amazing thing that countless mothers before me have experienced. I felt this energy down to the very core of my being - a strength and resilience that I hadn't seen within myself till this moment.

Women are told all the time that we "need" to do more, that we need other people to help, that we need chemicals to cope, that we have to be in a certain position and a certain location to have a safe, comfortable birth. It is so empowering to know for sure now that that's all a lie. That my body CAN and DID bring a human being into this world on its own. Mothers - we are capable of more than we are given credit for! 

Speaking of credit, I also need to thank my fantastic birth team for being incredibly supportive, gentle, and so very loving throughout the entire labor. Thank you to the super mother-daughter midwife team of Andrea and Hannah Quanchi of My Midwives Melbourne North for their patience, support, and good humor; thank you to photographer extraordinaire, Emily Black of Emily Black Photography, for capturing these priceless moments and for helping with the birth as well (sorry to make you run back and forth turning the hot water on and off through the day!); thank you to my older boys Aqil and Afraz, for being the most incredible, well-behaved, considerate, loving, amazing and perfect children that ever existed; and most of all, thank you to my partner in life, love, and now birth - Daniel, you were my pillar of strength through this entire process. You did good, Dan-doula!

I'll always look back at Adam's birth with a smile. It was everything I ever desired in a birth. However, I am cognizant of the fact that mothers do not have water births (let alone home births!) as an option back home in Malaysia. This breaks my heart and I hope that it will change soon, because if my experience is anything to go by, water births are incredible and all mothers should be able to experience it if they so desire!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...