Second Pregnancy

And So She Arrived

Monday 23 February 2015

I was already 3 days overdue, and though in the morning the bloody show – blood-tinged mucous – was observed, I felt okay. My mom reassured that bloody show means that the labour could still be far away. I had my husband on alert mode anyway, just in case, since he has a long meeting ahead at work. No contractions felt, except that night when I felt the baby started to headbutt my pelvic bones more frequently. I didn’t lose my sleep though.

Tuesday 24 Feb 2015

I requested for my husband to take a leave from work today, because today felt like The Day, and the mucous that came out was no more tinged with blood, there was already dark red blood. At 9 we found ourselves on the way to Tawakkal Specialist Hospital where I planned to give birth.

9.30 AM – I was asked upon arrival to undergo CTG monitoring. No strong contractions detected, but upon checking I was found to be 4cm dilated, hence needed to be admitted. My husband, my – soft-hearted husband – upon leaving me to deal with the admission reminded me : ‘If you need the epidural, just ask, and you better ask for it now before it is too late’. I laughed. Amidst the hype of having natural birth here I have my husband who would do whatever possible to ease the pain off me (I remember last time when I opted for epidural and complained about the pain, and he was like ‘We paid for it and you still feel the pain of childbirth?!’)

10:30 AM– I was given Labour Room 2, the same room in which I gave birth to Isa. I was given enema. The pain came, but it felt nothing like the one I experienced when I was in labour with Isa. With Isa, I was already down on my knees in pain with 4cm dilation, but this time at 4cm I am still at ease. I refused to lie down, and try to keep moving when the pain came. Being on all fours and moving my hip forward and backward especially  helped a lot. Only after the cannula was inserted that my movement became a bit limited. The doctor came, and applauded my choice of not getting epidural. The nurse too, for me seeming to go for all-natural childbirth. I told her I don’t care whether my labour could be termed ‘natural’ or not, it was just that this labour is different from the previous one, and at 4cm I think I could do without pain relief.

11:30 AM – The nurse came and got my contraction monitored by the CTG. The pain was felt more often on my hip – it felt like the baby was moving and hitting my bones, but the machine could only detect weak contractions. The nurses expected that I’d be given Pitocin in no time by the doctor. My husband stayed on my side, trying to find ways to distract me from the pain whenever it came. He offered to share some points from the lectures I knew he was listening to for the past few days, on the tafseer of Surah al Kahfi. I agreed.

12:30 PM – The nurse came and checked – I was already 8cm dilated, hence there’s no need for Pitocin. I requested for the catheter to not be inserted until later because I still wanted to move around, and my doctor agreed to insert that a bit later when I was closer to labour.

My husband went downstairs to grab his lunch (which was a loaf of bread and energy drinks). I was left alone in the labour room, and I remember looking straight at the ceiling – praying and crying. I didn’t wish to go through the pain, and now there was no way out and Allah is the only one I could hold on to. It is something I have long known, but it came like an epiphany at that time.

The pain was still tolerable up until around the time the doctor came and broke the water, and I think between 1:30 PM to 2:15 PM I had the worst time in my life. The pain was excruciating when it was there, but during the interval I could manage to smile and talk calmly. I remember grabbing my husband violently, screaming in pain and my husband most often was left clueless on what to do – massaging didn’t even help! I remember looking at the clock before me and putting a secret aim of delivering this precious baby by 2.30 PM, because the reality hits me – the only way I could get rid of the pain is by pushing the baby out, and fight the intolerable pain. The nurse offered Entonox but I vomited before I could try it properly, and decided to ditch that. I had the catheter inserted around this time.

Around 1:45 I surrendered, agreeing to the morphine injection offered, but of course it didn’t work. The pain was still there – it just gave me an extra ounce of calmness during the intervals. I remember hearing my husband kept reciting Selawat Syifa’, and surely that gave me the comfort I very much needed

2:00 PM – The nurse suggested that I lie on my left side and push gently whenever I feel like bearing down. She gently tried to calm me down whenever I started to scream in pain, and reminded me Allah has made my labour of much ease, as she thought that I was progressing very quickly. Should I push correctly now, she said, it would not be long before I could see my baby. I did so, and the nurses quickly made the arrangement for the final push with the doctor’s presence. Unfortunately, when everything was ready the doctor was still away offering her Zuhur prayer.

