MicroblogMondays: Attitude Towards Platitudes


A couple of weeks ago, a lady from my bible study group asked about my cycle.  I gave her a brief history of my journey.  She was sympathetic about my situation.  She went on to tell me about one of her friends who also struggled with making a baby and tried IVF without success.  Then of course she went on vacation.  And of course she got pregnant on that trip.  So of course the message is that, when you relax, you’ll get pregnant.  Six months ago, I would’ve felt a bit negative about it, might have gotten a little offended, and might have said something not too nice about it.  These days I don’t get offended anymore.  I just told her how wonderful it is that her friend found success so unexpectedly.  I did emphasize that it doesn’t happen to everyone.  She said, maybe it’ll happen to you.  And I responded sincerely that I surely hope so, but I am realistic about my chances.  Then I left it at that.  No hard feelings.  No anger towards the platitude.

Last week at my 6:15am bootcamp class, I partnered with a lady who has been in the same class with me for the last three years.  We were chatting while exercising.  She told me that she’d stay home on Martin Luther King Jr.’s day because her kids were off from school.  We chatted about her kids for a little and exclaimed how big they were getting.  She of course asked us if we were planning on having kids.  Six months ago, I would’ve said something generic like, Oh when the time comes or if we’re blessed enough.  On that day, I decided to be open and told her that we’d been trying for three years and went through many rounds of treatment.  I felt that it’s not a shameful thing and I have nothing to hide from her.  She looked a tiny bit shocked but quickly recovered from it.   Of course she then told me that her friend had treatment and had a baby.  Then she went on to get pregnant naturally not once but twice after that.  She said, That could happen to you!  Again, I would’ve gotten annoyed in the past.  Nowadays, I smile and say how wonderful it is that it happened for her friend.  It sometimes does happen.  But not all the time.  She said that she believes it’ll happen for me.  I thanked her and said, I hope so too!

I am quite happy that being annoyed by a well-intentioned person’s platitude is no longer a given in my life.  I am slowly learning to embrace this journey and am truly okay with people telling me about their friends’ miracles, at the same time educating them that whatever miracles they tell me do not always happen to everyone.

I like being in this new state.  Not bitter.  Just wanting to engage and be okay with it.  And also okay with talking about my journey without feeling the need to look for a reason or excuse for our childless state.  I like this new attitude.  I hope I can keep up with it.

My Hormones are Crazier Than I Originally Thought

The craziness of my hormonal mess did not end when AF showed up ten days ago.  Let me tell you what has been going on.

My basal body temperature was at 97.1 when AF arrived on cycle day one.  I had regular flow for three days.  On cycle day four, I was spotting.  I thought that I could start tracking my basal body temperature to more easily pinpoint ovulation this month so I have some semblance of *control* or maybe just knowledge of when my next cycle would be.  I was shocked that morning when the little window on my thermometer showed 98.0 in the dark at 5:30 am.  My usual cover line for charting is about 97.3 and 97.4.  The high temperature usually means post ovulation temperature shift.  Remember it was cycle day four only.  So what does that mean?  I of course would need more data since this could be a one time fluke.  But my suspicion was that I had ovulated from those follicles that I grew in the last luteal phase.  At that point, I was still spotting.  It was quite weird to think that I was bleeding and ovulated at the same time.

The temperature the next two days confirmed that I indeed ovulated as they were at 98.0 and 98.1.  I continued spotting for two more days.  I thought that the temperature would maintain high for another ten days or so like a regular luteal phase.  But nope.  It started dropping and I had light flow on cycle day 7 and full flow on cycle day 8.  I had my second full flow within eight days of my cycle.  Let me show you my chart so you know what I am talking about.


I didn’t know that your body can bleed, ovulate on cycle day 3 or 4, then have a mini luteal phase, then full flow again.

Isn’t that messed up?  I feel like my body is screaming for me to stop taking any hormones and just rest and rest and rest.  Because of this strong sense I got, I actually did something that I had never done before.  I usually would go with the flow when my RE suggests a scan, or going forward with a cycle.  But this time, Bob and I made a decision for the next steps.  Let me explain.

