Aida Zabidi
I woke up with the alarm, and even in your sleep you reached out to me to pull me close. I smiled as I snuck my head at the curve of your shoulder, enjoying the warmth and your scent. The sudden swell of emotion takes me by surprise, the bubbling happiness inside my heart as I gaze at your face.

Has it really been more than two years?

I marvel that I still feel the same about you as I did before we got married, that we still want to hold hands, and dance with each other and hug, that we still sit next to each other and play the PlayStation with the same enjoyment that we’ve had before. 

That when we fight, it usually ends up in us emphasizing how much we want this relationship to work. That we still make sure we kiss each other before we go to work and before we go to bed. 

Are these our relationship goals? They’re not bad ones to still have, years down the line.

I asked you “Do you love me as much as you did before we got married?” 

“Yes. Maybe more.”

Like the lyrics of a Bon Jovi song, “We got each other, and that’s a lot for love - we’ll give it a shot.” I know that two years is nothing but a drop in the sea of life, and that we'll face more challenges in the years to come, but like how we've committed to this relationship, we'll take everything head on, one day at a time.

Many kisses Behr, until no more kisses remain.
Aida Zabidi
Over the week I had the opportunity to attend a charity concert by people with disabilities, and when my patient initially invited me to go, I agreed without much thought.

I thought it would be a small production of modest proportions – but I realized how wrong I was the moment that I stepped in to the gorgeous backdrop of silver trees and purple lights, like a magical mystical forest of sorts. 

Ras Adiba and her friends from their NGO OkuSentral put on a wonderful show that had most of us standing on our feet and dancing along with them by the end of the night. From the hearing impaired tap dancers, to the physically disabled singers and the wheelchair dancers, to the smiling enthusiastic dancers from the Down Syndrome association, it was such a fantastic night – I would have happily paid for a production of that caliber. 

Each individual that was involved in the production had some sort of disability, be in mental or physical, and yet they were able to rise above their disabilities and still give back with the community in such a spectacular fashion. 

It just goes to show that disability doesn’t always have to hold you back. Never give up!

Kudos to the team behind the production, it was spectacular!

With Madam Ras Adiba and my specialists from HRC!

Aida Zabidi
So after my first fertility clinic consult, Behr and I decided we would be starting on Clomid for a few cycles and see how that worked out. 

I had to come in for the dreaded transvaginal scan on the second day of my period, and gosh, I have to say it’s rather awkward getting a probe inserted into your vagina when you’re having your period. In addition to hoping that blood isn’t gushing out, there’s the additional possibility of cramping just with the probe insertion. 

This was a baseline check to see my follicles during the first day of my cycle, and it would serve as a baseline to see how the follicles would grow over the course of the treatment.

I was started on a low dose of Clomid (50mg) to be taken over 5 days, and I’m relatively thankful that I didn’t get much emotional lability, which I’ve heard is a common enough side effect; although I did get a major case of the munchies (the type you get before your period, where you just crave certain foods and just want to each all the time). I have to say I ate quite a bit, but I also increased my exercise regime daily so I would make up for the increased binging (try not to have too many sweet things in the house, I really struggled when I had those cravings)! 

At Day 6, I came in for a scan and was told that my follicles were growing as scheduled, and booked in for another scan. 

The next scan was at D8, and the follicle size at the time was about 15mm (apparently the optimum size for the follicles before ovulation should be 18-25mm), but they estimated that it would grow to 18mm in another two days. I was advised to take the beta-HCG jab on Day 10, and have timed intercourse about 48 hours after the jab. 

I had a bad reaction to the HCG, and ended up being very lightheaded and having my blood pressure drop as a reaction to the injection. I suppose it could have been worse, but since it was the first time I’ve ever felt that way, it wasn’t something I was entirely looking forward to. 

I’ve got a couple of weeks to figure out whether we’re successful this cycle, but in the meantime, it was interesting to have scheduled intercourse with the possibility that we were actually actively trying to have children. 

I suppose it was something that never seemed very real to me, but now we’ve started on this journey, it’s only starting to seep into the edges of my consciousness, almost as if my mental state was separated from the automated cognitive processes that we had undergone to kickstart the pregnancy journey. 

In the meantime, please keep us in your prayers and wish us luck!
Aida Zabidi
Two years ago I would have been driving from Segamat to Muar at this time, in my daily commute to work. 

I remember how misty Segamat could get in the mornings, and how dark and peaceful it was when I left the house at 630. The town would still be asleep, only starting to stir, and I enjoyed the peacefulness of those mornings. 

I still remember the winding country roads, passing through oil palm plantations and small kampungs, and driving through shaded groves as the sun eventually rose and brightened the day. 

The rising of the sun was my favorite part of the day; watching how the light would change the landscape of the world. 

 These days, the drive is shorter but more hectic, but my favorite part of the day still hasn’t changed. I still look forward to seeing the sun rise, and these days as I’m just leaving the house, I get an amazing view of the Twin Towers silhouette in the far distance in a variety of sunrises, and there have been some beautiful ones. 

We all have our routines, but it’s so important to find pleasure in the little things as your day is beginning, and it will colour the rest of your day. 

Find your little pleasures, and always consciously be grateful for them. 

It’s a great way to start the day.
Aida Zabidi
My colleague realized it was our patient's birthday today.

He was a young guy who had become paralyzed after an accident up to his shoulders and ended up in our ward for rehabilitation.

He was alone, with family far away in another state.

We bought a slice of cake for him, and as he blew out a candle, I wondered how he felt, turning a year older in a hospital room far away from his family, struggling with the simple act of cutting a cake.

Sometimes there are the small mercies.

