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35 weeks – get set, ready, go

As I turned 34 weeks, it appeared that E3’s growth had begun to slow down and stagnate, and he was conserving pumping his blood flows to the brain. This happens when the baby feels there is insufficient nutrients etc for his entire body and would thus reserve for the most important organ – the brain. Weight-wise, the twins weren’t that far apart I felt, at 1.9kg and 1.7kg but Prof Tan was more concerned about the blood flows and immediately labelled E3 as IUGR twin. He said he would see me that weekend on 19 Nov when I turn 35 weeks and then we will decide which is THE day.

I knew from the outset of my barely-speaking gynae that he would definitely pull a sudden or spontaneous decision to deliver me. He didn’t like to discuss any form of “what if” situations with me since it was futile to assume I will be all good (from his perspective) and the best we could do is to watch each week and decide. So I guess I wasn’t completely stunned when he saw me on 19 Nov and then said, “ok. Tmrw deliver?” And I’m like “but it’s Sunday tmrw, do doctors work?” Then he went on about how hard he works and how he works daily but if we do deliver tmrw, ppl wld be pissed with him cause he would have to call down a whole team of people including 4 baby doctors. I get that gynaes are on 24/7 call BUT with a c-sect, you can sorta plan it right? Anyway we finally agreed that it would be Monday 21 Nov then and I would begin my fast from food and drink from midnight.

Kwee and I headed to near my mil’s for our solo coffee/tea date before picking Ethan up & then on impulse, I went to get a pedicure since I haven’t been able to cut my nails on my own for months (kwee does it) and I thought – why not? Last indulgence for a while.

I had been taking my time to prep the twin logistics, borrowing and receiving stuff but nothing like a 48 hour notice on your delivery to get you on track. On Saturday night, Kwee threw together Ethan’s old cot, our helper Faw put together the bouncer and started washing existing bottles we had. On Sunday morning, we dropped E at KFC then went to Kiddy Palace to buy bottles, breastpads, etc. We were gonna utilise our membership as well as KP gifts from COL cell when we realised that that weekend, it was 20% off for regular items so we saved even more $$$. Felt so blessed. Also bought my first tin of 0-6 mth formula milk ever just in case I couldnt produce milk. KP didn’t stock replacement pump parts for my Medela so I had to order that online and hope very hard that I wouldn’t be engorged in the hospital.

We then went to my parents’ place for dinner where we had a last supper of korean army stew and talked about the twins and what it would be like. We also took our last pregnant belly shot. My sister was so sweet to lug home this super cute noah’s ark shape balloon to welcome the twins as well as a delicious choc origin cake so it really felt like a birthday of sorts. Best of all, she also brought home a BOUNCY CASTLE from her friend…it used to belong to his niece and she no longer used it. It’s more like a bouncy playpen but Ethan was so excited. Next time, there will be 3 boys bouncing in there. No one was more delighted than Ethan to oblige with singing happy birthday repeatedly, even in Chinese, and then to partake in the sheer delight of chocolate cake. It was a good night before we meet the twins.

 

33 weeks

I have made it to 33 weeks! In spite of all the negativity my POD (prophet of doom) gynae spews each time I see him, we have made it through and I will most certainly see him next week at my crucial 34 weeks. Crucial because that was the time I popped Ethan, and if I can cross that, then we are already at a better stage than I was in my first pregnancy. Thankfully, my lupus and thyroid doctors have all been very kind to me, and I am still in remission for those.

Ethan had his first school concert ever and it was sooo funny and sweet watching him and the whole class perform together. He had been practising singing “Jesus loves me” for weeks at the top of his voice and I kept asking him if there were any “dance moves” to go along with it. He just sorta turned around and wiggled so I thought either that was truly it or maybe he couldn’t follow. He loves music but aint much of a dancer haha so we accept that. On show day, we realised that that was truly all he had to do! Turn around at intervals and even the first turn, he didn’t quite get the memo. Hilarious but oh so cute. For his 3 min performance, we had a rousing turnout of grandparents from both sides (sans my dad who had training), kwee, myself and Jolene. All proudly and madly taking photos.We also contributed muffins to the potluck refreshments after the concert. Apparently this is an annual tradition. Very homely sorta feel which is kinda nice. The teachers would always call if he was missing more than a day of school and be genuinely concerned, and even talk to him to find out how he is.
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The good thing about being in a “not so atas” kindergarten is that tickets are free and we dont need to pay exorbitant fees to watch him. I have friends who have had to pay $30/ticket to watch their kids perform. Of course, the location is also more happening like at Jubilee Hall or one of the concert halls. I guess raising a child in SG can cost you a bomb if you choose all the frills and nothing wrong if you can jolly well afford it. But ultimately, I guess it’s what we value as parents and I truly think that kids don’t need so much materially. They just need us to be fully present with them. With that, I also gave away about 70% of Ethan’s toys to Tamar Village (some not even opened) and hope they have better use for them. He came along with me to give the stuff away and didn’t even flinch when they left the car.

