Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Long Journey To Pregnancy (Part 1)

It took me awhile to wonder what my purpose was in sharing my story and journey. Will it help people out there or even myself? 

The answer is yes. 

When I was down and out with loads of unknown questions, it was the rare few who shared their stories online that led me to the answers or understanding I had. It also gave me comfort to know that I wasn't alone and it guided me to a direction that brought me to where I was today. I appreciate what these women has shared and how some might not realised how hard it could be to tell the world what problems you had. Think about it. You may not even tell your closest friends or love ones certain truth or feelings that you're going through, not to mention to whoever maybe reading what you write online.

Before I start, do take my experience as a reference and if you do feel that there is a medical condition that requires attention - kindly seek professional advice from doctors or specialist. I do believe that Google can share many information but it's also important to seek second or third opinions as well. 

***

(Part 1)

I did not hesitate to start a family after marriage as we were in a very steady relationship and having a child was a matter of time. At that time I was 29 years old and an age that has long overshot my childhood dream to be a mum. Doctors always advice that fertility drops with age as well. Personally I do believe it to a certain extend. 

The first time I got a positive on a test kit was almost instantaneous during the trip on our honeymoon. A digital test kit was used and the positive showed without a doubt. 2 days later I woke up with terrible cramps and bleeding that I knew was not normal if I were to be pregnant. Off to the ER where I was tested for pregnancy but was later told that I wasn't and all I was experiencing was abnormal bleeding. The diagnose was unreal to me as I did not experience terrible PMS (almost ever) and the cramps were one of the worse I had since I was a teenager. Doctors shrugged it off as a faulty test kit. 

Possible? Maybe..

I kept that experience in mind and decided to move on with my life. Slightly disappointed, yes but I was still positive that one day it would happen. It also helped that my hubby took great care of me and fed me fabulous food on the trip. 

Soon we started trying again and I got a positive once again. I was extremely surprised at how easily it happened as I was prepared to wait for months or a year on average for most couples. That time an OBGYN confirmed the pregnancy and did a scan at week 4/5. At week 6, the unthinkable happened. He informed me that the sac didn't seem to be growing and a blood test was done for my HCG levels. Results showed that the numbers didn't match up with the growth and spotting soon followed. It was the first time a miscarriage felt real and I was given a choice to let it naturally happen or a D&C. I chose to go through with the D&C as I didn't want to be emotionally burdened by the process of going through it naturally. My OBGYN was also reassuring that the procedure would not be as damaging as how it was done in the past.

I did a mini confinement for 2 weeks to bring myself back to health and with my supportive husband, emotionally I recovered well. 

The doctor advised to rest well for a few months before trying again and so we did. On our second attempt, it happened so quickly that I wondered if it was a miracle. We were back in the doctor's office once again and we had a slight glimmer of hope when the growth went well till it hit week 7. The dreaded news happened again and I was going through yet another early miscarriage. HCG levels didn't match up again and yet another D&C was done. The doctor did a test on the fetus and everything seemed fine. He thought it may just be a matter of bad luck but suggested that I could go for further checks at the hospital but mostly these checks were only carried out after 3 counts of miscarriages. 

After some rest, I visited a "famous" TCM doctor who has helped many infertile couples over the years. She gave me herbs to brew and encouraged that I tried again as she didn't find me physically unfit. I brewed the herbs religiously and took on her advice to try. 

My determination was strong and I was not going to let what happened before discourage me from my goals. Perhaps with the help of Chinese medicine, things would be better. 


To be continued ...

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Morning Sickness (First Trimester)

As a first timer to pregnancy, there will always be questions about whether you will get morning sickness or not. Unfortunately, we all do not get to choose and morning sickness comes naturally to some of us. I'm not spared.. It can vary from something as minor as slight nausea or in serious cases, hyperemesis gravidarum. 

My experince was somewhat in the lower to mid range level which started with some mild nausea, acid reflux, bloatedness and fortunately I only vomitted twice within the first 16 weeks. Looking back, it happened because I was still new to it and did not know what I should do or eat to make myself feel better. So as any curious pregnant woman, I took to the internet for advice and it came back with a few common advices. 

