Albany, You'll Never Walk Alone

Dear Albany,

My dear daughter. KK Hospital told Mum and Dad your expected due date is 10 Jan 2012. They could had screwed it up, just like the way they did for other issues that bug Daddy until today.

You knew what they did. You were with us when they diagnosed Dad with Thalassemia. They said it would affect you. Dad was frightened. Not because of the disease but what might happen to you. Dad was told to make an arrangement specially to do an additional blood test to confirm the results.

On the next appointment, they did not mention about the results. You were there too as Mummy had to do a checkup on that day. When Mummy probed them, then they casually said 'Oh, that one. No problem. No problem," like as if it meant nothing to them. It did mean something to us. All 3 of us.

Before we left happily home that day, we had trouble getting your heartbeat reading during the ultrasound scanning. Daddy was there to witness. The radiologist told us you were having hiccups. So Mummy and Daddy took you for a walk for your hiccups to clear. When we returned, they managed to take the readings but we were alarmed once again. They told us that you had a irregular heartbeat and we had to see the doctor a week later for comments.

With that, Mummy and Daddy left KK hospital with a heavy heart.

On the next appointment, they forgot about the issue again. When we probed, they got us to do another heartbeat count for you. It was perfectly okay. Mummy and Daddy was elated! Just as we prepared to pay up and leave, we were asked to enter a room for a discussion with yet another doctor we never seen before.

She told us a grave news that made Daddy went pale. She told Daddy you were marked as close to high risk for Down's Syndrome at 1:280 and told us that at that stage, we had only 2 more weeks to legally abort you if we decided to. She told us to consider doing amnio test which required them to probe the needle into the womb where you were developing to extract a sample. That could cause Mummy and Daddy to lose you if it went wrong. Doing that test would also mean the result would be known to us 2 weeks later. So the doctor told us to make the decision that day, if we wanted to abort you.

Mummy as usual could not make the decision and Daddy was left to make it. Daddy was frantic that day. The manner the doctor present the situation to us was quite insensitive and harsh. But Daddy remembered seeing your risk ratio a lot higher during the first test. How could it became 1:280 suddenly? Was it due to the irregular heartbeat? Wasn't that cleared already? No one could answer my question. I was very dejected that afternoon.

Daddy didn't want to ask anyone anything anymore. And Daddy made the decision. We left the hospital. That was the last time we stepped into KK Hospital. 7 days later, we took the plane to Australia.

In Australia, we went through 4-5 hospital appointments at King Edward Hospital. Each appointment, the doctors told us that you were ok. Daddy and Mummy did not ask about the Down's Syndrome anymore. But in Daddy's mind, I had always worried about you. Many aunties, Daddy's friends, told us that a pregnancy should be blissful and enjoyable. Ours were never that way, plagued with worries and uncertainties right until the final week.

Baby, let me tell you why Daddy made that decision to walk out of KK hospital.

When Mummy and Daddy discovered we had you, you were already 16 weeks old. During that period, Mummy and Daddy had happy moments going jogging, rollerblading and other activities. We could had lost you if Mummy had a fall or were careless along the way, not knowing of your existence.

Then Mummy had to slog late nights till 2am for her work for weeks during your 5th month. Daddy was so angry that he almost scolded Mummy for not putting you at first priority. We could had lost you through unhealthy diet and sleep pattern.

We flew to Australia with you, a new environment, a new place. We were frightened and felt lost most of the time. Then we had to shift house after 1 month. In spite of the drastic changes, you took them one after another.

You are a survivor, you want to live. Daddy could not beat you in that. Daddy always give up on things throughout his life. From you, I have learnt to be more determined, to develop an iron grit and never give up.

No matter how you turn out, we will never give up on you. Daddy is waiting confidently for you. I know you'll be fine. I'm ready to hold and kiss you. 

We are family. You'll never walk alone


  1. Well-written and touching post. Daddy wrote it so well. =) And yes, we are family. YNWA =)

  2. Well-written and touching post. Daddy wrote it so well. =) And yes, we are family. YNWA =)

  3. What a great letter to your daughter :) Very touching indeed. I'm sure your daughter will be fine & I'll pray for her. Btw my b'day's on 10 Jan, and I have thalassemia (minor)! All the best in the preparations for the coming days.
    ~ SydneyLibrarian

  4. Sorry to hear of your treatment at KK. But for the amnio test, you should have been assured that the risk is actually quite small. KK does about 1k to 1.5k of those test every year. The amnio test risk is greatly dependent on the Doctor performing the procedure. The more amnio test done the better the experience. Hence the lower the risk. In Sing, you would not have anyplace else that performs the amnio test in the numbers in KK.

  5. Albany is a supergirl!


  6. So this is the KKH experience.

    No matter what, Albany is utterly blessed to have doting and supporting parents. And Daddy and Mommy are too blessed with a very strong girl. :)

  7. May God bless you with a healthy baby... Will keep you in my prayer.

  8. I am expecting her here too! I can hug her...:)

  9. Be strong dude.

    I'm a regular follower of your blog. I admire your courage and determination.

    I understand what you're going thru'.. the fears, the uncertainties on the well being of Albany. When my wife was pregnant, we were told that she was having twins, at ard 3 months, we were told that one of the fetus wasn't developing properly and there is a chance he/she might not survive. True enough, when we went for the next check up, the fetus had died. We were very sad and at the same time worried about the well-being of the other fetus. Thank god all went well and my wife delivered a healthy baby boy 5 months later. My son is now 2.5 yrs old and he is our source of joy and inspiration.

