10 things I would like to teach my daughter

This post actually started out to be a quick update on my pregnancy and how I was feeling but I decided to completely delete everything and instead talk about something that I thought would be beneficial to my little one. 

As so named on my blog title, I would like to talk about 10 things I would teach my daughter. I've seen many articles like this and this and this around so I thought, why not do one for my own daughter? Obviously, she will learn a lot about life from her friends, other family members, teachers, her siblings, her dad. But as her mother, I want to tell her stories that mean something to our family and would therefore have an impact on her life forever.

(I'm also starting to realise that my memory (which used to be pretty good may I say!) is really starting to fail on me. Whatever they say about mom-nesia - amnesia for mothers - is true. o.0 so I think I should write this all down so that I wouldn't forget it!)


1. Discover and love yourself - the most important life lesson that I've learnt so far is to take time out (it took me 2 years while I was away in boarding school) to reflect on who you are inherently, who you want to be - that is, whether or not you want to change anything about yourself mentally and emotionally - and finally deciding on someone you are comfortable with. It takes time to do this, so don't be impatient and throughout the whole process, always check back with God and family and friends so you don't go off onto an unbeaten path and never return. Love yourself for who you are now, and who you will become. You'll most likely discover yourself when you are in your late teens and early twenties!

2. That being said, you can still change after you've decided who you want to be. You'll feel confident in your twenties, climbing out of that awkward teenager stage, knowing which guys are good for you and which ones were a mistake. But when you get married and become a mother, you'll feel your confidence shatter and shake (especially when your body changes physically and your heart changes emotionally) so do point 1 again, take time out and discover and love the new you, the mother you're about to become and the wife you are already.

3. No matter how much you plan in life, God hands you His life plan for you and the path that He wants you to take. I've tired my best to plan to get the grades (which I did) and apply for medical school and no matter how hard I tried my best to get an interview or an application form in, I was never accepted. But looking at where I am now, I'm glad that I can help Nick out in this business and travel and set up offices. It really feels fulfilling and I've never looked back and regretted doing Mechanical Engineering and meeting Nick.

4. As part of discovering and love yourself, don't forget to make mistakes too. There will be times where you've decided that black clothing is the new black and you dress in all black, wear too much blue sparkly eye makeup that does not match your fuchsia lipstick and dark red blush. There will be times when you've taken the wrong way home, booked (and missed) a wrong flight, dated the wrong guy. Everything that you do builds you up to be a better and stronger girl.

Your future husband

5. Love is really blind! You may create a checklist for your 'perfect' guy, but he funnily always turns out quite the opposite! I've made plenty of checklists in the past when I was a little girl myself. I wanted my husband to be tall, dark, handsome, a foreigner, but guess what - Nick is almost the opposite. Those don't matter though, love matters.

6. No matter what we say as parents, remember to choose with your head AND your heart. We may come across as biased and judgmental towards a particular guy - but only because we mean well! But in the end, you will be spending the rest of your life with this one guy so only you will know whether he is or isn't the one! There will be tell-tale signs along the way and ultimately, you will know deep down whether you've made the right choice or not!

7. No matter how strong-headed and (secretly) alpha female you are, remember that at home and outside, your husband leads the family. Even if you are right, think of a gentle way to tell your husband (men have pride too!). Before meeting Nick, I felt like I always had to be in control and that lead to many a breakup and heartache. Somewhere along the way, I prayed to God to change me to not feel like I always have to lead. I still feel like I need to sometimes, but I consciously tell myself - No!

Your parents

8. Forgive us if we come across as typically Asian parents (especially me!). I might want you to be a doctor, or a lawyer or an engineer. But if you want to be a ballerina or a photographer or anything in the world, go for it if you love it. As parents, we will try to remember to always support you in everything that you do - especially if you are doing the things you love (as long as it is completely legal).

9. At points in your life (especially those dreaded teenage years), you will probably hate us. We will want you back by 12 midnight, you will want to stay out till 12:01am. We will want you to breakup with that boy. You will secretly text him in the middle of the night or sneak out to see him. We understand but remember that we will always love you no matter what - and we mean the best for you!


