This is a very long post (even longer than my usual standard. Lol) as I wanted to record everything I experienced as much as possible, more for my own reference, as my own diary to record all our sweat, tears, quarrels and struggles while trying to conceive (TTC).
As mentioned in my previous post here, Sunshine and I took about 1 year and 3 months TTC before we finally struck the jackpot in Jun this year, or in my own words, Sunshine’s sperm finally scored! Lol. Before that, the thought that we would take ages to get pregnant never ever crossed my mind before. I mean, we are still young (<30 years old), we do not smoke, we are generally healthy etc. Hence, we only started baby making in Mar 2018 because I wanted a end-Nov/early Dec 2018 Sagittarius boy born in the Year of the Dog. Sunshine always roll his eyes at me whenever I tell him my requirements. Alas, man proposes but God disposes (某事在人，成事在天）。
After my fertile period in Mar 2018, I swore I felt some early pregnancy symptoms such as abdominal cramps and spotting (my mind: implantation cramps and bleeding?!), fatigue, hunger, nausea, hot flashes and a whole lot of other symptoms! I was so certain that I was pregnant such that when my menses started four days before it was due, I thought I had a spontaneous abortion or ectopic pregnancy because I had menstruation cramps like never before and was bleeding. While on our way to KKH 24hr Women’s Clinic, Sunshine squeezed my hand while I was silently crying in our Grab ride, all the while googling for signs and symptoms of miscarriage and praying that mine was not an ectopic pregnancy. A friend of mine had an ectopic pregnancy but it was too late when they discovered it and she had to have one of her fallopian tubes removed. I remembered also thinking that to the Grab driver, we must have looked like a young couple who had shotgun and was on the way to KKH for an abortion (the female less willing than the calm male). Lol. The wonders of a female multi-tasking. After many painful moments later, a doctor examined me and informed me that I was actually menstruating. I was surprised yet very relieved that I was not pregnant and experiencing a miscarriage. I felt quite absurd then, having rushed to the 24hr clinic worrying so much when actually it was just my menses. Sunshine was quite gentle with me then and I think he felt relieved as well given that it was nothing serious. However, he subsequently frequently quoted this incident to me whenever I reported feeling something was amiss. Irritating =.=
I could not understand why I did not get pregnant then when we did what we did during my fertile period. For the following months, I always thought I had early pregnancy symptoms but I was always not pregnant. In the initial few months, Sunshine was always very cooperative and a very willing partner for baby making. However, his energy, stamina and mood gradually decreased as the months passed. He complained that I was just using him to achieve my means (which was true) but I was also meeting his needs at the same time mah… I recognised this as one of the pit-falls during baby-making where the process was just a means to the end and nothing else. Hence, I tried easing up and matching his needs instead. This resulted in a few months of not trying as frequently as I would have liked during my fertile period. By then, the many months of disappointment was taking a toll on me such that I would break down and cry whenever my menses came. Sunshine was empathetic initially but he soon grew frustrated whenever I cried because I would nag at him to go for fertility tests when my menses came. From my point of view, there must be something wrong with us since we did not get pregnant after so many months. Getting diagnosed earlier can help us get treatment and be pregnant earlier. If there was nothing wrong with the both of us, then good! At least we could proceed with the understanding that we were healthy and perhaps just needed more luck and blessings. From his point of view though, I was too anxious and he felt that there was no need to waste such money. No matter how much noise I made, he refused to go for fertility testing. 不管我一哭，二闹，三上吊都好，他就是不让步。I suspect that this had something to do with his ego which he vehemently denied. *roll eyes* Hence, we continued our somewhat inconsistent baby making process. I bought ovulation prediction kits in order to more accurately tell my fertile period but up till now, I cannot decipher how to interpret it (I have quite a few kits left. Do leave a msg below or via the contact form if you want and I can mail it to you for free before they expire next year). I also considered buying a thermometer to monitor my basal temperature to determine ovulation. However, Sunshine felt that it was unnecessary and I would just be putting even more undue stress on myself which would itself make pregnancy harder. Therefore, I only relied on my discharge and my period tracker app to determine my fertile period. Sunshine also got more expert at this and he remembered when my period was supposed to be due, when was the “safe” period, when was the period I would approach him by myself (and he would 吊起来卖). Lol.
