Things are not so easy the second time around…

We really took for granted our rather smooth pregnancy when we had Ernie. The same month my period resumed we were ready to try again for #2!  Alas, things were not so easy this time around. My period was irregular and it was very difficult to predict when was the right time of the month. Some months the cycle was some 40 days long and other months it was just 30 days. Suddenly having 12 months in a year meant only 10-12 opportunities and month after month we were disappointed with negative test results. 

Then in April 2016, we had success!! We were over the moon. Yet at the back of my mind I had this nagging feeling that I shouldn’t be celebrating too soon. After all, one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage within the first trimester a statistic that is quite hard to swallow. Then for real, the nightmare began. At our first antenatal scan, there was no heartbeat. I was quite certain I was 6 weeks along but I guess there was a chance I was wrong and it was perhaps too early. Dr Ho said to come back in 2 weeks. Boy were those two weeks nerve wrecking… At the next scan I was certain this couldn’t happen to us. But I guess it was just not meant to be… the embryo still had no heartbeat. It was diagnosed as a blighted ovum and Dr Ho scheduled me for a D&C two weeks later. 

At the scan just prior to the D&C I won’t deny that there was a part of me that was still hopeful that we would see a little blinking heart that I had taken for granted so often when we were having Ernie, but as you can guess, it was not to be. We went ahead with the procedure and I cried my heart out before and after. Though little fetus was barely more than a bundle of cells, I felt like it was my child. In the days to come I felt like I had to grieve silently. Friends and relatives who knew about it seemed to have their own experiences with miscarriages yet while it was well intentioned, it somehow made me feel like I wasn’t supposed to feel as miserable as I did. So I grieved quietly and alone. 

If anyone reading this is going through what I have, please go ahead and grieve. You have every right to do so.

Rest in peace little Blinky, mummy loves you.

In memory of Blinky Ho, gone to be with her Father on 10 June 2016.

Being pregnant the first time round

I had a somewhat easy pregnancy with quite minimal morning sickness. I was quite nauseas but didn’t actually puke throughout my entire first trimester. Strangely though, I did throw up a few times at the start of my second trimester but beyond the 14th week or so, I was feeling pretty swell. I was kept pretty busy throughout the first two trimesters with our renovations and moving house and all that and it was quite uneventful pregnancy-wise.

That is until the third trimester… I was starting to feel very heavy and by then, I had gained almost 17kg. In my 32nd week, the baby suddenly grew almost 1kg within 2 weeks and it was quite apparent something was wrong. My doctor ordered an oral glucose tolerance test for me and lo and behold… I had gestational diabetes.

I felt like my world came crumbling down. I was devastated and mortified at the same time. All that additional blood sugar going straight to baby! What if my poor dietary choices had caused some permanent damage to baby? The dietician put me on a strict dietary regime. I had to count my carbohydrates and maintain a certain caloric intake. On top of all that, my doctor told me matter of factly, I would have to do a c-section. I tried asking if it was really necessary but he was all, “you pay me so much for my advice and then you don’t want to take it??”. OK… It’s pretty difficult to argue with Dr Ho. He gives you the “I know everything” look. Like how he was so pleased with himself that he was so spot on his GD diagnosis. His exact words were “This is called being ‘astute’. Do you know what ‘astute’ means?”. Geez, I almost said, “astute means being like you” but that would have been a bit too snarky. I was still depending on him to deliver my child.

So for the last four weeks of my pregnancy I carefully selected what I ate… no sugar (not even natural sugar like fruit juice) unless I counted it. Limited number of carbohydrate exchanges (15g of carb = 1 carbohydrate exchange) a day and must be spread out throughout the day. Pricking my finger every few hours some days a week made me even more paranoid and obsessed. Even though mild exercise after eating was supposed to help lower the blood sugar I didn’t find that it helped in that way. I did lose about 1 to 2 kg each week while baby continued to grow but at a slower pace.

I was also paranoid that the little one would be hypoglycaemic when born so I tried my best to express some colostrum for him before the birth. It was so painful to express and I only managed about 3ml each night for about a week.

Finally the d-day arrived and little Ernie was born with good blood sugars. Hooray! I was shaking too violently from the epidural and still somewhat sedated and I couldn’t breastfeed him immediately so the nurses fed him my expressed colostrum. Feeling strangely satisfied about that bit.

And so that was the end of a nine month long journey that I enjoyed tremendously. When pregnant I had such happy hormones coursing through my veins and everyone around me was treating me so nicely. It felt wonderful!

On the flip side, once baby is out I think the hormones do a see-saw and the first month felt so dark and gloomy and stressful. Post-partum blues is real! But let me save that for another post…

Happily ever after and new beginnings

Met S in towards the end of 2012, he proposed mid-2013 and we were wed on the 8th of December 2013. Yeah, it was pretty whirlwind I gotta admit but we sure felt like we’ve known each other our entire lives. So many times our paths could have crossed, and they probably did, we just didn’t realise.

So we had a pretty small lunch wedding, mostly family with a handful of very close friends. We kept it simple by doing solemnisation, lunch banquet (chinese style) and tea ceremony all within 3 hours or so. Efficient, no? We kept costs low by not having pre-wedding shots, no fancy wedding gown (I bought material from spotlight and chinatown and had Aunty Seah our family seamstress sew a simple white dress), no fancy flowers other than the ones the venue provided, no decorated bridal car… You get the idea. 

Of course, I did some diy craftwork and added beadwork to my dress and crocheted my own bouquet and the boutonnières for the bridal party. 



beading detail



keepsake bouquet and boutonnieres

Pretty? I’m quite proud of my handiwork but I must say, it took quite a bit of effort. 