For him, he'd come a long way from being bedbound, barely being able to lift his arms or sit up; being able to blow out the birthday candle and lift a spoon was an achievement for him. In the days he spent in our ward, it seemed that he had accepted his fate, and his weaknesses and he learnt to smile again, and enjoy life.

There are so many things to be thankful for, and it's something I'm constantly reminded about every day.

Sometimes it's in the little things.

The people you're surrounded by, the ones who will want to do good by you. Being loved, being able to do the small things. Being able to smile, and laugh, and talk to the ones closest to your heart.

We will all have our challenges, and some more than others.

For our birthday boy today, my prayers are that you will find happiness and peace. May your arms become stronger, may your wounds eventually heal, and may you gain strength and balance over time.

For today, just live in the moment. Happy birthday.
Aida Zabidi
A friend asked me to come out for Halloween one night, and I didn't have a costume. With only hours to spare and the trusty Internet, I managed to YouTube through a tutorial for a spooky Cheshire cat. 

Sure, it took me a couple of hours, but I'm rather proud of the work - not bad for a first timer!

What do you guys think?

Aida Zabidi
The first time I went to Siem Reap was almost 6 years ago, and I was a broke student. I do remember how much I loved the place, and how fondly I thought of it, and I knew apart of me would always come back. 

Fast forward years later, and when my husband and I decided that we needed a break, he mentioned his interest in doing a yoga retreat. We eventually found one in Siem Reap and it was the first time going on holiday and 'not doing anything' for a couple of days. Usually I pack my holidays. I want to see everything there is, I want to meet different people and do different things, try the different foods and restaurants and just immerse myself in the experiences there are to offer. 

This was the first time doing a yoga retreat, having yoga and meditation sessions three to four times a day, and learning the concepts of the other arms of yoga asides from just the asanas (also the first time I had so many vegetarian meals!!). 

I personally find meditation very difficult, but it also made me realize how cluttered my mind could get, and how difficult it is to retain mindful information. It's been good, learning to connect, learning to forgive, and learning to let go. 

When we eventually emerged from our retreat and spent our last day temple hopping, we got a guide - and I don't regret it at all; the temples are so rich in history and mythology that having a guide made the whole complex really come alive for us, and being able to appreciate the small details of the temples really made a difference in the way I viewed them. Having previously walked around the temples without knowing much about the history, and having a guide this time round really made a big difference. 

If you're ever in Cambodia, I thoroughly recommend Rithy from Angkor Wat Day Tours as your guide; he spoke excellent English and was so knowledgeable about the history of the temples, and really made sure we saw the best spots! 

It's a lovely laidback enough place that I feel that I would come back another day. Until then, enjoy our holiday video!

Kampuchea '17 from Syaril Ezzuddeen on Vimeo.
Aida Zabidi
So today was the first appointment I had at the fertility clinic, and Behr and I were there bright and early to make sure we got a parking spot.

So prior to seeing the specialist, I had to do another transvaginal scan (noooo I hate those things, but what can one do). The clinic has a dedicated sonographer that screens patients, most likely because their scans are more accurate I assume. Somehow trying to consciously relax your vaginal muscles when the probe is inserted is much more difficult to do that it sounds. 😑

We then met the specialist, Dr M, who talked really fast and walked us through the investigations that we had done.

So we were lucky that most of our scans were normal - ovaries were fine, tubes weren’t blocked, sperm analysis was better than normal (Behr was super happy lol), and all the hormonal assays were normal except for progesterone, which was below the normal range (that’s the culprit right there)!

Dr M basically told me I was anovulatory - that my ovaries were not releasing the ovums (why ovaries, why?). If we all remember our basic biology, the ovum is basically the egg that the sperm has to inseminate to make an embryo, and basically mine were just staying in my ovaries. 😑😑😑

So we had a few options, and he went through them super fast, so my head was spinning a little bit from the information overload.

The first option would be to try a medicine called Clomid, which would basically encourage ovulation. That would just involve taking pills, but I would still have to come in for a scan on the second day of my period to make sure that my ovaries would be ready.

Failing that, the next option would be for artificial insemination (intrauterine insemination or IUI), but apparently the success rate was pretty low.

The next step was in vitro fertilization (IVF), which costs a bomb, would need quite a few hormone injections, egg collection (under sedation) and the whole process of putting the embryo back in. That would most likely be the best option for us.

It would be fine to try a couple of cycles for the hormone treatment, but essentially the concern was that the longer we waited the lower the success rate would be (basically he told me my ovaries were old, even though I don’t feel old at all). 😪 Dang biology.

Sigh. So here we go, down the rabbit hole.

So I might be massively putting on weight, or I might be eating more than usual or having more mood swings (as Behr puts it, being more ‘woman’ than usual) on this treatment, so I’m mentally prepping myself for more gym runs and to eat healthier in the event that this might all happen (please hormones be kind).

In the meantime, anyone has thoughts or feedback about IUI or IVF? Any recommendations for centers, good doctors, experiences - I would appreciate any feedback!
Aida Zabidi
She's 86. He's in his 80s as well, and he's brought her in for her checkup.

She's started to forget, but her husband assures me he takes care of her medications, and that he makes sure she eats the pills every day. He's driven her here, as he usually does for her doctor's appointments, and I ask if he's still okay to drive, and he assures me he's not had any accidents, although he does complain that people always seem to be rushing and emergency braking these days.

She's got hearing difficulties and smiles at me when I ask her questions, but responds as her husband loudly translates my questions to mandarin. She's due for a hearing aid, her husband tells me, but they're still waiting.

This is their relationship, well into their golden years. He is her caregiver, the one she will rely on as her memory will slowly fade. He is accepting of the fact, but his eyes darken as I gently bring up the possibility that she might forget, forget him and their loved ones on one day.

We should all be so lucky to be loved like that.