GA Script

Saturday, February 23, 2019

YEHWADAM- Brighten Your Skin the Korean Traditional Way

Hey guys! Am back today to share about this new skincare range that I've been trying out for the last month. Korean skincare products have been making waves in the beauty scene especially of the recent years, and it's all for good reasons!

Introducing to you guys the YEHWADAM Pure Brightening anti-ageing skincare line by THE FACE SHOP, which is specially developed to reveal skin's brightness and radiance by improving the appearance of pigmentations, dark spots, and dull skin tone.

To be honest, my skin has been suffering from uneven skin tone due to hormonal changes the past few months ever since I started conceiving! Many a times without the use of makeup, my skin will be visibly dull, with red patches on parts of my face especially around the t-zone and mouth area. I tried googling up on why my skin has become this way, and it's mostly due to the fact that there's a LOT of hormonal changes in my body which explains how my skin is going haywire too.

So I thought since it's due to the hormones, there's nothing much that I can actually do! It's not until I started trying this skin brightening range that I started seeing slight improvements on my skin tone, where the reds are slowly fading and my skin tone looks overall more even. So as much as many a times our skin acts up due to internal changes like hormonal changes, using the right products to target on our pigments specifically would help!

And one of the most precious things about this YEHWADAM Pure Brightening skin care range is that it is formulated using Korean traditional herbs using the 'Chill-baek-seol-yun-dan' method, with 7 different traditional herbs harvested in Korean soil that are processed using the 'baek-ja' method (where ingredients are heated for a long period of time in pure water to maximize the effectiveness of the products, and also to eliminate toxins in the extraction process.

The YEHWADAM Pure Brightening skin care range is packaged in these beautiful glass bottles, and comes in a complete set of Toner, Serum, Emulsion and Cream. Today I'll be sharing on just the Toner, Serum and Emulsion. Let's begin!

1. YEHWADAM Pure Brightening Toner, 155ml (RM149.90)

Look at it flow! ๐Ÿ’ง

This brightening and anti-ageing toner is light yet thick enough to be applied onto skin with just the hands or if you prefer, with cotton pads too! As rich as the texture is, it is pretty easy to be absorbed into the skin, and to me that's important cos we've got to time to wait for it to dry up cos we have 2 more skin care steps to go!

If you're applying the toner with your hands, I recommend pressing the toner right into the palm of your hands, and apply straight to your face evenly. What I like to do is to tap tap my skin to let the toner absorb faster!

2. YEHWADAM Pure Brightening Serum, 45ml (RM239.90)

After applying the toner and making sure that it's evenly and fully absorbed into skin, it's time to apply the next product which is the brightening serum! The texture of the serum is pretty rich in itself, so just a small pea-sized squeeze is enough for the whole face!

If you're wondering what's the use of serums and why the need for serum when there is already moisturizer, here's an excerpt from the Internet that I found which explains perfectly:

"Serum is a skincare product you can apply to your skin after cleansing but before moisturizing with the intent of delivering powerful ingredients directly into the skin. Serum is particularly suited to this task because it is made up of smaller molecules that can penetrate deeply into the skin and deliver a very high concentration of active ingredients. This makes them a great tool for targeting specific skincare concerns, like wrinkles." 

- Into The Gloss.

So there you go! I used to wonder why we need so many steps in skincare, and why the need for serums if I'm going to use moisturizer after anyway. But after being a user of serums myself for these past few years, I do see and feel the difference! Serums are not just for moisturizing but to specifically seal in certain ingredients into your skin, BEFORE you moisturize which is to primarily hydrate the skin. Serums can do a lot more than just hydrate and moisturize!

For serums and moisturizers, I like to press the product onto the top of my hand instead of my palm because I only want to use my fingers to apply the product onto my face, and not my entire palm if that makes sense hahahah. Massage gently onto skin, and then you're ready for the next step!

3. YEHWADAM Pure Brightening Emulsion, 140ml (RM149.90)

The third step is to MOISTURIZE! As much as toner and serum are important, moisturizing is just as important a step to ensure that our skin is properly hydrated. Being in air-conditioned spaces and rooms almost all the time (car, office, malls, bedroom, etc), it's easy for our skin to dry up without us even realizing until it's too late.

I used to not like applying moisturizers because the ones I used were pretty thick in nature and that made my skin feel sticky and uncomfortable all day. So for many years in my early twenties (yeap, I'm in the last of my late twenties now sob sob), I only used cleanser and toner. And that's it. I know, unbelievable. I liked how my skin remained dry and smooth and pride myself in the fact that I did not need any moisturizers. 

It wasn't until my skin started becoming very oily that even makeup foundations could not sit properly after a few hours and would start to discolour and melt.

I went to a few dermatologists and did some skin test, and found that while I thought I had oily skin because I had an oily skin combination, I actually had DRY skin which explained why my skin felt it needed to generate more oil to combat the dryness!

I got a big shock to say the least. Since then I've been diligently moisturizing and hydrating my skin, and things became normal and better again. So yes, learn from my silly mistake and don't skip any step in skin care! If you don't like the sticky feeling on your face, opt for lighter moisturizers in the market like this one that I'm using!

The YEHWADAM Pure Brightening Emulsion has a slightly lighter and watery texture as compared to the serum which is richer and thicker in nature. So a little pump can be used for the whole face! In the above photos I could even apply the moisturizer all the way from my hand to my arm!

After the emulsion/moisturizer, you can carry on with any other skin care product of your choice but do make sure that you end your skincare regime with sunscreen!

These days the products I use all have anti-ageing ingredients, and I can't emphasize enough just how important it is to take care of our skin by prevention instead of finding treatments when things go bad. The older we grow, the more we would need to invest in our health- diet, fitness, and skin care are some of the things that would treat you well in return if you take good care of them now!

You can purchase the YEHWADAM Pure Brightening skin care range from any of THE FACE SHOP outlets or on their website HERE, which carries many Korean skin care and beauty products!