10. Try everything that life has to offer. Explore, travel, make friends from all around the world. Have fun and enjoy and live life to the fullest.

Can't wait to see you little one and teach and show you the wonders of life! 

It's a....

SO! First up and the most important announcement of the entire pregnancy (or I think it is anyway!). We can finally reveal the gender of our little one. :)

Nick and I are both super excited although I have to admit that I wasn't so pleased before (I really, really, really wanted a lil boy - I already have way too many sisters than one needs. But I still love my sisters and I will definitely love my girl!). There was a bit of drama in the family when we first found out the sex... but let's just leave it at that. We actually knew the gender of our child really early on through the HARMONY test (see previous post) that I did in Week 12. The HARMONY test took 10 working days (some blood samples from me are flown to the US) and it detects extra chromosomes 13, 18 and 21, as well as tests for a boy or girl (or rather, the elimination of a Y chromosome so that we know if it's a boy or girl). So we knew much much earlier and it has been difficult keeping it a secret for the past 8 weeks (of course, our family knew). Today I did the detailed 5 month ultrasound scan and our sono-grapher confirmed that our little cantaloupe was indeed a girl. We were also extremely blessed to see her playing and puckering up her lips, sticking her tongue out and stretching out during the ultrasound. And apparently she has my head shape it seems (my head is narrower than Nick's). She's also very average in all size measurements and her weight (330g) which I'm happy about. I'm just happy that my baby is healthy and growing and absorbing everything I'm eating!

On another note however, we found out from the ultrasound that I fall into the 50% of women who have a low-lying placenta. It's actually normal - if the embryo implants further down, the placenta grows further down. It usually moves up in the 6 - 8th month of the pregnancy. I'm praying that my placenta moves up further along my pregnancy as well. If it doesn't I'll have to do a C-Sect as it will be blocking the baby's path during natural childbirth. I also can't do any running, swimming, jogging, cycling at all as spontaneous bleeding may occur. :( The low lying placenta probably explains the bleeding at Week 6? I'm not sure...

I'm also doing a breast scan (is this too much information?) on Saturday. I hope everything will be alright! :S Pretty worried. Not sure if I'm getting worried about nothing but really hope that everything is fine.

On my weight/body:

Routine weigh-in at the doctor says I've gained 2 kgs in the past month. From 51.95kg, I'm up to 54.00kg now. :) I'm right on track I suppose! Physically though, not much has changed, which is quite surprising. The only difference is that I've a small oblong shaped tummy now and I have to start wearing skirts and dresses. But to an outsider, it's so hard to tell I'm pregnant. Even when I catch myself in the mirror, I sometimes forget I'm pregnant! It just looks like I ate too much chocolate and have a belly. (Although I know now that the difference between a 'fat' belly and a 'pregnant' belly is that a fat belly is soft and squishy and a pregnant one is firm and hard!). My diet is fairly normal too, I get the occasional hunger pangs but I eat the normal 3 meals a day.

On Pregnancy

The most exciting thing so far in that has started to happen in the past 2 weeks is the occasional baby kicks during the day. I know when she's awake and super active because it feels like I'm being prodded from the inside. Sometimes it feels like 'pops' (not so much the flutter that people talk about though) and I know she's just kicking like crazy. It's so exciting and scary (knowing all the things that could go wrong especially with the help of technology today :S) at the same time. Some days, I just like to sit and enjoy her little kicks and movements; on other days, I get so panicky and want her to come out straight away so that I can be in control of the situation (I sound like a control freak!). Actually, when I mean control the situation, I know I really can't do anything. God has created a life form in me that only He has power to determine her gender, whether she is physically fully created, if she has any abnormalities (please no!) etc. Even after she is born, I cannot change anything that has already been created. Honestly, I've never felt so helpless in my life (which is really weird because the little one in me is so small and helpless and dependent on me too!). Just got to let go and let God take care of everything. This pregnancy is really teaching and testing me in terms of my dependence on God and I feel really tried at this time but I hope that I can continue trusting in God and letting Him take control of the situation and my emotions and just... Everything!

Kisses and hugs. x o x o

Missing You

Missing London and the UK like CRAZY now. 

