Bun in oven

The 18-week belly

This is the stretch of pregnancy where we are coasting.

Gone are the days of perpetual sickness, gone is the cloud of fatigue that hangs over my every move. These days, I have energy and appetite, both of which make me a very happy camper. We’ve – okay, I’ve – bought up a storm, packed the bundles of clothes that the nugget has inherited from his big brother Rai and got all the decorations ready for his nursery.

I took my very first class this week and I am so very happy with my decision to switch careers. Granted, I don’t have to deal with admin bullshit yet and my time is spent only on teaching so the glasses are still rose-tinted from where I am perched. I’ve yelled at naughty kids (who were tossing a rubber lizard at the girls!), laughed at their silliness and smiled at their willingness to try. The bosses have been warm and encouraging and honestly, I can think of no better environment for a pregnant woman to nurture her baby in.

The nugget’s been letting me know that ooh boy, caffeine makes him a jumpy baby. Twice in the past week I have downed merely half a cup of teh-si and both times the Tiny Human made himself known immediately after the deed was done. There was a series of wriggles which made me giggle and a couple of flipping moves. I’m not sure if he likes it or he hates it but I am hoping it’s the former because mama here can’t live without her tea.

Husband still can’t feel the buttery movements of his little boy yet but he’s taken to whispering to the belly at bedtime. When I ask him what he is saying, he tells me that it’s a secret between father and son. Hmph, a boys’ club already?

We went for a friend’s wedding luncheon over the weekend and I was delighted to find that I could fit into a pre-pregnancy dress. A pretty frock, some makeup and a whimsical clutch – it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy.

(PS Girlfriend X’s FET is successful! Send a happy, congratulatory thought her way, will you?)

Bun in oven

Unlocked! #5

The last two posts that I had written during my first trimester. Hurray! We’re done! I know, bet you are sick of this unlocked business. Me too. So there you go, the most important posts of all. Tahdah!

Bao bao: why the nugget is called the nugget and fingers crossed that he does not inherit his Dad’s sense of humor

Tyranny: how the kid’s been dictating my life, the little bugger that he is

Two of Us

Just us

En route to a wedding luncheon, Oct 2011

With the impending arrival of our Tiny Human, it’s all too easy to forget that at the heart of it all, we are still us.

Kids will grow up, get married, move out and have their own lives. But me and him, we are in for the long haul, till death do us part was the promise we made.

So amidst all that talk about the nugget and how excited we are to become parents, I must remember to hold on to the fact that I am his wife and he is my beloved.

We are not perfect beings but we are perfect for each other. And that’s all it matters.

Bun in oven, Letters to

You’re mine and I’m yours

Dear Tiny Human,

I finally feel pregnant.

You would think that after incubating you for the past four months, what with all that nausea and exhaustion and expanding belly, I would have embraced the whole experience of expecting a child naturally. Instead, I find myself wondering why I am not crying at scans and why I haven’t had that ecstatic happiness that I had always imagined.

Maybe I just wasn’t ready to accept that I am well and truly pregnant with you. There’s still the sense of disbelief, the feeling of “really? Pregnant?”.

But earlier this week, the feeling came over me all of a sudden. One minute I looked like I had had too much to eat at the buffet table, the next minute I looked like I had swallowed the entire buffet spread AND the table for good measure.

I looked properly pregnant.

Of course, the icing on the cake is that I finally felt you move. You see, all through my adult life, I was plagued with IBS symptoms. My stomach is NEVER calm and always, ALWAYS gurgling. Every night before I sleep, I can feel the stomach acid surfing around in my tummy.

So when people ask me if I could feel your movements, I told them I wouldn’t be able to tell between your karate moves and my dancing stomach juices.

And then one night, after hearing my friend P talk about her baby’s movements, I decided to spend some time just paying attention to my bun in the belly. I put Norah Jones on the speakers and just laid in bed with my hands flat below the belly button.

Lo and behold, as I was breathing out, I suddenly felt something go ‘pop’ below my skin.

And then it happened again.

And then I felt a trail of bubbles floating and fading under my hands.

It felt magical.

It was you.

I smiled.

I hope you are having fun in there, growing up a storm.

Love, mama

The organised chaos

Moms and daughters

All my life, I have been the good daughter.

Nobody needed to nag at me to study hard, I hardly gave my mom any cause for worry and I think I was pretty much on my own most of the time. I’m not saying that Sista was a trouble-maker but definitely, her more spirited and rebellious approach towards life had Mom worrying all her life.

