Her face lit up when she talked about the unforgettable day the acupuncturist broke the news that she was possibly pregnant.
Mrs Sasayo Shirakura Griffiths' happiness over her first pregnancy is palpable. Grinning broadly, the 39-year-old from Hiroshima, Japan, said: 'The acupuncturist checked my pulse and told me she was 75 per cent sure I was pregnant.'
Mrs Griffiths, a housewife, has been married to Aussie husband, Michael, 41, for over six years. They moved to Singapore from Melbourne, Australia, about three years ago.
When she had trouble conceiving, the couple sought fertility treatment about two years ago.
They tried intrauterine insemination (IUI) six times without success. IUI, the standard artificial insemination procedure, involves placing the sperm directly into the uterus.
In August last year, the couple made the difficult decision to try in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).
Mrs Griffiths remembers the ensuing weeks of frequent hospital visits and self-injections as very trying ones, both physically and emotionally.
The treatments often left her feeling unwell, tired and moody. The stress and worry of not being able to have a child weighed heavily on their hearts.
MrGriffiths, an insurance broker, stopped telling his wife news of colleagues or friends who became pregnant.
He said: 'I'm sure Sasayo was happy for our friends who have children but I also wondered if it felt like a kick to the stomach each time she heard of someone getting pregnant.'
She responded poorly to her first IVF attempt and did not conceive. She then decided to try acupuncture because she had heard that TCM treatment could be beneficial for those undergoing IVF.
Mrs Griffiths said she felt comfortable with acupuncturist Jin Jin Hua at Raffles Chinese Medicine from the first session.
She bought the IVF Booster package of five acupuncture sessions. The package is offered by Raffles Chinese Medicine to complement IVF procedures. Each session lasted about an hour.
'I would have many needles all over my body, face and even on my ears. But they did not hurt. The discomfort of acupuncture was nothing compared to what I went through for IVF,' she said.
She found that the acupuncture treatment greatly reduced her stress and anxiety and improved her general sense of well-being.
She became pregnant after her fourth IVF attempt. She had visited Ms Jin about two weeks after the embryo transfer and the acupuncturist had told her she was almost certain that she was pregnant.
Mrs Griffiths bought three home pregnancy test kits to test herself in the morning, evening, and the next day. All tests came out positive.
She is currently in the second trimester of her pregnancy and the couple said that they cannot wait to have a child in their lives.
Mr Griffiths said: 'We are really happy. We've started discussing some baby names but we don't know yet if it's a boy or a girl. We're happy either way.'
While he believes that acupuncture played a significant part in the success of his wife's IVF treatment, Mr Griffiths is not yet ready to try acupuncture treatment.
'No one is sticking any needles into me,' he said laughing.
This article was first published in Mind Your Body, The Straits Times on Oct 23, 2008.