Speaking of effort, my dear S spared no effort getting me the perfect ring. I liked something that wasn’t the typical brilliant rose and definitely no claw design cos it’d be difficult to wear gloves over it when I work in the lab. Here’s what he got me, it’s exactly what I wanted. 



scho sparkly!

So anyway, after the wedding was over we wasted no time in starting our little family (I did say we were efficient) and so we began our new lives as the little Ho family.

Hello again

Oh dear, the last time I posted was some 4 years ago! How time has flown when so much has been going on. Although it seems like this blog has been abandoned, I have been visiting it quite often actually! Usually it’s to check on some recipe that I’ve mentioned before. I guess that further helps to affirm that I should be blogging a bit more often just in case my loopy mind needs to remember something!

But first! Here’s a list of major things that have happened to me in the last four years (in no particular order).

  • I met the love of my life and got married
  • We bought a flat, renovated it and moved in
  • 2 of my best friends (Zee and Hui) moved to Washington DC
  • I lost someone who meant a lot to me
  • I had a baby

OK that’s pretty brief. Will elaborate on some of the points in time to come.

 

I can’t stop scratching!

URGH I am so itchy due to various causes over the past two weeks. Sandflies and mosquitoes from 2 saturday’s ago, and coral cuts (and more mosquitoes) from the weekend’s Reefcheck trip to Dayang. On top of that, I’m also spontaneously bursting into rashes all over and I have no idea what the cause of that is.

Haven’t been sleeping well for the past few nights due to the incessant need to scratch. Maybe I’ll see a doctor or thursday if I can’t take it any more.

A typical mama day

One sunday a month is designated as “mama day” in my household. This is the day that my maternal grandma’s maid has an off day and we bring her over to our place and babysit her for about 7 hours or so. Mama day is usually the second sunday of the month but it was brought forward this month because of the impending chinese new year.

My mama is about 95 years old. She used to be pretty mobile and spent most of her day out of the house gallivanting around Singapore. This was pretty much her life until about 3 years ago when she fell and broke her arm. After that, she spent about 6 months or so in hospital not because of the arm, but because the doctors discovered that her colon had lost its elasticity and kinda twisted around itself causing some problems in her bowel movement. So they cut off part of the colon and rejoined it in what was supposed to be a rather risky operation. But I think this is TMI so I shall cut the long story short (hurhurhur). After she was discharged we decided it wasn’t safe for her to roam on her own so we hired a maid to look after her and her forays outside of home were limited.

Until that long stay in the hospital, she had never been to a doctor before and was rather proud of that. What’s even more surprising is that she was completely healthy – no high blood pressure, no high cholesterol, no diabetes and other ailments that usually plague the older folks. Unfortunately, age did take its toll on her mental capabilities and sad to say, she is no longer very lucid these days and probably is suffering from dementia. Some days she recognises me, some days she doesn’t. I suspect that she mostly only remembers me as the girl who fetches her to and from her place once in a while (i.e. driver, and not granddaughter).

Today it was pretty bad though, she had completely no idea who I was and kept complaining that there was no one to send her home. Even after promising her that I would, she was not convinced that I had a car, or that my car had enough space for “all the people”. I don’t even want to think of who else she saw in my house other than my parents. Dang, I just did. My mama was being particularly difficult today and started asking to go home at about 1pm. That’s 4 hours we had to endure her endless nagging! She started poking around the house and took the ang pow my father left in a basket of mandarins (for good luck). Then, to make matters worse, she came to my room and raided my purse and took 50 000 rupiah! I just hope she doesn’t try to buy stuff with it.

I know I sound pretty heartless and all. I have to admit, I’m not close to my mama at all. Even my mum and her sister (my Godma) aren’t. My mama was the second wife of my gong gong and even though she had 3 children, she didn’t take care of any of them. Originally she stayed with her kids in a different house from my gong gong’s first wife, but because she neglected her children quite badly, gong gong confiscated the children from her and put them under the care of his first wife. Obviously his first wife wasn’t very happy with that to begin with but later grew to love my mum and Godma like her own kids. My uncle was slightly older when he was removed from my mama so he always had issues and was sort of an outcast in the new household. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, my mama never had much to do with my mum and Godma so I think she’s actually quite lucky that they’re doing so much for her now. I guess it’s kinda sad that I feel this way about my only living grandparent. I was much closer to my nanny (I call her grandmother cos she was so much more a grandma to me than my biological one). But unfortunately she passed on last year in June.

So anyways, that’s the story of my mama. I might post some funny stories of our encounters with her sometimes, but then I guess dementia is really not funny.

Conversations from yesterday

Gillian: oh no!! You’ll never get to Jeff’s house by 5:30!!!
Me: how come?
Gillian: because it’s already 5:40!

* * * * *

Gillian (walking away with shoulders hunched): urghh I feel like a *haurk!
Zee: I think she means hog
Me: I think she means hawk (arms flapping)
Gillian (reappearing from around the corner): IDIOTS! I meant HULK!
*that’s what it sounded like to me

* * * * *

Zee (to sales assistant): How long will this stall be here?
Girl: Until tomorrow. But our main shop is upstairs.
Zee: Cool I think I know which shop.
Girl: Yeah, but this stall will be here only until tomorrow.
Me: GASSPP!!!!
Zee: Yes but the shop is upstairs (in a what’s-wrong-with-you tone)

* * * * *

Zee: How was your foot rub yesterday?
Gillian: It was CLEAN.

* * * * *

Me: right after I uploaded photos taken using my new camera, my student joined a facebook group called “It’s not the camera, it’s the photographer!”
Zee & Gill: *raucous laughter” (totally no sympathy from them)

* * * * *

Zee: Make cheaper lah, she’s like my sister
Gillian: I’m her daughter!
*awkward pause*
Zee: Ok nevermind you can charge her more.

* * * * *