Anaesthetist Consultation

We had our 3rd appointment at NUH last week and it was quite a hectic one because we had to go to 3 clinics in one afternoon. We met the anaesthetist first because Dr C set up an appointment for us since we kept asking about epidural lol. We brought along my Xrays again to show him my corrected spine and all the implants. The conclusion of that consultation is that epidural is possible, but can be very challenging. This is probably the worst thing I want to hear. Neither here nor there. Padan muka aku. Hahahaha.

And then we head downstairs for the 32-week growth scan. We were excited for this one because we used to be able to see our baby at every appointment at PEH, but ever since we switched to NUH, we haven’t seen him for some time. So it was the last time we would see him until he is born. Dude looks so huge now omgosh. Usually on the monitor, he would look small and the sonographer would have to zoom in. This time, no need to zoom in and we can see all his limbs and organs already! Alhamdulillah, everything is well. Baby is facing head-down already and placenta is all healthy. He was also almost 1.9kg by then!

Lastly, we met Dr C and went through the scan report together. She said we are perfectly on track for a natural vaginal birth alhamdulillah. That announcement hit me right in the heart, like THIS IS IT!!

And then I remembered we still have a lot of things to prepare to welcome our baby’s arrival. Ah crap. Lol. More on baby shopping on the next post!

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Hyperactive?

By now, I’ve been hearing a lot about the importance of monitoring your baby’s movements and to call the hospital ASAP if the baby stops moving or is not moving much. But what if the baby moves A LOT? Is there any cause for concern?

Cos my baby has been moving literally every hour since a few weeks ago and he’s just getting more and more active. I am not diabetic and I don’t have a sweet tooth although I do love to indulge in chocolates and desserts from time to time. His kicks and punches can be so powerful that it feels veryyyyyy uncomfortable and even mildly painful at times. There was one day when he kept kicking on my left side that my body started to feel sore on that spot although there is no visible bruises or anything. I would wince and cringe and hiss out loud when I’m at home. I can’t even control my cringing facial expressions when I’m in the mrt. And I’m pretty sure his kicks are very visible too when I’m in public places. Makes me so self-conscious..

Also, we still can’t decide on a name! It’s quite frustrating because bf has a long name, so we can’t make baby’s name long either. We also didn’t want a Muhammad at first, but now we are open to it. I like Ahmad too but bf doesn’t. And Abdul is a no for me. But now the trend is to just have two regular names without any Ahmad/Muhammad/Nur/Abdul. I think it feels a bit pressurizing to get the correct name because on hindsight, Allah has already chosen a name for him, although it’s actually decided by the parents. So we just need to figure out what was the name that Allah has written for him, through our decisions? Also, this tweet is so apt.

Hello Third Trimester

At 31 weeks now and oh boy, I am starting to feel the 3rd tri woes! Baby was about 1kg at the start of 29 weeks, and the thought of having it’s size tripling in this trimester is just like wow.

Physical Changes

I definitely feel much heavier now, it’s taking a toll on my body. So breathless and been having trouble sleeping well because of the aches and difficulty switching sides and finding a good position. It’s been getting quite bad that I just had to book a prenatal massage session, which made me feel better! I feel like my bump size is massive too, but it always looks smaller when I look at it in the mirror. I keep checking my weight almost every day just to monitor and make sure I don’t put on too much too fast, and I’ve officially reached 60kg! Which is quite shocking because I was initially targetting to only reach 60kg just before I give birth lol. To think I still have 9 weeks to go. Hahahaiss.. Also, the first stretch marks made their appearance on my thighs! This was a demoralising milestone because I have been putting on Clarins every day. I know my body is never going to be the same ever again and stretch marks are one of those things that are inevitable but when it actually happens, it doesn’t stop you from feeling shitty about it anyway. Kinda sucks that I don’t even recognise my body anymore.

Also, I felt something like mild menstrual cramps a few times. Was it Braxton Hicks?? I have no idea but that sensation suddenly hit me with the realisation that I am really at the last stretch of the pregnancy and will be giving birth soon! It actually made me tear a bit. I’m already going to miss all the kicks no matter how strong and uncomfortable they can be. Part of me can’t wait to meet my son, but part of me also wants to keep him inside me for as long as possible to protect him from this dunya, full of evil and negativity.

Hospital Appointments

We had our second appointment with Dr Citra. I also did my OGTT (glucose test for diabetes) and had my whooping cough vaccination that day. They will take some time to get the blood test results and the nurse said no news means good news. They didn’t call me at all, so alhamdulillah for that. Also, Dr C said she willl arrange for us to meet an anaesthetist during the next appointment to discuss my scoliosis condition and the possibility of epidural. I guess the curiousity in me just couldn’t resist the opportunity of finding out what I don’t really want to know too soon. We will also be having the 32-week growth scan and discussing our birth plan at the next appointment. Also, I discovered that the GBS test is actually not compulsory. Didn’t know this because it seems like a lot of mummies took it, so I had the impression that it was a routine test or something. Is it really necessary? Hmm..

