Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The fertility issue.

When I first started out my career as a nurse, I worked 3 years in a community hospital, mainly rehabilitating old folks with stroke / injuries and/ or special needs in their activities of daily living.
It was an amicable experience to work with old people, especially when most of them are adorable and I derived great pleasure disturbing those Grandmas and Grandpas and making them laugh/ grumble at my nonsense (no elderly were abused in my care don't worry).
However, I decided to have a change in work environment and switched to working in a gynae field, which was a dramatic change and not to mention, totally unrelated to my prior experience!

Some of my friends may know, I have been working with couples seeking fertility treatment, for slightly close to two years now.
Personally, out of the married couples I know (either relatives or friends), I can easily identify at least three out of ten who have problems conceiving.
Contrary to media reports that Singaporeans are not ready for children, thankfully for me at least, my married relatives / friends want to, or are at least trying to start families on their own, but a minority of them cannot conceive.

Lately, our gahmen has been trying means and ways to entice Singaporeans to procreate, but I think the problem may lie in infertility struggles.
Other than the costs of seeking fertility related treatments, which is actually heavily subsidised* by our gahmen, there is also the associated stigma and tremendous stress involved with infertility.
It's not easy coming out of the closet and admitting that you and your partner have problems conceiving, it's not a likely topic to be discussed openly over coffee with friends in our cultural context.
It may be easier to cite excuses such as, say, you are too busy with work / too young and not ready for committment / wanna enjoy coupledom before being tied down by children.
One couple I know gave the convenient reason that they both love to travel and kids would halt that, which they later on, after many years of marriage, confessed that they are seeking fertility treatment.
Afterall, two people meet, fall in love, get married, have sex and have babies (though sequence may not always be in that order).
It's the only natural human thing to do, right?

Apart from the social stigma, there is also the stress couples have to overcome.
They need to do a battery of blood tests and investigations before they are assessed to be suitable candidates for IUI/ IVF, and when they embark on the IUI/IVF journey, the woman has to do daily self-injections in preparation of the eggs stimulation. Apart from daily injections, she has to come back to the clinic every 2-3 days for ultrasounds and doctor reviews to track the progress of her eggs development. She will often be issued MC and / or Hospitalisation leave during the span of her treatment.
Is she prepared to deal with discomfort in her body and also to be away from work for approximately a month?
Even if she is mentally prepared for these sacrifices to her work and body, will her bosses be prepared for their staff to be absent from work so frequently?
Therefore, there are several deterring factors that couples may face in the journey of fertility treatment.

I do enjoy my job tremendously, and get great satisfaction when my patients come back to the clinic looking for "Veron" and showing gratitude when they test positive on their beta HCG!
When I was pregnant with Ashton, many of them congratulated me abd requested to rub my bump for some "baby luck". When I came back from my maternity leave some couples recognise me and tell me they've been asking for me and found out from my colleagues that I went to deliver already.
One patient called up to make sure I was on duty when she came back for her scans so she could buy me breakfast. So touched!!
They share with me their fears (a thousand things can go wrong between a pregnancy and a normal healthy live birth) as well as their guarded happiness, and I feel proud to be able to share the experience with them. I mean, they must value my duty-of-care enough to want to share such personal information with me!
Along the way, many of my patients became my friends and I realise they are just very normal couples who may be your neighbours, friends of friends, or even someone from online forums you visit. One couple became my friends and while chatting we realised the husband is from Fishing Kaki forum and had gone fishing with Andy before!
It is highly rewarding for me as I am a parent and I know exactly how it feels to be able to bear life.
Although I occassionally grouse about my naughty / demanding children; and their crying and whining make me 99.9% suicidal, but we all know at the end of the day nothing else matters more to me than for my children to be safe in my arms.

It is indeed an out-of-the-world experience to be a Mummy. I've dealt with blood and gore, vomitus and faeces, life and death, but still none of those lessons I learnt in nursing school prepared me enough for what my children have in store for me.

P.S. If you have any personal questions about fertility related issues, I'll be glad to answer you in anyway I can based on my limited knowledge.
*Conditions apply for gahmen grants and utilisation of Medisave for fertility related treatments.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Changi Airport Terminal 3

Unbeknown to all, we enjoy hanging out at Terminal 3.
It's a skip and hop away from home, parking is cheap at $2.50 per entry, and there are just so many eateries, shops, and activities for the kids, including a free playground and art corner which is worth a mention.

This past month, they have the Angry Birds event which many children are crazy about. It's actually ending tomorrow.

Adam dashing around at warp speed and making me see stars.

My helper took this photo with my DSLR! She's a fast learner.

Finger food anyone?

At the free playground..... 

While Adam was busy playing at the playground, I went to do my personal-needs shopping at the duty-free Watsons. I usually get my Hada Labo, Ardele lashes and various other drugstore brand makeup from there.

Hello Kitty travel items

Here are some shops which are my personal favourites at Changi Terminal 3:
- Watsons
- NTUC where I can do last minute late-night grocery shopping when I happen to be there
- Pushcarts outside NTUC selling affordable baby and children clothes
- Kopitiam food court where I always order the Hokkien prawn mee, Mee Rebus, Thai green curry and followed by ice-kachang and cheng tng.
- Ya Kun Kaya Toast

Friday, January 4, 2013

Quick dinner with Hubby: Chikuwatei Jap restaurant

We happened to be in town tonight after work / an errand run so we dropped by Mohd Sultan for dinner. I was still a little sick, therefore Hubby chose the only harmless food for me - Japanese.

