MicroblogMondays: “Dang it!”


“Dang it!!!”

Those were the words that came out of my mouth at 5:30 this morning in a dark room in this nice bed and breakfast.

I am on vacation.  Our long-awaited vacation at a coastal town.  A time away that I had been looking forward to, so that we can relax and recharge before we go back to the IVF madness.

Of course I woke up at 5:30am.  Why?  Because that’s the stupid time that I usually wake up to take my temperature.  I was praying that it would keep itself up at least for one more day.  Well… it dropped below cover line.  Today is only 11 days past ovulation.  My period is not supposed to come this early.  I usually have a nice long 14-day luteal phase.  This is a joke.

Dang it!  Why can’t my body cooperate for once?!?  All I want is a nice relaxing vacation without having to worry about stupid AF coming.  Now I am on a toilet paper watch.

A temperature drop doesn’t always mean the immediate arrival of AF.  It may take a day.  It may not.  We have two more days here.  I really hope that AF doesn’t come until tomorrow after 4pm, so that the first day of the cycle will be on Wednesday.  We drive home on Wednesday so if that’s the case, I can go to the clinic on January 1st.

Nevertheless, I am on TP watch.  Do you know how disappointing and depressing it is to have to watch for blood every single time I go to the bathroom while on vacation?

I lay in bed feeling sorry for myself, at 5:30am.  This is crazy.  I feel that I should NOT be affected by this.  But the sense of unfairness kept me from feeling calm about it.  All I could think of was, I can’t even have a relaxing time without thinking or worrying about stupid IVF cycle on my own vacation.

If my period comes today before 4pm, we’ll have to drive back to the city for 2.5 hours tomorrow to do the 5 minute ultrasound.  The thought of that makes it so depressing.

Bob rubbed my back and told me that it was okay.  He said that, maybe we can tell the clinic that we’ll just postpone our cycle until next month.

I shook my head in the dark.  I am not postponing the cycle.  Period.


It doesn’t help that I saw a pregnancy announcement of an acquaintance popping up on my FB screen.  An ultrasound photo indicating that baby’s arrival end of July.  I immediately unfollowed her.  I don’t need this right now.

The sense of unfairness enlarged and engulfed my heart.

I will be okay.  I just need the time to vent.


On a more pleasant note, these pictures also describe how our vacation has been:

  photo 5

photo 4

photo 3

photo 2

 photo 1

Hopefully we can enjoy our time for a couple more days.

A Week Into My Vacation

I have been thoroughly enjoying my vacation.  I sleep in until whenever I want to.  I met up with my friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in ages.  I went shopping and attended a couple of Christmas services.  Bob has been home so we have enjoyed our time together as well as fought some.  And we’re getting ready for our trip to Pacific Grove for three days.

Thank you so much for your support when I last wrote about my friend.  We finally chatted on the phone for about thirty minutes.  My heart was beating fast before she called.  I just didn’t know how I would react to her during the phone call.  I was surprised that I remained quite calm throughout the conversation.  She’s currently 14 weeks pregnant.  I did my calculation.  When I saw her last, she probably found out about her pregnancy the following week.  So she did not know that she was pregnant when we met.  Somehow that made me feel a little better, and I don’t know why.  She did one blood test, of which I totally forgot the name.  It could have been Mate.rniT21.  The results were normal for that test, meaning it didn’t detect any chromosomal abnormalities in the baby.  However, the subsequent NT scan showed that there is a 1 in 46 chance that the baby could have Down’s Syndrome.  She described the shock when a genetic counselor came in to talk to them.  She and her husband did not expect this because the first blood test didn’t indicate as such.  My friend was told that the NT scan is not a diagnostic test and the mother’s age is weighed heavily when the results are calculated.  She’s not quite worried about it as the first blood test said that the baby is fine.  My friend decided to do amniocentesis to find out precisely if the baby has Down’s Syndrome.  She said CVS is out of the question according to her doctor.   We discussed about the risk of doing amnio.  She said that she would want to find out because she can’t really live in this state of unknown throughout her pregnancy.  Her amniocentesis is going to take place right after the holidays.  She didn’t specifically say what she would do if she finds out that her baby does have Down’s Syndrome.  But from the way she talked, my speculation is that she may consider termination.  I am not her so I don’t know what she’s going through.  And I am not one to judge what others should or should not do.  But it pains me that she is faced with this situation and she can’t really enjoy this pregnancy yet.  I really hope that everything is going to turn out fine because I will hate to see her face uncertainty as well as an extremely tough decision.  I was touched that she said she felt guilty and that life isn’t fair because she got pregnant so easily and I have had to struggle so much.  I appreciate her thoughts and feelings for me.