The snowy Hyde Park and the beautiful statues.

The snowy roads.

The blue skies and the almost green vegetation.

Our little street opposite our old apartment and the dry cleaners! 

Our little apartment.

The corner church. 

My sisters and parents are heading there this week and I'm letting my chance go (even though there was a fiasco and I did book tickets originally - but for the safety of the baby and in case I suffer a panic attack I decided it was best I didn't go in the end! It was quite a pain to get a refund!). I'm super jealous because I'd planned a LONG, LONG list of where I wanted to re-visit and eat at again and now I've to keep that in the drawer until the next time. Going to have to wait till next year probably and a little one will be on tow too! Can't wait to have a cuddly, squirmy baby to show the whole world to. I sometimes find it hard to believe that I've been gifted this chance in life to bring someone up and teach them about life and about love and how to be a good person. I hope I don't mess up and that God will bless me with many more little babies in the future! :)

Kisses and love. x x x 

Pregnancy Update (Week 13 - Week 16)

So it's been a couple of weeks since I last updated this little cyber space. 

I mentioned in my previous post that it would take a knuckle-biting 3 weeks for the blood tests results for Thalassemia to come out. I have been religiously checking my post box EVERY day (nothing in the mail yet! :(). But when I visited my OB/GYN (13th August), she already had my blood test results on her desk (for Nick, they still had not analysed his blood yet so that's probably why we haven't been sent the results via mail - they want to wait for both parent's results first). So the results are: I AM Alpha-1 Thalassemic (minor) (and it's passed down from my mom's side of the family). I did suspect it already because I do have anaemia and it does get pretty bad sometimes. Even eating iron doesn't help. We worried for a few days (because now it's up to Nick's blood to determine whether baby is healthy or not!). And then I received a call yesterday and the nurses said they received Nick's blood test results and he is absolutely fine! So baby is okay and safe! :) Just praying baby stays that way and continues to grow healthy and strong! We also did another quick U/S on the 13th August (Week 15) and baby is 9.1cm! This week (Week 16), baby should be approximately 10 - 11cm (the size of an avocado!) I'm still not showing (looks like I had an extra burger rather than a cute baby bump) so I'm still amazed and curious to see how everything fits in me!

The weeks after the first trimester have been passing by in a blur which is partly due to us packing (SO stressful!), finding a temporary house to rent, and moving houses. Also, mainly because the nausea has greatly subsided (although it has not completely disappeared - I still get it every other day at night where half my dinner disappears :S), I'm feeling a ton better. In just a few short weeks time, I will be halfway through (Week 20!) I can't believe that I've gotten this far. When I was so groggy, drowsy and generally feeling crap in Week 7 - 9, I wondered if I would even get through to this stage and now I'm here! God has really carried me through! (Although now looking back in retrospect, I'm not sure if I can go through a couple more pregnancies - especially the nausea part! But I also want 4 children!)

On my weight/body:

So I ended off the last post saying I was 50.7kg. I had a weigh-in again at the doctor's this past week (13th August) and I gained slightly over a kilo! I'm now at 51.95 kg. My OB/GYN is happy that I am gaining weight but when I told her that I was still throwing up, she seemed a little concerned. Maybe I'm not getting the right nutrition (or just not gaining weight fast enough?) I also don't feel any heavier than normal these past few weeks. My appetite increased drastically from Week 11 - 12 and into 13 but somewhere after that, it became normal again in Week 14 through to this week. I am trying to snack more often (so I don't have to eat as much during meals because I hate the feeling of being super full) so I'm hoping my snacking will help with the weight gain (and the nutrition too). If I eat too much during meal times, I feel like throwing up after. :( According to pregnancy websites, I should gain an average of 2 - 4 pounds (1 - 2 kg) in the first trimester (I lost one kilo and gained it back again by the end of the first trimester so the net effect was 0!). In the second trimester, and the rest of the pregnancy, I should be gaining 1 pound a week (that's roughly 0.5 kg) so that means that by Week 16, I should be 2 kg heavier from my first trimester weight (I'm only 1 kg heavier!) I'm a little behind in terms of weight gain but I hope that baby is getting everything that I'm eating anyway!