Now, I need to get down to sorting out the twins’ logistics. I have been taking in so many things from people, I don’t know what I have or not. I thought I still had a bit of time before they arrive but my pelvic pressure and pain escalated on Monday night and it became unbearable for me to walk. Good thing this was after my (last?) major meal that kwee treated us to – Sunday brunch buffet at Prego at 1-for-1! So shiok.

 The twin mums I have spoken to and the twin forums I read all said they were either on bedrest at this point of the pregnancy or similarly, the pain was killing them. So you are in this complex position of “cant wait to pop!” cause you are so uncomfortable but know you cant cause the babies need to gain weight first. God, please help me last to 36-37 weeks! 3 more weeks!

 

transitions

We sold the Audi in early August, within 2 weeks of listing it, was car-less for another 2 weeks and then got our new ride, a Honda Odyssey. I thought it would take me quite some time to get used to the sheer size and told the hubbs to die to any form of supped up modification for the car since I will be driving it most of the time BUT… surprisingly, it has been a really nice and easy ride. Since it’s like a van/mini school bus, the seats are high which is perfect for my pregnant state now. The seat belts go nicely beneath my belly and I can see my surroundings better while the very low Audi seating had become a stretch for me in the past months. Ethan really likes the HO cause he thinks its a bus of sorts with automated doors that he can close at his voice command (yes, we let him think it…haha) and he gets excited when he sees another on the road (“daddy, mummy, same one!!!”). It has also been mighty useful in shuttling humans and barang from one point to another and I rarely have to worry about space constraints. I’ve already told my passengers that when the twins are out though, I will not be moving the child seats around so pls savour all rides you can get off us now! Plus points of the car would definitely be the surround cameras so I no longer go into high stress mode in tight situations. Really thank God for the provision of this car and looking forward to many fun crazy family times together – maybe those 6 hour rides to Batu on CNY eve might even be bearable.

Another major adjustment is that of our new helper, Faw. When we interviewed her on viber, she could speak some English but when she arrived, she couldnt at all! Maybe we got tricked by the agent on the Myanmar side but whatever it is, here she is and we figure language isn’t that big a deal if she has a teachable attitude. Afterall, if we could teach Ethan to speak some English, I am sure she can learn real quick too. I am a first-time employer even though I did grow up with domestic helpers in my household but I had come to cherish and relish my private family space so even thinking about a stranger in my home is pretty major for me. I always said that only if I had 3 or more kids would I consider hiring one to help me with household chores…and then of course, I was to be expecting twins so the hubbs raised this as a first area of concern/help that we can receive.

I had earlier procrastinated looking for a helper and it was really the hubbs who was doing all these research and shortlisting agencies and recommendations for me to think about. But I think cause that part of me that resisted having a helper was still strong, I didn’t reply any of his helper-related emails and texts oops… until Sept. My mil kindly helped train Faw for the first week and I told her to teach her simple one-dish meals so we can at least survive on some food when I am really maxed out with the kids. My mil took it very literally so the repertoire of dishes she learnt were fried rice, fried bee hoon, fried noodles, fried fish, roast chicken. Haha.

I brought her back to our home two weeks ago and we are going through this period of adjustment as I direct her to do the chores and also, attempt to let her cook her repertoire while teaching her more one-dish meals. She has quite a pleasant disposition and she took to Ethan immediately though I must say I was really unsettled by that at first. I know more love is always good and better my helper love my son than abuse him but it was kinda strange to see her immediately reach out to carry him and also for him to look for her.

E loves ppl in the home and is pretty much the same with all the previous guests that have stayed with us (going to their room to look for them, asking them to play with him etc..) but I guess the difference is that he will probably realise in time that she is here to stay. So I am in this complex bind of wanting her to feel at home of course but also not replacing my role – which I will not consciously relinquish though I must say playtime on floor is slightly more challenging now with my huge belly. The good thing is because she’s doing all the chores now, I actually found I have way more capacity to just enjoy being fully present with him in these 2 days and I guess he felt it too as he kept saying “I love you, mummy” suddenly in the midst of play.

Hope I get lots more bonding time in with E before the twins arrive.