I had emailed my nurse earlier this week to ask if my RE had any explanation for my crazy hormones, or maybe he had seen it before and could tell us what the next steps should be.  I really don’t want to recruit follicles so early in the luteal phase so I wondered what he would suggest doing.  I also had a question about whether or not my intramural or submucosal fibroids would interfere with implantation or impede the growth of a fetus.  I had an abdominal myomectomy in October 2011 to remove many tiny fibroids but they had already grown back the next year.  Every time I go in for a scan, a new doctor would comment on the fibroids.  I know that they exist but Dr. No Nonsense never said anything about them being detrimental to a pregnancy.  I wasn’t thinking much about them until my research on the donor egg Success Guarantee Program at San Dieg.o Fertility Center showed that they wouldn’t accept a patient into the program unless the intended mother does not have any submucosal fibroids or have surgically remove them.  I know that as long as my fibroids are not in the cavity, they don’t affect implantation.  But I just don’t know how these newer fibroids would affect my chance of keeping a pregnancy.  I emailed my nurse again and asked that.

My nurse didn’t get back to me until Thursday late afternoon.  She said Dr. No Nonsense wanted to see where I was at during my cycle.  I informed her that my basal body temperature dropped and I started having full flow again.  So in a sense, it was kind of like cycle day one all over again.  She then said Dr. NN wanted to have me go in for an ultrasound the next day, just to see where my ovaries are at.  (To that, my dear friend M answered, “Inside your body.”) And we could also measure the fibroids during the scan to see what state they are at.  I asked if it would make sense to take a break this cycle rather than moving forward with it.  She said that this is a discussion between me and Dr. NN.  So I scheduled the appointment and hung up.

However, all night long, I felt this nudge telling me to cancel the appointment.  I remember last cycle how I was kind of pushed into growing those follicles in the luteal phase and pumped myself with extra hormones from the Meno.pur and Gan.irelix.  I mean, no one forced us but my first instinct was to not push forward with follicles that were growing in the wrong phase of the cycle.  I don’t want to go into another scan being told to start meds and see what happens.  I truly want to give my body a rest.  I know I am 40 1/2 and approaching 41.  I know that I don’t have a lot of time to waste.  However, at the same time, I don’t want to push forward when I know that my body has been giving me warning signals to just rest and rest and rest.  So I was debating with myself to see if I could justify the need for a scan just to check on my fibroids.  After a discussion and understanding the situation, Bob voted for canceling the appointment.  I prayed and prayed for it.  I had peace in my heart, feeling that God’s will was for us to take a break regardless of what the scan would show.

My appointment was set at 2:15pm.  I emailed my nurse at 9:30 am:

“Please ask Dr. No Nonsense if I should still come for the scan today if I plan on taking a break this cycle to let my body rest?  Or if it’s still beneficial to check on the fibroids today to see if they will interfere with transfer next month?”

I didn’t know that Dr. NN would call me.  I felt lucky that I had my phone with me when I went to heat up my lunch.  I stuck it in my back pocket and it rang when I was in the kitchen.  We had a good discussion about my situation.  He asked me why all of a sudden I was concerned about my fibroids.  I didn’t go into the whole success guarantee program in another clinic.  I said I was just wondering about them.  He said that he wouldn’t have said to move forward with a transfer cycle if he thought that the fibroids were a problem.  My previous hysteroscopy and saline sonogram all indicated that my cavity was free of any polyps or fibroids.  Intramural or submucosal fibroids are fine for getting pregnant.  No one knows what they would do in a pregnancy until one gets pregnant. He said that removal of these fibroids doesn’t really help with pregnancy.  As long as I don’t have fibroids in the cavity, I am good to go.  However, if I am really concerned, I could do a saline sonogram again to make sure nothing is wrong.  He asked me how I wanted to proceed.  It comes down to the cost.  I would have to pay out of pocket if I did it at my current clinic.  Or I could ask my OB/GYN to do it and let the cost be part of my deductible for my health insurance.  I told him I would think about it.