We all got together that night after the phone call with two other friends.  She didn’t look pregnant at all.  And everything came very naturally.  Nobody talked about anyone’s pregnancy or the lack thereof because there was plenty to talk about among four women.  They mostly complained about husbands and relatives.  Haha.  It was a great time to get together and I am so glad that my friend and I had a great talk ahead of time and got all the issues out of the way before we met.

I also met up with one of the donor coordinators at the brand new location of my clinic.  The new location is about 12 minutes away from my house, but about 25 minutes from work.  Plus it’s somewhere that is very difficult to get to via public transportation.  If Bob ever has to come to the appointments with me, we’ll have to make special arrangements for him to get to work.  I arrived and scored a non-metered street parking.  I arrived early and was told to wait in the Marina Room.  This waiting room has some fancy looking chairs that were extremely uncomfortable.  I sat in one and immediately started to have backaches.  The back of the chair was curved in a way that you can’t really easily lean back.  If you lean back, your feet can’t really touch the floor.  After sitting there for a while and was still not called back for my appointment, I switched to another smaller chair.  It was extremely  uncomfortable as well.  I finally sat at the sofa that was attached to the wall.  These sofa seats were extremely short.  I think half of Bob’s thighs would hang out if he had sat there given how tall he is.  It’s ridiculous that the clinic spent so much money to build a nice place but did such a horrible job with the chairs.  Why did I have so much time to examine the chairs and complain about them?  Because the donor coordinator was 25 minutes late in taking me in.  And I was the only person in the waiting room since this new location has not been exactly in use yet.

The donor coordinator and I talked for about 25 to 30 minutes.  Here is a summary of what we talked about:

1) You’re guaranteed at least 6 eggs for frozen egg cycles and two transferrable embryos.  If the patient doesn’t not get at least two transferrable, decent embryos, then the fees minus the cost of the medications will be applied towards a new frozen egg cycle or a fresh donor egg cycle.

2) Currently there is only one Asian donor with frozen eggs available.  Fortunately, she is one of the choices we have been considering.

3) Once the donor coordinator learned that I am 40 years old (relatively young to her) and that I want two children, she recommended that we pursue fresh donor cycles because of the potential of more embryos and more to be frozen for a second child.  She wants me to consider having a chance to have children who are fully genetically identical rather than just half.

4) Pure Chinese donors are very hard to come by.  In order to find one, we will have to contact donor agencies.  This is exactly what Bob doesn’t want to do because of the extra cost.

5) We cannot be placed on the wait list for any of the donors until we meet with the psychologist on staff.  Both Bob and I have to meet with her.  Initially the coordinator scheduled us with the psychologist the second week of January.  After knowing that we may have a retrieval and transfer that same week, she wanted to wait until our beta is done before we go to the appointment.  My beta will potentially be done by the end of January, so the appointment is scheduled for the first week of February.  We just cancel if we find ourselves pregnant.  The cost of the session will be counted as part of the cycle if we decide to go with the current clinic.

6) Since we’ve been cycling with this clinic since September, the donor coordinator is going to backdate my priority on the wait list.

7) Since we’ve been cycling with them, I most likely won’t have to redo all the pre-cycle testings.

8) The timeframe from being matched to retrieval/transfer will be within three months.

9) This clinic doesn’t provide any guarantee programs, so all the money that you spend in one cycle will be gone once you pay.  Patients can participate in ARC which is a program for financing.  And we don’t want to do financing.

10) We’ll stay with the same RE for donor cycles.  Dr. No Nonsense it is.

11) For any clinical/medical questions, I was told to talk to my nurse or doctor.

12) In contrary to the books that I have read, I was told by the donor coordinator that we don’t have to get an attorney to do any sort of contracts or consents for the donor because of the laws in California for the protection of intended parents.  Once signed the consent, the donor relinquishes all the rights to the eggs harvested.  She said that none of her patients have used an attorney.  So one less thing to pay for.

13) The donors at this clinic are screened with strict guidelines so that will be an advantage over donors found through an agency because the screenings for first time donors have to be done after the match.

I checked out the donor agencies recommended by the clinic online.  Some of them do have Asian donors, but I still haven’t seen any pure Chinese donors.  It sounds like a cultural thing to me, as egg donation may be attached with certain stigma.  There are a few half Chinese donors.  This may really be something that I’ll have to seriously consider.  Bob and I would like to start our donor egg cycle as soon as possibly if our own egg cycles fail.

So research goes on.  And it can get tiring very fast.  Sometimes I don’t want to think about it.  But at other times, I feel like I really need to learn more so that we can move on.

