Saturday, 7 September 2013


Saturday, August 31st. I started my needlework. I don’t mean the embroidery, quilting, or knitting sort of needlework. I mean the kind required in IVF treatment. I’m not a big fan of injections. When I was a little girl, many grown-ups wheedled (okay, threatened) their children into behaving by saying that if they didn’t they would be taken to the doctor for an injection. I guess this is the Filipino version of the boogeyman. I don’t recall my own parents using this tactic on me or my brother but somehow the sight of other children crying during vaccination time instilled the long-lasting fear of injections in me.

About the same time I started my needlework, I wrote to my friends back home how I’ve been quite preoccupied partly because of my injections. For the first five days, it was one injection in the morning and two at night. (Day 5, there were four!) The remaining six days, it’s two in the morning and one at night. Truth be told, I was probably unconsciously fishing for sympathy and some “cheerleading.” I only realize this after their encouraging and very supportive responses. Several “You can do it!” and a “We admire your courage!” came back.

Hhhmmm. Courage. I never thought of myself as particularly being courageous in going through IVF treatment. I basked in all this positive attention but didn’t make any reply immediately.  I wanted to reflect a little bit more about this courage thing. I thought, well, the needles are actually quite small and it’s not that bad really. Early morning of the fifth day of injections, my husband and I drove to the lab. Then I thought “okay yeah. Maybe it takes a little bit of courage.” Especially for a needle non-fan and total pain wimp like me. After all, it’s not just the 3 times daily injections I have to do. There are the needles needed to take the blood test on the fifth day of injections and every two days after that. Then there’s the egg retrieval two days after the final injections . I won’t go into the details of this process for fear of scaring the wits out of some of my friends. (The curious ones can google it.) Suffice it to say that in “harvesting” the ova a needle is used to aspirate the follicles in both ovaries. Before I went through my first IVF attempt in December last year, reading the description of this process totally freaked me out. I mean, my ovaries may not be fertile but my imagination is! The actual procedure, as I experienced it months ago, wasn’t really that bad though. In fact, whatever drugs I got (as sedatives or anesthesia) made me feel relaxed. I just felt so gooood that it seemed like I have love for for all the citizens of the Earth and maybe some left over for citizens in other planets. So I’m hoping it will be a similar experience next week.   

My brother refers to my IVF injections with the Tagalog word “turok” (pronounced TWO-rook) which essentially means to pierce with a needle. In Cebuano, which is our first language, “turok” (pronounced two-RUK, emphasis on the second syllable) means to grow, sprout or develop. Being the word geek that I am, the different meanings of these almost-identical words is not lost on me.

Perhaps JD was right. I have courage. Even if it’s just a little bit. But mostly, I think I am strong in my resolve to go through the “turok” of the needles so that life can “turok” and grow successfully in my womb. 

My doctor once said that IVF is not just science. It’s also an art. 

Yup. Like embroidery, quilting, knitting and other forms of needlework.

NOTE: And... just because I’m a total geek. I will leave this footnote. Tagalog and Cebuano are among two of over a hundred of languages of the Philippines.

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