MicroblogMondays: A Breakthrough of Sorts

Microblog_Mondays

Bob and I usually go to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.  Chinese people don’t like white meat, so each year we do prime rib rather than turkey.  This year was no different.  My brother has really perfected his skills of his prime rib making.  No complaints there.

I usually see my sister-in-law’s side of the family on my niece’s and nephew’s birthdays and Thanksgiving night.  She has two older siblings and one younger brother.  They all knew that I had a surgery five years ago on my uterus but no one has ever explicitly asked me about baby making.  I know that my SIL’s sister-in-law was curious about it but she never asked out right.

This year’s dinner was as lovely as usual.  Cozy atmosphere.  Delicious food.  Great company.

When dinner was over, some people remained at the dining room table.   Some were watching TV in the living room.  I was sitting at the kitchen counter just looking at my phone.  My sister-in-law’s oldest brother came by and asked me how I was doing.  I have known him since I was a teenager so I am familiar with him, but I wouldn’t say that I’d usually share about my life with him.  We chatted about my work, my parents, and my in-laws’ visit.  Nothing too crazy.

Out of the blue, he asked, “So when are you guys going to have babies?”

Like I said, no one in my sister-in-law’s family knew about our fertility journey.  I never shared.  No one ever asked.

I was taken by surprise.  But I was not feeling negative about it.  Maybe it was his way of asking.  I felt that he wasn’t being nosy.  I sensed a genuine concern or care, unlike the interrogation by my uncle in Hong Kong.  There is a difference there.

With only two seconds of hesitation, I told him that we had been trying for almost five years but had not been successful.  He asked if we had tried treatment.  I told him that we had done a whole lot of that.

I even shared that we are actually hiring a surrogate but failed our first transfer.  We would attempt our second transfer in December.  This time we will try two embryos.

I love his reaction.  Whatever I told him didn’t faze him.  He said sincerely, “I can’t wait to meet your babies.”

We weren’t talking super loudly, but the kitchen counter was within a few feet of the dining table so those relatives who were sitting there could have heard us if they tried.  But, I shared with him anyways.

I think a couple of years ago I would not have said anything.  Even last year I probably wouldn’t have shared.  I would have been super annoyed or offended that someone dared to ask that question, that it was none of their business.

Maybe it was the way he asked.  Maybe there is a change in me.  I am different.

And I like that change in me.

I still don’t have a baby, and I don’t know when/if I will have that baby.  I sure hope that Dr. E, my RE’s wishes would come true, as she wrote in an email, “Hoping and praying that next thanksgiving is totally different than this one!!!!”  

But as of today, I am happy that I am opening up to friends and family that don’t know but would ask.

It is a process, isn’t it?

MicroblogMondays: A Daughter That We Lost

Microblog_Mondays

When we received the PGS results, I deliberately asked Dr. E not to disclose the information on the sex of the embryos.  I would rather wait to be surprised at birth.

This is so unlike me.  Given my personality as somebody who would like to be in control of many things, my desires all my life had been to find out at our 20-week ultrasound if we were going to have a boy or a girl.  This long and difficult fertility journey has changed my mind.  I just want to keep one surprise in this process.  The sex of our baby will have to be it.

Bob really wanted to know.  I told him to ask Dr. E himself but made him promise not to share with me.  I think the task of keeping information from me is just too monumental for him.  He decided not to even go near that subject.

Now that the implanted embryo has failed to grow in our gestational carrier Annie, I suddenly had this strong urge to find out if it was meant to be a boy or a girl.

As the title suggests, Dr. E revealed that it was a female embryo.

A daughter.

That.

We.

Lost.

I honestly do not have a preference for either sex, but growing up, I did always envision having a baby girl.

But now that this daughter is no longer with us, it just feels like there is a huge hole in my heart that cannot be filled.

Out of the last four transfers and my own two chemical pregnancies, we never had a chance to confirm if we had lost a boy or a girl.  This is the first time that we could definitely say that we had a daughter.

Knowing the sex of this embryo may help bring closure.  It may not.  But I am very glad that we found out.

When I shared about this, one of my dearest friends gave me a song.  She translated this song from Hebrew to English for me.  The following are the lyrics:

On [the subject of] the honey, and on the thorns,

On the bitter and the sweet,

On our daughter, my baby, guard her, My Lord, for good.

On the fire that burns, on the water pure and clear,

On the man returning home after a long journey.

