Dealing with Conception issues
We interview a mom who struggled with conception issues before she eventually got pregnant. Here are her tips for couples trying to conceive. Remember - you're not alone!
1. If you have undergone any procedures like (HSG/Laprascopy/IUI/IVF/hormonal injections/any others, what would be your advice to folks who are thinking of undergoing such therapies? When do you think they should approach a doctor? What has been your approximate costs on these?
I had to undergo laparoscopy eventually after which I ended up conceiving normally along with a normal delivery. I truly had an extremely healthy and normal pregnancy which I am thankful about.
But before I could get there, unfortunately due to mis-diagnosis by a doctor in the US, I was referred to an infertility specialist who in turn put me through most of the things you mentioned above and it truly was the most torturous 2 years of my life. He told me I was only 10% fertile and hence ICSI (which comes after IVF) is the only option we had and ended up trying that method twice in a year, resulting in failure. This method involved taking hormonal injections on a daily basis and of course hoping not to get the next period. This whole process costed us nearly (US$12,000) and not to forget the stress, unhappiness, weight gain and a lot of disappointment. In a way, it pushed me to depression considering that's a time I saw most of my friends becoming pregnant.
During this whole process, I didn't speak to anyone including family about this. It was just between me and my husband. After this, I ended up speaking to a friend of mine who is a physician in the US, and she recommended me to go to a different gynaecologist. Once I went to that doctor, everything changed. She simply did a scan and told me a laparoscopy is required post which I should conceive in the next 3-4 months. And sure enough, I conceived in the 2nd month after the surgery, and since then everything was so normal, I simply couldn't believe it.
My experience makes me say this:
- People undergoing some kind of conception issue should always go for a 2nd or 3rd opinion if need be and don't get disheartened by what one doctor says.
- People should talk about this more openly instead of thinking "Why is this happening to me?", "Can't I ever have a baby?" and so on.
- It's easier and better if we can discuss this with our friends because we don't know who will be of help and when.
- It's not a subject that should be hidden.
- Never ever consult an infertility specialist until and unless more than 1 gynaecologist rule out the chance of conceiving naturally. In my case it was a pure case of negligence from the doctor, and I was later told that when you go to specialists they typically concentrate on their area only and might stop looking at other simpler possibilities.
2. If your family/friends are undergoing this procedure, what should you say or not say, do or not do?
As I mentioned above, people who are undergoing such a phase should feel free to talk about it. Though it is difficult initially, they should at least identify 1 or 2 such people with whom they can share openly without having the fear of them being critical. Families, if possible, should support such women instead of putting a continuous pressure of having a baby. The more stressed you are, the harder it gets to conceive. And unfortunately, most Asians have the mindset to ask the women when they will conceive instead of the men. The lesser they are questioned, the better.
3. What physical and mental challenges did you undergo and how did you cope with these challenges? What was your source of strength in your tough times?
Physically I ended up gaining weight. It was more of bloating, I would say. Of course, the weight gain did make me lose my confidence in a lot of instances and it tends to make you more self-critical. My husband was of a lot of support wherein he always kept saying "it will surely happen" and "not to lose hope", but still I had reached a mindset where I couldn't take any advice. Such things promote a lot of negativity. Trying to stay fit and working out regularly does help in such instances. Engaging in outdoor activities is the best way to handle our mind.
4. What resources/information were very useful for you? What would you like to share with others?
First and foremost:
- When we are undergoing such issues, it's better not to search through the internet. It has a lot of unwanted things and makes us feel "maybe I have this issue", "maybe I have that issue," and so on.
- Rely on one or two websites that will help us maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Do yoga or any other workout that will help us maintain positive energy.
- Keep in touch with family and friends and try to listen to good things though the mind naturally starts to lean towards the negative things.
- Identify a good doctor/counselor (if need be) and have regular visits.
5. What's your spouse's perspective on dealing with this journey?
It is very tough to emotionally support someone when having issues trying to get pregnant. When you are having difficulty getting pregnant, it is very important to get a complete checkup of both the spouses. Before spending a lot of money on expensive procedures, ensure that you get 2 - 3 additional opinions. The biggest mistake we did was in not asking for a second or third opinion. Since this is such an emotional issue for women, they tend to get even more withdrawn and try not to talk to other women or couples. That again is a big mistake since you can learn a lot from others who have had similar issues. After spending a lot of money we realised that a minor surgery was required to remove some cysts. The doctor either missed or deliberately did not tell us. We will never know. Once the money went down the drain, and he was recommending another round, we went for a second opinion and realised the need for surgery.
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