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Friday, August 23, 2013

3 months

My daughters turn 3 months today. And they now babble, coo, smile and suck at their hands.

Twin A babbles incessantly when in a good mood and is able to turn halfway. She should be the first to flip and to crawl as her neck muscles are strong - she's able to fully lift her head and shoulders during tummy time. She is also able to reach for objects hanging above her! Recently she has changed for the better and I hardly ever hear her crying. Except for bath times when she wails like an angry kitten dragged to the bath! I think she's also easily tickled because she squirms like an eel when I sniff at her belly and neck! Yesterday afternoon, she made us all laugh when she fell asleep in the water at the babyspa. There she was suspended in midwater with the float around her neck and her eyes closed. My CEB thinks she looks like a little bunny as she draws her fists up close to her chest like a boxer in a defensive position most times when we carry her but put her down on the mat and she starts reaching for the objects hanging above her.

Twin A smiles (and cries, unfortunately) very readily and is a real joy when contented However, when in a foul mood as she has been after the injection, she literally screams her head off and cries till tears streak her little face. In addition to taking after my CEB appearance-wise, she needs loads of attention too and looks at you with complete love when you cuddle her.

Twin B has changed so much physically since she was born. Her complexion is now as fair as soya bean curd when previously because of her jaundice level, she was yellowish/dark-skinned. When she looks at me with her black sparkling eyes, the phrase "Mother looks at Child, Child regards Mother" comes to mind. She has been able to focus on people from an early age and is what my nanny terms in Chinese "A Happy Fruit (Kai Xin Guo)". She only cries when she wants milk or wants to sleep. Once both needs are met (the first with a bottle and the second with a pacifier and some patting), she is content again, requiring very little attention. Twin B enjoys water very much so I bring her to the babyspa for a soak as often as 3 times a week where she paddles about in the little fish-tank like a duck in the water. Her smiles have only increased in frequency of late but her voice is clear and loud and she enjoys using it to express herself. She doesn't reach for things or roll about but she loves looking around by turning her head about. When she does that, it makes me recall the feeling of having her in my tummy sticking her head out and us rubbing her head. Contrary to what many pp had told me, Twin B still has a beautiful head of hair which is light brown in the sunlight.

I am so grateful to be blessed with Twin A and Twin B as daughters, so grateful that our lives and paths have crossed in this life time. Motherhood is no walk in the park (but it beats pregnancy) and the journey is a long one but walk the path we will together, as a family.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Moo - Breastfeeding Part 2 and Going Forward

The body is truly a marvelous creation. In mid June, I was pumping an average of 1200ml a day. In mid July, an average of 1400ml a day and now (first week of Aug), the amount of milk I have is between 1600ml to 2000ml.

The picture below shows the most I have ever pumped in one session - 550ml. That was at 6am with the session before at 11pm. And enough for two feeds each  per twin ( Twin A drinks 160ml x 5 feeds + 80ml while Twin B drinks 110ml x 8 feeds). 

So both my twins are (almost) exclusively (Twin B 100% but Twin A 90%) on breastmilk and only on formula if they go out longer than 4 hours (expressed breast milk (EBM)) only keeps for that long after being pumped). As I said the body is a wonderful thing, producing more milk as the twins require more and even the composition of the milk changes as they grow to meet their changing nutritional needs.

So since breast/breastmilk is (touted to be) best and is free, one would have thought that this would be the path I would pursue as long as I am able to produce milk.

But it isn't as simple as that. I pump at least 5/6 times a day which works out to be at least 3 and a 1/2 hours tied to the breast pump. I can't have a whole day out without bringing my breastpump with me and finding some nursing room to pump. I can't get a full night sleep as I am awoken by swollen leaking breasts within 4-6 hours. Pumping also takes me away from the twins - where I could be playing with them, instead I am sitting on the chair pumping milk. And I always end up leaking a ton if it is time for me to pump but I am carrying one of them.

 I could latch them but that means messing up their feeding times (which are diff as Twin B has reflux) and not knowing exactly how much their intake is so pumping/expressing it has to be.

Then there is the financial cost on top of the time cost. Again one would have thought that breastmilk is free so I'm saving a ton on formula but it isn't the case. As I need loads of rest to ensure supply and time needed to pump (which means not attending to a baby when she cries), we have hired a domestic helper as well as a full time nanny who will stay with us and take care of the twins day and night. My in laws at 70 are far too old to help and my side travels far too much. And the nanny doesn't come cheap - close to 3k.

There are cheaper options like infant care or hiring 2 domestic helpers but we are not inclined to either because we want the twins to have 1:1 attention (not the case at infant care which also carries the risk of them falling ill more often) and until they can sleep through the night, complete weaning and teething as well as vocalize sufficiently, 2 domestic helpers won't really cut it. 

Then there is the option of quitting and staying at home to care for the twins which I thought long and hard about. Financially it wouldn't make sense as the cost of the nanny a month is less than 1/4 my monthly take home pay. Breastfeeding wise it wouldn't make sense as I would have to take care of a baby leaving me no time to pump. And having zero experience on bringing up a child, I'm not prepared to go by trial and error by my twins and would rather pay for an experienced old hand to save my twins the grief of any mistakes I might make. Most importantly, hard as it is to admit, even to myself, I don't have the right temperament to take care of children 24/7, esp not at this stage where demands are made by crying. 

Sure, I can latch, bottle feed (make a bottle if need be), soothe, put to bed/holding/petting, diaper, bathe and change my twins BUT I can't stay at home and do this 24/7 without losing my temper, esp when they cry incessantly or refuse to sleep. 

So this is how it has to be going forward for the next 15 months (the twins turn 3 months soon). I'm certainly immeasurably grateful to God, my parents and my in-laws for giving us all the support we need to provide the best we can for our beloved twins. And after all this breastfeeding and sleepless nights, after a horrendously miserable pregnancy, I am positive that I do not want to go through this again. 

I miss fishing, I miss the hotel club lounges, my flying business class on SQ, my ad hoc traveling with my CEB, my Krisfkyer gold, my good old life. I can't spend as I used to, I can't indulge my wants - I was on the verge of selling my car and getting my dream CRZ and then I found out I was pregnant. Now I want to buy a Volvo but I can't as we need to pay for the nanny and then send then off to Playgroup/nursery which would work out to almost the same amount as a nanny.

So many restrictions, so much more stressors but the twins are here and all the wishing, moaning/lamenting isn't going to change my reality so I guess I have to suck if right up and lie in the bed I have made.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Twin B - Little Swimmer

I wrote an entry about Twin A's laughter a few weeks back and have been meaning to write about Twin B but as usual, what with the breastfeeding, burping, diapering and spending time on and with the twins, I haven't had a chance to till today. And of course, Twin B being hospitalized twice this month (the first where she was diagnosed to be possibly lactose intolerant given the amount of gas in her belly and the second where she was diagnosed to have reflux) kept us all extremely busy.

Ah Twin B, I love her so much that I'm terrified anything will happen to her such that I will never be with her again. Because I believe that a baby, an infant is pure and without sin, their souls will be received back into Heaven should anything happen to them. And I, I am a sinner and therefore I do not know whenever in eternity will I have a chance to be with this child of mine if she should leave me in her infancy. I want to believe that we will meet in Heaven but as I said, she is pure and I am not and this leaves me desperately and pathetically afraid of losing her, of losing this time I am given with her. All I want to do is scoop her up in my arms when I wake up, plant a million kisses on her chubby cheeks, bury my face into her head full of hair, put a finger in her little fist for her to clench and listen to all her little funny sounds.

I'm so happy when I am with her and when I am away from her, I think of her constantly. I picture her face, I hear her voice in my head and I know that there is nowhere else in the world I would rather be than with her. I can't wait for her to grow up, be less fragile and have a better chance of survival but at the same time, I don't want each moment with her to pass.

Twin B is a generally happy baby except when she wants to feed and when she wants to be carried to bed. She seldom wails or fusses even with a soiled diaper and she is happy to lie on a playmat cooing at the toys above her. She enjoys each bath time which makes it a joyful experience for us both - I like the way she throws both arms wide open when I lower her down into the tub and soap her hair, and when I flip her back on her back. Then on the changing table as I dry her down, she has the most contented look on her face, as if she knows that she is in good hands.

