Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Bloody Long Wait

Earlier this week, I was due for another antenatal check-up in the hospital. As scheduled, I was supposed to do a glucose/sugar, HB and First Tri-Semester Screening (FTS) tests. I never had any glucose nor FTS tests before so I didn't know what to expect.

I came to the hospital at around 8.30am starving because the glucose test would require my blood and urine samples taken when I was still fasting from the night before. The first thing I did after registering my name to the hospital was heading straight to the laboratory. Since it was not even 9am, I didn't have to wait too long until my name was called. The laboratory staff asked me to collect my urine sample. When I was done, I came back to the laboratory and the same lady drew a blood sample from my left arm. Meanwhile, I checked with her if she was taking my blood sample for all the three tests as per written in my appointment card. She nodded.

Up to this point, I thought that once my blood sample was taken, I could start eating some breakfast. I hate eating out of schedules because I have gastric problem. Fasting had definitely ruined my eating routines and I didn't appreciate that. I already packed, of course, PB bread plus a banana from home (what else?) and planned to gobble them right the lab staff drew my blood. I estimated that I could start eating my PB bread and banana around 9am max; then wait for my turn to see the Gynae. I had all this mapped out so well for days.

The yucky glucose water.

After the lab staff took my blood sample, she asked me to drink some clear water that was placed in a medium-sized paper cup next to me. She instructed me to finish this drink until the last drop then continue fasting until 10.40am. I shot her a quizzical look and she raised a smile. Fasting, again? I could not believe this. Moving on, I had no choice but accepting my fate to fast for another two hours despite my growling stomach and began drinking the water. God... One sip of this drink and I had pounding headache already. The drink was so so so crazy sweet! It looked like the lab staff used 100gr of sugar : 100ml of water ratio to produce this liquid. Sickly sweet J.Co doughnuts are way pale in comparison to this drink. I attempted to negotiate with the lab staff over the amount of the sugar liquid I could drink but she responded "Must finish it." Anyway, I drank slowly. Too slow until this lady asked me to continue drinking outside the lab and come back to see her when I was done.

I sat in the bench just in front of the lab. After few sips of this drink, I started gagging. Many people passed by the lab and some bothered to look at the miserable me. One middle-aged auntie approached me and asked about dr. Lee Ming. I didn't even know who this doctor was. 20 minutes later, I was still sitting in the bench quietly while holding the cup with one hand. How? I was not done yet with swallowing the acutely sweet water. Somehow it was easier to gulp down a bowl of TCM tea that has been slow boiled for 3 hours. I gave up, braved myself to find the same lab lady and showed her the cup with half of the sugar water still inside. She was so shocked that I still had not finished the drink because by right, I should consume the whole drink fast, not slowly.

I insisted that I would not be able to finish the horrendous glucose water because I started having headache and feeling very nauseous by now. Apparently empty stomach and a gross drink didn't go along very well. She talked to one of her colleagues then both of them met me outside the lab. The guy advised me to sit still and try not to vomit until the next blood and urine tests.

While waiting for my next round of blood and urine tests, I seated myself in a bench located just in front of the toilet. I was worried that I would vomit any time in public place hence the strategic seat. I regret not carrying any Minyak Kapak in my bag because the headache still lingered and could only massaged my temples to relieve the throbbing headache.

A couple hours later, I dashed to the lab again to take the urine sample container and so the lab staff could quickly draw my blood again and I could eat! This time around, she mentioned that my veins were so thin... She pricked a needle on my left arm, tried to move the needle a bit here and there for two minutes but to my horror, no blood was drawn. Imagine that... I suffered for nothing. Not long, she tried her luck with my right arm and thank God, she managed to take some blood out of it.

Done with the lab business, I walked fast to the hospital's cafeteria because I was famished by 11am. I deserted the idea of eating my PB bread and banana and settled for a plate of fried rice, which came out a tad overly salty than normal.

My salty late breakfast.

After I had my late breakfast, or brunch, I rushed back to queue for the Gynae. I was under the impression that I didn't have to wait too long to see her because my queue number was 10 and I had been in the hospital for more than 2 hours already. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Her nurse informed me that the Gynae was heading to the OT and would only be seeing patients again after 30-45 minutes. Whoah! Beat that.

On separate note, the long wait in the hospital had given me ample time to flip through some articles in Health Today and Forbes. I even remember one of the world's 20 most powerful women in business featured in the Forbes magazine that I read that day was the first female CEO of IBM, Ginny.

Alas, after waiting for about an hour, the nurse asked me to come in. My Gynae told me that my glucose test came back negative, despite the fact that I didn't finish the glucose drink for the test, and I won't have to repeat the test again. Yay to this. Next, the Gynae scanned Baby #3 and we were so happy to see the baby moving actively in the womb. We actually saw the baby jumped several times in the womb. My husband said the baby must have known that Mommy and Daddy came to see him/her hence the happy dance. My Gynae did quite a thorough scan to check the baby's head shape and fortunately, it looks good.