My body is also changing, my tummy / womb area is getting harder and it seems like my stomach is getting pushed higher up, closer to my ribs. I'm also pee-ing a lot more often (especially during the night - which is annoying!). I'm getting warmer (body temperature wise) as opposed to being a cold fish pre-pregnancy. But I'm still not showing!! It's getting a little annoying and worrying that I'm not showing but I hope this means I'm just concealing the baby really well (a waiter in the restaurant wanted to match-make her son to me, not knowing that I was already 4 months pregnant!) I may 'pop' later... but right now, I just look normal (or that I've over-eaten) and it's not good because people still bump into me all the time (which can be dangerous for the baby). My clothes are definitely getting a little tighter around the waistline and the tummy area though so I've resorted to wearing skirts and dresses instead of skinny jeans (goodbye skinny jeans!) and shorts (although I can still fit into a couple of looser shorts).  

On Pregnancy

I've been reading a few poignant articles on pregnancy and giving birth (and it's really made me question a lot on life!) but I'm still thankful everyday that I'm alive and healthy and little baby is as healthy as possible. (I need to remember that less thinking and worrying = happier mom!)

Kisses and much love. x x x 

New Chapter of My Life

I'm pregnant! It's more than 3 months now and the 'taboo' period is over (in Singapore, it's not good to announce your pregnancy until the 1st trimester is over. Understandably so because the first 3 months is the toughest and there is a high chance of miscarriage. But that also makes your colleagues wonder why you're ocasionally frequently running to the loo looking worse for wear. In the end, Nick and I had to tell our colleagues that I was pregnant in my 7th week). 

Note of caution: This post MAY contain too much information at some points in time. Please read only if you dare/can handle it. Click away from here if nausea/blood isn't your thing.

Week 5 (June 2nd - June 8th)

Started the week with eating bak kut teh (a spicy/peppery pork rib soup) with my mother-in-law for lunch on Monday, 2nd June. Threw up violently. Haven't suspected anything yet though I was starting to feel so tired already. Just thought I had too much to eat and plus, we've been travelling for the whole month of May so... possible stomach bug/indigestion problems could have happened. 

On Tuesday, I threw lunch up again and suspected this is more than a bad coincidence. The nausea didn't feel like a stomach flu nausea, it felt... chemical. Like my body couldn't take the food at all. Sneakily I bought 3 pregnancy tests after dinner (I didn't want to let my parents-in-law find out prematurely). Tested on one at night and immediately (and I mean like 2 seconds after I peed on it): 2 lines (or a plus sign - the first test I bought shows up as a '+' if you're pregnant). Freaked a little but decided to try again the next morning (they say to take the pregnancy test in the morning right?). 

Wednesday morning, tried the 2nd pregnancy test. Immediately again, 2 lines! We wanted to tell Nick's parents over breakfast but before I could open my mouth, his mom said 'I think you should take care of your health now, I suspect you may be pregnant'. (It was like, 'pregnant' was written over my face. -___-")

On Thursday I was fine, didn't have any symptoms at all (congratulated myself too early - continue reading below from Week 6 onward!). We also went over to tell my parents. On Friday, we ate a piece of steak (during my Dad's birthday dinner) and I could barely stomach it, the bloodiness was unpalatable for me. :(

Saturday and Sunday were the killer for me. My blood pressure dropped to 90/60 (approximately) so everything was spinning like crazy, if I stood up too fast, I'd black out and I started throwing up and retching so, so much. Only again, it wasn't food thrown up yet (so I thought I was safe -___-" Woe to me.)

Week 6 (June 9th - 15th) (Also, the most crazy week so far)

Went to the doctor's (GP) first thing Monday because of my low blood pressure. I told her I suspected I was pregnant and did the pee test again (and that cost me $20!) just for her to confirm it. She said my blood pressure was normal and gave me anti-vomiting pills to take. They didn't help me at all - I still threw up. That day, Nick had a work trip in Kuala Lumpur (KL) as well so he had to leave that afternoon. I stayed at home feeling nauseous and sick the rest of the afternoon.

