Monday, June 23, 2014

Challenges during my second pregnancy

I didn't announce my second pregnancy publicly because it was a more complicated one, with some challenges along the way.

Getting pregnant:
We know we would like to have another kid. I went to see my doctor to get ready for my second pregnancy. I had to first take some medicine to regularize my menstrual cycle. At one point, I was blocked mentally as I was afraid that by having second kid we would neglect Aelig. She couldn't stand me holding a baby, so I knew she was not ready. And then I was transferred back to my city, I told myself that it was not a good time to get pregnant since I only got into the team. By the time I was ready job wise, Aelig gave us green light for a brother or a sister. I thought we could finally go on full speed but once again it was put off since my doctor insisted that I got vaccinated against chicken pox before hand. That took 4 months. Then I was diagnosed with cervix polyps which led to long menstrual bleeding. An operation was scheduled but I got pregnant right before it. Basically, we tried on and off during two years.  I still remember having those low moments in the toilets after taking pregnancy test with negative results shown.

First trimester:
The day I got the double stripes on the pregnancy kit, I couldn't believe it. Each month before taking the test, I thought the moment would come, but when it did come, my feelings went numb. I put the kit on hubby's desk, when he saw it, he asked me what was it. We concluded that we shouldn't be too happy about it until the first ultrasound.

So we held on to the joy, but still feel obligated to inform our family.

Photo shows hubby teaching his parents what does "a bun in the oven" mean in English. He put a bun in the oven, everyone gathered in the kitchen, then his parents checked online the meaning. They were thrilled of course.

During the first ultrasound in December 2013 (13 weeks), we finally met the baby. It looked real this time. So did the monthly urine and blood test and all that jazz as I was not immunized against Toxoplasmosis. By the way, testing for Toxoplasmosis was mandatory in France, but not in Malaysia as Malaysians do not eat as much raw foods as French. We informed some friends but I still feel unease. I was very confident on my first pregnancy but not this one. I felt that I could lose it anytime. The nausea was less severe though.

Then I got challenged by the gestational diabetes. Me? Diabetes? I was in shock as I'm not someone with sweet tooth. If you let me choose between a fruit and a cake, I would choose fruit anytime. Mentally, I couldn't accept that I have diabetes. I had to prick myself 6 times per day to check my glucose level, during Christmas. That continued for a week, my glucose level was too high after some meals, so the dietitian asked me to continue for another week. I was in tears. The pricking eventually lasted throughout the whole pregnancy.

My glucose monitor kit.

Second trimester:
Moving into the second trimester, my diabetes was under control with some adjustments to my diet. No more sushi and raw food to prevent having Toxoplasmosis virus.

But then we got hit by another challenge: baby's gallbladder (vésicule biliaire) was not visible during the second ultrasound (22 weeks). One week later I went back for another ultrasound and it was still not visible. At that point, we got panic as we didn't know what it really meant for someone to not have gallbladder. My OB instructed us to perform a blood test to analyse if me and hubby carry genetically disorder of cystic fibrosis (mucoviscidose). Kids with this disease do not live long. I spent hours searching on internet about it. Two weeks later we got the result : both were negative. The sonologist told us not to worry, it happened to some babies that gallbladder not visible during pre-natal ultrasound but visible during post-natal ultrasound. My OB also consoled us that some people got their gallbladder removed and they live without problem.

Third trimester:
Gallbladder still not visible during the last ultrasound (32 weeks).
Gestational diabetes lost control. My body couldn't even digest the French baguette (contains gluten). I called my dietitian to know if I have to go through induction as my OB stated that it would be too dangerous for the baby to stay in. We decided to observe for another week, I only ate food that I could digest well. The glucose level was back to under control, we voted against induction, but the baby popped out earlier than the due date anyway. Sleeping wise, it was difficult to sleep with the huge stomach, and I was snoring like hell.

Pre-natal maternity leaves:
In France, for the second kid,  it is recommended to take 6 weeks of pre-natal maternity leaves before the baby arrives. It is possible to push it to 3 weeks before birth and add the 3 weeks pre-natal to the 10 weeks post-natal leaves. I opted for this, but job wise my boss had pushed me to transfer all my tasks to my coworkers. His concern being that I would leave earlier due to unforeseen circumstances. So starting from April, I was on support mode so I got bored. My OB has wanted me to stop working as she sensed that I was tired (I was not and I loved my job). With the boredom at work, my OB suggestion that I could take off anytime, I decided to be on pre-natal maternity leaves 7 weeks before my due date (6 weeks of pre-natal + 4 days of pathology leaves). I have to say that I did enjoy those quiet moments.

Post-natal follow up:
Gallbladder ultrasound was performed after the baby is born. Yes, she has one, but relatively small.
I was afraid that my diabetes would affect the baby in anyway. The nurse took her sugar level 3 times before feeding (from her feet), then 24 hours, 36 hours and 48 hours (from her back palm) after she is born. For the last test, they took the blood sample for lab analysis, and everything went well. I was so glad to hear that my diabetes has no impact on my baby.

It was a tough pregnancy with many issues to worry about. We are glad that all those are over and the baby is healthy. That's the most important.


  1. Yes, you didn't tell us about the 2nd pregnancy until she was almost born. I understand your worries. I have started to worry from the moment I took the pregnancy test. The kid is not even born and I'm constanstly worried about his/her well-being. Is it because we live in France, or pregnancies are taken more seriously nowadays? I was born during war and wonder how my mom managed to get through her pregnancy. Thanks for sharing your story. Hope thing is all well for the little one.

  2. Sounds bad. Glad all is well at the end. My OB was worried too when I had a high sugar levelfor my second pregnancy, but in truth, when they took my blood, I had one butter bun, one 100plus and a bar of chocolate. I was hungry and feeling faint at that time. I had to admit, the idea of being diabetic was scary especially when pregnant.

  3. Anonymous10:24 PM

    Poor you! I'm sorry you had to go through so much. Your daughter looks beautiful and you are both healthy, which is what matters the most even though I can understand the stress of the past nine months.

    The "bun in the over" (le pain dans le four?) picture is great! Your kitchen looks so French :-) Looks like my family's kitchen.

    I only announced my pregnancy at the very very end on the blog (the last month maybe?) because I was superstitious and I was very stressed out about it. My close family (my parents, brother and sister) knew right way, in the first trimester, as well as a handful of very close friends. Acquaintances and distant relatives were only told toward the end of the second trimester.

    A few of my close friends suffered miscarriages or had difficulties getting pregnant. It does happen and I didn't want to broadcast the news until I knew it was going to be fine.

  4. Your husband is so creative to tell his parents about your pregnancy this way. Thank you for sharing about your tough pregnancy despite it bringing back unpleasant memories. I learn about Toxoplasmosis from your post.

  5. Congratulation!! happy confinement?? are you having one?