Another question we have to consider is, do we really want to have a second kid if we are fortunately enough to have our first baby.  Bob has been feeling very frustrated and tired of the process.  And if we’re fortunate enough to get pregnant and for me to give birth at age 41, it’ll take me a while to have a second baby.  Do I really want to try again at age 43?  These questions are coming from a man who had always wanted four children.  But this whole path of infertility has made the desire to have more than one child a dream and a goal that seem very difficult to reach.  I don’t blame him for being tired.  But we have to leave a chance for us to have the choice to have another child.

So in the 36th month of us trying to become pregnant, we’re faced with many choices.  Emotionally, I am surprisingly feeling better than a year ago.  I remember how sad I was on Christmas day because of one of my friends’ pregnancy announcement.  This year I wasn’t ambushed on Christmas day, although my Dear Colleague gave me a heads up that a coworker announced her 7-week pregnancy on one of the days when I was not at work.  I am not much affected by her, although I wonder why people announce their pregnancy so early on.  I am not immune from sadness, but I have learned to handle my emotions a lot better.  I am determined to enjoy my time with Bob.  We had a nice few quiet days to ourselves at home.  I am thankful for restful time, and we’re set out to do that in the next few days during our trip.  One way or the other, we’re moving on.  And I am happy that we decided to enjoy our lives and each other in the midst of this infertility storm.  I have been looking forward to this trip to recharge.  Hopefully the quiet time will help me recuperate and allow me to have the strength to make all the decisions we have to make.

Today is the 9th day after ovulation.  I confirmed with one of the nurses that I would start Est.race for estrogen priming starting on day 7 past ovulation.  I hope that my luteal phase will be regular (about 14 days) and that my period will come next Wednesday or Thursday so we don’t have to cut our vacation short for my baseline appointment.

IVF #8 will start in less than a week.  I am hoping for a very good beginning of 2015, whatever life may bring.

MicroblogMondays: Crying Buckets


A while ago, I wrote about a good friend of mine who announced that she’d try for a second child.  It was so unexpected to me because all along her husband had been adamant about no more children.  Her potential pregnancy has been in the back of my mind.  I have been thinking about how I’d react to her pregnancy, and I have considered how I wanted her to break the news to me.   I will see her and two other good friends for dinner next Tuesday.  The last thing I want her to do is to tell me in person or to call me on the phone.  I had a feeling that I had to write her an email before the I saw her in person.  This is part of my email to her:

“Last time when we came to visit you at your place, you shared with me that you were trying for number two.  I thank you for sharing that with me.  I have one request.  When you get pregnant, could you please give me a heads up with an email before you announce it in person?  I ask because I would love for you to get pregnant and would love to fully prepare myself to celebrate it with you.  Given our situation, an email will allow me time and space to process the news and get ready to celebrate with you.  I hope that this is not too much to ask.  “

I woke up the next morning at 5:30am to take my basal body temperature.  I checked my email and saw her response.  This is part of what she wrote to me:

“Great to hear from you!  Thanks so much for reaching out about this.  I appreciate very much knowing your preference on these issues and I want you to know that I completely respect your wishes and want to be as sensitive as possible about your situation.

I was planning to give you a call this weekend before the dinner to talk in advance, so I’m glad your email came first.  We are actually expecting now.  I was hoping to share this with you ahead of time – there is absolutely no need to celebrate at dinner or have that be part of our conversation.  I did email Chloe (note: another good friend of ours) just a few days ago to let her know the news and also to ask that we not talk about it at dinner.  While it is mostly good news, we are having some mixed prenatal screening results that mean that the baby potentially isn’t healthy and that I’m at risk for several things down the line in the pregnancy.  So in truth, I’m not celebrating just yet anyway.

How about if you let me know what works for you in terms of future discussions?  I have been thinking about you guys a lot…”

After I saw the email.  I was stunned.  While I expected her not to have any problems conceiving, I didn’t think that she’d conceive pretty much right away at age 38.  I thought that it’d at least take her a bit more than a few months.  The fact that she told me in late September about trying and is already pregnant in December shows how unfair this is.

At 5:30am, I broke into tears.  I lay back in bed and had this heart-wrenching cry that woke Bob up.  My pillow case was all wet from all the tears.  I was just feeling sorry for myself for once again facing a situation with a friend who conceived so easily.  I was also feeling sorry for her for having to worry about herself and her baby.  I just let myself feel and allow my emotions to flow because I don’t know any other way to get over this.  I am not going to stop being friends with her.  But I really needed that time to grieve watching others so easily achieve what we haven’t yet.  I needed time to process the news and be ready to say congratulations.  I didn’t write her back for whole two days.  And this is what I wrote:

“Thanks for being so sensitive about my needs.  It does usually take me a couple of days to process pregnancy news.  So I am so glad that we touched base before we meet up which allowed me time to digest everything.  I am so sorry that there aren’t all good news about this pregnancy.  It must be worrisome to know that the testing results with the baby are mixed, and there might be health complications for you.  I would like to know what is going on with you and the baby health wise.  Would you like to talk on the phone today or tomorrow some time?

