the twins

So very close.

As the date draws near, people have been asking, “So how? Excited or not?” And my answer is always, “I feel prepared, yet not quite prepared“. Yes, prepared because we’ve done it before with Elliott. Not quite prepared because we will be handling two newborns at the same time and I honestly cannot imagine how much chaos that would bring.

I am also not sure if this is typical of second (and subsequent) pregnancies but somehow, I find myself having a rather – for lack of a better word – laidback attitude? With Elliott, I remember packing my hospital bag pretty early on but this time round, I took the bag out and it sat untouched collecting dust until one day, the boy asked, rather uncharacteristically, “You still don’t want to pack ah?!

So I finally got down to it. I’ve learnt from the first experience that you really don’t need to bring a lot of stuff as the hospital provides for it. Also, Singapore is really not too big. If I really do forget anything, I can get the boy to get it from home.

I was glad I did (somewhat) pack the hospital bag because on Friday early morning (2 June), I felt a consistent dull period-like cramp. It woke me up and I laid still in bed, willing it to go away. I kinda remember that contractions felt like that.

Uh oh.

When daylight broke, I quickly popped the anti-contraction pills and was in 2 minds about heading to KKH. The boy decided that I should go for peace of mind, and so we trooped to KKH.

Again.

I knew exactly where to go this time round, having been there just last month. This time round, I was ushered to the triage ward where the babies’ heartbeats were monitored. I was told to stay put for 45 minutes to an hour for monitoring so I told the boy to head to the office first since he had to work to do. No point hanging around anyway as he wasn’t allowed into the triage ward.

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I spent about an hour lying on my back which was really uncomfortable. Thankfully, with the anti-contraction meds that I took, the contractions were spaced far apart. The doctor came by to check on me and after looking at the graph result (above), declared that I was safe to return home to rest.

To be brutally honest, I was quite ready to give birth last Friday because it is getting really uncomfortable. I spend most of my time pottering around the house because even a short walk to the bathroom is exhausting. NO KIDDING. I’m also feeling ridiculously hot all the time. I take 3 cold showers a day but once I walk out of the bathroom, sweat trickles down my back. URGH. Doesn’t help that the weather’s been sweltering.

Also, the (literal) pressure of carrying 2 babies who have crossed the 2kg mark each is pretty intense. I feel like every part of my body is either aching or in pain. I am detailing all these so that when the twins are old enough, I can regale them with stories of how exhausting it was to carry them in-utero.

In case anyone’s wondering, we are doing an elective c-section for the twins’ birth. Elliott had a rather dramatic birth and personally, I am not big on birth plans because honestly, I’ve learnt through many life experiences that many a times, plans don’t go as…planned! Decided that doing an elective c-section means that everything is booked in advance and we go in prepared and ready.

Well, I use the phrase ‘prepared and ready’ very loosely here because I don’t think I’d ever be fully prepared/ready to be cut up again. And in case anyone forgets, a c-section is a pretty big operation. I’m not sure if it’s my hormones talking but despite all the happy, healthy births that we see on social media, things can, and do, go wrong at childbirth. Call me paranoid but until the babies are safe in my arms, I don’t think I’d be able to fully relax.

I distinctly remember the deep cut across my body after I birthed Elliott and the huge waterproof bandage placed over it. It’s funny how your brain retains such…memories. But if being cut up is what it takes to get the twins out safely and alive, I say we do it.

How a woman decides to give birth is very personal. Does using drugs (i.e. taking an epidural), having an elective c-section, not choosing a water/natural birth, etc, make you less of a mother? I think not. I do wonder why mothers who do not choose the drug-free, natural way (for whatever reason) is usually given a less-than-subtle judgmental vibe.

Pregnancy is generally hard on a woman’s body (except those glam mums who still look model-like on social media. Not talking about those) so let’s just be kind (and silent). Let mothers have their babies however they like and not give out “Huh? Not natural birth ah?” vibes or your 2.5 cents worth about which is “better”, unless your opinion is asked for.

Anyway, I’m digressing.

