I am broken

Thursday, February 6, 2020

From time to time, we get lemons thrown at us. Growing up, I had a good share of curveballs thrown at me. I survived them. It has made me who i am. A stronger person. But nothing prepared me for what  happened over the last few months. Nothing prepared me for today’s episode. 

So what happened? Here’s the scoop. I had an early miscarriage. 
Yes, some of you, like my mom, will start nagging, pointing fingers that i over exerted myself. That’s true. I did. There's no denial. But before you carry on, i suppose you have to be in one’s shoes to totally understand. All that i did are mandatory. I don’t suppose i could have abandoned my very sick mother? Or not to be present on behalf of my dad when gramps passed away? And most certainly, for the kids, i simply have no one else to outsource. I was so frustrated and felt like no one understood. I am pretty sure that most of us are just as stretched. Except that some have extra help from the village or a helper. I am no different,  just no helper and probably lament more. The only helper i have is my manservant aka the husband, who helps around. But if you know him, he is the most practical person around and plus, his travel schedules are sometimes worse than a pilot’s.

It was an unexpected pregnancy. I wasn’t even aware.  Because i had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (pcos), having irregular menses was part of the deal. I didn't suspect anything and with Xmas and Chinese New year hostings, there were inevitably booze and seafood. Yes, i would have been very conscious if I had known. I am a staunch believer of TCM. Plus all the immense spring cleaning. It is so hard to reconcile my feelings of guilt right now. 

On 31 Jan 2020, i thought to myself, let’s buy a homekit and test for pregnancy because I was late. 3 weeks late in fact. I had butterflies in my stomach. It turned out positive. I showed the husband and we were in disbelief. Stunned like vegetables were the right description. But we quickly regained our composure and accepted this joy. The kids were wondering what’s going on. So papa told them,”You are gonna have a mei mei or didi!” The kids, particularly Small K was excited and asked where issit? Big K as usual took a bit of time to warm up to the news. You see, she isn’t the easily excited kind. Cool as a cucumber. Especially when it involves having another one to steal her parents’ love. But she soon said she wanted a mei mei. I was having the jitters and honestly still not quite believing my eyes. So i went to Waterloo Street and got a lot. It spoke to me loud and clear:: lot number 44 --  you will give birth to a baby girl. I texted my husband and told him i will make an appointment with the gynae.

We rejoiced coz it isn't like my body was that fertile plus i am 40! Old! While i like to think that 40 is the new 20, my body may not be in sync with that thought. I was still lamenting to my gfs on how emo i was coz Small K is going into primary so life’s gonna be boring. What am I gonna post? Then i commented to some friends about the trend that many of my girlfriends(my age) are having another baby.  I wondered why. Why break the comfort? But when i knew that something was growing in me, i felt differently. I could feel my motherly instinct sneaking in and was even excited about breastfeeding and of course teaching the little one! It felt like someone up there heard me and wanted to give me another chance to nurture another life. Everyone knows i am good at that right? But strangely, that dream was short lived. 

On Monday 3 February 2020, i called my gynae. I was having very light brown spottings then and related it to the nurse. Knowing that i had no cramps, She slotted me in for an appointment the next morning. The day progressed as usual. Work and home. I honestly didn't do anything to over exert. Just did my regular chauffeur duties, cooked and worked. However, the light brown stains became dark brown. I googled that it could be old blood and most of the time normal during the first trimester. The night progressed and I couldn't sleep. In the middle of the night, fresh blood came and it was accompanied by dull pains which i thought could be caused by flatulence. By 5am, the pains were so intense,  i had to crawl out of bed to reach out to my hubby for help. I was purging blood. I could barely walk. The scene was scary. It was akin to what you see on tv dramas when the lady has blood oozing down her legs. We however needed to settle the kids before he sent me into A&E. 

We arrived at the emergency ward at 7am. Waited for our gynae, Dr Ho, who arrived about 1h 15mins later. He scanned me and confirmed indeed there was a gestational sac in my womb. Yes! There was life! But it was low and I was bleeding rather badly so he told us to be prepared for the worse. He gave me a jab of progesterone and i took Duphaston through the night. He was to scan me again the next day. I was ordered to bed rest. I didn’t dare move. Even peeing was done on the bed pan and i absolutely salute the nurses for cleaning me up! Where do they find the courage? Kudos to them. I prayed the whole night. I was surrounded by angels and i knew being in a Catholic hospital would give me the divine intervention i needed. I was hopeful when I wasn’t cramping anymore and the bleeding minimised. I needed and told my closest girlfriends who were nothing but encouraging. They checked in on me regularly and kept me positive. I rallied for prayers. I needed some kind of hope and peace. We prayed. One even told me it was a good sign when Dr said that my tummy was soft. Coz that meant that I wasn’t contracting which was a sign of a miscarriage. 

