Friday, September 20, 2013

Pregnancy #2 and PCOS

Hurray! As I am writing this post, I'm in the home stretch - my third and final trimester officially starts this week!

Babycenter says: "If you're like most women, you'll gain about 11 pounds (5kg) this trimester." Ehem, sorry I am not like most women. So far, I have gained a total of 12kg, and do you really think I am going to gain just 5kg in the coming 3 months? For the record, I gained 25kg in total carrying Aiden, and my only goal for this pregnancy is not to top that!

Okay fine, I should also mention that my doctor has told me to cut down on my carbs unless I want to pop another 4kg baby *grin*

Anyway, my weight is not the intention of this post.

And so... I have PCOS. PCOS is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and according to Wikipedia, it is "thought to be one of the leading causes of female subfertility and the most frequent endocrine problem in women of reproductive age".

In short, it is the cause of my irregular periods. And when I have irregular periods, I can never know when I am ovulating. Therefore, if I do not know when I am ovulating, I would not know when I would be fertile to conceive! It was actually quite a miracle that I managed to conceive Aiden. I know, because that was what the doctor at the KL Fertility Clinic told me during my first visit.

Some of the symptoms of PCOS are:
  • Infrequent periods. Obviously! Really, I don't spend tons of money on menstrual pads yearly. I think I even went without a single cycle when I was in boarding school. And when I was taking care of my Mum in hospital, the stress got to me and disrupted my cycle to the point where I was walking with great difficulty and pain.
  • Tendency to store fat in the truncal areas. Now this explains why I have a pear shape. I find that whenever I lose weight, people notice my face shrinks first, and my butt last.
  • Obesity, weight gain and difficulty to lose weight. All those running aren't going to win in the battle against PCOS. *sigh*
  • Excess hair growth.
  • Oily skin and acne.

I think both Hubby and I decided to try for #2 just before Aiden turned 3. We thought a 3 year gap would be just nice. After a full year of trying, I was getting quite frustrated. It came to a point where I would think I was pregnant, imagining the feeling of being hungry or nauseous, and then I would secretly do pregnancy tests and get all worked up over the negative result. Secretly, I was in denial about needing fertility treatments, especially since Aiden was conceived naturally. I was a walking ticking time bomb and in December 2012, the bomb finally exploded and I found myself emotionally distressed, googling for fertility clinics.

The earliest appointment I could get was with KL Fertility Centre (which is literally within walking distance from my office) and they did a great job in my first check up. I suspected I had PCOS based on some reading I had done earlier, but it was quite an experience to have a doctor confirm the diagnosis. Hubby also went through some tests with them, and his results were encouraging. So really, the problem is with me and not him!

Armed with all the results from the fertility centre, we went for our first appointment with Tropicana Medical Centre, Fertility Centre in Januay. Most of my friends had their IUI done there and a colleague of mine also had a successful IVF with them, so naturally I felt that TMCFC would be my best bet. I was so right! The doctor was soooo encouraging and I felt like he really took the time to explain my condition and the various treatments available. In the end, we made up our minds to try to conceive naturally before opting for IUI. So, I was given medication to stimulate my menstrual cycle and test kits to check for ovulation.

The decision we made to go natural instead of IUI, was quite a gamble because it was actually our last chance to conceive and deliver a 2013 baby. In the event that the trial failed, we would have to try again and it would be a 2014 baby, resulting in a 5 year gap between Aiden and BabyA instead of 4 years. (Imagine Aiden in Standard 6 while Baby A would just be enrolling intp Standard 1! *gasp*) Therefore, not only was I under pressure to conceive, I was also under pressure to conceive on the first try! Stress!

And so the stimulated menstrual cycle worked (FDOP 28th Feb), but unfortunately I ran out of ovulation kits and I still wasn't ovulating! A friend suggested that I just keep buying ovulation kits available at the pharmacy, but I didn't want to take the risk so I went back to the hospital (13th Mar). Apparently my temperature was slightly elevated, but I still wasn't ovulating - so in the end I opted for a stimulated ovulation! (Dah la stimulated menstrual period, ovulation pun stimulated jugak!) It was a slightly painful jab on the tummy area - I could literally feel the fluid travelling and spreading all over the uterus area (layman's description - sorry I'm not a doctor!) and the uterus discomfort stayed until the day ended.