Since my baby enjoys the water so much, I signed her and Twin A up for the babyspa swimming sessions where each baby gets to swim around a little tub with a neck float around their necks. Twin B took to the water like an otter, throwing her arms wide open and then paddling around like a natural born swimmer. It was so clear to anyone watching that this little chubby cheeked creature was having the time of her life paddling around in the warm water.  No crying, no fussing, just soaking it up. As Twin B is a little chubby, this swimming about twice or thrice a week should provide some exercise for her but I know I'll love her even if she stays a little chubby cheeked creature. Looking at her, no, just thinking of her alone makes me so happy!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Breastfeeding - what a journey, what a lesson

I've been wanting to write this post for the longest time ever since I delivered the twins but I just haven't had the time in between diapering, feeding, burping and pumping. My day starts at between 5.30 to 7.30am daily depending on whether I've managed to get out of bed to pump at 3am, and ends about 10pm, a far cry from those days when I could not crawl out of bed earlier than 8am (pre-pregnancy) and could sleep about 2-3am.

So, about pumping (breast-milk). When I delivered the twins, it was assumed that I would be breastfeeding and the nurses pushed in Twin A into my room the morning I delivered. I had been examining my breasts and they looked the same as they did pre-delivery and I wondered where in the world would the breast-milk come from, especially when I didn't go through the hours of labor which would send a signal to my body to produce milk. Nonetheless, I duly lifted up the little one from her bassinet and latched her on with the lactation consultant's instructions on how to position the baby (body to chest) and how to ensure that her mouth would suckle properly. Well, my little Twin A started suckling well enough which gave me a happiness I have never experienced but my joy lasted only about 1min because she realized there was nothing and turned her little face away.

The lactation consultant (LC) then taught me to how to power massage my breasts which would open up the pores in the nipples, express the colostrum (liquid gold) and encourage milk flow. Then, the LC massaged my breasts each and the pain, oh, the pain was blinding. I kid you not when I compare the pain to having someone use a clothes peg to pinch each nipple and twist. Twist. I could not breathe, could not think - all I felt was pure agony. The pain from the 10cm c-section wound at my lower belly (which I was on painkillers on but did nothing for the breasts' pain) paled in comparison to this pain.

I am not ashamed to mention that I did moan out loud and tear as the LC massaged my breasts. I swore that this was the final straw (that broke the camel's back) and I bemoaned my being born a woman once again. First the horrible pregnancy to bear the twins and now the agony I had to go through to feed the twins. And I was told by the LC that if I wanted to have my breast milk kick in, I had to massage my breasts like I was taught every 3 hours.

Now, my mother had repeatedly told me that I had to breastfeed no matter what - she said that not everything could be bought with money, and unfortunately like my pregnancy, having my body produce breastmilk is one thing that money can't purchase. My CEB and I also knew from reading and the pre-natal sessions that breastmilk was best (full of antibodies). So to me, giving up because of pain wasn't an option. In fact, I even asked my CEB to rent the hospital Medela breast pump for the 4 days I was there as I heard the suction was more powerful than the Medela PISA model I had bought.

So, I started the 3 hour massage. The first 2 massages on my own yielded nothing and I asked for the LC who massaged my breasts again for me. She told me that if I didn't apply enough pressure - i.e. too soft on myself and not pressing hard enough despite the blinding pain, I would not have breast milk. She stood over me and rolled, rubbed, pressed until I had to bite my lips to prevent myself from asking her to stop. I wanted her to stop so the pain would stop yet what I needed overrode what I wanted so I just allowed myself to be lost in the waves of pain.

After what seemed like forever, the LC told me that there was colostrum emerging from each breast and she used a syringe to collect the yellow stuff seeping out of each nipple. I think I could only watch open-mouthed - I was in too much in pain to feel any joy. But But BUT, I was inspired. I figured that since the massages were yielding results, I should just keep at the massaging despite the crazy clothes-peg-on-nipples pain. So from then, I set my alarm to wake up every 3 hours to massage my breasts and grit my teeth through the pain. That, with the hobbling bent in half to the toilet because of the c-section wound was a new lesson in pain for me. Thank goodness my CEB stayed with me throughout. Honestly, I could not have managed on my own - I'm so grateful he booked me an A class ward so he could be there every single hour with me and the twins, to experience this one-in-a-lifetime experience and to help in all the ways he could from supporting me to the toilet to managing visitors to learning how to diaper and feed the twins (he was very hands-on!).

Anyway, back to the breastfeeding story. My mother watched in fascination as I massaged each breast futilely and collected the little colostrum each time in a syringe. Whatever was in the syringe (about 5-10ml after 4-5 rounds of painful massaging) went into each twin's mouth.

I remember on my second night about 2am after I had woken up to massage and pump my breasts (no milk still), I made my way to the nursery to pass the syringe to the nurse to give one of the twins. I remember waiting outside the nursery while they wheeled out one of the little ones (Twin B I think), I remember the satisfaction I got when I pressed the syringe into her mouth to fill it with the precious colostrum (20 mins of pain each massage). I remember wishing I had more so I could give each of the twins some, instead of that pathetic amount which only 1 twin could have every 3 hours, and I told the nurse how I felt like such a lousy mother because I had no milk and so little colostrum.

The next morning, I heard the night shift nurses briefing the day shift nurses outside my room on what I had said. Within an hour, the LC was at my bedside massaging my breasts and squeezing out even more colostrum. At her angle standing over me, I think she was able to exert more force and open more pores (the pain was unforgettable!). Again, I was told to massage like she had taught me every 3 hours which I diligently and desperately did regardless of visitors.

My mother-in-law (MIL), while watching me massage and seeing the pain I was in with so little yield, told me to just give up and give formula milk which she herself had done when she could not stand the pain of engorgement (no breast pump during her era). I told her I wanted to try to get breast milk, and if really after 10 days of massaging and pain there was no yield, I would reconcile myself to the fact that I had no breast milk. I didn't want to take the easy way out and deprive my twins of the best milk possible merely because I as the mother did not want to suffer for them. And what about the colostrum full of antibodies that at least my body was producing? No, giving up at that point was not an option. And to his credit, my CEB never said a single word to discourage me from my efforts - he just held his tongue, helped me with the hospital breast pump and supported my efforts to get the breastmilk in. We even brought the PISA I bought to the hospital as well as the bottles (But of course, we went back with these untouched as there was not enough milk to even cover the base of the bottles).

So after the 4th day in the hospital, we went home and I continued with the 3 hours pumping. My breastmilk only came in on the 5th day and this was the amount yielded by both breasts after 20 mins of pumping - less than 50ml. And the color was not pure white but yellow. Still, my confinement lady (CL) deemed it suitable for the twins who were drinking about 30ml each per feed

On the 14th day, I was confident enough to pump with both pumps at the same time. The yield was only  20-30ml per breast and that was enough to dissuade me from using 2 pumps when evidently it was going to be a waste of time cleaning 2 bottles, 2 shields and 2 membranes. Still, I stuck to the 3 hours routine telling myself that it was all about effort and commitment. Although I had plenty of support from my CEB, my mum, my in-laws, my maid especially and of course the invaluable but very expensive CL, the sleep deprivation (waking up every 3 hours to pump for 1/2 an hour is seriously very tiring, especially when you do that 24/7) was enough to exhaust me and make me one very grouchy mama.

But because I am a mama, I have to do what I have to do for the twins, no matter my feelings. I only had time to look at their hospital cards 2 weeks after I got home and it may be hormones, but I teared when I saw the yellow sticker on each of their cards. The sticker said "I am breast fed". And I could not stop crying when I thought back on the journey, on finding the strength and determination to sit with and bear pain I never thought I could, on waking up every 3 hours when previously I had such a good relaxed life waking at 8-9am and sleeping uninterrupted at whatever hour I liked.

By the third week with religious constant pumping 3 hourly and plenty of fluids intake, as well as lots of threadfin and cod fish, my supply was up to 130ml for both breasts every pump.

And after 3-4 days, the output increased even further to 200ml. And that's where the tender care lanolin which I purchased from the USA (and my boss kindly brought down) came in useful. All the pumping had resulted in very very sore nipples and I was (and am) deathly afraid of pumping strawberry milk  (milk mixed with blood from cracked nipples) which the twins would not be able to drink.

As the twins' one month approaches, my milk supply has stabilized to 220ml every 3/4hourly pump. This is just enough for their day feeds but we still need to rely on formula milk for their night feeds - as of now, their intake has increased to 110ml per baby every 2-3 hours.