On all these things,

Guard me please, my Lord for my good.

For the honey and the thorns,

For the bitter with the sweet.

This is the video:

I was already touched when I read the lyrics.  I teared up when I read the words “Our daughter, my baby, guard her, My Lord, for good”.

But I didn’t know that more was to come.

The next morning, I woke up and found a video that this friend sent to me.  It was a video of her that she recorded that morning for me.  In the video, she told me that she had a gift for me, that it was bitter gift, but it was a gift for her during a very dark time in her life.  She sang this song for two weeks after her nephew passed away, as it brought her comfort.  She personally sang this Hebrew song to me and recorded it in this video.  Her beautiful singing and her love for me brought me to tears.  This is the most thoughtful gift I have ever received in my life.

The very same day, this same friend wrote about our loss in her blog post. The last sentence she wrote: “Goodnight my sweet little girl.  I’m sorry that we didn’t have a chance to meet.”

Cue waterworks.

My dear friend managed to move me to tears three times in two days.

Bob and I decided to no longer call this lost embryo Max.  We wanted to give her a proper name.  After much thinking and searching, we decided to name her Mira, which means “ocean” or “sea”.  Given our love for the ocean and how being in its presence brings us comfort and healing every time we lost a pregnancy or an embryo, it is fitting for us to commemorate our embryo with a name with a meaning near and dear to us.

One of the songs during worship on Sunday was “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong United.  The lyrics really spoke to me:

You call me out upon the waters

The great unknown where feet may fail

And there I find You in the mystery

In oceans deep

My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise

My soul will rest in Your embrace

For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Your sovereign hand

Will be my guide

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me

You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise

My soul will rest in Your embrace

For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior

It reminds me that even when we are knee-deep in the ocean waves (our pain/suffering/impossible circumstances), the Lord will sustain us in our faith and His sovereign hand will be our guide.  It is not a coincidence that after we gave our daughter this name that means ocean, the  same theme came up in a song that touches me. 

Mira, our daughter.  We will miss you forever.  May our faith be sustained and we keep our eyes above the ocean waves.  May we persevere so that we will see your sibling(s) face-to-face one day.

MicroblogMondays: Self Care

Microblog_Mondays

Last Friday marked the day after we confirmed that our 5th transfer has failed.  The feeling is so familiar yet different.  We are used to failure.  It is a sad thing to say, but we are.  We know how to handle ourselves when it comes to failed transfers.  We know that we will be sad and devastated for a bit and we will be over it.  And we will move forward again.  But then, this time is also so different.  We have given this transfer the best embryo with the best grade and score and the best uterus that we could provide ever.  It was supposed to be a foolproof formula.

But it wasn’t.

I can’t begin to express my gratitude for having Jesus in my heart.  Without Jesus, I don’t know where my hope would lie.  But like one of my readers said, it is okay to be sad.  And I was sad.  At one point, I had fear and doubt in my head and my heart.  December is the end of the 5th year of our journey.  It was highly possible and probable that by the end of the year, we would be expecting a miracle in 2017.  Except that it didn’t happen.  And I was wondering if this is God’s message to me that a child is not in our future.  But I decided to once again not jump to conclusion as God is the only one who knows His plan.  This is the time for me and Bob to exercise our trust and faith in Him, knowing that regardless of the outcome of our quest, He is going to provide for us.

With that understanding, I tried what I could to take care of myself.

Fortunately, Friday was Veteran’s day.  It was a day off for me.  I opened my eyes with peace in my heart.  I am always thankful for the peace and strength that God gives me, as it is not a given and is not something that I take for granted.  In my pajamas, I made south Indian filtered coffee, sat there, and wrote my last blog post without even brushing my teeth or washing my face.  I just needed that quiet, alone space to feel and to let everything sink in.  Order in my life always makes me feel better.  After a couple of hours of chores cleaning the floor, changing the bedsheets, and tidying up any mess, I felt more control about the situation again.  That evening, Bob and I spent time with some of our best friends.  Their kids are our favorite kids.  Just enjoying the time with them brought about tremendous healing.

This is what self care is all about.  Being aware of what makes you happy and doing it.

I just started watching the show “Parenthood” on Netf.lix.  In one of the episodes, the younger brother, a playboy, just discovered that he had a son with an old fling.  He went to seek the advice from his older brother who happened to be a family man with two children.  He asked his older brother about having children,

“What makes all of it worth it?”

