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Disorganised thoughts on my fertility journey

I've drafted, deleted, drafted, deleted my thoughts for the past years. 

Thoughts on my fertility journey. 

I was filled with angst each time I write and was worry of being judged. I feel nobody understands how I feel unless you're going through it. Tears were shed. Silent screams were made. After a few years, I decided to pen my disorganised thoughts down.

Background

I wanted to marry early and have kids before 30 but my plans were delayed by the lack of luck in securing a home. We bided and managed to secure a spot after 4 years. Since it was a balance flat, it was ready within 1.5 years. I may have used up my luck for this. 

Long story short, we got married and stayed apart while we wait for our home to be completed and renovated. During this period, we tried on and off to no avail. I decided to go for fertility checks and thankfully, everything was positive. Pushed my husband to do his as well and it was fine. I was reaching 30.

Making a child became a scientific experiment. Ovulation kit, measuring basal temperature, doing it alternate days or every day during fertile period, tracking period, tracking cervical mucus - whatever was shared online, we tried. TCM - boiling medicine diligently every morning, checked. Each time my period comes, my mind wanders to - what did I do or not do? Warm foot bath at night? Keeping belly warm? Avoiding cold food/drinks? All checked. 

Since there was no fruit, I decided to seek medical help at a govt hospital. But I was met with cold Doctors who were not helpful. I still remembered their names, and one of the govt Drs was part of the "I Love Children" Campaign. I felt like a statistics to them and that Dr was dismissive of my issues - "Below 30?" "Still young la". When I asked why wasn't I subjected to ultrasound scans and just went straight to those fertility tests prescribed (like blood tests, hyfosy), she said "not everyone has to go through ultrasound scans". The experiences were atrocious. The attitude was atrocious. I wrote down my thoughts of the hospital, only to delete my post later because....who am I to complain? 

Still, I decided that instead of leaving it to chances, trial and errors, maybe embarking on Intrauterine insemination (IUI) would increase my chances. I even contemplated resigning. I was under stress during covid period - my workload got higher, I worked later and the worse was a change in boss. The consolation was I was working at home instead of in the office. But money was at stake. To do any treatment requires money. I was not courageous enough to forgo $ for an unknown result. What if I resigned and still didn't make it? I recalled hearing stories of people taking a break for IVF, only to come back with naught. 

Fertility treatments

I pulled through a year of stressful work, facing unsympathetic bosses. I was also worried about heading to the hospitals as covid was still rampant. However, I decided to bite the bullet and arrange for the IUI. I wanted to keep this mum, but given the need to take a few days of absences and my heavy workload, I needed to tell my boss. Big mistake. Despite telling her to keep it confidential, she divulged it. I have never hated a boss this much. 

Work aside, my first IUI at the govt hospital was a bad experience. I didn't have high expectations since my fertility check-ups with them were unsatisfactory too. They directed me all over the place and each consultation, I had to repeat what I am going through. I had drafted a post about my experience back then. Reading it now makes me regret not going to a private clinic sooner. It is atrocious that we are treated as any other cases/statistics in the eyes of these Doctors. Am I supposed to receive subpar service because I was under subsidised route? 

During the IUI treatment, it felt that Doctors expected patients to know what to do, and they expect the nurses to be the ones delivering the info. An example was heading in early morning to check on my eggs size by the nurses and then waiting again for a super short consultation with the Drs. The joke was when I went into the room, the Drs were busy on their computers for god knows what, and it was the nurse who engage me, sharing that my eggs were growing so I'd need to continue the jabs. I wonder what's the use of the Doctors inside? Bulk of my time were spent waiting for scans and to see the Doctors, only to end the consultation within minutes.

As a first timer, I am clueless what to expect or what to ask. Yet none of the Doctors offer additional info. I felt I gotten more information from nurses instead, as they were my main touch-points. I only had a clearer idea of what I went through after the end of the cycle. Alas, despite the pain (jabs and hassle to go back to the hospital frequently to check on egg sizes), I failed my first round of IUI. 