I have read about some mothers breastfeeding for more than 1 year and I take my hats off to them, especially if they are exclusive pumping. I would latch my twins on more often but suckling would take one hour plus each and I would not know how much they are drinking. I'm also not sure how I could possibly hold one to each breast at the same time or when holding on, latch the other one. So, exclusive pumping it has to be - I spend my days in a blur between pumping, helping with the feeding and diapering.

When asked how long I wanted to continue being tied to the pump, my answer would be 4-6 months but the truth is that I recently even ordered more spare parts for the pump from the US which my colleague kindly helped me bring back to SG. I guess this shows that I am not really ready to stop pumping BM for the twins despite the soreness of my nipples and the sleep deprivation. At minimum, I'm going to be at this for 4 months and maximum would be 1 year.

Breastfeeding has been and is a memorable journey, and I am thankful as always, to the good Lord for providing me with such a decent supply of milk (average of 1.2 litres a day), for enabling the twins to accept without difficulty both BM and FM (for now at least), and for the lesson that I have learnt - one indeed reaps what one sows. My friend, the Slug was right about one thing - giving up is always the easiest route but if one can sit through the pain no matter how bad it gets, and hold true to one's commitment to persevere, there will, God willing, be results.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

On being a mother...

"You think that true love is the only thing that can crush your heart; that will take your life and light it up or destroy it. Then you become a mother... ~ Grey's Anatomy"

I lifted that quote off a post from a blog I had been following while I was pregnant. The mother lost her child to hydrops at 31weeks while I have been blessed with two living children (we were pregnant at the same time).

My firstborn.

And my baby.

If a bird with a brain the size if a pea would defend its young to the death from its enemies, tell me what a human mother wouldn't do to protect her young.

I have never known a love so fierce, so consuming, so unconditional until I birthed my children. I have never known what I could be capable of until I held my babies in my arms. I have never suffered such agony as I did the days after they were born (breastfeeding story up next) - the degree of pain I can put up with for them amazes even myself. Each time I could have chosen the easy way out but it would be at their expense and so I grit my teeth, moan with the pain (can't think when experiencing waves of our pain) and do what I have to do. I ask for nothing in return - for this is what a mother should do.

My twins have given me strength, have taught me humility and have pushed me beyond what I thought I was capable of. I am so terrified of anything bad happening to them that I have to calm myself down by telling myself repeatedly that all this is in God's hands. HE will hold them, HE holds their lives in HIS hands. I can only do the best I can as their mother - because if not me, who will? The rest of the stuff I can't control, I have to leave it to God. 

Whatever the case, as long as I believe in God, and make the best decisions I can live with (best decision at that point and not hindsight), I should have no regrets. 

My first duty is to the twins and I am no stranger to pain when it comes to suffering their behalf so I have to do what I have to do for them, always them first.

Oh motherhood, such a privilege, such a joy, such a challenge. My ex-fiancé may have hit the nail on the head when, about 4 years ago as we were calling it quits, he said to me most sadly that he wished he had been born to be my child, instead of a partner (to-be). His words struck me deeply but it was his tone that has remained imprinted in my mind - such a tone of wishful longing.

But he was right - a mother will love the child who was placed in her arms after carrying the child in her womb for 9 months, no matter what, for however long. I am so blessed to have known this degree of love for another. 

Twin A and Twin B at Week 3

I'm in the middle of the third week since the twins arrived and I am still filled with awe and happiness whenever I hold them in my arms or just look at them. They have completed my life in a way that I never thought possible and motherhood thus far has brought me the deepest joy that I have ever known.

Each of the twins exhibit almost the same behavior as they did when they were in my womb.

Twin A is a night owl just like mummy and stays awake almost all the time. I often catch her snuggled in the arms of the confinement lady (CL) when I wake up to check on them in the night (I wake up every 3 hours to pump milk which is a story in itself). She simply refuses to sleep through the night and demands far more attention (wanting to be held) than Twin B. It's almost as if she is trying to make up for the lack of attention she received when in the womb (because she was lying so low). She loves being held against the chest and looking up with her large wide eyes at the person holding her. With her beautiful double eyelids, pointy chin and wide smile, Twin A is a joy to behold but Lordy, taking care of her is a real challenge. The poor baby has diaper rash that's bad enough for the CL to switch to cloth nappies for her. My heart about broke when I heard that the reason she cries out sometimes in her sleep is because it hurts when she pees. Honestly, my stress levels are off the charts because of Twin A - nothing breaks a mother's heart more than to see her daughter hurting.

I about snapped in half when someone suggested bathing my poor baby girl in alcohol - I wanted to strip that person's top layer of skin off at the person's most sensitive area with my nails and pour alcohol all over the raw flesh to give that person a feel of the pain (too bad my nails are too short as I am terrified of scratching the babies)! Even though I had major abdominal surgery just 2 weeks ago, I spend as much time with my babies as I can instead of lolling around the bed being a bum (though I should be as it is confinement period) so I  understand and know my babies best. I will not stand for anyone that does not spend half the time I do with my daughters, deciding what is to be done with my girls - I change their diapers, seen the rawness of Twin A's little bum (which the CL herself said was so pitiful), have they? Do they? Need I explain my frustration and fury when that persons insisted on subjecting my much loved firstborn to such inhumane torture in the name of some old myth that has no place in science or modern medicine? Alcohol on raw flesh, a baby's raw flesh , MY daughter's flesh -  my mind can't accept this, my heart can never forgive.

There is no tolerance or room for any mistakes when it comes to my babies - if anything bad happens to them, let it be my mistake, not because I stood by and watched. I can live with a wrong decision I made if on hindsight it turned out to be wrong, but I can't live with being that mother who gave in to others knowing in her heart it was the wrong but easy choice to make - as my sister rightly put it, shame on me if I did! I could never live with myself....

Now, Twin B - Twin B is the delight of my heart and is able to sleep and feed well. She moves her head about quite a bit which reminds me of the sweet feeling I had carrying her high in my womb and feeling her head pushing out. The only time Twin B cries is for food and she can sleep through a soiled diaper. The first time my CEB caught me crying back home after delivery was when I recounted to him how guilty I felt to find my baby girl lying in a poo and pee filled diaper...simply because her older sister requires so much of everyone's time and energy that it is almost as if my little Twin B is punished by being neglected for being a good baby. This is yet another stress factor and source of tears for me. I feel immeasurably guilty and no matter how tired I am, I will make sure I feed her and change her every day. How can I possibly listen to those insisting I rest and recover in bed?

As I said, Twin B is a mini me and now has a double chin to boot (though I must say I am at my thinnest in years now thanks to breastfeeding). She rarely smiles unlike Twin A but I have caught her twice thus far and like a shooting star, those fleeting moments are forever imprinted in my heart. She is very expressive and I have heaps of fun and laughter when I am feeding her. The way she purses her lips, sticks her tongue up to the roof of her mouth and vigorously shakes her head from side to side when she rejects the bottle has me and the CL laughing till we are in stitches!

At this age, babies are learning to recognize faces and voices and though a well-meaning colleague once advised me that babies won't remember who changed their nappies or fed them, I still do all that happily. Not so much for them to remember, but for me. For I want to do all I can for them - why suffer so much the entire pregnancy and birth them if I cannot do the least for them such as to make sure their basic needs are met? Why miss a single moment of their growing up, their development by spending time away from them instead of  holding them to feed, burping them or even changing their diapers?

I swore during my pregnancy days when I was suffering so much that whatever money could buy, could solve, I would spend, And I have held true to my word - these are premium babies whom I have hired a confinement lady to take care of for the first 3 months of their lives when they are most fragile and delicate. I cannot and will not stand for having 1 twin wail her lungs out pitifully while I am holding the other wailing too and the maid is busy preparing their feeds. That expenditure alone for the maid and CL is in the 5 digits. Necessary? Yes. Will die without? No, one can always make do somehow. So why?

Other than the fact that I cannot split myself in two so as to give both all the time and attention they deserve, I have traveled to my heart's content - to South America, London, USA and South Africa all on SQ business class to and fro in the past two years alone (not to mention my other trips around Asia such as Japan, HongKong etc), I have pampered myself and have being pampered with my fill of branded goods and jewels - diamonds, Chanel/Ferragamo/Burburry/Miumiu/LV bags, Dior shoes, Boss suits and clothes - nowhere as lavish as my sister's collection but the point is that I do not crave or want anything material for myself anymore. So whatever I have now to spend,  I will spare no expense on the twins (instead of myself as before) to give them no less than what I can afford. Esp physical matters and education wise.

