Becoming A Mother – My Birth Story

After signing off my last post on a happy note, just a week later – at the 26 week mark of my pregnancy, our world was yet again thrown into a whirlwind of tumultuous events.  It was at my next ultrasound appointment that it became apparent that something was now happening with Twin B, the smaller baby of the two. What I thought would be a very normal appointment after what we had just lived through, became the inciting incident of the next part of our story.

My sister and I were sitting in the private waiting rooms – the rooms where the doctors come to talk to you after each appointment. I remember us thinking that the appointment and the time we spent waiting was running longer than usual, a lot longer than usual, when the doctor finally came in. He spoke to us in a very calm and collected manner, saying that the babies were still growing fine, but there was a concern with Twin B. He had extra fluid in his stomach that should not have been there and the doctor didn’t have a reason as to the cause of it. Immediately following this conversation, we both agreed that the best thing was for him to admit me to the Foothills Hospital for further observations. I would have time to go home and pack and the Labour and Delivery unit would be expecting my arrival.

The Foothills Hospital is a place that shows its experience well. The room that I spent almost an entire week living in was from another era – if only the walls could talk. During that week, I was frequently hooked up to monitors to assess the heart rates and movements of the babies. I quickly became adept at telling which baby was doing the moving. There were daily ultrasounds performed to monitor any changes and I was given steroid shots to support the development of the babies’ lungs in case the decision was made to deliver early. A doctor from the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) came and talked to me about conditions that presented itself like this and again, gave me scenarios with different endings – some only slightly positive and some ending with carefully chosen, but dreadful words like ‘making the baby comfortable.’ At the end of the week I was able to go home as there were no changes in the ultrasounds and as long as the fluid wasn’t increasing or spreading to other parts of Twin B’s body then there was no imminent danger to the baby or the pregnancy.

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25 Weeks Pregnant With Twins – My Story


As you have probably noticed from my lack of blog postings and a missing time period of almost six months, there have been some changes unfolding in my life. I started the year off determined to dedicate it to myself and taking chances on things that I always dreamed of doing, but could not have taken the risks necessary to live through it by how my life was situated before – it was a dramatic turning point for me. However, a few months into the new year and I was pregnant. Somewhere in my plans of big life moments, I always knew I would be pregnant or with my first child at the age of 30. I am now 29 and 30 is just around the corner in August.

My pregnancy was not as unexpected as it might have been – we were trying and at the same time not trying. We just let things happen as they were and indeed things did happen! Although becoming pregnant was a possibility, I was a bit taken aback by the words “Pregnant” that flashed up on the fancy digital pregnancy test that I purchased for fear of misreading the lines. The test even gave an estimate of the time of conception, mines was somewhere from 1 – 2 weeks ago. In the minutes that I glimpsed those words, I froze. My life was changing in another direction – forever. What have I just done?

Evidently, the road map that I laid out for the year was to be put on hold. Early doctors appointments soon followed. The most anticipated appointment was during my 9th week of pregnancy for the dating ultrasound. This would be the first time I would lay eyes on this little thing that was supposedly growing inside of me. In the weeks leading up to that appointment, I was always filled with concerns and as I now know, those feelings never cease. Anyhow, I arrived at the appointment alone (my sister had dropped me off before running errands and my man had work that he couldn’t put off – being a business owner) and laid myself down on the table in the dimly lit room. There was a screen mounted on the wall before me, where I got to see exactly what the ultrasound technician would see. The warmed gel was spread across my belly and I started to get anxious, nervous butterflies started flittering from deep within and then the screen lights up with images. The technician was silent as she continued to move the camera methodically around. A blurry, greyed-out image appeared on the screen and I see something beating – I’m sure it was the heart. There was my baby, almost indistinguishable to the untrained eye.  Finally she spoke, telling me there were two babies inside of me. She proceeded to show me one with it’s heart beating strongly, moved the camera to the other side and showed me the other one with it’s own heart beat. I was having twins!

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Lemon Curd Shortcake for Valentines


Lemons remind me of spring and clear skies – feelings of ease and contentedness. I never really appreciated lemons for what they were, besides its’ cheery disposition of colour, I never understood its’ taste. Often overwhelmed with sourness and a little bitterness, I could not understand its’ appeal. I later learned that it wasn’t the lemon itself that was to be esteemed, but what different flavours the lemon was able to enhance – without the lemon, the taste would not be the same.

Life brings us the good, the bad and the mundane. I think it’s the lemons in our lives that give us flavour and determines whether or not that moment in time is deserving as a memory to be relived upon in years passing or as a memory for us to build upon and grow from. Lemons alter our flavours – our paths, our personalities. These lemons in the end, determine what we taste like, just the perfect amount and we are neither too bitter or too sour – too much and we are exactly that.

