That long, nervous, stressful week


Hello unfazed, beautiful people. How was your week? Mine had been a nightmare.

I had a pregnancy scare.

Just to be clear, it was nothing but a scare. I am not pregnant and hope not to be until my uterus wilts into my old age…which is soon.

For the past years or so, my period came like clockwork. I don’t even notice them or made a big deal about them. They come, they go. And we were careful, though following the natural family planning method. No accidents, no scare. Until recently. My husband brushed off my panic and worries by saying it’s just like one of those few times in the past when my period schedule gets wonky and I end up in the ob clinic prescribed with hormone medicine Primolut and get terrible hormonal side effects which makes me act like a complete mental case.

After 5 days of nervous waiting, I booked a doctor’s appointment at a lady clinic before the weekend last week.

It’s difficult to go on with this post without delving into some gruesome details but I will try my best. These past few days had been some trying times for me. I say for me because the husband didn’t seem to mind – could be pregnant? Ok, then, what’s another more? He even marvelled at what could be a miracle. And started thinking and suggesting baby names! Oh my God. I mean, I should be grateful really. He didn’t see it as a “mistake” but a blessing.

(My sister also offered to keep the baby if I didn’t want it, like it’s only a puppy LOL!)

But what really is “another one more”?

For me, it meant a LOT. It means a different life that I have to live. It meant a few more years down the lane spent in sleepless nights, dirty diapers, leaking boobs and vaccination schedules and bawling over excess baby weight that doesn’t seem to come off etc. I could go on and on and on and ooooon! Never mind I would probably be having a difficult birth again that might end up in c-section when I still haven’t gotten over the fear, pain and trauma of the last one almost four years ago.

I have done my share of those difficult days and nights and at (almost) 39, I shouldn’t be doing those baby stuff any more. I am just slowly reclaiming my life, sleeping for a decent number of hours without someone attached to one part of my body sometimes all through the night, slowly going back to my pre-pregnancy health and composure (I had a complicated and life threatening birth with my last) and enjoying some bits of freedom.

I have done a home pregnancy test and it turned out negative. But still without the period, these are the things that ran through my restless mind:

What if I did the test wrong?

Should I have chosen the more modern and high tech and probably more accurate digital pregnancy test stick that was 3x more expensive? I realized after testing with a non-popular brand that you can’t really buy peace of mind!

What is it is a false negative? I have been Googling too much false negative stories and 10 negative tests and still ended up pregnant horror stories in Yahoo Answers.

There’s no cure and end to the anxiety.

For the record, I certainly didn’t feel pregnant – I’ve had two pregnancies in the past (oh scratch, that and make that three – I had an ectopic pregnancy in 2010 before Benjamin) and this time, I really don’t feel or look pregnant. But what do I know? My mother who birthed six children said not all pregnancies are the same.

Why do I always think of my mother in times like this??

But I’m craving chocolate, Doritos, and carbs like nobody’s business, so everything must be okay, right? But what if I’m getting those cravings because I’m pregnant?

Women – we never win.

I’ve been sober everyday last week and felt selfish crying over a possible pregnancy but in my defense, I think I already deserve a break. A break from the sleepless nights and the heartbreak over leaving the baby at 3 months old to return to work, a break from pumping breast milk in my hiding area in the office to provide supply the high demand of my son. For a while, I feel like a cow and I would cry from desperation if I can’t reach the quota and it may mean my baby will be hungry and then I have to go home and feed him directly.

I exclusively breastfed for more than 2 years each baby. And yes, my boobs are soft and saggy like a deflated balloon now, thankyouverymuch. 

So I got my period and right now, I feel like I’ve been given another lease at life.

For the first time in a week, I was able to sleep properly and peacefully thinking, I will wake up un-pregnant. I can continue with my fitness journey! My boobs won’t be slaves anymore! I can continue with my travel plans! Benjamin won’t be a middle child, yay!

But first, a plan. Because I don’t want to go through this torture again.

Benjamin’s Birth Story

It’s the last day of 2011 and as I try to look back to the things that happened these past 365 days, one incident stands out from the rest: the birth of our baby boy in October.