That's all from me today. 
Thanks for reading and 'til the next post!

Love, Careen
This post in filed under Fashion and BeautyAdvertorials

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Baby No.2- First Trimester Symptoms and Milestones

Hello again! I'm back sooner than I expected. Felt like it was just a while ago that we found out that we're expecting our little miracle, and now, I'm back to share about my First Trimester! Which means I have successfully survived one of the toughest periods of the pregnancy! Somebody pop a champagne and drink on my behalf please! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿฅ‚

When I was conceiving Tyler, I had a tough First Trimester (first 3 months of the pregnancy) with all the nausea, vomiting after each meal, bloat, etc, and also quite a tough Third Trimester with water retention which causes my legs to swell after walking for 10 mins, swollen limbs, huge bursting belly, backache and so on. I actually thought long and hard whether the first or third trimester was more bearable, and I still voted for the third trimester to be more bearable despite all the discomfort. Seriously, the morning sickness throughout first trimester is no joke. And I was secretly hoping that this time around, it will be different and I would be free from morning sickness like some other lucky mamas out there!

But, no. I still had morning sickness. Is it worse this time around? Well, I get asked this question a lot and I honestly can't really answer cos both are really quite different.

1. Morning Sickness

With Tyler, my morning sickness was very predictable (which produced quite an orderly and OCD baby hmmm). Each morning I would vomit some ultra bitter bile liquid (cos my stomach would be empty in the morning), and then approximately 1 hour after each meal, I would know it's time and calmly walk to the nearest toilet bowl I can find to let it all out. I became such an expert in vomiting that I didn't have to struggle. I just open my mouth and vomit rainbows like a pro without making any gagging sounds at all hahahaha. I also had all the bloat and gas, backache, fatigue and so on, which I also do this time around but, it all felt different from the first time.

This time, I would say accumulatively, I do vomit less. And my morning sickness is not predictable or systematic at all (does this mean this baby is more random and spontaneous? ๐Ÿ˜…). AND, I have A LOT MORE GAS. Oh my goodness this may sound dramatic but seriously, I can burp perpetually. Naturally or by demand. Cos I just have SO MUCH GAS IN MY BODDEH. Where did all these gas come from? From the air I breathe?? I'm quite careful with the way I eat, hardly take cold stuff, etc but wow, they just keep coming and they never truly leave.

Sometimes I fantasize about deflating myself of all the gas by poking a needle into my skin to let out ALL THE GAS, just like how we release air from swimming floats. The image of that made me feel so good. And I would also dream about going for a hot oil massage that releases gas immediately as they massage me, and I can just let go huge farts and burps while they massage me. And then that's it, that's the end of my gas suffering. I am back to normal. WHAT A DREAM.

Having a lot of gas in my body means that I'm constantly bloated, which means that I almost never feel hungry because I have so much gas in my tummy, my body thinks I don't need any more food in my system. And as long as these gas are still making my tummy bloat, whatever I eat or drink will bounce back out eventually (like, 30 mins after the meal? I would feel miserable and nauseous until I let them all out). You can imagine that they can't really go down or be digested cos there's this stubborn layer of gas that is preventing anything from going down.

So it came to a point where I had to clear the gas as much as I could first before each meal by going to the nearest toilet bowl (at home, in my office, public toilet in the mall, you name it) and forcing myself to gag and let out hugeeeee burps and vomit whatever liquid is left in my tummy. Many times the session would end with the nasty ultra bitter bile that I would literally shiver and be in tears cos they're soooooo bitter.

But this doesn't mean that I'll gain my appetite after all the gas is out too, cos not all the gas are out. They never truly leave fully, remember? So I would feel slightly better cos less bloated in my tummy, but still lose my appetite and would slowly force-feed myself cos I gotta eat, else the whole cycle happens again. If I'm left hungry for too long, gas builds up and yeah, you get the drift.

This time, though I vomit less (in frequency and volume) compared to Tyler, I do feel slightly more miserable. Because during Tyler I still had appetite to eat. I would crave for certain cuisines like Korean (Kimchi, Korean BBQ, the sesame oil and salt dip), Indian cuisine (Mutton Briyani, Butter Chicken, Banana Leaf Rice), and Thai (OMG just everything Thai). Food like steam fish (and fish in general), cheesy stuff and western food would put me off, and Asian, spicy, savoury food would make me happy.

This time, I have no cravings. I am indifferent and lukewarm towards any food because I simply have got zero appetite. Many a times my family and friends would ask me to decide what to eat cos I'm the pregnant one with cravings. But I told them I have zero cravings so just choose somewhere and I'll be fine, as long as I put food in my tummy. For someone who loves food and value a good appetite a lot (I literally don't snack before meals because I love the feeling of hunger and actually enjoying my food), it's a very sad situation to not enjoy food. I literally "Eat to Live", as opposed to "Live to Eat" as I normally do.

When I go out to eat, the first question I ask myself is, "Will this produce more gas in my tummy?" instead of, "What do I feel like eating today?" And it's a miserable situation to be in. So I've been praying that this will soon be over and I'll gain back my appetite and at least have some form of food craving.

Towards the end of my first trimester, I DID start to have some cravings. 
Guess what they are?

Salmon sushi. Salmon sashimi. And UNIIIIIIIII.


Me: Bee, do you know what would make me happy right now?

Boon: What bee? *eager to find out*

Careen: Cold Somen at Bref by Darren Chin.

Boon: CANNOT!!!


2. Fatigue

In terms of fatigue, I really prayed that I would have more energy than my pregnancy with Tyler, and thankfully I did. Still sleepy and tired all the time, but at least I'm still able to hold on and summon more energy to get through the day if I needed to.