There.. there.. my little rainbow.

Baby #3 was 5.42cm long earlier this week, has limbs and strong heartbeat too.

While I was waiting for my hospital bill, my Gynae's nurse suddenly ran to me and questioned "Are you sure the lab staff also took your blood sample for the FTS?" I hurriedly put in "Yes! I was informed that the lab drew my blood for that purpose as well this morning." "Can you let me know which staff told you so because apparently they didn't take your blood sample for this test although it's already written in your card."  This was obviously another WTH news of the day after the glucose water. What nonsense is this?

Puzzled, I followed this nurse marching to the lab. Further check with a lab staff I had not encountered earlier revealed that the lab didn't collect enough blood sample of mine for the FTS thus they had to prick my arm one more time. #facepalm 4 needle pricks in one morning and bruised arms too. Beat that again. I guess I am simply so fated with syringes and needles this year.

Anyhow, I hope that the FTS result comes back normal!��

Monday, November 23, 2015

The First Three Months

The first few weeks after we discovered that we are expecting another baby were coloured with anxiety, gagging, gulping hormones tablets, resting, watching my diet and taking injections.

Week 5

Since I had another mild spotting bout a week after my Gynae confirmed my pregnancy, she asked me to bed rest for at least 2 weeks, regularly consume both progesterone and estrogen tablets as well as take progesterone jabs. Initially, the progesterone shot was given to me on weekly basis but then I was asked to take the jab once every 3 days, which moving on was administered by my selected neighbourhood doctor so I didn't have to queue in the hospital just for the jab.

The progesterone shot given to me was an oil-based depot injection that's harder to be placed into a syringe thus the need to use a bigger needle when administering it. Every time my Gynae had to administer the progesterone jab on my buttock, I always shouted "Ouch!" very loudly because it was really painful. The jab left a bruise at the injection site and it was very sore for the next 3-4 days. Taking the progesterone injection once every 3 days means after the bruise on my right buttock recovered, there would be another bruise on my left buttock. In summary, my buttocks were very painful (alternately) for about 2 weeks because of the after-effect of the progesterone jabs.

Week 6

While I thought that I didn't have to take any more injections, because my Gynae said she would not be giving me any more progesterone jabs during my Week 6's antenatal check-up, she took another type of injection out from her cabinet. She explained that she was going to administer this injection in the fat area of my body like my stomach or thigh. After looking at my non-fatty thighs, she decided to prick the needle on my stomach. Further, she asked me to take this injection once every fortnight by myself. I quickly told her I didn't have enough guts to do the injection myself so she taught my husband how to administer the injection on my stomach. Jesus... It was even more painful to be pricked in the stomach. Good thing is that, the after-pain of this injection lasted for a minute or so, not days.

Baby #3 at 6 weeks.

Curious, I asked my Gynae what injection this was, why I must take it since I never took any sort of injections before and whether it's really necessary to take so many injections now. She then educated me that this injection was important to maintain my baby's strong heartbeat. We had found the baby's heart beat at Week 6 and she wanted that heart beat to increase by Week 8. She just didn't want the heart beat to go down and eventually be gone completely. She also highlighted that so far, this medicine has 0 failures in maintaining pregnancy on women with 'history'. Hearing this, both my husband and I agreed to take the injections at home for the coming week. Did I mention that one pre-filled syringe for one time use of this injection cost about RM50?

Two days later, my husband was due to administer the injection on my stomach for the first time. I was very nervous I could not sleep the night before. When my husband wanted to prick the needle on my stomach, I chickened out. After a while, my husband gave up trying because I moved a lot and overreacted. As my husband got upset, I tried to administer the injection myself but really... It was so impossible to do. It felt like attempting to commit a suicide by inserting a sharp element on our own stomach by force. After I realized that I really could not do it, I persuaded my significant other to help me again. He agreed to do that as long as I spared him the pre-injection drama.

So yeah... every time my husband had to administer the injection on my stomach, surely you would hear me scream "Wah so painful. So painful. Why is this so painful?" in dual languages.

I was very happy when my husband administered the last shot of the injection after succumbing to needles pain for more than 1 week.

Finally.. Freedom!

Week 8

A couple days later, I was due for my 8 week's antenatal visit and we heard the baby's heart beat for the second time. The heart beat had increased to my Gynae's expectation and all of us were very relieved. Just before we ended this visit, my Gynae advised us to continue the same injection for another week. WHAATTTT! She convinced me, "It's for the best. Please take the injections again if it's not too much trouble to you." 

Baby #3 at 8 weeks.

