Countdown to Joash's 6th Birthday

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Countdown to Jayna's 5th Birthday

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Countdown to Jaide's Birthday

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Countdown to Joram's Birthday

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Long Story

So many people have been asking me about my Facebook status updates regarding my health, but it is so difficult to explain the entire turbulent journey in a few sentences. This is why I decided to tell the whole story here in the hope that my loved ones can understand what I go through.

It all started a few years back when there was a sudden marked decrease in my energy level. I thought that it was simply a matter of ageing, but I couldn't shake the feeling that it was more than that since it wasn't a gradual change. I even went to the clinic to check my thyroid, just in case, but the test came back fine.

Then, I found out that I was pregnant. I was very shocked because the vision God had given me showed only 4 children. Already utterly exhausted with caring for the existing kids, I was simply too busy to do anything about my discovery. I didn't even have the chance to tell anyone about it or go to the gynaecologist. Two weeks later, I started spotting. Since I spotted before in my previous pregnancies, I did not think of it as a big deal and continued to run the crazy daily schedule. After a couple of days, I miscarried. 

I was devastated. I thought that I had lost the little one because I didn't take care of myself. Worse still, I feared that I had wished him away with my state of denial. The guilt was so heavy that I couldn't talk about it at all to anyone else.

Half a year later, a CG mate noticed that I seemed to be having an emotional meltdown about once a month. I had initially thought that I was simply burnt out and losing patience dealing with all the stress. However, the regularity of the occurrences seemed like too much of a coincidence. She suggested that I might have been having PMS. I was taken aback because all along I was only plagued with severe cramps during the first 2-3 days of heavy periods but I have never been especially irritable or emotionally affected before the time of the month. 

Another change brought the matter to a head. I began having ovulation pain too. It was a foreign concept to me until I researched online and found out that it was actually a thing. My CG mates encouraged me to go to see the doctor. After a few trips with scans and tests, one doctor suggested that I was probably suffering from hormonal imbalance. She prescribed hormone pills and all the symptoms disappeared! This proved that her diagnosis was accurate. That was when I plucked up my courage to ask whether that had anything to do with my miscarriage at the beginning of the year and she said yes. Apparently, hormonal imbalance causes infertility and miscarriages. After hearing that, I finally felt relieved of the burden in thinking that it was my fault losing that child. Thus, I continued with the hormone therapy for almost two years which kept my health stable for a while.

The next thing I knew, I fell into depression. To combat it, I made many lifestyle changes which included doing away with the hormone pills. Sadly, after my depression got better, the symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance came back with a vengeance. I tried to put myself back on the pills but it triggered a massive depression episode. I realised then that it was the hormone therapy which made me susceptible to depression in the first place. 

Hoping to find an alternative solution, last year was spent making multiple expensive hospital trips to see if the doctors could help me. After scans, tests and procedures, the verdict was this: there was nothing more they could do for me. The next step they suggested was exploratory surgery which has no guarantee of improving my condition. The risks outweigh the possible benefits. I stopped going back to the hospital.

Currently, during every ovulation, I'll experience lower abdominal pain and emotional upheaval for about a week. I will have PMS a few days before my menstruation and have cramps for about yet another week. This means I am basically enduring pain and feeling weepy half the time. On top of that, my ailment also causes chronic fatigue. No amount of sleep and rest can recharge my battery. I can't even properly enjoy myself doing fun stuff because I tire too easily. 

At the moment, I am coming to terms with my health condition while trying out supplements recommended by friends. There's not much improvement so far but it might help after long term use. Who knows?

All I know is that God is there for me. He does not condemn me for my reduced capacity even though my children find it hard to understand my limitations. I thank God for a loving husband who has been faithful to pick up the slack and took over some of the household responsibilities and the care of the children whenever I get incapacitated. I'm learning to be a human being, instead of a human 'doing'. I am slowing down my pace of life and I no longer feel guilty taking care of my needs first. At least, the children are older and more independent now. I want to truly appreciate this season of my life despite all these physical challenges. I am counting my blessings.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The SCO Experience

I have never dared to bring the 4 kiddos to the theatre for an artistic performance because of the sheer cost of paying for so many tickets and I am not confident I'd be able to enforce proper etiquette in such a sophisticated environment. Therefore, my children have not heard or seen a professional full concert band, Chinese Orchestra, ballet or musical performance before. 