We were at Chikuwatei.

Not in the mood to dress up so simply threw on whatever was in the clean pile of laundry:
Black satin blouse:
MDS Collections
Red cigarette pants: MNG
Bag: Balenciaga

Our sashimi platter served with fresh and thick pieces of fish.

Chawanmushi with prawn and fish roe.

I had the eel set while Hubs ate their beef.

It was an impromptu decision but nonetheless a good dinner.
The place wasn't crowded and the food arrived at our table very fast. I like.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Still under the weather

I've been sick for a week now.
I requested for a super dose of antibiotics from my GP, the kind which knock you out the entire day but when you wake up you feel like a brand new person altogether, but because I'm breastfeeding, my doctor says I should "keep things simple" for now and just depend on rest and vitamins and let my body heal by immunity rather than drugs.
Being sick but still having to tend to my two children, that's probably the hardest thing to do.
Of course, the festivities and feasting could have attributed to this, but so is my insane schedule I think.

Waking up twice a night to breastfeed, then up at 6am to get ready for work, reaching my in-law's after work for dinner and by the time we reach home it's 9pm.
By the time I settle down, bathe and play with the kids/ put them to bed, it's easily 11pm.
Then the baby wakes up another 2-3 hours later for a feed, then another.
Repeat cycle 100 times.

Little wonder I'm still sick.

I desperately need a solution for this.
Either I switch school for Adam to one near my own place and get my MIL to come over to help supervise the maid (so I can go home directly after work and shave a lot of time doing "nothing" at my in-law's), or I quit my job & be a Supermom  (which may result in lots of high-pitched screams and tantrums, from me).

I have to discuss this with the husband, though I suspect he's not too jazzed about the second option.
Right now, all I need to do is SLEEP... Fall into deep, therapeutic slumber. Good old-fashioned medicine. Sleep. Uninterrupted rest.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

0101: Dim Sum with my family

Hello everyone! What are you doing on the first day of the new year?
For us, we had Dim Sum and Yumcha with my brother and Aunt LY at Peach Garden.
Good thing we made a reservation because it was crowded everywhere.

I was lamenting about how I woke up this morning with sore muscles, and my Aunt LY, without missing a beat, said it's because I'm old and don't do massages often. That's why it's always good to be around family. Brutal honesty works sometimes.

Meet my younger brother. He is four years younger than me and is not married, no kids. He spends his time and money on trading stocks, playing PS3 and keeping late nights.
Which is very much like me except for the trading stocks and playing PS3.

Here comes the food, trolley style! Trolleys are fantastic - something like buffet where you choose and get your food immediately, but even better because the food comes to you instead. Saves a lot of time waiting for orders.

You know you're a Mom when you can multi-task. Feeding the baby and myself? No problem!

Sharing some family jokes.

My all-time favourite Peking Duck.
Their steaming piping hot Liu sha bao very geng! One poke by my son's little finger and all the Liu sha oozes out.
Adam's and my must-have!


Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve date with my husband

Today, being the Eve of a brand new year, my husband brought me out on a date.
Now, the odds of going on a hot date-for-two when you are a married woman with two young children isn't very high, so when my husband asked me out, I jumped for joy as if I've been invited to a prom.
I mean, a chance for me to dress up and hang out with the man I love!
We went to Pan Pacific hotel for high tea reception with couple spa that followed.
I love desserts, pretty pastries and anything sweet!
Being your typical meat-and-carbs kinda guy, this gesture is very thoughtful of him!

At the Atrium Lounge.

Very seriously ordering "proper" food for himself.

Oogling the pretty pastries and deciding which one to eat.

Cheers! To a better year.

After that, we went to St. Gregory Spa for our couple treatments. I opted for facial and upper body massage while the Hubs took the full body spa.
I'll be honest with you - I haven't had a facial in YEARS. My eldest is already 3.5yrs old and before that I was pregnant for 9 months, go figure.
To me, I cannot afford the time to lie down motionless for several hours without fidgeting and looking at the watch/phone, missing my children and thinking about the tons of stuff that needs done.
Yeah, my life is sad like that.


It was a good respite. After the therapist pressed and kneaded on my aging muscles, any trace of stress slowly melted away.
Thank you Hubby, for loving  and spoiling me.
"I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life" - Rita Rudner

We went home and found our two children to be on strike. Adam didn't nap for very long, and Ashton refused to take the bottle and, as usual, took revenge on my boobs the minute he had access to them.
I came back to a familiar territory - with toys strewn everywhere, rowdy cheering, tons of things waiting to be done.

"(24/7) once you sign on to be a mother, that's the only shift they offer" - Jodi Picoult.

Daisies flower bustier: yet another bargain hunt from Bugis Village for only $10!
Red skinny pants: MNG
Bag: Picotin PM
Shoes: Charlotte Olympia inspired Kitty flats **
** A friend is selling them for only $36/pair and they look exactly like the real CO's. Please email me if you'd like these, or click on the pink mail icon on the Top Right corner of my blog. Meowww~

I wish you and your family a brand new year with dreams fulfilled, happiness aplenty and lots of laughter all in good health! See you in 2013.