With Tyler, I was sleeping ALL THE TIME. Also cos I had a lot less commitments. I stayed at my parents' place most of my first trimester cos Boon was posted out of town for work, so my routine was literally -> Wake up, vomit, have breakfast, feel energetic and reply a few emails thinking today is different and I can accomplish many things today, suddenly feel sleepy and strengthless, lug my heavy self for a short nap, two hours short nap later, late lunch, vomit, do some work and sleepy again, nap for another hour or so, dinner, vomit, energetic for a few hours, supper and sleep again.

This time, I don't have such luxury at all lol. With a growing toddler who just started school, I can't afford to sleep in even if I wanted to. By hook or by crook, I gotta wake up at 7.30am to drive him and Boon to school and work, go somewhere to have breakfast (before I bloat again), get work done while waiting to pick Tyler up. 

Breakfast-work situation.

By 11.30am I'm usually hit with a wave of sleepiness but I can't sleep and drive so no choice gotta stay awake. Usually while driving to get Tyler I'll feel nauseous so I would have to stop by the roadside to vomit under some trees in the school neighbourhood.

If I go to my parents place, I would have the luxury to nap a little (can't nap more than an hour or two for this pregnancy which is quite sad cos I love long naps!), and get work done in between while Tyler is taken care of. On other days when I send him to my in laws', I would go into the studio for appointments and they're usually back-to-back cos I would try to schedule them within a few days so I get to rest more on other days. No matter how nauseous I still gotta keep it in, and no matter how sleepy I still gotta power through each and every appointment with all the energy that's left in my system.

But I'm not all iron pregger lady too, though I wish I am. I usually take quite a lot of back-to-back appointments on Saturdays so that means no nap at all for me that day, and I would suffer the consequences cos I would feel even sicker and have trouble waking up the next day for church. Seriously we skipped Sunday service two weeks in a row cos that happened. I just couldn't muster enough strength to go anywhere, and needed a few more hours of sleep to feel normal again.

Besides Morning Sickness and Fatigue, I also have the rest but they pale in comparison. Occasional backache from sitting to standing, peeing all the time, stretch in my lower abdomen due to expanding uterus, swollen boobies, dry skin and lips were just but some of the other symptoms from this first trimester.

Overall, I'm just glad it's come to an end and I'm slowly but surely feeling better and eating better too.

All the rants aside, I wanna remember and celebrate the achievements from these 3 months!

Survived and nailed a high intensity photoshoot by One Way Tix with a high energy toddler amidst nausea and fatigue on full swing (I was about 8 weeks pregnant). The dolling up and posing in heels took more effort than usual ๐Ÿ˜…

Just so grateful that I managed to stay up late enough to celebrate Christmas with my friends (until 2am!)

And enjoyed a nice Christmas dinner with the family
(though I wished I could have enjoyed the buffet spread a lot more).

Stayed up to welcome 2019 with these people! Though I must say I really suffered the day after cos slept at 3am hahahaha. Preggers really got physical limit one ๐Ÿ˜‚

Fake first day of school lol. It was a long story (refer to my IG Stories highlight for more info lol)

After-school sweaty mess and choc milk reward for the first few days of school (only).

Tyler's masterpieces of two weeks, taken during Parents Orientation day!

Settled into our new family routine with a newly schooling toddler! Slowly embracing it but still missing my morning sleep-in. No more for this mama for another 10+ years with schooling kids ๐Ÿ˜‚

 Survived and nailed another high intensity shoot, this time a video shoot for Signature Market! They needed Tyler in a few scenes too which included strolling with him in the park and swimming in the pool *phew*. It was indeed very tiring but I was just glad that the team was super nice and efficient, and I had my boys with me the whole shoot.

Got a new haircut! As much as I loved my nice, long hair, it was getting too heavy and uncomfortable. It became even more of a burden to maintain on top of my physical discomforts and daily commitments, so I decided to chop them off and now I feel FREEEEEEE! Thank you Jason from Number 76 Midvalley for the easy breezy haircut ๐Ÿ’›

Using a lot less shampoo and conditioner, a lot less time to blow dry and style my hair, and a lot less hair falls. WIN! ๐Ÿ™Œ

Beginning to slowly regain appetite towards the end of the first trimester, and just grateful that I can start enjoying food again like a normal human being :')

Entering into the second trimester also means...


Had one bowl at least twice in a week when I was pregnant with Tyler, and his skin was indeed really smooth and healthy. So this time, I'm continuing this Birds Nest supplement hoping that Baby No.2 will also have nice skin!

We went for our 12-week check with a new gynae this time! Trying out this gynae highly recommended by friends, and liked him on our first visit.

Here are some milestones for Week 12:

1. Baby was 5.5cm at Week 12

2. Everything looked good according to the doctor 
(placenta, amniotic fluid, baby's measurements, etc)

3. My cyst of 5cm was down to 3cm.

I didn't mention this previously but during my initial pregnancy scans, doctors found a 5cm cyst in my womb along with the pregnancy, which I didn't have prior. One of the gynaes I saw previously even made an insensitive remark that the cyst was bigger than my baby (who was only like 1-2cm plus at that point), whom we never went back to. I was quite affected though I was told it was common (cysts that develop from ovulation and stayed on during pregnancy), and might go away as the pregnancy progresses just as what happened with some of my friends. I guess no matter how common, knowing that something foreign is somewhere it's not supposed to be still bothers me.

But I got over it after a while and had the peace and assurance that I'll be okay. It'll be great if the cyst will reduce in size and eventually disappear as the pregnancy progresses, but if the cyst is still going to be around, I prayed that it wouldn't affect me and the baby is any way at all. Just sit there and be a good cyst ๐Ÿ˜‚

So when we heard from our gynae that the cyst is measuring at 3cm now, and from the looks of it will disappear in time, we were relieved to say the least. Hearing that and knowing that baby is doing well, I'm just thankful and happy. Thank you, God for your protection.

And this was us (me and baby) at Week 12! Don't know why the photo on the right looks like I'm so pregnant but maybe it's the angle lol.

