REVIEW: Pregnancy test kits

I have had the privilege of trying out two brands of pregnancy test kit recently.

How do they work?
These tests function by measuring the HcG level in our urine. A hormone that is produced by our body during pregnancy, it doubles approximately every two to three days. Hence, the longer you wait to test, the more accurate the result is. If your period is irregular, you may want to wait for the longest possible cycle to pass before peeing on the stick.

Here are my findings:

GUARDIAN ONE-STEP PREGNANCY

Type
Urine stick with line indicators

How to use
Urinate on the tip, replace the cover and place it on a flat surface. Results can and should be read within five minutes.

Results
► One line on window C only – test is working properly / not pregnant;
► Two lines on window C and window T – pregnant;
► The results remain on the display window for days after.

Price & Availability
RM12.90 each or RM24.90 for 2s at all Guardian pharmacies

Pros
► Affordable
► Ergonomic design for easier grip

Cons
► Absorbency of pee tip could be better. Results took up to three to four minutes to appear.
► Pee tip is thinner and smaller hence aiming your urine on it, without wetting the test windows, can be rather challenging and messy. Recommended to collect urine in a cup and dip stick in it.

Verdict
As the absorbency of the pee stick was slow and did not seem to be reacting after two minutes’ wait, I tilted the kit vertically to assist the urine flow in being absorbed. Although it is claimed that the sensitivity is 99% accurate if tested from the day your period is due, this is rather questionable.

CLEAR BLUE DIGITAL PREGNANCY TEST

Type
Urine stick with digital indicator display

How to use
Urinate on the tip, replace the cover and place it on a flat surface. Results (whether you’re pregnant or not) can be read within two minutes while the conception indicator results may take longer to appear – around 4 minutes.

Results
► Hour glass symbol – Test is working properly
► Word indicators – “Pregnant” or “Not pregnant”
► Figure indicators – “1-2”, “2-3” and “3+” signify the approximate number of weeks since you conceived

The results remain on the display window for 24 hours before it turns off automatically (and permanently).

Price & Availability
RM28.90 each at most local pharmacies

Pros
► Easy to read – no guessing or interpreting lines. It’s either “Pregnant” or “Not pregnant”
► Wide tip allows urine stream to be collected more easily
► Tells you when your baby was actually made! (That’s if you keep track of the dates when those passionate moments took place)
► Ergonomic design for easier grip
► Can be used up to four days before period is due. In clinical testing with early pregnancy samples, 55% of women received a ‘Pregnant’ result 4 days early, 86% of women 3 days early, 97% of women two days early and 98% of women 1 day early.

Cons
► Painfully expensive – at more than double the compared brand
► Not environmentally friendly as it is not only bigger and made of plastic, but also contains a battery. Please dispose the battery separately.

Verdict
If your period is constantly irregular and you have the budget to splurge, go for this! It’s easy to use and more assuring. I somehow find that seeing the word “Pregnant” is more elating compared to two lines. Yes, I’m sucker for marketing gimmicks 🙂

SUMMARY
If you have been getting unsure, faint-line results, the probability of pregnancy is high. To be really sure (and in some cases, revive from denial), you may want to invest in the ClearBlue Digital kit. Otherwise, a regular test kit will do, especially if you are already experiencing strong symptoms of pregnancy. Like my sister said – “You might as well use the money spent for home test kits to see a gynae and confirm it for real through ultrasound!”

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REVIEW: The Book Depository

If there is one thing I won’t mind splurging on, it would be books. At home, we have a mini library filled with shelves after shelves of books. Naturally, E took after our love for reading, so much so that the teacher at his daycare noticed his fascination with books too. To further nurture the reading habit, we recently bought him some proper shelves to store his collection and placed them in his nap cum play room downstairs so he could access them anytime he wants.

If he’s pretending to “drive” his pink inflatable racer car or just messing around in the driver seat of our cars (with the engine switched off, of course!), he would proudly declare that he’s driving to the BOOK SHHHOP – as he pronounces it.

So when Shen-Li from Babylicious by Figur8 mentioned that The Book Depository (TBD) online book store offers free delivery worldwide, I was intrigued. Yes, FREE DELIVERY to any countries including Malaysia with no minimum purchase! At that time, I was searching high and low around town for “The Happiest Toddler On The Block” by Harvey Karp – to no avail -and decided to try TBD. As they were having a sale, the books were even cheaper. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I have paid for five books totalling US$36.59.