Drinking water

  • Tastes horrible with metalic taste but I still feel thirsty regardless of the amount I drink.
  • Advice was to add lemon or some form of fruits to flavour it and make it more tasty.
  • Cold beverages helped to keep my thirst at bay 
  • Manuka honey tasted good and it helped with my digestion
  • Ice cubes were also mentioned if water didn't appeal to them


Snacks

  • Dry soda biscuits worked for me and I bought the wholemeal variety for added nutrients
  • By my bedside, in my bag and sometimes before lunchtime as slight hunger didn't help when I am simply queuing up for food. ( once I almost had a fainting spell just waiting in line - sit down or squat immediately if you feel it coming)
  • Preserve mandarin peels, plums, sour candy works wonder when I had a sudden urge of nausea. The sudden extreme taste distracted my mind from it and hence temporarily feeling better.
  • Natural flavoured candies felt great when I have to be on public transport. 
  • Other foods such as pickles, toast, lemons, Jell-O, popsicles, ginger tea, etc.


Meals on the otherhand was a tricky issue to deal with. I had a lot of aversions to food but most of the time I managed to keep it down. I stayed away from fish and cheese since these were the common food that came with a "smell". It ain't easy but I had to trial many types of food before I knew what worked for me. Noodle soup sat well in my tummy even though there were fishballs in it but I ordered it with minced meat to keep my blood counts healthy. Handmade noodles (Ban mian) was also one of the food I ate at least 3-4 times a week as it tasted fine and in it was meat, veg and eggs. I got my carbs, protein, fibre and other nutrients from the egg. On days when I felt sick of it, I will have an egg prata, made pasta with minced meat or had cai peng where I could choose a balance of dishes. 

Food I avoided
Fish (cooked or raw)
Cheese
Ham
Too much sour food (can cause acid reflux)
Herbal soups (there maybe herbs that are not suitable for preggies)
Dairy products (caused bloatedness for me)

Food I ate
Crackers, butter rolls, toast
Candies are my treat
Handmade noodles
Cai Peng (a selection of asian dishes with rice)
Yong Tao hu ( veggies, tofu, noodle - light meal that is easily digested)
Prata, Buns (tea time snacks, supper)

The list can vary according to what suits you but most importantly is to keep trying to see what works best. Do not be afraid to eat just because you're feeling nauseous as starving your body will not make you feel any better. I had at least 5-6 meals a day to keep my hunger pangs at bay and I tend to keep the quantities down for easier digestion. I was also advised by a doctor to eat what I felt like eating and I could make up for the lack of nutrients later in my second trimester. It was great that I did not have much weird cravings and junk food was not in my menu.

Other ways to deal with morning sickness,
Nausea - I cough or do a gaggin motion, strangely I feel better after that.
Some people take a nap or sleep through it.
Smell lemons
Some doctors prescribe vitamin B6 to help with the nausea

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pregnant! How did I know?! Test Kits Review

I am not sure if I should say that it came as a surprise (or not) when I knew about the pregnancy but I guess it is, after so many disappointments over the years. It was just another regular day that I decided to do a pregnancy test and I honestly did it for fun. I wasn't expecting anything in return.

Just a short review for the pregnancy test kits that I have tried.

***
Online Brand


You can get these test strips from Qoo10 for a couple of cents and whenever I didn't see a line on it, I always thought maybe it wasn't working. Apparently, they do work. It was too faint to judge and so I got more test kits the following day. However, I do recommend these to those who wish to try as they are really economical and relatively easy to use.

Pharmacy Shelf Brands


Fortel, Watson, Clearblue (left to right)

Tried out a few different brands to see how well they worked. They were all dipped into the same "pool" and the line intensity showed their sensitivity. I was surprised at how well the Watsons brand picked up the HCG levels as compared to another brand (on the left) that cost at least double the price. Still, I recommend Clearblue digital as you do not need to wonder if the line is there (or not) and it even gives you a rough guide as to how far along you are. It is probably one of the more expensive kits in the market but you can use the cheap strips first. 