On Children’s Day and against my grain of hating crowds, I decided to bring him to Cool De Sac and it was really insanely packed. The actual number of kids was not that crazy but each child came with 3-4 adults attached so the place felt very congested. I had considered turning back when I saw the queue to get in but E already spotted the playground and was patiently holding my hand and repeating “I want to go in”. He didn’t fuss once and just waited so we did. Thank God he was very okay with running all over the place by himself cause no way could I climb the course with him. We then took a lunch break when daddy Ong appeared before plunging back in and E played to his heart’s content. I was abit worried when I wanted to leave that he would start fussing but with the 5-minute pre-departure “warning”, he was very cooperative and actually told me “I am done” when he was done. Waved goodbye to the playground and then told me he wanted to go back to the Arc. So grateful for that, and for the time spent at play where he’s the happiest.

Sept happenings

September is birthday month for the hubbs and I and the difference this year is that Ethan can sing the full happy birthday song properly, in tune, addressed to said birthday person. He loves singing it and I wonder what goes through his little mind as he sees either Kwee or I being presented with cake and song almost every week of Sept right through the first week of Oct! 


We have been incredibly blessed by family and friends who have remembered our birthdays and made efforts to celebrate for us and it makes me so happy to see E enthusiastically singing and blowing out candles with us haha. Once, the hubbs forgot and just blew out his without waiting for E and E was so sad, he burst into tears. “Daddy no let Ethan blow” The sweet innocence and joys of childhood. (Also, he thinks every lit candle = birthdays and since I have many Yankee candles in our home, he probably thinks it’s birthday season all year round).

My birthday weekend usually coincides with the SGH Lightweight party, a party that the hospital throws annually for their preemies and we have not been able to go previously due to work and commitments. This year, however, it was on 3rd Sept exactly and I had no work duties so we could finally attend it. I cannot describe fully the range of emotions that I felt when we got there. For one, we were inundated with gifts and fun packs followed by lots of fun for the kiddos. Photo booths, balloons, craft tables, little game stalls, mini playground area and LOTS AND LOTS of candy, chocolates, treats of every kind. 


It was actually really hilarious and refreshing to see parents who had absolutely no qualms about giving their kiddos all the candy in the world. I guess preemies could do with a little more fat. Many of them looked about Ethan’s size though I dont know if they’re the same age. My own inner circle of mum friends arent the “organic mums” type haha but I know most will have certain food restrictions… here, it was like Willy Wonka’s choc factory for all. I didnt take a pic but there was a chupa chup rocket and kids cld go over, put their hands in and take anything they wanted – other than food, it also contained stickers, rulers, notepads. The theme of the party was Pixar so really cute stuff all around. Ethan had a walla time and I felt this joy just seeing all these kids run around, knowing that all of them had spent time in NICU – some probably under very great distress. When the head of dept came up, she was introduced as “the one who made these parties possible”, but all she humbly said was, “I didnt make it happen. It’s because of all you babies that we can have this party. Enjoy yourself”

I wanted very much to thank the nurses that took care of Ethan & who also helped me much with breastfeeding the month that we were there but I couldnt find them…I only caught sight of them briefly still in uniform hurrying down when we were leaving. I guess they were on shift then! A nurse is never fully off duty. Thank God for these nurses and doctors who serve with passion.

Other Sept highlights would be Ethan’s first play – Jack & the Beanstalk & the weddings of our dear friends JS and JL. 

We had been reading the book for weeks leading up to it and I thought he would love it but in the end, he was quite scared by the dimly light theatre and loud sound?? I was 80% annoyed and 20% sympathetic. We finally exited early and the ushers kindly suggested we watch the show live on the tv outside where we remained for the rest of it. Strangely, E was enthused about meeting the actor and proceeded to tell him that his shoe was very big -_-

JS and JL are friends whom we have journeyed with at various stages and it was nice to be rounding up the month with seeing them tie the knot. The added bonus was that their weddings were a day apart and they had asked Ethan to be their page boy. He had never been a page boy before and I had no idea if he had the ability to firstly, walk (not run) and secondly, to walk straight without distraction or fear but since the couples were not the type A, everything must go according to plan type, I thought ok lah. I didnt even have kids walk down my wedding cause I was the type A type (irony) so I thought it was a leap of faith for them.


All went very well as Ethan bravely conquered the runway at Crowne Plaza and the very long L-shaped sanctuary aisle the day after. Seconds before he was supposed to march in at the JL wedding, he panicked and asked his daddy to hug him and then next thing he knew, the doors threw open and he powered through towards his yiyi. The video of him is so cute with him taking in a few breaths before turning the corner and walking towards me – ring pillow intact and safe in his hands. Really proud mama moment and he was rewarded with hugs, kisses, encouragement and lots of satay at dinner.