On Tuesday, I scheduled an appointment with my OB/GYN for 19th June. My MIL stayed at home and cooked for me.  I threw EVERYTHING up. I'm not even kidding. I thew up so much and so violently that somewhere near the evening, I thew up some blood in the sink. Maybe because I was already delirious from throwing up but that freaked me out so when my FIL came home, we rushed to the A&E at KK Hospital. Turns out that small blood vessels broke in my throat (hence the blood). The problem was I was dehydrated and had to be on the IV drip for 2 hours (2 litres of fluids). It was terrifying (I hate things stuck in me for a long time). Also, while we were in A&E, we saw so many things, a young girl was possibly raped (I'm not sure but the police were there with her at the A&E), there was a delivery in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and the baby (7 months only) wasn't breathing properly!, there was an ectopic pregnancy and the lady was in so much pain and had to be operated on immediately. :( It was scary and it reminded me that I didn't have that much to worry about as compared to these other ladies. We were in A&E for a good 4 hours before we got home. I was given Folic Acid, B6 and anti-vomiting meds (again) which were stronger than the GP's and caused drowsiness. 

Nick came home from KL on Wednesday and I was joking around with him that I didn't want to be pregnant anymore. 

Good grief and FML. On Thursday, I started spotting/had blood (dark brown though, like the end of your period) in my underwear (again, sorry if this is TMI). I'd read up before that it could be a sign of a miscarriage and that freaked me out. I know I hated the symptoms of pregnancy but that didn't mean I wanted my little one to disappear. :( Nick was at work so he rushed home (an hour away) and brought me to the hospital (A&E at KK again -__-"). They did an U/S (by the way at Week 6, you cannot do a normal U/S, they have to stick the device up your V and do the U/S that way so it feels REALLY funny) and the doctor said the baby was fine, she could see the heartbeat on the U/S machine, but to just watch out for the bleeding. She gave me progesterone medication (and said that it may or may not help. -___-").  

Over Friday and the weekend, I was drifting in and out of consciousness thanks to the anti-vomiting medication (which said would cause side effects of drowsiness) but I was still throwing up (that just shows that it didn't work out for me. :( It was the most horrible, down, miserable period for me then (I honestly felt life wasn't worth living at that point in time). I was drifting in and out of consciousness between trying to force myself to eat, trying to force myself not to throw up and just doing anything.

The bleeding stop on Sunday (thank goodness). 

Week 7 (June 16th - June 22nd)

Stayed in bed the whole week (bed rest was what the doctor ordered). Except for Thursday, when we popped over to see the OB/GYN. Saw our little one for the first time (in the A&E, they don't have the luxury of time to show you the screen. The doctor just checks to see you're okay and sends you on the way). We saw the little one's heart flicker (approx 140 BPM) and he/she was so small (just a shade over 1cm (I think 10.3mm)) that the heart took up most of the body space. It was adorable, magical and awe-inspiring at the same time. God is so good! 

I also visited my grandparents (after 2 weeks of not seeing them) and showed them the U/S photos. My grandmother was amazed that technology has advanced so much within these years. When she was pregnant with my mother (the oldest), she didn't even know if it was a boy or girl until the baby came out so my grandfather had to prepare 2 names (a boy's name and a girl's name). It also seems that I've inherited my grandmother's genes for morning sickness. Apparently when she was pregnant with my mother, it was so bad that she threw worms out (the worm was half white and half black). Ew... But with my aunt and uncle, my grandmother's pregnancies were alright (no nausea etc).

(Also, at the end of Week 7, I decided to stop taking the anti-vomiting meds. Felt SO much better! I would rather endure the nausea and the throwing up than be a zombie who couldn't function at all!)

Week 8 (June 23rd to June 29th)

Even though I stopped the anti-vomitting meds (and therefore, wasn't drowsy anymore), I was still really fatigued. I tried to make it to work this week but ended up failing on a number of days. Was too exhausted to speak/think. Ended up lying in bed, eating crackers and bread (only thing that I can almost keep down), throwing food/water up, watching videos and TV. Just lying in bed. If you know me, I'm not the lying in bed kind, I would be up and about and doing something. But I couldn't even drag myself to brush my teeth some mornings (it would be just before lunch or if I had to go to the loo then I would muster the effort to brush my teeth. #truestory I also wanted to stop taking the progesterone medication as that was aggravating the nausea so I called my OB/GYN and she said okay. 

