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When God closes a door, He will open a window

My husband, Tarzan, and I have been married for 10 years. Throughout this time, we have been unable to conceive a child. Although Tarzan has always been very supportive and our life together has been very
 happy, there still remained a feeling of emptiness in my heart that only a child can fill.

In my hope of battling infertility, I have undergone many assisted reproduction treatments ranging from Western to Chinese medicine. The rollercoaster ride of emotions, from hope to disappointment, has been very painful for me. I came to dread my family and friends’ greeting of “Are you pregnant yet?” every time we see each other. I understood that their queries are out of a deep concern for us; but eventually, I could not stand the hurt and respectfully asked them to stop inquiring.

I found out that the cause of my infertility was caused by hyperprolactinemia. Despite this problem, my husband and I continued and optimistic that I could still get pregnant naturally. We never thought to enter into an IVF program until last year, just before Tarzan was to compete in the World Olympic Games. We started 2 cycles of treatment; unknowing that the medication administered to my husband, Clomiphene, was listed as a prohibited drug to Olympic athletes. Tarzan stopped taking the medication 6 months prior to the games but it was already too late. People were up-in-arms against him, mistakenly thinking that he was deliberately attempting to cheat. 10 years of training and hard work went down the drain. Every time we recall that period, we feel very ashamed and responsible for letting the nation down. It was a relief that the international coach believed we only took the medication to increase our chances of pregnancy. We were very touched that our friends also continued to support us. In fact, one of them introduced us to Dr.○ of the e-Stork Reproductive Center.

After preliminary examinations, Dr. ○ informed us that aside from hyperprolactinemia, my ovary functions have also decreased already. Taking our age into consideration, he recommended we enter into an IVF program wherein my husband will not need to take any medication.

People have told me that IVF treatments were very painful but it was tolerable. Since my antral follicle count was low during the first cycle, I started my second round of treatments. For the next 2 months I was administered injections, I tried to keep a strong attitude; assuring my husband, relatives and friends that I was okay. Inside though, I felt very hopeless and worried. At that time, my husband needed to go for training in South Camp and I will have to go through the treatment cycle alone. It was only on the day Dr. ○ successfully harvested oocyte from me that I finally broke down in tears – my husband did not know what came over me!

I had 2 good embryos that can be implanted. Though I overheard another patient had 6 embryos, I tried not to get discouraged as it was only the first trial. I prayed very hard to God. The next four weeks I waited for any signs of change in my body. I comforted myself with the thought that we have already waited 10 years for a baby, we can always try another IVF cycle if it does not succeed this time. I didn’t buy any home pregnancy tests and decided to hold off until the announcement date.

Then, finally a phone call came. I’m pregnant and my HCG level was at 700 plus! I was ecstatic – I couldn’t stop saying thank you to the nurse who called us. I ran out of the room to tell my mom and we cried together out of relief and gratitude. It was then I realized how much she was also sharing in my burden. My mom immediately went to give thanks to God. I was so grateful! God really did hear my prayers and opened a window for us! Despite the Chinese superstition that it is better to wait 3 months before announcing a pregnancy, my husband could not stop himself from broadcasting the good news to his friends.

In another 3 weeks, I heard my baby’s heartbeat. I’m a mom! I was so excited and started to think about what diet I should have or what I can do to help my baby grow healthy. Tarzan would always rush home every time he had a break from training to be with me. He is here now, taking care of me and handling the household – I’m not allowed to do anything!

We feel so thankful to our family, friends, Dr. ○ and all the staff at the e-Stork Reproductive Center. All the couples who have went through an IVF treatment surely felt the same high and lows as we did. It was a very hard and long journey. You can always pop a pill when sick, but the feeling of hopeful anticipation mixed with the dread of disappointment during the waiting period can’t be made instantly better. Despite Tarzan’s necessary absence during my treatment, everything went smoothly with the caring encouragement of family, friends and the e-Stork medical team. I advice any couple who would like to have a baby to remain strong and patient – choose the right team to help you.

I am so happy and thankful that even if God closed a door for us, He opened a window.

Mr. and Mrs. Cheng Tarzan
March 3, 2009

Ms. Julia’s prayer to the embryo

“Today, Auntie Julia is your caretaker on behalf of your mom and dad. You are very special. Your parents have waited 10 long years for a baby like you and they love you very much. Auntie Julia is willing to give up her day off just to protect you and make sure you hold on tight to your mommy’s womb. We were all so happy to see you developing inside your mom’s ovaries. I am much honored to have helped find you the perfect mom. I pray that you will grow-up healthy and strong – becoming a source of joy to your parents everyday of your life.”

Insights from Dr. Lai

We all still remember the day we harvested the oocyte from Mrs. Cheng. The whole e-Stork team gave up their Sunday in order to create a life. Our lab technicians worked hard to acquire 2 good quality embryos from the 4 harvested egg cells. At first, we all hoped that the egg cells will all be good in order to fulfill the wish of Mr. and Mrs. Cheng to have triplets. But, in truth, even with just the successful birth of a single baby, I will feel very satisfied already.

My first impression of Mr. and Mrs. Cheng was that they were a couple of excellent moral character. Mr. Cheng had a wonderful sense of humor. I thought surely God will bless these people with the wonderful gift of a child. Unfortunately, our first trial yielded low-quality egg cells so we all decided to change our treatment approach from IVF to IUI. In our wish to help them become parents, we were under a lot of pressure and worry.

The mother of Mrs. Cheng seemed very understanding and empathizes with her daughter’s pain in fighting against infertility. A strong advice to family and friends – please refrain from asking the question, “Are you pregnant yet? Do you have any children?” Although these queries stem from your concern, they may cause embarrassment and unnecessary hurt to couples already burdened by infertility.

IVF treatments are getting very common nowadays and are virtually painless. If all circumstances are good, the success rate is high at 50%. Usually, it will only take about 2 cycles to achieve pregnancy. Every year, there are more IVF treatments ongoing; and, in 2008 about 50,000 IVF babies were born.

I thank Mr. and Mrs. Cheng Tarzan for appreciating our efforts in assisting them achieve conception. I pray that they will be blessed with a smooth journey throughout their pregnancy until the birth of their child. I hope they will be able to visit soon with their baby and join our e-Stork family!
Stork Fertility Center Stork Fertility Center Author