The twins are growing normally and healthily and are now already each heavier than Ethan’s birth weight! I have not been experiencing abdominal pains thank God but their weight is greatly felt. I keep feeling like my stomach just cannot be stretched anymore but still they grow. Gynae congratulated me on reaching week 28 and said the next milestone to hit will be 34 weeks. I have 2 twin mum friends who were pretty much on bedrest in the final stages and while I definitely need more rest, I hope I wont be totally immobile. I hope to deliver in the first week of Dec if the babies are of good weight so they wont require NICU but this also means I need to get all my stuff sorted out. Testing the breast pump, getting all the baby gear from friends…nesting instincts setting in but the flesh is weak when I look at the mess in my cupboard 😀


 

of late

This long overdue post is finally happening!


I am currently 22 weeks pregnant and feeling + looking really huge. I have difficulty seeing Ethan when he hugs my legs and it’s getting harder to put my socks on. Can I say with all honesty how much I do NOT enjoy being this big? I love the babies to come, and the concept of the wonder of life growing within me but the various inconveniences, pains and aches that come with it isn’t something I enjoy. A few weeks ago, one of Ethan’s classmate’s mama looked at me and said she missed being pregnant and she knows she’s done with having more kids but she just loved her bump and breastfeeding and the whole works. I smiled weakly.

Without wanting to come across as a total ingrate for having this gift of lives within me, I have to say that if I could skip this 9 weighty months and just have the babies right in my arms, I would be most happy. There I have said it. *awaits judgment*

More than the initial bloatedness in my first trimester and some very intense lower belly pains in this week of my second trimester are some of the inane comments people make to me. Mostly thankfully by people not close to me. I listed my top 2 in my previous posts. Here’s more:

  1. OMG you are so big! (give me a break, I have 2 placentas – 2 balls of water inside me)
  2. Are you giving birth next month? (you wont believe how many people have asked me this, and how they looked SO SHOCKED when I say December)
  3. You dont look as sick ah as your first pregnancy (that’s comforting)
  4. Can I touch your belly? (or some just simply, touch)
  5. Don’t overeat (…I am actually glad I can even eat! And yes I look like I have 2 watermelons within me but trust me when I say my actual weight gain is only at 4-5kg)

Is it any wonder that some women have perinatal depression followed by post-natal depression??? Like you are already experiencing the physical pains that comes with being weighty, and being very self-conscious about weight then topping it with having people say unnecessary stuff in your face can be quite annoying.

The most epic and offensive one though has to be my Tuesday encounter with the MO (medical officer). I had been experiencing pretty intense pains for about 2 days in my lower belly. It felt like a combination of cramps, stitches and someone pulling me from within. Because I didnt experience this in my first pregnancy, and I didnt for this until now, I was naturally concerned. I thought it might be braxton hicks but sometimes the pain was so intense, I couldnt stand up straight or even lie on my side. I know with a twin preg plus my lupus (though in remission), I was a high risk case, and I wanted to be careful without being paranoid. Since I had a thyroid checkup on Tuesday at SGH anyway, I decided to pop by the O&G to talk to the assessing nurse.

She touched my stomach and said “ok babies are moving but lets get you checked”. She asked for my ic and when she saw my name, she just looked up and said “was your last baby 3 years ago? I remember your case”. I felt so emotional at that moment for some reason. Anyway, she then quickly said she will take no risk and brought me up to the high-risk clinic. My gynae wasn’t in but they would run the usual tests just to make sure baby heartbeat is ok and I wasn’t actually contracting/pre-term labour. So they hooked me up and strapped the CTG stuff on me, and it felt like back then with Ethan. One twin was very calm and cooperative so they could track the heartbeat easily while the other is a copy of Ethan!! Kept kicking the monitoring device and “running” around so that took a while. Since gynae wasn’t in, the MO attended to me, and she asked as do many of the staff if my twins were “spontaneous/natural”. Finally, I asked back “Is there a difference between IVF twins and natural twins?” My intent was purely biological but her answer stunned me. She replied, “err..ivf twins are more precious?”

……..

If I wasn’t hooked up and my blood pressure wasn’t being tracked, I think I would have said alot more. But I didn’t at that moment cause I was so aghast at her insensitivity. Why would doctors especially say such stupid things to a patient at her most vulnerable? Of course when I collected myself and was alone, I told the twins they are pretty darn special and dont need to feel otherwise. Every child is precious to God!