Then came my mama’s call last week. She rang me and asked me who would be taking care of me during my confinement period post-delivery. That got me all confused: I had assumed that it would be her since she had helped my sister out after her delivery. Mom was all, no no no, I can’t do it! I have to take care of Rai, you have to hire a confinement lady.

When I heard it, my heart sank. Maybe it was due to the hormones, maybe I was just feeling all the angst from years gone by, but I was really, really sad. I kept it out of my voice and told Mom calmly that we didn’t want a confinement nanny and that I’d be alright since Mr Thick would be taking leave to help out. We would cater confinement food and we’d be fine.

The relief in her voice was so apparent. Happy that the crisis had been averted, she continued the conversation waxing lyrical about my nephew.

When I hung up the phone, I wanted to cry. Instead, I tweeted:

And thank goodness for the Twitterverse! Many girls replied and said that they had faced similar situations. Nobody dismissed my message or trivialized my feelings, and many tweeted their support. I know it sounds horrible but I was very glad that I wasn’t the only one feeling that way.

In the end, I had a good cry and my godsister rang me up to hear me sob into the phone and to offer her take on the situation. I moped for a bit and then decided that there was no point in moping because this wasn’t something that I could change. Instead, I told myself that I would be happy not to have to go through confinement, something which husband and I had agreed upon right from the start.

All’s well ends well though. A couple of days ago, Mom called me to tell me that she would be spending two weeks with me after my delivery. Sista would be taking leave to take care of Rai, freeing up my Mom to be, well, MY mom.

I don’t know what changed between phone calls but I was so, so glad. I’d willingly down ginger food and longan-red date tea just so that I could have my mama take care of me.

The organised chaos


Woah, it’s been a week since I last posted. Where the heck have I been and what the hell did I do with my time?

Well, in short: SHOPPING. Ms Nise-en-Scene, my darling girlfriend formerly known as the Queen of the Prairie, is currently in the States now and she has ever so kindly offered her apartment as my warehouse. Armed with her address, I started shopping up a storm, buying baby essentials from baby video monitor to swaddle blanket to itsy bitsy outfits that are too adorable for any eager mama to resist.

Don’t worry, I didn’t go overboard. Like I said, they were essentials and so much cheaper! I don’t understand why we need to pay upwards of $300 for a baby monitor here when I could get a perfectly functional one for all of US$99.99 from Amazon, replete with 4.5-star reviews. Bloody hell.

My time was also spent with meeting up with friends, most notably the warm and wonderful notabilia. We spent an afternoon together at The Orange Thimble, just chatting about everything and anything. And the lovely lady also handed me the Design*Sponge at Home tome, which I had won. Yay!

I’m usually a little hesitant about meeting online friends – because I am a bit of an awkward introvert and suffer from the foot-in-mouth syndrome – but she really put me at ease. When I meet people like her, it makes me glad that I am part of the digital age. She conducts bookmaking courses so if you are crafty and have an interest in creating something, please go sign up. I hear she’s a great teacher.

There’s a bunch of posts all crammed in my brain right now and I need to put them down into words proper. Meanwhile, please enjoy two more posts that I had written during my first trimester.

Sprouting limbs: a scare, some bites and I’m sort of busy
So effing tired: I’m so tired. Already?!

Health Goddess

What helped me through IVF

When I was going through the ART treatments – oh yes, the seven IUIs and one IVF! As if you could forget that – I was in desperate need of emotional support.

Throughout most of my IUI treatments, nobody knew about our journey except for a couple of close girlfriends and even then, I found that it was hard for them to truly understand what I was going through. Outside, I was cool and collected but inside I was a hot mess.

And even when I came out in the open during our IVF process, I felt that our friends still didn’t, couldn’t grasp the enormity of what we were going through. I don’t want to exaggerate but really, the emotional upheaval was sometimes too tiring and painful to bear. And that’s not forgetting the physical impact that the hormonal jabs have on your body.

(Sidenote: when Mr Thick’s friend asked him for advice regarding IVF, he told his friend to be aware of the side effects that the drugs could have on his wife. When I asked him why he said that, Mr Thick’s answer was that he never could have imagined just how much I had to go through and it hurt him greatly to see me like that. Love.)

This was when I decided to turn to the Internet. If I wasn’t going to find it here in the real world, then damnit, I was going to have one virtually. It really helps to just read someone else’s experience and to know that what you are going through is not confined to you and you alone.