Sixty plus days have passed since Benjamin was born and I haven’t written his birth story. And I have an excuse – I have not really processed what happened that day enough to really share it fully with the world.

…without crying, that is. Until now.

But the weeping every time I remember about the whole labor-delivery thing will end here, as I close 2011. It’s not easy recalling everything that happened, especially if those moments weren’t pleasant or what you’d hope it would be but somehow, I know, I needed to write this and leave it behind the doors of 2011 before stepping out to greet the new year. I am writing this for me.

October 25, 2011 – 39th week prenatal checkup

I went to my regular prenatal checkup at Al Wasl Hospital without any problems. The usual stuff – blood pressure, sugar, urine tests – all I passed without significant findings. I’ve had one of those happy go lucky textbook pregnancy.

Until I mentioned that I’ve really been itching all over my hands and feet and by self research, I am suspecting cholestasis of pregnancy. The unassuming doctor examined me and said, yes, by the looks of it, it must be cholestasis so ordered blood work and led me to the ultrasound room to check the baby inside. Baby is fine but amniotic fluid is a bit decreasing.

With cholestasis, bile acid build up is toxic to the baby so induction (artificial means to start and speed up labor) needs to be done in most cases. I am lucky that I am in my full term of pregnancy when this happened.

I was advised for admission the next morning. I was ready to pop anyway, so no big deal.

October 26, 2011

We arrived early at the hospital, did the paperwork and by 9 am, I was in my hospital bed. Just before noon, a group of doctors were doing their rounds and visited me. One lady doctor gave me 1 tablet of induction meds (to be inserted there). Then she performed a “membrane sweep“- the midwife/nurse/doctor will simply “sweep” a finger around the cervix (neck of the womb). The aim is to separate the membranes around the baby from the cervix. This releases hormones called prostaglandins, which may kick-start labour.

I could go on write so many things to describe it but one, simple word will do: PAINFUL. That bring-you-to-your-knees-and-beg-for-mercy kind of pain.

The doctor expected I’d go into labor full speed and have the baby at least before midnight. True enough, the contraction pains came but along with it, I developed a slight spike in my body temperature later that day. Everything was still ok and I was still tweeting about the whole experience and walking around the hospital, hopeful that that one induction tablet will speed up labor and I’m going to have my baby today.

So little did I know.

19:00 – Another doctor came and examined me. I am but 1-2cms dilated. With respect to childbirth, this is nothing. She gave me another induction tablet and “swept”again. If Dubai heard some horrible howling that night, that was me.

Contractions, contractions, contractions.

I was strapped with fetal monitors to see how the baby is doing. The baby’s heartbeat started to get faster than normal whenever I have fever. The nurses just gave me Panadol and left. I shivered in the cold for an hour.

October 27, 2011, just after midnight

Upon checking that my stubborn body seems to be taking time to respond to the induction meds, another doctor came and gave me the final third tablet.

By this time, I was already feeling a bit restless being on one side for at least an hour strapped to the fetal monitors. The pains were still manageable but it is not something I look forward to feeling for the rest of the day.

October 28, 2011

More than 36 hours after the contraction pains started, I had the most horrible fever. My whole body shook so the doctor ordered that I be transferred to the delivery suite from the labor ward so I can be induced further with Pitocin drip. The pain is becoming more and more intense as my whole body shook with fever. I was febrile every 2-3 hours.

I heard one of the doctors say, “Was she given an antibiotic? My goodness this fever is not looking good!”

The fetal monitors strapped into me showed the signs of distress called tachycardia – rapid heartbeat  of the baby. Normal range is 160 beats per minute and baby’s heart rate went up to 200 then dropped to 80, twice. That’s when the doctor decided to break my bag of water so labor can further speed up, open the birth canal so I can deliver the baby as soon as possible. Fever usually means an infection going on inside the body and hell it’s not good when you’re pregnant AND when your amniotic sac has already ruptured making the baby susceptible to infection.

