Bun in oven

The next phase

And so we have moved on into the next trimester.

I’m almost 15 weeks along now and depending on which literature you read, the second trimester begins at either week 12 or week 14. That has always confused me. Isn’t a trimester made up of three months? But the medical industry puts your estimated due date as 40 weeks from your last period, which means theoretically, there are more than three trimesters before your EDD. Huh.

If the first trimester was defined by my caution (it’s not uncommon for me to ask husband if the nugget is still alive), then hopefully, the second trimester would be guided by optimism.

YAY: the nausea has subsided and I get those lovely bouts of gagging only when I am hungry. Every day, I have breakfast before 730am and by 10am, I NEED to shove food down my throat. Otherwise, I’d feel grumpy, faint, nauseous and VERY VERY PISSED. And lunch needs to be served by 1230pm and tea break is at 3pm. Woe betide anyone who crosses my path IF I MISS THE SCHEDULE.

NAY: The exhaustion lingers and I am growing increasingly sceptical at the legendary second trimester energy burst.

Public service announcement: to remain Fabulously Gorgeous, invest in a good concealer and a non-smudge eyeliner. I swear by MAC for both.

The other significant thing about the second trimester? Why, my burgeoning belly, of course. I’ve been plundering the depths of my wardrobe, hoping to stave off the inevitable maternity clothes for as long as possible. Maternity outfits in Singapore are just hideous. Yes I am pregnant and no I don’t want to look like a circus tent, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

How a pregnant woman squeezes into her pre-pregnancy jeans

We did a nuchal translucency scan (as part of the OSCAR screening) at week 12 and it was too cute, we saw the Tiny Human waving his/her arms at us. The kiddo was squirming and flipping around, and it’s so unbelievable that merely seven weeks ago, it was just a comma on the screen. The ultrasound machine was able to pick up the beautiful butterfly shape of the left/right hemispheres of the brain and the baby’s spine. We even saw the nugget’s little heart pumping away.

I could never have imagined it but the rapt and amazed look on Mr Thick’s face and the awe in his voice moved me. I’m embarrassed to say this but I have underestimated his caveman ability to feel for his unborn child.

However, his attempt to name his child still leaves me in delicate shudders of horror so suffice to say, all naming rights are belong to me.

No pictures of the swimming baby because we forgot to bring our thumbdrives that day (yes, our clinic allows us to store our ultrasound scans digitally!) but hopefully we’ll remember to bring one next week during our 16 week scan.

(And no, we don’t know if it’s a┬áTiny girl Human or Tiny boy Human yet.)


To have heart

The first week of work has gone by quietly. The new semester hasn’t started and my colleagues are busy winding down the previous semester. As such, I’m left pretty much on my own most of the time.

To say that the environment is vastly from the Agency is an understatement. Back at the Agency, things are always happening and there’s a buzz in the air. Here, I’m sitting in my 1980s-ish cubicle with high walls and it can get deathly quiet at times.

I am not complaining though. As with every new job, adjustments need to be made and expectations changed. There is no rush and time is needed for me to get used to the way things are run here. Best of all, I have friends like miss ene and darthycdious to ease me into the system.

But that is not the point of this post. Within my first week, I was asked to attend a session that discussed all about the passion of teaching – what’s constructive and destructive passion, how we can sustain our passion etc. Two things that struck me: first, some of my colleagues were honest to me about how they are in this line not for the passion but for the stability it brings; and second, how many educators love their jobs but detest their admin load and the institution.

One reason why I never, ever considered teaching in our primary/secondary/junior college system was because I had seen first-hand how friends loved what they did but left because of politics and administrative work. This is not dissimilar to the private sector – love the job but hate the company or boss. But, and that’s a huge BUT, I always wondered why our teachers are made to take on so much admin work when their primary function is to EDUCATE.

It seems like this is a problem even at tertiary level and while I didn’t think that teachers at my level are free from handling paperwork and “extra curricular activities”, I certainly wasn’t prepared for the actual amount. And during that session, it was clear that many of them felt that the balance between teaching and administrative work is tipping in the wrong direction.

And I don’t know why this would come as a shock – I certainly was guilty of it at the Agency – but I was taken aback when someone hiunted broadly to me that she was here not because she genuinely enjoyed what she did but because of the job stability and relatively easy hours (hardly anyone stays beyond 6pm).