Preparations

I placed my deposit with Sizzling Dyyana yayy! She has already reserved my slots since my 1st tri but she will only accept deposits on the 3rd tri. Been following her ig closely and all the good reviews is making me excited to try her food hehe.

I have just started attending prenatal yoga classes with Nura just for the sake of doing some sort of workout to keep myself fit. Some of the poses could feel quite intense, but overall, it felt really good. I could feel the difference cos I managed to sleep slightly better. Bf recently commented on how amazed he is that I can still solat normally instead of using a chair while heavily pregnant. I guess at this stage, I can really see how similar solat is to yoga. My body is getting more and more inflexible by the day as my bump grows, so forcing myself to do my sujud and rukuk normally is really helpful. I still wash my feet on the sink during wudhu’ too and brag to bf about how this is my form of yoga 5 times a day hahaha. Nura recently launched this birth simulation workshop and I signed up for it with bf. Looking forward to attend it next Sunday.

We also recently started antenatal classes with NUH. Hopefully it’s worth it and covers as much topics as I hope, including breastfeeding. Cos to be honest, the closer we are to the EDD, the more I’ve been feeling unprepared in terms of knowledge on everything about handling a baby.

A few months ago, we did some baby shopping at this place called Baby Expo, which is not really at the expo. Not sure if this is a well-known place, but my cousin intro-ed me to it cos it’s really cheap. Carters rompers were selling at $15 for a set of 5. We also bought a few other essentials like more clothes, a gym playmat, breastpads, bibs, hats, mittens, booties/socks, towel, diaper changing mat etc. The only negative experience we had so far is that the small piano that was supposed to be attached to the gym playmat plays only Chinese songs! I felt so sad, but then we laughed at ourselves for being such a noob first-time parents. So ya, that gym playmat was turned out to be some China brand. Other than that, the other items looked quite ordinary to us. We still have yet to buy a lot of other essential items like baby bath tub, detergent and soaps, diapers, and probably a whole list of other stuff. Which I am planning to get all by next week’s expo baby fair cos this kiasu FTM wants to get her hospital bag packed soon.

Gahhhhh wish me luck.

Thoughts on Labour

I am approaching 3rd trimester in just a matter of days from now. It’s amazing how fast time flies, really. Throughout the whole pregnancy so far, labour has always seem something very far-fetched for me. Like it’s still a long way to go. Or maybe it’s also something that I was quite reluctant to think much about because of how scary the thought is. But since I’m nearing the end of second trimester, I need to confront this fear sooner or later. The fear of the thought of it, not just the fear of the labour itself. Contraction pains are scary, episiotomy is scary, perineal tears are scary, stitches are scary. The whole experience will change me into a different person and the thought of this scares me too.

Everyone wants our birth experiences to be as smooth and as positive as possible. But what does that entail? And what kind of preparations does it require? From our discussions, bf and I agreed to try our best to go as natural as possible, but we are not going to be too obsessed about it. Especially because it is our first time after all and we don’t really know what to expect or how my body will deal with labour and what kind of medical interventions we may need. Basically, we don’t want to be too macam paham.

I don’t consider myself to have a high tolerance for pain, but I think I have high perseverance level lol. I hope to not resort to taking epidural, not just because of the long term side effects, but also because we are not sure if it is possible, given my medical history. (See previous post for deets.) Although we’ve consulted 2 OBs on this, we still don’t have an answer yet and I’m in a dilemma whether I really do want to know the answer or not. It could turn out good or bad either way.

Aside from painkillers, I don’t know yet what kind of attitude I should take on the whole labour process I am about to experience. Should I be bochap, try not to overthink and just take it when it comes, or should I really mentally prepare myself for the big day? Going through labour can be like battling for your life. People can die from childbirth. People have prayed to God to take away their life to stop the pain. And when the angel of death hovers around you, offering you a choice of whether you want to fight on, or let him take your life and go straight to jannah as a martyr, which would you choose? Either way, thinking about this alone is giving me the chills and making me feel so blessed to be among the special ones chosen to go through labour insyaAllah.

PEH vs NUH

We finally had our first appointment with Dr Citra at NUH last Thursday. I was nervous, as if it was my first time meeting a gynae. But it all went well and it was a pleasant experience overall, alhamdulillah. Since we have been seeing Dr Lubna at PEH before this, I thought it would good for me to write this post to compare a private hospital and govt hospital, in terms of prenatal visits and a few things I take into consideration before choosing where I want to give birth at.

The Hospital

PEH is a smaller and more cosy hospital, and is not very busy. So it feels kind of more relaxing and has a more exclusive feel to it. But parking is very limited. Not that we drive anyway, but this is something couples may want to consider when they come to give birth here. Also, the fact that PEH is smaller also means that it does not have a lot of amenities or conveniences like shops or even a garden/park, in case labouring mothers want to take a walk there to kill more time before checking into the delivery suite. NUH, is of course better equipped with cafes, gardens/parks and better variety of food outlets for the husbands and other visitors.