The moment of truth came the next morning, 4 Feb 2020 at 930am when i was due to be scanned again. I kept visualising the positive and let an image of a fetus shine in my mind. The idiotically practical husband had to however, comfort me by saying what yours will be yours. Hmm. I ordered him to sit far away! I didn't need this. I really didn’t. 

The scan was done. The sac was gone. Baby, our meeting was so fleeting. 7weeks. One minute you were here and the next you were not. Whatever happened to I would give birth to a baby girl? Why is the world so cruel? To bless me with a gift and take it away within days? This has been the second miscarriage i had suffered. It is very damaging to one’s body. One needs to do a mini confinement. I love confinement coz one is treated like a queen. But such a confinement is completely different. The familiarity was tremendously painful. 

the familiarity of these bright lights.
Not a pleasant kind of familiarity this time.

At 1pm i was wheeled into the operating theatre for a procedure called D&C or dilation and curettage. Prior to that, even though i was a mess, i had to be collected and texted all my clients that I couldn’t see them for 2 weeks. I had to cancel my appointments with all my girlfriends who were looking forward to celebrating with me my birthday. Yes, it is my birthday month and this would have been the best birthday present. I had to inform my uncles that I won’t be able to represent dad for prayers to gramp this coming week. I had to let my dad know the news. Of all people, i told my folks the last. On the same day, mom was at another hospital doing her blood tests. It wasn’t that good either. Poor daddy. It’s tough being him too. The wife is sick and his only precious daughter is down too. He could only give an exasperated ,”aiyooo why like that?” I tried to be calm. For him. I tried to be strong and not cry. For him. But it was so tough. He conveyed the message to Empress Dowager. The first time when I had my miscarriage, her first few words were " Don't you dare cry!". This time she texted me, "Why are you pregnant?" Geez. Definitely not something pleasant to my ears. But that's Empress Dowager for you. Someone who doesn't mince her words. Someone who doesn't show or knows how to express compassion to her only daughter. As I lay on the operating bed, waiting for my gyane to arrive, a million thoughts ran through my mind. This was all too familiar. Dr Ho arrived. He lay his hand on my shoulder and said, "I know you are sad". A tear was already rolling in my eye and with that, the tear trickled out the edge and I drifted off to sleep under GA. So drama I know. But true. 

bird food at the hospital wasn't quite palatable but I was so happy that I was served for once, instead of serving others

Meanwhile, I had to search for a reasonably priced confinement tingkat caterer who could start off immediately. I even placed order for herbal bath packs online. Thanks to a recommendation from a kind friend who had been there for me. All these sensible things had to be done by me because i am alone. The mil will only do minimally because she isn’t quite big on this whole confinement business. In fact, one can even say that i am more aunty than she is. Secondly, her daughter is also sick and she had been staying overnight with her. So how can i trouble her? I could only rely on myself and the  husband of course. However, Mr ‘pilot’ is flying this coming Monday, though we are still hopeful that it will be postponed due to the #wuhanvirus. This is so deja vu once again. During my first miscarriage he was on flight to France and the moment he heard of the news, he took the next flight home. He was in the skies for 20 odd hours. 

I gave the husband instructions to go to a medical hall to get 生化汤 to boil for me. He did good. He boiled and sent it over to the hospital the next morning. 

I was discharged today 6.02.2020. The doctor kept me for an extra day as I was running a temperature.
Thanks to my level-headedness, I came home to a nice confinement meal from Nouriche.

This was dinner. The fish soup was tasty and the broccoli was fine. Didn't quite like the pork coz it was too porky rather than having the wine taste. The grains were very hard too. I do appreciate the fact that they have a dessert each time. Only thing, it wasn't sweet enough. Bland is good i guess?

Sent the hubs to Hock Hua Medical Hall to purchase this for showering. It is typically used for postnatal care. To dispel winds in the body. Traditionally, women aren't allowed to shower, these days, it's ok to shower with such herbs. I've also ordered some online from Laobanniang.com.sg. Lucky to be living in Singapore. The convenience is immense.

It looks black and smells eeky to some. But I like the smell of herbs, so it doesn't bother me.

These days, even chicken essence comes in different pattern. These are concentrated, easy to use, frozen chicken essence. All you need to do is to put one sachet in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes before drinking. An old friend, upon hearing what I've gone through, sent this across immediately and insisted I drink. I will. After Wk 2. Coz it is said no eggs and chicken during the first week at least. 
After 3 days of not seeing Big and Small K, mama's finally back home. They came home with these cards for me. I was so touched, I cried again. I am not supposed to shed so much tears during this mini confinement period. But it's so hard to control. I will have to sit them down in a moment to explain to them what had happened. It's gonna be tough. So tough.

The trauma this time was really unlike the first. Besides the fact that it felt like a scene taken off a TVB drama, during my first loss, one can say things like “don’t worry, nurse yourself back to health and try again” but now at 40, people will only tell you to rest well. 

I don’t really like how 2020 is looking. 