As we were heading home for dinner from West Mall, I realised that the SCO was doing sound check for their evening gig under the tentage. The seats were obviously empty since there was still 2 hours to go before the actual thing started. I quickly asked the kids to sit down at the first row behind the VIP seats. We had just been to the library so the older three were very much self-entertained reading books. I left Joshua to look after them while I took Joram (who is still too young to be contented to read for an extended period of time) home with me to bake the sweet potato chips the children requested. Thankfully, they had a heavy tea break so the chips would be enough as dinner for them.

Joram and I came back just in time for the performance. The weather was pretty cooling since it was drizzling slightly. It was a luxury to be comfortably seated with the best view, listening to the orchestra music while munching on baked chips. You sure can't do that in the theatre! The best thing is, it was all free and there was no need to travel all the way to town to do it. What a delightful evening!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

What's in the purse?

Recently, I have been made aware by different friends on separate occasions that despite the deceptively small size of my bag, I actually have A LOT of stuff in it. Out of curiosity, I decided to do an inventory check of what I have in it. 

Size of bag in relation to me

My bag can also be classified as the bona fide Mummy's purse, since most of the stuff are children-related. For example, I would hardly have any need for first aid if I don't have accident-prone children with me.

I have a stash of first-aid / emergency items:
1) Plasters of all sizes for different types of wounds
2) Eye-drops
3) Lozenges 
4) Lip balm
5) Small container of moisturiser cum antiseptic cream
6) Medicated oil
7) Sewing kit

Next, mealtime and grooming equipment purely for the kids:
1) Wet wipes
2) Food scissors
3) Hair clip
4) Comb

And then there are things to do with kids' entertainment:
1) Mini colour pencil set complete with eraser and sharpener
2) Tiny toy vehicle
3) Note pad for drawing
4) Candles and lighter for birthday cakes

The following are necessities with regards to what I do very often as a homemaker: bringing the kids to the library and grocery shopping. Although we can now use the phone app to borrow books, I prefer to let the children do their own borrowing with their library cards to cultivate independence. The foldable recyclable shopping bag is a must to reduce the use of plastic bags. However, when it comes to cooked food or wet items, there's still a need for plastic bags. That explains the existence of the two blue handles which make it easier to carry multiple plastic bags without them cutting into my palms.

Finally, here are my personal belongings:
1) Wallet
2) Handphone
3) EZ Link card
4) Hair-tie
5) Dental floss
6) House keys
7) My own medicated lip balm
8) Spectacle cloth

Over time, a more items were added to the purse out necessity:
1) Bag clipper - for unfinished packets of snacks
2) Olaf led light - to search for things in the dark and double up as a toy
3) Measuring tape - useful when buying clothes and household items of specific sizes, which can also be used as a toy :P
4) Pen - can't believe that in this time and age, we still need to fill up paper forms!
5) Tiny nail clipper

I actually found this mini screw-driver that have 3 different heads. When assembled together, it takes up almost no space at all! You can tell its size with the 5 cents coin as a reference. 

As the kids get older, Joram grew bored of the small milo truck so I replaced it with a mini train that comes with flashing lights. I also got him a tiny calculator in the shape of a biscuit which I can also amuse my older children with.

Sometimes I forget to bring a red packet to be used for birthdays, house-warming and CNY love gifts. Now, I won't have to worry about looking for it last minute because I have one in my bag on standby. In fact, it even has a dual function. These cute My Little Twin Stars envelopes have stickers on them which can be used to reward or entertain the children. It is so creative of the manufacturers to come up with something like that!

Lastly, I recently discovered this white 3-in-1 mini fan that comes with an in-built flashlight and acts as an emergency power bank too.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Last post about Jaide

Yet another child has graduated from my blog! With Jaide entering primary school today, I am now officially left with only one preschooler: Joram. I am approaching the last lap of my homemaking journey and hoping to return to the workforce part-time 2 years down the road when Joram goes P1. I look forward to that day with eager anticipation. 

Thank God that Jaide has learnt how to read and write adequately enough, in time for this new stage of her education. Physically, she has grown much. In fact, she couldn't fit into the new school skirt I bought two months ago! In the end, she had to borrow her older sister's skirt to wear to her first day of school. *facepalm* As for her maturity, she has much to improve on, especially with regards to listening to instructions and obedience. Still, I harbour hope that God will continue to mould her character in time to come. 

I pray that Jaide will be able to demonstrate well her leadership skills in school and learn how to be less reckless and wilful. May God watch over her as she explores her various capabilities!

Here were the last posts about Joash and Jayna.