Love you girl.  I want nothing but the best for you.  I hope that everything will be fine in the end.”

We haven’t had the time to talk yet so hopefully we can do that soon.  At least before our dinner.  Bob told me not to go to dinner but I refuse.  I don’t like avoidance behavior.  And I truly love her and my other friends.  I have mostly gotten over the news.  I just really needed the time to cry.  I thought that I wouldn’t be reacting so strongly and be so sad, but this is one of my closest friends so the news really hit me hard.  It hurts so much.  I am so glad that I wrote her an email ahead of time.  Imagine her calling me out of the blue sharing her news. It would’ve been hard for me to respond sincerely without crying.  I hope that this pregnancy doesn’t change our friendship, and I truly hope that things will work out in the end for her.  I hope that I’d brave enough to talk with her without shedding any tears.

The Dizzying World of Egg Donation

Yay today is the first day of my 16-day vacation for the holidays!  I was rebellious and went to bed at midnight (which is very late for someone who is usually in bed by 9:45).  I had been working very hard at work to get everything finished so I can thoroughly enjoy my time off.  I can proudly say that I completed all the tasks that I intended.  Since I am done doing that, what’s left to do?  Let’s see… Well, I do have an appointment with the donor coordinator at my current clinic on Monday.  I think that I’ve got to come up with a list of questions for her, right?

Yeah egg donation has been on my mind.  I know we’re pursuing our last cycle or possibly last two cycles with my own eggs.  So I am still hopeful that our batch of embryos may yield one healthy pregnancy.  However, I am a realist and I think about the future.  I have read one book so far about egg donation.  Kimberly recommended another one so I’ve been reading it.  I am so glad I listened to her and purchased the book.  It really helps me to think about various issues one should consider before making a decision to pursue egg donation.  It also helps me formulate some questions in my mind before I approach various fertility clinics regarding donor egg cycles.  So what kind of questions or concerns do I have for my current clinic?

The most important thing to consider is whether there are Asian donors in the donor pool for the clinic.  I know that we can always find an agency to search for an appropriate Chinese donor for us.  However, given the high cost of donor egg cycles, I would LOVE to save that money and work directly with the clinic on their donors.  Paying extra for an agency is going to diminish our chance of pursuing more than one cycle.  To see if there is even a chance of finding Asian donors, I signed up to get access to donor databases with various fertility clinics around the country.  I am quite bummed that many of the clinics on the west coast do not have any or many Asian donors.  San Diego Fer.tility Cl.inic has a few Asian donors but none of them are Chinese.  A well known clinic up in Oregon had none.  Another clinic on the east coast where Maddie cycled with also had no Asian donors.  I thought that deciding on using donor eggs is tough enough.  I didn’t know that trying to decide on donor eggs while being Chinese is a even tougher situation.

I finally wrote the donor coordinators at my current clinic about their program.  They offer cycles with fresh donor eggs and frozen donor eggs.  The cost of fresh cycles is probably about $15,000 higher than frozen eggs.  But I don’t know how many eggs are guaranteed, so this is something I definitely have to explore.  I was given access to their donor database.  I was actually pleasantly surprised that they do have a few Asian donors.  If I am keen on only Chinese donors, then I will definitely have to pay extra money for an agency to find a donor for us.   Since I really don’t what to pay that money, and ever since I learned how hard it is to find a Chinese donor, I started to look at donors who are of mixed ancestry.  There are quite a few of them.  But do I really want my child to have some Caucasian blood in him?  How about other Asian heritage such as Korean or Japanese?  What about the height?  I always thought that the donor’s height is very important to me because that’s what people would first notice about me.  Being 5’8″, I would like to find a donor who is 5’6″ or taller.  In the world of egg donation, especially with Asian donors, this seems to be very hard to accomplish.  Many of them are below 5’3″.  Some are even below 5′.  I am not saying that they are not good potential donors, but height is important to me.  Because of the difficulty finding one, I think I have mentally relaxed my criteria a bit and will consider someone who is 5’4″ and up.  On the U.CSF donor database, all of the Asian donors are marked “on hold” or “in cycle”.  There is not a single donor that is marked “available”.  Apparently I am told in the coordinator’s email that I should just ignore those words.  When I am ready to find a donor, I am to write an email to one of the coordinators and ask how long of a wait it is for a particular donor for a cycle.  But yeah, even in San Francisco, a hugely multicultural city, it is still difficult to locate a Chinese donor.

