12 March 2011, by Tan Yi Lin

Lucky

I’ve been a bag of emotions recently.

Mostly, it’s blogs that set me off, forcing me to blink back tears when I read them at home or in the office (ssssshh… come one, a little surfing wouldn’t hurt productivity at work.)

No, it’s not the baby blogs that give me a bad case of wet eyes and sniffles. It’s the blogs of people who don’t have babies – or rather, who can’t have babies and are reaching out to all avenues of hope to have at least one. Just one.

Heck, I even tear when I read my older entries about the IVF process – tears of gratefulness. And I think to myself – how did I get so lucky?

“Lucky?”, you may ask. But didn’t I manage only to conceive through IVF? Most people wouldn’t consider having to spend thousands of dollars to go through countless self-injections, oral drugs, twice-daily suppositories (aka V-pills and ass-pills), bloating, mood swings, repeated scans (up to V) and the most horrendous of all – the awful waiting and hoping, as being lucky.

Sure, for some of us, dreams can only come true with an extraordinary amount of effort. I used to get incredibly snappish with people who reacted to our decision to take a year off work to backpack the Americas with an envious, “Wah, so lucky!” Luck had nothing to do with it. Did we land ourselves a free year of travel? No. Did we strike top prize in a lottery? No. Did the money just fall from the sky and land on our lap? No!! We dreamed up a plan, committed ourselves to making it a reality, cut back on our expenses and saved money like mad for a few years, then went out and lived the dream. Even then, we skimped as much as we could and lived on US$5 Footlongs from Subway and US$1 fast food promotions. Of course, it couldn’t have been done without a huge amount of support from family and friends. But don’t ever belittle our efforts down to luck.

It’s the same with trying with conceive. We found out a few years ago that it wasn’t going to be easy for us. But we knew that if we really truly wanted a child, we would have to suck up our situation as it was and work extra hard to get one.

And we did. And we are lucky. We’re lucky because a good doctor spotted a problem with my plumbing during an operation to remove an ovarian cyst. We’re lucky because we knew what the problem was. Lucky because the doctor gave us a clear time-frame and solution – if we didn’t conceive in 6 months, to consider IVF straightaway. Lucky because other than blocked tubes, everything else was fine. Lucky because we had the financial means to pursue IVF. Lucky because I reacted well to the fertility drugs and the doctors managed to obtain 4 usable embyros – 4 chances for us. Lucky because I suffered no physical pain. Lucky because although the first round of IVF failed, the second succeeded. Lucky because one tiny embryo fought for its life and is growing quickly into a tiny human today.

Yes, that is all some people ask for.

And yet, that is what some people are denied.

The blogs I read speak of countless attempts at – and disappointments with – IUI and other forms of fertility treatment. I only went through two awful periods of mental torture during the dreaded Two Week Wait for pregnancy test results. Imagine going through that 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 20 times month after month after month. Imagine the frustration of not knowing where the problem lies – even though the test results show that you’re normal and healthy. Without a specific problem, there can be no straightforward solution. You just try whatever is offered to you again and again until you – and the doctor – are ready to accept that the method has failed.

I read some letters that someone wrote to her unborn child. By ‘unborn’, I don’t mean a foetus. Or even an embryo that was conceived and lost. I mean a future child, one that has not yet been conceived even, a child-to-be. I know of pregnant women to write letters to the child they are expecting. I can’t even bring myself to that level of emotion. I just stick print outs of each ultrasound scan into a scrapbook, date it and write stuff like, “Today, you are the size of a raisin/plum/apple/avocado.” But long and frequent letters to a baby-to-be that is currently nothing more than a fraction of hope and intense desire? It’s heartrending.

Wonder why these people don’t just give up since it’s so damn difficult? Because you can’t. If having your own children is truly what you want, you can’t just sit there and do nothing and damn your own dream to fail. You just try. Because there is no other way. Because the harsh reality of a life without children, without the experience of being a mother, without the chance to have your own family, is just too hard to accept. So you try. Again and again and again. Whatever it takes.

So to those parents who tell me, “Pregnancy is the easy part. Wait till you become a mother”, or “You think this is hard? You’ll know soon enough”, or “You have it good now. Your life will be my life in a few months time”: You know what? Boo you. A big fat boo to you. Don’t think my life – and the so-called ‘childfree = carefree’ lives of all these couples who are trying so hard to conceive – has been any less difficult than yours. And to men out there, if you think a woman is amazing for simply delivering you a child, think about some of these women who have to first get over the crushing emotional blow of learning that they cannot conceive naturally; who look fertility treatment straight in its scary face and just get on with it; who suffer the mental agony of waiting and hoping for that 33% or less chance of success; and despite all that, bravely suck it up and STILL look forward to childbirth.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not referring to myself and looking for respect or compliments or praise. I told you already, I’m already lucky and I don’t need anything more (except maybe an occasional seat on the MRT would be nice.)

Now, I hope on the behalf of others.

Tags : ,

Posted on : March 12, 2011

Filed under : Mums- & Dads-to-be, Planning For Baby

14 Comments

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

March 22nd, 2011 at 1:29 pm    


Hi CPST,

Wow, your comment made my day! Glad you enjoyed reading. Yeah, the crap periods (no pun intended) are unavoidable and can be pretty awful. It’s normal to indulge in self-pity for awhile but the important thing is to stay positive and to keep trying. Hugs. All the best with whichever route you choose to take. And thanks for the congratulatory wishes!

yAnn

March 18th, 2011 at 2:23 am    


Thanks Yi Lin! I enjoyed reading about your journey too, makes the process less fearful. πŸ™‚

CPST

March 18th, 2011 at 2:01 am    


Hi Yi Lin,

I chanced upon your blog yesterday after googling for results on IVF cost in Singapore. Guess what? I spent pretty much the rest of the day and night (including rides home) devouring all of your past entries! Yes I am addicted! haha Thanks for being so open, honest and hilarious about your TTC journey. I was feeling really crap all week (ok last wek too) about yet another failed SO-IUI and was at a crossroad on what I should do next. But reading your blog all of yesterday has not just comforted me but inspired me to be more positive and to persevere on.