$, time, efforts - all gone. 

Worse, there's no sympathy at work place - work just piled and I still receive texts on work citing it's urgent. I was in a bad emotional state. The boss had the cheek to ask if I'd be going for another round of treatment, for fear I'd be absent for work. I said no. I was exhausted. I hope karma bites her, hard.

Half year down. Each time my period comes, I sigh. I decided to seek medical help again - this time at a private clinic. I thought - heck the cost. Time is of essence. My biological clock is ticking. I have already crossed my 30s.

I embarked on my second IUI treatment and marvelled at the contrasting experiences. Although I still had to wait, it felt like a specialised treatment - the Dr would be the one doing the scans, and sharing info about my scans. Since this was the same Dr I had to visit in the private clinic, she'd know my case better. These "services" were non-existent in the hospital. Although there were some hiccups at the private clinic as well, overall, I preferred this than the hospital.

Cost wise, both turned out to be similar despite me on subsidised route in public hospital. Time wise, while the private clinic was further from home, the wait was more manageable than public hospital.

Unfortunately, I failed my 2nd IUI at the private clinic.

I decided to try the 3rd immediately. I felt there was no time to lose.

I still failed.

Tears, sweat and blood shed.

Back to square one.

Now, the next step would be to embark on IVF. However, I've been deliberating this - do I really want a kid that much? Do I want to go through the needles, jabs, body reactions and hormones again? Do I want to go through the invasive procedure, more so than the 3 times IUI I did? I am undecided. Another issue is the cost. An IVF is easily $13-20k. 

I wish to take a break, while secretly hoping for a miracle to come. Friends who got married later already have their 2nd child.

Lack of support

The lack of support during this journey appeared in many forms.

On a personal level, there was a lack of support from my husband. Many times, I feel that I am alone. I feel that I am the only one who is eager to have kids. Whether it was initiating fertility checks, or gynae visits, or researching on fertility to-dos or don'ts. 

There were times of quarrels, misunderstandings and miscommunications. For eg. I wanted his companionship during trips to the hospital/clinic. - he was vexed because the trips were frequent and it was difficult to get leave from his office. Despite WFH arrangements, we couldn't sneak out for visits since we had no control how long it would take. Further, with WFH meant many zoom interviews constantly. Anyway, it was Work vs Me. I was frustrated by his lack of initiation. On hindsight, I should understand his dilemma, because I faced the same difficulty.

On work level, I faced similar issue as my husband. Asking for permission away from work felt like death penalties and I felt guilty asking for time off when workload are high despite having medical certs to boot. There was a severe lack of empathy. When I spoke to my supervisor about my need to be away for fertility treatment, there were fake fronts that they were supportive. On the other hand, I was chased on work tasks. Nobody helped to cover for work. Everything was urgent. While I was preparing for my treatments, my mind was filled with work tasks or was busy messaging on my phone to re-arrange my work, just so nobody in my team would be affected. I don't expect anyone to step up for me because of my personal agenda, but that also meant stress on myself. I couldn't relax. You may think - just take a break from work la! Easier said than done. Tensions were high - the economy was badly affected by covid, so was job stability. As much as I wanted to prioritise myself and my treatment, I had to tread around carefully so I don't lose the job. I also felt responsible for the work I had on hand, though the bitch boss felt I was not putting in efforts (f u).