2:15 PM – I had to skip two contractions before the doctor arrived, and by the time she was ready in her scrubs the head was already showing. The nurse offered if I’d like to touch it – I said no. I was keener to push and get that little human out, which I did Alhamdulillah after that one long push, one that I made with my eyes shut, taking a few short breath along the way, and screamed ‘I could not push anymore’ just when I felt there was no more muscle left that I can control – and that’s when I knew it was over.

The baby was out.

My dear Khadijah was out, at 2:29 PM weighing 2.88 kg – warm and wet on my chest, breathing heavily. She has made her entrance into this world, the much awaited one. Alhamdulillah.

I opted for the Entonox throughout the process of getting the placenta out and stitching (though both took less than 15 minutes).

So that’s it – Khadijah’s birth story.

P.s. It feels great to be able to lie on my back comfortably again.

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The Other Side of Motherhood

So the title of this blog is Motherhood Etc. It shows something about me as a blogger; that of all things in my life, I choose to write on and dedicate this platform for this particular role that I chose to take on since 2012. Funny when the truth is, I have never been so eager to put on this hat.

I once asked my husband – why did you ever want to marry me? I have no observable motherly trait in general, while he himself, as he admitted when we were both introduced, wanted as many as 10 children (I limited myself to 3 then, and that limit is still maintained thus far). His answer tickled me: “There is a lot of things I would not do if I just look at face value.”

Let me be honest. I don’t fancy children that much. In general, I am indifferent towards children – but now that I chose to have them, I give my all to fulfil the role.

The keyword is choice. My choice. Yes, I did suggest for us to make a move to have Isa back then, but for this second pregnancy I pretty much succumbed to my husband’s rationale on why both of us should try for another one. He reasoned that I am getting older and pregnancy would be tougher on me, Isa is seemingly ready for another one, and perhaps, my husband who is a child-magnet just craves for another person to love. I agreed with him, though not wholeheartedly, for things like this there may not be a truly perfect time.

But I was just about to enjoy my freedom. Isa has only stopped breastfeeding for less than a year and I was delighted to throw away my nursing bras. It means I could stop worrying about pumping my milk out. Isa is getting more independent. Both of us could now do a lot of fancy things together like going shopping just the both of us. Or leave him with a family member for me to do things I need to do on my own. I could now pick up a book and not be disturbed. I could manage some good night sleep. The threesome life we have then (and at least for a few more days) was wonderful, and I guess I try to hold on to it as long as I could.

And pregnancy robs those away. It is not unforeseen, though. My first pregnancy was not problem-free, and I have reminded my husband that the second one may just be as challenging. It is. The horrible morning sickness that left me hospitalised for a few nights was the climax. The second trimester went smoothly except for the daily acid reflux and heartburn, but came the third semester and hence the heaviness, I just could not help but thinking that this could be my last take on pregnancy. My husband has heard this so many times – that I’d rather have him marry someone else if he really wants more children than I could bear. Not once that I have to ask him, in all naivety – why, for God’s sake, do I have to get pregnant, or why do we have to have children.

I sound ungrateful.

Maybe I am, God forgive me. Maybe to you, I seem to take pregnancy for granted. Some waited years and years to carry a human being in their wombs and here I am whining about all these. Maybe that is true – I could not comprehend the magnitude of blessing a pregnancy is when it comes as I wish, as I plan – in both case actually.

Or maybe I am just nervous. The baby I am carrying make no mistake, – as cliché as it sounds, is loved before she is born, but every child is different. She could be a total opposite of my easy, textbook firstborn that my life would change drastically again after this in a way I could not predict. It is the uncertainty that is killing me now, perhaps.

Or perhaps I am just too tired. The heaviness, the pain, the sluggishness – it slows me down, and this nesting instinct is forever pushing me to do a lot of things when I just could not. The sheer disability produces stress, and stress makes me a bad mother – a truly bad mother to my first born, and that in turn makes me even more stressful.

