One in six couples suffers from infertility, and one in three women over thirty-five years old who tries to get pregnant has fertility problem in Australia according to the National Fertility Survey. Not only in Australia, but also in the USA, UK, and perhaps many other countries, the problem seems similar too. Infertility is not unusual, but I was shocked when my husband and I found a fertility problem, overwhelmed by IVF treatment, and devastated when I got ectopic pregnant and lost my embryo. On the other hand, I experienced marvelous supernatural events which have changed my view of life forever. Lastly I’d like to share my experiences with you.
When my husband and I were diagnosed with infertility, I was thirty-three years old, a couple of years after moving to Melbourne from Tokyo. We first tried IVF when I was thirty-four and continued until I got pregnant with our second child at age forty-one, although it went at a slow pace including a break for the birth of our first child. Just before I got pregnant with the first time, something mysterious happened during meditation. In those days I thought of quitting IVF because we kept on failing and we had got to the stage of applying to the Chinese government for adoption.
As I was doing single-pointed meditation focusing on my breath in a meditation seminar at our local Tibetan Buddhist center, someone spoke to me from above and asked whether it was okay to be born to my husband and me. Somehow I replied without surprise that it would be wonderful but must be difficult because of our fertility problems, and explained them inside my mind. Then I clearly heard a voice saying in English, “It doesn’t matter.” Next moment a child jumped down by my left side and started running forward, where my husband appeared lying on our bed and propping his head by one arm. The child jumped up into his arms, turning into a baby!
Astounded I opened my eyes, but I only saw around a hundred people meditating silently. What was that! Trying to hold my excitement in check, I told my husband about it later. Amazingly, I got pregnant at next IVF. I couldn’t think this was merely coincidence after waiting for years and a series of IVF failures.
With my second pregnancy, I had a spiritual dream on the night just after my embryo transfer. I was sitting on the summit of a mountain with a wise man, like an elderly hermit who was explaining about souls and birth. He said that when a woman gets pregnant in this world, the news instantly spreads to the spirit world and a soul is chosen for that body. It was the kind of dream you never forget, so vivid and so clear. Actually I got pregnant, but it was an ectopic pregnancy.
When I got pregnant with my second child, I also had a vivid dream on the night we prayed at a Puja (Tibetan Buddhist ceremony). I was desperate and wanted to ask someone mighty for help before our final IVF attempt since we had decided to stop after using the last of our frozen embryos.
In the dream, my husband was excited, saying that the Geshe (Tibetan lama) will visit our house and searching for the best teacup for him. I saw the Geshe and his attendant wearing maroon robes and smiling while drinking tea in the beautiful, bright sunshine of our family-room. “A baby is coming, it says a baby’s coming!” my girlfriend was yelling as she raced along our hallway while holding a steaming stockpot for “pot-divination”, though I don’t know if there’s really such a method of fortunetelling. Also, four Puja bags (bags of snacks for participants in Pujas) were sent to my family members. I said that four were too many for us―my husband, our daughter, and me. But an angelic lady whispered to me in Japanese, “The universe is giving one to you, so receive it with gratitude.” Then a blue teddy bear appears sitting in front of one Puja bag.
I woke up and straight away ran to my husband who was working in his study to tell him my dream. I believed it was about a boy because of the “blue” teddy. About nine months later I gave birth to my son.
Whatever they were, these events were so powerful and special to me―almost miraculous―while I had tried to get pregnant by modern medical technology. I felt like I had glimpsed the mystery of life and birth, which inspired me to write this novel.
Someday Baby: IVF at 40 was written in Japanese and published in Japan in 2009 under the title Tamago. Later I thought of translating it in English. I’d like to thank my husband for patiently checking my English manuscript. I also want to thank my friend Annie and my two children for inspiring and encouraging me. Moreover, my ectopic baby was a constant inspiration for this novel―it would not exist without her (or him). Now I feel that I finally could do something for my middle child, as if giving birth with this book.
Finally, I want to end the book wishing you every happiness. With all my heart, I hope that every woman who wants a baby will be blessed by her precious little one’s smile.
© Ako Mak, 2014
“He was floating there, Mum.” My son pointed at the corner of the playroom with a puzzled look, “And he looked like me...”
Last month my son explained about the dream he had the previous night. He was walking in our hall and saw a boy looking exactly like him but much smaller, about thirty centimeters tall. The boy was floating around his shoulder height and staring at him. He was startled, feeling like he met “mini-me”. But the boy smiled at him and waved like saying “Hello”. Then my son woke up.
He was scared, because it seemed so real and also the boy looked just like him. He was so confused that he even asked me to take him to our local Tibetan Buddhist center so he could ask the monks why he had such a dream. This surprised me because he’d never asked such a thing before. Obviously the dream had a strong impact on him.
The next morning I meditated as usual, and I suddenly remembered my son’s dream. Instantly I thought that it must have been my ectopic baby, my son’s older brother.
I had an ectopic pregnancy between my first and second children. It was an IVF baby I finally got pregnant after restarting treatment before my daughter had even turned one.
I clearly remember the day when I found the baby was ectopic and I never could give birth at our six-week ultrasound (actually, seventh week because of Christmas holiday). After sending off my husband and our three-year-old daughter, I was alone in a hospital bed crying and waiting for an emergency operation to remove my embryo. But I started meditation focusing on Tara, a Tantric motherly deity, and asked her for help. After the surgeon explained the operation and left my room, I suddenly thought that I must write this down for my novel.
I was writing my second novel about infertility. After my first novel, a suspense story about mind-control by a destructive cult religion and combat with an exit counsellor, was not published, I chose this topic, closer to my real life, and had already written about one third. I got out of the bed, went to a little hospital shop, and bought a small notebook and a pen. While desperate, I tried to write down everything that was happening to me.
When I woke up from anesthesia and saw tubes and blood stains, I realized my baby was gone. I felt hollow in the center of my heart and body. Ironically, that day was our wedding anniversary.
After leaving the hospital, I went back to daily life with my husband, our daughter and three little dogs - just like nothing had happened. I never opened the note I had written while in hospital.
My husband gave me Angel cards several weeks later. He must have worried about me because he’s not the type who usually likes such stuff. As I opened the box, one card slipped out. It portrayed an angel holding a baby with the message, “Your children on Earth and in Heaven are happy and well cared for by God and the angels.” I burst into tears. I cried, cried, and cried. Perhaps it was the first time I cried after the operation.
Then I thought that I had to complete my novel. I felt sorry for my unborn baby if I didn’t and just wasted the experience. I even felt that the spirit might come to help me write - perhaps I couldn’t get over it if I didn’t think so. I went back to writing, and the novel I completed was quite different from my first plot.
“Mum, you’re right, I think he’s my brother too,” said my son on the morning after I told him about my idea during meditation. “He needs a name. We all have to think about it together,” he insisted. So we all thought about it.
We named him, Sean which means “flying” and “sound” in Kanji, Japanese letters. I tried calling my second child “Sean-kun.” It sounded so warm and touching. Although he flew away so quickly, I could feel him when I called his name.
Since then, my son talked about him sometimes. “Sean-kun came and joined our game too,” or “Sean-kun was thirsty too, so I also gave him a glass of water.” Soon his sister started mentioning about him too.
Sean-kun is finally a precious family member, too.