I have always associated teaching as a job that requires passion. I mean, I don’t have to be passionate about advertising in order to produce a fantastic press release but you certainly need to have a lot of heart in order to be a good teacher. And if your heart is not in it, it shows in your teaching. Just think back to the days when you were in school: I can definitely identify the teachers who had shaped my life and those who simply recited from the textbook and didn’t care if I was snoozing in class or not.

Right now, I cannot say that I have a passion for teaching simply because I haven’t started. But I am here because I am genuinely interested in this vocation. I don’t know if I will be any good but I do know, through my Masterclass sessions, that people enjoyed listening to my presentations and that I am quite believable when I am passionate about my subject. And I hope that this will come across when I start teaching proper.

This argument between earning my keep and doing something that I love has been raging in my career for a long time now. Some may call me a job-hopper but most of the time, I leave because I feel that I don’t have a lot of gas in the tank to sustain me for longer and I honestly don’t feel much for the job. It’s quite clear to me, then, that passion rules over practical issues in the long run. I cannot remain in a job because it pays the bills, I need to enjoy and love my job.

Call me idealistic but I am willing to take a risk (and a huge paycut) to try. And that in itself says a lot.

Bun in oven, Health Goddess

The mommy option

Ever since that basketball hit my face squarely during PE in secondary one, I swore to myself that I will NOT be doing any more team sports because my eyes and hands don’t coordinate (unless it is to grab that last piece of clothing on sale ). I used to run but then I did the idiotic thing of running 10km races WITHOUT TRAINING and oops, the ol’ body didn’t like it very much. With my biomechanical problems (my right leg is an inch longer than my left), all these injuries were bound to happen anyway. Physiotherapy helped to a certain extent but I wasn’t consistent with my exercises and the muscle pulls and aches only went away when I stopped all my BodyPump and BodyCombat classes.

I’m not really an active or sporty person, as you can see.

Before the nugget was cooked up, I used to head for pilates and yoga sessions three times a week, as well as the occasional swim. It helped that the club was near my office and I could pop in during lunch. I loved my strengthening and stretching hours, I always left the room feeling refreshed and nicely pretzel-ed. And when I found out that I was incubating the Tiny Human, I swore to myself that I WOULD KEEP UP MY ROUTINE.

Hee hee ho ho. SO DID NOT HAPPEN.

For starters, I was quite attached to my sofa and bed during my first trimester. Warrior one? Triangle? Backbend? I’d rather do the shavasana pose IN MY BED, thank you very much. Any free time that I had was spent snoozing, I was EXHAUSTED.

The few times that I DID hit the gym, I ended up feeling nauseous from all those twists and crunches. Instead of feeling zen after the class, I looked green and sickly.

But now that I have sufficiently regained my energy – or most of it, anyway – and I no longer walk around with perpetual seasickness, I finally gave my heart a nice workout. This week was a brisk but comfortable walk on 4% incline for 30 miuntes, some light stretching and core work, and a BodyBalance session complete with mommy options.

Initially, I had plans to sign up for prenatal yoga classes but I felt so comfortable during the balance class that I decided to stick with my gym membership. Husband and I are thinking of hitting the trails for a hike here and there too.

Admittedly, part of this exercise regime is to ensure that the fitness (and dare I say it, BODEH) that I had built up pre-pregnancy does not vanish into thin air. I mean, it took me time, effort and sweat (oh yeah, GALLONS of it) to get to where I am today. But more importantly, I am doing it because it makes me feel happy. I love the sng feeling in my legs and arms the day after a good workout, and I feel healthier and chirpier.

Happy mommy = happy baby so I’m going to try to keep at it as much as I can.

Friends, Two of Us

Married life #19

Preface: Some of our friends work in the credit control department of a bank, where they have to call up credit card customers who have not paid up their bills. Typically, they would ask their customers to verify their identities with their IC numbers. One day, one of them had a customer who recited this over the phone to them: “My IC number is S1234567-Jack. Jack for Jorro.” He almost fell off the chair wondering what this “Jack for Jorro” nonsense was until he looked at the screen and saw that it was actually the letter Z. The customer had meant to say, “Z for Zorro” but had pronounced it as “Jack for Jorro.” We all had a good laugh when we heard it and since then, it’s been the stuff of urban legends.

Fast forward to the present. Mr Thick and I were in the car, on the way home.

Me: I’ve always wanted to give my kid a name starting with Z. But I don’t know any good boy name that starts with Z.

