Foodnotes

Happy meal #29: Earl grey tea cookies

And we’re back with another edition of Happy Meal!

Oh I’ve been cooking but I either get lazy to whip out the camera to shoot or I am too lazy to write about it. The early grey tea cookies, for instance, were baked for Chinese New Year. And, erm, that was way back in February. I also made some oatmeal raisin cookies but that’s for another post.

During my recovery from the surgery, I spent a fair bit of time online when I wasn’t sleeping off the GA. One of the sites that I frequented was Martha Stewart and I was pretty intrigued by the simplicity of the recipe. Got husband to smash up the earl grey tea leaves that we had in the cupboard and off we went!

Earl grey tea cookies
(Adapted from Martha Stewart Weddings)

What you need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves, (from about 8 bags)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 226g butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

Directions:
Combine flour, tea, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.

Put butter, sugar, and zest in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; slowly mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Divide dough in half. Transfer each half to a piece of parchment paper; shape into logs. Roll in parchment to 1 1/4 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log and force out air. Transfer in parchment to paper-towel tubes; freeze 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Space 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake until edges turn golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Two of Us

The husband turns 37

My friends on the Internetz, it’s my husband‘s birthday today!
(Be nice and wish the grumpy old fart a happy 37th, will you?)

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Throughout the entire infertility journey, I’ve been talking about how I feel, how sad I am and how hard it has been for me. But it hasn’t been a walk in the park for him either. As brave as I have been, he’s been equally brave too. Because if not for his blessing and support, I would never have spoken out aloud about our struggles and pains (and gained some sanity in return).

Husband has been a trooper. While many men would have balked at the idea of DIYing into a really tiny cup or having their boys analysed or seeing a fertility specialist, he was all for it. Not once did he exhibit any signs of chauvinism, not once did he make this more difficult that it already is.

And I am so proud of him for being man enough to talk openly about our fertility woes. Seriously, my friends on the Internetz, how many men are brave enough to do that?

So yes, in more ways than one, he is the one with the balls in this relationship.
Even if he is a tenor.
Who publicly announces his love for bags and shoes. (coughgaycough)

Of course, he is not perfect. He has his arsehole ways and arsehole days. Honestly, there are days when I am fearful of this marriage breaking down under the strain of infertility because, by God, this is one of the TOUGHEST things I have ever had to endure. But each time I get pissed off with his arseholeness, he does something so wonderful or funny that I toss out the idea of returning him to the factory.

Plus, he says the darnest things like, Just because my soldiers are down doesn’t make me less manly.

See? I think I shall keep him.

Happy birthday, my darling husband!

Awesome picture taken by the awesome Alywin.

The organised chaos

No child? Stay childlike!

Scene 1 – Me sitting at home, Whatsapping my doctor*

Me: I forgot to take the progesterone last night, should I take double dose today or just ignore?
Doc: It’s okay, no need to take twice today.
Me: Okay, thanks.
Me: By the way, the nurses at the clinic are so cute. They are very nice to me.
Doc: Why do you say that?
Doc: They see you like small girl like that.
Me: !!!
Me: Are you saying that I am childish?
Doc: Ha ha.

Scene 2 – At my cousin’s boutique. I’m trying on this gorgeous polka-dot dress

Me: (preening) Should I get the dress?
Cousin: Why not? If you don’t get it, I’m going to return it to the supplier.
Me: Why? Sell to your other customers lah!
Cousin: Nobody is going to buy it, I just brought it in as an experiment. You know how my customers are like, they won’t buy such a dress.
Me: Oh no. What if I’m still dressing like this in my 40s?
Cousin: You can carry it off lah! Look at your face.
Me: What.
Cousin: You have a young face. And the way you behave too.
Me: Are you saying I am childish?!
Cousin: Err. (giggles)

Scene 3 – While walking home with husband

Me: Am I childish? I can’t be! Am matured adult.
Husband: Mmm.
Me: I certainly do not act cute.
Husband: Mmm. Actually, you do.
Me: What?!
Husband: Sometimes.
Me: (sobs) I DO NOT.