One of the best sites that I found was Tertia Albertyn’s blog. If you are feeling sorry about yourself for having to go through IVF and all that “oh why me?” thoughts are haunting you, her story will straighten you out in a jiffy. She has three beautiful children today but she didn’t conceive her twins till nine IVFs and a few losses later. Amazing strength, wit and a seriously hilarious (oxymoron, much?) sense of humour. I spent many an afternoon going through her archives and shedding a few tears.

I loved her site so much, I decided to contribute to her retirement and bought her book “So Close“, which recently won the RESOLVE Hope Award 2011 for Best Book. Her book is the sort that I wished I had the talent and ability to pen. She chronicles her journey to conceiving her twins Adam and Kate, as well as the tragic losses in her life. I laughed and I cried and then I nodded my head and said, Yes that’s exactly it.

Closer to home, I realised that while there are plenty of Singaporeans who are undergoing fertility treatments, nobody was talking about it openly, for whatever reasons (and I completely respect that). Well, nobody except for Yi Lin and Dannie. Writing over at Maybe Baby, they have allowed everyone a glimpse into every step of their entire IVF journey. It was truly a godsend reading their blogs because it made me realise that we weren’t alone.

Now, Yi Lin is a friend (thanks to the wonders of the World Wide Web) and we have our own little support network on Whataspp. She and Dannie have been blessed with Coco, their feisty bunny girl who braved the embryo thawing process and hung on inside Camp Womb to grow into the cute tamagotchi with a healthy set of lungs. I like to think that they bring hope to many couples out there battling infertility.

And lastly, there’s Girlfriend X (as she would like to be known). She found me on the Internetz just when we were both gearing up for the IVF. It helped a great deal to have someone going through the process within the same time frame. She’s recently undergone her frozen embryo transfer so all our fingers are crossed for her!

Bun in oven

The 16-week belly

So that’s the Tiny Human in me at 16 weeks.

Ignore the eye bags, I haven’t been sleeping well for the past few weeks. It’s like I dream all night long and when the alarm rings in the morning, I’m all exhausted from the drama of the dreams. Very weird!

My weight gain has been slow – I guess it’s to be expected considering how nauseous I was for the first 13 weeks of the pregnancy. and that’s not forgetting that I have a natural high metabolic rate (which explains my sticklike figure). But the nugget’s growth is on target and Dr Y was happy and so I am happy.

These days, I look like I had my wicked way with the buffet table and ate too much for every single meal. Which is not the most flattering look for a girl but hey, I’ll take it. It’s not too far from the truth though – I’ve been eating like a cow! Moo.

Well, it’s now 940pm and I have decided to go to bed. Yawn. Leaving you with a couple more locked posts for now. Tah!

I bid thee adieu: Bye bye beer
Banishing the burps: Mr Thick has a clever anti-nausea idea
Spoke too soon: The stomach did not like Hokkien mee

Bun in oven, Letters to

You’re my son

Dear Tiny Human,

We had the chance to look at you yesterday and oh my, I don’t think I will ever get tired of seeing you in utero.

There you were, flipping around and playing with your umbilical cord. It was simply the most amazing thing in the world. You wouldn’t stop squirming during the scan and even the doctor commented that you are one hell of an active baby. And the sound of your little heart beating! It is the most beautiful rhythm I have ever heard.

I don’t know how that’s possible but I love you more and more each day.

One Christmas ago, I thought today would never come. I was despondent and lost. But this year, I think my Christmas will be a warm and hopeful one. You are my miracle, you are the reason why I look forward to the future.

You’re my son.

Yes, you are. We found out yesterday and I have to admit, I was in a tiny bit of shock. In my ideal world, I have always dreamt that my first baby would be a little girl. I had girl names all lined up, I thought of the things I would teach my little girl. And in that utopia, my second child would be a son, a boy who learns how to be a gentleman from his papa, mama and big sister.

When will I learn that life never goes the way I expect it to?
Your conception alone should have taught me that.

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to belittle your existence in any way.
I am just very, very grateful that you are even here in my belly.
I love simply putting my hand there and knowing that you are with me, whether you are kicking up a storm, sleeping or turning somersaults.

I have a name for you, I’ve always loved that name. But I’m going to keep it to myself – no, not even your dad will know – and it’s going to be a little secret between you and me. It’ll be our little secret and your name will be uttered out loud the moment you come into this world.

Until then, you will be our nugget, the one who gave us the direction to our lives.

Love, mama.

PS: that’s you at 12 weeks, chilling out and waving to us.