That Saturday

I shared an entry from my locked blog here previously. This is a continuation of that entry after we found out that we lost Bean. Our Bean. If you have always wondered what goes through the mind of a woman who has to undergo a D&C procedure, here’s my account of it.

That Saturday

I’m lying here at Dr Y’s clinic in a freezing room, waiting for time to pass after having pills inserted into me in preparation for the procedure.

Right beside this room is a consultation room separated by a thin door. Piercing through the icy silence is a doctor introducing himself to a couple. Doctor is talking to a happy couple about their baby, pointing out the baby’s head, heart chambers, measurements, etc. This doctor is extremely detailed, going into details about baby’s brain being normal. The happy chuckles of the couple intersperse the doctor’s consultation. Oh look. Baby is covering his face. More laughter. Everything’s excellent! Looking great! Oh it looks like a boy. But it may be a girl as well – its too early to tell.

As a bonus round, I even got to hear the loud WHOO WHOO of their baby’s heartbeat at 171 beats per minute.

I wonder if this is God’s idea of irony.

…………………………………………………………

We spent the entire Saturday – the husband’s birthday – at X Hospital. The long day started at Dr Y’s clinic where the scan showed, once again, our baby without the heartbeat. A lifeless, motionless image on the black-and-white screen.

The appointment for the D&C was made for 12.45pm at the hospital. We headed over in silence, lost in our own thoughts. What’s there left to say?

Completed paperwork, signed a million documents, and was then brought to the day surgery beds. I sat on the bed while the husband sat beside me, occasionally leaning his head onto my pillow as we chatted. Time seemed to crawl.

Finally, at 11.45am, I was asked to change into the hospital gown. They were blue in colour. Nicer than the dull pink ones at KKH. Got changed and sat around some more.

Was wondering if I had to walk to the operating theatre on my own or I was going to be wheeled in. I’ve never been wheeled into an OT on a bed. The husband thought I had to walk. I hoped I didn’t have to. Turns out I was going to be wheeled in. There was a rare laugh out loud moment when the nurse wheeling my bed misjudged a wall and banged the bed clumsily against it. It was funny. I laughed. The husband laughed. The nurses laughed.

I’ve watched the scene many times on TV. The one where the concerned relative walked alongside the bed while the patient is being wheeled into the OT. It was the same except that it was a lot less dramatic. It seemed like a long journey to the OT and I stole a glance at the ceiling lights above me. Just like in the movies, I thought. I smiled at the husband as we entered the OT waiting area. He stood outside, alone, and smiled back at me. He said he’d be waiting for me when I awake later.

I was placed at the side of a waiting area where CNA was playing on TV. A man dressed in hospital scrubs stood by the tv, a huge SLR hanging by his shoulders. I guess he was waiting for his wife who was probably undergoing a C-section in the same OT. A distance away, a middle-aged lady was attended to by her doctor before her surgery. She’s scared of pain and told the doctor to do it fast and give her any type of pain relief medication as she will be happy to pay for a no-pain experience. If only money could take away pain…

I remember staring at the TV but cannot remember what was being shown. A cold draft from the airconditioner directly above me was making me shiver. I already had 2 blankets over me. I remembered – I haven’t had anything to eat or drink since the night before. I had to fast before the operation.

At about 12.50pm, I was wheeled into the OT. It was a real operating theatre, complete with the giant lights above and lots of gadgets on one side of the light pink walls. Interestingly, the radio played “Don’t dream it’s over” by Crowded House. How apt. I almost laughed. Loads of nurses in green scrubs walking all around me. While waiting for Dr Y, the anesthetist came by to insert the needle into my left hand. As usual, he couldn’t find my vein. He gave me laughing gas to help ease the pain. I took a deep breath and felt my limbs go limp. Before I knew it, the needle was inserted. Not too painful. Yay.