His brother said, “What makes it worth it is the connection.  It’s a bond you feel.  They are yours, you know.  You are part of them.”

I so long for this connection, this bond that I will have with my future child.  Regardless of the genetic links or who is going to carry the baby, my child is going to be mine.  He/she is going to be part of me and I am going to be a part of him/her.

It is all going to be worth it.

Max Is Not Meant to Be

Tuesday was a very difficult day.

I don’t write about politics.  All I can say is that having a super low beta with a GC and DE was enough of a hard day.  The election was making it super nerve-wracking for me.

Both Bob and I had prior engagements on Tuesday night.  But both of us just wanted to be with each other so we canceled what we had for the night.  We went to this local Indian restaurant for dinner.  All I wanted was peace and quiet.  Unfortunately, four TV screens were on with the election coverage.  I tried to avoid looking at the screens, but a few glimpses of them just stressed me out even more.  When I got home, I decided to go to bed and leave my phone out of the bedroom.

I did not sleep well at all.  I kept waking up in the middle of the night.  You know you feel the weakest when you are in and out of sleep.  And I just wanted to stay in bed all day the next day.  My husband has been the pillar of my strength.  He encouraged me that if I could muster enough energy, work actually could serve as a great distraction.

We prayed that night and Wednesday morning for God’s will to be done.  We prayed for Annie.  And we prayed for God’s peace and strength to be with us.  God answered our prayers.

Once I was at work, I was feeling much better.  I was amazed that somehow God renewed my strength despite having a horrible Tuesday.  I emailed my therapist that morning with the news of the low beta and a request for a time slot on that day for therapy if there was one.  What a miracle that she happened to have a cancellation on that day.  The Lord was taking care of my needs.

In the session, I cried several times.  It was tremendously helpful to speak with a person who has seen many different scenarios of triumphs and failures in the infertility world.  I wondered out loud whether or not God is telling me that I shouldn’t have a child.  She reminded me that most people would know when they should stop.  And it is still amazing that my husband and I still have strong desires to bring home a child.  So that speaks volume as usually one person would want to stop while the other would want to continue on.  She also reminded me that we still have chances and options.  So we are far from the doom and gloom that I was feeling on that day.  When I felt a certain way, ask myself if that thought is helpful.  Take it one day at a time.  And let myself process the feelings.  I knew all of this, but it was helpful to hear it again.

One interesting thing that my therapist told me was that her three-year-old niece had a beta of 12 on 8dp5dt as an embryo.  She said that her niece is perfect in every way.  So it IS possible to have a positive outcome from a low beta.  But, I am a realistic person and I knew that our chances of that would be low.

Our prayers continued to be, no matter what the outcome, we wanted it to be aligned with God’s will.  It is difficult, but if we believe that God is sovereign and has a perfect plan, then we have to trust Him even though we don’t like the outcome.

I was at complete peace yesterday, the day of second beta results.  I still had a glimmer of hope that the beta might have risen.  I  left the event “heartbeat appointment” on my calendar for November 30 and I hadn’t contacted a potential client’s parent about an opening on November 29 thinking that maybe we still needed to go to Annie’s state.  I wasn’t feeling nervous or anxious.  This was what I was staring at all day long reminding myself of God’s character.  “Delay doesn’t mean denial” is what I have to remember.

And guess what?  I had to give a presentation in the afternoon.  This is the second time I had to give a presentation on second beta day.  And I thought that I would be safe from pregnant women this time because the topic was for parents with young children.  Somehow the recruitment was done with expectant moms as well and so I ended up with six or seven ladies with bumps.  God really carried me through because I was feeling no bitterness, jealousy, or uneasiness, even when the ladies chatted about pregnancy symptoms and the babies’ kicks right before the presentation started.  God protected me from falling apart.  In fact, it was a great presentation despite my special circumstances.  It also helped that I hadn’t received the beta results prior to the presentation so I could just focus on the parents or parents-to-be rather than on the outcome of Max.

I didn’t hear from Dr. E until after 5.  Annie’s blood draw was done at 10:30am.  I guess in Annie’s state “STAT” means six hours of wait.  So the beta came back at 11, which means that the embryo has barely grown if at all.  I am thankful for early beta so we don’t agonize over the next week waiting for it to come.  And I am also very grateful for it to be a clear cut “No” rather than it rising some but not much.  Annie was to stop all meds except for the prenatal and thyroid meds.

