Got married at twenty two and the Catholic parish church from my hometown Calauan, Laguna asked us for the parents consent because apparently, only age twenty five and above was the “right age” to get married under the Catholic church which surprised me, I thought I am an adult already. I love my life with two responsible, loving and selfless parents who are giving us everything, their whole world and everything our hearts desire. My hubby had a good job, an I.T professional under the best school with a good health insurance from his work. Makati Medical Center is one of the best that time and that was 14 years ago, I remember my gynecologist name Dr. Grace Luna. How can I forget, we have the same first name. All I can remember for six months of getting us pregnant was a pill called "Clomid", she prescribed that fertility pill for me and Buco Juice? Laguna is two hours drive to that hospital and our expectations of getting pregnant till we both decided to moved to the land of green and honey never happened.
Life in the states was different, almost everyone are polite, first class service anywhere I go, no culture shock for me, everything or everyone is equal. Got the best health service provider from Aetna, the hubby was working for one of the biggest financial company located at Wall Street, New York City. I am living an American dream. For almost three years, we are still trying to have a baby till my Filipina American gynecologist referred me to one endocrinologist who little I knew would change my life forever.
Let me give you some background about this person who changed my life. He was Dr. Daniel Navot M.D. Has an illustrious career in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility spanning over 30 years. Dr. Navot, as early as 1977 was running the renowned 'infertility clinic' at the Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem Israel. He considers Professor Bruno Lunenfeld, the first physician to successfully employ complex ovulation induction as his mentor. By 1978 Dr. Navot was on the pioneering team of In Vitro Fertilization in Jerusalem Israel. Already an accomplished fertility specialist he became a visiting scientist at The Jones Institute of Reproductive Medicine in Norfolk, Virginia, then the preeminent center for IVF in the Nation. In 1987 he became the Director of In Vitro Fertilization Program at Mount Sinai Medical Center and subsequently Professor and Chief of Division of Reproductive Endocrinology in the same institution. During his tenor at Mount Sinai he has propelled the division to become one of the leading programs in the Nation in infertility treatment, in vitro fertilization, egg donation and cryopreservation. In 1994 Dr. Navot has established the Fertility Institute of New Jersey and New York in Bergen County, New Jersey, the first full service fertility center in northern New Jersey. Dr. Navot has Board Certifications from both the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American College of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. ( from his own website http://drnavot.net/).
My husband and I went to this city inside New Jersey where we live that time, the time that we both must be at the clinic was before Seven am in the morning. In the wall before the door, I read the name of the clinic and it’s “Reproductive Health Clinic”. Before that time we arrived, more than ten couples were there already, waiting and some are already browsing the picture album with all the babies and their families. I got a chance to browse the photo albums and I saw multiples of babies in one birth delivery from one mother. There were quadruplets, identical, fraternal and some till seven babies born at the same time in one mother. I felt somewhat jealous from those mommies who have bundles of joy, not only one but multiples. The clinic is a Reproductive Health Clinic, everyone here are trying to get pregnant just like me. I am so happy when the nurse called my name. it’s my time now to meet my endocrinologist.
He was sitting behind the table, writing something, white, he is a Jew I supposed, wearing eyeglasses and with a smile, he asked me and my husband to sit down for some interview first to know something about us. I told him I am taking "Clomid" to get pregnant and for almost three years that’s what I am taking, never been tested for some fertility issues and even my husband. He asked me what country where I am from and after some more question and answers with regards to my menstruation and body. He tells me that I need to have a test, like an X’ray but this time to check my ovary. I did the test and after that told me that I have a “Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome” (POS). This is why I have an irregular menstruation and ovulation where the fertilization of the egg will happen only that time. He told me also that "Clomid" must be taken with limitation like two months then if it will not result to pregnancy must be stopped. He told me all the procedure that we will do, there will be no pills, but all will be through injections. He took a three inches needle with water inside and told my husband what to do because everything for the estrogen level or points to become pregnant will be done even the injections by my husband in our home. My hubby tested the injection process on me with that three inches needle. After teaching us all the process or procedure, he prescribed the meds needed. That’s the start of everything for me.
Several injections for legs and arms, my husband as an I. T professional became a doctor of sort and figuring out the best way or angle of the needle before he injects. Several check up after some weeks about my blood level, blood pressure and estrogen level. Different meds prescribed and continuous injections at home. The time came when Dr. Navot told us that it’s time for us to do the insemination in which is after two to three days. We did the insemination. A lot of prayers, a lot of faith and hope that soon both of us will be going to have a baby, I don’t care about the gender as long as they are healthy. After a week, excited we are, we bought a pregnancy test, two boxes, I checked, waited then there’s a very blurry line, I’m confused though excited to show that to Troy, my husband, we don’t know what to think, the line is so light, we cannot even see it. We did the test every day, the line becomes darker and darker...we were pregnant at last after three long years.
A healthy baby girl was born. the joy of having a complete family is indescribable. We gave her lots of toys, all the books that I could read for her and as a newly made mom, everything came naturally. We never been happier, but much happier were both my husband’s parents and my parents, they are both first time grandmas and grandpas because Troy and I are both the eldest child.