It was a bad week, I threw up continuously and only by the end of the week did a force myself to garner enough energy to attend my cousin's hen night (24th June) and wedding (28th and 29th June). Luckily, I made it through the weekend wedding but socializing (too much stimulus for me) and the food (it was delicious but oily :() caused terrible consequences for Week 9.

Week 9 (June 30th - July 6th)

Because of all the oily food and overload of stimulus (too many people, smells etc), Week 9 was also one of the worst. I kept throwing up every hour of the day and had barely any energy to move on Monday and Tuesday. I threw up so much that there was blood again in the sink but I forced myself to drink water. (I didn't want to be dripped again :() By Wednesday, I was getting slightly better (eating only porridge, bread and crackers) and on Thursday, I had another scheduled OB/GYN appointment. This time, our little one measured 26.6mm and his/her heartbeat was now a fast 185 BPM. We could also see little stubs (for hands) and feet (like, actual tiny feet, too cute). Also, this little one was an active one, kicking furiously while we did the U/S. I couldn't feel it (it's only under 3cm after all) but it was adorable to see and Nick said it looked like a T-Rex (or a pig?!). (I prefer T-Rex. -___-") We also decided to do the 2 tests for Down Syndrome (the OSCAR and the HARMONY) and that's scheduled for Week 12 (terrified of drawing blood, but it has to be done anyway for the routine blood test). Now I have loads of supplements to take (pre-natal vitamins, Fish Oil Omega 3, Calcium supplements and the same Folic Acid and B6).

Both my parents and Nick's parents were super excited when we showed them the new U/S pictures (upgraded to grandparents status now so super proud eh) because the baby really has grown. And by the end of the week, I was seriously starting to feel better. I still stayed at home but I took it super easy, walked really slowly, talked slowly (didn't want to over-stimulate anything), ate only fish ball noodles/ plain noodles/ porridge for food and took my time to eat. (Reminds me of a time when I was in kindergarten and I took so long to finish a few tiny biscuit gems and my teacher embarrassingly called me a 'Princess' in front of the class. Way to go for embarrassing a tiny 5 year old). I still threw up most days (and again almost ever hour) but it was still bearable for me and my energy was slowly, very slowly coming back.

Week 10 (July 7th - July 13th)

According to my pregnancy app (I'm using this one), my nausea should subside by this week, and that the baby is growing features now (probably too tiny to be seen on U/S but it's there nevertheless). I downloaded the app once I knew I was pregnant and have been reading up every week on how the baby is growing (less so on the symptoms I'm facing because, let's put it this way, I have every symptom. -__-"). The nausea did subside for most of Week 10 but if I got hungry or had an empty stomach, I would still throw up (but mostly acid/air). Also, it seemed as if my energy level decreased as the week went on. Monday - Wednesday, I was energetic and stuff. By Thursday/Friday, I felt like I couldn't get through the day anymore (and by Friday afternoon, I was stuck throwing up the whole afternoon). So strange. The weekends went down well but I think I overindulged on Sunday night on tempura and soft shell crab (in my defense I seriously did not eat a lot, but it seems it was more than my body could handle) and that affected my Monday of Week 11.

Week 11 (July 14th - July 20th)

This week flew by. I didn't suffer as much nausea as the previous weeks. I did however, throw up every now and then and again, energy levels were good on Monday to Wednesday but that petered out on Thursday and Friday. It was a rather uneventful week and I tried to get early nights and more sleep in to balance out the fatigue that would set in come afternoon. (Another major event: I got my hair cut - just because it was getting too thick and long and now I look like when I was 16. It's a major event because just 2 weeks ago, I couldn't even leave the house without feeling like the world was spinning or feeling sick all the time. But I managed to have lunch with my mom and sister, cut my hair and see my grandparents! Anyway, back to my hair: it's a little too layered for my liking and I look Taiwanese or Korean now but I can't blame anyone but myself as I told the lady 'do whatever you want with my hair'. Dangerous words those.)