Dr. E and I immediately went into action mode.  There is a brand new test on the market that just came out two weeks ago.  It tests the epigenetic information of the sperm.  It wasn’t available when we were doing the DNA fragmentation test.  It may shed some light on some subtle genetic problems on the sperm that are not picked up on PGS as PGS only tests the chromosomal structure of the embryos.  So the theory is that, even PGS tested normal embryos may have these subtle genetic problems contributed by the sperm that could not be detected.  The test is pricey, but it may tell us more information about how any genetic problems may affect the embryos in whatever way.  We are still planning on a transfer two embryos in 5 weeks.  Dr. E is going to prepare Annie’s lining differently this time, adding Lu.pron in the mix.  Her staff is going to order the kit for the test for us and we should get the results within two to three weeks.

I have to say how thankful I am for my husband.  I love him more than anything.  Every single time we have a setback, he has been there for me.  I know that he has his own way of processing bad news and his emotions.  I know his pattern and I reminded myself on beta day that he would start to feel angry in a couple of days.  He did yesterday but he recovered really well.  Yesterday he said this to me, “I admire and love you so much.  You get punched by all of these things.  You pick yourself up and move on.”  I can say the same thing about him.  God is working and stretching our faith.  He  has put the two of us together for a very particular purpose.  And we have to remember to hold on to God and to each other in difficult times so that our marriage continues to be strong.

As we put away Max’s photo and mourn its loss, we have to remember that there is still hope and there are still options for us.  Despite this delay, we still have strong desires to be parents.  Like I was meditating yesterday, God is sovereign and in control of everything.  He has a plan for us.  I pray that this plan includes babies in our future.

Thank you for all the love, thoughts, and prayers from you.

I Hate To Be Writing This Post

I really thought that I would be writing a happy post.

But beta only came back at 9.

I honestly do not understand.

We transferred the best embryo.  We had the best lining.  Annie’s progesterone level was out of this world.

And yet, beta is only 9.

And we had drama too.  Annie did her blood draw at one lab, but it doesn’t do STAT.  So she had to go to another lab for a second draw.   Dr. E didn’t get the results until 4pm.

When I heard her voice on the phone, I knew.  She said the results were bittersweet.  She didn’t even tell me what the number was until later.  She just asked what time Annie went to get her blood draw done.  She had hoped that it was at the crack of dawn when it was done.  It was at 10 something.

I was calm.  We discussed what to do with the meds.  I decided to continue with the meds and see what happens on Thursday.  I know the chances are very low. But Max is still a life.  And I want to give this life the best chance before we stop.

My mind went really far.  Is it a sperm problem?  Sperm seems to be the common denominator of all the embryos and the transfers.  If so, what does it mean?  After we transfer all the embryos and they don’t work, is this it for us?  Am I not going to be a mom who will hold a live baby?

Probably not the best time to think about these things.  But the fears do creep in.

We spoke about the possibility of transferring two embryos next time.  We talked about which ones to transfer.  Since I don’t want to know the sex, Dr. E was wondering if I wanted to transfer the same sex or two different ones.  I could make a choice, or I could let her choose.

At this point, I don’t care.  Just give me a baby.

She also may prepare Annie’s lining differently next time.  So instead of transferring the next cycle, we may do a transfer in five weeks.

We hung up.  Bob and I spoke on the phone.  We were both calm.  Probably just numb.

Annie and I also chatted after she and Dr. E got off the phone.  She was feeling so sorry.  I told her to remember it has nothing to do with what she did or didn’t do.

If it is not God’s timing, then it is not God’s timing.  His plan is perfect, but it is very hard to swallow failure.

Annie is wonderful.  If the results aren’t good on Thursday, she is willing to do whatever I ask her to do.  She will transfer whenever and she will transfer two if we would like.

I was calm and numb until I was driving home.  I started praying and telling God how difficult it is for me to praise Him in this situation, but I will still do so.  I started crying and asking him how much more I will have to surrender to Him and how much more faith and courage we will have to have before we are given this precious gift of a baby.  I cried and I cried.  This is such a familiar feeling of failing something that you have absolutely no control over.

I asked God to give us a miracle on Thursday because only He can do it.  But if this is not meant to be, I asked Him not to make the beta rise.

If this is not a viable pregnancy, this would be our fifth failed transfer.  How much more can we take?

A friend’s friend who used a surrogate also had two chemical pregnancies with her tested embryos before she got her baby.  I know it happens.  I just didn’t think that we again fall on the wrong side of statistics.

