12 July 2021, by Patrina Tan

Taking Baby Steps

If you read my post a few months ago, I talked about how I went for a cyst surgery and the doctor advised me to try more often in the following months as there is a higher chance of getting pregnant. Hoping that was it, we gave our best shot (or he did, HAHAHA!).

It has been 5 months since and we have not seen any results. So we thought maybe it’s time to seek help again. We did our fertility check 2 years ago and felt that we should go for another round of checks together. So after some research, I decided on a gynae at KKH.

What came next sent me down a resentment path of choosing the doctor who operated on me. The gynae asked why I was put through an open surgery instead of a keyhole and why the discharge summary noted that I had extensive adhesions. I couldn’t answer any of her questions because the previous gynae told me “All’s good”. But there was really no point in harping on it because it had been done and the truth is, it did help me with my cramps.

The gynae then ordered 1 blood test, 1 pelvis ultrasound scan, 1 HSG and a sperm test (for John). Sadly, it is another blow to our pockets.

Before the pelvis ultrasound and HSG appointment, I went around asking my friends about their experience with HSG. Most of them told me it’s a bit uncomfortable and it feels like you’re having cramps. Even though I have high pain tolerance, I don’t know why this scares me. I remember breaking down after the appointment at KKH, telling John that I am so tired of this journey. Why do I have to go through all these? What was I expecting from the consultation? That the doctor has some miracle remedy for me?

A few weeks later, I decided to go for it. Because the HSG test will determine if my tubes are blocked. If they are, then I am only left with one resort, IVF. The checks were scheduled at Thomson Medical. John could tag along but he was restricted from going into the room with me. Did the ultrasound first and unfortunately, the cysts are back. This time bigger in size and in both ovaries. My heart sank because I just spent $16k removing one in Jan and less than 6 months later, they are back?! But my HSG test was fine. It was not as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. The key is to relax and breathe. It is similar to a Pap smear. But an additional step is they will insert a rubber tube through the plastic scope and inject a dye to see if it flows through. I was awake the whole time and saw the dye flowed through.

Brought the X-rays back to the gynae at KKH and it was then that she confirmed that I have endometriosis. And the only way to stop the cyst from forming is to take contraceptive pills, which is counterintuitive to my pregnancy journey. We asked about IUI, but the success rate for endometriosis patients is at 5-10%. So we can forget about that. Then she brought up IVF. Even though I am not completely against it, I am not ready to go through the process. I am not ready to jab myself every day for 2 weeks. I feel that one must be ready before they make such a big decision if not, they will hate themselves for going through the pain. Also, there is a risk for endometriosis patients to go through IVF because there could be a chance where the needle might hit the cyst. But everything comes with risk luh. And the success rate is 50%. Another way is to keep trying until we succeed as we are still young. So I told the gynae that I will think about it.

Spent 10 minutes de-briefing with John in the car. I feel bad for him for marrying a defective woman. But John has his way of consoling me. He read that 1 in every 10 women has endometriosis and it is quite common. While it is not the end of the world, it will just be harder for us to conceive. We concluded that we will continue trying without aid and if it is still fruitless in 2 years, we will consider IVF then. We also know that the longer we take to decide, the higher the risk of me developing more cysts and the lower the chance of IVF success rate. But this is a risk we are willing to take. Meanwhile, what we can do is maintain a healthy lifestyle and have faith.

If you are going through endometriosis, you’re not alone. I hope you can pick up a thing or two through my experience. If you have the means to go for the checks, do it. Equip yourself with all you need to know about your body to make a more informed decision and plan early. It is necessary, albeit expensive.

To summarise, here are some lessons I learnt:

1️⃣ Pay attention to your body. If you have been experiencing bad cramps, don’t wait, seek help.
2️⃣ Not ready for a baby yet? Go for regular checks anyway! Early detection might give you a longer runway to plan.
3️⃣ Some checks are uncomfortable but it’s a lot of mind over matter. Don’t scare yourself with what others experienced.
4️⃣ To husbands out there, be supportive of your wife. Know that it is more disheartening for her to go through this than you. Emotional and physical support is very important. Even if you don’t know what to say, being there would mean a lot.

 

The road to conceiving seems far. But I’m taking baby steps to get to it. Having good mental health is most important. Don’t think lesser of yourself just because you lack in this area. Don’t let anyone pressure you in anything, you do you. It’s your body.

Will like to end off by thanking John and our parents for giving me the space I needed after all the consultations. I am stronger because of them. Thank you. <3

Did you know:
> You can use MediSave to pay for Assisted Conception Procedures (ACP), click here to find out more!
> There is government co-funding for Assisted Conception Procedures (ACP), click here to find out more!

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7 Comments

Patrina Tan

Patrina Tan

September 9th, 2021 at 2:07 pm    


Hi Elida,

Thank you for your encouragement. We are still discussing on IVF and might possibly go for it in Nov. Thank you for the glimpse of hope. And congrats on your successful try with IVF! All the best to you and your husband too. 🙂

jas H

July 14th, 2021 at 11:39 am    


I am also struggling to conceive, one of my fallopian tube is blocked but here we are, still trying and hoping that soon i could still conceive naturally.

Elida

July 13th, 2021 at 9:31 pm    


Hi Patrina, I usually don’t leave comments but I had to after reading your story as I was in your shoes a few years ago and felt I had to give you encouragement. I had irregular periods since forever and decided to go for a check since we were TTC. Found out that I had PCOS and a cyst (about 7cm) and had to remove it. Gynae then assured that me that it was going to increase my TTC chances after the cystectomy. Like you, I did an open surgery cos she said it was “cleaner”. And so I did. Everything went well. After 6-9 months, there weren’t any good news and I was getting frantic. Decided to check in with a fertility doctor and like you, he asked why I did open surgery as it could cause adhesions. A simple keyhole will do it. Anyway long story short, we did clomid, femera, IUIs and finally our first IVF was a success. It wasn’t as scary as it sounds. Believe me. Anyway I just wanna say jiayou and all the best.

Patrina Tan

Patrina Tan

July 13th, 2021 at 4:28 pm    


Hello. That was what the doctor advised. I guess its an upfront disclaimer she has to mention. From what I read, the needle will reach the ovaries to retrieve the egg, no? There could be a chance where the needle penetrate the cyst because the doc won’t be able to see where the cyst is and the needle is straight, so I guess its unavoidable? This is my personal experience with the doc. You should still seek advice from your doctor.

Patrina Tan

Patrina Tan

July 13th, 2021 at 4:22 pm    


Hello! Thank you for your support! Will def encourage you guys to go for the fertility check. We went to Thomson Fertility Clinic at Novena. They offer a range of comprehensive checks. 🙂

Jeremy&Angela

July 13th, 2021 at 2:44 pm    


Thumps up and respect for your Pat.
I came to follow Jonathan and your IG after watching his YouTube videos and became interested in the fertility test which you guys went through.

Now is myself and my wife’s thoughts of getting the test too as we are also trying for a baby but still no news of any yet.

Do you hav any advice for us?

Vimaljit Kaur

July 13th, 2021 at 10:45 am    


hi there, is it medically verified that the needle could hit the cyst? the needles are not very long and I really doubt they can reach the ovaries. If that were the case, the egg retrieval would not have required entry through the uterus. Please could you verify this as many women/couples rely on information listed here.

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