However, everyone's body is different so what works for me may not work for you. Just a suggestion for those who are interested to find out.

***

Since we are at the topic of test strips, I shall add on the use of ovulation strips.



In my opinion, this invention is amazing. Using this to track my ovulation was way easier than the use of body temperature and cervical mucus. Appropriate use of it is essential for accurate results, such as not peeing pass the line and try as much as possible to test around the same time of the day. I heard from several couples who got pregnant faster with the kits but it depended on individual as well. Your body may not ovulate even with a positive result or some who do ovulate even though their lines do not appear to be positive. Nevertheless, I like how it allows us to understand our bodies better and having a healthy ovulation/period is also crucial to a womens health. I don't see it as just a tool to conception but also a way of healthy living. 

There are other brands that I will recommend if you prefer more options and one of them is Wondfo. It is not as easy to purchase but you can get it in bulk on Amazon. I find this brand to be highly sensitive as well. 


For That Special Mother's Day 2016

It's always been my pleasure to help celebrate Mother's Day for my grandma, my mum and my sister-in-law but this year, Mother's Day may never be the same again.

We decided to do a little "surprise" celebration with a staycation and some pool fun for the kids rather than the usual Mother's Day set meal at a typical restaurant. The lucky stars shone on us and we got a really nice pool villa room (All thanks to a faulty sewage system in our original boring hotel room). 

As much as it came as no surprised to my family (they have some xray superhero eyes) but it's better than me just blurting it out (jin boring right). Yes, after 5 years and lots of anticipation from close friends and family members......

May I announce to you our upcoming addition to the family,


It was a Mother's Day to remember and hopefully from now on there be someone to celebrate it with me. I couldn't be happier to be able to share this news with everyone and receive some of my first  Mother's Day presents in my life.

The journey has been long and tough but I be sharing my story with everyone in an upcoming post.

Sharing a quote that I read online,
"Popcorn is prepared in a pot,
Under the same heat, in the same oil.
But they don't pop at the same time.

Don't compare yourself to others,
Your turn to pop is coming."

Thursday, March 19, 2015

There are times in life where you feel like shouting to the world,
Telling them your worries, fears and troubles..

委屈有时得往肚子里,
忍耐是为了平静,
包容是给大家一个关心,
能爱别人也是给自己一份爱。

There will always be a right time to do the right things with the right person,
Relationships, family or friendship.

You're never alone in this world,
Whether you're suffering, smiling or in fear.
There's always someone out there who will understand you,
Love you,
Respect you.

In life we move along often going through good and bad times..
We can walk with safety lines only to fear the drop..
Hold someone's hand so the pebble path feels smoother..
You ask if you want to be hidden in the masses,
Or standing up there feeling the wind through your fingers and the freedom in your hands.

***

I ask myself many questions, pushing myself in difficult situations that I'm placed in and many times whether I like it or not. I think, I talk, I ponder and I tell myself that there will always be something that I will learn from it. 

To push myself is not to be hard on me,
But to make the tough road ahead a little smoother and easier to accept and conquer. 

Stay true, be You! 
Because no one else out is gonna be as honest to you, as you are to yourself. 

XOXO,
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Year of The Goat 2015

Chinese New Year is just round the corner once again and time seems to fly by so quickly year after year. This is probably the longest that I've not blogged for coming a year and somehow I just kind of lost some inspiration to write. I realised how blogs have turned into avenues of reviews whether it is product, service or something that sponsors provide. Perhaps it has gotten kind of boring along the way and to be honest, tons of reviews out there are simply inaccurate. 

In the new Goat year, 
I wish everyone great health and abundance of great blessings. 



Towards the end of the year, I see a lot of new year resolutions popping up on facebook and it has never crossed my mind to make one. Chances are it gets lost along the way. Life is ever changing and so will the resolutions. 

I just wish for clarity when the mind is lost,
patience when things don't go the way I want it to be,
to stay calm in times of confusion and uncertainty,
and to keep me focus at all times.