Kept myself very very busy for the next few weeks, which was easier said than done. I remember a close friend reminding me that I can try taking a pregnancy test about two weeks after conception, but I wanted to prolong it as much as possible. I was scared of taking the test too early and getting a negative result, and of course, just scared of getting a negative result, period!

First week of April came and I started to develop a fever. I had the fever on alternate days, i.e. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. A neighbour suspected that it was "demam orang mengandung" but I brushed her suspicions off as I did not have any other symptoms. Furthermore, my symptoms when I found out I was pregnant with Aiden was headaches and cramps, not a fever. I was actually very worried that I was sick with something, as my body was aching and I was constantly depending on Panadol to reduce my temperature.

Come Monday, I went to the office clinic and told the doctor about my frequent fevers and my recent fertility treatment. She immediately scheduled an appointment for a thorough blood test and a pregnancy test for later that afternoon at their main clinic in KL. If I wasn't pregnant, than she would have to refer me to the hospital due to the frequency of the fever. So off I went to the main clinic, and since it was close to lunch, I had an early lunch with my stepsister first before going for my check up. All throughout lunch, I was feeling so weak I couldn't even finish my favourite Chicken Parmigiana. Walked up to the clinic and gave them my urine. Then sat on a stool for them to take my blood. While the nurse was taking my blood, another nurse was testing my urine, and she said nonchalantly "Hmm, positive...". It took me a good 5 seconds for me to digest what she said and I asked "Positive - meaning pregnant or not pregnant?" and she answered, nonchalantly (again!), "Pregnant".

As soon as they got all the blood they wanted, I skipped (!) out of the door and called Hubby. Hubby was as equally shocked as I was... I mean, we never expected it to lekat just after the first try. Texted my stepsister and the neighbour who suspected I had "demam orang mengandung", waited to see the doctor - who congratulated me as well, then went to meet Hubby for lunch at Full House, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng. All throughout lunch, we just couldn't stop holding hands and saying "Macam tak percaya!"... yes until today it still feels surreal on how our prayers were answered on our very first try.

The afternoon after the pregnancy test at the clinic, I went home and told Aiden the good news. His first reaction? "How is it coming out of you? From your mouth?? Get it out of you!!!" and he started making digging gestures to my tummy. I thought that was really hilarious. Hubby on the other hand, came home with two pregnancy tests. Since he didn't get to see the test at the clinic, I had to pee on two sticks just for his benefit. *grin*

We found out on the 8th of April, exactly a week before Aiden's birthday. I was still getting elevated temperatures throughout the whole week but I pulled through for Aiden's birthday BBQ celebration. Finally after Aiden's birthday party at his kindy, off we went for our very first check up. Alhamdulillah, there was a heart beat, baby size looked normal but only my placenta was a bit low - but not too low to be too worried about. Also got my blood test results, and it categorized me as a high risk pregnancy, so I was given medication for that as well.

I was quite amused when Hubby told the doctor "If only we had known it was going to be this easy, we would have made an appointment to see you last year!" So really, fertility is not the issue for us. It's all about knowing when exactly I am ovulating. After that, it isn't really rocket science!

First baby picture!
Straight from school, Abang Aiden playing at the Tropicana Medical Centre play area.

How's Abang Aiden taking it? So far so good. He's very excited that his new playmate is coming out of Mummy's tummy soon. Sweetly insists on carrying every single baby he can get his hands on, and everytime we visit my neighbour's new baby, he will softly touch her cheeks and kiss her. Awww...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Computer Table!

Remember our makeshift computer table in this post?
Barely a week after that, Hubby drags me to Ikea to get a brand new table, complete with shelves AND a new desk lamp. 
I swear, given the right circumstances - Hubby is probably a worse shopaholic than me...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Aiden's 4th Birthday Celebration at Kindy!

Aiden is 4!
We had Aiden's birthday celebration at his kindergarten the morning after Aiden's small barbeque celebration. Pulun sekali harung, that's what we did. And it was definitely not easy waking Aiden up for school, especially after a long night partying with his closest cousins - but as soon as he remembered that he was going to have a birthday party at school, he obediently got ready for school and allowed my maid to walk him to school.
Back at home, I was busy getting his birthday cake ready. Being the smart mummy that I am, I had baked the cake in advance and simply recycled the Transformers head from his party the night before! (Trust me, it wasn't easy making sure the boys didn't dig into the head at any point during the night!)
Did you notice that Aiden's cake from his BBQ party was square while this one was round?
Everyone lining up for morning break, Aiden included. 

