This is a very, very much overdue post. Alhamdulillah, after a little over four years of marriage, Aiman and I are now parents to a beautiful baby girl – little miss Aina Sofia. I’ve wanted to document my pregnancy journey on the blog, and this post has been in the drafts for close to a year (such bad procrastination!!!). So I figured that I might as well get this over with now.
For those new here or who might not know me well, here is some background information: Aiman & I got married in June 2018, after which I continued my MA studies in the UK. We were in the UK for over a year and returned to Malaysia in January 2020. When COVID-19 hit the country, we decided not to have a baby during the pandemic. This decision was made mainly due to health and safety concerns but also because we wanted to have stable jobs again before having a child.
Personally – I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) when I was in high school. Unlike most women with PCOS, I was very lucky as I was diagnosed at a young age. My dad, a gynecologist, was the one who diagnosed me and helped me to manage my symptoms throughout my studies. I have been on medications to help regulate my menses since 2013, without which my menses would usually not come.
Note: I can be a little too open with some stuff, just FYI.
June 2021 – Initial appointment at PPUM to kickstart our pregnancy journey.
Our official pregnancy journey started in June 2021. This was roughly around when the pandemic got a little better. The restrictions were a little more relaxed; no more PKP, PKPP, and all the other PKPs out there. Both of us were also in pretty stable jobs at that point. So we thought, OK, let’s start thinking about conceiving. We knew it would take a while, especially with my PCOS. But we thought, hey, let’s get a clearer understanding of what we’re dealing with and our options.
My Dad made an appointment for me to meet with Prof Nuguelis at the Reproductive/Fertility clinic at University Malaya Medical Center (UMMC/PPUM). This was just an initial appointment to discuss our situation, and I did my blood test for initial hormone testing. I was also prescribed Norethisterone (Noret) to help induce my menses so that I could schedule an HSG test.
Side note: My Dad was previously an ObGyn at PPUM and UMSC, which is why PPUM was our first choice. He knew people and how things worked there, making it easier for us overall.
Additional side note: the HSG test is done to check the conditions of a woman’s uterus and tubes to ensure that things are in order. It is usually done after a woman’s period but before ovulation. However, with PCOS, my menses are irregular, and I can literally go months without them. So the meds, Noret, help to induce my menses.
July/August 2021 – the painful HSG test.
I was initially scheduled to undergo my HSG test in July, but the HSG machine was broken, so we had to push it for another month. When I finally had my HSG test done in mid-August; my God, it was painful. The MO tried twice but failed to do the procedure properly.
We ended up having my Dad’s friend do it for me instead of a random MO, and she had me take painkillers beforehand to make it less painful. I also had my earphones in so I could listen to music to help my brain ignore the pain. It took her three tries, but we finally got through the procedure. I even had an IV cannula hooked up to my hand for painkillers since it was painful for me when they injected the dye into my uterus.
Long story short – everything looked OK, but it seemed like one of my tubes was partially or fully blocked. This could make conception a little harder. And unfortunately, I really didn’t focus when they told me what was happening since my mind was too focused on ignoring the pain. I was more than happy to let my Dad do all the talking (he was there!).
Prof Nugu initially wanted to schedule an IUI (Intrauterine insemination) to help increase the chances of pregnancy. However, the IUI procedure would require us to visit the clinic frequently within a two-week period. Because of this, we decided to hold off on our TTC & pregnancy journey for a while. August was the start of the new academic year, and I would be busy all the way until Christmas/New Year.
So we opted to try the Noret + Clomid treatment first.
Sept & Oct 2021 – The Noret + Clomid treatment.
While Noret would help to induce my menses, it still doesn’t solve my PCOS issue – the lack of ovulation. To help us with the next step of our pregnancy journey, I was prescribed Clomid, which would help to induce ovulation. The hope was that taking both Noret & Clomid would stimulate the normal menses + ovulation cycle. This would hopefully allow for conception to happen normally (barring any other complications).
However, the first round of Noret + Clomid treatment did not work (or did not work according to plan). Since we were not in a rush, we were not at all worried and went about our lives as usual. I bought a second round of Noret + Clomid to try again, which was around the mid-to-end of October.
Late October and early November 2021 was a hard time for our family overall. My in-laws tested positive for COVID-19 (both my parents-in-law and my two BIL). Alhamdulillah, Aiman and I were fine, but we had to be in home quarantine for a week. Unfortunately, my mother-in-law had to be admitted to the COVID ICU at Hospital Sungai Buloh. And, long story short: after two weeks in the COVID ICU, my mother-in-law, unfortunately, passed away.