When I picked the injections up from the hospital's dispensary, the pharmacist gave me 6 syringes of injection for 6 days. 6 : 6 = 1, this meant my husband now had to give me the injection daily instead of once every 2 days now. Talk about prickly torture. By this time, I thought I was numb to the look and feel of needles already; but truth be told, I still dread needles the same.

Week 9

Fortunately, by week 9, my Gynae announced that I could stop taking any more injections and hormones tablets for now. She prescribed pre-natal multivitamins for me to take for the next 3 weeks and scheduled me for sugar test and other blood works on my next visit to the hospital. With this, I had stopped seeing my Gynae on weekly or 10 days' basis.

Week 10-12

Week 10 onwards was quite okay. Nothing particular to report here actually. I hope the upcoming tri-semesters will be all smooth sailing and needle-free.

Baby bump at 11 weeks pregnant.

Finally, here are some of my pregnancy symptoms that I experienced during my first tri-semester:

I had been sleeping a lot. I just got tired very fast and felt incredibly lethargic on some days. When I had to bed rest, I tried to improve my cooking skills by a notch by watching AFC or Food Network few hours a day. It's all about efficiency, yes?

I suddenly loved reading Romantic-Comedy fictions as well. I have not read these kinds of reading material for years now. As of today, I had completed reading 3 novels of more than 450 pages long. I suppose Baby #3 likes reading? In my defence, any type of reading, fictions included, is good to enrich my vocabulary so I submitted to this indulgence now; although honestly, reading can be quite costly as popular novels don't come cheap. Hallelujah for Popular's platinum membership card. Extra discount for every book purchased! #thriftyauntie

Also, there was few times when I could not stand the smell of my husband's body wash and I forced him to change his body wash fragrance. I gagged every time he sat next to me when he just finished showering. *Gulp!* Luckily, he granted my weird request. Next, lately I really could not stand the pungent smell of chopped garlic that most Chinese restaurants here serve as a condiment on the table. The strange thing is I have no problem with chopping garlic at home when I cook.

On top of this, I experienced unbelievable food aversion in these three months. I was craving for food that I seldom ate during my pre-pregnancy life. For instance, before I was expecting a baby, I loathed Peanut Butter (PB) to the max. I just could not comprehend why some people like eating PB. It's always my husband who buys PB in the supermarket and he could actually finish the whole jar of PB alone over few months. He always said PB is so yummy bla bla bla. How come PB is yummy and he could eat that with almost anything? PB with fried egg? That's gibberish. Nutella is the one that is yummy. But look who is talking now? I had been eating PB on bread for few weeks now and had not touched Nutella at all since I got pregnant again. Ironic, isn't it?

Other things that I have been eating a lot in the past few months are Nasi Lemak and Bananas. Normally, I could not finish the whole packet of Nasi Lemak on my own, unless it Old Town's. Moreover, I didn't really fancy eating bananas. Guess what? These days, I eat Nasi Lemak for breakfasts at least one or twice a week and have been eating bananas like a monkey too. Wait... Is it because the baby I am carrying now is going to be born in the Year of Monkey, hence the banana binging?

I hope the next few months fly by! I am generally more relaxed now as compared the first few days or weeks when I found out that I was carrying a baby again.

Expecting Rainbow

Some of you have known. Some of you have no clue. Some of you have guessed but kept quiet... on something that I have kept hush hush until to date.

Err... I have been baking another bun in the oven in the past few months... But it's different kind of bun. Not the kind that we pop into our mouth and swallow. =)

My husband and I are currently expecting another baby and we are beyond thrilled to be blessed with another pregnancy. Both of us are very much looking forward to upgrade Naomi's current status to Big Sister and welcome our Rainbow Baby into our family next year.

I have been TTC-ing for almost a year in order to hit the jackpot for the third time. TTC journey post pregnancy loss that I went through was long and emotionally draining. I have tried Clomid, fertility charting, TCM and OPK strips to get pregnant but haven't gone as far as using basal temperature method, doing IUI or proper fertility program with a specialist.

Simply put, I guess God has finally answered my prayers. We managed to conceive baby #3 naturally.

Heya, Rainbow.


Just to give you a big picture on TTC-ing before I go further: If you (re: women) have been actively TTC-ing for quite a while, after few months you do get very familiar with the so called fertility calendar and charting. Time crawls during the two-week waits and it's common for some women to start peeing on the pregnancy sticks few days before their period is due just to see if there was any luck. Some women refuse to test earlier but it is possible to get positive lines a couple days before your period is due. The HCG will be there and show if you really fall pregnant.

How did I find out that I was expecting another bubba again?