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This afternoon, I sat down looking at the drawer full of my unborn child’s outfits. All pinks and purples and ribbons and cute stuff.

Just a few moments ago, I started packing my hospital bag.

And thank God after doing these, I finally feel the anticipation for the new family member. Not the kind where I’d scream “Just get out of my body once and for all”, but one where it sounds more like how a normal mother would welcome her child.

To my daughter, I could not wait for you to join me in this new adventure.

The Homestretch

homestretch [hohm-strech]
noun
1. the straight part of a racetrack from the last turn to the finish line.
2.the final phase of any endeavor.

I have not been writing for a while, and I thought I might as well write an update on my pregnancy, which surely deserves to be recorded in this space.

So this week marks the entrance into my final trimester, Alhamdulillah. It has been an incredibly humbling experience so far, from the ‘hellish’ first trimester which saw me using up my sick leave nearly all my allowance. The second trimester was pretty much a roller coaster ride; some days I had the energy for a shopping trip or two, or a ball game with Isa, the next day I could be bed-ridden with lower back ache which basically crippled me.

But all in all, the baby #2 is alhamdulillah, fine thus far. I could not be  any more grateful than that. I may not be all motherly, neither am I one who loves children so much that I’d bear anything to have one (or another one), but the thought that many would happily trade everything they have to be in my shoes is, well, keeping me sane and grounded.

I went to my monthly check-up yesterday at KPJ Tawakal Specialist Centre, along with my husband and of course, Isa. This is my first appointment with my ‘old’ obstetrician  – one whom I had my prenatal care and delivered with during my first pregnancy. I managed to secure an appointment with her, who is really sought-after (all female are well-sought after I guess), whose queue outside clinic is always long. Some points from my latest pre-natal check-up:

  • She made a remark about the fundal height being a bit high, and the baby being a normal but a bit on the big side. Whoa. Please baby, don’t be any bigger than your brother.
  • She commented on the note written by my previous obstetrician about my weight (which increased nearly 2 kg in a month last time, which for him means I should be tested for gestational diabetes), saying that I am still ‘slim’ that she would not worry about that since I have no family history of diabetes or gestational diabetes. Luckily, for the past month my weight was stagnant at 57 kg. And really, that’s was my weight pre-pregnancy #2. Net weight gain equals zero, thank you hyperemesis gravidarum. 
  • She keeps reminding me to be thankful that now I will potentially have a perfect pair of children gender-wise; a boy and a girl, which a lot of parents can only dream of. Give more of charity and fast as a sign of thankfulness, she told me.
  • She sent me for a blood test, and hopefully things are all alright on that part. I won’t see the result until my next appointment, but I am no anxious about that.
  • I noticed that her fee has increased!

Anyway, we arranged for Isa to see her paediatrician as well to get vaccinated too at Tawakal – he was really, really excited to see his doctor who has been caring for him since his birth, mostly because her room is filled with interesting toys. The paed was happy to see him turning into a chatterbox and – as usual, too distracted to cry upon being jabbed.And of course, Isa refused to leaver her room, and when he eventually said his good bye, he addressed the middle-aged doctor as ‘kakak’ i.e. young sister, which I am pretty sure make her smile!

Isa has been moderately excited about the coming of her new sibling. He has even chosen a name for her sister (God willing), and as he always do, makes a song out of it! He loves to flip through my Miriam Stoppard’s pregnancy book, examining the photos of unborn babies in the womb. My husband takes over quite a large share of the chores and in caring for Isa so I can have extra rest – he’s such a sweetheart. A lot of Isa’s newborn outfits can still be worn, so I’m just adding a few more stuff, mostly for myself.

I guess all I need to do is to focus on my final month at work finishing all the loose ends, study for my exam (which will be on the 5th of Jan), and enjoy my second half of final trimester at home (Well, hopefully).

So to the final trimester I say: Bring it on!

The Love that Knows No Boundaries

My parents were around for nearly two weeks. As usual they would split their time between my sister’s place and mine, so that they can spend time with their two grandchildren.

However now that I am pregnant with their third grandchild (and most probably their first granddaughter), the attention was split even further, with some given to the cravings of the pregnant lady. Oh, am I not lucky that way!