Doctors suspected Chorioamnionitis – an infection of the membranes (placental tissues) and amniotic fluid. It occurs in about 1 to 2 percent of all pregnancies, but is much more common in preterm births. Chorioamnionitis can cause bacteremia (blood infection) in the mother and may lead to preterm birth and serious infection in the newborn baby.

As the doctors discussed among themselves, their nervous voices hovering around me,

…”we have to deliver the baby fast”

…”risk of still birth”

…”or brain damage…”

I prayed in silence although my insides are screaming, “Please save my baby, I’d do anything to spare my baby!”

After the Pitocin drip in an attempt for normal delivery, the doctors found out that my body didn’t respond at all and I was stuck at 4 cm. Bloody, God damned body not cooperating at all. I hated myself. I hated the fact why I am so different from my mother who birthed six children as easy as sneezing up a nasty cold.

The fetal monitor beeped a deafening sound, the sound of danger, the sound of my baby asking for help. The next thing I knew, my husband was called to sign a piece of paper and everything was a blur. All I remember was a group of people running my gurney into the walls while turning corners in the hallway trying to get me to the operating room as fast as possible. They looked tensed. And it scared the heck out of me. My husband was asked to say a few words before they would close the doors of the operating room. Morbid if you say it but honestly, I thought that was the last moment I’d spend with him. He was told, everything will be done in 30 minutes.

Suddenly 30 minutes sounded like 30 years.

The anesthesiologist guided me through the procedure while holding my hands, looking at my face wet with tears. He sat me up, had two nurses holding me so he can administer the spinal block. I was asked NOT to move or twitch a muscle – a very difficult thing to do when you’re sobbing, huge hot tears. This was not the way I wanted it to be. I have read and FEARED C-section and now here I am about to be cut up. But anything for a healthy baby. ANYTHING.

The second the needle touched my skin, I felt a tingle in my toes and suddenly, I can’t feel all of my feet at all. They felt like rubber.

There were so many people in the room and I can’t distinguish which are doctors or nurses. I laid flat on my back and someone pulled a screen in front of me near my chest so I couldn’t see what’s going on in my lower half. It felt like they were playing on my belly, you know, just running their nails softly on my skin but in truth, the doctors were making a big incision with sharp surgical knives!

I heard, “baby is out” but I didn’t hear a thing. I was so scared. I kept on shouting, “is the baby ok” for God’s sake why isn’t he crying! I didn’t hear a cry but my own!

They had NICU specialists inside the room and when I heard the word NICU, it was the first time I actually thought “what if this doesn’t end the way I thought it always would? What if all those positive affirmations I gave myself weren’t going to be true?”

A few seconds that seems like eternity later, I heard a faint cry. At last. He was cleaned and was made to lie on my chest. He was warm, he was breathing life. Benjamin is finally here. My beautiful baby boy. The team of doctors  saved his life by taking him out fast. And contrary to my fears, he looked as normal as normal is.

Five fingers.

Five toes on each hand and feet.

A good cry. Warm skin.

Eyes that looked at me as if saying, “I am here mom, no need to worry.”

Unknowing to me, my husband later admitted that he had those negative thoughts earlier than I did. He was told if everything goes well, it will all be done in 30 minutes. The baby was shown to him after 30 minutes yes, but even after more than an hour waiting for me at the lobby, no one came to tell him what had happened to me. I was in the recovery room for observation of bleeding and while I was actually ok, actually survived everything physically (though extremely broken psychologically and emotionally), my husband thought of the worst because he was basically kept in the dark.

When it was nearly 2 hours that I did not get out and not one of the nurses came to tell him what was going on, he thought I had, well, died. And he was there sitting in one corner of the hospital contemplating of his would be life ahead, with two children, one a newborn without a mother. When I was wheeled out of the operating room, my husband, standing, pacing back and forth outside the door nearly fainted.

Benjamin even with an Apgar score of 9 (perfect score is 10) wasn’t out of the woods yet but we didn’t know at that time. The infection seeped in the amniotic sac as the OB suspected and he was admitted in the NICU for six days with IV drips for antibiotic and observation. Needles on the little hands. It was heartbreaking to see. I could not breastfeed him because I was bedridden for the first 24 hours. He was fed with formula milk via a syringe because that was the other option than the feeding cup – my husband did not want the feeding cup and the way he was fed by the nurses so he did it himself, every two hours, each feed lasting for 30 minutes.