Things were mentally hard on all of us, and I didn’t think too much about our TTC & pregnancy journey. So, it was such a surprise when I saw the double line on the pregnancy test.
14 November 2021 – the double line emerged!
It was not even a planned thing, to be honest. After my MIL passed away, we spent the whole week at my in-law’s place. Aiman wanted to be around his family, and I had a week of compassionate leave anyway. After a week, we went out for lunch with his best friend and his wife & kid at Sunway Putra Mall. We then drove back to our apartment to pack some stuff and also for me to pick up my car. While we were there, I decided to pee on the stick for the fun of it.
I was honestly not expecting anything, as it was still early, and the first time didn’t work. But as I sit there and stared at the stick, the double line emerged, and I was dumbfounded.
Wow, OK. This is really happening.
I put the stick aside and came out of the toilet as normal. However, my brain was wandering in 101 different directions, trying to make sense of things. Aiman was eating his sushi on the dining table, so I laid back on the sofa and continued to read my comics.
After contemplating it for a while, I decided to screw all my plans and just be upfront with him about the news.
Me: Oh, by the way. Esok maybe I kena pergi klinik kejap kot.
Him: Kenapa? Tak sihat ke?
Me: Sebab... I think I might be pregnant?
Him: Wait, what??
It was a very uneventful setting, with sushi from Empire Sushi in one of his hands. But I realized that after all that loss and grief, this was not something that I should keep to myself.
Sharing the pregnancy news with our loved ones.
Following that same reasoning, we decided to share the news with our families as soon as possible. It was still early, and we would have preferred to wait a few more weeks to confirm the pregnancy. But I felt that his family, at the very least, deserved some light after a dark week. On the other hand, my parents had to wait another week until I could come home in person. I even managed to rope in my nephew and niece for the surprise announcement.
Most of our close friends knew in phases – whenever we had the chance to meet them in person or hop on a phone call. Me being the person that I am, I wanted to share the news personally with my close friends. And, due to a promise I made Aiman, I managed to keep it (mostly) under wraps until I was 18th weeks pregnant.
A very tiring pregnancy journey.
Besides feeling extremely tired and drained of energy, Alhamdulillah my pregnancy journey was relatively easy. During my first trimester, I had no morning sickness or nausea. In the first two months, I was just so tired all the time that I was literally a zombie. I get up, go to work, come home, nap, wake up for dinner, and sleep again. For weeks, all I did during my free time was nap as much as possible.
Medical-wise, Alhamdulillah everything went smoothly for the first half of the pregnancy. However, I had some minor scares with random spotting, abdominal cramping, and pain. I was also unlucky enough to get COVID-19 while I was 33 weeks pregnant, which led to a 2-night stay at an isolation ward in PPUM for observation.
But, all in all, my pregnancy journey was an eventful but enjoyable journey. I definitely do not miss the sore feet and the constant need to pee, but I’ve heard of worse pregnancy stories, so I am very much grateful for what I went through.
And that’s a wrap on my pregnancy journey (for now).
You know how people say that once you look at your little child, every worry will disappear? They are absolutely right.
I will (try) to write more about the motherhood journey so far, but one thing I can say is that you will be in awe at how such a precious little child came from your body. Like, literally, your body spent 9 months cooking up this little bun, and now here you are holding them in your hands. The hard 9 months you go through, plus all the time before that 9-month journey actually starts, will be worth it when you get to hold those tiny hands and feet.
It’s been almost 6 months, but sometimes I still pinch myself in disbelief. Like, I am really a mother to a beautiful baby girl. This kid came from me. The reality of the whole situation is still hard to grasp despite it being almost half a year since little Aina came into our lives.
In the end, it was all for you, my little one.
I am very much excited about what the future holds in store. Having a little one to care for has helped me to learn to let go of planning ahead for the future. And so, we are taking things slowly – one day at a time. I am enjoying my motherhood so far, and it’s been such a learning curve. But I’m glad for the support system that I have around me, and I’m looking forward to learning more about little Aina (and myself!) throughout the next decade or two.
Let me know in the comments if you have suggestions or ideas on motherhood/parenthood posts that I can write about next. Until next time – stay awesome, stay hydrated, and take care! 🙂