14 September 2010, by Tan Yi Lin

The News

Horoscope reading for 13 Sep: Libra (Sep 23 – Oct 23):

An answer to a question, or maybe a plea for help, comes back to you in your favour even if it seems negative at first.

I don’t normally get to read the Life! Section of the newspapers before I rush off to work. But since I’ve been leading a leisurely life at home during the 2 Week Wait leading up to the pregnancy test scheduled for 15 September, I’ve been taking a quick glance at my daily horoscope reading. Most of the time, the prediction is so vague that I can’t make sense of it, and I forget it within five minutes of reading.

But yesterday, I was quite intrigued as to whether I would really receive a favourable answer to my question – THE question.

So Am I, Or Am I Not…

Going through the IVF process is a bit like playing a computer game. There are various stages to go through and a task to complete before you can clear each stage. You know: collect enough gold coins, slaughter your enemies, outwit the fire-breathing dragon, save the princess, etc. and upon each successful attempt, a big “STAGE CLEARED” sign would stretch across your screen. Whoopeee! With IVF, each time we see positive results, we consider it a stage cleared and breathe a sigh of relief.

After the embryo transfer, the next test was whether the embies would implant themselves successfully into the uterine lining. This is expected to take place on Day 7 or 8 after the transfer (before that, they’re just floating around aimlessly in the womb – not unlike taking a tour in outer space, I gather.) For once, cramping is suppose to be a positive sign, as the embryo tries to embed itself in the lining.

So I’m just doing my own thing at home, and suddenly a series of abdominal cramps comes on, and I’m like YES!!! YESSSS!!!! I’M CRAMPING!!! WOO HOO!!! HEY WORLD, I’M CRAMPING!!!!

Ding ding! Another STAGE CLEARED!

Then I go for a blood test to check my progesterone levels and it turns out that my dedicated thrice-daily insertion of pessaries have yielded good results.

Ding ding! Another STAGE CLEARED!

Then it happens – spotting.

Now, spotting really messes things up. And I don’t mean just your underwear. Spotting is tricky in that it could mean anything – from nothing, to everything, and all that in between. I did a quick check on some fertility forums on the Internet and learned that the reason behind the spotting differs from person to person. Most of the time, it’s due to the implantation. I decided to just put my feet up, rest well and try not to get overly worried. Anyway at this super early stage of supposed pregnancy, there’s nothing that can be done – it’s not like there’s a foetus or a baby to “save”, like what you see happen in emergency rooms in television dramas.

But after one day of continuous spotting, the situation starts to suspiciously resemble that of an oncoming period. I make a frantic call to the KKH IVF Centre and am asked to go in for a pregnancy test. I dash off – forgetting all my hospital forms – to get it done, then come home to wait anxiously for the results. My horoscope was turning out to be correct – things were looking negative.

Ring, Ring…

“KKH IVF Main” blinks on the caller ID on my mobile.

I answer the call.

The nurse tells me gently, “I’m sorry. The results are negative.”


The Aftermath

Am I upset? Well yeah. Tears flowed. Tissues were used. But it’s more like deep disappointment rather than real sadness. The feeling is similar to that of putting alot of time and effort into a project, only to see it fail.

A friend texted me, “Sorry for your loss.” But there is no loss. There was no foetus, no baby, no miscarriage. It’s not like anybody died. STAGE FAILED is different from YOU ARE DEAD. Yes, there were embryos – but it’s hard to feel much emotional attachment to something as small as a speck of dust, that has no ability to respond to anything you say or do, that has no heartbeat.

Breaking news of failure is harder than receiving it. There was a light-hearted moment though, when I told my mum:

Me: “My period came today.”

Mum: “Huh? Who came today?”

In spite of the situation, Dan and I couldn’t help but laugh at the “blur” response. And in spite of the humour in the situation, tears flowed again later when the parents tried to comfort me. For Dan and me, we’re like joint partners in a project that didn’t take off. But there’s something about being with parents, that reduces you to the seven-year-old who failed her Chinese spelling test despite trying her best, and your parents tell you “It’s okay. Never mind. Try again.” while you nod obediently and sob.

Is Dan sad about not having bald babies with faces of muppets that look like Gonzo (see previous entry for explanation)? Well, yeah. But hey, maybe the next two will look better. More handsome.

Try Again?

And at the end of every stage failed, two options flash on the screen: press ‘O’ to Try Again or press ‘X’ to Quit.

We’ve already pressed ‘O’. But as to when we will attempt to clear this stage again, we’ll only know after the next doctor’s appointment early next month.

It’s In the Stars

So despite putting some degree of (baseless) hope in my horoscope reading for 13 September, it didn’t seem like anything came back to me in my favour. At first, that is.

Because barely thirty seconds after I ended the phone call with the nurse, my Facebook page refreshed itself and right at the top of the page was a message from Zuji telling the world that they were giving me a free return ticket to Rome. ME?! ROME?! Well, grazie Zuji and ciao Italia!!

So in a bizarre turn of things, now that I know for sure that I’m not pregnant and have no restrictions on travel, I have no qualms about accepting the prize. I don’t know what the future holds but I shall take it as a sign that I’m meant to travel more before having kids. Apparently either the Pope or the Roman gods think it’s too early for me to hang up my backpack and fill it with mothballs, not before I pay them a visit in their homeland.

Funny how Life works. Isn’t it?


Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

May 14th, 2011 at 2:08 am    

Dear Cat,

Thanks for dropping a note. The KKIVF nurse should have asked you to go in for the beta test the moment you started bleeding and get the results on the same afternoon instead of going to the 24hr clinic or waiting till 16 May. At least that’s what they did for me.