(By the way, everything above was written in bits and pieces when I could remember something, it seems pregnancy brain has set in for me too - during Week 10 - 12. I was too sick/nauseated before that to pen anything down.)

Week 12 (July 21st - July 27th)

(Writing this on Wednesday, 23rd July) I couldn't keep dinner down on Monday. I think it could be Monday blues. Or the fact that I usually over-indulge on Sunday (we ate an all you can eat buffet on Sunday night of Week 11) and the oil/too much food caused me to suffer on Monday. But energy levels definitely came back this week, I was running around the office and helping out with packing stock and everything! I hope my energy levels sustain till Thursday and Friday! At least even when I'm nauseated, I just regurgitate air and acid. So it's a huge improvement. And I've moved on from my plain noodles, I've started eating Thai food (without throwing up too much), a Tuna Mayo Subway (my favourite) and other things with rice. Go me. Also, we saw the doctor today (Wednesday) to do the OSCAR, the HARMONY and the routine blood test. So the OSCAR cost us $350, the HARMONY $1500 and the routine blood test was standard $60 from the hospital. So much money $$. Honestly, I was freaked about doing the blood tests (I'm just scared in general) but the funny thing is that I've donated blood in the UK before, 3 times. And apparently (the nurse was really nice in reassuring me), the needle for a blood donation is so much bigger than the needle for the blood test. So it didn't hurt (it was a pin prick but the needle coming out was a little more painful) and it lasted all of 20 seconds (or less?) but when I turned to look at the test tubes, she had extracted SO MUCH BLOOD. I didn't know that I could give blood so quickly. -___-" But luckily that was quick cos the rest of the consultation today was to measure the width of fluid space between the back of the neck bone and the skin of the baby. My bladder had to be full but not TOO full (I have discovered that pee-ing a little at a time is the hardest thing to do), the baby had to be lying down and the hands couldn't be covering anything. So it took me a good 2 - 3 hours of drinking water, peeing a little, walking around, doing the scan and then repeating all of the above. Luckily we finally managed to take some good readings and I got to see my little one so many times (I don't think I'll ever be sick of seeing my little one!) So the little guy/girl was moving so much and we could see the hands and the toes and the backbone and the face (omg, too much cuteness as everything was super small). This time, the doctor didn't give us the printout of the crown to rump length but I remembered it as 61.9mm and Nick remembered it as 69.0mm (it could be somewhere in between). So yep, the baby is almost 7cm. The baby app says the baby is approximately the size of a lime and it's pretty hard to imagine that lime could fit in me there.

(Update again on 01st August) So the day after all that above, on Thursday, the doctor rang me up. She went through the routine blood tests results and the OSCAR test results (they had come back quickly). My baby's chances of DS is less than 1 in 16437. The chances of an extra chromosome 18 and 13 are less than 1 in 20,000. So those were the good pieces of news. However, the blood tests results showed that I was anaemic (my red blood cell count was low) and she asked whether my family had a history of Thalassemia. I wasn't sure but I think my mom told me before that she was Thalassemic and that it ran in our family so I said, 'I think so'. Then she proceeded to tell me that Nick and I had to take a further blood test with the National Thalassemia Registry in KK Hospital (KK again!) immediately because if Nick and I both had the gene, the baby could be a major. If he/she was, there would be complications. Then she hung up the phone. After she hung up, I wanted to burst into tears :'( I called Nick immediately and we just sat there in silence until he asked me what Thalassemia was. So we googled it and found the article on wikipedia and from KK Hospital itself but it was very vague and didn't explain much. That whole morning went by in a blur, I had to tell his parents (and then after that I called my mom) and everyone was just in a shock or had no idea what to do. My MIL thought it was my fault for not eating enough iron/meat but I had to explain to her that it was a genetic inheritance. We made an appointment for the same day and managed to get slot in for a blood test at 2:30 (before which, we had to go to my gynae and pick up consent forms as well). So the nurse at the National Thalassemia Registry counselled us and told us every single thing about Thalassemia and the chances and the possibilities if the child had an alpha-alpha or a beta-beta or a HBe-HBe. Her talk went right over my head and it seemed like the more she spoke, the worst the outcomes were. (In the end, she was even suggesting abortion if the child had an alpha-alpha gene). [I'm not even sure if what I just said above was scientifically correct but long story short, it isn't good to be a Thalassemic major. Babies don't even survive for birth (stillborn) if they are an alpha-alpha. :(] The results will be out in 3 knuckle-biting weeks but until then, we really can't do anything but sit and wait.