And it isn't just money I would spend on the twins. I would do anything to make sure their needs are met, to secure their health, future and well being. Give up my life for them? I couldn't put a gun to my head fast enough. Sever relationships that would harm them? I couldn't close the doors fast enough. Do without? I could, but not my babies. Get up every three hours around the clock to pump milk? I do. Wake up at 6am instead of  my past 9am/11am waking hours? I do. Despite my CEB telling me I never would be able to as I have always enjoyed staying in bed as late as possible. Put myself through a C-section instead of insisting on a natural delivery despite my terror of being sliced open and having a needle jabbed into my spinal column? The 10cm cut across my skin, tissue, muscle and organ is evidence that I would do whatever it takes for the twins to be born safely. Suffer the agony of breastfeeding? I have and I would do it all over again for them.

I know this in my heart: If I have to fight tooth and nail for them to be safe, I will rip apart anyone who dares threaten their well being in any way, even if the person that threatens them is someone close to me. For my twins are my everything, they are the now, the future, and I will do everything in and for their best interest, no matter what my own feelings or needs are. And sometimes, it isn't always outright fighting for them that will secure the best for them, but sometimes, swallowing a bitter pill and suffering for them.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Twin A - First Laughter

UI'd stumbled out of bed at 330am for my nightly pumping session because for some reason my alarm set for 2am hadn't gone off.

Was done by 4.30am where I pumped a record of 170ml and went in to check on the twins. Changed diapers for Twin B while watching Twin A being cuddled by the Confinement Lady (CL) in her bed. Twin B started fussing for milk so the CL went to prepare formula milk (FM) for both twins. I then did diaper duty for Twin A while the CL returned to start Twin B's feeding.

So it was up to me to feed Twin A which as usual I did a half-blotched job. That girl won't drink a whole bottle at a go unlike Twin B so I usually have to pass her over to the CL for the CL to finish coaxing her to finish all.

So, I burped Twin A while waiting for the CL to finish with Twin B. After some serious neck twisting by Twin A to indicate she was done with the burping session, I laid her back in the crook of my arms and tried to get her to feed again. No success. So I looked at her beautiful little sleepy face and just enjoyed the moment. 

Then she started breathing v quickly, sort of hyperventilating and just as I was getting worried, she broke out into a widest gaping smile (which had me marveling at her beauty) and to the CL and my amazement, chuckled loudly - some what like hehehe. 

Oh my lovely sweet Twin A - I feel so fortunate to have been there to hear, see and witness your first chuckle! Even though you sent your mama scurrying all the way to town yesterday to get cloth diapers, inserts and diaper covers because of your diaper rash, mummy still loves you so much!

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Birth Story - Who did it (broke the waterbag)?

(**Writing this only 2 weeks later due to severe sleep deprivation from 3 hourly pumping)

My CEB and I had put much thought and effort into choosing a birth date and time for the twins but they decided to give us a surprise by arriving earlier unexpectedly.

The day started like any Sunday, except with a small exception - for some reason, I listened to my mother to seek a special blessing from the priest after mass (my original intent was to visit the church a day before the scheduled C section) and it was one of the rare times that my CEB was present at church and he witnessed personally the priest praying over me and my big belly for a safe delivery.

My mother had some vouchers for lunch and we went over to China Sq for a hearty meal of Bak Kut Teh and where I bought back Don's black pepper chicken pie. As usual, my father came over on Sunday evening for dinner but I was feeling too tired to join them so I stayed at home and munched on the pie while reading the instruction manual on how to use the breast pump that my boss had kindly brought down on his visit from the US.

After dinner, I cleared up and was again thinking about the things we needed to do still as well as planning (a) a trip to the bank the next day and (b) washing and sterilizing the milk bottles I had and put on the table. Occupied with these thoughts, I made my way to the toilet to release my bladder and when I stood up, I felt a warm gush of water from my privates. First reaction? Denial? How could this be when I was so close to full term?! I sat back down with a pounding heart and tried to convince myself it was just pee. Then when I stood up again, there was yet another warm gush of water. Again, I told myself it was just pee and sat back down. The third time I stood up, there was no denying the truth, there was so much warm liquid flowing out of me that there was absolutely no way that the water could be pee.

So I made my way to the bedroom, stuffed the thickest towel I could find between my legs and called my CEB to inform him my waterbag had burst. He was buying tonic soup packets for me at EuYanSeng at the airport after dinner and he told me that he and his dad made straight for the car right after. In the meantime while waiting, I put both my phone chargers in my handbag, took off my gold chain&watch and went to the hall to wait with the already packed hospital bag. My CEB took some time to come back so I googled how long I had after the waterbag had burst and since Dr Google told me a few hours, I wasn't panicked. My CEB quickly threw some personal items together and his dad drove and dropped us both off at the hospital 24hrs clinic where I was helped into a wheelchair and sent straight up to labor and delivery.

We presented the pre-admission documents to the counter and I was wheeled into the labor room while my CEB attended to the administrative/financial matters. After a quick discussion, we decided to stick to our original choice of choosing an A class ward since we were not too far off from the scheduled delivery date and I prayed that there would be no complications and the twins would be fine (their fees are pegged to my ward status). In any case, I wanted my CEB to stay with me the nights I would be in hospital and only patients in A class wards are allowed to have their spouses do so.

I got changed out of my clothing into a hospital robe and the nurses tried to start an IV on the back of my left hand to no avail. They also called my OB to inform him of my admission and while waiting, the doctor on call examined me vaginally and pronounced me 3 cm dilated already and partially effaced with Twin A's head positioned to deliver. The nurses had difficulty locating Twin A's heartbeat with the doppler because of the way she was positioned and an ultrasound machine was wheeled in. I was so terrified during those moments because I feared the worst that Twin A was gone. With the machine, the doctor located Twin A and said she wasn't engaged but still breech so there was no chance of a natural delivery. What was in my cervix was possibly her little bum. Because I had eaten dinner, they could not do a C-section right away - there was a chance of my choking and dying on my half digested dinner.

So we waited for my OB to come and while waiting, I was prepped (shaved down there and nail polish removed) for the C section. When it was time, I was wheeled into the op room alone where the doctor administering the epidural assured me that I would not feel a thing (I'm terrified of feeling the pain of being sliced open) and I was asked to sign some consent forms. My CEB had to wait outside and why this waa so was the first question I asked my OB because the plan was for my CEB to be present. The doctor explained that this was because this was not an elective C section any more but an emergency C section without the full team. Fine. The doctor started an IV in my right hand successfully and I had to sit up and bend in half for the epidural to be administered into my spinal cord. Soon, I started to lose all feeling in the lower half of the body and could not feel the ice cooler block that the nurse placed 
against my legs (as compared to my upper half).  My arms were spread open wide in a crucifix position and a curtain was put up to block off my lower half. The doctor and nurses assured me that they would administer a "Test" cut first to see if I had any feeling left before starting the operation proper. I started shivering and my teeth chattered uncontrollably as a result of the epidural but other than that I was fine.

So I was all tensed up for this test cut when I felt a very strong pulling and pushing sensation (human hands pushing very very hard on my stomach) and I decided to keep silent instead of protesting for fear of distracting the team. Then the room was filled with loud wails (Twin A had an apgar score of 9) and I was expecting to see my twin A but instead there was even more pushing and tugging and I figured that it was imperative to get Twin B out too so I kept silent again and waited patiently. The room was quiet this time and again my heart was filled with fear. Then after a few minutes, I was presented quickly with a reddish small baby whom I was told was Twin A and when I asked after Twin B, they said she was being examined (Twin B turned out to have an apgar score of 9 too).

After that, the doctor told me he was going to sew me back up and since I could not feel a thing, I lay there and worried about Twin B (though the nurses assured me later she was fine but was being sent to the special care nursery (SCN) to monitor her breathing.

Then I was wheeled into the post operative room for about half an hour where the nurses checked on me every few minutes before I was wheeled to my hospital room. As I was wheeled (in a hospital bed) to the room, my CEB met me along the corridor and told me that he had seen the twins and they were fine. I was then transferred onto my hospital bed with the nurses buzzing about to settle me in while my CEB unpacked the hospital bag before collapsing on the sofa bed to rest.