After the last gynae visit, it hit me that THE DAY is drawing really close because I was given the hospital admission letter, doctor’s letter, etc. On one hand, I’m looking forward to offloading meeting the babies but on the other, despite it not being our first baby, I am a tad apprehensive at the journey ahead of us.

Please send lots of luck!

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me myself and i · the twins

I is for Influenza A: Part 1

On 14 May, Sunday, Elliott came down the sniffles. Pretty usual, I’d say, so we did not think much of it. However, that night, he ran a fever of 38+ degrees which led to unsettled sleep for pretty much for the entire family. Poor kid was burning up and only settled when I gave him some Brufen to make him more comfortable.

For the entire week, this fever stubbornly stayed. He’d be ok and chirpy in the day, being his usual self (save for runny nose) but at night, his fever would spike above 38, hitting 39+ degrees at times. It was an entire week of restless sleep for everybody. I put it down to the usual virus and decided to let him ride it out.

Unfortunately, on Wednesday night (17 May), I came down with the same bug. I spent the entire night shivering under the blanket in the room (no aircon). My temperature was also hovering at 38-39 degrees and it was near impossible to sleep. I also noted that the babies were moving a lot unusually and put it down to the fever.

When I awoke on the morning of 18 May, I was near delirious. The boy touched my forehead and said I’m still very hot to the touch. I remember barely hearing him. I reached out for the thermometer and the reading was 39.8 degrees.

Sheesh. That’s pretty darn high.

Decided to call my gynae to ask for her advice. Her first words were: Go to KKH now.

The boy was enroute to work but rushed home to drive me to KKH. We  headed to the O&G (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) 24-hour clinic but the boy noted a sign that stated: For pregnant women who are over 22-weeks, please proceed to the delivery ward on Level 2.

And so we did.

We were attended to very promptly. When the nurse heard that I was running a fever, she quickly ushered me into one of the empty delivery wards and strapped me up to track the babies’ heartbeats.

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As it turns out, I was having regular contractions. WHAT?! I had no idea. I just thought that the babies were moving around quite a lot. Had no idea that they were contractions? A doctor soon came to attend to me and she informed us that the first priority is to stop the contractions. They also gave me some oral medication (paracetamol) and put me on the drip to  regulate my temperature. She also said that I was to be warded for one night for observation.

Later that day, they moved me up to another delivery ward as the usual wards were full. This surprised me because I thought we have a falling birth rate? Who are these people giving birth and taking up ward space?

Soon after, a bunch of junior doctors (who all looked less than 25 years old) came to do their rounds. 3 of them attempted to put the needle into the back of my hand for the drip and let’s just say that at the end of it all, I had 5 puncture wounds on both hands because they could not find my ‘thin vein’. URGH. They also took my blood to test for all sorts of diseases, as well as a nose swab to test for Influenza A.

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I was also given steroid jabs on both thighs to strengthen the babies’ lungs just in case they decided to pop out early. Those jabs were FREAKIN’ PAINFUL CAN?! I now have a bruised left thigh to show for it.

I also remember one of the nurses/administrators coming to me to explain the cost of delivering the babies early. It was all a bit of a blur but I remember flinching physically when I was informed that for a 21-day stay in the NICU ward for premature babies, it will cost a whopping S$30K. Twins? Multiply that by 2.

Jeez. That’s some serious money there.

Thankfully, with the meds and drip, the fever stayed away. I actually felt more human once the fever was gone. I was also given Nifedipine (or commonly known as Adalat which is actually a brand) to take – 2 tablets, 4 times a day. It is supposed to stop pre-term labour. The results of the nose swab also confirmed that I had influenza A.

The boy was saying that I can have a good rest in hospital but the truth is, I was in a 4-bedder because they ran out of single rooms and single rooms are mad expensive! The lady beside me was also experiencing pre-term labour but the other 2 ladies just gave birth so throughout the night, their newborns were crying. And when it all quietened down, the nurses would be coming round to take my blood pressure, give me meds, check babies’ heart rates, etc. I don’t think I rested much that night, to be honest.