But our little guy is a fighter and he managed to prove everyone he won’t bow down to an intruding infection. He came out with flying colors and was discharged healthy and well. Just perfect.

Needless to say, it was the scariest day of our lives. I am glad that has passed. Now, I spend time with Benjamin everyday and just as life with a newborn, there are sleepless nights, painful back pains and dirty diapers. But I love him to bits and extra thankful to God for giving him to us, just perfect as I prayed him to be. All the other discomforts don’t really matter.

Welcome our new angel, Benjamin Kazuki

It was a difficult delivery but my new son compensated me so much after by being such a good baby who lets me sleep for three hours straight and allows me long fifteen minute showers. He only cries when he is wet or hungry.

Each pregnancy and child birth is truly different and I know now that this is true.

While I couldn’t forget what happened on those painful days in October, where I labored for 45 hours and still ended up having an emergency c-section, I am just glad, happy, thankful that I got a wonderful gift in the end.

I love you, Benjamin Kazuki. You, together with your sister and dad,  light up my life.

We’re home, at last

I’m back.

Back home, that is, since last Friday November 4 after ten days at the hospital. One more day there and I swear I’m going to have to be transferred to the psychiatric ward. There was nothing for me there but the cold walls I face every time I cry and having to put up with very noisy people who think that the ward curtains are concrete cement. They talk like it’s no one’s business, they go along with their big voices in the middle of the night, regardless of who is there or what time it is.

In short, I am so glad to be back in my own home. I only intended to stay in the hospital for two days for normal delivery but I ended up staying for ten, after having emergency Caesarian Section and the baby ending in NICU for six days. Nothing major – they just wanted to make sure everything is ok with him with regards to the infection (from a fever that I suddenly got while in labor). He passed all tests with flying colors. What can I say? The babe is braver than his mother!

Needless to say, those were the most trying days of my life.

I was in so much pain, spirits broken and feeling very incapable. Emotionally, I was a wreck, I cry every time I think about the whole thing and end up asking over and over again why, why, why.

I still needed to be monitored for my postpartum fever – a sign of some sort of infection going on inside me which they can’t really point out after a lot of blood, urine and ultrasound scans. They wanted to keep me there for a few days more but no, I will just deteriorate there with the lack of sleep, proper bed and food (I lost all my appetite) and while breastfeeding, that surely isn’t good.

Well, at least we are back home now and I was right fighting with the doctor to let me go: I am better now. The baby is doing fine and God gracious, he has given me an angel who lets me sleep for three hours (or more) straight. I am not sleep deprived, as of now, at least and with that little thing, I am truly, truly thankful.

Facing the unexpected


I am still in the hospital recovering from what would be the curious case of sorts. Actually, though I prefered, hoped and struggled for 45 hours of labor, I ended up having emergency c-section.

That itself was a nightmare for a scaredy cat like me but then the aftermath was much more shocking. I am still reeling from the reality of this all.

And I can’t recall everything without crying my heart out (details later)…

In a nutshell, I had sudden fever during labor, worry of infection set in, doctors induced my labor, broke my water but even after very active painful anss long labor, I was stuck at 4 cms. Baby showed signs of distress and I heard the doctor speak:

“I have to take you to the operating theatre.”

Then I broke down.

My son has arrived

I am still alive.

And have just been a mom the second time around!! Our new son was born on Friday, October 28, 2011 at 7:25 pm in one of the hospitals here in Dubai.

He weighs 3,690 grams and is 52 cms long. He is healthy and as much as people say all newborns look the same, my son is beautiful but I may be *biased* of course!

I’m having a bit of downtime right now health-wise but hope to come back to blogging soon. I have many, many stories and baby photos I would like to share!

What’s wrong with my body?

It’s been 15 hours since regular labor contractions came – after I’ve been given medication to induce labor. Induction is meant to speed up labor so honestly? I am so not expecting to be writing this blog post in the hospital, in between pain rest times. I expected to be cuddling a sweet smelling baby and preparing to go home.