The next morning, the nurses wheeled Twin A into the room and called the lactation consultant in who encouraged me to latch her. In the meantime, they transferred her from the bassinet into my arms and it was then tears filled my eyes as I beheld the little person who had been going bump bump near my nether regions for tall these months. I looked at her beautiful large eyes, sharp high nose and sweet little mouth and cried. I cried because I had been so blessed with such perfection. So blessed to be the mother of this miraculous creation. I marveled over her little pointed face, her sweetness and breathed in the freshness and baby smell of Twin A - a feeling that only a mother who has birthed a child knows.

When the lactation consultant encouraged skin to skin in the next few days (photo below) to encourage breastmilk flow, I again wept with the overwhelming joy of feeling my Twin A - she's really here, in my arms, breathing, alive, beautiful. Our firstborn.

My CEB and I remained worried about Twin B too being in the SCN but by noon, we were told she could be discharged and put in the normal nursery as Twin A and it was all I could do to wait for her with a pounding heart. While I was filled with peace and joy at having Twin A, I could not help but worry about Twin B whom I had not seen even after she had been pulled from my belly into this world. So when the nurse finally wheeled her in in the bassinet in the afternoon, it was all I could do to not reach over and grab the bassinet and take her out and hold her.

And sweet Lord, she was so adorable - I wanted a mini-me and this, this baby is my mini-me. She looked exactly as I looked in my baby photos with a head full of hair. The nurse placed her in my arms and at that moment, my life was complete. I thought that if the Lord would smite me dead that instant, I would die content - having this feeling of completion, of being so utterly truly blessed with 2 living, normal baby girls... Again, I held Twin B to me and examined each detail of her little body, her full head of hair, her beautiful eyes, button nose and small rosebud mouth. So beautiful, so perfect. This, this is my little twin who has been pushing out under my breastbone, who has accompanied me these long months with her hiccuping, kicking, sticking out, squirming. How do I even describe that feeling of seeing such beauty, of seeing my dreams realized in this world outside my body.

And of course, I grabbed at the chance to do skin to skin with my little Twin B but I could not remove her little garment on my own in the hospital room as she was so small and delicately built. Still, looking down at her sleeping against my bare chest brought me happiness in its purest form. Our baby of our small complete family.

We decided to extend our hospital stay (The package was for 3 days 2 Nites) by another day so I could get more rest to recover from the C section, learn how to feed and burp the twins and give them more time in the hands of professionals. And then they were ready to be brought home in the Mothercare sleeper outfits we had bought for them from the hospital's Mothercare. This is a picture of them all swaddled up in the A&A swaddles I had packed along too, all ready to come home.

I am grateful. I am grateful to God for his blessings. I am humbled and grateful for being blessed with these two babies, grateful to my CEB for being a generous and fantastic husband and father (he picked up the entire bill for my (and the twins') 4 days' A class hospital stay which was extended at cost for another day, and during the stay, he was there to learn to feed and then burp the twins which he did as a hands-on father), grateful for the support given by my in-laws and my mum and sister, grateful for all the very many relatives and friends who took the effort to come from far and near (Even during lunch hour) to visit and gift me and the twins' with so many wonderful gifts (esp the gift of time), for the fantastic nurses and lactation consultants, for the doctor who delivered the twins and sewed me up so well the scar is just a faint line after 2 weeks, for a great domestic helper who joined us 2 days after the twins' were born.

I am grateful for experiencing motherhood, for the twins' taking very well to the Philips Avent Gold series bottles and teats the day they got home, for the Medela PISA breast pump not crapping out on me, for being able to feed both twins every single drop of colostrum painstakingly expressed and collected in a syringe (that stuff is liquid gold), for the healthy breast milk flow that has kicked in, for experiencing each twin latching on and suckling at my breasts - the most glorious and wonderful feeling.

Truly, my CEB and I have been so richly blessed, and we are  most thankful.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Over 100ml

I managed to pump over 100ml at the 330am session today *thrilled.

It took a long time to get here (11 days from when the twins were born) and breastmilk feeding has reminded me of an invaluable life lesson but more on that later. Need to get some shut eye now as the next round is in 2 and a half hours time!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Nesting - less than the fingers on 1 hand

We will be meeting the twins very soon and both my CEB and I are in full nesting mode.

He got his car cleaned today, unpacked the remaining car seat and 1 stroller and set both up (seriously thank The Lord for my CEB being really fast and good with fixing stuff), and we both slaved to pack up our room and the hall. Everything looks much neater now in preparation for  the arrival of the twins. 

I won't deny that while I am apprehensive  , I am really looking forward to getting my body back. I am now wracked with insomnia and vomiting every morning and evening. I used to be able to hold down breakfast but now even that is a lost cause. :( Last night I met my law school friends for a fab buffet dinner at Orchard Central and I couldn't eat v much - my stomach is so mashed that there is no room to expand. My baby pouncy was very active and awake throughout the dinner and kept squirming around, prodding me or sticking out her head as far as my skin would stretch. 1 of my friends who is a mother of a 4yr old girl patted and stroked her and she really reveled in the attention. Within a couple of hours, I was so wiped out I could barely drive home. To compound matters, I had to vomit and so there I was driving with a bag of vomit in my lap, heaving into it at least 4 times while driving back. I went straight to bed but was plagued by insomnia and lay there till 2pm, enjoying the squirming, lurching, poking and hiccuping going on by high babies. Oh dear, they really are preparing for life outside the womb and I hope they are good good girls when they are out, the kind that just feed, sleep and coo.

As for myself, I want my old body back, my appetite, my ability to eat and enjoy food - I want to be able to stop retching and vomiting and feeling so sick, nauseous and achy. I am so close, this close to reaching the end that I am literally dancing in anticipation of a restored body and life. Just a bit more, I keep telling myself. 

Whatever the outcome, our lives as we know it will forever be irrevocably changed in a matter of just a few days. In the meantime, I am going to treasure each moment with the twins still in me.

Now all that is left are the pumps and bottles.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Hanging on

Barely. Have been vomiting every single day since 1 week back and for the past 3 days back, explosive vomiting in the morning. That used to be just once a day and in the evening mostly.

I am waking up later and later too although I sleep about the same time. And I need to lie down in the afternoon after the least bit of exertion - like opening letters. It's not funny. I'm feeling so damn sick and weak that going out is a major accomplishment in itself, and so is washing my hair which I haven't done in days. 

The maid is still not here but will be soon enough so this is the last weekend on our own. I deliver next week. I'm really terrified of going under the knife - telling me so many have done it is zero consolation - I still have to face the pain and recovery. A mother would do anything for their child right! Including losing her life so as the twins mother, I must do whatever it takes to deliver them safe and sound. I would be happy to lose my life for them but I had envisioned that to be painless, not this gutting open, being sewn and stapled back together again across my middle.

The twins have been stepping up on the activity level esp Twin A who is heavy enough to go bump bump at my crotch area and when she presses on my bladder, the pain is just intense and sharp and sleepy as I am, I have to roll myself up and get to the toilet. I don't know what else she is rolling on but I have a tremendous amount of gas these days too and the need to move my bowels more than once a day. She is lying so low that when I curl up on my right side to sleep (not the left anymore cos Twin B's legs are there and she kicks me hard repeatedly until I get off lying on my left side), I feel Twin A moving against my thigh. If the ultrasound is accurate, she is a full sized baby indeed.

Twin B, my baby Pouncy has been worrying me of late as she is less active than before, than her sister. She doesn't squirm as much as before but remains a morning and evening creature when she is most active and disturbs me by either poking at me from the inside with her hard little elbow or fist or shoulder or sticking out her little head as far as my skin will allow. After caressing her little head gently and talking to her, the little one will then relax and sink into the recesses of my belly. The only thing is that she is so far up my belly just under my breasts that I have difficulty breathing and my ribs hurt so bad as she is pressing up on them, having run out of space. 

The red stretch marks all over my belly are horrific and depressing. I have tried not to think how I am going to look with a deflated balloon of a stomach and all these marks. It is too depressing to even go there. And forget maternity shots - I feel and look so terrible daily that I don't have energy to go there. In bed all day except to eat(which I wouldn't bother if not for the twins), and to conserve whatever energy I have to do the bare basics / necessities.

I guess I am blogging more than ever because after their arrival, I doubt I will have time to write. Recovery, latching, breast pumping, feeding, changing diapers, patting to sleep...this is IT. The new chapter. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Throwing down the gauntlet.

I can't believe I'm done with all the pregnancy check ups and the next time I see my doc will be for the delivery.