After two years, 2002, we decided to consult Dr. Navot again, this time for another baby. We did the same process. I got gestational diabetes that time. Had a nutritionist too to monitor what kind of food I need to take and how much food for the health of my baby and me. We did the pregnancy test at the clinic. Dr. Navot shows to me six dark big spots. He told me to my surprised, six eggs have been fertilized. I am stunned with joy never thinking about the consequences. Dr. Navot told me that there was still no heartbeat and that some of the dots will perish in time but not always. I told that to my husband through phone, excited I am and as I recalled it, there’s a huge silence. He cannot believe it. That multiple result was the cause of the prescribed meds issued to me to make sure that there’s going to be a multiple fertilized egg. The process from the first try we did was the same, though the first baby is “single” or only one as they call it, it’s usually possible to have multiples when one use the process I did to get pregnant and they are calling it IVF or In Vitro Fertilization.
After a couple of weeks, I came back to the clinic, did the same process again to check the dark fertilized result, but this time, four got heartbeats. I'm going to have quadruplets. I suddenly called my husband and again, with long pause. We are all excited till after a couple of months, my new Korean gynecologist told me that because I am petit, with 5 ft height and weighing 90 pound, I need to choose between one or two babies only, not four due to my built and that I cannot literally can bear four babies in my tummy, our body has limitation and for me, must be one or two, that’s the most important choice and decision I ever did, to make a choice, meaning, my four babies inside my tummy, two of them must be gone in order for the other two to survive. No choice for me but instead of one, my doctor said but I chose two.
Yes, everything you heard about salt is true. At Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City is where going to do the procedure, the procedure I will never forget for the rest of my life. There were two three inches needles with salt. The doctors explained to us what will be the procedure, there’s a monitor where we could both see my four babies and the exact procedure that will be happened, that’s where the needle with salt will be put directly to the fetus heart and wait till the heartbeats gone and since they will removed two, it will be two times with different needles, no amnesia and that’s the hardest part of my pregnancy, literally, I feel the pain and felt hell. They are gone now and they will be just inside my body while I have two fetus with heartbeat with me. The doctor told me to rest for fifteen minutes then off we can go. I am so surprised, that simple? Though that time and experienced will never be forgotten.
Gave birth to my twins, they are both healthy though the weights were 3.9 pounds and 4.3 pounds respectively. Small but imagine combining both of their weights if singlet? 8.2 pounds, and that’s heavy. Another wonderful event in my life which only after seven months where I found out I am pregnant with multiples. Because of the technology in the states and a good hospital service, even though the babies were born at seven months, they are alive and healthy. Another woman doctor in the hospital where I gave birth was amazing. Maybe it’s her advocacy when she found out that for days I still don’t have milk. She lend me the automatic breast pump from the hospital, issued some meds and told me what to eat always, with soup and lot’s of protein. I followed her advised and unexpectedly, I have tons of milk for my twins.
Because of what happened to me, because of the great blessings I received and realization that if I stayed in the Philippines then, 12 years ago even with a good hospital, people will call me "Baog" or childless or without the capability to bore a child but with the new and modern technology and advanced education in the states nothing is impossible. What’s the difference? Both with good health insurance, good hospitals...you decide based from this story of my life. I have three healthy, pretty, smart and loving children now and without the help of Dr. Navot and my hubby’s work in the states, I will never be this super duper happy like now. My family is complete and I have three amazing children to teach good morals and values just like what my parents did.
The issue today "When does life begin?" from my experienced, it depends on the perception and background of an individual. A very sensitive question and different answers came from different authorities. When I had those six dark spots were the fertilized eggs can be seen with the use of the latest technology or Sonogram, does it mean there’s life already? With heartbeats, was it the beginning of life? Because we said that when somebody died, he lost the heartbeat. I asked Dr. Navot about this and this is his answer, the exact message he sent, which I received through email.
Very happy to hear that all is well with you and your family. The
topic of "when does life begin" is on of the more complicated moral
and philosophical questions. Each moral, religious and Intellectual
authority would have a different definition. The most liberal concept
is that life begins with Fetal Viability, namely around the 24th week
of gestation. The strictest definition would define it at time of
unification of gametes, or in other words successful fertilization of
an egg by a sperm. Other landmark suggestions are at the time of
embryo implantation (7-8 days after ovulation), missed period or
observation of fetal heart beats on Ultrasound (4-5 weeks after
Personally I tend to have a liberal view on this topic.
Hope this is somewhat helpful.Happy New Year,
Yours,Daniel Navot MD"
As a catholic or as a person, I know what is right and wrong which I based from my morals I know,we even learned it from school,we have a free choice and God gave us free will. We are all human who wanted to survive and have choices for the betterment of everyone. People could judge me for what I did, my husband and my dad don’t want me to share this because they are not proud for what happened but the choice from them is right. Saving the life of others while sacrificing the others is not a hard decision, we need to choose and I chose LIFE.