Dr. E said that it is heartbreaking, unfair, and hard to understand.  But even strong normal embryos don’t implant or don’t implant well.

*sigh*

How much longer before we will hold our baby?

Only God has an answer.

MicroblogMondays: The Eve of Beta, The GC Version

Microblog_Mondays

This is a whole new territory.   Today is the day before our beta.  But I won’t be going to the lab first thing in the morning for a blood draw.  I have not been talking to Max the embryo since it isn’t inside my womb.  I have not been trying to speculate symptoms or to deliberately try not to speculate symptoms.  This is our fifth transfer, and I don’t get to do the usual.  It has been easier to wait for this beta because we don’t have to wait 12 to 14 days like when we were with UC.SF, my previous clinic.  Dr. E is nice and only asks us to wait 8 days.  She said, “If it implants then it implants.  There is no need to make you wait.”  So we blink, and beta day is just around the corner.

How do I feel about it?  I haven’t felt a lot of nervousness, mostly because it has not been a long time since our transfer.  Honestly, I sometimes forget that a transfer has taken place simply because it wasn’t my body that received the embryo.  And when I do think about it, I am excited, but at the same time a bit ambivalent about it.  Like I said, most of the time I don’t feel a lot of nervousness, but sometimes my mind does go to the negative territory.  There is every reason to believe that we will get a good beta result.  Our embryo is a normal embryo with good grade and great implantation potentials.  Our gestational carrier has a great uterus with a great lining.  There is no reason to believe that this won’t work.  However, I also remember that it doesn’t really matter the odds that are calculated by human beings.  It is all in God’s hand.  If it is not in God’s timing, then it is not in God’s timing.  There is nothing anyone can do.  BUT, I also have to remember that my human mind does not know if this is God’s timing.  This may well be the time that God says that yes this is your time and you are going to have a baby out of this.  So basically we need to trust in God’s timing and not to think too much about it.

Yesterday I went to my bible study training and wrote in my prayer request to pray for the embryo to grow well in my surrogate.  Many people came and congratulated me afterwards, but the further I chatted with them, I realized that they totally didn’t catch the part about the surrogate and thought that the transfer was to me.  I found a lot of them looking surprised with this new piece of information.  I guess it is not easy for people to digest the news that is so out of the ordinary for most people.

Annie has not felt any symptoms.  Plus I told her that if she feels anything, it is most likely the effect of progesterone.  She didn’t have much morning sickness with her previous pregnancies so I doubt that she’d feel much.  Funny thing was, she texted me yesterday telling me that the progesterone sure was working because she was crying over an injury in a football game!

How about this for faith and optimism?  I have marked my calendar for the first beta, second beta, 7 week ultrasound, and have looked up the dates for the NT scan and anatomy scan to plan ahead.  I am even looking at websites of photographers in Annie’s area for a maternity photo shoot and possibly a birth photo session.

Election day and beta day on the same day is going to make one interesting and nerve-wracking/exciting Tuesday!

Introducing Max the Embryo

The last week has been such a whirlwind.  I haven’t had the time to blog until now.

Annie and her husband Kenneth arrived on Sunday.  It was such a relief to see how comfortable she was at our house.  She remembered exactly where everything was in the kitchen and just made herself at home.  It was the best decision to have flown her here for her medical screening back in August because it now feels very natural for us to be together like old friends or family.

Transfer took place on Monday at 1:30pm.  After much consideration, Bob and I decided that it was best for him to go to work instead of attending the transfer with us.  He had been feeling a little uncomfortable to be present at a transfer where I wasn’t the one undressed and lying on the table.  He wanted to come for moral support, but in actuality, he would have to take a whole day off for a two-minute transfer.  All he would do would be to sit there for an hour pre-transfer and another hour post-transfer for the acupuncture sessions plus traveling one hour to and one hour from the clinic.  It would be best for him to save his time off and use it for flying over to attend prenatal appointments.  So we both agreed that I would take pictures and videos for him.

I woke up super early on transfer day partly because of jet lag but also because of everything coming together on transfer day.  It was quite surreal to know that after all the waiting (in the last nine months and the last five years), transfer was going to happen in a few hours.  It is hard for me to explain that feeling.  It just occurred to me that I was not prepared this time.  We hadn’t purchased any lucky socks or pineapple for Annie.  However, this time IS different.  It is a different circumstance so mixing things up a little and going without any lucky socks was a good way to approach it.