As for my current cycle, I told him that I would like to take a break.  I didn’t ask him why my hormones are so messed up.  He agreed with me that my hormones are messed up and a break is a good thing.  So if we decide to put the cycle on hold, then I could just cancel the appointment in the afternoon that day, since the scan wouldn’t really tell me much about my fibroids.

I am grateful for this phone call with him instead of passing messages back and forth via my nurse.  After consulting with Bob, I called the clinic and canceled the ultrasound appointment.  I hung up and felt good that I am listening to my body this time.  I really didn’t want to go into an appointment, seeing some follicle growth, and be swayed into thinking that it would be a good idea to cycle again just because I would be scared of delaying yet another month.  I want my body to be in the most tiptop shape that I can be (whatever that means) before we try for one last time to make some embryos.

I hope that my body can feel my love and decide to cooperate again.  For those who pray, could you please pray for my body to return to hormonal balance?  Thank you so much.  It’s about time our embryos return home, a nice a cushy one that is ready for them.

MicroblogMondays: Phantom


Phantom of the Opera is going to be in town.  From mid-August to early October, to be exact.

Bob and I watched Wicked at the same theatre five years ago.  We had such a fantastic time.  I would love to watch the Producers, but I will watch any musicals that come to town.  I had seen Phantom before, but Bob hasn’t.  So I would LOVE to watch it with him.

I know it’s a bit crazy to buy tickets for a musical so far in advance.  But that’s what people do if they want good seats, right? The last time we were at that theatre, we sat in the Orchestra section in the back.  The view was good, but this time I want to try upstairs so we can see the ceiling and the whole view of the stage more clearly.  I am not willing to pay $205 for premium seats in the Premium Orchestra section or in the Loge.  I found that the seats one row or two behind the Premium Loge section are $100 to $105.  Much more gentle on our budget.  I was clicking on all the different dates and was even looking into end of September or beginning of October for row D, which is right behind the $205 seats.

A small voice came into my head, asking: What if you’re pregnant then?  What if you’re seven months pregnant and need bed rest because you’re carrying twins?  What if you’re not pregnant but you need to go out of town for donor egg cycles?

How do I plan so far ahead for all the uncertainty in this fertility journey?

I hate it when I have doubts.

I am glad I have a husband like Bob.  He said, “Well, we have got to live life.  If you’re pregnant with twins and can’t go, I will be more than happy to give away the tickets to the doctor who helped you get pregnant.  Let’s just buy them.”

So I did!

photo (42)

I managed to find tickets on a Tuesday night in late August, two rows behind the Premium Loge $205 seats pretty close to the middle.  I figured if I got pregnant, I would only be six months pregnant.  I should be able to move around and enjoy a musical, right?

I surely hope that my little miracle will be enjoying Phantom of the Opera with us inside of me.

Even if it’s not the case, we still get to live life, doing what we want to do without the fear of the future and uncertainty.

And that’s important.

What A Crazy Ride

I don’t even know where to begin.

This has gotta be the craziest, weirdest, most unpredictable, and shortest cycle ever.  So what happened?

Well, after last Saturday’s scan with the three follicles and my high progesterone which indicated post ovulation, we returned on Monday for another scan.  My appointment was at 8:15 and Bob got me there miraculously at 8:16.  Unfortunately, that didn’t translate to us being seen on time.  I had a 9am client and couldn’t leave the clinic until 9:05am.  Fortunately the client’s mom is usually very understanding and was okay with me being late.  Anyways, I was seen by Dr. Italian again.  The lining went back up to 10.4mm, but definitely not trilaminar as it was already in the luteal phase.  There were two follicles on the left ovary: 13mm and 11mm.  The right ovary had a little one at 8mm.  I was very confused about this and wondered about what this all meant.  Do I get to transfer if I get some embryos?  Dr. Italian made sure that he would tell Dr. No Nonsense to call me so we could personally connect on the phone to discuss about the cycle.  He did tell me to schedule an appointment for Wednesday to check on the follicles again.  He explained to me that sometimes they try to retrieve in the luteal phase.  It’s unusual, but it happens.