Making a conscious effort to take more photos this time around though I really don't feel like it. 
I just wanna watch Netflix and sleep ๐Ÿ˜‚

Okay that's all from me for now! We're excited for the months ahead cos it's CNY, and we're moving to a new studio space for The White Atelier AND we are going for our Babymoon!! 

Can't wait to share more.
Okay going to nap now! ๐Ÿ˜ด

Love, Careen.
This post is filed under PersonalPregnancyFamily

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Year 2018- Started with PCOS, Ended with a Miracle

July 2017

We were on our much anticipated trip to Istanbul-London-Paris. I was excited, we both were. Tickets were booked quite in advance, and we worked hard prior to the trip to make sure that we would truly enjoy it. And so when it came to the trip itself, I was wondering why I wasn't feeling as happy as I thought I would. I mean, I'm in London! One of the most beautiful cities in the world, and one that I grew up wanting to visit. But there I was, feeling slightly under the weather, low in energy, weird cramps, bloated tummy that looked like I was pregnant. Wait, could I be? Traced back on my period app and it didn't seem likely that I would have hit the jackpot but then again, anything could happen. Maybe this is one strong and resilient sperm that stayed alive for more than 6 days.

Brought up the possibility of pregnancy to Boon and we started thinking of all the what if's. What if I really am pregnant? Then we started discussing the age gap of 2 years plus between Tyler and his sibling, and how we would need to restructure our home furniture and make changes to our lifestyle with two kids. There was a lot of positive vibe and there I started wishing that this "pregnancy" was real.

Two days passed with me feeling the same way. Still under the weather, yet no signs of period. By then my period would have been delayed for close to a week already. Couldn't enjoy myself without feeling the pressing want to just get to the drug store and just buy that pregnancy test kit for a peace of mind. And so in the end we went, bought that Clear Blue that cost a bomb (cos that was the only brand available), and tested when we were back in our apartment.

It came out negative. And suddenly, a wave of disappointment overwhelmed me.

But why? I didn't want to get pregnant yet. At least that wasn't in our plan. We wanted to have a 3 year gap and try after our trip. So yes, we had time. We could still afford to enjoy the next few months as a family of 3 before starting to work on it.

It took Boon a while to console me and talk me out of my disappointment. That was when I realised, that I was more ready than I thought I was.

August 2017

Returned from our trip refreshed, but faced with piles of work that needed attention. And then it was the year-end wedding frenzy that started from August all the way til the end of the year. It was our first year end wedding frenzy as a new business, so lots to learn and discover along the way.

October 2017

Took the initiative to get my first ever pap smear done. Just wanted to make sure all was good with my body before we started trying. Heard quite a lot of good reviews from friends on the female doctors at Klinik Wanita Metro in SS15 Subang, so I went and book myself an appointment.

Got my results within a week. Doctor said my report was good, all clear and good to go.

I was relieved. This meant that I'm healthy, which is a peace of mind that I never had cos I never did a pap smear (Oh, only one a month after giving birth. Almost 3 years ago!). And that also meant we could start trying anytime!

November - December 2017

Then came the last two months of the year. Hectic work aside, it was also the two most happening months of the year for us. We have our wedding anniversary and my birthday in November, and Tyler's birthday and Christmas celebrations in December. All these year end celebrations would definitely include some drinking so this mama thought, let's just give ourselves two months to settle all the busy year end work and relax a little before trying in January.

So we made a short trip to Bangkok to celebrate our anniversary, and this was one of our photos that I shared on Instagram which garnered super a lot of attention and question marks cos everyone thought I was pregnant (thanks Boon's hand!), and it somehow went into Explore Page and hit some 120,000 views on this photo alone. Crazy!

I remember telling myself, well this pose will soon be legit.

Then came the time to make my birthday wish, Christmas wish and write my New Year's Resolutions. And it was all down to the same thing- To get pregnant in 2018. Not greedy, only one wish.

January 2018- The Moment of Truth

The new year has arrived! Excited about all that 2018 had to offer. Had lots of good feeling about what's to come and how our lives were going to change for the better.

Since this was the month that we wanted to start trying for a baby, I was looking out for signs of ovulation. And one of them was cervical mucus or discharge that I'll get to indicate a fertile period. According to my period app, the fertile period was around the corner.

One night I felt something and excitedly went to the toilet and looked out for the said discharge. A normal discharge/cervical mucus would be whitish in colour, but mine was different. It was red. A 50 cent coin-sized red, fresh blood.

That was unusual. My period was just about over a week ago, and isn't due until another week or so at least. As per usual practice, it was Google to the rescue. Searched up on bleeding in the middle of a cycle and turns out, it's a thing. Mid-cycle Bleeding is indeed a thing, which is caused by a wide array of possible reasons which include stress, hormonal changes, diet changes, PCOS, cysts, fibroids, menopause, cervical cancer and many more. Which category did I belong to? I don't know, but what I did know was that something was off, and that I needed to see the gynae first thing tomorrow.

Made an appointment with Dr Suganthee from Klinik Wanita Metro, and she did a transvaginal scan for me. The moment the scan was on, she said, "Oh, you have PCOS la."

My heart sank. PCOS? I know PCOS. I have quite a number of friends who have it, and they all struggled to get pregnant. But I already gave birth once. How could I still have PCOS if I already managed to get pregnant and give birth before? In fact, I just did a check back in October and I was all good. When did all these suddenly appear? And how? Why?

All these questions clouded my mind while Dr Suganthee's words echoed in the background.

"See all these tiny, tiny things surrounding your ovaries? These are small cysts, which are harmless but what they do is that they make it harder for your eggs to come out and be fertilized by the sperm. But don't worry it's very common. Come, let's sit down and I'll tell you more about it."

I cleaned up and got dressed, all while feeling like my world was crumbling down. Little by little.

