I thought I’d go against my digital detox (which hasn’t been much of a detox because I am still Instagramming but its nice to get off FB and ignore the deluge of information it usually feeds me daily) and write about my colposcopy exam in NUH. Before I go further, please re-read my heading again. Its colPOSCOPY not COLONoscopy. Two VERY different things.
So my attending gynaecologist is one specialising in oncology. I was suppose to see Dr. Cheran but due to my request to move it up, they sent me to Dr. Joseph Ng. I feel like by now the whole gynaecological department has seen my goddamn file. I feel like I’ve been referred to this and that that it feels like I live at the Women’s Clinic. Unlike Prof Biswas whose whole being you can tell is full of busy-ness, Dr. Joseph was more relaxed and casual. Like all the other times I’ve seen different doctors, they knew who I was by going through my file and I am sure that file is interesting because I feel like they know me. I’ve been to doctors where it sounds like you have to repeat to them what you are all about and at NUH, I never needed to. Dr. Joseph even got wind of the fact that I was worried via the nurse who spoke to my husband and he immediately tried to put me at ease. He showed me a model of my womanly organs and explained what my PAP smear report meant. He said the abnormality is likely a result of my postpartum symptoms and he gave me a choice to repeat my PAP smear or to undergo a colposcopy (where they use a machine to get an inside and magnified look at your cervix). I’m like okay, what the hell, let’s do a colposcopy. I already spent three weeks wondering what’s wrong with me, let’s just put this to rest. I read all about it prior to doing the colposcopy and I was afraid of feeling great pain but the nurse assured me that the feeling was similar to doing a PAP smear.
I was sent to another room to put on a gown and remove my bottoms and they sat me in a chair which is a lot similar to the kind you would deliver your baby in except it was more bare. There was a HUGE screen and as Dr Joseph prepared the machine-thingy, I don’t know what they call it, I was horrified I can see my cervix on the big screen. Like omg, its so big and enlarged. Once they put the thingy up my cervix, everything inside was there to be seen on that damn screen in HD. And I must say I am amazed how such a small space carried three full-term babies. He immediately remarked that everything looked perfectly normal and then he applied some liquid that would reveal if there were any strange abnormalities and that stung. And he said that it still looked very pregnant, and has not returned fully to its pre-pregnant state. He thinks that was the reason why the PAP smear picked up on irregularities. The whole time I was pretty much comfortable but did feel some stinging here and there, but nothing I cannot bear. Although it sounded all fine, and according to protocol, I needed to return in three months for another PAP smear and will continue to do so until they return to normal. What I was thrown off by was that he also scheduled another colposcopy, which made me wonder if there was indeed something he wanted to re-check. But I am trying not to be too bothered, because if there was indeed something worrisome, he wouldn’t have sent me home saying it’s all right. I am okay if they are trying to be really overly cautious – these irregularities whatever they are can be easily fixed if detected early. He reminded me again not to worry and get more sleep.
The whole thing cost $260 and I know it sounds like a lot but I found out it costs $1500 at private clinics, so its a pretty good deal if you have to do a colposcopy sometime in your life. I was further horrified to be given colored printout of the insides of my cervix. UGH. WHY.
So there it is. No more cervix in HD until March or April, I haven’t set a date. One thing though, I’ve had like menstrual-like cramps after the colposcopy which they say is normal. But lately though my body is just not feeling the same and I think I am very much still in recovery even though I lost all that weight. I had costochondritis, de Quervain Syndrome, and my period is all messed up. I know those words sound scary, but they are pretty common postpartum conditions. They do not create a major problem for me but they can be daily annoyances. And it really does take a much longer time to fully recover from a C-section because I had a much smoother postpartum transition with Livia.
The past weeks while I was worried about the colposcopy, I was baking a lot. I have lost count how many batches of blueberry muffins and chocolate chip cookies I have made. Of course I gave them away, or I’ll be having diabetes as well.
