Public vs. Private

It’s one of the first decisions we have had to make, yet it has been one of the toughest so far. With this decision comes which hospital, what level of care, which doctor or do we just put our trust in the public system and roll with it?! We always imagined we would go privately as we hadn’t really known anything else and had organised health insurance well over 12 months ago.

Unfortunately for us, organising the health insurance doesn’t necessarily mean the decision is made. A high risk pregnancy is sort of like a can of worms which we needed to open and explore.

First mistake we made was that we googled private vs. public. Of course you only ever read the horror stories. With the public system we read everything from a horrible delivery, a stitch which had to be re done resulting in a long and slow recovery, terrible care for the baby and beyond. We did have to stop ourselves and really think about the validity of these stories, the perspective of those writing them and their situation. Although so many women have babies every year, every birth is unique and everyone has a story…unfortunately with giving birth, most are tough.

A friend of ours who is also pregnant and a GP really helped us understand the public system. I guess that was one of the biggest parts of it, we just didn’t understand how the public system worked, especially for a high risk pregnancy. She believed the public system would give us the level of care we needed for our situation. The only sacrifice we would have to make is potentially sharing a room and not having the continuity of care the private system can offer. So that was that, we could save our dollars and go public.

If only it was as easy as that. We then told our families that we were going public and they thought it was about the money, so automatically their reaction was to help us. That was the last thing Pat and I wanted. Not for one minute would we pick money over our health. It wasn’t about the money, although it would help if we could save over $6,000 in out of pocket expenses…but it was about the level of care. It was that if we went public, we would have got the same result as if we went private. So to put our families mind at ease, we promised we would speak to our fertility specialist and go with what he would say.

We had our 8 week appointment with our specialist and he checked the 3 strong heart beats, the sizes of the triple threat and made sure they were all doing well. They were. So we went back into his office after the scan and we asked him what he thought…public vs private. As he was a private and public doctor we felt he would help us come to some sort of conclusion. He told us the facts and everything we already knew or had learnt through this whole process. It was when he said, “The doctors who specialise in multiple births aren’t really looking for business, so ask them.” He than went to explain that with a high risk pregnancy we would be closely monitored, have potential long stays in hospital and consistent communication needed. So he felt it would be best to go private. So private it was.

It’s easy to obsess over it. The bottom line is, public or private the babies and mother would get the best level of care. The only difference would be the cost of going private and the comfort (or lack of) by going public. The end result would be the same ,public or private. So we’re having the babies at the Mater Mothers towards the end of this year (due date 28th December).

This was me (on the right) when I was just 2 weeks pregnant with one of my gorgeous friends.
This was me (on the right) when I was just 2 weeks pregnant with one of my gorgeous friends.

And than there was 3

We were up to week 4 in the pregnancy and I woke up on Thursday morning feeling horrible. It was either a bad case of morning sickness or a vomiting bug (you don’t want to know the details). I feared the worst…was this going to be my pregnancy for the next 8 weeks or had something happened.

My doctors wanted to monitor my ovaries and make sure they were recovering from all the stimulation, so I was due to see him on the Friday. After telling him about the vomiting etc, he did another scan. He initially commented, “That’s looking really good” and showed me a little heart beat. It was an amazing feeling, hearing the heart beat. I was so relieved. That feeling soon disappeared and so did my fear of morning sickness for 8 weeks, when he said, “Ohhhhh”. My instant reaction was, “Are there twins?” He replied, “No, triplets”. My heart sunk. The doctor than went onto showing me all 3 heart beats and spoke about some of the logistics with having triplets (premature birth, higher risks etc). There was no programmed social norm for this reaction, so I was just silent. I didn’t know what to say or do, what questions to ask, I was just blank.

As soon as I walked out of the doctors survey I called Pat. He was out working and couldn’t really speak, although there wasn’t much to be said. We needed time to process this information. We had both dreamed about having a baby, just didn’t expect there would be 3. This wasn’t anything like what our dream looked like.

I couldn’t keep this secret to myself. I needed to tell someone, especially while Pat was away working. So we decided to call the family members via a conference call and tell them the news. There were 9 calls made. Everyone seemed pretty clued on as soon as we called together. They just weren’t expecting the bomb to drop. They all started out similar, “So we’ve got some news….and there’s more…”. The immediate support we got from our family reassured both of us. Not only did it start to become real, it was ok as we weren’t alone. In the weeks to come, the reality of having triplets sunk in.