TCM and Western Medicine
As I read online that using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to strengthen and regulate the body would help make the body a more conducive place for pregnancy to occur, I also visited a TCM clinic near my place. The TCM practitioner said that I am both weak in yin and yang（阴阳两虚）and as I also verbalised gastric problems (bloatedness after every meal, especially dinner and bad breath though my oral health is ok as confirmed with my dentist every 6-9 monthly), the practitioner tried to strengthen my body and relieve my symptoms first. She said that I need to treat my existing problems first and build up my constitution before getting pregnant as having a healthy and strong body would result in an easier pregnancy and a healthier baby. I felt that my body was indeed stronger and my symptoms relieved after a period of treatment. After a few months though, she mentioned that if I still was not getting any good news, the problem might lie with Sunshine and both of us could get checked for any fertility problems (which Sunshine was still strongly against). Around the same period, I also took a prescribed herb which was meant to warm the body (?) but as I took it immediately after my menses ended, my body reacted quite strongly to it and I started spotting for 2 weeks straight after. The TCM practitioner’s advice was to just wait it out for my body to flush out the drug. However, as I was still spotting after 2 weeks, I got myself a referral to a specialist clinic. Despite telling that lousy Medical Officer (MO) that it was very likely due to hormonal issues likely brought about by the drug, he brushed it away without any consideration at all and suggested a series of other tests to rule out more common reasons for what I was experiencing. As per my expectations, all the tests (blood test, pap smear, histology) came out normal/negative. By then, my bleeding had already stopped by itself, as abruptly as it had started.
In Nov 2018, I missed my period. Sunshine and I both thought that we finally hit the jackpot as I had never ever missed my period for longer than a few days since the days we were dating (or as long as we both remember). At the same time, my friend texted me to inform me that she was pregnant! She was not quite happy with the news as she had planned to travel to Europe the following year and having a baby would disrupt her plans. On the other hand, I was secretly envious of her news. I wanted so badly to tell her that I had missed my period for about 5 days then and that we could both be pregnant at the same time! However, I held my tongue because while she had tested positive multiple times since the 3rd day her period was late and had tons of symptoms, I had none. The only symptom I had was a missing period for 5 days. As Sunshine and I were due to travel that time, we had planned to test when we got back to Singapore and relax during our trip. However, Sunshine was already quite worried about the radiation from flying and protective of our unborn “baby” then. Despite knowing that it was useless, he still cutely piled our pillows and blankets on my tummy while we were in flight so that radiation to our baby would be minimised. We were in bliss whenever we thought of the possibility that we were finally pregnant and we were careful throughout the initial period of our trip. Finally, we could no longer contained our curiosity and we bought a pregnancy test kit to test. It was negative and we were disappointed. Two main reasons we came up with for the result were: 1) it was not a morning stream of urine and hence, the hCG levels might not be as high to be detected yet and 2) Sunshine said I did the test wrongly. We bought another test kit and tested with my first urine the next day: negative as well. We were convinced that I was not pregnant. Again. Sigh. On hindsight, I thought that my body might be trying to make up for the additional loss of blood during the earlier period. Sigh. At my subsequent review, the doctor finally suggested that my problem might be due to hormonal issues possibly brought about by stress (I did not feel I was stressed at all then) and could not offer a definite explanation. I requested to be discharged from the clinic but after discussion with his consultant, they wanted me to follow up after 6 months for a review =/ After my body regulated itself, my period was back to normal until my missed period in Jul 2019.