And then there is the question of doing fresh cycle vs. frozen egg cycles.  In a frozen cycle, the clinic usually guarantee six to eight mature eggs.  That would realistically yield one to two good day-five embryos.  But nothing is guaranteed.  A fresh cycle is a lot more expensive, but the donor may yield more than ten eggs, which would increase the chance of higher number of embryos and some embryos for freezing.  Since we want two children, fresh cycles seem to be a good choice.  But what if the fresh cycle doesn’t yield enough eggs and in turn only a couple of embryos?  Wouldn’t that be like a frozen egg cycle?  I guess a guarantee program comes into play.  Some clinics’ guarantee programs ensure that you have a live birth or a portion of the fees would be refunded to the couple.  The cost of guarantee programs is usually really high, but it helps to ease a couple’s mind because there is the insurance of several tries.  However, you also pay a high sum of money if the first cycle is successful.  I have seen many of my blog friends who got pregnant on their first donor egg cycle.  I have also seen many of other blog friends and online forum ladies who have to try multiple times before they could get pregnant.  So every step and every decision is a gamble.  How do you weigh each to make a decision?  It’s dizzying to wrap my mind around it.  I don’t think my current clinic offers a guarantee program, so all the money spent on the cycle would be gone if there is no baby in the end.  I also know that the clinic partners with some outside programs to offer guarantee programs.  This is one of the questions I’ll have to ask the donor coordinator.  S.DFC offers a guarantee program but with my surgery to remove my fibroids and my multiple failed IVF cycles, I am not so sure if I’d qualify for the program.  Plus they don’t have as many choices for Asian donors for me as U.CSF.

When it comes to choosing a donor, sometimes I wish I were Caucasian?  Isn’t that crazy?  There are so many Caucasian donors everywhere.  Asian donors are a hot commodity.   If I were a Caucasian, I could go anywhere.  But I am not, so I’ll have to scratch that idea.

So yeah, I will come up with my list of questions and learn as much about the donor program at my current clinic as much as possible.  In terms of my current cycle, I am on cycle day 13 today.  Since I’ve been having retrievals on cycle day 14, I didn’t think that I’d ovulate any time earlier than cycle day 11.  Imagine my surprise when my basal body temperature jumped yesterday, on cycle day 12.  That means that I most likely ovulated on cycle day 11.  And guess what?  Bob and I didn’t time things well. We baby danced on cycle day 7 and were too busy or tired to do anything on cycle day 8, 9, 10, or 11.  When I woke up with a big temperature shift, I almost cursed out loud.  We missed the window!!  Not that I thought that we would get pregnant miraculously on our month off.  But I still wanted to try our best to catch the egg.  So we did it after the fact but we were one whole day late.  Oh well.  I was tracking my ovulation not so much for catching the egg but to gauge when I should start taking Estrace for priming.  I guess one good thing about ovulating early is that I can start my next cycle early.  If I did indeed ovulate on cycle day 11, I am looking at AF coming on 12/31, 1/1, or 1/2.  I hope my period doesn’t come any earlier than that because of our holiday trip to the coast from 12/28 to 12/31.  I don’t want to cut my trip short just for the baseline ultrasound.

For those of you who have used an agency for your donor egg cycles, was it really pricey?  Are there any tips you can share with me?  Thanks in advance for your help.

I’ll let you all know what I learn after Monday.  Have a great weekend!

MicroblogMondays: I Hold You in My Heart


Bob and I have a tradition of getting one new ornament per year since our wedding.  I had been wanting to find one that can commemorate our short yet important pregnancy.  I don’t know if both Clay and Eli implanted, or just one of them.  There is not ever going to be a way to find out until we meet them again in heaven.  Nevertheless, the loss of this pregnancy still tugs at my heart and there is no way I will let this year pass without honoring the existence and loss of the baby(ies).  I started looking quite early on but couldn’t find something that I really liked.  I saw a few that had a graphic depiction of a shape of a tiny baby or baby that looked like angel.  Somehow they just weren’t quite what I was looking for.  I came across a very simple ornament one day and felt the urge to buy it.  So here it is:

photo (40)

A very simple message in my favorite color.

Now we need to get a tree.  🙂

Extra Money and Decisions Made

It seems like I haven’t written an update about our treatment cycles for a while.  Where do I begin?

