I went for my 15th week antenatal appointment at NUH this afternoon. Another thing I adore about NUH, they do not give me early morning appointments! I mean I have trouble sleeping already, and getting up so early and waiting around at the hospital is a recipe for severe morning sickness. The Prof, however, was an hour behind. When he came into the Women’s Clinic he really reminded me of all the busy professors I know at university. I felt like I was waiting for office hours. While we were waiting, many pregnant women were observing Livia with “I want a baby so bad right now” eyes. I was on my own for 2 hours before my husband joined me, and she was extremely well-behaved those 2 hours. She was happy simply scribbling things on paper and eating biscuits. When my husband finally joined us, he carried Livia in the Boba carrier and she immediately took a nap.
I did the usual pee on a stick and weigh myself routine you do at all appointments. I was happy to see myself gaining weight – something I’ve been struggling to do. And my routine blood tests that I took at KKH came back normal. The public hospitals had a centralized system so they could easily pull up my results from the computer database. Also, the new risk calculations from the 2nd NT screening done for the fraternal twin went down significantly to 0.33% from 4%. There is still risk so it doesn’t rule out potential problems completely. But there is nothing more for us to do here except to continue monitoring the baby via ultrasound.
There wasn’t suppose to be an ultrasound scan done today. I already feel like I am getting scanned too much. Like I have so many photographs of the foetuses, and there’s 3 of them, so that’s times 3. But the Prof felt he wanted to check on their heartbeats and asked me to wait for him to do a scan. So we waited about 20 minutes more (he went to check on another patient at that time). The scan was a quick one, he just wanted to look at their heart activity and their growth, especially the identical twins for TTTS. The triplets were looking good and active. He pointed to the identical twins and showed me their shared placenta and explained to me about TTTS again. Then we discussed the risks for pre-term labor, which is typical for multiple pregnancies. He brought up the subject of progesterone injections done on singleton pregnancies at risk for pre-term labor, and he asked whether I wanted to do them as a preventive measure. He said there was no proven research whether it lengthens multiples pregnancies but he said it is highly recommended. I read about many triplet moms doing this, so I said yes, I heard about this and that if he thought I should do it, I would follow his advice. And he said, okay just take lah! He scheduled for the first injection right after the scan. I thought the injection was going to be like the next appointment not immediately so I started freaking out. I remember reading about how painful it was.
The joke turned out to be on me. The injections were WEEKLY affairs. I have to take them once a week in the butt area. The nurse doing the injection was the one who informed me that it was going to be a weekly thing and I said, what I have to return to NUH once a week?! I live in Tampines. She said no worries, we can give you the progesterone and I can visit any GP in my area to do the injection on me. My husband thought he was capable enough to do it for me but I said no. She prepared me for the injection, warning me that it was going to be very painful. She asked how well I can tolerate pain and I said not well. Then she said okay its better we do this lying down rather than bending in a standing position. So I lied down, closed my eyes really hard and clasped my hand really hard and thinking about the horrors of doing this every week. While I was anticipating the injection, she discussed about how I should put warm compresses on the injected area frequently and other things I wasn’t really paying attention to (but thankfully my husband did). When she was done talking she said, okay we are done! I was like what? I didn’t feel a thing. I asked my husband, did the needle really go through? He said yes, he saw it go in. The nurse was quite shocked she said she’s never encountered a pregnant woman who has not felt pain from that particular injection. I told her I was waiting and waiting for the pain and prepared to like squeal but I really felt nothing. I asked if it was due to the extra fats around my hiney and she said she’s injected much bigger women. Whatever it is, I am glad it did not hurt! I can do this weekly without psyching myself out too badly. I am still deciding which GP to visit around Tampines – I obviously want someone with a gentle touch. I am only 15 weeks along – that’s A LOT of injections to the butt left to take for the rest of the pregnancy. The triplets better stay in till week 35 or more!
(The pain however came later. My butt ached a lot the rest of the night.)
The clinic also gave me an EDD letter I needed for my application to take another year of Parental Accommodation leave from my university. I noticed the Prof added in writing that, “This is a triplet pregnancy.” How I wish that translated to a longer Parental Accommodation leave. Shouldn’t parents of multiples get a longer maternity/paternity leave period? Maybe I should write to the government about this. Its like once you become a mother, you realise all the challenges and shortfalls of policies catering to mothers. And the same goes when you have multiples. I suppose the numbers are so few that little attention is paid to them.
Having been feeling a lot better these days, we decided to go for Tim Ho Wan for dinner. Its this Michelin star Hong Kong dim sum eatery that opened franchises in Singapore. I cannot remember having a good day since the pregnancy started, and despite the injection, I would say this was really a good day. I immediately crashed after dinner and told my husband I needed to go home and lie down desperately.