Everyone crowded around the cake.
The excited birthday boy.
Basking in all the attention lavished to him.

Mummy struggling to find a spot to put the candles.

Fire, we need fire!

Mummy and Daddy were so excited singing the birthday song that we didn't even get a picture of Aiden blowing the candles out!

Vain Aiden striking another pose.
Mummy helping Aiden position the knife on the cake.

"Aww, just cut the cake already!", said Aiden's friend.
"Did you cut it all the way through??"
Cake time! Aiden enjoying Mummy's homemade moist chocolate cake, and making a mess at the same time.

Goody bags. I reluctantly used the goody bags I had originally purchased for his circus party, that never happened. *sigh*
Aiden likes this sweet girl. He's always saying how nice she is. *grin*

Pheww! We had enough goody bags! I was so worried that I didn't prepare enough.
Kids being kids, they tore the goody bag open the minute they got their hands on it.
Overall, it was a simple do. I was so happy that the kids had fun. I was even happier when one of the children's mother texted me saying how her son came home talking about Aiden's party and proudly showed off the carnival party goody bag.
Right after the party, we went to the hospital. It was our first check-up to scan the baby right after the fertility treatments. Blessing in disguise, the timing of Aiden's birthday kept me busy with the preparations when deep deep down I was very worried about the baby inside me. Takut takde heartbeat lah, ape lah.  At that point, the baby was about 5 or 6weeks old and we had only told my in-laws' family (during the birthday party the night before), my stepsister - and some close neighbours who found out by chance! We wanted to keep the news low until the first scan.
Anyway, will save the story of the pregnancy and the scan for a next post...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Aiden's 4th Transformers Birthday

Aiden is 4!
This is by far the simplest birthday party I have ever organized for Aiden. I am so sorry Baby!

Well in all honesty, I never planned it to be this way. We finally confirmed our US trip early in the year, and since our departure date of end of May was so close to Aiden's birthday in mid April, the initial plan was to just postpone Aiden's birthday bash until we get home. Kononnya let's just have a small party on the actual day, and leave the planning until after our holiday. Unfortunately, all those plans went down the drain when I found out I was pregnant. I felt tired and lazy all the time and even the thought of holding a bar of butter was enough to make me woozy. I guess that's what you get when you combine morning sickness with a drama queen!

And so this year, Aiden is old enough to choose his own party theme. He went through a Thomas phase (green Thomas cake, anyone?), then just a few months before he finally turned 4, he got hooked on Transformers! I was quite impressed that he was able to pronounce Decepticons, and was even more amused when he started calling his yellow Mini Cooper S, Bumblebee! So, a Transformers cake it is. And after baking so many cakes (yes, wait for the pictures!), I made up my mind, enough of baking other cakes for customer's children. Time to bake one for my own son!

Note: I had the theme for his 3rd birthday even before hosting the 2nd one, and naturally I had the theme for his 4th birthday all planned out even before hosting the 3rd one. Trust me, Transformers was not the theme I had in mind. I was actually planning for a circus party (I had all the props for one, all ready!) but since this is a small BBQ party just for family, I relented and accepted the challenge for a Transformers theme. Looks like I have to save the circus party props for his 5th birthday!

Googled images of Transformers cakes for inspiration and I finally got started with the cake by baking two cakes in two separate bowls. Stuck them together with buttercream and covered it with fondant. This was how it turned out:

The assembled cake. Cut the sides to give it the Transformers shape.
Covered with fondant. Separate fondant piece in front of the cake to make the mouth.

A true baker's son. Playing with fondant while Mummy puts the finishing touches on the cake.
Placed the Transformers head on top of a square moist chocolate cake.
The next day, I spent the day pre-marinating the lamb and chicken and preparing various other dishes while Hubby got the BBQ ready. Aiden was of course, running around the house excitedly, wishing for the clock to go faster - which wasn't much help to us.

BBQ in the garden.

Food, glorious food. Ignore Hubby's golf set and treadmill in the background!

Scattered some helium balloons by the food table. I couldn't get it to stay in one place due to the outdoor wind, so excuse the asymmetrical  positions.

Beef lasagne, mushroom sauce and black pepper sauce for the marinated lamb and chicken, mashed potatoes and coleslaw. Vanilla cupcakes with swirl buttercream. All homemade.

Pavlova and fruit trifle. Again, all homemade.

Fried mee and fruits. And Hubby's favourite air sampah as we call it. It's actually ice cream soda with tons of mint leaves as "sampah", lime to give it a sour tinge and lychee fruits.