Dr Suganthee explained to me about how PCOS can affect any female from the age of 16 onwards all the way until menopause hits, and that it can happen at anytime. She told me that she had PCOS after giving birth to 3 kids at the age of 44. So it really is more common than we think.

Knowing that it's common didn't help me feel any better honestly. I asked her one question that I was dying to know- "Is PCOS treatable? Can it go away, or is it for life?"

She looked at me with a smile and said, "It's not curable, but it can be managed with the right lifestyle. Which is why you cannot gain weight, and you need to start exercising few times a week, and eat healthier. Try to manage your stress levels, and don't stress about getting pregnant. Come back again the next time on the second day of your period to take a blood test to see how severe your condition is, then we decide if you need medication. I'll see you in a month's time."

Boon and I walked out of the clinic in disbelief, with a thousand and one questions on our minds. We certainly did not see that coming. Though PCOS isn't something life-threatening as compared to other conditions, it still affects my lifestyle from now on. I'll need to watch my food intake, and purposefully make time to exercise few times a week? Where do I even find the time to do so given my demanding roles as a mother and business owner? And manage my stress more? I don't know how to do that given that I have chosen to go into one of the most stressful industries ever.

And worst of all, it affects my fertility. At that point the first thing that came to mind was,

"God, you're joking right. Just when I wanted to start trying, I face this roadblock right in my face."

Just when I started feeling cynical about my situation, I quickly snapped out of it and instead told Him, "God, it mustn't be a coincidence. Of all months that I get PCOS, it's the month that we decided to start trying. God, I don't know what's going on but I need you to take care of this. I want to get pregnant. In the meantime, I'll do my part and all that I can to realign my lifestyle. But I need you to take control."

That was what I said to God. We tried keeping a positive spirit about the whole situation, and carried on with life until the next time I saw Dr Suganthee.

February 2018

It was Chinese New Year, one of my favourite celebrations of the year. But this year, I dreaded family gatherings slightly knowing that we will be asked questions like,

"So when are you trying for number two?"

"Faster give Tyler a sibling, see how lonely he is. Later he doesn't know how to share anymore"

"Don't drag too long, later the age gap is too big and the kids won't be close"

"Two years gap is the best"

"Don't wait too long, later you will get too lazy to try cos you will get so comfortable with your lifestyle now"

"Faster get second baby already, later when you get older a lot of complications and your body will recover slower and harder to lose weight"

All these questions and remarks were thrown at us unsurprisingly, and I put on the most diplomatic face and smiles and just said, "Soon, soon", and "We're working on it", just to appease them. As much as I mentally prepared myself for them, deep inside, every word still managed to make me feel lousier than I already felt.

We spent the first few days of CNY up in Genting, and that was when my period came, so we missed the boat to go for the blood test and had to wait another month.

There, another month wasted.

March 2018

Waited for my period to arrive, and the moment it did, I made a phone call to Dr Suganthee's clinic to make an appointment for blood test.

Went into her clinic the following day, did the blood test and waited a week for the results to be out. Collected the results a week after, and true enough, I really did have PCOS. But the good thing was that it was at a very preliminary/low percentage. So no medications or hormone boosters needed, just a couple of health supplements recommended by the doctor for me to take for overall wellbeing.

Again, same thing. I was advised to start working on my weight and fitness. I was 52kg at that time and had been for the longest time ever since giving birth to Tyler. Doctor said there was nothing wrong with my weight and that my BMI was normal and healthy, but I just couldn't get any heavier or else my hormones will be affected. Looks like the fitness life has chosen me.

After that day, I Googled for the best supplements to take, and went to buy Omega fish oil, Vitamin B6, Saw Palmetto, and Folic Acid since we're sorta trying and no harm starting early. I added on Calcium and Magnesium as a side since I'll be starting exercises more frequently.

I also started Googling a lot about PCOS. The list includes,

"PCOS success stories"

"Symptoms of PCOS"

"How PCOS can affect lifestyle"

"Best food for PCOS"

"Best supplements for PCOS"

and more "PCOS success stories"

I was glued to my phone, desperately in search for some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. I spent hours a day reading forums of PCOS patients getting pregnant in the end. But many added that they had miscarriages in between and that really scared me. Googled more and it says PCOS patients have 30% higher chance of miscarriage. And I really didn't want that to happen.

That was the point that I was truly shaken. Borderline depressive and crying myself to sleep on most nights. It was a dark place.

May 2018

Signed up for GuavaPass along with some of my girl friends, and went for classes 1-2 times a week. I really enjoyed the classes though it meant really taking time off work earlier just to work out. On days that I would be staying back in office late to work, I now spent them with my girls working out instead.

And that was nice. All those high intensity workouts that made me sweat buckets really did help me take my mind off things. I became less affected by my condition, and became happier and lighter (both emotionally and physically).

I would get bleeding after an intense workout though. Sometimes just small drops of blood stains, sometimes a lot more. Googled (again) and apparently PCOS patients shouldn't be doing workouts that are too intense cos this bleeding thing would happen. Wow, so I need to workout and lose weight but I can't workout too hard. Life is tough.

But yes, I did shed some weight and got my period back in order. Honestly it wasn't even bad to begin with. My period would always arrive within a few days and never longer than 1-2 weeks, but now that I was losing some weight (lost 2-3 kgs within a few months) and diligently taking my health supplements, I was getting my period on the dot every month. Little milestones along this trying journey.

Oh, I must mention that I started going on Intermittent Fasting since end of February cos I was going to be Adele's bridesmaid and I needed to lose weight or I would be the fattest bridemaid on the block. I started slowly losing weight since then, by eating only within the window of 8 hours, depending on what time I had my last meal. Usually I'll stop eating at 9pm, and start my first meal at 1pm for lunch.  I also purposefully cut down on my rice and carbs intake too. That, coupled with workouts did help. I had been at 49-50 kgs since then.

Honestly, my weight loss did not excite me. I was never bothered by the number on the scale anyway, but now that my condition forced me to take note, each kg dropped meant I was closer to my goal. My pregnancy goal.