The final checkup, the doctor measured each twin and for the first time, there is a weight diff of 200gm. While he wasn't too concerned, I was and have been thoroughly miserable and angry that all my efforts to nourish the twins have failed , that all the good food I have been eating have failed to fatten my babies up, that despite my size, my babies are not going to be big fat jolly rotund babies. I researched a bit when I got home and found that the last month of a multiples pregnancy is diff from that of a singleton pregnancy - growth restriction etc. All this just points to one inevitable conclusion - the benefits of keeping them longer in my body is lesser than delivering them where at least they can receive the necessary intervention. So it's time to put on the big girls pants and get prepared for surgery and their arrival.

I am also coming to the realization that the welfare of the twins mean more to me than anything else, more than any relationship. Any relationship that will cause more harm to them than benefit them, I will not hesitate to end. The value of a person to me now is measured by how that person relates to/treats my babies. The twins have such a hold on my heart that I will not stand for, will not tolerate anyone or anything that threatens their wellbeing, health, safety or happiness. I will use all means, including those provided by the law, to defend them, to obtain what is best for them. Because I am their mother, because if I do not speak up for them, fight for them, keep them safe, who will? 

And of course having the financial means, and knowledge and access to the various channels of support necessary to do what I must means that I  do not have to put up with less than what the twins deserve. Not less than what I expect, not less than what I want, but less than what is right. 

A person can be self centered, thoughtless, lazy, stupid, stingy and cheap. A person can choose to waste time and money on things and people who don't know him/her from a hole in the ground, who will not benefit his/her life in anyway, on him or herself, a person can choose to stagnate, fall behind, fritter away the years of his/her life. And I would not care. I am not his/her parent. His/her failings reflect on his/her upbringing/parents, neither which I had a part to play.

But, BUT, let all these affect my life or worse, impact upon my twins, and I will give hell back. Make me miserable, I'll make sure your life is no stroll in the park. Make the twins suffer in anyway because of who and what you choose to be - be it cheap or lazy - I will make your life hell. You might see some bits coming, you might not see the rest. But be assured I do not forget and I do not forgive. Esp not when it comes to the twins.

I did not put my body through all this suffering for them to receive less than what I think is their rightful due. I did not wash the vomit off my clothes, my hair, the floor, the car, to tolerate their being subject to all sorts of baseless beliefs and practices. I did not lie in bed for months, wracked with bone breaking back, chest, ribs and privates pain, so that I can bear children which I am told what to do with. I did not put myself through everything I have to get the twins so far, only to have to bow down to the views of someone else who never suffered as I did for them. I did not give up my social life, my beloved fishing, control of my body, digestive system so as to bring 2 little beings into the world to suffer a hard life and being deprived of the basics like a good education and healthy diet.

And I definitely did not sign up for being gutted open 10cm wide across my abdomen, my skin, tissue, muscle and organ, and then be dependent on pain killers with a catheter inserted, just so I can watch my views, my dreams, my plans for my babies being overridden in place of someone else's damn beliefs. Beliefs which have neither basis on science, modern medicine or logic. 

Yes, take this as a warning, take this as a challenge. Prepare your arms, prepare your pocket. Because I am ready. Because I have the means. Because I stand ready to be judged. I welcome being judged for wanting to protect my twins, for wanting to ensure the best I can for them. Judge my decisions which are based on hours of research, backed by studies or experts in the relevant fields  , backed by even the law. If what you want for or claim with respect to my babies is based on what so and so said to you, or what you read on the net on a social networking site, or some one-off distinguishable experience, or worse, your own belief system, then I ask you to kindly shut your mouth and not take up my bandwidth with your drivel. Look at and fix your own damn life before interfering with mine or my babies. 

I may not be perfect nor may I always be right but I can live with my mistakes if I make any. What I cannot live with is guilt that I tolerated, accepted and endorsed what I knew was not right or less than what the twins deserved. 

So watch me, and do not say you have not been warned or informed. This,I can promise you - you will reap what you sow. Your efforts, or lack thereof will bring you your just rewards. Whether you like it or not, you will be held responsible and accountable for all you have chosen, chosen to do and chosen not to do.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Big Girl Pants

I need to pull on my big girl pants. If I had my way (hmmm, like I ever did this pregnancy), I would not choose a C sec. I haven't told anyone but I really am scared at the thought of being gutted open. Scared in a "pls pls don't make me do it"  kind of scared. Scared of the pain, the staples holding the mouth of the wound together, the possibility of infection and the catheter to help me pee on a bag. I really don't want that if possible. 

I am contemplating a GA so that I won't be awake but I don't want to miss out on seeing the twins as they emerge and spending the first few moments with them. If this option means no catheter which is unlikely, I would opt for it I think. Pain is such an unattractive option. This pregnancy, not only do I have to suffer the whole spectrum of morning sickness, but when it comes to delivery too, I can't catch a break. The only silver lining I can see is that I won't have the risk of tearing down there all the way to my ass. Other than that, nay, I have signed up for a world of pain and inconvenience with this pregnancy. 

Not sorry that it will be my last. My CEB doubts that but given our age, cost of living and the unpleasantness wrought by this one, it will be a long time before I change my mind. Our twins are enough!

Speaking of which, they have spent a good part of the morning prodding and poking about. And last night, I could feel Twin B's little fist pushing out against my upper chest so hard that it really hurt! I rubbed her fist (might be my imagination but I could feel her knuckles) hard and she stopped pushing. Think the little girl is cramped in there. 2 nights back, she stuck out her head again so far my tummy went lop sided and my CEB could feel the hard round bump her head made. We stroked her head for a while and then she went off back to the recesses of my tummy. 

Twin A gave me an unforgettable moment last night when she squirmed a bit and I placed a hand over her to calm her down. I exerted some force downwards, in my mind thinking that she was going to kick me back for that...and what do you know, I received a thudding kick from the usually gentle one as I has predicted. That made me laugh out loud with delight.

We are left with less than 10 days and I am cherishing every good moment of this pregnancy. I really could do without the bad moments but all things come in a parcel and I can't choose the good bits only. Nonetheless, I feel so blessed to be able to experience carrying a life, another little alive growing being (or rather 2 beings) inside of me. I don't and I won't regret this pregnancy.

And now I just need to find and put on my big girls' pants so we can get them out safe and sound!

Monday, May 13, 2013

23 (+) months together

I meant to write this entry on 26 April 2013, knowing full well then that I wouldn't be writing any more "2 of us monthiversaries" entries come May 2013 - Our little ones will be joining us before our second wedding anniversary and with their arrival, I doubt we will be celebrating any more "monthiversaries" in the near future given how full our hands will be then.

But since it's one of the rare times that I am on my laptop (and therefore can resize and upload pictures), I thought I'll complete this entry while the little ones are still in me and not demanding any time other than of course, rolling about and prodding/poking away merrily inside.

So, the past few months and weeks have been really tough with my functioning at 10% or less. My CEB has admirably, stepped up to the plate and picked up the slack from hanging up clothing to dry, ironing clothes and putting them away and cleaning the floor. He has also progressed to unpacking the groceries though I have to say I am amused that most of everything gets packed into the fridge, even the dark soy sauce I bought yesterday!

Most importantly, he has tried to keep the relationship happy with minimal quarrels, and we are trying to strike a balance between enjoying the last days of couplehood with staycations (the pic below was taken at Grand Mercure Hotel the first week of May where we cleared the last night of our complimentary stays), movies (we watched IronMan 3 and even Star Trek: Into Darkness, last evening) and, preparing for the little ones' arrival (my CEB assembled the 3 in 1 rocker over the weekend and I packed everything in their room - only thing left to do is (a) figuring out how to use the breast pump and washing the milk bottles and pump parts (b) pack the hospital bag properly and (c) filling out the forms to open their CDA bank accounts)).

I have to say that he has been a really patient and understanding husband - I'm so out of it these days that I can no longer crawl out of bed to make him breakfast like before, and when he tries to cuddle/hug me in bed, with all the aches and interrupted sleep (thanks to all the toilet trips), I end up shoving him away. Hard. I feel really bad about that, especially when he kisses me before he goes off to work, or when he pulls the blanket about me before he leaves. I can't even open my eyes to reciprocate or grunt something back. And when I open my eyes, it is about 10am and it takes me another 3-4 hours before I can actually haul myself out of bed and get started with the day. The day which ends about 8pm because I'm aching everywhere - back, shoulders and now, even my knees and my sides which feel like they are stretching painfully due to the extra weight. The twins' poking and sliding about hardly helps. Ugh. So yeah, I've not been very much of a wife, more like a lumbering whale that stays in bed 90% of the day and thank goodness my CEB has been an absolutely gem.

