Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Sad News



It has taken the greater part 2014 to finally get pregnant.

Unfortunately, instead of having good news to share with everyone in a few weeks (I would have shared the news once past the risky first 10 wks)... instead my announcement is earlier than planned and it's bad news.
Every cycle, I would symptom spot during the luteal phase (that's the 2WeekWait from the time of ovulation to getting your period or getting positive pregnancy test). Only it's worse for me because I have a longer than usual luteal phase (17 days) so it's a 2 and a half week wait ... always hopeful, but always faced with negative pregnancy tests which were freaking snow white where the second pink pregnant line should be. I've honestly never seen any space whiter, it's like bleached. And then I start bleeding like clockwork 17 days after ovulation.

This cycle, during my routine pee on a stick habit, I was about to throw a HPT (home pregnancy test) in the bin (I'm so used to Big Fat Negatives that I don't even wait 5- 10 minutes for the results anymore... I just wait for maybe a minute, and if it's negative, I chuck it out).... well anyway, I was about to throw it in the bin (so used doing that, it's like reflex action)... when I saw a second pink line.

It was a faint positive. So faint that I couldn't take a clear photo of it.

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! A Jubilee baby due in July 2015!!!
Then right after David left Singapore (5 day work trip) about 2 weeks ago, I had a sharp pain on my right side (of the uterus? Well, some where there). It only lasted a minute or two. And I thought oh, finally a symptom! Because this cycle, I had no symptoms at all, no cramps, no heartburn and my stomach was like flatter than it's been in the last 7 months... and yet I was pregnant! (All my previous months I would have all sorts of symptoms and was never ever pregnant lol)

An hour later, I went to pee and saw a small spot of pinkish blood on the tissue when I wiped. Then nothing.

The next afternoon, I started spotting ... like brown sticky stuff. I read online that this was old blood and nothing to worry about. The day after that, it was red spotting, fresh red blood. So I went to my gynea and had a quantitative Beta HCG which detects the level of HCG in my blood.

That same afternoon, the nurse rang to say that my beta level was only 16 (when it should be over 100 at this point). Maybe it's not a viable pregnancy or maybe I implanted late (HCG only starts forming after the embryo implants, so maybe I only implanted very recently), just have another Beta to check that the number doubles every 2 days. I should have known it wasn't a case of late implantation, because I had my positive HPT (detects HCG in urine) at home a week ago and it was already faint positive then. But I was clinging on to whatever hope I could get, so I wanted to believe.. yes maybe late implantation, and my HCG number will start doubling from now on!

2 days later it's 28. So almost double. We were expecting it to go down towards zero (to signal the end of the pregnancy). But the doctor says even with this rise in HCG, my level at this point (start of week5) is still way too low. I was given progesterone suppositories and had to return on Monday (that's another 2 days later) to see if HCG numbers double. Doctor expected the number to drop.  

It was even harder being alone through this downward spiral week. I put on a brave front but I was really struggling, barely made it out of the building before I just burst into tears. Then it was just a sad teary walk back home.

That Friday, David was at the airport on his way back to Singapore when I broke the news that the doctor said the pregnancy would not be viable. He was very sad.

We spent the weekend accepting fate, and on Monday morning I went for my blood test again. Just expecting the HCG to plummet to zero, and it's all over, we can start trying again.

To my surprise, the HCG level more than doubled to 77. The doctor didn't expect it to rise. He said it could be that the placenta (? or something like that, I didn't listen properly because I could hardly breathe) did not attach to the uterine lining properly and sometimes when there is a gap, I will bleed. So he gave me a PIO injection to support the pregnancy in the off chance that it was indeed viable (that's a progesterone shot in the butt muscle).

I think this is the worse thing to happen, because it gave us such false hope. Because my HCG went up, I rang David at work and told him the 'good' news. We were cautiously optimistic. Plus I started actually getting symptoms like I now have visible green veins from my boobs to my collar bone. I had another blood test scheduled a week later and if my number jumped to 1000, we would be almost on track.