The operation was scheduled for 12.45pm. It was delayed till 1pm as Dr Y was running late. Damnit. I was starting to cramp due to the medication inserted a few hours earlier (it softens the cervix to prepare for the op). Had to prop my legs up instead of lying flat out to make it less uncomfortable.

There was a huge digital clock in front of me. It was 1.05pm and still no sign of Dr Y. Everyone was waiting for his arrival for the op to begin. Finally, at about 1.15pm, he arrived, to a flurry of movement. Dr Y asked how I was feeling, I said ok. I think I said something like ‘let’s do it’. Not sure why I said that. I think I was just tired of waiting. I remember he smiled, touched my right cheek and said ‘Ok’.

The anesthetist came by and started to pump in the GA. It didn’t hurt this time. I felt a warm feeling come over and then I was out.

Woke up to Dr Y telling me that all was ok and that he gave me a week of hospitalisation leave. Told me to take care and rest well, and that he’d see me next Saturday. I don’t know how I took it all in but I somehow did. I was then wheeled back to the day surgery recovery room and when I opened my eyes again, the husband was beside me. I was back on the day surgery bed. Things were a little groggy. It only lasted 15 minutes. For some strange reason, I couldn’t stop talking to the husband the moment I was conscious. He had to cover my eyes with my jacket and told me to shut up. I blame the drugs.

I napped for a bit and then got up again. By then, it had started to pour really heavily outside. The lovely and kind nurse gave me a cup of water which I gulped down. Water never tasted so good. Soon, I was given a cup of hot Milo and plain biscuits. That was nice too.

I couldn’t help but notice the figure of a digital man printed on the tape holding the needle in. I wonder what it represented. Cute. Also, I realised that I really really need to moisturise. I have very dry hands.

Soon, I was told to change out of the hospital garb into my own clothes. I was also instructed to pee. Not sure why but I guess they wanted to make sure that all was well. Now, I wished someone had warned me but when I peed, it BLOODY FREAKIN’ HURT LIKE HELL?!!! It was a burning sensation down there and I was going WHAT THE FUCK! and OUCH! OUCH! in my head. Told the nurse after and she said, “Oh, this is normal. It would be ok after this.”

Damnit. Couldn’t she have warned me first? I guess pee contains salt and after an op, it’s obvious that salt over a wound is going to hurt.

After yet more paperwork, the nurse discharged me at 4pm. Doctor’s orders, apparently. We said our thanks, and left the building into hard hitting, driving rain. It was as if the Heavens were crying for us too.

Another chapter is over. Again.

Number 2.

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I don’t know how it happened but in the blink of an eye, my little squishy newborn became a toddler. Elliott is now 14 months old. His personality is coming through and he now takes up twice the amount of space on the bed. This also means that I have been getting this question ALL. THE. TIME. From the random stranger at the playground to the colleague that I speak to once every few months. This question comes up every single time, even when we are chatting about completely unrelated topics. They take on a couple of permutations:

  • “So when is Number 2?”
  • “Planning for Number 2?”
  • “Time for Number 2!”
  • “So are you going to have Number 2?”

You get the idea. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is concerned about Number 2. I have started to dread the question as much as the other question we had to put up with pre-Elliott. For the record, that other question was “Planning for baby?”

Number 2. That elusive Number 2.

Truth be told, I would love for Elliott to have a sibling. I grew up with a sister and it is wonderful having someone to share (and fight over) toys with, chat to and hang out.

The thing is, it took us a long time before Elliott came into our lives. I remember my BFF saying that people jump through hoops. We had to jump through fire hoops and hungry lions waiting below. It was a good and apt metaphor.

In simple words, the fact that we are parents today is nothing short of a miracle.

Which is why my heart breaks just that little bit whenever someone asks me about Number 2. Because it was such a difficult journey getting our Number 1. We are thankful every single day for him and I do not actually dare dream of a Number 2.

As the husband wisely said: Elliott is a blessing. Anything else is a bonus.