The next morning, I was cleared to head home as the contractions have stopped. Hooray! I haven’t had a shower since I was admitted which was like 2 days of grubbiness. GROSS. I couldn’t wait to get home for a good shower. Did you know that if you’re Singaporean, you do not need to queue up to pay, etc? Once the doctor clears you for discharge, you can just leave and the bill will be mailed to you. HOW AWESOME.

I was given a huge bag of meds to bring home which included a 2-week dosage of Nifedipin, as well as Tamiflu to manage the influenza. There were also throat lozenges and cough mixture.

Now, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the twins stay in and bake until we cross into June which is really not too far away. Eeeeks.

And yes, there’s a Part 2 to this story. Watch this space.

family · moments · the twins · us

8 years

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Today, miss ene and the boy celebrate 8 years of marriage. It is also a time of anticipation as we await the arrival of the twins. To say that these 8 years has been a rollercoaster ride is putting it mildly.

Marriage is not all sunshine and fluffy clouds. It takes (damn a lot of hard) work and effort. Often, we take each other for granted as life takes over and we run in automode. Through the years, we adjust and adapt, and learn how to work effectively as a team. We are no where near perfect, but it’s a constant work-in-progress.

Happy anniversary to my best friend and partner for life. Thank you for being the calm in my kan-cheong world.

I am glad we found each other. ❤️

elliott · the twins · thoughts

Mother’s Day

It’s past midnight so technically, Mother’s Day is over but who says we can’t celebrate it on any other given day? It has been a hectic day of errands and since I’m wide awake (3rd tri insomnia yo) and the boys are in deep sleep, it is the best time to think and reflect..

This photo reminds me that it is my last Mother’s Day with the one who made me a mother and from next year on, I’d be a mother to 3. THREE KIDS. That still boggles my mind, to be honest. Are we excited? Yeah kind of. Are we scared shitless? Pretty much so. At least I am.

I’m not sure how or why the Universe chose us to be parents to twins and this amazingly sweet boy right here but it did, so we will count our blessings and hold on tight for the ride.

And if you yearn to be a mother one day (just like I did years ago) but it’s not happening yet, I want you to know that you are in my thoughts today. ❤️

Happy Mother’s Day.

Also, I don’t say this enough but here’s a special shout-out to my mum who, until today, always puts us before herself and is always there whenever we need her. I am also thankful for my mother-in-law who is always ready to babysit Elliott at the drop of a hat. We are blessed to have a village behind us.

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funnies · the journey · the twins · thoughts

The 5-letter word called sleep.

After sharing our news on social media, we have been overwhelmed with loads of kinds words and congratulatory messages. miss ene and the boy would like to say a big thank you to all of you who have shown nothing but grace and kindness towards our parenting journey.

It is nice to finally talk about the pregnancy openly on this blog! First up, let’s talk about sleep. Or rather, the lack of it. Many have reminded me to ‘sleep as much as you can before the babies come’ which comes from a good place because yes, I am fully aware that when newborns (TWO THIS TIME!) arrive, sleep goes out of the window very quickly.

However, sleep has not come easy to me, especially in this last trimester. Let me count the 5 ways:

Reason #1 – the need to pee

I need to pee. Many many times. New mothers gush and tell me to relish pregnancy because you’d miss the kicks and movements but all I remember from pregnancy (with Elliott) is the need to pee CONSTANTLY. And of course, that’s happening now with the twins.

I’d get into a comfortable position to sleep and when I almost doze off, I’d need to pee NOW NOW NOW. Forget about trying to ignore it because it cannot be ignored. You just need to get right up and head to the toilet.

And when I say “get right up”, I don’t mean bouncing out of bed (I wish). I am talking about moving from horizontal to vertical like an overweight sloth (i.e. very very slowly) while using one hand to support myself so that I don’t fall over from the giant belly. I then shuffle slowly and carefully to the bathroom to pee about 5 drops (8 if I’m lucky) before shuffling back to bed to try and get comfortable again. Repeat process x 10,572 times a night.

Reason #2 – Baby, it’s hot

I do vaguely remember feeling hot when I was pregnant with Elliott but this time round, perhaps due to the fact that there’s two baking inside, this heat thing is real. And please, I’m not talking sexy hot. I’m talking sweat dripping down your back, face, and everywhere, and looking like I just ran a half-marathon in 35 degrees heat with a wool pullover, complete with sweat-soaked messy hair.