With Valentines coming up, I wanted homemade sweets that actually came from a labour of love. There’s nothing fancy about my recipe (I am a complete novice at baking), but as you can guess, the feature ingredient/flavour is LEMON.  Everything was made from scratch, from the whipped cream to the shortcake and lemon curd. My darling man (for reference, nicknames I have given him are: darling, boo, hubby, husband…) ate two big pieces after dinner. I was beyond pleased when he made the suggestion of how I should bake cakes and sell them as a living. Completely ludicrous to me, but I’ll take the compliment, also he did later regret eating the two pieces – we were supposed to share, but I only managed a few bites.

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A Woman’s Boudoir – A Boudoir Photo Shoot

“It was a woman’s bedroom, actually a boudoir, and no man belonged in it except by invitation.”


As much as I enjoy my man and all the things he does for me, I decided to gift myself a boudoir photo shoot. For the longest time I pondered over it and two years ago, I finally did it. I already had a clear vision of the type of photographs I wanted, so it was an easy choice for me in deciding which photographer to work with. As with all things that I choose to surround myself with, I wanted the images to be simple, timeless, elegant and with just enough provocativeness to not go overboard into a different genre of photographs.

Mostly, the women that decided to go ahead with getting boudoir photos done, was as a gift to their significant other. I almost felt silly that I was doing it for myself, but I wanted to somehow preserve my beauty in its current state, imperfections and all. I wanted photographs that I could retrieve from a dusty hat box that had long been forgotten, at the very back of the very top shelf of a closet and proudly admire myself in that one exclusively intimate moment of time.

To this day, I have only shared one photograph of the lot with my man and only I have had the pleasure of viewing the images. Even though I am QUITE n-e-r-v-o-u-s of this, I thought it time to finally share a few of these, in hopes that I will spark a thought in you. ALL women should have at the very least ONE boudoir photo worthy to have tucked away in a special place to marvel at, whenever the mood strikes. I think being a woman is such a magnificent thing and all women should be enamoured with themselves, wholly and completely – inside and out.  I advocate self love – love yourself before you love anyone else.

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Chinese New Years Eve with Portuguese Sweet Bread


Happy Chinese/Lunar new years eve! Tonight will be spent with family over dinner, at my childhood home, that lucky enough, my parents still live in, where the age of the home is starting to show through every time I visit. Since no longer living at home, I do miss the overwhelming smells of oil, sauces and spices of traditional Chinese cooking. Needless to say, anytime I visit, my parents always want to spoil me with food – the way some parents show love.

Chinese new years was definitely one of my favourite holidays growing  up, not just because of all the lucky money we would receive from family, but because you got to spend time with aunts, uncles and cousins you rarely see. Playtime with cousins was the greatest, playing whatever games we made up with whatever silly rules we could come up with. Such freedom and creativity that runs wild in a child!

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Thoughts On Being Dressed, When Undressing


“…it is still to a woman’s advantage to give as much thought to undressing as she does to dressing.”


We give so much effort and thought on our attire and general appearance when stepping out the door and yet do not give enough of the same to when we are in the comforts of our own homes. I often find that as soon as I arrive home from work or am under the assumption that I will no longer be leaving my house, I trudge up the stairs and slip into the comfiest of clothes – a pair of sweatpants or pyjama pants and a t-shirt (most likely something I claimed from my man’s wardrobe – he’s got so many, he probably doesn’t miss them, right?).

These ‘outfits’ aren’t the most well put-together and definitely not the most glamorous. I sometimes don’t even bother changing out of it in the morning, if I have no where in particular to be. While far too shameful to admit, I have grown accustomed to this habit. This is such a bad thing! With my intention to better myself and to further embrace my femininity, I have decided to be more deliberate in what I find myself lounging around in at home.

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In my latest daydreams of being somewhere charming, full of character and invitingly warm and my endeavour to learn what I can about my man’s cultural background of Portuguese/Azorean, I came across a simple, (new to me) way to drink coffee. I have a fondness for simplicity.

The recipe for galão is as follows:

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Madame of Elegance


M ost people call me Karen, a handful of close friends call me Yen. Yen (燕) is my Chinese name, pronounced in Mandarin and is the name of the Swallow bird. It is symbolic of Spring, feminine grace, beauty, happiness and good fortune. On the blog I write under the pseudonym of Madame, but you may address me as Karen, Yen or even just as Madame, whichever is best to your liking.

I am an introvert and so naturally find it easier to speak through written words. I stutter at times, struggling to find the right words to verbalize my thoughts and feelings. The funny thing is that up until the age of six, I was a chatter box and you would not be able to shut me up, no matter how hard you tried – I always had something to say. It’s not that I ran out of things to say or share, I think somewhere along the path,  I just couldn’t share them out loud. So, here I am ready to bare all that I am on Madame of Elegance.

I recently quit my job of a little over six years of which I studied for in school, obtained licenses and professional designations for (I went to school for finance and have my Certified Financial Planner designation (CFP®)). I came to realize that although the finance world was fascinating, the corporate world was not built for someone like me.  I was at my wits’ end, at the very limit of trying to bend myself this way and that way to fit into a mould of society’s creation. I could stretch no further. I could not wake up another day searching for joy elsewhere, after each tick of the second hand on the clock.

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