Many wish for a smooth journey and who wouldn't.. I will wish for the same when I pray but at the same time, life's journey will shape us into the way we are and will be in the future. It's something I find precious and memorable in life regardless if it's good or bad. 

"No matter how hard the pass,
you can always begin again." ~Buddha

Friday, March 28, 2014

DIY Hair Color Reviews (Loreal, Phyto)

I decided that writing does give a certain therapeutic effect to our overall well being. A brain stimulater in certain ways that makes us reflect and have better decision making in the future. It's been many months since I wrote.. so here goes~

This is a backlog and current review of the DIY hair colour that I have been trying throughout the months. With the increasing cost of living, hair services at the salon naturally goes up as well. Unless you have short hair, it's going to cost you quite a bomb to get it done at any of the salons in the market. If you can put aside a day in your free time (usually it just takes about 1hour), you can do a proper job with DIY hair colours. It's even better if you have someone at home who can help you with it. 


During CNY, I decided to go with the Loreal Excellence Fashion Colour in Ashy Nude Brown (5.13). I was looking for a darker shade but not to the extend of a dark brown colour. If you want really lasting, vibrant red (tested and proven by a friend) then you may want to consider trying out this range.  Be warned that it is so lasting (at least thats what I saw happened to a friend) that it is impossible for my friend to re-color it to other colours and she ended up having brown roots and red ends. Well.. not quite the most pleasant ending but you may give it a try and if the red last up to 3 months - please go to a salon to get a re-color as the red is unbelievably stubborn.



The Ashy Nude Brown was suppose to be a darker shade of a fashionable brown as shown on the box itself. If you have hair length that goes beyond your shoulders, 2 boxes of hair dye will be required for a more thorough job. Occasionally, there are promotional prices if you purchase 2 boxes at a go or you may wait for the ever frequent Watson's member card sale.

Since I have coloured hair, the first 10 minutes of the hair colouring is dedicated to the roots and the rest of the 20mins for the ends. My hair picks up colour really quick and 30 minutes is way sufficient for me. If you have thick and stubborn hair, I will suggest that you pick a lighter shade than the one you like and leave it on for no more than 45 minutes. Monitor your hair between the timing if you're unsure as some who has naturally frizzy or dry hair may have to be careful not to leave it on too long. The best way is to work on the back of your head and move forward to the front. Using a clip to separate your hair as you move forward and use your fingers then a comb to make sure that the strands are covered with the dye. Cream dyes are more time consuming as combs are essential to make sure that the colour is evenly distributed. You will surely miss a spot here and there if you use your fingers. Take your time to make sure that you comb through carefully and be gentle as hair do tangle easily when it's moist. If you work it too hard, your hair will be further damaged with the rough handling.


The colour was exceptionally vibrant under the sunlight and I noticed that it seemed to be a trademark of Loreal Hair Dyes. I was surprise by the milky shade of brown that you will only see in Japanese magazines or by using (domestic) J brands of hair colorants. 

Under fluorescent lighting, it was still in a shade of a medium brown. The colour shown on the box and the actual colour was quite close and lasted for about close to 2 months before it started fading and turning to a light brown or a washed out brown. A sign for you to do a touchup and a re-color as it usually makes you look sick or pale.

With the frequent colouring, comes with it's price to pay.. dry ends and a sensitive scalp. 

After 2 months from the colour above, I decided to go for a more reputable brand - Phyto. I used their shampoo when I developed a sensitive scalp for a short period of time. With daily use, it soothed my scalp very well. The downside was it's costly price but compared to similar range of shampoos that were just as reputable, it was slightly cheaper. Such shampoos also depended on botanic ingredients to cleanse the scalp, hence the lack of lather might be a problem for most generic shampoo users. Do remember to cleanse only the scalp area and allow the lather to flow down your hair. Not only you will find that your usage is just a 50cent coin amount but your hair ends are clean and less dry. 

Phyto Ultra Shine Permanent Hair Colour
Light Chestnut No.5

With it's signature botanic ingredients, it claims to give vibrant colours. I have chosen this colour for it's darker shade of brown as compare to the Loreal.

