Thursday, February 9, 2023

[IVF Journey] The Beginning



My blood test result showed normal ranges for my TSH, T3, and T4. I've had Graves Disease (Hyperthyroidism) since university. I didn't mind it at the time since my symptoms were mild and my condition was well-controlled as long as I was on my med - Tapazole. 

This became a concern when I got married though. My thyroid specialist wanted me to enter remission and off Tapazole before trying for a baby. Fortunately for us, we wanted a year of alone time anyway after our wedding, and after that planned year, my thyroid became stable. After years of being on meds, I was finally on remission!

On the day I received my blood test results, we tried without contraception. We predicted it might take us around 6 months to a year to get pregnant, and that was just a test run. With zero expectations, came my period date. My period has always been the most accurate thing, yet lo and behold, it was late ! Frank urged me to take a pregnancy test but I told him it was impossible and refused to. I waited until a few days later and peed on a stick. Moments later, A POSITIVE SIGN APPEARED, and we gasped out loud. 

Little did I know then, that positive sign was only the beginning of my painful infertility journey. 

I wrote the blog below when we first found out about this pregnancy : 

I am still in great disbelief as I am typing this ...

How It All Started... 

I'm pregnant ! Typing out these words now somehow makes it seem more official.  I guess this whole pregnancy thing hasn't really hit me yet. It feels as un-intimate as peeing on a plastic stick, which is what brought us the pregnancy news, and our closest "encounter" with our baby so far.

The news came as a huge surprise, but it wasn't an "accident" per se, here's the lead up : 

A bit of a background story, Frank and I have been married for almost a year, we both eventually want children in our lives, but the urgency of having them now, isn't high. Recently, however, I have seen a lot of couples around us having difficulties trying to conceive. I have also witnessed a few friends' IVF journey. It's not easy, and my heart often goes up and down with their good and bad news. I also know women who are similar to my age, freezing their eggs, just in case.

I have hyperthyroidism but my condition has been stable, and I am off medication. The best time to conceive is now, because who knows when my thyroid will act up again. It's ideal to not be on any medicine during pregnancy. It is also said that hyperthyroidism patients may find it difficult to conceive.

Due to all these stressing factors, Frank and I decided to do one practice run. Okay, it's going to get a little more private here, but I hope I can document this as raw and honest as a personal diary. So pardon me, and here it comes. Prior to this "practice run", Frank has never came inside me as one of our contraception methods. So we wanted to have this trial to make sure the both of us are comfortable for him to ejaculate inside me.

"It will at least take us half a year of trying", we presumed, given the fact that we are both not that young anymore.

We didn't think it'd be a "one shot wonder".

The Finding Out 

Couple of weeks later, my normally punctual period didn't arrive in due time. I didn't take it to heart as it is still normal to be a few days late. And I was almost 90% sure I wasn't pregnant, because I just had a feeling that I wasn't that fertile. Frank brought back a pregnancy test when I was 4 days late for my period. 

"Just check it", he urged. 

"Sure, but I'm sure I'm not pregnant", I replied with my odd sense of confidence. 

I got off bed and gave the digital stick my first morning pee.

Suddenly, I felt a little nervous. I'm not sure I'm ready to be a mom yet, but I also wish I'm fertile. While waiting for the result, I was struggling with what I wish would appear on the screen. 

Then I saw a big firm YES, all in capital letters - It can look like an ecstatic YAS or it can look like a solemn YES, to ensure you take all your responsibilities. 

I gasped with hands over my mouth, and stared at the result for a good couple of seconds. My first thought was NO THIS CANNOT BE RIGHT. Then I guess I was happy for the next second before shock took over again. Then I ran to press my body against the wall and held on to our towel rack - I guess trying to escape from this reality for a moment to calm myself and digest the news ? 

I remember somewhere in between what's mentioned above, I shouted "Noooooooooo, Nooooooooo" repeatedly for a bit, not knowing what that "No" exactly stood for. In hindsight, I think it was a combination of "No, I can't believe this" and "No, I'm not sure I'm ready this quickly". 

Frank was obviously calmer (and I am normally very animated). His reaction was more straight forward, he was in shock but very happy.

I was a ball of confused emotions.

The Immediate After          

Frank left for work after, and I resumed to my regular routine. I worked from home that day. 

My feelings became more neutral. I was neither happy nor anxious. I guess while the result was astonishing, all I did was peeing on a stick after all, so I really couldn't feel too much. I didn't feel pregnant both mentally or physically. I didn't suddenly unlocked any unknown maternal instinct nor did I grow any affection for what's starting to grow in me. 

I felt as normal as any other weekday.

But logically, I thought I should research about pregnancy - the do's and don'ts. So I don't unintentionally do anything harmful. I then booked an appointment to see our family doctor.

These are the few things I did during the immediate after, that I find helpful : 

- Calculated my possible due date (and the possible horoscope of my baby, which is very important), which is by adding 40 weeks to the first day of my last menstrual period.

- Researched about early pregnancy symptoms so I know what to expect.

- Researched about the Do's and Don'ts.

- Download "What to Expect When You're Expecting". It's very informative and handy.

- Book an appointment with the family doctor.

- Take a photo of your pregnancy test because you will want to save that for memory's sake !

- Take a tummy photo because I know I will want to document my bump growth.

- Watch Netflix to take my mind off things for a bit.

Albeit that initial shock, the pregnancy hasn't really hit me at this point. I guess it was the same with Frank. He did the same research at work and sent me the things I should be aware of and expect. Frank is never an expressive person. And he's not as dramatic and exaggerated (as me) when it comes to reactions. But I could tell he was happy, relieved, and nervous for new responsibilities.

Frank came back with another pregnancy test, this one with the capacity to tell you how far along pregnant you are. I peed again, and it showed that I was 2 - 3 weeks pregnant, which we already knew, because we knew exactly when it happened. But the second test double confirmed the reality.

I could never imagine myself being a mom, because to be honest, I'm not a baby person, or a kid person. I don't have any special affection for children. I don't find them extra cute just because they are small. I don't know how to baby talk or interact with them on their level. I find their games and conversations boring. And often times, I find myself very impatient and annoyed around these little human beings. I'm the Grinch for children. My special request for my wedding was "Adults Only", you get the picture.

But I always knew I will eventually want my own children and hopefully will love them.

And I always find the idea of pregnancy to be extremely sweet and romantic - growing a life that's created with my life-partner. It's going to be our first big project. I also always find pregnant women exquisitely beautiful. I like the way they carry themselves. There's a graceful, knowing, and satisfied demeanor that shines through each of them, I want to feel what they feel to exert that vibe. There's also something about them rubbing their baby bumps that really moves me - I want to do that, too.

While the journey is still long ahead, all 40 weeks long; I am excited to explore this new phase in life, to watch myself change in all the ways unimaginable now. I still lack the "I can't wait to meet the baby" affection, at this early stage. But I cannot wait to see how Frank will grow into his new acquired role, because I know he is going to be an amazing father, and that will make me love him even more. I can't wait to see our marriage grow stronger and more like a family after this new addition. I can't wait to experience magic, because it still feels like magic to me, and I think it always will.

Albeit the difficulty afterwards, I'm thankful for the opportunity to experience that initial shock and happiness of finding out a pregnancy like a normal, naturally conceived couple. I also treasure the memory of us sharing a handful of blissful pregnant weeks together as newly weds, until the bad news happened. 

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