The last time I mentioned about our cycles, we had some decisions to make.  Bob and I talked and prayed about it.  We both feel that we are more comfortable with not taking any birth control pills to hold off my period until end of December.  I don’t see a point of potentially messing up the hormones in my body this late in the game.  In regards to the number of embryos to transfer, we decided that transferring six embryos is just too risky, although it could be wishful thinking that my old eggs would give me more than one normal embryo in a batch of six embryos.  But still, I do not want to take a risk of having multiples.  I have a lot of peace with these decisions.  We are going to transfer four embryos at most.  I emailed Dr. No Nonsense’s nurse to let her and Dr. NN know about our decisions.

My luteal phase is usually 13 to 16 days, mostly 14 days.  Imagine my surprise when AF arrived on day 11 past retrieval.  It had been a wonky cycle and it kept on being wonky all the way til the end.  Thank goodness I always carry some pads in my purse so I didn’t create any embarrassment for myself.  (I have never used tampons and probably never will.)  I guess one good thing about getting my period early is that it’s possible for me to cycle earlier in January after the clinic’s lab closure at the end of December.  I quickly did some math and figured out that since my period came on December 8th, my potential retrieval in December would be December 21.  The lab closes on December 22.  So if we were to do a cycle now, it’d be cutting it very close to the lab closure.  Plus we wanted to do a transfer, so it’s basically impossible to squeeze in a day-two transfer on December 23.  The lab will definitely be closed already.  So yeah, even with an unexpected early arrival of AF, I am still taking a break from cycling in December.

After my email, Dr. NN called me one day unexpectedly.  I feel so lucky that every time he calls me, I am in between clients and am available.  So far I haven’t missed a single unplanned phone call from him.  His main question for me was whether we’d still thaw and transfer embryos if we don’t make any new embryos in January.  That is such a tough question to answer.  I asked if I had to make a decision ahead of time.  He gently said, It’s better to make a decision sooner rather than later.  So I promised that I’d talk it over with Bob and get back to him.  We also talked about whether to go back on estrogen priming for the next cycle.  We both decided to do it.  I hope that it doesn’t over suppress my ovaries this time.

Many of our decision are made based on our financial means.  If we don’t make any embryos next cycle, should we or should we not transfer the frozen embryos?  We don’t know.  We have to look at our funds and see how much we need to leave for donor egg cycles.  Donor egg cycles cost a lot of money.  I don’t know if I’d ever be able to join any of the guarantee programs since I have had an abdominal myomectomy and may not have the kind of “healthy” uterus that some programs require.  How much more money should we put into these cycles with my own eggs?  Bob promised that he would look at our finances and help me make a decision on the weekend.

I knew that we didn’t use up all of the prepaid services for our failed cycle.  We had no embryos to freeze so we’d definitely be credited back the fees for cryopreservation.  I sent an email to the billing person regarding the remaining balance on my account.   A week went by without a response from her.  So I wrote again.  She responded immediately and said she’d look at my account and let me know.  A few more days went by without a response.  So I wrote a third email, to which she responded with a new fees schedule for the next cycle.  I opened the word document and was blown away by the amount that was credited back to us.   Rather than just crediting about $750 to us for the cryopreservation fees, we can carry over $4300 to our new cycle.  So we only have to pay $2700 for our next fresh, thaw, and transfer cycle.  I am sure it was because my little egg failed to fertilize.  However, I am not so sure why they’d credit so much money to me after doing many monitoring ultrasounds and a whole egg retrieval.  She didn’t itemize the services that are being refunded to us so I have no way of knowing, but I’d take it when someone wants to give  me back a substantial amount of money.  This lady’s math is horrible though.  She miscalculated the amount that is due for the next cycle by $40.  This is not the first time I’ve found calculation errors made by her.

So with this new information, our decision making has been a little different.  It leaves us more money than expected.  Bob said that he’s comfortable with not transferring any frozen embryos if this next cycle again doesn’t yield any fresh embryos, because the refund gives us a chance to do another fresh cycle in February.  We’ll give it our all to do two more fresh cycles and see what we can do with my own eggs.  After that, we’ll move full force into donor egg cycles if our effort doesn’t result in a baby for us with my own genetic material.

So that’s the new plan!  I am so happy that we have come to a conclusion and are at peace with the decisions we have made.  It’s been nice not to have to think much about doing a cycle at this moment, although I should start checking my basal body temperature so estrogen priming can begin seven days after ovulation.   Thank you all for commenting the last time and giving us your feedback and thoughts!    I will do a post soon about my thoughts and research on donor egg cycles.