Since I was so rushed in the morning and had a full morning of appointments, I didn’t even check on my phone.  I had it on mute when I was in the clinic and totally forgot to turn the ringer back on.  I would usually have my phone with me in the lunch room but I was avoiding my pregnant coworker so I sat in my office having lunch and being on the computer.  I was oblivious to the fact that the phone was ringing in my purse at 12:51 and Dr. No Nonsense was trying to reach me.  By the time I discovered the phone call and voicemail, it was already 3pm.  All he said was that he wanted to push through the cycle to see if those follicles would grow.  He instructed me to inject 150IU of Meno.pur and one dose of Gani.relix.  After I listened to the message, I was saying to myself, “Huh?”

The thing is… I had ten thousand questions for him.  First of all, how good are the follicles that are made in the luteal phase?  If we move forward with a retrieval, would the follicles yield real eggs?  Eggs that are normal?  Secondly, this is supposed to be a fresh cycle where we would grow eggs, make some fresh embryos, thaw some frozen embryos, and transfer.  If we move forward with the follicles in the luteal phase, it would be a freeze all cycle again without a transfer because the uterine lining would not be the right phase, pattern, and thickness.  I needed to confirm with Dr. NN that this is in fact the case.  A freeze all cycle is only $600 cheaper than a fresh, thaw, and transfer cycle.  If we do a freeze all, the majority of the money that we had paid for this cycle would be gone, and we’ll have to shell out another few thousand for a frozen embryo transfer next cycle or even more money for another fresh cycle.  So this IS about money.  Anyhow, in the voicemail, he said that he would have a nurse call me with the instructions for the injections.

So I called the nurses station and got a hold of somebody.  I discussed with her about the plan.  I said I missed Dr. NN’s phone call and would really love to talk to him about the plan he had in mind.  She explained to me that the plan was to do the injections like what Dr. NN told me on the phone.  I re-emphasize my need to speak to Dr. NN, which she noted and said she would email him and let him know.

I went ahead that night with what I had to do.  I turned off my ringer at around 6:35pm for my bible study.  Dr. NN called at 6:41!  You know, I had bragged to Bob during the holidays that I had never missed one single phone call from Dr. NN in those past few months whenever he called out of the blue.  I couldn’t believe that I missed his phone calls twice in one day!  All he said in the second voicemail was that he agreed with the plan and just moved ahead with it.  Ugh.

I emailed my nurse the next day my availability so Dr. NN could call me again. She forwarded the times to him but told me that he just flew to Arizona and was probably very busy.  Since the two missed calls, I literally had my cell phone stuck on my butt (well, back pocket) all day long.  I called the nurses station again and spoke to the same nurse.  I asked if I was supposed to do the Meno.pur and Gani.relix again.  The nurse confirmed the plan and told me that she spoke to Dr. NN briefly who just told her to tell me to continue with the meds.  I re-emphasized that this is about money as well, since it’d cost us more to do a transfer next cycle.  I just really wanted to talk to him.  She said she would email him again with my concerns.  I didn’t hear from him at all on Tuesday.

Wednesday’s scan showed a 15mm follicle on the left, but the 13mm one was gone.  Instead, there was a 13mm follicle and an 8mm follicle on the right?  What the heck?  Where did that come from?  I was so confused.  The lining had grown to 12mm.  However, I had continued to spot and had been doing so for a few days.  I didn’t know if the mid-cycle spotting had any indication in how good or bad the cycle was going.  Dr. Italian said that the lining had no blood on it.  I told him that I still hadn’t talked to Dr. NN.  He looked at the progress of my follicles.  They had been growing quite slowly.  Just one millimeter or so a day even with injectables.  He was staring at the chart of my follicle growth on the screen and said that maybe we could do better next time.  To me that means that he would cancel this cycle if he were my RE.  But he emphasized that I should discuss this with Dr. NN and come to an agreement with him.