I chose a restaurant close to the clinic, but as I exited the freeway, Kenneth spotted In-N-Out Burger so we switched locations impromptu.  They had heard of the burger joint but had never been.  The three of us enjoyed a no-frills yummy burger lunch.

Annie had never done acupuncture but she was willing to try.  She is not afraid of needles so acupuncture didn’t sound scary to her when I suggested it.  Speaking of needles, she does not even need any icing or heat pad for her PIO shots.  She said she doesn’t usually even feel the needle most of the time.  When she was in session with the acupuncturist, Kenneth and I bonded over coffee at Starbucks.  We chatted about how he got into his line of work in law enforcement.  It was a great opportunity for me to get to know him.  Hearing about his experience changing career mid-life and the integrity and perseverance that he showed through the process, there are even more reasons to admire him in addition to supporting his wife in helping us bring home a baby.  He is such a down-to-earth and funny guy.  We got along very well.

After acupuncture, Annie took her 5mg of Val.ium and started drinking her water to fill her bladder.  We bumped into Dr. E on the way to the clinic.  Seeing Dr. E, it really made it all real.  After we checked in, we sat in the waiting room where Bob and I were almost two months ago for Bob’s sperm sample that resulted in our embryos.  A few minutes later, we were all led to the procedure room.  Kenneth and I sat in the chairs by the wall while Annie got undressed.  The nurse promised to come in soon to check on Annie’s bladder but didn’t return.  Dr. E came in with a photo of our embryo.  She commented on how beautifully the embryo had thawed.

Introducing Max the Embryo!

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Staring at the photo, tears started to well up in my eyes.  I hadn’t had much feeling about the process up until that point.  This is MY embryo despite not contributing in any physical part in making it.  My heart felt full.  This could really be the first picture of our future child.  Holding back my tears, I asked Dr. E about the grade of the embryo.  She said that it could easily be a 5AA or 5AB.  My first thought was that it looked like the embryo was starting to hatch.  It was an emotional moment for me.  I had been feeling a little detached from this process because our embryos didn’t come from my eggs or won’t grow in my womb. With Bob and my names listed on the embryo photo and when the embryologist asked ME to verify my name and date of birth first instead of Annie’s, it finally felt like the embryo belongs to me (and Bob) and I will be the one responsible for its well-being as a baby.  It was definitely a mental and emotional shift for me.  I said to Dr. E, “From our first retrieval in July 2013 to now, it has been three plus years in the making.”  It all came down to this moment.

Dr. E checked on Annie’s bladder as the nurse was still gone.  The fullness of the bladder was perfect.  The nurse finally came in and took over the abdominal ultrasound probe.  Dr. E pointed at where the uterus was and pushed the outer sheath of the catheter in.  It went in very easily.  Dr. E is always great at including me in this process.  She asked me to pull my chair up next to Annie’s head so I could see the screen clearly.  The embryologist came in to check on our IDs.  She disappeared back into the lab.  A few moments later, the big screen on the wall lit up and my name appeared on it.  Seeing my name again reminded me that this IS my embryo.  Annie told me later that she started tearing up when she saw my name on the screen.  Then her name appeared on the screen.  The screen zoomed in.  The little dot that looked like dust all of a sudden became huge.  It always amazes me to see the wonder of life starting as this little speck that is practically invisible with naked eye.  The embryo looked like it had changed from the photo already.  The embryologist loaded the embryo in the inner catheter and reappeared in the procedure room.  Dr. E pushed the catheter in extremely slowly.  The white lines on the ultrasound screen showed the direction of the inner catheter.  The doctor then pulled the catheter out even more slowly.  The embryologist went back to the lab to check on the catheter and gave us an all-clear.  Max was successfully transferred!

Annie was hoping that she could visit touristy places like Fisherman’s Wharf, but Dr. E told her to stay put on both Monday and Tuesday and limit her activity to walking from the bathroom to the bed and from the bed to the couch.  I know many doctors don’t believe in bedrest but Dr. E does.  Dr. E asked if Annie would cheat, meaning if she would pee on a stick.  Annie and I spoke about it ahead of time and agreed that we would wait until beta time.  After all, I didn’t ever POAS prior to beta so I don’t want that added stress.  Dr. E thought that it was a great idea because POAS only messes with your mind.  Dr. E  will be the one who will report the beta to the both of us on the phone rather than the two of us to each other.  Next Tuesday Annie will go to her local Labc.orp for her blood draw and Dr. E will call me with the result.  It is only going to be 8 days past 5 day transfer.