A year after TTC
As per my agreement with Sunshine (he was still trying to back out at the very last minute and showed a very black face throughout the visit), we booked an appointment for fertility screening at Thomson Fertility Centre in Mar 2019, a year after trying to conceive. Seeing how all the other couples were all physically and emotionally together during our visit, I was heartbroken at Sunshine’s stubborn lack of interest and support and I cried again after our visit. However, the silver lining of the visit was the results of my ultrasound scan done on our first visit. The doctor happily showed me a viable ovum (egg) already released and waiting for a sperm and told us to work hard that day. Lol. I was so happy when he showed me the egg on the ultrasound! To me, that egg told me that I was healthy and normal as I was indeed supposed to be fertile on that day according to my app and my discharge. Despite being a year late, I was still very happy that I could get a end-Nov/early-Dec Sagittarius boy born in the Year of Pig. I was already dreaming of showing my son one day that I had a picture of him when he was just an unfertilised egg. Lol. However, my hopes were dashed (again) when my menses came. Again, I tried both passive and aggressive ways of getting Sunshine to continue with our fertility testing (the package which we did not sign up for during our first visit) but he was adamant against continuing. As per the image below, we paid about $300+ for our one and only visit there.
Passive: I tried reassuring him that I would not blame him for his problem and just wanted him to address his issue ASAP so that we could move on to the next stage.
Aggressive: I literally SCREAMED IN HIS FACE THAT HE WAS INFERTILE in the hopes that he would be spited to go for the testing to prove me wrong but it was futile.
At some point in time, I think the stress of baby making and the freedom of couple time was changing Sunshine’s mindset. The thought of just the two of us was appealing more and more to him. Before marriage, he was 100% sure that he wanted to be a father. However, during this period, he was becoming more accepting of being childless. He would still want a child but at the same time, was perfectly ok if we were childless. Though I could see myself just growing old with Sunshine only, somehow, my mind still cannot give up the thought of us having our own family. I tried hard to put myself in Sunshine’s shoes, relax a little and just take it easy but at the back of my mind, the fact that time was just ticking away did not help matters. I was very frustrated, heartbroken and felt hopeless as I did not understand why Sunshine on the other hand, just did not seem to be putting himself in my shoes and trying to accommodate me just by going for the fertility test, which to me, was a simple thing to put my mind at ease. As mentioned, if we were both fertile, I would put our lack of positive news as bad luck and just keep trying instead of bugging him every month. We quarreled multiple times because of this. Sigh.
The change which changed our lives forever
As mentioned in my previous post, I got pregnant the next month after I tendered my resignation. I had been wanting to tender for quite some time before that but somehow felt that it was not the right time to do so due to various reasons such as change of my boss (which I wrongly thought would make things better), bonuses, lack of reply from potential employers etc. When I finally secured another job and tendered, I remembered my boss asking me if I felt that the stress I experienced at work was causing me difficulties in getting pregnant. At that point, my instinct was “no” as this thought had never ever crossed my mind before. Coincidentally, soon after my resignation, my workplace launched a “preventing burnout campaign” to teach superiors and employees the signs and symptoms of burnout, how to prevent it and how to manage it if one is already experiencing burnout. This made me realised that I was actually burnout but I was totally unaware of that beforehand. The signs and symptoms shared were exactly what I had been feeling at work and about work for the longest time! Even though Sunshine has pointed out this possibility of me being burnt out multiple times in the past year or so, I stubbornly refused to “see the light”. The fact that I got pregnant in the next month right after that only served to reinforce my thinking that I was burnout and made me realise that there was some basis for my boss to ask if my work was affecting me and preventing me from getting pregnant. Upon realising this, I talked to Sunshine who of course felt indignant. The “infertile” label which I gave him in a spite of anger was totally inaccurate and it had likely been me all along who was causing us not to be pregnant. Omg! I felt so bad towards Sunshine but we were both happy that we were finally pregnant after trying to conceive for so long (though Sunshine probably also heaved a huge sigh of relief along with his happiness. Lol)!
Less than one week after we found out we were pregnant, Sunshine and I had to fly to Australia for my brother’s wedding. At that point in time, I realised God’s plan for us. If I were pregnant around the same period as my friend in Oct 2018, I would be delivering in Jul 2019 and would have to miss my brother’s wedding! Visiting the temple and praying were quite an integral part of my TTC journey as they gave me strength to carry on when I lost hope. Of course, I had many doubts and was questioning God multiple times during this period as well. I had drew many lots during the 1yr+ of trying and the lots have gotten better and better over time. I am very thankful that everything turned out well till now. 阿弥陀佛