MicroblogMondays: I’ve Been There


Remember how I bumped into a lady that I met on an online forum at the clinic a little while ago?  We finally met up for real and had a very good time chatting over ramen on Friday.  We exchanged notes on where we were at during our cycle, and shared a lot about our history.  Her fertility journey is shorter than mine as she’s been trying for a bit over a year.  She went off the pills at 38 and had the foresight to check her hormonal levels before she even started trying to conceive.  Her FSH was elevated, and she has done three IUIs.  She’s currently pursuing her first IVF cycle at my clinic before she turns 40 in a month but things aren’t going as smoothly as she has hoped.  At one point during dinner, she expressed how things are getting so tough, that she questions why she has to go down this path, and that she gets jealous at her fertile friends.  She started tearing up and continued to talk while wiping her tears away.  Looking at her, my heart was full of compassion.  I reached out my hand and held hers.  I saw my 38-year-old self in her and could totally identify with her feelings.  How many times can you actually look into someone’s eye and say “I know how you feel; I know exactly what you are going through”?  Her current experience reminds me of my own sadness, jealousy, doubt, suffering, pains, sense of a loss of justice, fear, worry, loneliness, disappointment, impatience, and confusion the first year and a half of my fertility journey.  I really do know exactly how she’s feeling.  I can’t guarantee anything, but I am a good example that many of those feelings can and will pass.  I am in a much better emotional place right now than two to three years ago.  I know that she wants to try with her own eggs and it’s very hard for her to think about donor eggs.  I just shared with her my own thoughts.  I went from only trying naturally, to IVF, to many rounds of IVF and not considering donor eggs, to seriously considering donor eggs, in a matter of two years.  As these invisible hands push us through our path, I see it more and more clearly what I desire and come to a place of determination to resolve this infertility debacle by trying third-party reproduction.  This all takes time.  I of course do not wish that she’ll come to this fork in the road in her pursuit of a baby.  And if she ever gets to that point, she may well come to a conclusion that living child-free would be the path for her.  It’s a very personal decision and it’s okay to make it whichever way that suits her and her partner.  But I hope that my experience and my current emotional wellbeing will help her see that there is light at the end of the tunnel, although my circumstances are still the same as three years ago.  I am glad I can offer support to her, letting her know that I’ve been there, and there are good days amidst those bad ones.  Being able to help someone in a similar situation makes it a bit less painful to be on this journey.  That’s one of the purposes of having a community, right?

More Decisions To Make

I have almost gotten over the sadness and the hurtful feeling of the failed cycle.  I have also looked more into the details of donor egg cycles.  This act of research does not mean that I am hopeless about our situation.  I remain hopeful that one of the embryos could be our winner.  However, being a very realistic and pragmatic person, I think it’s good to start looking.  This process is going to be a post in itself.  I will write more about it.

An email from my nurse bright and early on Monday warmed my heart.  This is what she said: “I am sorry about this last cycle and we didn’t get to add to our inventory of embryos for you.  You did so much.”  It was really nice to read those words and to know that my clinic cares as they take the initiative to reach out to me.  And she continued with this: “Dr. No Nonsense has some time at 5:15 today to call you to touch base and go over next steps.  Are you available?”

Oh yes.  If the doctor himself wants to talk to me, I am all for talking to him, on the phone, for free.  I also wanted to discuss with him about the next steps.

I made myself available in the car at 5:15 so I could talk privately.  In the afternoon, I had jotted down some questions.  As usual, the good doctor’s phone call was ten minutes late.  The first thing he said was that he was very bummed about the cycle.  Me too, doctor, me too.  He always talked with the speaker phone on his side, which made it sound like I was talking to somebody in the outer space.  And then there is always an awkward silence before the real discussion comes.  This time it was no different.  His question to me was, “What do you want to do next?”

I told him that from my estimate, my next retrieval will be on Christmas day the earliest, which is right in the middle of the clinic’s lab closure for clean up for the holidays.  So my idea was to take a month off from medications and resume cycling in January.  Then he said, “Or, I could put you on birth control pill until end of December so we can do a retrieval as early as possible in early January.”

HUH?  Birth control pills?  Me?  Someone with diminished ovarian reserve?  I have always been told that I should NOT be put on BCP because it will shut down my ovaries to a point where I won’t respond.  I have this “fact” deep in my head.  This is why Dr. E never prescribed Estrace for me for estrogen priming or BCP because she did not want to over suppress me.

I was very confused.  So I asked him exactly that, if BCP would over suppress me.  He said that for some, yes it will, but for some people with DOR after a wonky cycle, BCP can actually help with rebooting the system.  I was still confused.  So I was like… doesn’t estrogen priming do the same thing and did the estrogen priming over suppress me last time?  He said yes estrogen priming has a similar effect and no, it did not over suppress me last time.  The cycle was weird because the cycle was weird.  He didn’t think that it had anything to do with the estrogen.  So the confused me asked him to explain the effect of BCP for me.  Guys, I still do NOT understand it, but I was embarrassed to ask for an explanation for the third time.  Basically, he believes that it’s worth a try… and the very conservative side of me wants to run away from it.  I told him that I’d have to talk to my husband about it.

