This post was written on 4 December 2018. I didn’t want to publish it because I wasn’t ready yet. Now seems like the right time because it’s the first part of the journey I am now on with Flo. There will be three parts to this, with the other two parts being published by end of next week. Of course, this journey is only the beginning, and there will be many more chapters to it. For now, I hope this ‘series’ will inspire hope in those of you struggling right now.
It’s been about 3 months since I wrote about my state of infertility and I thought I’d share a little more on what has been going on since then. As much as I started off reading numerous blogs on fertility treatment, particularly in Singapore, I wasn’t able to find out as much about the steps and timeline leading to starting the process of conceiving. Of course, every couple’s journey and timeline is different so please bear this in mind.
A quick recap since I shared some in my previous post related to this topic:
- I was first referred to Dr. V through my gynaecologist and was able to get an appointment to see her in July 2018. My first consultation with Dr. V was more to get my medical history, as well as to run some tests to check on my hormones, do a pelvic ultrasound and check my bone density.
- My next visit in early September 2018 was to run through my results as well as to then check my cortisol and growth hormone levels, again via a blood test. Line Flo up for a sperm test the week after, as well as put me on a 5 months’ dose of HRT since my estrogen and progesterone levels were slightly low, and to help induce a period – the third month after my period, I was to have an HSG test to check whether my fallopian tubes were clear.
Today (I’m writing this 4 December 2018), Flo and I went back to see Dr. V to receive all our outstanding test results as well as to determine our next step. We were both also subject to yet another blood test to check for HIV, syphilis, Hep B and Hep C in preparation for what’s to come.
My cortisol levels came back normal, although my IGF-1 is very very slightly lower than normal range though Dr. V said it’s nothing to worry about. Both tubes are perfectly clear so that’s awesome news!
As for Flo, his ‘men’ are very active and in very impressive numbers in the sample given so Dr. V was very happy in giving us that piece of news too.
Basically, with all our results, Dr. V advised that it’d be best for us to go for SO-IUI since my cause of infertility is known – my ovaries aren’t sending out eggs, but everything else is pretty much healthy, and Flo is definitely not hindering the conception process either. She thinks that our chances with SO-IUI is good and there’s no need to leapfrog towards undergoing IVF especially since the cost of the latter is so, SO much higher.
This leads me back to the mandatory blood test we both had to take in order to move on the beginning our journey to conception. The test results for HIV will be valid for 6 months and the ones for the other three, valid for a year. Since Flo and I will be away this Christmas period, it’s just as well we managed to get our blood tests done since they advised that to be done 2 weeks to a month in advance of starting the SO-IUI process. Hopefully, we will be all clear – I’m quite certain we are.
Come January, on Day 1 of my period, I will have to call the hospital so that I can be scheduled to start. I will be given hormone injections beginning with the smallest dose to produce and stimulate ovarian follicles i.e. eggs, this will be increased depending on how my body responds. Dr. V said that since my ovaries have been sleeping a long time, it might take 2-3 weeks instead of the average 10 days.
This process will be monitored through ultrasound which means that I will be running in and out of hospital every few days, but once everything is in place, there will be an HCG injection to aid in the final maturation and subsequent ovulation of the follicles. This is when Flo will have to do his thing and donate more of his men who will in turn be washed and catheter-ed as close to my egg(s) as possible. Then we cross our fingers and pray that magic happens. More meds are given after the procedure to increase the rate of implantation and just after two weeks, they will test for pregnancy.
This all sounds amazing on paper but I am aware of how tiring it will be not only for me, but for Flo who might have to bear with a lot of hormonal mood swings, as well as my parents who will be helping to ferry me back and forth from hospital numerous times.
To get to where Flo and I are right now has taken us about 6 months. Or rather, it will be exactly since months once we start on SO-IUI in January. Half a year seems like a long time but it’s actually flown by far quicker than I expected it to.
It certainly helped that we looked for help, more for me at first, to figure out my infertility status even before we were married. Getting test after test done to ascertain the cause of infertility, if there were any other issues aside from my absence of period, took time as well but at least Flo and I can be assured that we are both in pretty good sexual health. I’m pretty sure that for regularly menstruating women, this process will be far quicker seeing as the doctors might only need to check your tubes, and your husband’s sperm quantity and quality. Unless of course, they need to investigate possible hormonal issues.
The success rate of SO-IUI is between 12-15% but it can go as high as 36% depending on the condition hindering the process towards conceiving. I’m not a stats person but obviously the numbers make me nervous. As much as Dr. V said that our case is pretty straight-forward (making me hopeful that our chances are more towards the latter figure), it’s still not as high as say, 63%, or better yet, 75%. Still, I guess this is where faith comes into play, that, and a whole lot of positivity. As Dad always says, even if the odds are 1%, someone has to fall into that 1% category so who’s to say it won’t be you?
It’s crazy to think that in a few months’, we might be pregnant. It’s also exciting, nerve-wrecking, and scary all at the same time. I’m also trying to manage my expectations since I know that not everyone is successful the first time. Praying that all goes well for Flo and I. Will keep you updated on this journey but for now, it’s time to relax and bask in the magic of Christmas and in the love of family and friends!