All this while, I was still spotting blood. Then the day after that progesterone shot, I passed a big clot. At first I thought it was a blood clot, which would be bad news ... but upon closer inspection ... it was worse. It wasn't a blood clot. It looked like a gestational sac. It was like a tiny deflated bubble/balloon. The texture of it was like raw chicken skin (but much thinner) ... like some sort of membrane tissue. Then an hour after that I passed some actual clots, looked like tiny slithers of raw liver.

Right after that, my spotting completely stopped. After the third day of no spotting at all, I thought YAY! Maybe this is going to be okay! But then I recalled the membrane looking clot I passed out, and had a sad feeling like maybe I miscarried already and that's why the spotting stopped.

I rang David at work to update him about my worry and he suggested using a HPT (home pregnancy test) to see if I was still pregnant. If I had miscarried it would be negative now right?

I thought it was a good idea. So I used the Clear Blue digital pregnancy test as there's no faint lines to second guess on those. It just tells you if you're pregnant or not. I just never used them before because they're expensive (about $18 a pop) and I always thought to myself, that it would be crushing to see the words NOT PREGNANT. So I never did a digital test before, until now.
It turned out PREGNANT! I was still pregnant! Yayyyyyyy! So I took a photo and sent it to David.

I tried my best to be realistic. But I think David was much more hopeful and positive about it then me (so it's a very big loss to him now).  :(

So the week passed, and I went for my blood test. Please God if this can be a healthy baby, let the HCG number reach over 700 (that would mean normal doubling every 2 days)... but if this will end in miscarriage anyway, please let my HCG drop instead of continuing in this limbo, the HCG beta roller coaster.

It went down to 50.

The doctor was still unhappy with this number as he wants to see it go down to Zero (or at least under 5) to indicate a complete miscarriage (otherwise there could be leftover tissue which can cause problems and need a D&C or worse still ectopic). So I have to go back next Monday for (hopefully the final) blood test. Meanwhile, I have to stop the progesterone support. Will update you next week. It's been so hard keeping all this to myself, I'm relieved to finally share it.

Plus yesterday David flew back to Scotland. I bought the tickets for him a while ago (before all this started happening) thinking it would be a nice Christmas treat for him since he has not been back for Xmas in like 7 years. I didn't get tickets for myself, because $$$ and also because I want to stay here as my loved ones here are not well. 

Good thing I didn't go, I feel awful. I just want to grieve on my own. And also if I were there I would be worried about the bleed that's coming, not sure how bad a miscarriage bleed is going to be (???).

Some friends have asked - What did you do?! You ate pineapple is it? Must be your womb is weak? etc. Please la, go educate yourself about chemical pregnancies and early miscarriages. It's not like I bungee jumped or smoked or drank and caused this loss. I've been eating healthy (yes pre natal vitamins and folic acid included) since before getting pregnant and was on bed rest after the first HCG result. When there is an abnormality of the embryo like missing chromosomes, the body will spontaneously abort it instead of continuing with the pregnancy. There's nothing I can do to stop that or cause it.

Also, a friend asked me out last week and I said I couldn't cos I'm in the middle of a miscarriage and on bed rest. To that he replied that his friend's dog (not even his dog ah) just died too, he's soooo sad. I know many people would think... only 6 weeks plus pregnant, so it's not really losing a baby. But no need to compare the level of grief you feel when someone else lost their dog la. It's a bit insensitive. So, if you don't know what to say, it's ok, just say sorry to hear that. Or don't say anything at all, that's ok too.

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I've been wanting to start a family for so long. After we got married, I still had to wait (grudgingly!) for more than a year before David agreed to stop using contraception and try for a baby. That was an awfully long wait as it was.