We usually sleep in an air-conditioned room but these days, even in the 23 degrees celcius room with the ceiling fan turned on, I CAN’T SLEEP BECAUSE I AM FEELING VERY HOT. The boy, who is usually the one who hates the heat, ends up cowering under the duvet because the room is so darn cold (to him). Me? I’ve kicked off the duvet and trying to sleep while beads of sweat trickle down my forehead. Or I’d fall asleep finally but wake up to a sweaty head because yep, I’m feeling hot.

Reason #3 – My (almost) broken ribs

This is something I don’t remember from Elliott’s days. I honestly don’t remember my poor ribs being shoved, prodded, pushed and punched when I was pregnant with him. Either that or I have mumnesia. I have, on many occassions, been rudely jolted awake by intense pain in my ribs. It started with my right ribs which I thought were due to the fact that Twin B’s legs are right there. However, these days, my left ribs hurt as well, probably from Twin A’s legs as apparently, both of them are head-down.

So imagine this: You have 4 legs kicking and pushing against your ribs at odd hours of the night, like someone sucker-punched you when you weren’t looking. I’ve never bruised my ribs before (I don’t get into fights, thank you very much) so at first, I wasn’t sure if it was just my imagination that my ribs were hurting.

On some nights, I thought I was dreaming about the pain and wake up with a shock but I have concluded that the pain is very very real. I literally wake up going “owwww” and have to soothe the aching ribs by massaging them. How to sleep like that?

Reason #4 – Internal kungfu fighting

Assuming all of the above 3 reasons do not exist, there are the internal “fights” that go on inside of my belly. Ok, I’m not sure if the twins are fighting per se but I’m pretty sure with each passing day, space is becoming a precious commodity and they are fighting for space to move.

Twin A (the girl) is the more active of the two – surprise, surprise. So much for girls being “easier”, “more docile” and “gentle”. She is the one with the kungfu fly kicks and somersaults. Even at scans, she moves a lot. We saw her shake her head (!) and let out a huge lazy yawn, like it is such blardy hard work being a baby in-utero. Twin B moves less. So much lesser than I find myself going into Google-mad mode and asking on forums if this is normal and if I should press the panic button and see the gynae NOW NOW NOW.

Yes, it is wonderful to feel their kicks and moves (isn’t that the beauty of pregnancy, everyone asks) but when both of them kick up a storm or engage in an in-utero fist-fight at 3am, I get shocked awake. At last week’s check, they were 1.6 kg each so when they move or get excited, their movements are pretty darn acute.

Reason #5 – One very giant belly

I’ve been getting loads of “your belly is very small for twins leh” comments. To that, I punch them in the head mentally smile and say it’s really heavy for me already. I have a rather small frame so carrying twins feel like quite a load for me. My gynae has never said that the twins are small or not growing well. In fact, she has said that she is very pleased at my weight gain and progress so far.

At the moment, this “small belly” that everyone talks about is getting really hard to heave around. I get breathless just walking for short distances. Getting from a sitting position to a standing one just to get a drink of water from the kitchen takes a mammoth effort. I get achy if I sit/stand/lie for too long.

This translates to bad sleep or a complete lack of sleep at night. There is no comfortable position. Experts say we should lie on the left side for better blood flow but Twin A is there and she kicks up a storm when I do that. So I spend a considerably amount of effort turning from left to right. I manage to settle into a comfortable position on my right and then I’d…need to pee.

I get back to bed and lie facing-up but have to prop both legs into an inverted v-shaped position because lying flat kills my lower back. Sometimes, this is the ‘jackpot’ position and I finally fall asleep.

On other bad nights, I get a stuffy nose from pregnancy rhinitis which is another blog entry for another day. I’d then have to grab the other pillow from the boy and prop my head up to try and sleep. Sometimes, this helps as it clears my nose but I’ve woken up a few times with a ‘dead’ arm and a stiff neck because of the awkward position the extra pillow puts my upper body in.

There you go. 5 reasons why sleep is pretty elusive in my world right now.

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