In baby news, the girls are four months in a couple of days. They need a lot of stimulation and attention when they are awake now. So I perform one-woman shows for them. Good thing I have a background in theatre and had spent a significant portion of my childhood staging shows to an imaginary audience. I haven’t totally lost the entertainment side of me despite becoming a serious, boring adult. So I always look for that silly person I know I can be when I do my one-woman shows for the girls. I know Livia is already my biggest fan and it seems the triplets are enjoying it just as much. Sometimes I do it for all three, and sometimes I do it one-on-one. If I do not stimulate them with singing, musical instruments, puppetry, reading, and even dancing, they would not go to sleep and would cry endlessly. But if we stimulate them enough, they go to sleep pretty easily.
I think adults who become parents have forgotten what is play and how to play with their kids, especially babies. I don’t find playing with them boring at all. I can totally see why its necessary and how so much our relationship and bond is built through play. Sometimes I can just put a picture, or toy in front of them and that stimulates them enough, but most of the time they want either me or their daddy to give them tons of face-time and that makes a lot of sense. Babies want that connection to their parents. I mean its so easy with one baby, you just give it constant attention through play and kangaroo care but with three, after doing everything I need to do for them, for my toddler, and for myself and my husband, the day goes by in a flash. Livia needs stimulation too but she’s at that age where she can play on her own. We do still play with Livia but we also encourage her to be play independently. So much she has learnt is through playing. I am actually reading a book now on how to discipline through play and its super interesting. Maybe I’ll write a review when I’m done with it, or maybe not. I did a lot of book review writing as an academic and I’m not really up for doing more book reviews in my spare time. But at least this book it’s something I would like to talk about whereas in my academic life, there were a lot of books that I really preferred throwing into a fire.
Otherwise, the girls have continued to sleep through the night and there hasn’t been a difficult night. There was a short phase where they were constantly throwing up quite a lot of their milk, which made sleeping on their tummies difficult because sometimes they would puke and go face-down into their puke. But I read that that peaks in the third or fourth month and will stop thereafter, and its since gone down. I was tired of doing laundry because of all the milk spit-ups.
Its also become apparent that Lucia, our smallest triplet and also the last to be pulled out of my womb is hitting her milestones first. Liora might have sturdier muscles and back by virtue of her weight, but she’s the last to hit her milestones strangely. They can now comfortably lift their heads, turn their heads side to side (which has me stopped worrying about SIDS because they sleep on their tummies sometimes), and flipping back and fro. I always read that multiples tend to be late in their milestones, but so far they are on track and even hitting them earlier than Livia used to. Lucia has already started crawling, or more like inching where she is using her knees to push herself forward. These days I can leave them in a particular position and when I return they are totally somewhere else. I have started to worry about them falling of the bed and its time for us to dismantle the bed frame once more and sleep on a mattress on the floor. We learnt our lesson with Livia. They are also a lot more fun. They love games (like peek-a-boo) and getting tickled. With so much baby meat, I have got more than my fair share of chubby arms and legs to bite.
I’ve also officially ended breastfeeding. Yes I didn’t even make it to six months. I actually had a lot of milk to give but I am just going through too much, I couldn’t take it anymore and I let my milk decline naturally. The old me would feel a lot of mummy guilt but I no longer do that. There’s just too much to feel with more than twice the number of children, and I am not spending an ounce of it on mummy guilt. I have read enough articles, both scientific and non-scientific to learn that my child is not going to get majorly screwed up if I don’t do this or that. Its not even that I am getting extra sleep by stopping breastfeeding, because I don’t, but I feel a lot more in control of my body which is already pretty much screwed up (well not screwed up but just not the same) from the pregnancy, surgery and having to take care of four kids. My husband says it best that sometimes seeing the three of them stops him in his tracks and he has to take a moment to realise how we got here, and he’s so blessed. Its still tough everyday but we make it work. I don’t know if its because I’ve got three times more of babies stoking my hormones, but I haven’t had any postpartum depression and I’ve been incredibly upbeat. This is not to say I stopped being sarcastic and cynical, but I do have a lot less time for other people and their stupid minor problems. Like my friend MMF like to say, oh please cry me a river.
So that’s my New Year post I guess! See you all in Feb.