Then when we started trying to conceive in late April this year, the dumb optimist in me even expected to be one of those lucky few who would conceive in the first month of trying. Didn't happen. Yet, every month, I would buy a thing or two for our future baby. 
Here is my baby stash under the guestroom bed. The Tommee Tippee bottles were the first baby purchase I ever made, in early May this year. They were cheaper in UK (disgustingly cheap, like 4 sg dollars?). David doesn't know (I never told him because early May was still just within our first cycle of trying to conceive, a bit nuts to buy milk bottles right). I bought them when I was walking about on my own then snuck them back to Singapore in my suitcase. lol.

Now at the end of 2014, my baby stash has 2 pairs of little tartan shoes (one pair laced up and one pair velcro strapped), a cute cloth diaper, rompers, some toys, insulated bag and even an Ergo baby carrier along with some other stuff. Although I was tempted on many occasions, I didn't go ahead and buy things like Prams and bouncers!

My rationale for this baby stash is that when the day finally comes, I won't have to spend a bomb because I would have slowly collected all that I need. Don't know why I bother because I would probably get baby sponsors for these stuff. The truth is I just really enjoyed buying these things in happy anticipation.

But for now I'm going to STOP buying baby stuff, because maybe I'm jinxing it. And also, I think I'm tipping over that point where the hoarding of baby stuff while childless is getting to a crazy level.

What if miscarriage happens again? A couple months ago we found out that David has okay sperm count and okay motility but bad morphology (less than 1% normal) ... will our embryos always fail to progress normally and keep miscarrying? Maybe because I'm already 34, I'm creating defective eggs? I've had all other fertility tests done this year, and it's all clear. The one thing they can't see is the quality of eggs. I do have a high ovarian reserve though (seen through ultrasound) so that's good, at least I'm not running out of eggs.

Is it just a game of odds? I've never had luck gambling. :(

If you have had a chemical pregnancy or early miscarriage and gone on to have a healthy pregnancy shortly after, please share your experience with me. I could really do with some positivity right now.

I still have to get through blood tests to see if my Beta HCG levels drop back to zero, before my body will just expel everything in a really clotty, crampy, bloody period. Such is life.
Baby dust to all those trying to conceive.

And the most gentle goodbye kisses to this baby in me that we won't have a chance to meet. See you on the other side of the rainbow. xx xx

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Food Questions :)

Hey ya... just trying to get my mind off things by blogging light hearted stuff for the time being. If you have any ideas what else I could blog about, let me know k  :)

Here are 10 Food Questions answered:

1. Favorite ice cream flavor?
Haagen Dazs Macademia Ice cream. Or Pecan. Or any good quality vanilla ice cream.


2. Best tasting drink in the summer?
Oreo Milkshake. Actually I don't really like eating Oreos, but I ordered an oreo milkshake once because they didn't have plain vanilla, and it was the only vanilla based on on the menu. And I freakin love it now.


3. Best tasting drink in winter?
I never drink hot drinks. So... still milkshake. I love milkshakes, they sometimes replace my whole meal.
4. Messiest food, in your opinion?
Definitely crabs.. pepper crab my fav.

5. Cheapest food you ever ate?

I eat a lot of cheap food, maybe a $1 pork kebab wrap thingy on the streets of Vietnam.
6. Most expensive food you ever ate?
I've had Caviar... it's expensive but you can't really eat A LOT of it, so in that respect, it's not THAT expensive. I think for me pan seared foie gras is the most expensive, because I always eat one serving, and feel like... actually, I can eat about 3 more... but I cannot afford to. Lol.
7. Stinkiest food you ever ate?
Roquefort Cheese. I can't decide if I like it or not, I eat small pieces only because the smell makes me gag. Wtf.


8. Best pizza topping?
Lots of very thinly sliced parma ham, some arugula and shaved parmesan. Thank you very much.


9. Favorite potato chip flavor?
Lay's seaweed crisps. Or anything sea salt flavoured. But never crinkle cut!


10. Favorite soda?
I like root beer.

11. Favorite Vegetable?
Sambal Kang Kong (if I'm not cooking it)... if I must cook it, then steamed broccoli with a sprinkle of sea salt.