My body, obviously, has a mind of its own. And (labor) history is attempting to repeat itself! On my pregnancy with Pristine, it took me 40 hours to ‘open up’.

The doctor checked me out this morning and found out that despite 2 induction meds plus 2 membrane sweep I have only, merely dilated 3 cms maximum. A natural delivery needs at least 8 cms.

“The contraction pains (with interval of 4 mins apart that kept me waking up last night) are actually meaningless because your dilation is very minimal and cervix is still long. ”

The doctor didn’t sugarcoat anything. Tired and sleep deprived, it was just what I wanted to hear. NOT!!

Another induction med was inserted and it should help pave the way for the baby. The baby is doing very ok, just hanging out as if telling me, “ready when you are,

Now I’ll start concentrating that things move up the positive direction today. I don’t want to be still pregnant tomorow!!


I had my 39th week doctor’s appointment yesterday (Oct. 25). Everything all right with the baby? Movements? Weight, blood pressure? To everything I answered yes and vitals normal. This is, thankfully, so far, an event-free textbook pregnancy.

Until last week when I suddenly experienced this intense itching in my feet… I figured it must be because of rubber flip flops that I frequently use. I applied lots of cream but it only got worsened until it wakes me up at night 2-3 times. I tried to bear it down while scratching it profusely until my skin bled and the itch spread into my hands! Internet search lead me to suspect that I am having what is called Obstetric Cholestasis or Cholestasis of Pregnancy – a rare condition where normal flow of bile in the gallbladder is affected by pregnancy hormones. 1 in 1000 pregnant women suffer from this.

In short, bile is a toxic substance that would be dangerous for the baby when it enters the mom’s bloodstream and the only way to prevent the bad effects to the baby (namely, fetal distress, pre-term birth and in some cases, still birth), the best “cure” is to deliver the baby as soon as cholestasis is diagnosed.

My world is shattered – I have been managing my weight well, blood pressure and sugar levels excellent and have been active throughout this whole pregnancy and then suddenly towards the end, being told I have a rare pregnancy complication is nothing short of shocking.

What is the cause of cholestasis? I asked the doctor.

“I wish I can tell you, sweetheart.”, was the only answer I got.

One thing I got lucky with is that I am a few days before 40 weeks and there is no problem whatsoever if I deliver the baby now. Some women have been diagnosed with cholestasis as early as 28 weeks and have babies spend days at the neonatal ICU.

I was admitted this morning and induced for labor just before noon. Now, I wait for pain to start. How long it will take, no one really knows.

Being SAHM

I’m currently enjoying life as an SAHM (stay at home mom) for the moment, which will last for another 86 calendar days. Yay! (I am so shallow)

I know how hard it must be to stay at home all the time as there are no dayoffs with household chores (I highly respect SAHM’s) but I also found out… that random daytime naps are possible when you’re at home.  And somehow that has been the delicious highlight of my days.

The nesting instinct have kicked in fully and with added energy thanks to the daytime naps, I’ve actually started the cleaning and organizing frenzy. Everything is ready now, bring on labor!

(But God, make it short this time please? I’ve really been a good person after my past delivery 8 years ago. Thank you.)

The waiting game

Hello, sorry for the lack of posts despite just staying at home for already 4 days now since starting maternity leave. I am still struggling with the new routine of suddenly becoming a stay at home mom and trying to do everything all at once, thinking I don’t have that much free time before the baby comes.

It could be any day now. My advice to all pregnant women? Don’t play superwoman and wait till your 39th week to go on maternity leave and clean house. Your body is not your usual body, someone stole the old one and replaced it with something heavy and low energy. There would be a lot of sitting down and naps required whether you like it or not!

So, while I wait here for the pangs and pains of labor to come (I only got false labor pains so far), what are you all up to?

It’s the 24th of October, due date still a few days away but as I’ve said to my 7 year old everyday, only God and the baby knows the real date so we patiently wait. For the meantime, you can guess the birth date and win a prize if you’re right!

Please say a little prayer for me when that time comes, will you? Thanks!