The HARMONY test will be out in a few days too (it's a detailed chromosomal test for DS - chromosomes 21, 18 and 13 - and it also tells the X or Y chromosome of the baby so we'll know if its a boy or girl soon!)

On my weight/body: 

(Conception Stage - Just before I found out I was pregnant) I think I gained weight while I was in the US (probably from my pre-trip 47/48/49 kg to about 50/51/52 kg and then probably maintained it while I was in Japan although I definitely did not over-indulge in either countries. I wasn't too hungry over the month we were away and ate 3 square meals a day (plus some edamame and onigiri snacks in Japan).

When I went for my first OB/GYN visit at Week 7, they weighed me in at 50.5 kg. (In terms of throwing up, Week 6 was still alright and I managed to eat proper meals - instead of bread and crackers).

But end Week 6 - mid Week 9 was almost the worst part so far in terms of eating/nausea/throwing up. I survived on Jacob's Cream Crackers/slice toast and cubes of 'Laughing Cow' cheese. I couldn't even drink water. I had to sip water continuously because I didn't want to dehydrate (and would still throw it up after).

So when I went for my second visit at Week 9, they weighed me in at 49.9 kg. Apparently it's normal to lose weight if one was too nauseous but still, I'm a little worried. Also, there are no visible changes on my body (except that maybe my boobs are much bigger/heavier now). In terms of the tummy area, I get days where I'm bloated with gas and after a Number 2 the next morning, it's flat-ish again. But because I tend to have such a 'windy' tummy, I have a little bloat every now and then. But no real show for now. (One of my colleagues asked me at Week 8/9 why I wasn't showing -___-"). Also, my jeans are still falling off me (as they were when I was about 48/49 kg). Everyone (including myself) is worried why I'm not gaining weight.

(Writing this on Wednesday, 23rd July) So again, they weighed me in today at the doctor's. My weight is now 50.7kg (I've gained 0.8kg!). I'm just glad I'm at a healthy weight and that the baby is growing well (see Week 12). More weigh-ins to come!

(Update again on 01st August) So I haven't weighed myself yet (the next checkup is in a few weeks) but I really feel like my appetite has suddenly increased. I can eat 3 full meals now and snacks in between and I'm definitely not trying to cut back on anything so I'm eating well now. :) I've noticed a very slightly little bump near my womb area and it seems like even with a Number 2, it doesn't go away so maybe that's the baby? :) My clothes are definitely getting tighter but not tight enough that I've to buy maternity clothes so we'll see how long that lasts for! :P

On the thought of childbirth

I guess the scariest part for me now is childbirth. The pain, the agony of waiting, the PAIN. And the needles and the blood. Stories from my mom, MIL, aunts, aunts-in-law, colleagues and everyone who has given birth whom I've asked has basically had so many different experiences (even with the same mother, different pregnancies have brought on different stories) that it's so hard to judge. Some mothers were in labour for a good few hours (6-8), some for as long as a day (24 hours). Some had little or no pain at all (seriously! no epidurals!) and some were screaming at the doctor for the epidural (my mother). Some recovered quickly (2 days in the hospital), some took more than that (5 days). Some didn't even know what was going on before their child landed up in their arms (planned Cesarean) and some knew EVERYTHING going on (natural birth of course). I'm mostly scared for when it's my turn. I'm the kind of person that needs to know EVERYTHING before something happens (obviously, with pregnancy, the doctor can't tell you 'don't worry dear, it will be 5 minutes and it's over)) but I have to hand it over to God this time (I've never done something this terrifying before in my life I don't think) and let Him handle the situation. I'm praying for strength and courage and as pain-free and easy a birth as possible but when I get there, I will let you know (or maybe, I'll be too exhausted by that time that I'm not even sure if I'm going to blog after I give birth).