The books arrived in one piece 🙂

Here’s a detailed price comparison between the books purchased through TBD and book stores in Malaysia, as well as the savings obtained:

Double click for clearer view

TBD Advantages
1. Huge savings on brand new books!
2. You can practically find any books there – including those that are not usually carried by local bookshops.
3. Free delivery worldwide.
4. Very efficient customer service – My books were packed and despatched within two days! And there’s a user-friendly order tracking system that is constantly updated so you know when to expect your books.

TBD Disadvantages
1. Books are delivered in batches as they seemed to be despatched by different suppliers. I received five separate parcels within a span of 1.5 weeks.
2. As they are shipped from the UK via normal air mail, it takes 3-4 weeks to arrive. My order was placed on 10th February and I received the final 5th book on 5th March.

I would definitely be buying from TBD again in the future 🙂

REVIEW: Cleebo

Doesn’t it irk you to see that humongous piece of solid mucus trapped in your baby’s nose? Do you…

[ ] reach out your pinky to fish it out?
[ ] get some cotton buds and try to navigate it?
[ ] use the edge of a cloth and dig it out?
[ ] feel like grabbing a mini plier to extract it, when all else fail?

Ahhh…did I just catch you there? We – parents – have all been there, done that. I’m guilty of all the above too!

So when Sophie & Friends asked if I would review Cleebo, a paediatrician-approved, tweezer-like nose cleaning device, I jumped at the chance.

Photo sourced from Sophie & Friends website

Cleebo comes in a compact plastic casing that houses a ‘tweezer’ made out of ABS plastic (like those they use for Lego bricks) and five different-coloured, medical-grade silicone tips. It’s very simple to use – just plug in one of the tips and extract away. When we first tried it out on Ewan, he was very wary about what I was going to do to him. He lied down and stared at the blue tip entering his nostril (we picked his favourite colour so he would stay still!). Thinking that I was about to feed him, he opened his mouth wide too. That’s my ever hungry son! 🙂

Be it solid or semi-watery mucus, it’s quick and easy to remove with Cleebo. Because the tip is soft and securely attached to the tweezer, it’s perfectly safe and doesn’t cause any discomfort or hurt baby’s nose at all. Plus you won’t have to worry about “digging” too deep into the nostrils as the safety tabs on the tips ensure a safe level of penetration.

Just aim, grab and drag. The casing allows you to bring it everywhere without having to worry about losing the tips. Just remember not to leave it within your child’s reach as the tips are really small and pose a choking hazard.

Since Ewan’s nostrils are rather tiny (my pinky usually can’t make its way in at all), I usually widen the flexible tweezers apart, use one of its handle, gently sweep the gooey goo out and VOILA! Gold anyone?

In a nutshell, Cleebo is worth investing in, considering the germs introduced into your child’s system whenever you use your fingers. Not forgetting the bits of tissue fibre that’s left behind in the nostrils when you attempt to clean it. Or the rusty hairpin…*ahem*

Children will always be children. My next challenge is to nail him down and remove that big and stubborn piece of booger that ‘dances’ to and fro as he breathes! Daddyyyyyyyy….

Priced at RM39.90, Cleebo is available at Sophie & Friends (S$17.90) as well as Bebehaus outlets at Plaza Damas, Bangsar Village and 1 Utama.

Review: Paediatricians in Klang Valley Pt #2

If you have missed my first review on paediatricians around KL, PJ and Melaka, click here. After one year of parenthood and switching from doctor to doctor, we now know what we seek for. Ideally, Ewan’s healthcare provider has to: 

1. Believe in breastfeeding and its benefits
2. Gentle with and passionate about children 
3. Practices less is more, particularly in prescribing medicines for younger infants 
4. Takes time to listen and explain the conditions thoroughly 
5. Charges reasonably

We do not usually judge anyone based on the first impression and strongly believe in giving the benefit of doubt. Our encounters with the similar few pediatricians over the months have gathered the following observations and prompted us to search further: 

~ One told me that breastmilk no longer benefits my baby after six months and went on to recommend several formula brands to me. 
~ One prescribed 4 different types of oral medications when Ewan was down with a common flu. He was only six months old at that time. 
~ One of them tugged Ewan’s earlobe so hard that he pushed away the microscope with his little hand. The paediatrician snapped at him for his “misbehaviour”. Poor Ewan was only 8 months old. 
~ One was so popular that the wait usually takes a minimum of one hour even on a weekday. What’s more, although it’s a stand-alone clinic, the consultation fees are as high as those paediatricians stationed in hospitals. To us, RM40 – RM60 for consultation (without medications) seem reasonable.

