As mentioned in my first pregnancy post, I only had one early pregnancy symptom and that was (and still is) feeling hotter than my usual self. Unlike other mums-to-be who had spotting, severe morning sickness or had to take medications to stablise their pregnancy, I felt very blessed to not have such severe symptoms. However, the problem with this was I often wondered if my baby was okay and whether I was even pregnant as I felt totally nothing.
Upon landing in Australia less than one week after we found out about our pregnancy though, I had spotting for the first time. Although I read that mild spotting was not something to be alarmed about, I voiced my concerns to my mum as this was afterall, the first time I had spotting and it was after a 5/6+hr flight. My sister-in-law (to-be then since we were there to attend her wedding) advised us to go to the hospital for a check to put our minds at ease. Afterall, she thought it would be good for me to get an ultrasound scan to confirm my pregnancy. Based on what she knew, all women in Australia would have an ultrasound scan to confirm the pregnancy. This is unlike in Singapore where we would be advised by others to visit an obstetrician only after 6 weeks of pregnancy so that the foetus’ heartbeat could be detected and we would not “waste money” having to do another scan at a later time to detect the heartbeat.
At the emergency department (ED), I explained to both the nurse and the doctor the following:
1) The source – My spotting was from my pregnancy. I was very sure it came from my vagina and I was not bleeding from my urethra;
2) The severity of my problem – My spotting was not a lot. Though the whole duration of the spotting lasted about 4hrs, the amount of blood was not a lot and
3) The solution – My aim was just for them to do an ultrasound to see if my baby was okay!
However, I felt that they did not believe me and the ED doctor ordered a series of tests to determine the cause of my spotting, check that I was not anaemic due to heavy bleeding (severity of my issue) and checked my blood type. For those interested, the tests ordered are: UFEME, urine pregnancy test, Full Blood Count (FBC), Renal Panel, Group and Cross match. The doctor also inserted an intravenous cannula just in case I needed a blood transfusion if my haemoglobin (Hb) level was too low. WTH!!! I had already told her the cause, the severity of my spotting and a proposed solution. Instead, she ordered all these unnecessary stuffs! I was damn pissed because these tests not only delayed the necessary intervention, they also increased my final hospitalisation bill. The travel insurance which I had bought way before we were even pregnant did not cover pregnancy-related hospital bills. Pek chek sia! Sunshine and I had to wait a few HOURS for all the results to come back before the doctor was satisfied that 1) I was indeed pregnant and 2) I was otherwise very much healthy and needed no other interventions! Omg! She then informed me that she had updated the Obstetrics & Gynaecology (O&G) registrar on-call, who would perform an ultrasound scan for me. Finally! This was what we had been waiting the whole night! The O&G doctor did an ultrasound scan of my tummy and determined that I was indeed carrying a foetus! He estimated me to be about 4 weeks pregnant instead of the 6 weeks which I had estimated based on my last menstrual period but mentioned that it was a bit too early to determine the viability of my baby, possibly because he did not detect any heartbeat then. At that point, I felt both happy as this was the first time my pregnancy was confirmed via an ultrasound and also slightly worried because of what he said about it being too early to determine my baby’s viability. Furthermore, based on the earlier blood test, my Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) levels seemed to be that of a pregnant woman who was pregnant for about 7-8 weeks! I was worried that while my hCG levels were high, my baby was not responding to the hormones and not growing. Did it stop growing at week 4 when I was actually week 6 and hence, my body kept producing more hCG hormones in order to trigger it to grow such that the levels were suggestive of a 7-8 weeks pregnant lady? Omg… Sunshine tried to reassure me that everything would be fine and I should have more faith in our baby. He told me to just look forward to our first appointment back in Sg.
The rest of my Aussie trip was uneventful for my pregnancy except for the fact that I finally experienced morning sickness one day. As mentioned, I was also getting worried that the lack of symptoms might mean that my baby was not doing well. However, I just felt very uncomfortable one morning and I could not pinpoint the reason. After forcing some breakfast down and a stuffy car ride, I was looking forward to having some wind swept in my face to bring me relief. Alas, I felt worse once I got off the car that I just vomited when a gush of cool wind blew in my face. I felt so much better (and hungry!) after that. Haha.
Back in Sg, I finally had my first O&G appointment at KKH. Though our appointment was at 9am, we only finished everything by 12+pm, mainly due to the wait at the antenatal scan room. Unlike some other mothers who said they teared or had profound emotions when they first saw their baby, when the sonographer did the Dating Scan for us and showed Sunshine and myself our baby, we were like… “erm.. ok”. I was happy but I did not have any overwhelming emotions. Sunshine was worse; he said he did not have any feelings as he could not make out what was being shown to us on the screen. Lol. Our Xiao Bu Dian (XBD, 小不点) was just an inverted comma-shaped being on the ultrasound! Thinking about the small inverted comma and wondering how amazing everything was (that this small being was Sunshine’s and my baby) made me happier the more I looked at the ultrasound picture. *In bliss* We saw the doctor after our scan, who estimated that I was about 8 weeks pregnant based on XBD’s size (same as my estimation based on my last menstrual period) and XBD was estimated to be born in mid-Mar 2020! The nurse assisting her later informed us that we would have our First Trimester Scan (FTS) at my next appointment, where I would be about 12 weeks pregnant. After that, we proceeded to have our blood taken for testing: I had a FBC and Thalassemia screen, Rebella IgG, Hep B HIV, Syphilis screen and a blood group and antibody screen while Sunshine had a screening for Thalassemia.
For the rest of my first trimester, I was thankfully free of morning sickness most of the time. Other than vomiting once in Australia and retching once I landed in Singapore, I only had about maximum five other vomits? However, reading how other mummies would encourage each other saying that vomiting = their babies are growing well made me uneasy. I did not feel like I was pregnant at all and was actually worried whether XBD was growing or not. While Sunshine would figuratively knock me on my head for me not appreciating that I was morning-sickness free, I still felt that maybe having some morning sickness would be ok if that meant our baby was growing well. However, when I felt unwell and retch on some mornings, I would feel terrible and “complain” to Sunshine who would then jeer at me for wishing morning sickness upon myself. Lol. Other times when he was less patient though, he would tell me that he honestly could not empathise what I was feeling and apologise for his lack of emotions towards the pregnancy. He explained that not having anything tangible about the pregnancy (eg. seeing a tummy or feeling the baby) when everything was only being felt by me made it difficult for him to understand what I was going through. Oh well 🙁 Overall, looking back at my first trimester now, I am definitely grateful that I was blessed with little morning sickness and that something slightly more tangible was showing for Sunshine now! Haha. *squeal in delight!*