12. Favorite fruit?
Mango & Mangosteen!

13. Worst fast food restuarant?
Worst? Don't have la... but I don't like KFC breakfast menu.


14. Best restaurant?
Used to love the old Indochine Empress Place. One of my best restaurant experiences is probably Le Saint Julien at Fullerton Waterboat House. But my husband is not a fine dining type person, our special eats place is probably the Sunday brunch at the Raffles Hotel Billiard room. Which is fabulousssssss.


15. Best smelling food?
Anything with a lot of fried garlic smells delightful to me. Also, my neighbour's food always smells nicer than whatever I make in my kitchen :(


P/s
You know... not enough stores in Singapore sell macarons. I keep wanting to eat them but am not near Laudree. Thought about making my own (endless supply of macarons!!!! whooo!!) but then I would have to buy a damn electric whisk and a silicon baking mat... and you know me, my hobbies are fleeting at best. So I might stop after just one bake. ;/ Such a waste of $ la.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Nosey Relationship Questions for Me

For all the kpo people lol... here are the answers to 12 questions about my relationship with David :)

1. What was your first date like?
First date I invited him to Beer fest, but that afternoon he cancelled on me saying he would be stuck at work. So I invited another guy to go with me. But 30 minutes later, David SMSed to say hey he can make it after all. I had to tell him, oh sorry, I gave your ticket away so I'll meet you after I'm done with Beer Fest. By the time I caught up with him it was 9ish. He always tells people I turned up 3 hours late for our first date. But the reality is... he was too fickle, so I made other plans instead of waiting for him.

2. Where was your first kiss & how was it?
First ever kiss was just a quick peck goodbye, we were at Vivocity. First proper kiss made my knees go weak.. was a few dates after that. We were sitting on a bench at Pasir ris beach. He never kisses me like that anymore. *sad face*

3. Did you know he was the one?
Not until much much later. And then there were even times when we were engaged where I really questioned myself about this. I think no one can really know with 100% certainty. But it's worked out pretty okay so far.

4. What was your first impression?
On our first date???  I thought he was drunk... but now I know he's just walks like that normally. Also I hated his shirt. But he was very sweet was so cute because he was nervous (talking too much and too fast).

5. When did you meet the family?
Pretty quickly... I met David in June 2011, we flew to Scotland in September that same year and stayed with his parents.

6. Do you have tradition?
Hmm, not that I can think of. But we do have certain couple habits... like I am always on the left side of the bed, even when we sleep elsewhere in hotels or what. Never discussed this. It's just so.

7. What was your first trip?
We went to Phuket in August 2011.

8. Who said i love you first & where were you?
HE SAID IT FIRST! HAHAAA I felt it but I purposely didn't say it first. He didn't take too long, but he definitely had to "work his way up" to it. The first few times he said it, he kind of either said it in a whisper while we were watching TV, or when I was distracted with other stuff he would say "I love you"... and I would partially hear it and say "huh what?"  Until he finally said it clearly to my face one day.

9. What do you argue about the most?
Hmm... nothing really. He takes home quite a bit of stress with him, and gets in a mood. But the displeasure is never about what I have said or done.

10. Do you know any of his exes?
I've met his ex wife a few times (she lives and works in KL). I get along okay with her. He's also met a couple of my ex BFs, but that's more like in passing... not like sit down and have a chat.

11. What's the nicest thing he's done?
He has done many nice things for me. The latest one was... he gave me his iPhone 6 Plus, even though I know he would have liked it for himself because it has a large screen... he gave it to me instead because he knows I'm going through a tough time now and he wanted to make me happy. (I'll share with you what the tough time is, when I can, but not now).

12. Who wears the pants in the relationship?
He gets to wear the pants... because I let him (lol). You see, one thing I've learnt from having so many failed relationships is that I have to pick my battles, go ahead and wear the pants, knock yourself out. At the end of the day, no one can decide something for me which I really don't want.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How to know if an Online store is any Good?