Me, at 30 years young

*Yes, my doctor and I are Whatsapp friends. If you are my friend the Queen of the Prairie, DO NOT COMMENT.

Health Goddess

Can anybody hear me?

It’s midnight.

I’m sitting in my bathroom, hot tears streaming down my face. I’m clutching my phone, waiting for my girlfriend to reply my desperate messages. But she is 13 hours away in another world and there is nothing that she can do for me but tell me that I will get through this one day.

Thing is, I am not sure I can. At this very moment, I’m sitting naked among a million pieces of my heart. Or at least that’s how I feel. Because my heart chips off little by little, bit by bit. I am no longer the same girl that I used to be, I am no longer the fun, silly person that I was. This is an older, more wrinkly me. Beyond the physical changes, I am sadder, more jaded, hollower and angrier.

I think about how those around me get pregnant one by one. I see their babies grow and it reminds me just how long we have been trying. I tell myself that they are good people and they deserve all the happiness that they can get, I truly believe that. But I get mad. Because surely, I deserve that modicum of happiness too. Who is to say that I don’t?

Even if I get my happily ever after, I will never forget all that I have felt throughout this journey. I may grow fuller and stronger but there will always be a part of me that aches for the intense sadness that we went through. Infertility is a very long and lonely road. My heart breaks but each time, I need to pull myself together and stand straight up. Because life has to go on, I can’t continue crying on the bathroom floor with no end in sight.

I don’t think I will ever be the same again.

Health Goddess

So not funny

Once the people around you find out that you are trying for a baby, it’s almost as if you were begging them for advice. Now, I am all for advice, especially from those who had faced fertility challenges too (thanks A for the TCM recommendation!). There is so much that I do not know of and I am happy if someone were to open up my mind and teach me about something that I might have missed out on.

Even if I am a chronic Googler and have a PhD in Googling.

What drives me bonkers are those people who say things that are either a) entirely far out of the universe, b) without any medical or scientific basis, or c) not connected to our situation at all. And then I have to smile and nod my head dutifully even though my brains are going STFUSTFUSTFU!

So here you go, the top 10 platitudes/advice/rubbish that people tell me which irritates me and my hardworking but sadly misunderstood uterus:

1) But you are so young! Why try IVF?
Now, infertility is a medical challenge. Unlike wine, unfortunately, it doesn’t get better with age. In fact, it all goes downhill as you grow older. No amount of vintage ageing will make the sperm swim faster (motility) or look prettier (morphology). And neither will my eggs resemble the eggnoid equivalent of Maggie Cheung as I become older. These things need medication and changes in lifestyles to improve.

Also, my age is the advantage in this uneven playing field. If, even after taking the express bus (essentially what an IUI is), his boys are not keen to hook up with my girls, it’s obvious that going the natural route isn’t going to work very well either. The chances of a successful IVF decrease significantly as the female gets older. In this case, I am our trump card as am Fabulously Gorgeous young thing married to a grumpy old fart. Also have plenty of eggnoids in my ovaries, hopefully just as Fabulously Gorgeous.

2) XYZ took 10 years to conceive. The moment they stopped trying, they conceived!
Thanks but that was really depressing. You mean I have to be on the IF bandwagon for 10 frigging years? What kind of encouragement is that? Would YOU want to try for 10 years? And I’m not quite keen to try “giving up” just to see if it will work because tick tock tick tock goes the clock.

3) Next year, you will have twins collecting ang pows during CNY.
Yes, the chances of multiples are high in IVF, between 20 to 40 percent, depending on the number of embryos you transfer. But the chances of a live birth per IVF treatment are only about 30 odd percent as pregnancy does not equate to live birth. Even though I was a mathematically challenged arts student, I can still tell that the odds are actually AGAINST us.