Yesterday, upon coming back from the mosque for early morning prayer, my father told us he has made new friends, and had breakfast with them. He described specifically the breakfast he had – glutinous rice with salted fish. And I started to salivate straight away. To which, of course, my parents reacted. They said they had a pack of uncooked glutinous rice in their car, that we could have it for dinner!

So we had the traditional meal I wanted for dinner that evening – glutinous rice, with shred coconut, some salted fish and my mom’s anchovies ‘sambal’. Alhamdulillah.

And since I have discreetly said that I wish I could have black glutinous rice sweet porridge (bubur pulut hitam) – which I usually dislike when I am not pregnant – my mom also made a full pot of that last night.  I am yet to taste it since I was so full with the dinner I could not even handle the porridge for dessert.

This morning, while we were having our final breakfast together before they left, my mom asked if I would like to have cabbage cooked with coconut rice cooked – she told me my dad asked him to prepare that dish since I have mentioned that I love it so much. I declined.

I mean, it was not even a complicated dish to make (takes me less than 10 minutes to prepare) but I guess parents are parents and they have this weird, unconditional love that has no boundaries.

O Allah, grant them happiness and have mercy on them parents.

Almost Half Way There – 19 Weeks

If you understand Bahasa Melayu, you have probably read my post before which was an attempt for me to write fully in my mother tongue after a long, long time of not WRITING properly. I love it, but it did take a longer time for me to actually express my thought, so I am back to writing in English, as imperfect as it is.

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Baby#2

Baby#2

We went to my O&G yesterday for the usual monthly check up. To be honest, I was quite excited – the little one inside me has started moving rigorously since 31 August (Yes, I remember the exact date, to which my husband was surprised) and I’m keen to see him/her.

Of course, at nearly 19 weeks, the additional reason why I was quite thrilled is because we should be able to see the gender by now.

Whenever people asked me of my preference on the gender, I will firmly say I’d prefer another boy. That goes against what people would expect – don’t you like to have a pair – a boy and a girl? I have explained this to some friends of mine, and also my husband – I truly have no idea how to raise a daughter. I have a lot of people I can look up to on how to raise a son but I can only wish I know the kind of principles I should hold on to in raising girls.

After a quick chat and basic exam, the doctor asked me to be ready for the ultrasound scan. He asked me whether I’d like to know the gender, to which I said yes, and he started doing what he needed to do. He asked me of my gender preference, I told him I would like another boy, joking along the way that I would save my money from spending on clothes, to which he agreed.

View after view – thus far of which I could decipher where is the eye, spine, heart etc.. (we even saw the little one rotating quite rigorously in there – you little sportperson!) until he stopped at a view which was incomprehensible to me, and examining it for a longer while.

“It’s a girl.”

I laughed. Really?

“Just imagine someone sitting on a chair, and you are looking at the person from below the chair. Here are the legs the thighs.If it is a boy, you could see clearly something in between these legs, but you can see nothing. It is a girl.”

I laughed again.

“Is it,like, confirmed, or still 50-50?”

“It is a girl.” He said confidently. And re-explained.

So yes my dear friends, I am carrying a baby girl in my belly, all Praise be to Allah, one who knows what I need and what I am capable of.

p.s. My sister, who was deceived by such ultrasound during her first pregnancy warned me that the doctor could still be wrong!

Hyperemesis – It’s Almost Over

This could be premature, but for today’s lunch I had fried rice with salted fish. Half way through the plate I felt like crying. My appetite has come back, my taste buds have started to be normal again. It feels like forever living with hyperemesis gravidarum – but I believe now it’s almost over. I savoured every taste of that simple, RM6 fried rice, while trying to stop my tears from flowing.

O Allah, what a lesson. 

Alhamdulillah for every morsel of food You give me.

The Life Lesson from Hyperemesis Gravidarum

I have always felt that my biggest strength and also my biggest weakness is the optimistic, I-can-do-it-if-I-want-to attitude.

It is on the most extreme end of the spectrum if you look at it from a difference perspective.