You look at what past customers have to say...

Whenever I come across a new store that I'm unsure of, I always Google to see if it's any good or if it's a scam site. I check if anyone had bad experiences shopping there. And then there are times where I just want to shop online but I'm bored of the same sites I keep going to, and I just want to look at which sites other people enjoy shopping at. 
ShopVenture.com is a website where people can share unbiased reviews of any online store. So it's a great one stop site to check out online shopping reviews... be it blogshops or online merchants or e-stores of established brands...

There are thousands of online shopping sites listed on ShopVenture.com . To me, it's like the 'tripadvisor' of online shopping. I love that you can find honest reviews, it's always helpful when a reviewer points out if the delivery is unreliable, or if the products ended up looking different in real life.
Elska Review
I've just ordered from 2 online stores - GNC Singapore e-store and Glasses Online Sg . I'll update ShopVenture with my reviews when I receive the products!

Meanwhile....
GIVEAWAY TIME!
Just want to share some awesome news. ShopVenture.com is giving away this Ebin Shoulder Tote Cross bag (Worth $440) from Korean brand POMME D’ELLIE.
POMME D’ELLIE uses exotic eel skin leather and rich and vibrant colors when creating bags of contemporary vintage appeal. Eel skin is 150% stronger than regular leather and becomes softer and more supple with use. It is only produced in South Korea. Pomme D'Ellie's range of leather goods come in a variety of stunning colors. Tote has shoulder strap and features three inside pockets and a magnetic clasp. A great size for an office bag that can fit your laptop, iPad, organizers, make-up and everything else - and still look stylish.

To stand a chance at winning that bag, submit your online shopping review. You can share good experiences or bad experiences, we just want honest opinions.

Remember to hashtag #hollyjean at the end of your review and do this before 31st December 2014 to stand a chance to win that handbag. The more reviews you submit, the higher your chances of winning!

*I will also be throwing in a special mystery gift to another lucky winner (hint: it's something for your lips and something for your nails in 2015). So do add your reviews at ShopVenture.com and remember to add the hashtag #hollyjean at the end of your review.

P/s do follow ShopVenture on Facebook and on Instagram @shopventurelove  :)

Monday, December 01, 2014

It's the Thought That Counts

It's already December! It's the season for gift giving!

"It's the thought that counts" so don't pick gift without giving it some thought.

Here are 3 questions to think about before deciding on a gift:
1. What does he/she do most often?
Are they interested in a particular genre of books? If they are at the gym regularly, you could get them something to make their workouts more efficient.

2. What does he/she talk about?
If it's food... like maybe they keep talking about how tough it is to find good bread in Singapore (get them a bread maker!). Do they love a particular TV series (Get them box sets!) ?

3. What do they look like?
What kind of stores do they shop at? Like for my husband, I can't go wrong with clothes from Paul Smith.

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Just an update on my life:
This Christmas David and I have agreed not to get each other any Christmas presents (hope he sticks to it) because it's been a particularly tumultuous couple of months with a few unforeseen big ticket expenses. Such is life eh. Maybe I'll update you on all that one day, but not right now, life has just been so rough the last couple of months for a lot of people I love, including myself...  just trying to get through it all :(

Hugs to you all and do enjoy the Christmas season, whatever may come your way.

Friday, November 28, 2014

#BOTD Bag of the Day

Here's my new bag from KyriaQ.co 
The promo code for 10% off  (on any of their clothes, bags, shoes!) is  hj10%off2014
I find that this shade of grey and this style is easy to carry off. It goes with most of my clothes, like bandage dresses or even when I'm dressed down in denim shorts and sneakers.
There's a long sling strap included if you want to carry it crossbody, but I prefer just using the short handles. SO LARGE and roomy. It's sturdy enough to hold a lot of stuff. And the quality and finish is good too. A steal at just $30.90 (before discount). Remember to get 10% off by using the code hj10%off2014 when ordering at www.kyriaq.co