My heart was pounding heavily while waiting anxiously for the result. I could hear my heart beating as hard as it could since it was so nerve-racking. The 3 minutes seemed like the longest wait for me. Then, the moment I was waiting for came with the utmost joy. “I’m pregnant!” I cried out happily after my eyes zoomed to the test kit carried by the doctor and seeing the double lines for the first time, no words could describe my happiness. I didn’t even give the doctor a chance to congratulate me. I took the kit and ran out of the room to share the good news with my husband, Michael.
Michael was waiting outside as he dared not see my upset face that he’s so used to whenever I did my test. I was speechless and couldn’t utter a word when my eyes met his. Tears were streaming down my cheeks. It was unstoppable. Yes, tears of joy. I gave him a big smile and a nod before showing him the test kit. He couldn’t believe his eyes either. For a moment, both of us were just exchanging looks of disbelief, not bothering about people around us.
However, this joy didn’t come in one day, instead, it took us almost 5 years. The journey towards my conception began on December 4th, 2004. The day we got married, we were ready to become parents as both of us have been courting for 13 years and were very much stable in our career so we thought it’s time to start a family. Well, you may plan but the superior, the maker of heaven and earth decided not to give us the gift of a child yet.
A year went by but there’s still no good news to break to the family and friends who kept on asking. Michael and I decided to seek advice from the doctor. But to my surprise, he told us not to worry and to see him after two years if we still fail to bear fruit. Who is he to tell me when to have a child? I’m ready now. Why not you help me now? I was shouting inside with anger and left the clinic for good.
A couple of months later, a cousin of mine asked me to go for Malay traditional massage (urut). This was not a typical relaxing massage but a body repair massage. Indeed, it was painful but for the sake of conceiving a baby, I knew it would be worth it. Michael sent me from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh just for the therapy massages for three weekends in a row. It was exhausting yet still; we didn’t get the result we were expecting.
Meanwhile, I was pressured everywhere I go by the people around us. I tried avoiding social gatherings especially weddings but sometimes to no avail. As expected, I was bombarded with lots of questions such as, “Why, no baby yet? What’s taking you so long?” What should I say? Am I answerable to their unsympathetic questions? I cried deep inside my heart but many times it simply burst out of me uncontrollably.
The following year 2006, another friend of mine referred me to a renowned gynaecologist in Klang Valley. She discovered I have a hormonal imbalance or to put it simply ‘infertility’. When I found that I have infertility, deep down in my heart I felt hopeless. It was a painful situation to deal with. I’m sure it is an issue many couples won’t bring up but merely suffer in silence. I asked myself, “What is holding me from conceiving? Is it stress? My diet? Am I too overweight to conceive? Will I ever have kids? Why me?
The gynae gave me Clomid, tablets that work by stimulating estrogen in our system so it will stimulate ovulation. I started taking dosages of 50 mg than increased to 100 mg then 150 mg. The doctor realized I can’t stay on Clomid any longer but never suggested other options. While on Clomid, I’ve experienced a great deal of nausea as well as real burn out of time and money.
Then, realizing my continuous effort, my colleague advised me not to spend money in private hospitals anymore instead she asked me to go to LPPKN (Lembaga Penduduk dan Pembangunan Keluarga Negara) clinic. Not that the treatment there are free but much cheaper than the private hospitals. So, I went there and the gynae suggested us to go to the next stage in treating infertility since I’ve been given tablets. I was willing to do whatever as I was so desperate to have a child. The gynae told me that I was having trouble conceiving naturally as my eggs are so tiny. Therefore, she suggested me to go for Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), a procedure used to aid in achieving pregnancy. This technique involves direct deposit of sperm into a woman’s uterus at the time of ovulation with the intent of resulting in fertilization. In order to do that, I must inject ‘Follicle-stimulating hormone’ on my tummy daily for 5 to 6 days starting from the second day of menses each month or till I get pregnant. This will help the ovaries to begin the process of ovulation and help stimulate egg releases and growth. Needless to say, a needle was my best buddy for the next few months.
To my dismay, my eggs didn’t respond well though the hormone injections increased. Due to delayed appointments with the doctor, I quit going there completely. I wasn’t getting any younger. Time was running out. I brought my medical report from LPPKN to another clinic referred by another friend.
This doctor did the same procedure, increased the duration of injections from 1 to 3 times a day. I was tired of going through the same procedure again and again. It was painful indeed not only physically but mentally as well. It was a long and emotional process for me. Our savings were dwindling little by little as the treatment was taxing on our wallets.
After a couple of months trying without result, I gave up and told Michael not to spend any more money on this.
In between, there was a doctor whom I consulted, who actually told me that I didn’t stand a chance of bearing a child. He said, “If you don’t get your regular period, you will not get pregnant”. Upon hearing that, I broke into pieces and my whole life shattered imagining life without a child. I pitied Michael. He was my shoulder to lean on during my hard times apart from my family. He never even blamed me for my disability to conceive. It’s really helpful to have such an understanding life partner.
On my fourth year in 2009, another colleague of mine asked me to go for Chinese Acupuncture. I told myself, “Why not? I’ve tried everything so there’s nothing else to lose if I try this as well”. So I went to see this Chinese acupuncture doctor in Sg Buloh. The doctor gave me a mixture of herbs to drink and lots of do’s and don’ts that needed to be followed. Everyday I had to check my basal body temperature, chart it and followed all his instructions strictly. So far, he’s the only doctor that said, “You can conceive naturally, don’t worry if your period didn’t come even for one year. You still can conceive”. Those words gave me new hope.
However, after 3 months of trying, it still didn’t happen. I gave up. I was tired. I told Michael, “Dear, please don’t ask me to take any more medications. Enough is enough. If God wants to give us a child let him give naturally or otherwise let us be childless”. Finally, I put my hope and trust in God.
Three months later, I conceived naturally. What a miracle! I was not on medication, I’ve listened to everyone from friends to relatives to strangers in the street for advice, yet I didn’t get pregnant. Surprisingly, after pausing all the buttons around me and let nature do its wonders, it happened.
I had a no-complications pregnancy and on 16th March 2010, after a painful 17 hours’ of painful contraction, I delivered a baby boy via C-section. The pain was really nothing compared to the joy of seeing my very own flesh and blood for the first time. It was simply priceless!
The joy of childbearing didn't stop at one. Instead, after a year plus, I conceived my second baby naturally as well. We were blessed with another beautiful healthy baby girl who was born on 25th February 2012. She totally completes our little family. Yes, we are now the proud parents to two wonderful children.
My advice to women out there who are trying to conceive is this. When the doctor tells you there’s nothing more he can do - don’t give up! Each of us may have different situations but for those out there who have waited for your bub to arrive with no sign yet after many years of trying, don’t lose hope too quickly. Hope can be the best fertility booster of all.