The Clinic

Dr L’s clinic at PEH is located at level 3. Because it is a private clinic, each prenatal visit is pretty straightforward. We just go straight there, see the doctor, get our supplements there, and go home when we’re done. The clinic staff will be there to answer our questions and explain the prenatal packages etc on behalf of the doctor. But if we have any questions pertaining to PEH like the delivery charges or prenatal classes, we have to ask the PEH staff at the hospital counter downstairs or refer to the hospital website. The doctor’s clinic and the hospital operates separately in that way.

For NUH, we had to go to the Women’s Clinic Ruby, which took us awhile to navigate to. It seems like this clinic is for private doctors and there is another Women’s Clinic for subsidised patients. But the good thing is, because we were still at a NUH clinic, the staff could explain to us on topics relating to both the doctor and the hospital. Meaning, we were enlightened on both the prenatal packages and delivery charges, which is convenient because we can ask any questions we have from just one source, rather than having to check from separate parties. The staff also provided us with flyers to promote NUH’s prenatal classes and some mental health help/support place, which I was impressed with. But we had to get our supplements from the pharmacy, which is a short walk away from the clinic. Short detour, but not much of an issue.

Also, both clinics at PEH and NUH will always give us this piece of urine test stick to pee on, during every visit. I can’t remember what they are for, was it blood sugar or something like that? Anyway, PEH has only 2 spots to pee on, but NUH has 5/6! I heard the NUH staff mentioning “protein” for one of the test, but I really didn’t catch the rest. So ya, this gave me the impression that NUH is pretty detailed.

Seeing the Doctor

One major difference is that Dr L will scan during every visit. She is also pretty detailed with her scan because she will check every part of my womb, including looking out for any growth/cysts in my ovaries. But NUH doctors will not scan at every visit. There are probably only about 3 scans throughout the whole pregnancy at NUH. But, Dr C did listen to the baby’s heartbeat using the doppler and did a physical examination on my bump. She could determine the position of my baby using her bare hands and even lightly grabbed the baby’s head from outside my tummy! Then he kicked her in return hahahaha oops! There are pros and cons to this because although we don’t get to see the scan of our baby every month at NUH, the visits will be much cheaper as well. For Dr L, every consultation+scan costs $200 before GST for ala carte pricing, excluding supplements. For Dr C, consultation is about $96 (second appt onwards) including GST, excluding supplements. So I guess as long as our pregnancy is progressing well and healthily, it should be okay that we don’t get to see our baby on the scan every month.

In terms of waiting time, Dr L does not have a super long waiting time most of the time. There was only once when I waited almost 2 hours for Dr L, but mostly it was about 30-45min and even 0min at one point of time because there was no one else around. She also takes her time to examine and talk to you, so every visit does not feel rushed at all.

I only met Dr C once and we waited for almost an hour despite coming very early. Also, Dr C talks very fast, which is understandable since she is super popular and has a lot of patients waiting to see her. But then she keeps prompting me for questions and clarifies everything in detail too. We managed to discuss about almost everything I could think of, including my never-ending morning sickness, my medical history, and when I asked about birth plans, she provided us with a NUH birth plan template. I brought along my draft birth plan, and since bf took it out, she even went through it with us and told us that most of the things in our birth plan are okay. But since it’s still quite early, she assured us that we can go through it again at a later date.

Overall, I would say both doctors are very friendly, approachable and detailed. Brownie points for them too because both gives salam (assalamualaikum) and offers a salam (handshake) at the start of every visit lol.

Discussing my medical history

I used to have scoliosis, and did a corrective surgery back in 2007 which includes metal implants of 2 titanium rods and 16 screws in my spine. Due to this, I must inform my doctors and I would also like to check if epidural is possible or not. As much as possible, I don’t want to take epidural but I am not 110% confident that I would be able to say no if it was offered to me, so I wanted to know if it’s even possible, just in case! So I brought my spinal x-rays to both doctors so that they could have a look at where exactly my implants are, and whether they happen to be where the epidural is typically injected. Both doctors said that I need to discuss it with an anaesthetist. But Dr L kept saying she is not sure which location of the spine the epidural will be injected even though I roughly know where. More like she refused to admit that she knows. At least Dr C could tell me that the epidural will usually be injected at the lower part of the spine, which is way below where my implants are. I was quite relieved to hear it, and she even offered to set up an appointment with the anaesthetist for me to confirm it. But since she said that we could also check with the anaesthetist on the day of the delivery itself, I rejected the offer so that we don’t have to pay consultation fees now when we can just meet him/her on the day itself. Part of me regretted rejecting the offer to meet the anaesthetist, but I was honestly scared that if I found out that epidural was possible, I would betray myself and end up taking it. Urgh the dilemma and the suspense!

After discussing with bf and weighing the pros and cons, we eventually decided that we are going to continue to see Dr C and give birth at NUH, although it is much further from our house. The bulk of our reasoning comes from the multiple good reviews of Dr C and NUH and their reputation of being good advocates for natural birth and for their good service. Of course, anything could happen on the day of the delivery itself. Emergency C-sect would probably be the worst case scenario. But we gotta tawakkal. If everything goes well, then we think that NUH would be a better choice for us to give birth in, insyaAllah.