On medical level, I find the experience I received from the govt hospital sorely lacking. Starting from my initial visits for fertility checks, there were no proper communications from the Drs. I was just directed from one test to the next, and had to schedule multiple visits. "Try for another 6 months", they say. There were no ultrasound scans done. When I asked about it, one Dr endorsing for I love Children campaign said - there is no need for ultrasounds. Whereas, when I went to the private clinic, the first step was ultrasound scan immediately to check on my uterus - whether there were cysts etc. There were also no proper follow-ups at govt hospital. I always felt that I am left to figure things out on my own. I had to ask "what's next", otherwise, the consultation would end quickly and I'd be left hanging. Even if I asked "what's next", the Drs there were not able to shed clear information - only to say that I can try IUI next if no success after trying naturally. I felt like a blind mice. A hopeless mice. I had to be the one researching each steps, because information varies. There are no proper central website to seek one source of truth. Even when I embarked on IUI with the hospital, there was no dedicated service - each nurse/Dr focuses on one task. They were busy looking at their notes, holding their files, running around. 

Not just that, there is a lack of financial support. If the govt is pushing for higher birth rates, why can't IUI and IVF be covered by our insurances? The subsidies given for fertility treatments are not enough - I plead with the authorities to give us 90% or even 100% financial support to go for these treatments. NOBODY in the right mind would want to abuse this if they are able to conceive naturally. Only those who have difficulties conceiving would tap on such medical treatments. If I am able to receive such subsidies to cover the 13-20k IVF cost, I would take the chance to do my IVF now. 

Till date, I've spent $7k on the treatments, not including the TCM, supplements, ovulation test kits etc. At times, I think to myself - $7k is nothing much. For a chance to hold my precious child, it is fine. But now that I've burned $7k with no results, and to think about spending another $20k on IVF, I shudder. IVF is not guaranteed. Do I really want to push myself to that and subject myself to hormones, needles and poke-holes/blood again?

Seeking "spiritual" help

I used to term myself as a free thinker. But I am terming myself as a theist instead. I do not subscribe to one religion, but I have been praying to God(s) for a chance to become a mother. I have also gone to a temple to pray some time back.

No luck yet it seems.

I've been wondering if I am destined to not have a child. Since my husband and I have no medical issues, what's going on?

By some interesting chance, I came across tarot reading services on Carousell and decided to take the chance. With advances in technologies these days, even tarot reading is done online. I've never once met my tarot reader which works well for me. Was also heartened to see good reviews online before I engage her services. Anyway, I thought there's no harm to enquire about my fertility chances - if I am indeed destined not to have a child, I will rest my case.

I had initially asked more blunt question like how many children will I have, only to be told I can't ask that. Instead, the question was modified to - "Will I have children in the future?" Interestingly, my tarot reading showed that I do have chances of becoming a mother. But the reader did share that such readings cannot be taken as 100% accurate. I don't want to be overly superstitious, but it does give me some peace and hope.

For now, I'd continue praying and taking steps to stay healthy. Hopefully, good news will come soon.


Comments

  1. Hello Simple Budget, Simple Life,

    My heart is with you and your husband. I wish you good luck in your journey towards becoming a mother!

    SS

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi simple budget, I can feel you as I had my first kid after 5 years of marriage. There was nothing wrong on the fertility side but work was insane and stressful although I did enjoy so much. Just lack of time every day . I didn't go for any fertility treatment and I told myself just to relax and don't think about having kids anymore. When the time I gave up, I suddenly got pregnant. I only can advise you to be more relax and easy to yourself and I hope my luck happen to u too🙏🏻

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jiayou and stay strong!! This is definitely not an easy journey.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You might want try Fu Nan Traditional Chinese Medicine at Bukit Batok. Got my good news from there within 2 months.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jiayou! I too went thru 4 rounds of IUI, all unsuccessful. And i was 35 when going through that. It was disappointing, and honestly, after that, we just gave up, didn't want to do IVF as I thought if it's meant to happen, it will happen. And guess what, a few months after we stopped trying too hard, I got pregnant naturally, very cliché I know, but it happened. Just know that you are not alone in this process. Happy to reach out if u need :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. That's mind-blowing. I expect Singapore, especially govt hospitals, to care more about its citizens' fertility. But with such cold doctors, I understand why they call it "first world country with third word people". Very, very true, isn't it? :)

    ReplyDelete

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