Thursday, February 17, 2011

Life Goes On - Part One

Life has its weird twists and turns when you least expect it. Three years ago when I was a happily 'confirmed bachelorette' suddenly someone pops into my life making me re-evaluate my state of happiness. A few months later I was undoubtedly hitched and a new chapter emerged.

Two was definitely better than one as not only I have a life partner, I had a travel and diving buddy all rolled into one. It wasn't without hitches I must say. After being single and free for a long time I was almost set in my ways. Having to think bout the other half and compromising was the difficult part (and I was a difficult person) but we have managed so far.

After a while, the honeymoon phase ended and the next phase started. Trying to conceive we thought should be the next step in our evolving relationship.

It was a difficult time for me. First, I wasn't sure at mid-thirties I would be able to get pregnant so easily. And with me having exposed to radiation at work makes me think it might be a uphill task. So I was set in my mind not to worry if it never happens. Then the inevitable happened, two magenta lines on a pregnancy strip test confirmed our suspicions. At that time, I was elated but at the same time apprehensive. Whoa... suddenly the reality of being responsible and less self centered hit me and I was overwhelmed. It may have been the hormones but I wasn't sure that it was entirely due to that. I remembered I kept reminding myself that a third of pregnancies do not get past the 1st trimester (just in case something unwanted happens) My merman was rock solid and surprisingly took every ounce of doubt I had and converted it into a wall of support.

However, the joyous feeling turned into state of uncertainty by the end of the 7th week. I had not much pregnancy symptoms apart form my missed period. But having gynecologists as friends ensured me to an early ultrasound scan at the 5th week and subsequently at 9th week. At that point, the fetal sac looked suspiciously unhealthy and they still had not detected the fetal heart. Since I was a fellow physician and friend no one wanted to be the bearer of bad news and they decided to give it a chance and wait another 2 weeks for re-scanning. At the 11th week it was confirmed that the fetus was non viable and I had a missed abortion.

I was immediately admitted for a 'evacuation of products of conception' (ERPOC) that was done the very next day. That was the first time I went for any surgery, what an experience being on the receiving end of the operating theatre. It went well without any complications and by the evening, I was back at home resting. To tell the truth, at that time I had no feelings at all - three weeks of uncertainty had certainly prepared me for the worst.

We went back to our normal routines and planned life ahead as usual. Three months later we were hopeful again. This time around, at five weeks a trans-vaginal ultrasound revealed what we never seen or heard before the fetal heart sound. This time around I was more 'careful': rested excessively, became a bit of a sloth by walking slowly and taking the lifts only, ate well and selectively and followed whatever people are telling us we shouldn't do.

However, we still went on a planned holiday to Kota Kinabalu as we thought that a very slow paced leisurely holidays should be alright. No trekking, snorkelling nor diving was planned, just sight seeing in a car in KK and Kundasang. However, both of us fell sick with stomach flu and high fever. Back in KL I had light brownish stains and immediately went to see my gynae. Another scan with doppler was done and we were assured that it was still viable as the blood flow to the placenta was abundant. However, I was put on progesterone, just in case and was ordered to strictly rest at home. At that point, i was still having symptoms of stomach upset and resting was a bit hard as I had to go to the loo often.

After a day of resting I suddenly had a severe stomach cramp and the staining turned into blood. Merman rushed me to the hospital and an immediate scan revealed that the foetus was no longer viable. Again, I was admitted for another ERPOC. At the ward, while changing clothes I suddenly felt a gush of fluid coming out with a huge lump falling into the toilet bowl. Although used to seeing blood I was shocked as it all came out of me.... It was a very dramatic moment.

A nurse came to assist and she took out the lump from the toilet bowl. It was the size of an orange. I saw the placenta with a bean-like shaped fetus attached to it. it was so surreal. A scan and vaginal examination revealed that the abortion was complete and I indeed do not need another surgery.

At that point we were both thinking of where we went wrong. This time it was sad. We saw signs of life and how it perished. I was more emotionally affected this time around. However, apart from my close circle of people I chose not to talk to or inform anyone else about it. Being a realist I find it overbearing when people give their words of hopes and support. They usually mean well, but my brain is just not wired to perceive it that way. It annoys and irritate me. I coped by allowing myself to grieve for a while and after that just decided to let things be and just go with the flow.

And indeed it is true, life does go on......