In other news, Kwee and I are attending a 17-week parenting course and we have been learning much from it, and enjoying this journey of parenting Ethan. This is quite possibly my favourite age so far though I do enjoy every season we are in. He can actually have mini conversations with us now, telling me about his pals J & J in school, H & J in church, and even recount some things he does in the day! He’s also able to sing a few songs on repeat, and loves animals plus books. It’s such a treat to read to him at the end of a work day or in the mornings I am off before he goes to school. We have also been talking to him about the twins so he intentionally goes to each side of my belly to kiss them daily and say hello!

Recent conversations we have had:

1. Cookies
E: *points to a picture card* Mama, I like these cookies
Me: Do you like mama more or cookies more?
E: Mmm…cookies.
Me: what!! mama is sad
E: *throws card away* I like Mama! Mama, hug Ethan!

2. Favourite drinks
Me: What does mama like to drink?
E: Tea!
Me: how about Daddy?
E: coffee!
Me: and..ethan?
E: Mmm. Water.
LOL

Such a cute age.

  


 

 

 

2 peanuts

On my first official visit to the SGH gynae, we had no clue who to expect except to pray for either my previous doctor or hope for the best. This is the uncertain part about going through a subsidised route cause you can’t choose your doctor. Well thank God then it turned out to be the head of O&G Dr Tan HK who was seeing me. At least I could expect some expertise I guess. Within minutes of seeing me, he started listing down 3 “problems” I had, based on my first pregnancy. Then he continued to say, “You got one baby already so complex, now you got twins.. how?!” What did he expect Kwee and I to say really. We were further disheartened when he said he needed to know “what type” of twin we were having which might add to the complexity. With that, he sent me out for an ultrasound scan. 

My first response was total sianness. I was actually quite excited to be seeing the twins at first but after his somewhat disheartening comments, I felt a bit down. But I also knew better than to let fear become a stronghold in my heart and instead of panicking, we texted all our support groups for prayer. We then went for a leisurely breakfast and had to wait out 3 hours just to get scanned since we were a ‘last minute’ scan case. When it was finally my turn, I recognised the sonographer – same one that had scanned me a couple of times with E. She was meticulous & detailed and concluded that I was having DCDA twins and both were growing healthily. DCDA twins are considered least complex cause they have their own placentas and space to grow. After this report, Dr Tan HK was extremely pleased & relieved? And finally got to asking me how I am feeling, pregnancy symptoms wise 😓. 

On my 2nd recent gynae check-up, both babies were very active and the sonographer had a tough time taking measurements. I was lying down for 30 minutes! She then asked if E was as active and I had to say yes. Hopefully this is not a real indication of how they might be like outside of the womb. So far, all is well and I have been feeling quite alright on the whole except having to eat every 2 hours & feeling extremely gassy between 6pm to 7.30pm. I feel the worst then cause I keep burping, am v hungry but can’t eat and the hunger makes me want to puke though I don’t actually puke. Can’t complain much since I know a lot of twin-expectant mums have it way worse but the discomfort is not sth I enjoy. I also keep having to pee at 3-4am and sometimes it takes me awhile to fall back to sleep but I have decided to use that time to pray… sth I used to do when I was breastfeeding or pumping milk at odd hours. 

2 recurring questions that have popped up from ppl who aren’t in my inner circle are: 1) did u conceive naturally? 2) is this pregnancy going to be like your first? 

With the first question, I can’t help but feel the insensitivity and pointlessness of such a question, esp if it was directed at a couple who might have gone for fertility treatment. Even if I had, I wouldn’t be ashamed of it. Every child conceived and birthed is a miracle of God! In my case, my mum’s a twin so I guess the twin gene came on strong in this round. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to have a #2 & now I have double joy otw! But to be honest, my first thoughts weren’t really outright joy. It was more like shock and fear as to how we were gonna cope. Well next time someone asks me this, I’m gonna say “I conceived supernaturally!”

With the second qn, it’s the kinda thing that I hv no concrete answer to except that my faith is anchored in the same God who carried me through my first preg. Medically, my lupus, thyroid and gynae docs are keeping a close watch and I have been doing well. My lupus doc was the one who kept encouraging us to try for kids again and was confident that we cld weather and manage my condition. Nonetheless whatever the docs say, God has the final verdict and all I can say to these ppl is – if you’ll commit to praying for me, I’ll be fine! With the strong prayer support that I have now, I am confident that this pregnancy will be different, & so far, it has been. 

The twins at 13 weeks. 


We have listed the Audi for sale and am hoping to get a new/old MPV that will serve our needs. Also starting to explore hiring a domestic helper and were told by the agency we checked out that we were a “challenging” case cause got 2 newborns plus toddler. Haha. I thought that’s precisely why we need help. I’m sure God will provide in good time!