Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Baby Blues, Bumps and Beauty

     "Ok it's coming... Ready... Puuusshhh... 1 and 2 and 3 and 4...," arm around shoulders, counting in unison, hoping that this would be the final round. 
     "One more time... Puuushhh...," it wasn't meant to be. Forceps in, pull pull and out she comes. Doctor hands me the scissors, "cut here". The rubbery cord takes some effort to sever. Crying, cleaning and she's handed to us. Emotions welling up, beating back tears...
     It wasn't the first time that tears threatened to escape from my eyes. Almost nine months ago, we were in the same company, yet in a totally different setting. The wifey was on the examining bed, and the doctor was placing the transducer on her belly. Suddenly a rapid "thud-thud-thud" emerged from the ultrasound machine like an ancient steam engine realizing that it was made for speed. The tiny heartbeat, magnified a thousand times, drove in the realization that we had indeed succeeded in conceiving this little miracle. It was the first time I understood the meaning of "tears of joy". Our journey, arduous as it may have been, was entering the final stretch. There was light at the end of the tunnel.
0.70cm at 6 weeks old
     If you'd asked me a year ago, I would've put up a brave front and said everything was alright. It wasn't. Two years ago, the wifey and I decided that we were ready to move to the next stage of life. We didn't consciously practice birth-control; our attitude had always been "come what may". However, we realized that we weren't getting any younger and we needed some help. From the onset, we knew that we wanted to go an natural as possible. The first stop was TCM. The wifey did her research and we decided to consult Physician Zhong Xi Ming at Eu Yang Sang Premier, located at Paragon Medical Centre. That started our over one year of TCM medication. The herbs were ground into powder and were supposed to be mixed with water and taken twice a day. We affectionately called it the "yucky stuff".
seeing her face for the first time at around 5 months
     The next year was one of hopes raised and dashed on a regular basis. Every month we prayed and hoped. When the "time of the month" came, it was back to the drawingboard once again. We simply didn't understand how families that obviously couldn't afford, or who couldn't provide the right environments for child raising, seemed to so easily conceive. If children were a reward from the Lord, what did we do wrong? Were we not worthy? I remember clearly driving in my car after another day of disappointment, thinking to myself, what if we never become parents. The heaviness of heart is something that I will never forget.
     Nevertheless, our Heavenly Father is still gracious. Through the midst of our struggle, he gave us a spirited god-daughter. We even had conversations about leaving our earthly wealth to her should we depart childless.
     Since TCM didn't seem to work, we decided to go the western way. We felt that it was indeed divine appointment when we found out that Dr Douglas Ong was not only a believer, he was also big on going the natural way, with as little medication as necessary. The option of IUI was presented to us and we had a decision to make. The struggle was always between trusting God on one hand and running ahead of God on the other. Where do you draw the line between trusting in His sovereign will and taking responsibility for our lives? We decided that we would live by our philosophy: Do everything that we humanly can, then leave the rest to God. Of course in the meantime, we prayed; I fasted, and sought the will of the Lord. We couldn't be sure, but we thought the answer was to wait and not go ahead with the IUI. Then we received conflicting signals. The interaction I had with Christian friends made me realize that IUI was actually pretty common. many of my friends conceived through this method. Was God telling us something different?
     We discussed about it and decided to go for the procedure. However, it didn't turned out as simple as we expected. We missed the timing time and again. On hindsight, perhaps God was speaking. When we finally got down to doing it, it was an extremely harrowing and painful experience for the wifey; so much so that she felt that it would be the first and last time we tried IUI. Unfortuately her sacrifice didn't yied any fruit. That didn't leave us with much options. Following our philosophy of doing everything we possibly can, we were left with the final straw - for the wifey to quit her job. And that was what we did.
     The wifey left the service in August. We went for vacation to Switzerland and the Netherlands in September. When we came back, the wofey started feeling unwell. At first we thought it was a case of major indigestion. A couple of weeks later, the pregnancy test kit showed positive. How gracious indeed is our Lord. It was a natural conception afterall. His mercies and blessing prevailed through our struggles and self-doubt.
     Standing in the doctor's office and hearing our daughter's rapid heartbeat for the first time, I could barely control the tsunami of emotions that welled-up. This, however, is not the end of the story. A few checkups later, we were informed that the doctor suspected a hole in her heart. I took to fasting for our precious little one. Thanks be to God once again when the following test showed otherwise. A few months later, we were back at Mt Elizabeth Hospital. This time awaiting the birth of our firstborn. It took 15 hours of labour when Shiloh finally arrived. God is indeed good!

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