Infertility: What I learnt from it.

Many of you probably know that we did not have an easy time  trying to conceive our first child.

J came to us via our first cycle of stimulated intrauterine insemination or SO-IUI as some people know it. This happened after we have tried a couple of ways to get pregnant to no avail, and we embarked on SO-IUI, We had very little expectations as we have heard of low success rates doing so. We were probably much better off doing IVF.



Somehow, someone up there decided that it was the right time for us to become parents, and we had the best gift we can ever ask for. With that, I am eternally grateful for J, a miracle in his own right.

Unfortunately, the quest for number 2 isn't as smooth. Knowing our history, we started to try naturally at the advice of our doctor. After a while, we moved (back) onto SO-IUI, which wasn't much of a surprise to us. What we were not prepared for was the ectopic pregnancy that came on the first cycle and the emotional roller coaster that came along with it.

I took my time to come out of it before trying again, and this is after we have done whatever we could from TCM to yoga and what nots to nurse myself back to health.

3 SO-IUIs (that's like more than 30 injections and dosing on Progesterone across the 3 tries) on, we don't have any positive news. So, I don't only suffer from infertility. It is secondary infertility as well.

So, IVF seems inevitable if we are to continue on this quest.

Before we embark on IVF, I thought I'd share what I learnt from this whole infertility episode.

*****

I probably know more about the human reproductive system than most people do…. 
The amount of time spent understanding the process of IUI, getting my tubes checked, timing the procedure, checking on sperms etc have become part and parcel of my last 6 years and it will continue to so for some time. I think I can even draw the female reproductive system without reference. 

Trypanophobia no more, and I will get even better.
Once afraid of injections, I administer jabs for myself every morning without bating an eyelid. Having non-cooperative veins also mean it usually takes medical officers a couple of tries before they can draw my blood. In the case of my ectopic emergency, it took 4 different people to try to get an intravenous needle into me, from the ambulance, into the ER, into the operating theatre. I woke up with 5 needles sticking all over me. 

Sometimes I think it is God's way of preparing me for the challenge ahead. 
Because it is hard to explain how I feel. Because it is not something people understand unless they have walked a similar path. Pretending to be fine and dandy is often the best way for me to get past each day.



It often leads to isolation
Because I get past each day like the mood swings (from dosing hormones) did not exist, that the disappointment did not matter, my bathroom ends up being a favourite part of my home. The one space where I can cry out loud without anyone judging and thinking I am over-reacting. 

It can make a marriage better or end up breaking it. 
The need to constantly be on some type of hormones, whether it is to prepare for a cycle or to stimulate a cycle, or even to promote a "condusive" environment during the two-weeks-wait (TWW), that's a whole lot of hormones! And, what it does to me is horrid. Without an outlet to release pent up frustrations, the man often gets the brunt of my tempers and tantrums. There were many occasions when we ended up in a shouting match. These mindless fighting can take a toil on any relationship. Not forgetting the cost of the procedures. Sometimes I feel whether or not I will have a second child depends on how much we have in our bank accounts!

Thankfully, our marriage has stood the test, and I am truly blessed for the man.

The  things I hate to hear is "relax" , "jiayou" and "only one"?...
Like I have not been trying hard enough?!!! Period.

It has given me extreme strength I never knew I had.
I never knew I could keep trying even though it hurts like mad. What hurts is not the jabs, nor the mood swings or the other side effects of the jabs. What hurts is the disappointment of knowing that we did not succeed every single time! It brings me through an emotional roller coaster with lots of tears. But, each time when I am done with the crying, we will find ourselves back at the doctor's office asking to try again.



That said, we are bracing ourselves for what is going to be one of the toughest challenge as a family. We have decided to start on IVF in 2015. I have no idea where this decision will lead us to and I don't dare to hope too much either.

I just hope it does not affect our marriage, the time we want to have with J. Whatever the outcome is, we will keep trying till the time our hearts grow weary.



If you are reading this because you are going through a similar journey, I want you to know that you are not alone. We will walk this path with together, and I will be here supporting each one of you.

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