    You willl do fine. Keep up the spirits

  10. Singaporeans have the tendency to be overly cautious. If the Ozzie doctors give the all clear then dont worry too much. Can't wait to see your bundle of joy. To create someone so precious is already a gift!

  11. i applaud the deep love of a father for his child! Albany will be fine. All the best

  12. aaww... touching letter to albany =)

    i will pray for her to come to this world safe & sound.. (rem our praying sessions? =P)

    looking fwd to her arrival~! =D


  13. Hmm, I shall cook something for her up-coming one month birthday. Red eggs?!?! :)

    Amazing what an unborn baby teaches us all ...

  14. Obviously you are a liverpool fan! :) KK is f**ked up, they told me the same thing about my son too, they told me point blank my son may have down syndrome based on an X RAY. To them, they are just a baby producing factory, in and out, pfffft! I also heard horror stories where the doctor left the placenta in the mother after delivery! Seriously! Anyway, congrats on your daughter, once you whole her in your arms, your whole perpective of life and the world will change :) welcome to parenthood!

  15. @Anonymous: YWNA. Thank you.

    @Sydney Librarian: I don't have thalassemia. KK got it wrong. So far they didn't get a single thing right for us. I hope they didn't. :S

    @Anonymous 2: My child's risk of having down's syndrome is 1:280. The doctor seemed v intent to get us to do either 1) the amnio 2) the abortion. She was talking as if our child got the syndrome already.

    She told us the risk of getting a miscarriage from amnio is 1:200. My child has a higher chance to be killed by it than getting down's. Would i be a man if I do it?

    @outbreak: I always feel better after talking to you

    @Anonymous3: Thank you so much for your encouragement

    @memories: Thanks Ah Veanne

    @ellis: how can you hug her from so far away?

    @Ken: sorry to hear about your son's twin. it must be a harrowing experience for both of you but good to hear your son is healthy and fine. I'm happy for you. Thank you for reading my blog. How did you know about it, hiding in a small corner in cyberspace?

    @saltvinegar: sounds like u are v experienced. i have much to learn from you.

    @Admin: thank you so much. Cool nick name!

    @Julia: i need that... :( Thank you Julia

    @Den: :D I never tot of that far.... u reminded me...oh dear

    @claire: I hope my child will be as fine as yours. I kinda fear parenthood but no time for that anymore... things will be happening soon.

  16. walau...never go to KK....really jialat. make ppl worry

    ah pooh

  17. @asingaporeanson,

    Haha, I chanced upon your blog from HWZ.

  18. you all will never walk alone. :)

  19. Nottingboy,

    You are leaving a beautiful legacy for Albany. Through your words of love, she will grow to have a heart as strong and warm as yours. She is very blessed to have Jen and you as parents.


  20. This is a very touching letter and your daughter is very fortunate. Hope all will be well!

  21. @Ken: Oops. "there" =x

    @Siggi: Thank you so much for your encouraging words through the months. We are blessed to know you too.

    @X: Thank you X. I appreciate the well wish deeply

  22. Aiyoh, cry already :')
    Congratulations, it's a girl!

    I work in a lab dealing with the amniotic fluids. The risk 1:280 is a prelim result based on the gynae's calculations on several tests and it has to be confirmed with cytogenetics tests (trisomy 21 or down syndrome is relatively easy to detect, especially when your wifey's is 16 weeks+) and a rapid scan takes ONE day, usually accompanied by a confirmatory test with results in two weeks. I'm surprised they even mentioned or suggested abortion (a prelim risk of 280, results are usually normal from my wee bit of lab experience).

    Shame on them for adding extra worry to new parents.

    I was attached to King Edward lab too, they are very dedicated workers. i remember Mondays being the loveliest day because the mothers would bring in cakes and muffins they baked over the weekends.

    p.s. you should probably get the thalassemia checked more thoroughly.

    p.p.s. I was there when LFC draw with Blackburn at Anfield. then they decided to win 3:1 against Newcastle. Why liddat!

  23. @Y: They took a blood test and got it checked and declared I don't have thalassemia after they announced I did (they even sent me a letter to my home). I'm not medically trained so I felt like an idiot.

    To be honest, even after you explained about the testing system regarding trisomy 21, i'm still clueless because for these things, it's either you know it properly or you don't. any half-baked knowledge is not good enough.

    For now I hope my daughter will be healthy, 'normal' if that's not too much to ask for and my wife will be ok during and after delivery. i'll do my utmost to provide for them.

    you're lucky to visit anfield. i've not even been there and i suspect i'll never be able to afford to.

  24. Albany will be fine, YNWA!

    When you walk through a storm
    Hold your head up high
    And don't be afraid of the dark
    At the end of the storm
    Is a golden sky
    And the sweet silver song of a lark

    Walk on through the wind
    Walk on through the rain
    Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown
    Walk on, walk on
    With hope in your heart
    And you'll never walk alone
    You'll never walk alone

  25. @Thomas: thank you brother. thanks a lot. I hope for the best.

  26. Awww...its really touching! Beautiful:)

  27. Hi,
    What a beautiful story... I am sure Albany will be fine and will be proud to have a father who believe in her and walk with her and a mother who is so brave.
    God bless you and your family in your new life in Perth. You will survive and enjoy this new life, like I have when I first migrated from Singapore to Perth 7 years ago.

  28. @Priscilla & Anonymous:

    Thanks to both of you.
    If you want to know how Albany got her name, it's here