Now, at this stage in time, when a reproductively challenged couple is looking at IVF, they are only thinking of having ONE child. Doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or girl, just FOR THE LOVE OF GOD let us have a child.

Also, have you seen me in real life? How am I supposed to carry and birth two little watermelon things with that dainty pelvis of mine? There’re all sorts of very real health concerns here.

4) You will appreciate your baby more when he/she arrives.
Am I so sadly inhumane that I NEED to jump through hoops and hurdles in order to appreciate my child? I’d like to think that even if my kid is born thanks to some good ol’ fashioned sex, I’d still love and cherish that little bugger just the same.

5) Maybe this is God’s plan for you.
Erm, I don’t think so. Does this mean God doesn’t like me as much as He likes you? I simply cannot believe that God would sit there on the throne, chewing his pen and saying, “Hmm, I think yAnn and her husband should have a child after five IVF treatments. That will teach ’em patience, haha!” I don’t think my God does that and frankly, neither should your God.

6) So sorry to hear this but I think I will face the same problems in future
I am very sorry too to hear that you believe you may face infertility in the future. If you ever do, I promise to do my best as a friend to you, to offer you support because I have been through it. But right now, I don’t really care. Right now, it’s about me because I am the one who will have to get through whatever IVF brings. I’m putting me ahead of everyone else, including that occasionally arsehole husband of mine. The only advice I can give you now is to get yourself checked out by a fertility specialist ahead of time. The only help I can give you is to offer you my doctor’s contact. But until you are staring down the barrel of the smoking infertility gun, I don’t give a flying fuck.

7) Are you sure you want kids?
This is often accompanied by sad looks in the direction of their misbehaving spawn. No, am actually not quite sure if I want kids. I set myself up to be a genetically modified cow with all these HORMONES because I FEEL LIKE IT! I love being a raging hormonal monster just because! Also have way too much money, shall spend it at the doctor’s! La dee da!

8) Why don’t you take my kids?
Again often accompanied by sad looks in the direction of their misbehaving spawn. Your kids are adorable, they really are, but I don’t want yours. I WANT MINE. I want a mini me who has got my eyes and my mess of wild but Fabulously Gorgeous hair.

9) What you should not eat/do
Many women have conceived with a coffee cup in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I really doubt that my 1/4 cup of coffee a day or twice a week can of Coke will seriously impair the functions of my uterus.

10) Just relax and you will get pregnant
Honey, no amount of relaxing will help you to get pregnant if a) your partner’s sperm is looking a little sad and sorrowful, b) you don’t ovulate and the sperm is busily swimming around for a target that does not exist, c) your egg flounces right into a wall because your tubes are blocked. I could go on forever with all the fertility problems that could plague a couple but IF is a medical condition that needs to be treated. I promise you, I am pretty relaxed, I’m not mentally translating the National Anthem to Swahili all the time.

What you can say: “I know you are going through a tough period. I may not understand but please let me know if there is any way I can help you.”

And the funniest advice that someone has given me? It’s from someone who shall not be named on my blog: “Wanna know how I conceived you? By waving my legs up in the air after sex!”

Photography

My porky chop

Just to recap: my little buddy Rai was born three weeks ahead of his due date. He was teeny tiny, at just a little over 2kg.

Exhibit A:

Rai at Day 1

Exhibit B:

Sleeping buddy at 1 week old

He was so fragile and so tiny! Aww.

10 weeks on, he’s no longer that tiny. In fact, he’s positively chubby.

Exhibit C:

Dad and his mini me

What a little porky chop! Those cheeks! They look like they can hold a week’s worth of food.

I really love my little buddy. He’s turning out to be such a sweet-natured and lovely baby. He doesn’t cry very much nor does he fuss often. Sometimes, he’d give a yell but stop yelling when you wave your hands in front of his face and talk to him. He’s a greedy little bugger too, wolfing down his bottle like there’s no tomorrow. I guess that’s why his cheeks have ballooned.

Uncle Jimmy is boring. Yawn.
Tiny foot

More on the life of Rai here.