He: ZXXXX (some random word that he made up and which I completely cannot recall)

Me: That’s not a word.

He: Zidane.

Me: Don’t want. Will be like Pan Ling Ling’s kid, Beckham. So lame.

He: I know! He can be called Zimmy! After his dad.

Me: Zimmy Liew ah? Imagine the poor kid in school in future, introducing his dad to the teacher, “Hi teacher, I am Zimmy Liew and this is my father Jimmy Liew.”

He: Then the teacher will ask, “Why did your dad name you Zimmy?”

Me: His reply, “Cos he wanted to name me Jimmy Jr and he thought Jack is for Jorro.”

Okay. It sounds funnier than it reads, I promise you.
Come talk to me in real life and I will tell the story to you in person. I will try not to double up in laughter.

Bun in oven

Unlocked! #1

No, this is not an achievement unlocked in a video game (speaking of which, I am going to be an Xbox widow all over again because the man has gotten himself the new Gears of War game).

I’ve unlocked a couple of posts that was written earlier in the pregnancy so have fun reading them!

Beta: our first blood test
We what?: Our reactions

Bun in oven, Health Goddess

So…questions, anybody?

You’ve all been so unbelievably kind, thank you for all the well wishes and blessings!

I was just talking to husband about blogging and how I wonder if it’s good that I keep putting myself out there…here…you know what I mean. Sometimes, I do question if I should exercise some form of discretion or privacy. But then, I think back to the days when I felt like I was at the bottom of the deepest pit in the world, all alone and miserable, and I realize that I write because it keeps me sane. More importantly, I hope that my words will bring some form of comfort and companionship to those who are going through the same infertility shit as we did.

Anyway, I know that people are just DYING to know more about the nugget. I mean, I would too, but I am just terribly kaypoh to begin with. So think of the following as some sort of FAQ if you will, heh.

That picture. Were those supermodels?
Why yes, thanks for asking! Those were the undeniably sexxxy abs of Mr Thick and me. That’s why I love the man, he’s such a good sport and he actually laughed when I suggested taking that photo.

Erm, how was the nugget conceived?
Through good ‘ol fashioned unprotected S-E-X.

But I thought you were infertile!
So did we! After a year of trying plus a year of failed treatments (seven IUIs and one IVF but who’s counting?), it was evident that something wasn’t working. Problem was, we didn’t know what wasn’t working. His boys weren’t the greatest but they weren’t bad, I had PCOS but I was ovulating.

So what worked THIS time?
I lifted my legs up in the air and did bicycle kicks for 20 minutes after sex.


Honestly, we don’t know. It was just a, in Sims speak, whoohoo for fun. I was fully expecting to go for my second round of IVF in October.

What was different: for starters, we consulted a fengshui master, who made recommendations on how we can change the layout of our furnishings to suit our lives, both individually and as a couple. We made the changes, did some minor renovation works and voila! along comes nugget.

At the same time, I was also seeing a TCM doctor, who had me boiling and downing herbs every. Single. Day. I was on my second cycle with her when I discovered that I was pregnant.

Lastly, spawning was the last thing on our minds. We were just having a break from treatments and injections. We even made travel plans without the thought of what if we are pregnant for the first time in two years. But Murphy ADORES me and so I went for two quick holidays within my first trimester when it’s considered a no-no to do so.

So what worked? It could have been any of or all three factors. It might even have been the “just relax and you will get pregnant” rubbish, who knows? Maybe I’ll have to eat my words.

How did you find out you were pregnant?
Ah, I wrote a whole bunch of private posts on that, which I will be unlocking shortly. Watch this space!

How many weeks along are you now?
We are almost 13 weeks now. The Tiny Human is due in March next year. But because the kid has his/her father’s fat genes, we have moved the due date up TWICE. IN SIX WEEKS.

Do you want a boy or a girl?
The textbook answer is, as long as the baby’s healthy, we don’t care. But between you and me? I want a girl NAO! Girls are so much fun to play with. But Mr Thick wants a boy, because he thinks that boys will be easier on his pocket.

How was your first trimester?
Both good and bad. The perpetual nausea and exhaustion almost downed me, I was hating every journey I had to make to and fro work on the MRT. But thankfully, that was as bad as it got. I was very lucky that work was winding down for me and my boss was both understanding and comforting.

So that’s that. Like I said, I have a bunch of posts that I had written during my first trimester which are locked up now. I’ll be unlocking them soon so stay tuned!

