I had always been worried about my fertility ever since I encountered irregular menstrual cycles when I was 18 years old. Not to mention, my skin and body hair amounts didn’t exactly depict the most feminine side a woman should be. My mother had always said it was genetics, since my dad was on the hairy side. However, as time went by, the symptoms that appeared seemed to point something wasn’t quite right. It definitely felt like hormone imbalance … but what was causing this imbalance? Am I really that prone to the effects of stress? I was constantly questioning my acne problems, irregular menstrual cycles and body hair growth. Then when I went to see doctors here to seek some advice … all of them had pre-diagnosed or suspect I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The solution? Take birth control pills. I tried it once, just to get my menstrual cycle back on track (it was quite scary not having my period for like four months). But I am never taking it again. It just didn’t seem right to me, popping a pill just to change some hormone levels in my body. How do they really know precisely what amounts to prescribe? I mean, each person is so different, right? In the end, it was all still a trial and error diagnosis: “Try Diane 35 since the last one didn’t work out so well for you. Different women respond differently to birth control pills. If this doesn’t work out, we’ll try another dose.” Growing up in Malaysia, where there is strong influence of traditional Chinese medicine, my mother would strongly advise me against these hormone pills. Instead, she said all I needed was proper sleep, eating well, and reducing stress levels. Easier said then done, especially starting a new career, in a new place, away from my husband (boyfriend at the time), and trying to make sense of why I’m still living in this cold, blizzard place … but now that I looked back … I really think she was right. The problem was I wasn’t sleeping well at all. Every single night for the past 8 years. The body uses sleep time to repair and rejuvenate the organs, and I had forgotten this important yet simple concept.
When I moved to the USA with my husband after I resigned, I thought life would be less hectic and stressful. Little did I know, I was still stressed … from the new change. Wedding planning was a big one too. It was A LOT of work. Besides, we were travelling none stop. I was trying to keep my spirits up for the wedding, but it proved difficult with my worsened acne. I knew I wasn’t going to be a pretty bride like everyone else seemed to be. Then, not too long after my father had a major accident … I definitely felt like the last two years had been a rollercoaster ride. Even though my husband and I never officially planned a suitable time to have a baby, I started to worry about my health overall. One day, I came up with a suggestion that we should just get off contraception methods. I had this weird (yes, silly) idea that if I was having fertility problems, it may take us longer than 6 months or a year to try and conceive. So why not start now? Surprisingly, my husband got convinced (tee-hee). Either he just wanted to make me happy, or he was just overly excited with the freedom. And what are the odds? Two months later, we conceived a baby.
I remember the day I suspected I was pregnant very clearly. At the time, I had not started my new job yet. In fact, I was actually getting ready to travel to Toronto, Canada, to apply for my H1-B US work visa. It was about 4 PM, and I was waiting patiently for my husband to come home from work. For some reason, I started checking out my period tracker application on the Iphone. I realized my period was two days late. Meh, for me it wasn’t a big deal … I’ve had it late before for weeks, even months. But for some reason, I decided to take a home pregnancy test that day. Creepily enough, I felt like I haven’t done one in awhile, so I’ll just do one for fun. I peed on the stick, it turned pink. I capped it. And left it on the counter while it worked out the results. And then … I saw … the plus sign. I stared it for … who knows, at least a good one minute? Trying to run through the thought process … “Ok, it is not a line. It is a plus sign. Check the instructions in the box.” I walked out into the living room. I walked back into the washroom to look at it. I walked into the bedroom, sat on the bed. My mind was blank. I walked back into the washroom to look at it again. I checked the instructions again. Yep. It was like that for the next 10 minutes. Then, I was trying to decide if I should wait for my husband to come home, or just call him? Perhaps, I was excited … perhaps, I was scared. So I instinctively picked up the phone and called my husband. He was in shock too. After that, I called my gynecologist’s office to schedule an appointment to do a check-up. That was when I heard my first “Congratulations”. The nurse informed me I was 6 weeks into pregnancy, and that the home pregnancy test results is what they go by. I was not able to get a check-up right away since they wouldn’t be able to detect a heartbeat with the fetus so small, so I was required to come in for a check up at 10-12 weeks.
We were definitely not expecting this, especially how I managed to persuade him that I may have fertility problems and it may take months before we conceive. I wasn’t sure if I was happy or not. When my husband arrived home, we sat down on the couch, and he asked me in more detail what happened. Then, we paused for a moment and held each other’s hands. We had the same expression on our faces, “What do we do next?” I had one home test pregnancy kit left. And we decided that I should try it again just to be sure even though the box said 99.9% accurate. So I peed on a stick again. And it turned pink. A pink plus sign appeared in the window again.
I don’t know if it was just early timing or it’s the way my body reacted to the news. The next morning, I started feeling sick. The notorious morning sickness of pregnancy. I felt so tired. Lethargic. I was napping so much. I think I slept almost 12-14 hours for the next few days. It was like my energy got sucked all away, and I would get so hungry every 2-3 hours. I felt like a pig, eating so much. Of course, I tried to remind myself it was for the making of this baby. The good thing was I did not vomit out everything I ate. In fact, it was better that I had eaten otherwise I would have felt really sick. My body was changing in ways I could not keep up with. It was scary, but deep down in my heart … I knew I couldn’t wait to see my first baby bump.