Few months ago, I wanted to see if I would get two lines on pregnancy test kit at around 11 dpo. I thought that I saw a super duper faint second line on the cheap pregnancy test kit that I used that morning. Since the second line was barely visible, I kept mum about this and couldn't wait for tomorrow morning to arrive to test again. On the next morning, I tested again using a slightly more expensive pregnancy test kit and voila! Two lines. One clear and one faint. I took another pregnancy kit, dipped it in my urine and the two lines indeed appeared again. I nervously told my parents and husband about this later that day but they hesitated to celebrate the good news as yet because it was simply too early to say anything.

On the day before my period was due, I made an appointment to see a Gynae in a private hospital to confirm my pregnancy. My parents were going to back to Indonesia too that day and my husband and I had to send them to the airport in late morning. As such, I could only see the gynae in the afternoon.

After we went out for breakfast, we came home first to get my parents luggages. As I was about to pass urine before we left home for the airport, I saw few drops of fresh blood on my panty liner and oh my, my heart instantly sank looking at that.

I panicked, quickly called my husband over and showed him the blood tainted panty liner to him. He looked at it, gave me a flat look and mumbled "Period.". Not long after that (pants and fresh panty liner on, of course!), I hastily searched for my Mom who was packing her stuff in her room. I told her what happened and she also had a quick look at the bloody panty liner that was on my hand and gave the same remark as my husband's, "It's period lah. You were too rushing."

I then peed on the stick again to make sure that there was still second line but after waiting for few minutes, there was only one line. God. I freaked out and hastily called my Gynae's nurse. I told her what happened and the nurse who picked up the phone commented, "I think you are no longer pregnant. Do you still want to see the Gynae later or not?" I answered, "YES!". I wanted to see the Gynae despite I was pregnant or not because if I was not, I would like to start consulting with her about my issues in conceiving a baby.

My head couldn't shake the thoughts of the bleeding that I had but I still secretly harboured hope on the potential pregnancy as I sent my parents to the airport. By right, if I was really bleeding, I should not be walking around in the airport and just bed rest at home instead. But then again, was I really pregnant? On that note, I decided to follow my husband sending my parents to KLIA because I will only see my parents again next year.

When my parents were having lunch in the airport, I told them that I felt so uneasy about the bleeding earlier in the morning. They asked me to quickly go back to Seremban to see the doctor for a peace of mind. Usually, I would still be in the airport until they are in the line for immigration check but I had to leave them earlier in the airport that day because I was simply too troubled with the whole thing.

About an hour later, we managed to see the Gynae in the hospital. I frantically told her what had happened. She was surprisingly very calm and asked me if this is my first pregnancy. I briefly filled her in with my medical history: This is my 3rd pregnancy, I delivered a stillborn last year and had been trying to conceive another baby for a long time. With that information, she asked me to lie down on the examination bed for a scan. She probed me down there to check on my uterus. As we were waiting for her findings, I kept looking at the ceiling without moving a muscle and my husband just stood still behind the Gynae while staring at the monitor that showed grainy image of my uterus.

At last, this Gynae opened her mouth, "Erm... I still see something here (re: in my uterus) and the uterus lining is thickening. Thickened uterus lining is a sign of pregnancy so you might still be pregnant. Why not you come see me again next week to see how the pregnancy progresses?" After that, she walked toward a cabinet, took a syringe and a depot injection out then informed me, "I am going to give you a jab. This should stop the bleeding. The jab is going to be a little bit painful." She administered a progesterone jab on my buttock and true enough, the jab was very painful because the needle was quite big and thick. I emitted a loud "Ouch!" as the needle went deep into my flesh. Furthermore, she also reassured that nowadays a couple taking one year to conceive a baby is considered fast already, unless if the woman is still very young like 23 years old or something.

After the scan, the three of us sat down and the Gynae explained to me that the bleeding I experienced was likely an implantation bleeding and it's actually quite common. Implantation bleeding is a light bleeding that happens when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus. Some women do have implantation bleeding sometime around the time when her period was supposed to be due. I have certainly heard of implantation bleeding before but never had this before with my two previous pregnancies. Regarding the negative pregnancy test result that I got after the bleeding, it happened because I tested not using first morning urine and the kit was not sensitive enough to pick up HCG in diluted urine during early pregnancy. Before the Gynae released us, she asked me to take Duphaston for a week until I saw her again for the next scan.

As I walked off the Gynae's consultation room, I sent a quick SMS to my Dad, "Doc said I could still be pregnant". He was still waiting for his plane to board and replied my SMS with a note to take care of myself and this pregnancy since it's still very early and so on.

By the way, after I reached home, I took a quick look again at the pregnancy kit that I thought gave me a single line in the afternoon. Turned out, it actually produced very faint second line which I didn't notice when I was super frantic after I had the bleeding.

So.. That's the story of finding out, yet again, the most anticipated two lines on pee sticks and that the stork is once more going to give us another baby.


I will write about how I sailed through the first-trisemester in separate blog post. Meanwhile, as per the tradition, I have started writing my 3rd pregnancy journal which I update regularly here.