Yes, we were still trying. Bought a bunch of ovulation kits and started really charting my fertile days (never did all of these while trying for Tyler at all). Business growing on full swing + frequent intense workouts AND diligently trying for a baby meant I was dead on exhausted on most days. But nothing worthwhile comes easy anyway right? It was going to worth every effort.

September 2018

Hello, yes we're still here. Still unpregnant.

The past few months were spent buying more ovulation kits, and throwing away more negative pregnancy test kits.

Certain months, we really did try on those said fertile days. On other months, Boon fell sick so we missed the window. Or we were just really tired. Bottom line is, we were still unpregnant.

It was on Sept 1, Boon's birthday. We were attending I Am A Futurist conference in church and all excited to hear Pastor Erwin McManus speak for the first time. I was hanging around with some friends when I suddenly felt a gush of something coming out of me. It was near ovulation period at that time so I was hoping those were a gush of cervical mucus/discharge that indicated fertility. I dashed to the washroom, sat down and saw my panty filled with fresh red blood. Mid-cycle bleeding, again. But this time, it was so much that it scared me.

Quickly got myself a sanitary pad from one of the girls, and then Praise and Worship started.

Told Boon about what happened in the washroom, and he quickly gave me a big hug. That was when tears streamed down my face, all while I was still clapping and trying to mouth the lyrics to the song.

And then the worship song came on, and I just started crying uncontrollably. I felt defeated, and silly that I've been putting my hopes up so much just to be discouraged again and again. And I felt scared that this was going to be a cycle forever.

Period- mid cycle bleeding - keep on trying - another month of period - mid cycle bleeding - and the cycle continues.

I felt exhausted. Physically, emotionally and mentally trying to motivate and psych myself up every single month. To balance between trying, but not expecting too much. Hoping, but not expecting. How does that even work?

The following day, we checked into Hilton KL for a short staycation for Boon's birthday. I remember thinking whether to have wine during dinner, but I thought, ahhh you know what. Let's just drink a little.

After that I did feel slightly guilty for drinking because, what if I was pregnant? Would it have affected things? 

It was obvious that as long as we were still trying, I was still hopeful.

It was Sept 16, Sunday when Rev. Wayne Chang came to speak at our church. He is one of my favourite speakers for his sense of humour and also how firm and uncompromising his messages are.

That day he spoke about stepping out into the bold, something motivational and inspiring, but wasn't really quite related to the season I was in.

And then it was prayer time, and he started calling out a few groups of people to be prayed for- specifically people who have one foot shorter than the other. There were tons of people who came out to the front to be prayed for, and pastor and our leaders were busy laying hands and praying for all who had the condition.

All while that was happening, he picked up the microphone and said, "I also want to pray for this lady who has been trying for a baby for a while now. You've been trying and you're almost giving up and planning to visit a doctor soon. I just want you to know that God will give you the baby. Just don't give up. And I will see you and your baby when I come back next year."

I started tearing, and eventually sobbing. Gladys was beside me and when she heard that prophecy, she came over and gave me a firm side hug. No name was mentioned but I had the peace in my heart that the lady Rev Wayne was talking about...was me.

After service I spoke to a few close friends who saw me crying and shared about what I've been going through, and I also opened up and told Pastor Kevin that the lady Rev Wayne mentioned, could be me. Indeed I was planning to see Dr Suganthee again in the next few days.

Without a doubt, he pulled me over to Esther excitedly who then led Boon and I to Rev Wayne. We told him that we were the couple he was referring to, and he prayed over us. After the prayer, he told us that we needed to relax and enjoy the process. In my mind I was like, yea I do that. Well, at least I tryyyyy not to stress and really enjoy the process.

But he said, we need to really do it out of love, and not because we're working on getting pregnant. We do it because we love each other.

As much as I already knew that (head knowledge), I made sure I kept that in mind.

Went to see Dr Suganthee for a follow up check on the second day of my period, with the intention of maybe doing another blood test to see where my PCOS level stands now. I just needed that little bit of assurance that there are improvements, no matter how slight they were.

Instead, Doctor suggested that perhaps all these trying and no results could be due to the fact that I'm not even ovulating. Which made sense, because just when I'm supposed to ovulate and show signs of discharge, I get mid-cycle bleeding instead. Which could possibly mean my eggs were flushed out along with the bleeding. And I hardly ever spot any discharge ever since I was diagnosed with PCOS.

So she suggested that I considered taking one round of Clomid and see. Clomid is a medication that helps females ovulate, and I thought, why not? Asked a ton of questions again on whether or not Clomid is safe, etc but Dr Suganthee assured me that she has helped many of her patients get pregnant using Clomid, and as long as I follow her instructions carefully there wouldn't be any side effects. She also suggested that Boon goes for a sperm test just to see if the problems lies squarely on my fertility, or that the condition of his sperms also contribute to the equation.

So Boon scheduled for a sperm test a few days later, while I went on Clomid from the 3rd day of my cycle to the 7th day. Dr Suganthee put me on a 50mg tablet, once a day. In the process I read up A LOT about Clomid to a point I felt like a Clomid expert already.

Clomid did have its side effects on me though. I felt extra tired and sleepy, bloated, dizzy and overall just lacking enthusiasm to do anything. All of which were normal side effects of taking Clomid.

Went back to see Dr Suganthee on the 12th day of my cycle to see the progress of my eggs and whether or not I am ovulating this time. She did a scan on me and true enough, my eggs were growing well. She said there was one huge one on the way, so it's a good sign. I'm ovulating!

Then she said, alright get dressed. Now we have a bigger problem to discuss.

I was like, damn what could it be? I thought she just said all was well?

Went back to her desk and she walked us through Boon's sperm test report. It wasn't looking too well. His count was good, speed of sperm (lol don't ask me) was good, only one problem:

Sperm motility was low. A normal average of healthy looking sperm (with proportionate head, body and tail) is 4% from the test sample. But Boon's one were only a mere 1%.