I called the nurses station yet again and spoke to the same nurse.  She said that they do luteal phase retrieval with cancer patients all the time.  I asked her about transfer during the luteal phase.  According to her, it could still be done with the right lining and low progesterone level.  I was listening and not believing what she said.  I don’t think that a transfer in the luteal phase would be optimal, especially for someone like me who has so few embryos to spare.

My phone continued to be with me all day long.  And Dr. NN did not call me until I was lying on the table at acupuncture with needles all over my body.  We both exhaled a sigh of relief that we finally connected.  He kept apologizing for being so busy.  Right off the bat, he told me that if we wanted to do a fresh cycle with a transfer, we’d have to cancel this cycle because we can’t possibly transfer with this lining.  If we wanted to gamble and see if we would get some eggs, then we should proceed and continue with the injections.  He said that there is no way of knowing if there would be any eggs in the follicles or if the egg quality would be different/worse in the luteal phase.  He said that in the cases that they had seen, it didn’t really quite make a difference in the quality.  And to him, my mid-cycle bleeding was irrelevant to the decision.  So basically, what he said was, it was up to me and Bob to make that decision.  If we decide to cancel, then just call the clinic and cancel the ultrasound.

I thanked him and lay on the table with all these needles on me.  I didn’t fall asleep like usual and my mind was going 100 miles per hour.  I was wavering between moving forward with a chance to make an embryo or two and stopping the cycle so that we didn’t have to waste more money.  I was doing math in my head.  I was thinking and worrying about the quality of the eggs.  I was just not at peace.  I didn’t know how we should proceed.  I finally prayed and asked God for clarity, direction, and peace.

Bob came to meet me at acupuncture.  On our way home, we discussed all the various factors into making our decision.  We got home at 7pm.  We had about two hours before we had to do the injections again.  I continued to waver.  Bob said to wait until the next cycle, but said he would be okay with moving forward with this one.  He told me not to worry about the money part because we do have some money to spare.  Do we want to risk having eggs that don’t fertilize, or not even having any eggs at retrieval?  I honestly could not answer that question.  But then I also didn’t want to give up the chance to potentially make an embryo or two.  I was so torn.  At 8:30, I emailed Elisha and asked her to pray for this decision.  (I love you girl.  You came through quickly with a great prayer.  Thank you so much.)  At 9pm, we decided to move forward with the cycle so we did the injections.  Honestly, I was okay with the decision but had a tiny hesitation in the back of my head questioning whether this was the wisest thing to do.  I still wondered about the money.

Well, God made the decision for us.  Last night, my so-called “mid-cycle spotting” got heavier and heavier.  It almost felt like a precursor of my period.  This morning, my basal body temperature dropped to 97.1, which is below cover line.  My bleeding had gotten heavier.  Cycle day 16 had become cycle day one again.  My luteal phase was only seven days long.  This has got to be the shortest luteal phase for me ever.  My cycle was only 15 days, with a 8-day follicular phase.  How messed up is that?  This is the first time that it has ever happened to me.  And this happens to be the cycle we’re supposed to transfer.  So I was wondering if we could still do a retrieval during AF?  I was still hoping that those follicles would grow.  Well, they didn’t.  Today’s scan showed that the 15mm on the left had shrunk to 13mm.  The 13mm and 8mm on the right were 8mm and 8mm.  So the follicles failed to continue to grow.  The lining had gone down to 10mm again.  Dr. Italian and I discussed about maybe taking a break from any meds for one cycle and resume in mid-February.  I thought it was a good idea.  He wrote a note to Dr. NN about today’s scan.