Yes, yes and YES. He is a our miracle baby. We have a healthy and happy baby today and we feel immensely blessed. It would be lovely to have Number 2 but if it doesn’t happen, we will be ok.

I just wish people would stop asking me about Number 2 because I have run out of polite things to say.

“Yes yes, soon.” I’d usually mutter with a smile. “Not now la. Must wait until Elliott is older”, but this doesn’t quite work because I then get chided for waiting because I am “no longer young”. Thanks. That was nice.

So the next time you meet someone and feel inclined to ask them about their personal life (why they are single, why not have a kid, why not have a second kid, blah blah blah), do stop and think. And think again.

Then shut up. And compliment them on the nice dress that they are wearing, or complain about the terrible weather.

Many a times, that happy smile belies a long and heartbreaking journey. And it is not nice to dredge it up repeatedly.

 

I remember

I just got news that a friend’s third attempt at IVF failed and my heart ached. It ached for her pain, for shattered hope.

I told her how very sorry I was to hear the disappointing news but I had no other words of comfort. I knew that no words will make that dull ache in her heart go away. No words will make her see the light at the end of the tunnel because whatever glimmer of light there was, it was snuffed out by that big fat fail.

It’s back to the drawing board because the damn cycle failed. For my friend, it will be her third attempt. For others, it may be the 10th. These same infertility warriors will, after buckets of tears and whys, sit back and wonder if they have the physical, mental and emotional strength to pick themselves up again to try another cycle for just one more time. Because maybe, just maybe, that one more time will lead them to the outcome that they have been yearning for.

Those wretched feelings came right back to me because I have, in simple terms, been there, done that. Even though we got our happily ever after with Elliott, I remember the years of trying, of yearning, of wanting. Those memories are hard to forget. I kept a locked blog during those days and I sought solace by writing everything down. From the emotions to the actual procedures, I wrote it all. Till today, reading those entries bring a tear to my eye because I remember every single emotion from those days.
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More Than Just Mummy Friends

More Than Just Mummy Friends

Bubsicles has been up and running for a few months now. It’s been fun sharing the highs and lows of my parenting journey here. I especially like posting snippets of our everyday activities with the girls on the bubsicles Facebook page (without the pressure of having to rack my foggy brains to conjure up a full blog entry.) All the hard work that goes into designing the site and keeping a running commentary on Facebook is Yann’s. I just like blabbing about life and kids here – and trusting that my entries get read! I thought I’d share a little about how Yann, Selene and I became friends. We hooked up on the Internet, as dodgy as that may sound. (more…)

An unexpected gift

We follow Christina’s infertility journey – and a beautiful, heart wrenching story it is. Here’s part one of the story, and part two.

……….

“The only option is if you go through a surrogate mother. I’m sorry.”

The gynaecologist sighed as he looked at the sheets of paper bearing dismal test results regarding the state of my fertility. It had been eight months since my miscarriage, and I decided that I needed to go for a more detailed check-up on my female parts.

This time however, I didn’t cry. I was saddened and heartbroken again, yes. But I also felt – well at least, now, I know how things really are and I can move on with life. Of course, I’d feel a twinge of wistfulness every time a girlfriend excitedly announced she was expecting, or get all clucky when I played with my godchildren.

My husband and I had a discussion – we were at the stage of our lives where we were very comfortable in our marriage and jobs and enjoyed travelling regularly. However, we both agreed that we would like to raise a child at some point. The gynaecologist told us that he had “some available China women” on standby to carry our baby if we wanted, and my mother actually told me to consider this, so at least my husband’s family gets to “continue their lineage”. However, this was something we were not comfortable with, and eventually, we decided to find out more about adopting a child.

We went for a pre-adoption seminar organised by a family service centre. The complex flowcharts that mapped out the application process overwhelmed us, and the Q&A wasn’t much better with people asking about “the cheapest and fastest way” to adopt with Excel spreadsheets. What a meat market this is, we thought to ourselves.

(more…)

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