"Once you choose hope, anything is possible” – Christopher Reeve
I remember seeing this quote in a magazine, and it stuck in my head. I choose hope. Despite all the sad stories we’ve both read and heard, and all the heartbreak we have been through, my husband and I still choose to hope.
You see, we have been trying to have a baby for 6 years now. I’m 39. Years ago, when we got tested, we found out that there was nothing really wrong with either of us. The doctors put it down to ‘unexplained infertility’, a condition that a lot of couples go through and is not unusual. So, after learning about all the possible options from the internet, friends, and our doctor, we decided to try IUI, short for intrauterine insemination. It’s a fertility treatment that places the sperm inside a woman’s uterus, to increase the chance of fertilisation. Sounds good, right? It did to us, so after many heart-to-heart talks, bouts of crying and close confidence with our families and friends, we decided to go for it. IUI, and our baby.
Three attempts later, I had to come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t working for me. The grief, the devastation, the guilt... I just couldn’t take it. I was angry. So angry at everyone. Every pregnant lady I saw. Every couple with a child. Everyone who told me “It’s ok, sometimes it’s not meant to be”. Who were they to just dismiss my agony like that?!? But mostly, I was angry at my husband. And myself. It was his fault. No, it was MY fault; I’m the one supposed to bear a child. And my body just kept failing me. With each failed IUI attempt, I got more depressed; I didn’t want to talk to anyone or see anyone.
Until one day, while waiting to see my doctor at the clinic, I saw this quote. About choosing hope. And something just clicked. That visit, I had a long talk with my doctor; he was kind and understanding, yet firm and factual. He explained it all to me, and even though he had said much of this before, today, it all started to make sense. I went home, and told my husband I’m ready to try again, this time with IVF.
I read up a lot about IVF that night. In vitro fertilisation. All the pros and cons. I had heard so much about it, but this time—this time—it was really going to be happening to me. I needed to understand every bit of it. I read, my husband and I read, we compared notes and shared our hesitation. And at the end of it all, decided that we would try IVF to start a family.
And here we are. Our IVF journey. It took us some time to sort out all the tests, procedures and finances. I took two weeks off from work, because I really, REALLY, wanted this time to have a happy ending. So, clinging to each other, and to every ounce of hope, we walked in for the egg retrieval process. I had been taking hormone stimulating injections for the past two weeks, followed instructions precisely for the hormone trigger injection, and now it is 36 hours later and time to collect my mature eggs and semen from my husband.1
Long story short, it worked! And now I’m 34 weeks pregnant with twins! The specialist recommended by my doctor was great, and the clinic is exceptionally professional and kind. They call to check up on me, and are keeping such a sharp eye on every step of my progress. All the tests are showing that I am on track, and that the twins are growing well. One’s a boxer, and the other is a soccer player, for sure!
-- Alice and Shiou-Lin Teo are proud parents to Alison and Shaun, twin girl and boy babies. Delivered in July 2019. –
- City Fertility. Understanding the steps of IVF. Available at:https://www.cityfertility.com.au/understanding-the-steps-of-ivf/ Accessed: April 2020.