By the way, big hugs and congrats to you on your pregnancy and please keep those entries coming!

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

March 17th, 2011 at 10:45 am    


Hey Yann: you have a great blog. Thanks to you for the inspiration behind this post, actually. I read that you don’t think that you’re brave – just that you have no choice. I guess that qualifies as courage too – sucking up whatever sucky situation you’re thrown and just dealing with it the best you can. I know you’re not looking at giving up anytime soon – so all I can wish you now is good luck!

Rustyslave: just take it one step at a time. Accept that it will take time, sometimes longer. What I’ve come to realise is that there’s just no use thinking too much or too far in advance. Just keep planning the next step – be it a doc’s appt, a scan, a test, a procedure and just keep going. Then fill your time in between with happy events and things you like to do like hobbies and going out with friends, etc. And you WILL make it through whatever life throws at you.

babygi: thanks for the positive report on parenthood πŸ˜€ I’m enjoying my pregnancy cos it’s really going very smoothly (for now at least) and yet I can’t wait for it to end so that I can meet the little one come August. Have fun with your baby boy too – he sounds lovely πŸ™‚

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

March 16th, 2011 at 3:04 pm    


miss ene: Thanks babe. I’m all for parents sharing parenting advice, in fact, I’m pretty grateful for parenting tips. But comments like, “just wait till your baby is born/can walk/talk/go to school/takes exams/becomes a teenager/etc THEN you’ll know” serve no benefit to the recipient whatsoever. And when does it ever end?

Whereas helpful tips/reviews on doctors, hospitals, classes, books, maternity/baby items, well heck – ANYTHING that is useful in life in general, baby or non-baby related – just send them my way please.

Rustyslave

March 16th, 2011 at 3:17 am    


Hi,

Well written. I just went thru “Larpanscope” and waiting for the result this weekend. From the time I went for checkup till now the gyna havnt told me I am not fertile or wa went wrong. I just hope this opt can help me to unblk whatever is blking me and have a bb… I am not sure I can go thru the future wa come may.

babygi

March 16th, 2011 at 2:21 am    


Hey Yilin,

Actually life gets better after the baby is born lol… i got a 10 month old baby boy and is growing cuter by the day πŸ˜› wanna be with him all the time

Enjoy your pregnancy now and the baby when he/she comes πŸ™‚

yAnn

March 15th, 2011 at 2:08 pm    


Hey lovely. πŸ™‚
My doctor once said that it’s the luck of the draw and he was right. Some people fail again and again and again and others just get it right away. There’s no magical formula, there’s nothing they can do to guarantee success.

Luck? Maybe.
But it doesn’t mean that we give up just cos the odds are against us, right?

miss ene

March 14th, 2011 at 1:57 am    


Well said babe. Very well said.

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

March 13th, 2011 at 4:37 pm    


Z: I’m not saying that parenthood is not difficult. I’m not even saying that pregnancy is harder than parenthood. Basically, pregnancy and parenthood just shouldn’t be compared in the first place – they can’t be. Pregnancy is a physical temporary stage that lasts for all of 9 months. Parenthood is a lifelong physical, psychological and emotional attachment. They are like apples and oranges. No, I’m not blind to how difficult it is to bring up children – whether it’s in this world today or during our parents’ time or centuries ago. What I’m asking for is some sensitivity for people who are just happy and thankful to even BE pregnant – before running them down with “life can only get worse from here” comments. I’m just reminding people that some women are going through or have gone through alot of physical and emotional pain just to get pregnant, so comments like “pregnancy is easy”, although not meant to be malicious, can come across as insensitive. Agreed – maybe I put the point across more angstily than needed. But when you get comments like that often enough, it can get pretty damn irritating.

Gil, Madeline, Rebecca: thanks for your comments. Nope, be it conception, pregnancy or parenthood – it’s never always easy. If it were, people would be popping babies left right and centre.

z

March 13th, 2011 at 3:59 pm    


im not a mother, but i somehow think perhaps you’re taking the part about how being a parent is probably harder than being pregnant a bit too personally. i know theres a lot of emotions that run high during pregnancy (and in your case and several others too, before), but honestly… are we all that blind to how difficult it is to bring up children in this world today? yes you may have gone through a lot… and it was probably extremely painful and im sure nobody would want to go through it. but if one day your child talks back to you, or does something that really disappoints you, which im sure all of us have done to our parents before, are you sure that’s not going to feel worse? im not sure… cos you don’t know it yet. honest.

Rebecca Koh

March 13th, 2011 at 9:34 am    


I will usually snap ppl off when they speak for me. But this time round, I say thank you. It’s never easy and what makes it worse? Never ever stand still –> AGE

Madeline

March 13th, 2011 at 5:34 am    


I agree. Pregnancy is not easier than actually raising a child. At least when the baby is out, you can take turns with the husband, relatives, nanny or even helper to take care of the baby but when you’re pregnant, only you have to endure the heat stroke 24/7, the swelling, the cramps, etc.

Gillian

March 12th, 2011 at 7:04 pm    


Thanks for writing this post, dear. πŸ™‚

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