19 November 2021, by Marian Nathan
There are times I feel that I’ve spent almost all of my 20s in some state of pregnancy, but with almost nothing to show for it. Married at 22, by my first wedding anniversary I had already miscarried twice. I would go on to miscarry one more time, go through 2 cycles of IUI and 2 cycles of IVF before meeting my first child.
A cerclage was performed to arrest the risk of my cervical incompetence, and finally, after 4 years, I had my rainbow baby. We were over the moon.
We had two more frozen embryos from the IVF cycle which we planned to go through a frozen cycle in the following year. Even though a frozen IVF cycle is cheaper than a fresh cycle, it still costs a substantial amount, and we wanted to spend prudently. As always, life had other plans for me
I had always been the type to skip my breakfast, but for some reason, I suddenly took a liking to the bak chor mee at my workplace canteen, and I never missed a morning without buying a packet to eat at my desk. One day, a colleague walked past and watched me wolf down the noodles, and he joked about how I must be pregnant to suddenly crave this so often. I was going to rebut him only to fall silent and think to myself, “This is really out of the ordinary for me. Wait a minute, when was my last period?” Because I was not exclusively breastfeeding, my period had returned 2 months after delivering my firstborn. I had also not started charting my menstrual cycle, so I was clueless as to when my last menses was. I gave myself a pregnancy test the next morning and amusingly confirmed what my colleague had said in jest. I was pregnant and my firstborn was 4 months old at that time.
I was ecstatic. It had been so long since I conceived naturally that I did not think it was possible. Then, the fear set in, as I wondered if I could keep this pregnancy… and I did.
Being pregnant while caring for a baby is different from being pregnant while childless. My firstborn was a huge baby, and carrying him was not only harder as he grew heavier, but it was also dangerous for my pregnancy. I couldn’t get as much rest as I could in my previous pregnancy because I had a young one dependant on me. Thankfully, I have a really helpful husband who took on more than his fair share of baby duty.
As with my firstborn, with the help of a cerclage, I kept this pregnancy till full-term, and just like that, we became a family of four, with two babies under 2 years of age.
On the bright side, as they were both boys, I saved so much using my elder one’s clothes and other baby accessories. On the other side, I now had babies who both used different stages of formula and had to invest in a double stroller because baby-wearing both of them was out of the picture.
The early stages were unbelievably tiring days. Or should I say months? But as time went by, I began to love how close their age gap was. They always had a playmate, someone to play catch with, and someone to annoy in car rides. They enjoyed the same toys together. They could have their weird baby conversations with each other. After all the miscarriages unsuccessful ART cycles and more, I finally felt so blessed.
My rainbow baby was no longer an only child.
They are now aged 6 and 7 years old.