I love him even more than before, especially when he is so giving during this tough period. Truly a wonderful husband.  We have had great times traveling  together (from South America to Japan) through our dating period and first 1 and a 1/2 years of marriage, and although we will have 2 little ones to complete our family in x days time, I hope and pray that  our marriage will remain as loving and giving as ever.

Thank you all

I just wanted to thank each and every one of you who have, in some way, contributed to this.

It is the first time ever that I've received a cheque in connection with this blog and I have to say that I'm amazed.

Ever since late last year, I expected readership to drop drastically (which it did) given the direction this blog has taken, and the infrequency of the posts - unlike before when I was posting regularly and about various places, hotels, experiences etc instead of moaning and wallowing.

So, thank you for staying with me, reading and clicking those ads!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Waking up to & falling asleep with

I will miss waking up to the twins' stretching and rolling around in my tummy. I will miss falling asleep to their muffled kicks and squirming. I will miss their hiccuping.

I can no longer sleep on my back without it feeling like it is going to snap in two. I am also getting the most horrific backaches while walking or sitting and that scares me because it may be a sign of back labor. I still have zero appetite although we went to The Line yesterday for dinner for Mother's Day dinner with my in laws. Threw up about 3 times over dinner and once more in the car. I can't wait to stop this vomiting business which is so tiring and damaging. I can't wait for the fatigue to end so I can do everything I used to and plan to.

But I will miss the good bits of pregnancy - little feet drumming against my ribs, Twin B's head pushing outwards, Twin B flipping and stretching in my upper abdominal area, Twin B's hiccups, Twin B's light little tapping in me, Twin A's squirming against my pelvic bones, being able to feel her knobbly knees or feet against my hands through the skin of my lower abdominal area, her pushing against the seatbelt when I drive and her very strong muffled kicks towards my backbone although the rest of her actions are so gentle. I will esp miss her hiccuping which makes my pelvic area pulse to her beat. Oh golly, I really love our babies to a depth I never knew possible.

There is no answer as to whether they are safer in me than safer outside at this late stage of pregnancy. I want to keep our babies safe forever but there is no right answer or any point fighting their fate/destiny. So I go by medical advice on when is the most optimum time and what the most optimum way (for the twins) is when deciding to evict them without their consent. A natural labor and delivery would have been most ideal and the only way if medical science had not come this far, but since it has, my birth plan is simple - safest method to get the twins out followed by least stress and pain to babies and mother. Even if this means my being gutted at least 10cm across (like a fish) through my skin, flesh, muscle and organ.

Not thrilled with the idea of a C sec as I don't want the pain and the 2 months 
 recovery period, especially when my hips are wide enough and the twins are not oversized. But Twin A remains stubbornly breech - she is all curled up as Twin B is on top of her. There is just no space or chance for them to turn head down for a natural delivery. So the method of delivery has been decided by the little ones.

I have been fortunate to have a understanding and accommodating boss   Who has allowed me to work from home for the last 2 weeks of the pregnancy. I can barely get out and about now with the fatigue and aches and breathlessness. Not to mention the vomiting which has gone on the entire pregnancy.

I have been fortunate to have my CEB as he has bent over backwards to ensure that we don't quarrel 95% of the pregnancy, taken on the household chores, participated in the pre natal courses, and doing everything that needs to be done, including getting a domestic helper (that was a lot of paper work), to prepare for the little ones arrival.

We have no illusions that it is going to be tough, that two squalling babies will be a huge challenge to us as individuals and to our marriage but we need to get through this period together, somehow. There is a lot of give, a lot of closing one eye, a lot of tolerance being practiced, but which relationship doesn't call for that?

 Esp one which the happiness and well being of the little ones which we knowingly and voluntarily brought into this world, depends on. Neither my CEB nor I could live with ourselves if we were to give the twins less than the best of us, less than the best we can afford. 

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Explosive vomiting and Faith

Happened again! I'm so near the end of this pregnancy yet I can't catch a break. It is not funny falling on your knees, tears running down uncontrollably, holding on to a toilet bowl and belching at the top of your voice as you choke out food and gas...all over the bowl, seat cover, seat. And then have to wash it all away.

The first trimester all over again save for my massive belly and back aches thrown in for good measure. Dinner is 90% a lost cause but when I can't keep down lunch without the explosive vomiting (controlled small portions vomiting in a few runs is normal), I know that I have lost all control over my digestive tract n my body.

The twins appear to be preparing for their arrival with their being far more active than before. Talk about constant squirming, drumming of little feet, hard kicks and strong hiccuping as they get ready to vacate the rent free premises they have been enjoying since last Sept. Please, little ones, stay in there safe n sound till your due date n time and then come screaming healthily into this world into our arms. And oh please Lord, let me have my digestive system back - I miss my appetite, I miss not vomiting after each meal, I miss the old me even if it wasn't a model perfect body (but it worked). Please let me recover quickly from the C-sec and have an easy time breastfeeding! 

I can't, I won't and I shan't put myself through this again. There are some things that money just can't buy and an easy pregnancy is one of those. I'm closing shop after this. Thank you God for giving us the twins as and when we planned for them - I feel so grateful that we didn't have to wait for months or years to bear children. Thank you God for keeping them safe and growing in me for 35 weeks. I wish, really wish that I didn't have to suffer quite so much this pregnancy - if You had wished it, You would have heard my prayers to be delivered from the misery - but I suppose this suffering was to make me appreciate them better when they are delivered instead if taking them for granted. And besides, I would rather it be me suffering than them.

I have never imagined loving someone I never even met or knew but my love for our unborn twins surpass all the feelings I have for any other. I can't wait for them to be in our arms, for us to start a new chapter as parents, for our lives to progress from husband and wife to mother and father.

I know of course that nothing is certain, that no pregnancy is ever guaranteed, that even as late as delivery or as early as the first few days, the unexpected may happen. Having come across a few blogs on this subject (while reading up on breastfeeding), I am well aware that what we expect or work for may not come to fruition. But I will still say that I have been blessed with this journey and gift of pregnancy, of being made a mother to two living souls in me all these months, and also that my twins are blessed no matter what happens, because their little souls are pure and they have only known and seen The Lord.

I know I'm far from a bible thumper or one that tries to evangelize/fervent church goer or even one that talks about God often if at all. But at the core of me, I believe. I have faith. And that, that is what sustains and has sustained me through my days.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Less than 20 days to go

So, here we are, almost at the finish line. The date n time has been set, the ward/bed has been booked n the hospital bag is 90% packed except for the stuff we still have to use daily like chargers, identity cards.

My belly is huge now, n I can't stand for more than 45mins without my legs aching madly. Thankfully I have been spared frequent leg cramps although I had one this morning. My back aches and my poor bladder is so squished that I keep going to the toilet to empty it, even the smallest trickle brings instant relief. My CEB suggested twice recently that I should consider buying adult diapers so I could sleep better without having to get up and out of bed - not an easy feat with two babies lying in the balloon attached to my tummy. I literally have to use my arms to propel myself from side to back to side while in bed. My legs are useless due to the terrible ache at the groin area - bloody muscles preparing for child birth which well, isn't going to happen since Twin A is breech n Twin B is transverse. Both seem to be v comfortable in me with no inclination of wanting to move out and I would be happy to keep them in there longer if it wasn't for the daily vomiting, lack of appetite, fatigue and now, inability to bend over. I'm getting to be quite the expert at using my toes to pick up stuff.

The only joy I derive from this experience ( pregnancy) is feeling the babies in me. Even as I type this entry on my iPhone, Twin Bis merrily hiccuping away while Twin A rubbed her foot against my hand. And when I was frying eggs for dinner, , Twin B started moving around madly in me because of the heat of the stove bring so close to my belly. She is just so active this little one, reacting to stuff I drink or eat and I can't help but rub her through my belly skin n talk to her. Now, as I type, it's Twin A's turn to get a round of strong thudding hiccups. I just know she's going to be my good little girl when she is out unlike Twin B. At this stage, we have nicknames for them - my CEB calls Twin A, Stacy, as she stays placid most of the time and Twin B is called Pouncy as she is like a prancing little kitten all day!

I have been blessed so far in that the twins have not come early like most twins and they are if fairly decent weight at this stage. I am trying to fatten them up as much as I can with daily consumption of maternal milk, Essence of chicken, bird nest and fish.