She quickly assured us that she has had many patients who made it with that 1% too, and were conceived naturally but it may take time.

That really set me back quite a bit. Boon was still being the positive one as he always is, but me? I was losing it.

Just when we saw progress and improvements on my fertility and period cycle, another roadblock surfaces. God, when is this all going to end?

Doctor went on to telling us about the possible options we could consider if we still don't get pregnant after a while, and shared about how IUI and IVF works, etc. All while listening to her explaining, I was thinking to myself, I can't believe that we have gone to the stage where we needed to consider fertility treatments. We're both young and relatively healthy, but why us? Especially when we want a baby so badly. Of all people.

Health supplements that can help with sperm health and regeneration were suggested, and Dr also gave some for Boon to take. She said sperms regenerate every 3 months, so if we want we can start trying again after 3 months.

Another 3 months? That will mean the sperm will only regenerate after December, and we can only try then? There goes my only wish for the year to ever come true.

We both left the clinic on a low note. Boon was for some reason still chirpy (or at least trying to be so that I don't feel as bad), but I was just down. He apologised for his condition and promised to buck up on his food intake and health supplements, which made me feel even worse that he feels the need to apologise. This isn't anyone's fault, but truly what does God want us to learn out of this?

Boon asked me to choose what to eat that would cheer me up, and honestly I had zero appetite whatsoever. In the end we chose Japanese at Rakuzen, and I remember having a yummy, but sad meal. I couldn't even smile or hold a proper conversation.

October 2018

Came a new month, and despite the sperm test results previously, I still had some form of hope that we might still miraculously make it. Since I was on Clomid (and that my eggs were huge remember?), I thought perhaps, just perhaps, there might be a slight chance.

Furthermore, I was feeling all sorts of symptoms approaching my period- bloated, full of gas, constipation, loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, you name it. I was 80% sure I was pregnant because if not, where did all of these symptoms come from? It couldn't have been psychological even if I wanted to bluff myself, because it all manifested physically. 

I bought a couple of pregnancy tests kits to try 5 days before my period was due, and tried every single day. All negative. I went online and search for forums and read that some mothers had negative pregnancy tests all the way until week 10-12. So maybe I was just like them?

It was the 20th, the day my period was supposed to arrive. I tested on that morning before my appointments. I remember dashing to the nearby pharmacy and bought one, rushed upstairs to my office toilet to test before my full day appointments started. Still negative. Told myself that maybe I'm like one of those forum moms.

Came afternoon, I felt something. Checked and lo and behold, my period came.

Put on a brave front, soldiered on for the rest of the day filled with appointments.

For some reason, I felt the peace of God and I told God to take control. Full control. We have tried our best, did our parts, and now only you can make it happen. In your own perfect timing. I totally surrender now.

November 2018

My favourite month is here! After a while, I started feeling better and less hung up on what we were facing. I was very determined to make November my best month, and I really didn't want to allow any of my feelings get in the way of having a good time with my loved ones.

The month started with our 6th wedding anniversary celebration! Since we had no time to make an overseas trip, we decided to just go with a nice staycation at one of the hotels in the city. Boon asked me to pick one and it was a no brainer that Ritz Carlton would be it. I remember working as an usherette for an event back in my uni days for an event held at Ritz Carlton, and was so mesmerised by the interior of the hotel. And I remember telling myself, one day Boon and I will stay here, as guests.

Checking in to the hotel felt like my dreams were coming true. We had a very slow and relaxing one night stay- took my time getting ready and dolling up and went for a really nice dinner at Bref by Darren Chin (which Boon planned secretly and asked Wei Zhi for advice along the way hahaha), and a slow and nice breakfast buffet the next morning, followed by sunbathing by the pool with a book. It was a break that I never knew I needed. And I'm glad we spent a lot of quality time together, just enjoying each other's company. No agenda, no rush, no purposeful baby-trying.

It was back to work, and then another trip to The Majestic Malacca to celebrate my birthday, this time with Tyler in tow! A much less relaxing trip when you bring a toddler along, but it was still a good family holiday together.

For some reason, I slept quite a bit throughout the trip. I didn't think too much cos we didn't exactly try try this month, and I didn't manage to track my ovulation at all this time. So I really had zero clue as to whether I might get pregnant or not. Thought maybe I'm on a lazy, zen mode so I feel extra sleepy.

When we checked into the hotel, we napped before heading out for dinner. The following day, we (well, I) napped after breakfast and before checkout. During lunch I had low appetite and felt nauseous, but blamed it on the mid-day nap that perhaps ruined my appetite.

You see, after all the pregnancy symptoms from the months before where I was so sure I was pregnant, this time, some small sleepiness and nausea didn't ring any bell for me cos it could just be another false alarm, again.

On Nov 19, it was a full day celebration for my birthday in advance! Started with Aquaria KLCC with my boys, followed by surprise birthday lunch at Oribe, and then a dinner with my church friends at night. Our church leaders had a year end celebration where our beloved Pastor Kevin cooked for us right from the kitchen of Maria's Steakhouse. It was clear that there would be quite a bit of drinking that night, and since it was so near my period (which was due the following day), I thought I better did a pregnancy test just to confirm things.

Bought one, tested in the toilet of Sunway Pyramid, and nope. Negative. Told myself, oh well it's okay. Another month for me to still enjoy my drinks (though what I really wanted was a baby instead).

Went for a nice foot massage, and headed for dinner. Had a little more than a couple of drinks, and poured out about my current condition to some of the girls who asked. They gave me a surprise birthday cake too! Ended the night sleepy and tipsy, but happy.

It was Nov 20, my birthday! We had a long day planned ahead, but my period was due to arrive today. I asked Boon on whether I should bring along a sanitary pad, just in case my period arrives. He said, "No, don't bring. Have faith that you don't need it." I was like wow okay since when my husband so full of faith! I was impressed and honestly quite touched by it.