Okay.  So here is the kicker of the phone call.  I told him that for financial reasons, the next cycle will be our last retrieval that will also include a fresh and thaw transfer.  Assuming that we’ll have one embryo from the next cycle (fingers crossed!!), we’ll have a total of six embryos.  How many should we transfer for the first time?  His answer almost gave me a heart attack.  He said, “Let’s put all six in there.”  What what what what what?  I almost fainted.  I was hoping that he would say three and three in two different transfers.  Six???  I know that my eggs aren’t good so many of my embryos will not be normal, but six….. I was taken aback from this number.  So Dr. NN said, maybe then we can do two more fresh cycles, transfer 4 for the first time, and try to make more embryos and transfer them all back the second fresh if I don’t get pregnant at the first transfer.  I reminded him that we have funds to do one more fresh and one more frozen embryo transfer, but not two fresh.  Although, I didn’t tell him the truth that my husband said he’d be okay with doing two more fresh cycles.

I asked him again why he suggested all six.  He said that he normally wouldn’t.  But in this situation and this circumstance with my very low reserve and my egg quality, he feels good about putting all six in.

Bob specifically asked two questions: whether or not we should wait it out if we have a wonky cycle again.  Dr. NN said that it depends on the situation.  If we have four follicles in a wonky cycle, he’d want to pursue and grow those four follicles.  Bob also wondered if there is anything we can do to improve egg quality.  Dr. NN said that as long as I am taking all the supplements that are supposed to help (including DHEA and CoQ 10), there is really nothing more we can do.

So friends, here are the decisions that we have to make:

1) Birth control pills or just take a break from medications for a month and wait for a natural cycle in January. (I have never been on BCPs before so I have no idea what effects it will have on me, plus the only advantage it may have is for scheduling convenience and the possibility that it may help reset my system)

2) one more fresh and transfer all of the embryos (could be six of them!!), one more fresh by transferring three to four and one more frozen embryo transfer for the remaining embryos, or two more fresh so we could have our final cycle to make our last embryos

Bob and I discussed about it.  One idea that Bob has is that maybe we can try BCPs and if it gives us something new to work with, then it’s all good. But if it shuts down my ovaries, given that it’s our last cycle, he said just screw it and transfer all of the five frozen embryos and see what happens.

And Bob also said that if we decide to do two more fresh cycles and not regret anything once and for all, he’s okay with it too.

But we both agree that we need to really seek the Lord’s guidance and direction before we make a decision.

Dr. NN is such a great doctor.  He asked me for my decision.  I said I have to talk to Bob about it so once we make a decision, I’ll email my nurse.  He said, “Okay, email the nurse and let her know if you want to talk to me on the phone again.  I will make myself available in the evening.  Sounds like a plan?”  I am so thankful that he’s willing to be available to chat again if we need it.

For those who pray, could you please pray for discernment from the Lord for us?

For those of you who have any insights in the effect of birth control pills on the already fragile ovaries, please enlighten me.

Don’t you feel that there is always a decision to make in this TTC or IF journey???


MicroblogMondays: Order and Healing


In this journey, it’s inevitable that we’ll encounter a time that requires healing to move on.  Unfortunately, this Thanksgiving weekend once again called for such a time.  My emotions recovered rather quickly after the initial blow of a failed fertilization.  We attended my brother’s thanksgiving dinner and socialized with others as if nothing major had happened.  However, when late night came, the heart-wrenching feeling returned.  Despite that, I did not lose any sleep.  I woke up refreshed but immediately was reminded of the fact that we would not be receiving a day-two embryology report.  I had a strong urge to do something mindless and productive.  So this is what I did:

photo 1

photo 2


Standing in the sunlight-infused kitchen, I replenished my spice containers and filled spices that were not already labeled in new containers.  I lined them up in my spice cabinet.  Seeing all my spices neatly displayed somehow brought the  much needed order in my life and allowed the first moment of healing to take place.  It may sound strange to find comfort in spice jars but that was exactly how I felt.  I needed order.  I needed control.  And this was what I could control in my life the day after receiving bad news.

Onwards and upwards.


(Food also brings healing.  This is a picture of the three-month belated birthday brunch for my niece’s sweet 16.

photo 3

Huevos Rancheros, duck confit egg benedict, and creole crab cake with eggs.)