World-wise, of course, the more optimistic you are, the more determined you are, the more valued you will be by others. You are self-sufficient and can stand on your own. Those are indeed much-praised characteristics.

But spiritual-wise, such attitude can bring you far from the understanding the ‘hope and faith’ principle required in a living a life with God. The closeness and connectedness are very much related, even if not solely, to how much you feel you need Him and how aware you are that there is not much you can do without His help and mercy. It is understanding and living the delicate balance of working your ass off (because God won’t help anyone unless he helps himself) and relying on Him for everything  (the strength, the perseverance, the guidance to do that thing right).

I may have lost the battle of balancing a long time ago that God has sent me yet another lesson on that. To tell me that : ‘Stop! You may think you can do a lot on your own, but certain things within you are really beyond your control.’

And I truly thank Him for that lesson.

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You  see, I am pregnant, all thanks to Him. I am 11 weeks into pregnancy by the time I am writing this, and indeed it is a blessing in more ways that I can think of.

But now I can always joke : The easiest way for me to lose weight is by getting pregnant, and obviously, breastfeeding.

I have lost nearly 4 kg now, 6 weeks after knowing that I am pregnant. It was not much different from my first pregnancy – I lost a significant 5-6 kg in my first trimester last time.

But this time the nausea, the vomiting, the fatigue seem much, much worse. The truth is I am getting older, and with an active toddler living  with me, I am deep buried.

I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum right into my 7th week of pregnancy.

There are days even a morsel of food won’t be tolerated by my body. My mouth feels extremely bitter all the time. My heightened sense of smell doesn’t help either.

I tried to fast though, during Ramadhan. It is actually a blessing in disguise for my condition. Ramadhan’s coming means that I don’t need to think about food (which makes me nauseous too) or forced myself to eat. But by the end of first week I surrendered. My GP got my urine analysed and confirmed that I am almost severely hydrated. My  losing weight was not a good sign either. And with that too came the painful  UTI. She just had to refer me to a medical centre, and the assigned O&G could not blame me enough for thinking that this and everything that I felt was normal. Losing weight is not normal for a pregnant woman, he said, and I am just extremely lucky that my baby was still healthy and living.

I was hospitalised.

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My  days in the hospital, was unexpectedly stressful. Being tied and bound by the IV drip made me restless. I was hungry, but I could not eat. Sure, whatever they fed me through IV would be sufficient for my body, but it didn’t satisfy. I want to eat, but as much as I want, or whatever strength I could gather for that purpose, my body will defeat me.

In the end I surrendered. I can only do so much. Only so much. He is the One who dictates, and sometimes I did forget that.

Two nights, and I felt worst. I’ve never been hospitalised in my life, except when I gave birth to Isa.

There I learnt the lesson. I tried to imagine those with critical illnesses. Those with perhaps no hope of getting healthy again. I tried to put myself in the shoes of those with cancer – how does it feel to know that you won’t know how this end; if it will relapse or not, if you’ll survived or not. How life-changing, stress-inducing that must be.

And compare that to my condition: the worst it could be is 9 months. If I’m lucky, it may be over by 21 weeks, or if I am as lucky as before, this horrible experience will be over by 14 weeks. I know when this will stop. That is indeed a game-changer.

I wish I could be more consistent in praying that Allah will remove this from me. But deep inside I could not do it. What  if through  this experience He actually want to teach me a valuable lesson? What if through this trial, as trivial as it may seem to you, Allah wants to wipe out my countless sins? I dare not to ask for things I do not know, but I pray that if it is so, He’ll make it easier for me to comprehend, to change according to His divine will, and to grow out of this.

It hurts and makes me feel helpless that I could not do a lot of things I want to do, and have to rely on others to do it. But that is life. He wants me to appreciate the intricate links and needs between me and others and remove whatever preconception I have subconsciously built in my mind that I may not need others to live my life.

I do.

As  of now, as advised by survivors of HG, I learn to focus on living by day. 14th  week seems far away with HG. What more 21st week or 38th  week.

Alhamdulillah ‘ala kulli hal.

I praise you Allah, for all matters.

p.s. My  GP thought I should be admitted again. The second time. *Sigh*