The hair dye smelled like the rest when mixed together but surprisingly it did not leave any tingling sensation on the scalp. It felt as scalp friendly as it had claimed. 2 boxes are required to fully cover long hair lengths and remember to use a comb for even distribution. In just 10 minutes, my roots were turning lighter and 20 minutes later, the whole head was done.


The shades of browns that I have chosen are pretty close as they are my all time favourite. Phyto shade is darker and it lives up to it's vibrant claims that does not lose out to the Loreal. Between the Loreal and the Phyto, I will choose Phyto if the colour is able to last longer. The scalp protection is also a bonus for those who do frequent colouring.

Brands that I do not recommend..

I tried Beauty Hair Color by Eric Favre and despite its claims of zero ammonia, paraben, SLS and silicone - it's a total thumbs down for it's result. The hair felt dry even without the chemicals, lack of grey coverage and it probably has the shortest lasting hair colour. With a price tag equivalent to Phyto, I say you better keep your cash for a nicer meal.


Pssst.. another brand that I have stopped using for years is Liese. A few little birdies (including salon stylists) have dropped by my window ledge and told me that it has caused some balding for some who have used it. While others questioned how they can get such fashionable colours onto the hair so well.. That's something I wondered for quite a long time and same goes with the other Japanese brands that I got from their domestic market. Those lovely milky shades that one can only get through bleaching at the salon is easily achieved with the J domestic DIY brands. Amazing isn't it.. ;)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review : Celine Croc Embossed Phantom

It's been more than a year since I typed an entry. There were other priorities that I had to focus on and with my guilt of neglecting the blog, I pried my hands off my newly bought Nintendo 3DS that I had been addictively playing away. 

(Disclaimer - no.. the nintendo was not a priority, it just happened to be my latest temptation.)

Presenting.. The Celine Phantom in Croc Embossed (Small)


Many many months ago, I chanced upon the Celine Croc Embossed Phantom that was sitting on the shelves of Celine looking all lonely and sad. I was eyeing it online and never expected to see it so easily the next day. It was the craze at that time but I had seen it around frequently (lately). 

 There was something about it's slight sheen on the matte embossed croc leather that gave it a certain character. Black, a versatile colour but a not so boring chic design that did not break an entire bank. Not to mention, croc friendly with it's replicated embossment of it's gorgeous scale. One would worry that the scales possibly looked unrealistic but the details were lovely. 

The wings of the phantom gave it the "wow" factor that made it looked magnificent. A glorious design that added a luxurious touch to everything else. A light gold hardware matched perfectly without distracting your eyes away from the vast details.


Now, it was not without it's flaws.. The most obvious was it's size and weight. The bag was a small but it was big enough to be used as an overnighter and as a travel bag to places where it's safe to use without a zip (yes.. another flaw!) There were a few straps on both sides of the bag that you could pull together and strap together. However, it provided not much security to the contents within and hands could easily reach in with full access to everything.


Throw in a few daily necessities and you easily hit almost 2.5kg. Carrying a small sack of rice around was no joke on my little arms and for those who will include a work organiser (etc..), you better start training your arms for it. I also realised that the length or design of the handle added to the problem. A few of my medium/big bags had similar items but it did not hurt my arm as bad as the phantom. There were bruises at the end of the day each time I carried it. I was told by the SAs at the store that the Mini weighed pretty much the same as the phantom. Dang!!


Interior had a nice touch of suede but I was not sure if it's going to get dirty with prolonged usage. I would advise against putting anything damp inside or else it's going to leave a mark. An extra zip pocket by the side was good for the little stuff that I did not want to frantically ransack through that massive space within. I found it easier to manage with a bag organiser or pouches.

Conclusion - As gorgeous as it looked, I was less tolerant of its lack of comfort on the arms when the items weighed in within. My bags are usually heavy and this bag indeed has hit my limit to the amount of pain one is willing to suffer for beauty. Celine, please make a micro in this print..