It was a very simple do. We invited my aunt who lives close by, my cousin (with Aiden's favourite cousin), Hubby's aunt and her family, my sister and her friends and of course my in-laws and sister in laws. Very very small crowd and intimate dinner.

This is Abang Airyl, Aiden's favourite cousin.

Aiden posing with his cake. Yes, he's as vain as his Mummy. Always ready with a pose.

That is Darwisy on the right. Although they are both the same age, he is rightfully, Aiden's uncle. Check out my trusty KitchenAid in the background.

Daddy lighting up the candles whilst Aiden's two best playmates looked on.

Aiden blew the candles out all by himself! Such a big boy *sigh*

We gave him a cake knife and he cut his own cake. Again, such a big boy *sigh*

Aiden posing with his favourite Aunty Awien.

And then it was finally the moment Aiden was waiting for. Presents! As usual, my in-laws got him a pair of pyjamas (it is their yearly ritual) while everyone else gave Aiden toys and story books.

Aiden ripping the wrapping paper.
Look at that smile!

OMG our son is 4! Happy birthday to the apple of our eyes, our source of happiness and joy. Please don't grow up too fast Aiden!

Love, Mummy & Daddy...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

IT Savvy - New Computer!

Hubby and I, we have always been planning to buy a proper computer or laptop for home use. Since our last laptop broke down a good 3 years ago, it has been a long running joke between the both of us on how IT-unsavvy we have become. Hubby has to travel to the office just to use the office computer for his engineering software use, while I resorted to using the iPhone or the company laptop (which has download restrictions) at home for surfing purposes. It became quite a nuisance whenever we needed to use iTunes or start on a photobook project, but somehow we survived. Until last week.

So last week we finally decided to "look around" at the MidValley IT fair. And when I say "look around" I usually have the tendency to buy, while Hubby tries to restrain me before I make the transaction. Unfortunately this time, Mr Hubby is also salivating for a new computer, so after a lot of walking around, comparing, negotiating, dinner to think about it, and walking around again, we finally brought one home.

Seriously, the IT industry has really taken a major change since the last time we bought our laptop. Back then, it was either a laptop, or a desktop i.e. a monitor plus a CPU. Nowadays, there are laptops where can actually detach the screen, and since the screen is a touch screen, it can also act as a tablet. When you want to charge it or need a keyboard, just stick it back to the keyboard, and tada, you get a laptop!

As for the desktops, even the monitors are now touch screen. Not only that, there is something called an all-in-one desktop, which combines the CPU with the monitor so that you only have one bulky thing to make room for instead of two. And since you only need one power cable, you can actually make it quite mobile instead of confining it to the computer table all the time.

Need I also mention the various processors, RAM speed, storage space and other gazillion add-ons in the market? Phewwww... I definitely understood none of those, but I stuck with the principle where, the bigger the number is, the better it is! For instance, an i5 would be better than an i3. And an 8GB RAM would better than a 4GB. A 1Terra storage, better than a 500GB. You get the drift...

So in the end, this was what we got! The HP Envy All in One Touch Screen. And I thought we got quite a good deal for it - a free wireless keyboard mouse, free subwoofer and a scan-fax-copy-printer for a discounted price.

Our loot for the night. Subwoofer in the unlabelled box. Carry bag (ala Longchamp design) and a rose courtesy of the IT fair.

Look at that cheeky boy and his yellow helicopter! Someone was selling remote controlled helicopters at the IT Fair and he kept pestering us for one. The only way we could make him behave was by promising to get him one. Of course, he tuntut his present before the night ended!

Photo from Google. Loving the sleek and slim design.

Proof that we made a thorough comparison before making our purchase. Funny thing is, we didn't even buy any model from the comparison *smacks head*
I slept at 3am that night, setting up the computer (the next day was a Monday!) See how little space we needed for the computer? We also managed to squeeze the subwoofer under the table.
Hubby probably slept even later than me, as he also had to setup the printer!
Excuse the table. We have not had the opportunity to go shopping for a proper computer table so we made do with an existing side table. Total failure in ergonomics - I get a bad backache whenever I use the computer for extended hours. However, it is actually just the right size and height for Aiden!

