Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tickled Pink at 12 Weeks 2 Days

The other day at work while rubbing my abdomen absentmindedly, I noticed that the scar (from a laparaoscopy operation a few years ago) on my belly button felt more pronounced. Curiosity got the better of me and I went into the Ladies' room to have a better look.

Upon closer inspection, the scar has certainly been pushed out! I smiled at the thought of this development and affectionately rubbed my abdomen that's nestling both babies.

All our bodies are different. For first time incubators like me, I have been told that most will only start showing at 16 weeks and for incubators who have given birth previously, it starts to show from 10 weeks onwards.

I suppose with twin and 2 gestational sacs, it comes as no surprise that mine have decided to show itself at 12 weeks. I am excited and thrilled!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another Milestone: 12 weeks!

Today officially marks my 12th week of pregnancy. I am deeply grateful for this and am feeling incredibly at peace. Perhaps this is what being surrendered means, afterall.

At this milestone, it is important for me to reflect on the dates that have led to this and also the dates for the future:

Thursday 19th August 2010 (9 days after our 7th Wedding Anniversary)
I was in hospital for a procedure call 'Egg Pick Up'

Friday 20th August 2010
Embryologist informed us that all follicles had fertilised (without any intervention required)

Tuesday 24th August 2010
  • Under the advisement of our gynaecologist, we took the risk and left the fertilised embryos in the dish for the maximum time of 5 days.
  • The outcome was 2 survived (out of 4 which were harvested) and have become blastocysts! Rated 4AA - the very best rating! They are absolutely perfect. Both embryologist and gynaecologist were impress with their quality. This is the best we've ever achieved.
  • We told the embryologist to put both back in to increase our chances.
Thursday 25th August 2010
Implantation started

Monday 30th August 2010
Implantation completed

Friday 3rd September 2010 (Jared's Birthday)
First beta. Basically if I peed on a stick, I would have known of the positive outcome.

Monday 6th September 2010
Pregnancy confirmed via blood test. HcG was 1732! Had a hunch then that I may be carrying twins

Thursday 28th October 2010
12 weeks pregnant!

From Wednesday 20th April  2011 (My Birthday) onwards
The twins will be born!

I continue each day with prayer that with God's grace that they will continue to grow so that we may meet them next year and experience parenthood.

The other night, Jared and I were having a conversation about this and he verbalised for the very first time that "We will never take them for granted, ever." A conviction that I have been holding dear to my heart since I knew of their conception. How very apt.

This is one of many reasons why I love him so much and for sharing the same values as I do. We are very grateful.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This Song Resonates with Me

I literally wake up each morning counting my blessings. In fact, I have been abundantly blessed. I suppose that's why it's so important to overcome adversity and be at peace with whatever outcome it may be, even if takes awhile (months and even years) for it to sink in. Being at peace, is the key, for me.

Jared and I continue to marvel at the latest development in our married life. It has been four years in the making and yes, it's been a "long" journey however we are also acutely aware that there are many couples and even singles out there who have been trying for much "longer" - many have experienced parenthood and others may never experience parenthood. That's life and eventually one has to accept reality with the hope that it just isn't meant to be. A prospect that I am well aware of because I have struggled with this possibility for the last 4 years. It's absolutely heart-breaking.

At my fifth and last IVF cycle, I knew in my heart that my journey with infertility treatments were about to come to a end because it has been an arduous journey. I was starting to feel very strained (mentally, physically and emotionally) of disappointments and heartbreaks. I also knew back then that I will never regret on our decision to have embarked on this roller coaster of a journey even if we never conceived because it is our joint desire to have a family and know that we will regret for not having given it our all.

I am so grateful to my spouse for standing by me through it all, for giving me the strength and perspective to remain objective through this incredibly personal passage. He is the reason I keep persisting and the happiness he radiants these days makes it so worth it!

Today I am 11 weeks 6 days pregnant and it is my second pregnancy within a two year period. I am in a good place and feel much calmer with my current pregnancy as compared with the first (which resulted in a miscarriage at 7 weeks) because I have learnt that if it's meant to be, it will be and that I am not in control. Whatever will be, will be.

We continue to take each day in our stride and marvel at this miraculous development. Today, I came across this song and it brought tears of joy to my eyes:

Blessed by Elton John

Hey you, you're a child in my head
You haven't walked yet
Your first words have yet to be said
But I swear you'll be blessed

I know you're still just a dream
your eyes might be green
Or the bluest that I've ever seen
Anyway you'll be blessed

And you, you'll be blessed
You'll have the best
I promise you that
I'll pick a star from the sky
Pull your name from a hat
I promise you that, promise you that, promise you that
You'll be blessed

I need you before I'm too old
To have and to hold
To walk with you and watch you grow
And know that you're blessed

Morning Sickness?! Food Aversions?! Constipation?!

One of the most common symptoms associated with being pregnant is morning sickness. Whoever came up with this term evidently has no clue about day or night because this so-called morning sickness lasts all day! To be precise, from the moment I wake up till I fall asleep from sheer exhaustion from battling with it.

As much as it is rather uncomfortable and annoying, I am grateful for this symptom because it assures me all that is well with the twins and I am merely experiencing the nagging nausea feeling and not spending time in the loo (which I can only imagine to be rather unpleasant).