My boobs are sore n painful and truth be told, I am not looking forward to breastfeeding. Nevertheless, let it not be said that I didn't even try so I have bought an expensive breast pump to give this breastfeeding a go. Breastfeeding is just not attractive to me as I still have to watch what I eat, how my temperament is cos that gets imparted to baby. If I eat junk, my breast milk is worse than formula. It's troublesome too - requiring me to wage every 2-3hours to pump. And I run the risk of engorgement, cracked n bleeding nipples etc. But here I bow to parental pressure - my mil expects me to at least express and my mother, I know that a refusal on my end to do so would result in my being blamed if the twins fall short in anyway!

I'm just afraid not to breastfeed. If I was v certain that formula milk is just as good, I would just do that n save myself the trials n tribulations that come w breastfeeding l.

As it is, I think I'm in for the dog house for another 6 months even after I deliver! Talk about life changing events!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Strap that bag of rice around your tummy

I move at the speed of a snail and it isn't just due to the ache at the unmentionables. At the scan yesterday, each baby weighed 2.1kg. So I'm carrying around at least 5kg around my middle given the amniotic fluid n the placentas. Try picking up a packet of rice that weighs 5kg n strapping it around your middle - that's what I am lugging around internally.

What is more distressing though is the effect this weight has on my bladder. I ended up wetting my jeans when I vomited in a standing position yesterday, not just my undies but my jeans legs. And I am exhausted every morning because I wake up every single hour in the night to go pee despite taking the anti nausea pill which used to knock me right out. What joy.

So, the twins. They appear to have had a quarrel of sorts because they are no longer facing each other. Previously, Twin A was lying breech but face upwards while Twin B on top of her and traverse was lying face down ie imagine the number 7 which is the position they are lying in me. I had felt a woosh feeling some time back which felt like Twin B was making a big movement and the ultrasound showed that her head is now on the right side of my body next to Twin A and for the first time in the pregnancy she had flipped to face upwards. She is the twin closest to my heart literally and has pushed my stomach to the left side of my body where her feet are. I don't think she causes the daily vomiting though - its more the acid reflux but she certainly causes the breathlessness because her elbow is right smack in my diaphragm. She is very high up just under my breasts and has a tendency to stick her head outwards which causes a hard round bulge just under my skin. When we tried to take a photo of her face yesterday, she put her hand up to her face to block then squirmed to face away from the wand.
Twin A has flipped to turn downwards for the first time which surprised me as she has always been the stable placid one. She's so low that her body is at my bikini line and squirms from her make me afraid because the skin is so thin there. She's getting in on the action these days too and keeps me company in the late night hours, mama's little night owl.

My mum who was with me at the doctors yesterday wanted to go to the nurseries to see the new born babies and we had a chance to peek at several babies who were all swaddled up. So small like little kittens! Babies are indeed made to be loved. I must thank God and my CEB for making me a mother this Mother's Day 2013, a mother to these two little ones inside me now but whom we are ready to bring into the world and share the beauty of life with.

I'm afraid (of all the changes that are to come) but for the twins, I must step up to the challenges and be their mama first n foremost before everything else.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Less than a month left

Yeah, not even 4 weeks left and I can't wait. Pregnancy is a blessing but for those who have had it rough like yours truly, there is nothing quite like getting your body back.

My body is aching in so many places that I am one giant mass of pain. My back, which I can't sleep on anymore due to the weight of the bump, my left ribs which are terribly sore because Twin B has decided to lodge her knees/foot/elbow in there, my unmentionables because they are preparing for childbirth...Things I took for granted like flipping from side to side I can't do now without wincing in pain and using my upper body and arms. And getting up to pee for the xth no of times is an exercise on its own. Oh and recently I have had to clear my bowels several times a day, no shit (ok bad joke) and I found out from Dr Google that this is cos of my expanding uterus ie growing babies. The same uterus has also displaced my internal organs - my diaphragm is so mashed up that I get breathless and dizzy even in bed. I literally can't breathe and have to pant n gasp so that I don't pass out. When I am in bed though, I just pray to pass out so I don't feel the rest of the aches. And when Twin B curls up tightly just under my ribcage, I literally hyper ventilate from having no room to catch a breath.

So while Twin B is wrecking havoc on the top half, Twin A has decided to get in on the fun too. Now I feel dull thuds n kicks from her resonating through the bottom half of my body which is thankfully bearable as these are muffled. It is only when she decides to step on my bladder that I decide she isn't so gentle after all. That pain is a sharp unyielding pain which demands immediate attention and shifting of one's body. Not like Twin B whose tightening, rolling and kicking I can sometimes ignore.

My digestive system is a mess - I have no appetite and can't stop vomiting everyday, between 5-10 hurls. Not as bad as the first trimester but terribly disruptive n exhausting. To add, I have a vile taste in my mouth, excessive saliva and smell bad enough for my CEB to crawl off me. I also belch and burp uncontrollably with a rattling sound. Thank goodness for the medication for heartburn which means no acid reflux.

Oh, and my feet and ankles are swollen too. Never small to begin with, they look like an elephant's legs now. Flexing them hurts. Can't walk much now and not like I am inclined too since I am exhausted every day. Like today, I can't get out of bed at all being achy and fatigued beyond measure. So here I lie on my left side with the twins squirming away merrily keeping me company.

I am miserable miserable MISERABLE. And I can't fathom why and how anyone would do this more than once. Maybe God knows that I'll only do this once so he has blessed us with twins.

One pregnancy, one delivery....yeah I'll take that despite the additional expenses.

PS: Just vomited out with great gusto the salmon fish I marinated and steamed for dinner. Here I am trying to get the best food into them and there's my reward - right back in the bowl! I really am counting the days till I get my body back (as it was b4 pregnancy and no I won't complain anymore about it though it was a large one as it enabled me to still function and have an identity of sorts).

Monday, April 08, 2013

Vomit fiesta

This is no way to live. I'm vomiting after every meal and in between meals too. Despite taking the meds to reduce the amount of acid in the tummy. That only helps with the heartburn and reduces the occurrence of explosive vomiting. But the vomiting is still going on. Mouthfuls of whatever I just ate, excess saliva and an empty wet taste in the mouth.

I have filled countless plastic bags of vomit already. When I am driving, when my CEB is driving, and now to avoid the horror of cleaning up after myself in the bedroom, I keep the dustbin by my side. I can't talk much cos of the constant belching and vomiting - if I am not fighting not to vomit, I am vomiting/have a mouthful of vomit Or am feeling dizzy and faint from having just vomited. There isn't a single good moment except when I am asleep. I'm not kidding. I am counting down to when this nightmare will end,

Oh, and I have developed stretch marks too. My belly is huge now and I despair at how I am ever going to look close to what I looked before ever again - floppy belly n saggy skin! I have also neglected so much while being in the trenches - no facials, no masks or night creams, no social life, nothing. I want my appetite back, my digestive system back, my life back, my identity back! Now I only have this much of energy to get key work done n prepare for the twins arrival, anything else is a bonus. Those days of cooking/travel/road trips - distant memories. Getting out of bed (without being compelled to due to the need to vomit/pee) IS a major accomplishment. I'm right where I begun 8 months ago - as sick and incapacitated as a dog.

The twins on the other hand seem to be thriving in there - Twin B is very active, pushing up against my ribs, squirming under the skin till the stretching actually hurts and when I lay on my right side which she really hates, she kicks very hard - like, thud, thud, THUD till I roll over. Or sometimes, there is a flurry of gentler but faster kicks from her to indicate that I need to shift position. Twin A's kicks seem to be directed towards the back, maybe cos of the placenta but she's a v gentle quiet baby who mostly wriggles and squirms. Thank goodness else I think the skin near my unmentionables would burst if she was anything like Twin B. I worry about Twin A sometimes when I don't feel her move but usually the next morning, the wriggling is back. My CEN and I wonder if their characters are going to be such when they are out.

We are glad that they have had each other for company in the womb, and hopefully when they are out in this large world.
When we wanted to conceive, I made a promise to them-who-had-yet-to-be... I told them that this world is a beautiful place and we would as parents, hold their hands to share with them the lovely experiences that life has to offer.

Hence, I really need my body back and functioning. This vomiting, fatigue, aches, insomnia...they are only bearable on a day to day and because of that promise. The fact that the end is in sight too gives me the will to go on, though it is day to day functionality. More than 3/4 of the way there, more than 80% in fact. Please let us make it to the finish line safely.