Later in 2014, Hazel’s friend, who will go unnamed of course, referred us to a doctor whose office is in Binondo, Manila, a.k.a. Chinatown. Knowing the traffic situation in Metro Manila, we scheduled our appointment on a Saturday morning. This will allow us to leave early and be accommodated quickly. And when we got to talk to the doctor, let’s call her Dr. S, we were given an interesting and unusual way to go about treating fertility.We had to take tests to verify for Antiphospholipid Antibodies Syndrome (APAS), which were some very expensive tests. The good news is that Hazel’s blood was found to just clot very quickly. The thing is, Dr. S had reservations about our chances for conception. She was concerned about our ages and medical history but nevertheless diligently educated us on what we can do to increase our chances. And based on the tests, Hazel was instructed to take aspirin daily to thin her blood and to lower the chances of subchorionic hemorrhage from happening again.
She was very good at explaining things to us as she was also teacher in a well-known school. She instructed me to always wear boxers and to avoid wearing jeans, particularly tight-fitting ones. I had to switch to slacks and shorts for my everyday clothing. We were to avoid drinking milk, raw foods, and shellfish. We were only allowed to drink room temperature water. She also recommended a treatment that for me was unsurprising with us being here in the middle of Chinatown.
I have to admit, I was slightly skeptical. I am a child of Western medicine and the idea of needles being used to cure what ails us seemed alien to me. But I kept an open mind and so we made an appointment with St. Francis Natural Healthcare (SFNH).
The one who would be treating us is Sister Regina Liu (Shengrong Liu) and she has several successful pregnancies attributed to her treatments over the years, even difficult ones. She is kind, patient, and easy to talk to. She has been practicing for over twenty years now and got her Master’s degree in Oakland, California. You read that right, Oakland.
We were given a shared cubicle because I also had to undergo treatment. As we waited our turn, we were instructed to take off our shoes and to lie on the beds. Sr. Regina arrived, and after going through our medical test results, she gave some instructions to the assistant and proceeded to place the needles in strategic points on our heads, stomachs and legs.
I do have to admit that although some of the needles stung a little, the overall experience was pleasant. There was incense at the ends of the needles on Hazel’s stomach while my stomach needles had a mild electric current running trough them. My treatment, in particular, was meant for me to lose weight and to reduce my stress levels. Hazel’s was for improving fertility and for stress reduction.
After each treatment, and we had to do this weekly, we felt refreshed and de-stressed. Unfortunately, the SFNH was located in Quezon City and the traffic to and from there was quite severe. So much for stress-busting.
After a few months of acupuncture and more appointments with Dr. S, she saw in one ultrasound that Hazel was ovulating. She quickly instructed us to go to the Kato Repro Biotech Center in Makati, a fertility center that was conveniently close to where we lived. She even mentioned that the one she is referring us to is one of her former students.
Why did she suddenly refer us to Kato instead of treating us on her own? She told us there was only so much she can do, but with Kato, they can help us have a baby through in-vitro fertilization. This is where several eggs are extracted from the mother and fertilized by sperm from the father in a petri dish. The fertilized eggs are then implanted back into the womb to see if they will take. So on that same morning, Dr. S called Kato so they could wait for us to arrive for the procedure.
To be continued.
Here is a video on acupuncture for fertility. It’s similar to what we had to go through.