During the recent episode of high fever and viral infection, Ewan was admitted into the hospital under the care of Dr Ling Shih Gang from Tropicana Medical Centre. He came recommended by a mommy friend.

Our first encounter with Dr Ling occurred when Ewan was due for his MMRV vaccinations and we wanted to try out another pediatrician. A new hospital, TMC’s facilities are still in excellent condition. They have a playroom at the Children’s Centre for kids to explore while waiting for their turn.

Here’s a summary of my observation:

Duration of Queue:
15 minutes on weekdays

Friendliness of Nurses:

My call for an appointment was handled tactfully and quickly. The nurses stationed at the main counter were friendly. When Ewan came down with a high fever of 39’c, he was quickly attended to and gently sponged down by a motherly nurse.

Friendliness of Doctor:
With all due respect, Dr Ling doesn’t look like the typical paediatrician I was expecting to see. He’s probably in late 30s, looks like an outgoing person and speaks
good Mandarin. His presence makes one feel comfortable and not intimidating at all.

Spends Time To Answer Questions?:
Yes, he does. I was worried that Ewan may come down with a fever if he were given the varicella jab as well. He took his time to explain that the risk of getting a fever is doubled if the 2-in-1 jab was chosen over two different jabs simultaneously. Additionally, when Ewan visited him the second time around with high fever, he examined him thoroughly before diagnosing him with throat infection. He also questioned me repeatedly on the symptoms monitored to ensure nothing was missed out and Ewan was diagnosed properly. This gave me assurance and confidence in his capabilities. He was easily available to answer phone calls too.

Pro-breastfeeding?:
Yes. I shared my intention to wean Ewan off breasts due to my drastic weight loss from a strict no-egg, no-dairy diet. He gently advised me to continue breastfeeding until 2 years old if possible and that I should gradually reintroduce these forbidden foods into my diet.

Consultation Fees:
RM60 – RM90 depending on the complexity of treatment.

On prescribing medicines, he practices giving as few medications as possible, quoting him “These medicines suppress the symptoms only but do not treat the underlying problem…”.

Throughout Ewan’s stay at the hospital which was a weekend, Dr Ling was there to check on him. On the day he was discharged, he surprised us by sculpturing a balloon sword for Ewan, on the spot. I was speechlessly impressed, thinking “Patch Adams” all the time. Reallly, it’s very rare to come across such passionate and genuine doctor these days, don’t you agree?

We are gladly sticking to Dr Ling for now.

Contact Info:
Dr Ling Shih Gang
Tropicana Medical Centre (Level 1)
Tel.: 03 – 6287 1082
Mondays to Fridays (closed on weekends and public holidays) ~ he runs an evening clinic every Friday from 6pm to 8.30pm


P/S: No, Dr Ling did not pay me a single cent or buy me roti canai to write this. All the above remarks are solely based on my observation and opinion.

Birkin, Anyone?

Fancy a Birkin? Got caught in the “I’m A Plastic Bag” bag frenzy too? Read on, babe!

Remember the precious red Hermès Birkin bag Samantha Jones in Sex & The City yearned so much for, she resorted to cheating the waiting list system in order to own it? Eat your heart out, I have it! 

Well, sort of, if wannabe counts too 🙂

Oooh la la~

We were out at Empire Shopping Gallery lately when I came across this little pushcart named Lifestyle Outlet selling trendy bags outside Tangs on the upperground level. Upon closer look, I fell in love with this fancy casual tot with Birkin bag printed on it. How chic is that!

Seeing how smitten I was, Hubby bought it for me as a thank you gift for one year of motherhood. For RM145 compared to the original Birkin (minimum US$9,000), it’s a gigantic steal!

Called The Together Bag by Thursday Friday, it is more than just fashionably quirky. The cottony bag is big enough for me to dump in all my whats and what-nots and still have ample space for more stuff. Great for weekend outings especially shopping, picnic (like I do this often *grin*), swimming etc.

What's inside my bag? The usual: wallet, phone, camera, wet wipes, diaper, envirosax foldable bag, Ewan's moisturizer and snacks box

This is the bag’s side view. Cute right?

Doesn't this shout fun and quirky to you?

And this is what attention to details mean!

Bottom of the bag

If you’re a bag person like me, you’ll adore this. I’m loving it!