"I RISKED MY LIFE TO HAVE MY BABY"

PAMELA KRISNA FEELS IN­CRED­I­BLY BLESSED TO HAVE A HEALTHY BABY GIRL AF­TER EN­DUR­ING AN EMO­TIONAL ROLLER COASTER OF OP­ER­A­TIONS, DIS­AP­POINT­MENTS AND DAILY IN­JEC­TIONS.

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Front Page - BY SU­NITA SHAH­DAD­PURI

Long nights at the of­fice were the norm for 35-year-old ar­chi­tect Pamela Krisna, while her hus­band, Wahyu Hi­dayat Ng, 38, trav­elled fre­quently for work. De­spite their de­mand­ing ca­reers, they were keen to start a fam­ily im­me­di­ately when they got mar­ried in 2005.

Pamela didn’t fore­see any dif­fi­cul­ties – her men­strual cy­cle was nor­mal, although she of­ten ex­pe­ri­enced pain dur­ing her pe­ri­ods. But af­ter try­ing to con­ceive for a year with­out suc­cess, she con­sulted a doc­tor and found out that she had en­dometrio­sis.

TWO OP­ER­A­TIONS IN TWO YEARS

A con­di­tion where tis­sues that nor­mally line the uterus at­tach to other or­gans, en­dometrio­sis may cause the for­ma­tion of cysts, le­sions and scar tis­sue.

“My doc­tor ad­vised me to un­dergo an op­er­a­tion to re­move the ab­nor­mal tis­sue and two cysts on my ovaries, to im­prove my chances of con­ceiv­ing,” says Pamela.

How­ever, more than a year af­ter the surgery, she still couldn’t get preg­nant nat­u­rally. An ul­tra­sound then re­vealed that the cysts had come back.

In 2008, she un­der­went another round of surgery helmed by a dif­fer­ent doc­tor, to re­move the cysts.

Fol­low­ing her re­cov­ery from the sec­ond op­er­a­tion, Pamela and her hus­band tried in­trauter­ine in­sem­i­na­tion (IUI) in 2009. The pro­ce­dure in­volves us­ing a catheter to place sperm in­side the uterus, to in­crease the chances of fer­til­i­sa­tion.

DASHED HOPES

Af­ter one cy­cle of IUI, Pamela thought she was preg­nant when she missed her pe­riod, but a blood test showed that the IUI had not been suc­cess­ful.

Pamela and Wahyu were dis­mayed at the re­sult. “It was dif­fi­cult when well-mean­ing friends and fam­ily asked us when we were go­ing to have a baby,” re­calls Pamela. “And it hap­pened all the time at fam­ily gath­er­ings or when we vis­ited friends in the hos­pi­tal af­ter they had a baby. We would al­ways down­play our predica­ment and re­ply that we were try­ing or just too busy. It got es­pe­cially hard dur­ing Chi­nese New Year gath­er­ings. Once, an un­cle even shoved a baby into my face and said: ‘See how cute she is? Are you sure you don’t want one?’”

STAY­ING RES­O­LUTE

Pamela and Wahyu’s doc­tor ad­vised them to use donor eggs to con­ceive, but they re­fused. Both their fam­i­lies were not keen on the idea of adop­tion ei­ther.

By 2010, Pamela and Wahyu de­cided that in-vitro fer­til­i­sa­tion (IVF) was the only op­tion left. But fur­ther com­pli­ca­tions arose.

“An ul­tra­sound re­vealed that not only had the cysts re­turned, they were em­bed­ded in my blad­der this time round,” says Pamela. “My doc­tor told us it would be more dif­fi­cult to re­move the growths be­cause of where they were lo­cated, and re­ferred us to his col­league. The last thing I wanted was to go through more surgery, but to try IVF, we had to first re­move the cysts.”

Pamela’s third op­er­a­tion in four years was over eight hours long and she needed a longer re­cov­ery pe­riod. But her hus­band and fam­ily were com­pletely sup­port­ive through­out the en­tire process.

Six months later, the cou­ple tried IVF, only to have it fail at the fer­til­i­sa­tion stage. They went for a sec­ond round the next year – Pamela took a long break from work and tried acupunc­ture ther­apy too, hop­ing for a mir­a­cle. But it was not meant to be; the IVF failed again.

“It was so dis­ap­point­ing and frus­trat­ing. If only we knew why it didn’t work, we could have looked into al­ter­na­tive ther­a­pies,” she says.

THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM?

Af­ter the an­guish of two failed IVF at­tempts, the cou­ple took a year­long break from the pres­sure they’d been fac­ing. They de­cided to try IVF again in Jan­uary 2013. But this time, be­fore begin­ning the third cy­cle, Pamela was found to have an au­toim­mune dis­or­der – she had high lev­els of an­ti­nu­clear an­ti­bod­ies (ANA), which could af­fect her chances of get­ting preg­nant.

She had to un­dergo a pro­ce­dure called in­tra­venous im­munoglob­u­lin ther­apy, which is given over four hours through an in­tra­venous drip, and aims to com­bat the an­ti­bod­ies that might sab­o­tage the IVF process.

Fi­nally, their per­se­ver­ance paid off

“It was dif­fi­cult when well-mean­ing friends and fam­ily asked us when we were go­ing to have a baby.”

when their third IVF at­tempt was a suc­cess. But in­stead of be­ing able to heave a sigh of relief, the cou­ple had to worry about the com­pli­ca­tions of Pamela’s high ANA lev­els, his­tory of en­dometrio­sis and mul­ti­ple op­er­a­tions. Her doc­tor sug­gested that she con­sult a gy­nae­col­o­gist spe­cial­is­ing in high-risk preg­nan­cies, to see her through the rest of her term.

“Af­ter eight years of surg­eries and pro­ce­dures to get to where we were, this baby was so very pre­cious to us. We met with the doc­tor and were com­forted by his ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence, so we de­cided to put our trust in him,” says Pamela.

A RISKY PREG­NANCY

Fol­low­ing a thor­ough con­sul­ta­tion, the doc­tor ran a blood test on Pamela. “When he got the test re­sults two weeks later, he gave me a call and re­quested that I see him im­me­di­ately, ahead of my next ap­point­ment. I knew right away some­thing was wrong,” says Pamela.

She was di­ag­nosed with throm­bophilia, also known as sticky blood syn­drome, a con­di­tion where there are in­suf­fi­cient lev­els of an­ti­co­ag­u­lant to pre­vent the blood from over­clot­ting.

The doc­tor ex­plained that this could put the baby’s life at risk, since throm­bophilia has been linked to

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