Triple threat at 29

I don’t consider myself a writer or a blogger. Well until now. So this is me coming to terms with our triple threat at 29. I have reached week 15 with the 3 little bundles and I am aiming for this blog to help me embrace this next phase of our lives, as it’s been a steady start. Actually, this blog is serving a few purposes, I also want to offer a way for my family to follow the journey and a perspective for new mums out there, in a similar situation. When I found out I was pregnant with triplets at 4 weeks, I googled triplets and all that came up was American stories, scary situations and photographs of very large women. I know they are unavoidable but hopefully this blog will offer a different perspective. I’m not saying I won’t be large or promising happy endings….maybe just the journey.  

So how did I get myself into this situation…when I was 23 I was diagnosed with PCOS after a stint off the pill. It’s nothing unusual, with 10% of females of child bearing age with PCOS in Australia and often don’t even know about it. So I was one of the lucky ones, in that I found out early and always knew that it might be a little harder for me to fall pregnant.

The better part of me, Pat, proposed to me in 2012 in Western Australian and we got married in 2013 on my family property in Queensland. The thought of children always excited us, although we weren’t quite ready, wanting to travel carelessly a few more times and settle back in our home state Queensland (we were than living in Western Australia). In 2014 everything was beginning to line up. We had a month long holiday in USA, we both landed jobs back in Queensland, bought a house in Brisbane and finally got a dog (something Pat had wanted to do since we got together in 2008). So next in line were children.

So we had some fun and started trying. As time went by, nothing happened. I got a packet of ovulation sticks from my sister-in-law and was able to see I never actually ovulated. Of course I hoped for the best, so often took a pregnancy test when I felt a bit off or different. They obviously came back negative each time. Throughout this period I would often day dream about the thought of having a baby. I imagined his/her room, how they might look, the cuddles and everything wonderful that comes along with a baby…what a dream.

After 4 months of trying we took ourselves off to the GP who referred us onto a fertility specialist. We tried the drug Clomid for a while. It was relatively painless, other then the effort of getting blood tests every 3 days to see if it was working. Again nothing happened, my body didn’t even flinch with the drug (this happens for less than 5% who try Clomid).

So we amped up the anty to hormone replacement therapy and I used a drug called gonal-f. It took a bit more of a toll on me emotionally as I had to build up the courage to inject myself daily. I would often think of my sister in law who has type 1 diabetes and has to do this numerous times a day. I would often tell myself to ‘man up’…never did I really think of the bigger picture and the whole reason I was doing this. All this time that little dream of having a baby was a little lost as it was so easy to get caught up in the moment and the small milestones of just wanting to ovulate or have a period. Pat on the other hand would remind me of it and was so supportive towards me, even while he was working away at the mines for some of it.

We were reassured the hormone replacement therapy drug was dynamite, although at the beginning there was little hope. As time went by, my doctor increased the dosage and before I knew it I was on a fairly high dose. After a final scan (oh and there were several vaginal scans) before Easter, my doctor was confident 2 eggs had dropped and all I needed now was a ‘finishing off’ injection called a trigger shot. There was hope. 

I’m pregnant….or not. After our timed intercourse I immediately felt different. It was almost like a hangover, craving salty foods and always tired. I had a blood test scheduled soon after our timed intercourse and it came back positive. I could barely believe it. It had worked. All this was for something and soon that dream became real again. To be sure, they ordered another blood test. Unfortunately the 2nd test came back negative. They put the first blood test results down to the high level of the hormones still in my body, from the injection. I still felt different, just not myself. So back to the specialist we went.

It was 2 weeks after our timed intercourse and I caught up with the doctor. He did a vaginal scan and ordered another blood test. He said, “Do you want to the good or the bad news first?”, I replied “whichever”. He then went on to inform me that I have hyper stimulated ovary syndrome which can be very painful and often result in hospitalisation. This explained the pain and dicomfort I was in. That was the bad news….the good news was that I was pregnant. I didn’t know with what or how many…just that I was pregnant and we were step closer to having a baby.

 What a roller coaster so far. But I know we aren’t alone on this. Several women experience this daily. The rollercoaster hasn’t stopped since…it just keeps on going. In the past 15 weeks we have had to make big decisions and learn a whole lot. So in the coming blogs I’ll write about how I discovered it was with more than 1, how the body changes, peoples reaction, the private vs public debate, the expense and how you eventually have to start letting go of everything you knew before to prepare for 3.