They say i am the luckiest animal amongst the 12 zodiac this year, but why am I not feeling any luck? I haven't been a bad person all my life. I think i had been a rather good person. Not the best perhaps, not the kindest but certainly not the worst. But yet, bad things just keep rolling at me. I may be strong but this is taking too much of me. I am trying very hard to reconcile my feelings. To be at peace. I know this shall all pass and before you know it, I will be up and going again. But the pain, it will always be there.

One little student asked his grandma

"Aunty Janice is such a happy and nice person always. But why are so many sad things happening to her?"

Baby, I wished I knew. I know life has its seasons. But I'm really tired to be bombed with all these lemons. 

I am broken. I really am. 

One step closer to a beach body with Halley

Monday, January 6, 2020

The turquoise lagoon, shaded by young coconut palms. The sundrenched sand, soft and fine, has been calling out to me since 2 months ago when I did CoolSculpting with Halley Body Slimming Clinic (Halley Body). 

It has been 2 months since my first session with Halley Body (which you can read here) and I was absolutely excited to find out exactly how much fat I've lost. My dresses certainly fit better these days and some of my shorts are even dropping from my waist! Hmm maybe I have dropped a size unknowingly! I weighed myself constantly and I did shed a few kilos. My diet however has been largely the same although I did consciously try to control myself from eating cakes. I am relishing the thought of cladding on my bikini with pride. 

The moment of truth came during my mid review. They measured me. Am I a step closer to my dream washboard body? Though not quite flat yet, I lost an incredible 10cm! That's like 3.9inches! Even my weight had gone down by 2.4kg. Is that insane or what? Such incredible results for just one session! Let the numbers do the talking. Seeing is believing.

They clinic mentioned that I lost 1.5kg, but at home I seem to have lost close to 3kg! Must be thick dress I was wearing on the day of the mid review.

During the review, Dr Terence Tan said that about 20% of my fat has been shed! Was there more to do then? I did become shaplier, but the blob concentrated in the middle was still quite an eyesore. Dr Tan then suggested we go through another round of CoolSculpting. In all honesty, I was delirious that more could still be done! But at the same time, I was worried about the discomfort which I had to bare for a week the previous time. So, once again, we went ahead with 12 applicators! Surprisingly, this round was very pleasurable. Previously I was shivering in the room. I don't know if it was the airconditioning or was it the fact that my fats were frozen? So this time round, I got smart. I brought along a crop jacket and socks! I was so comfortable, during one application, I actually fell asleep! 

To prepare for the treatment, Dr. Terence Tan first used the CoolAdvantage templates to mark out the
areas that required treatment. The clinic assistant, Rebecca, then applied gel pads onto the treatment area to protect the skin during treatment. After each treatment cycle, Rebecca removed the applicator and massaged the treated area. Though there was slight discomfort, it was manageable. This helps to speed up the breakdown of the crystallised,  dead fat cells, which will be passed out by the body naturally. As sadistic as it sounds, there was a sudden surge of ecstasy each time she massaged as it meant that the scene where the fine white sand touches with the luminous pink of the setting sun, is not too distant! 

Several machines working in tandem

The aftermath was really good too. If you recall, during my first treatment, there had been bruises and redness immediately after treatment. However this time round, NOTHING. There was absolutely no downtime and I was prancing to dinner after about 5 hours. This was shorter than my first round. This was because, my area of fats has decreased and I was able to have on me multiple applicators working in tandem. Each application was 35 minutes hence time was significantly cut when a few applicators were working together.

Here was the treatment prescribed for me:
- 10 CoolAdvantage applicators
- Two CoolAdvantage Petite applicators
Upper abdomen: Two CoolAdvantage
Lower abdomen: Four CoolAdvantage
Left flank: 2 CoolAdvantage 1 CoolAdvantage Petite
Right flank: 2 CoolAdvantage 1 CoolAdvantage Petite

In between, however, one of the applicators indicated a "thermal error" after running for a few minutes. It is a safety feature built into the CoolSculpting machine, which stops the treatment it detects that the area treated is getting too cold. I learnt that each applicator has sensors which would regulate the temperature. The temperature has to be maintained at minus 11 degrees celsius. This meant that I could only proceed with treatment for that area 24 hours later. This was really reassuring that caution had been exercised when building this machine. 

Compare & Contrast 

Definitely flatter tummy!

can you see my curves?

Tried to pinch a layer of fats and this is all I could manage.

Here's a video of how the entire process looks like

Dr. Tan mentioned that more fats will be frozen with this second session. However, it isn't an overnight thing. it will take approximately 2 to 3 months. For that flatter tummy and bye bye mumtum, I am willing to wait! How do you feel about cladding on a bikini and strutting down the golden beach? Most of us would shy away from it and after having two kids, I was certainly in that category as well. I thought all hope was lost since I did not want anything invasive to be done, but lo and behold, CoolSculpting arrived! I thought it was just a dream to feel confident when I put on that bikini. But looks like dreams do come true! We just have to let it go! Let the fats go in this case!

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