Aiden was the happiest of all with this new purchase. He hasn't gotten the hang of using a mouse, so with the touch screen, he is able to play Disney Junior games just like the iPad. I just need to constantly clean the screen for fingerprints!
Let's see whether this new computer makes a difference in frequency of blogging. If there is no improvement, I can always blame Aiden for hogging the computer with his games! *grin*

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Aiden's 4th Year Milestone Review

Just yesterday, I was browsing through my older blog entries and started to read Aiden's milestone reviews back when he was going through his first year of life - and I thought to myself, "Geez, I can barely remember any of these!"

It is true. By neglecting this blog, I have failed to document Aiden's spirited behaviours. Aiden went through his terrible twos and tantrum threes just like any other child, but erm, how convenient, I have no records of it anywhere. Guess I can't use those references to mentally prepare myself with Baby A!

So, is Aiden going through the fiendish four?

All I can say is, Aiden is definitely an easier child to manage as soon as he turned four. It was extremely noticeable during our recent holiday to the US. He understands what we say, comprehends reason and is able accept our word for something. For instance, when he was three, we took him into ToysR'Us (total no-no!) and he immediately wanted a particular toy and we just couldn't reason with him at all. We even tried explaining that we did not have any money and he cheekily replied "Daddy got money in his pocket!" (Excuse his grammar...). Now, it is easier to reason with him. It doesn't work all the time, but at least he will consider an alternative, such as "We need to go to the bank to get money", or "There is an even bigger toy shop outside, let's go check it out?"

Manja wise, he is still Mummy's boy. Constantly asks for hugs and very generous with random kisses on my cheek. He still insists on sleeping in between Mummy and Daddy, and gets extremely angry if Daddy takes his spot on the bed. We tried putting his single bed beside our bed, but that only worked the first few nights. He ended up crawling back in the middle on the third night, so there goes that attempt. He proclaims "Aiden's place is in the middle!" - I do not know where we are going to squeeze Baby A in the future.

Communication wise, he is still an extrovert. He talks non stop and socializes with friends easily - and especially looks up to older children. I am constantly amazed at his vocabulary. Just the other day he exclaimed "Mummy, that's ridiculous!" and "Oh, how adorable!" - I'm always impressed whenever he says four syllable words. His preference is English and we were always worried that he didn't understand Malay. But we then found out that he perfectly understands Malay but chooses to only speak English! Just last week, we were at a neighbour's house when she offered, "Nak bagi makan arnab ke? and I immediately replied "Eh, tak payah la..." Of course, Aiden heard the conversation and asked "Mummy, why can't I feed the rabbits?" *grin* He picks up new words all the time, especially through Disney Junior. When we were in Houston, he even picked up the slang! Imagine Aiden saying "automatic" and "butter" with an American slang... my sister in laws made him repeat it again and again until he finally lost the slang after two weeks.

Focus wise, Aiden does not like activities that will need him to focus for a long time, such as jigsaws or assembling Lego. Although he is perfectly content with playing with an assembled Lego and then running back to us to fix it whenever it breaks. He doesn't have a favourite toy, he plays with anything and everything. He gets excited over a new toy (who doesn't?) and resorts to sleeping with it the first few days, then loses interest. He loves it when I read him books, he keeps asking for a different book every time we finish one. On the contrary, he is not interested in reading. At all. I have even resorted to using flash cards with a sticker reward system to make sure he recognises alphabets. Letters like J and Q are a pain for him to remember, but I am not going to get excessively worried. A colleague told me, "Liz, I used to cry to my husband, I cannot have a stupid child. But then he woke up one morning and it all clicked. He started reading!" I guess Aiden is more of a talker rather than a reader.

Extremely picky with food. I can probably count with one hand what he likes to eat. Prefers egg over chicken, meat or fish. Hates vegetable - that one definitely came from me *sigh*. Loves kuey teow and "yellow mee with brown soup" - that's code for Maggi. I don't know why he loves that junk but he is strictly not allowed to have it, and on the occasions that I do have Maggi, I will have to do so quietly in the kitchen.

Definitely not a morning person. Enjoys sleeping late and waking up late. Nowadays we try to practice forcing him to bed by 1030pm (that means I have to lay beside him in the dark bedroom until he dozes off), but we don't get to do it religiously all the time. Since both Hubby and I are working, night time is the only time we really get to spend time with him. Just the other day, he said "Mummy, stay home with me!" *sigh* the joys of juggling your career and motherhood.

That's it for a start of a recap. Will try to write more!

Aiden painting the house during Ramadhan, in preparation for Eid. Instead of making a mess, he was quite helpful! Love you, Aiden!

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