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.