I remember telling God, "God, this year it's either I get my period on my birthday, or the best birthday gift from you."

Of course, I was just playing around and did not truly expect it. I 

We went for a simple lunch at my favourite Black Canyon, and off I went for a 90 minute aromatherapy massage. Yes, all I want for my birthday every year is a good massage. 

Went home to nap, and got ready to go for my favourite Nirvana Banana Leaf rice, followed by brownie birthday cake at Acme, and then off to church for Leaders Meeting. Ended the night with some birthday bubble tea with Cheryl, Michelle and our families. Still no period, but well, maybe just a normal 1-2 days delay.

Nov 21, also another special day because it was Tyler's trial class at this new school we wanted to enroll him next year! But woke up feeling nauseous and felt like throwing up. Could it be due to the drinks the night before? Oh well, no harm just doing a pregnancy test since I still have a few.

Dashed to the washroom, peed into the container, placed the stick onto the container and went on washing my face, brushing my teeth, etc.

Went back to look at the test and wait a minute, this looks different. Is it that it's too early in the morning and I'm seeing things? Is that a faint second pink line I see?

Stood there eyeing on the pregnancy test and slowly witnessing the second faint line appearing bolder and bolder. For someone who has been so used to seeing just one, cruel solid line on the test kit, to see two lines (whether faint or not) is a miracle. I couldn't believe my eyes. Does this mean I'm finally pregnant?

All while this was magical moment was happening for me inside the bathroom, Tyler was throwing a huge tantrum out in the living room because we woke him up way earlier than his usual timing. He was extra uncooperative that morning, but that did not affect me at all. I was feeling floaty and walking around in utter disbelief. I'm pregnant.

Was thinking the whole time on how to break the news to Boon. I wanted to make this a special moment for him, so I waited until we dropped Tyler off to school and went up to my office because I needed to take some stuff. It was the perfect opportunity because we were alone and had all the privacy to celebrate the little miracle.

Moments before breaking the news to him, with the positive pregnancy test kit inside the envelope.
Someone was clearly unaware of what was to come.

He couldn't believe it. We were both still in disbelief, this time in a good way.

Our little celebration in the office. The feeling was unreal.

It was 10am, and we wanted to get a Clear Blue to test just to make sure it's legit. But deep inside we already knew that we were pregnant. Still, we wanted to be double sure, and so we dashed to IPC and got ourselves a Clear Blue.

I was starving so I ordered breakfast while waiting for Boon to get the kit from the pharmacy. We both couldn't wait to finish our breakfast cos we really wanted to see the words Pregnant on that RM40 Clear Blue stick.

And so we headed to the nearest bathroom for the disabled, and I peed on the stick. Those few minutes of blinking on the kit felt like hours. We were both like excited teenagers eager to find out our exam results. Nervous, excited, and scared at the same time.

A few moments later :')

Pregnant. 2-3 weeks. Those words felt unreal. Everything felt unreal.

This excited papa taking photos of the Clear Blue left right center.

We're legit pregnant :')

As per tradition, we went to the nearest baby store to get a plushie for our new baby. We did the same when we found out that we were pregnant with Tyler, and got him a cute little zebra toy.

So this time, we did the same and got our new baby a cute little Jellycat!

We broke the news to our families when we met them within the following week, and went for a scan few weeks later to ensure that we see the pregnancy sac.

Couple of weeks later, we did another scan and saw baby's heart beat.

It's real this time. We're really pregnant.

It's been a trying journey. One whole year. But God is good and faithful. And He did make my wish come true after all, right before the year ends.

I've learned a lot throughout this journey, and one of the key takeaway is that I've grown in my FAITH a whole lot more.

I wrote this after a brief moment with God. As I was walking in the office carpark after work one day, I asked myself, "What if I really don't get to be pregnant by this year?" And then these words came to my mind,

"Just rest in the assurance that God is God. He has the BEST PLAN."

Shared this on my IG Story that very day, and felt an immense peace within. That was the week before my birthday, before I found out about the birthday gift that God had in store for me.

It is truly when we have Faith and totally surrender into God's hands that we can have true peace within. And when we surrender and let go, only can God perform His wonders and miracles.

"Perhaps all the waiting is preparing for us a story to tell"

Sorry for such a wordy post, but I really wanted to take time to do this for myself. To journal all of my thoughts and feelings, so that I can read back and remember God's faithfulness in my life.

And if you're like me, struggling with fertility and getting pregnant. This post is written with you in mind. When I was struggling with PCOS, I found myself searching for every glimmer of hope that I could find online. Success stories, words of encouragement, inspirational quotes, real life testimonies, just anything that could help me feel a little less helpless, and a little more hopeful.

I was yearning to read a story like this, something detailed that could make me feel like I'm less alone on this journey. Yes, I had Boon and my amazing family and friends who made my journey easier, but many a times when you're alone, just you and your thoughts, it can be a very dark and lonely place.

But it doesn't have to be. To be honest I've been sleepy as heck and all I wanna do is lie on the bed, but I really wanted to finish this post (tho it took me days) because I want this to encourage somebody who needs it. I was that person, who looked at inspirational quotes on Instagram and Pinterest and clung on to every string of hope. Who clung onto the word and promises of God and meditating on them day and night.

If you need a listening ear or have got any questions about PCOS, or simply just need somebody to hear you out, I would be more than happy to be that person. Feel free to reach me on my Instagram DM or email, whichever you feel more comfortable.

If God can perform a miracle for us, He can do the same for you too. Just keep having FAITH, and don't give up.

Okay it's a much longer post that expected. Time to go for now! Thank you all for your well wishes and love sent along our way. Looking forward to sharing more with you.

'Til then!

Love, Careen.

This post is filed under Personal, PregnancyFamilyThoughts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...