I’m sorry to hear that things aren’t looking good. I just managed the best I could. I cried. Loads. Probably the whole day when I found out. Then intermittently over the next couple of days when I thought about it. But slowly the disappointment will ebb and you will be able to pick yourself up and move on: make appointments to see the doctor, find out what are the next steps, find ways to pass your time till then and take care of your health. Think of it as not being able to clear a test at first attempt and making the best preparations you can to try again – it’s not Game Over yet. It will only make you stronger.

Your email address appears in the notifications that I receive privately in my inbox. I’ll drop you a note so that you have my email address too and you can write to me for anything, yah?

Take care. Hugs.

Cat Chong

May 13th, 2011 at 5:57 am    

Hi Yi Lin,

How are u doing? I am Cat and is now in my 2ww. My beta test on 16/5. Like u, things went on well at the beginning. Hubby and were having high hopes. However yesterday, I started having spotting then bleeding. I called up KKIVF and the nurses said there’s nothing they could do except to wait for my beta test or go to the 24hours Women’s clinic at KK if I am worried. As this is my first attempt, went to the 24 hours clinic after work but the stoned face female doctor did not run any tests on me but just asked me to keep my fingers crossed and WAIT…. Thing didn’t look good. Is prepared for the worst… Hubby and I both cried to sleep at home. Would like to know how you managed to deal with everything… Thanks!

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Meow Meow

September 30th, 2010 at 5:59 am    

I was smiling when I read your blog AGAIN & AGAIN. Both humorous & true. I am now back onto my feet, need to face the truth and think of the next step. Will be going back to see Dr Loh next month to get his advise.

Deanna & Yi Lin: THANK YOU 🙂 I will not give up.


September 30th, 2010 at 2:41 am    

Meow Meow, Yi Lin is right. You’re definitely not alone out there.I’ve friends who conceived after trying the third time.

Thks Yi Lin for sharing your journey with us. I believe many couples who are having difficulties with conceiving have benefited from reading your blog!

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

September 28th, 2010 at 5:12 pm    

Dear Meow Meow,

Thank you for leaving a note. You’re definitely not alone out there. Just because most people don’t talk about fertility issues, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. You might be surprised how supportive family and friends can be. And even if they judge you negatively, the most important thing is that you have your hubby’s unwavering support. Don’t give up just yet. True, each time you try costs money, time and effort, but the unfortunate thing is that this is a challenge that no one else can clear for you. So let’s try together okay? 🙂 Thanks for the bon voyage wishes. I hope you find something to look forward to too. All the best!

Meow Meow

September 27th, 2010 at 9:31 am    

I was lost after receiving a call from kkh that blood test is negative on 24th sep 10 in the early afternoon. The following hours till 5:30pm were a emotional roller coaster. Not to cry infront of my colleagues. I had to pretend normal. These hours seem ages for me.

The tears flow like river while I was driving home from work. I could hardly breathe and see. I had to stop my car along the park & just let my tear flow till dry.

I totally agreed with you. “But it’s more like deep disappointment rather than real sadness.”

This is my 2nd embryo transfer. I am emotionally and financially drain. Every embryo transfer session is like a gamble. Using $2K for a 50-50 game. The more you play, the chances of winning seem lower.

When I saw your blog, I knew I was not alone. I was embarrass to share with my parents and friends. I was alone going thru all the stages of games. My husband is always there for me, supporting and encouraging me. But there is always a limitation… 🙁

Have a great trip…

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

September 22nd, 2010 at 3:36 pm    

Thanks Debra, esp. for the baby vibes! It’s okay. We’ll try again. Taking things easy. I’m back at work now, so the bay (not baBy) is keeping me occupied. Totally looking forward to Italy. Think the next reader who leaves a comment will tell me that I totally deserve that dishy Prada tote too? 😀


September 21st, 2010 at 2:13 pm    

Aww, I’m so bummed for you two 🙁 And you are being so brave about everything. Sending you lotsa baby vibes for next time!

You guys are going to be great parents – I just know it.

Go enjoy the holiday, you deserve it!!!

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

September 20th, 2010 at 2:12 pm    

Aw, Trace! You made me tear in the office when I read this. Sniffles. My eyes were welling up and I couldn’t read my work emails properly after that… hmmm, maybe that’s not a bad thing. Thank you for the support. I guess Life’s fair in that sense – cos if everything went that smoothly, it wouldn’t be called Life. Big hugs too. Come back to SG soon to visit – you and Andy both need a big dose of Siglap canal-side wanton noodles. Luv ya!


September 19th, 2010 at 10:00 pm    

Aw MAN!!! I’m so sorry to hear this. Andy and I had white-clenched fists while reading this post (I nearly just scrolled down to find out!)

JIA YOU x 100 for next time!

Enjoy Rome, you deserve it. I just wish it included a detour to England.

By the way, Andy says Life’s not fair, you guys are good-looking, physically fit, take care of yourselves so there should be no reason for such a tricky conception.

I want to add, you’re also lovable, sweet, funny, successful and the world needs more people like you two.



September 16th, 2010 at 11:21 pm    

Hi Yi Lin,
Enjoy your Rome trip and try again after 🙂

agnes x

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

September 15th, 2010 at 9:40 am    

Hey Rebecca, thanks lots. I’m recovering, no worries 🙂 Life goes on – and little treats like a new work dress and a fresh pedicure make returning to work tomrw more manageable!


September 15th, 2010 at 1:14 am    

hello there, be strong….

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