The organised chaos

The 7 links project

I started blogging in August 2003 and throughout the past eight years (EIGHT!! Holy cow), I have often gone back through my archives to read what I write. Not because I am narcissistic and like to admire my own writing, but to chuckle in amusement over how much I have evolved over the years.

When miss end tagged me to list down the seven most memorable posts that I have ever written, I was stumped. How do I sift through eight years worth of thoughts and memories? It’s no mean feat but I will try.

So here goes.

1. My most beautiful post: Happy anniversary, Dad
I lost my father when I was six. Growing up, I never felt the same, never felt belonged. Everyone had perfect families but me and I felt inadequate. It took me a long time before I understood that losing a father did not make my family imperfect, it did not make me a lesser human being. Instead, it made me a stronger person. When I was 24, I wrote a letter to my father and I hope that somewhere, somehow, he understood everything that I had said.

2. My most popular post: Let’s ignore the infertiles
In Singapore, infertility is something that nobody talks about, which is a big shame. There is nothing shameful or embarrassing about requiring assisted reproductive techniques to conceive and yet society acts as if something is wrong with you if you cannot conceive naturally. This post was the first time we outed ourselves and to my amazement, I received a lot of positive and encouragement comments both from people we know and strangers. Till this day, I am still thankful for everyone’s encouragement as we plod on along this endless road.

3. My most controversial post: Being there
This was a bit tough, I really couldn’t think of anything that I had written which could possibly have polarized opinions. This one counts, in part, because I was feeling unhappy about friends who tiptoed around our infertility. Some feathers were probably ruffled after this was posted.

4. My most helpful post: Lombok Lull, the place
This one didn’t draw any comments but I know of people who read about Lombok and Qunci Pool Villas on my blog and gone for holidays there. Surely that is helpful!

5. My most surprisingly successful post: Goodbye to Miss Heng and the mee pok man
I ♥ my alma mater and I have written about it on numerous occasions. And it’s amazing how many people google “SCGS” and come to this site. This one that I wrote in 2006 about the death of our favorite mee pok uncle and the retirement of our beloved principal drew unexpected and heartfelt comments.

6. My most underrated post: Step by step guide to spawning
Guys. I am TEACHING you how to produce an heir for the family. What are you waiting for? Go like the page!

7. Post I am most proud of: Nobody likes lemonade
This one was a toughie too because generally, I am pretty proud of what I write. I mean, I try not to put crap out there, I do have pride in my words. But I guess this one takes home the prize because I put myself out there. I’m not always bouncy and perky about this infertility shit and I wrote it as it is. Yes, I get angsty and angry and bitter – and I am not going to sugarcoat it just because I want people to like me.

Ooh, I just realized that most of my memorable posts center around this infertility shit. Damn. I swear I wasn’t shallow before this. No, REALLY.

I’m meant to tag someone so here goes (assuming they are reading this):
Jimmy Liew – AKA Mr Thick, husband and occasional arsehole. Mostly sugar and spice and everything nice now though. YOU DA BOMB, HONEY!

Bun in oven


That’s what you call being ruled by a tiny human who IS NOT EVEN BORN YET AND PROBABLY THE SIZE OF A GRAPE.

So far, based on my occasionally queer behaviour, we know that

a) Baby likes spicy food.
I have been slurping up curries and tom yums like there is no tomorrow. Clearly, this trait is from my side of the family tree.

b) Baby is a chicken rice fiend.
That’s good. A Hainanese through and through. Mommy approves. So does Dad, for obvious reasons (Mommy craves, Dad gets to eat. WIN-WIN.)

c) Plain water is a no-no.
Baby is quite the chi-chi tyke, it only goes for lemon flavoured water, chocolate milk and orange juice. Or sweet, soft drinks.

d) Baby likes to sleep during the day but refuses to do so at night.
I want to sleep during the day but sleep poorly at night. Consequently, I feel like a bus has run over me EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING.

e) Baby is a junk food junkie.
I’ve never loved chips and ice-cream more in my life. I blame this on the father’s side of the chromosomes.

f) Baby dislikes caffeine
I threw up after imbibing my favourite teh-si (aww!) and after downing a latte at The Plain, my stomach was clearly churning and in a shitty mood. V SAD! How can my offspring not like tea?

Little bugger.

The good news is, I will get to see the nugget in another week! By then, we’ll be 12 weeks along and hopefully, this perpetual seasickness and the Z-monster will leave me alone.