Dr. E then asked me to step out so she could answer Annie’s questions about sex after the transfer.  It again makes it so real that someone else is going to carry my baby for me and I have no control over what that person does.  But I trust Annie 100% to do her best for us and for our baby, so I will just have to let go of the control.

During Annie’s second acupuncture visit, the acupuncturist was aghast at the iced cold drink that Annie was holding.  He called me into the office and asked me if I had gone over the fertility diet with Annie.  I told him that since this was her first time doing acupuncture, I didn’t want to overwhelm her with extra knowledge.  The acupuncturist was dead serious about her following certain guidelines for the next few weeks and even into the second trimester.  It includes no raw or iced food.  Annie loves ice and salad.  So I was worried that it was too much restrictions on her.  But it should be no surprise to me that Annie listened and started to comply with things suggested by the doctor.  She is such a great and easy-going person with our best interest at heart.  The doctor even suggested using moxa on her three times a day.  Her husband and Annie are both on board.  Kenneth has been helping her with both PIO and now moxa since the visit.  Pineapple core was also suggested.

We left home that day at 10am.  We didn’t get home until 4pm.  After I dropped Annie home, Kenneth went with me to pump air into the front two tires of my car as he saw that it was a bit low.  It took three gas stations before we found a machine that worked.  We then went and purchased a pineapple and non-GMO soy milk for Annie (as per the acupuncturist’s suggestion to cool her down instead of using iced water).  I put the pork tenderloin that I marinated the day before in the oven with some cabbage.  Then I had to go to lead a bible study group at 6pm.  I didn’t get home until 9 something that night.  The exhaustion from the jet lag, running around all day, and the excitement was so hard to shake.

I told Annie that she was PUPO.  Of course she didn’t know the term and got a kick out of it.  It makes me realize how many crazy acronyms there are for this TTC journey.

Annie and I already talked about the appointment for the 7-week ultrasound for the heartbeat and the arrangement for accommodation and transportation.  It will be on 11/30 and Kenneth has that day off (he has every other Wednesday off) so he can drive us around in the snow (we are cowards when it comes to driving in the snow).  I really hope that it all comes true.

Annie and her husband stayed put the whole day at my house while both Bob and I were at work.  It was my first day back at work since before the trip.  The fatigue was real.  I was so slow with everything on that day.  And it also felt very surreal that the transfer took place but I was not feeling a thing inside my body.  It is just so hard to put into words how it feels to have someone else carry your baby for you.

I took the morning off on Wednesday to hang out with Annie and her husband before dropping them off at the airport.  Right before Bob drove to work, the four of us held hands and prayed for the embryo and Annie, and thanked the Lord for bringing two families together for this one life.  It was such a precious moment for our hearts to all be united for this one purpose.  Annie, Kenneth, and I went to a favorite diner of ours for breakfast.  At the airport, Annie and I hugged for a long time.  I was feeling very emotional, but my eyes were hiding behind my sunglasses.  I was choking up a little and told her to take care and also take care of my baby for me.  When she walked into the terminal, it felt like a part of me left with her.  My baby flew away with her hours away.  It is all in all an amazing yet surreal experience to be blessed with a selfless person who is willing to carry a baby for you while still mourning the loss of not experiencing a pregnancy ever.  I didn’t know how I should feel.

My trusted friend behind Dreaming of Diapers sent me words of encouragement.  She told me that I should feel relieved, that I did it, all of that hard work for the past year.   It is now out of my hands.  I have given Baby embryo Max the very best chance at life and if he/she is going to be my child, then it will happen. She told me that she was proud of me for my determination.  Her words really encouraged me as I continue to soak in this situation.

My other friend who had twins via surrogacy said, “It’s just the beginning!  I know the waiting is the hardest part but try to give it to God.  He knows the desires of your heart and is working to make it happen.”

So here we are, three days after transfer.  Five more days to go before beta.  I pray multiple times a day for God to sustain this life inside Annie.  It is really out of my hands and is in God’s hand.  I pray for trust and peace as we wait for the next milestone.

I am taking it one day at a time but as the same time looking forward to next July when we have our baby in our arms.  Let’s pray that this is really the time to see our future child grow from this tiny speck of life called “Max”.