The other first trimester symptom is Food Aversions. You know how women rave about having cravings? Well, mine is the reverse. No cravings whatsoever. In fact, I hate food. Those who know me, know that I live to eat and not eat to live. For now, I am certainly only eating to live. The list of food aversions continue to mount and some of them include:
  • Meat of all sorts such as lamb, beef, chicken, seafood, pork
  • Vegetables of most varieties such as broccoli, onions 
  • Dairy such as cheese, milk, yoghurt and ice-cream (!!!)
  • Dried crackers which are meant to be good for curbing nausea
  • Anything too sour and too sweet
Yes I have been surviving on bland food that does not make me gag. Let's hope I will regain my appetite for good, delicious food soon.

The last and certainly not the least is Constipation. Why didn't anyone tell me how BAD it really gets?! It's absolutely over-the-top. Despite my best intentions in consuming 3 litres of water, drinking special drinks to induce digestion, has not blardy worked! In fact, I have been late for the train on a few mornings because I am literally STUCK on the loo. Sorry for the graphic description.

In fact, I don't even go daily because I have no time and energy to wait for it to unkink itself. I have to psych myself every three days!!

Despite them, I will still put up with it because I love my twins!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Kitchen Garden is taking a 'rest' because...

...there's a life changing development in my life. Though it's still early weeks (11 weeks, 4 days to be exact) and since this blog is not frequented by many, I feel 'safe' to share this update here and wonder how many will actually read it. Is this a dare, you ask? Most certainly not.

For years, I have read blogs, status updates, heard and met up with numerous friends who have gone on to have a family. I often wonder "Will I ever be one of them?" Despite being blessed with a loving and stable marriage, I wasn't entirely certain that children will be on the cards for me, because I have never truely felt maternal. Does this make sense to you? Due to the lack of feeling maternal, I have also questioned if I am 'parent material'.

I suppose we will never truely know or understand that answer to this question until it happens or in our case, from our years of trying to have a family due to my infertility. I have had numerous conversations with myself and those dear to me about the possibility of me never becoming a mum and that this is something that I must accept so that I do not go through life having regrets.

To cut a very long story short about the fertility beginnings, I shall only give you an 'executive summary' of sorts which traces the ups and downs of our journey:

  • At 28, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • At 29, I started on a course of Clomid, oral medication to aid with ovulation. It did not work because I have very stubborn ovaries
  • Started FSH injections as part of AIH program (Artificial Insemination by Husband's Sperm). Attempted this 10 times and also underwent Lapaoscopy (to ascertain if there are any blockages (thank goodness, no so it's still those stubborn ovaries) and Ovarian Drilling (to losen the pearl like casing which surrounds my ovaries in the hope that with injections, I will ovulate)
  • At 31, we knew that IVF was the only way if we ever wanted biological children. In April, I underwent Ovarian Drilling for the second time and fell pregnant after my 2nd IVF attempt in October. Sadly, we found out it was a blighted ovum at 7 weeks. It was a very sad and dark time for us (for months, to be exact). I underwent a Suction Currett on the same day. 
  •  At 32 (this year), I underwent IVF again in the new Year. Twice in the first half of the year and we went away for a holiday (we've been on many vacations and have never been able to conceive naturally) in July. A month later, we attempted IVF for the 5th time. 
  • This time, my gynaecologist decided to try a new protocol that was just approved to improve the quality of my follicles. This particular cycle was the most sore (after egg pick up) and most stressful (I rang the embryologist every single day for 5 days to ascertain how many fertilised follicles had survived, etc etc). On the day of transfer, the embryologist informed us that out of the 6 follicles harvested, 2 have survived and have gone on to grow into blastocysts with a perfect grading of 4AA. We did not hesitate and told the embryologist to "put them both back in" and 14 days later, the blood test confirmed that I am pregnant with HcG level of 1732! I had a hunch back then that I am carrying twins!

6th week scan
By this stage, I have been nauseated since 5th week and was feeling rather miserable if not assured. However, nothing's more assuring than the evidence on the scan.

We were so relief, please, daunted when this came on the screen! You can see a little shadow of a blob in the lower sac. Although we couldn't see a similar shadow in the higher sac, our gynaecologist assured us that her hunch tells her that there's another one in there.

You can imagine how happy and relief we were by this image and those assuring words. We cluthed this scan preciously in our hands and hope to see the other blob in our next scan in the following 2 weeks.

8th week scan
Back in the clinic, still feeling sick and have been averse to food since week 5.

Baby 1 - check out his / her growth in just two weeks!

Baby 2 - we can see you now!!!

The best part? We saw their flickering heartbeats! Gynaecologist also assured us that they are on track - right size, etc etc. We are simply over-the-moon grateful and delighted.

9th week scan
We see our Obstetrician for the first time. No scan pictures will be uploaded for this because the quality was absolutely appalling.

Nonethless, we saw them again and once again assured by their flickering heartbeats and that they are on track.

10th week
No scan but plenty of blood tests and glucose tolerance test.

11th week
No scan and found out that I am Vitamin D + Calcium deficient (no surprises since I am still averse to most food) and that I have Gestational Diabetes (was pre-warned back when I was 28 that I am certain to get this due to medical condition).

What next?
12th week, 4 days  - I will undergo Nuchal Scan

13th week - Meet my Obstetrician for end of First Trimester scan plus referral to Dietician to manage gestational diabetes.


At this stage, we are very grateful and are taking each day in our stride.