When I left, I was feeling relieved and at peace.  God made a decision for me and I actually feel that a weight has been lifted off my shoulder.  The unknown of the quality of the eggs, if any, would continue to haunt me if the follicles continued to grow.  If we retrieved but didn’t get any eggs, that would have been another blow to our journey and we might regret and question our choice.  I was feeling very good all day long.  I hadn’t felt this good since the beginning of the cycle.  It had not been a good cycle:  humungous cyst, cancelled cycle, resuming the cycle, taking Fem.ara, no follicle growth, high progesterone and temperature indicating extra early ovulation, follicle growth in the luteal phase, having difficulty reaching Dr. NN, doing injections in the luteal phase, mid-cycle spotting, and worrying about the money and quality of the eggs.  All of these made the cycle a bit stressful with all the unknowns and my inability to reach my own RE.  I was mostly zen throughout this whole thing until last night.  God came through and quickly showed us that this is not the right way to go.

I did waste 3 doses of Ganir.elix.  We have three more at home.  It would be a bummer if we need some but don’t have enough next time.  But it’s okay.  We have given our everything for this cycle.  We don’t have regrets that it didn’t move forward.

I am ready for my hormones to go back to normal.  I yearn for a regular cycle where I have a couple of follicles growing, we make some embryos, and have a nice lining to transfer.  I believe that a cycle off would be the right choice.  I am still waiting for Dr. NN to give his opinion, but I doubt that he would suggest doing a cycle immediately because my ovaries still have those follicles that are still shrinking.  I hope that in a month we’ll be back on track so we can just transfer those precious frozen embryos.  I am so ready for this stage to be over, regardless of the outcome.

Well, of course I want a good outcome.  There is still hope.

Thank you all for reading this extremely long post!

MicroblogMondays: Pregnant Coworker


One pregnant coworker is about to give birth.  It’s quite easy to avoid her as we don’t work on the same floor.  When she comes upstairs to the lunch room, I usually can just go back to my own office if I don’t feel like seeing her.  I thought that I’d be kind of safe after she goes on maternity leave mid-January.  Then my Dear Colleague dropped the bombshell that another coworker announced her 7-week pregnancy during a work lunch potluck.  Fortunately I was on vacation so I was safe from the details surrounding this pregnancy.  But it puzzled me to know that people actually announce their pregnancy once they find out about it.  It probably never crossed her mind that something could be wrong with it.  She probably never had a friend who had a chemical pregnancy or miscarriage.  Or she may have friends that have experienced that but never talked about it.  Ignorance is bliss?  On the flip side, extra knowledge about all the things that could go wrong doesn’t serve us good either because we’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Anyhow, ever since I returned to work after the holidays, I have been avoiding my newly pregnant coworker.  She and I work on the same floor, so I get many chances of bumping into her.  And we have been friendly.  That was why she shared with me a little while ago that her doctor told her to lose some weight before she started trying for a baby.  I had that piece of information in my mind and hadn’t thought much about whether or not she would get pregnant because she looked like the same size to me as before.  When my Dear Colleague wondered out loud to me after our work holiday party why this particular coworker was hiding in the corner not drinking, I dismissed her observation and said that I didn’t think they were trying.  At least not until she loses some weight.  On the first day of work after the holidays, I saw her at the front desk chatting with another coworker about how sick she had gotten over the break.  I quickly walked by.  She looked up and said Hi cheerfully to me, as if she was waiting for me to ask her how she was doing and how her break was.  I said Hi back cheerfully and walked away.  When I got back to my office, I could hear her voice from the next hallway.  Someone had asked her to do something and she responded, “I am pregnant but I will do it for you.”  I was standing in my office having a difficult time believing my ears.  Why do some women have to add that qualifier to everything that they do?  What does pregnancy have to do with doing your own job?  That totally boggles my mind.  I mean, she is usually a sensible person and I like her a lot.  Somehow being pregnant can turn you into someone who does not make sense anymore?  Does it mean that I have to endure this kind of conversation in the hallway for another 30+ weeks?  She’s not even 10 weeks yet.

I finally found out how she announced her pregnancy at seven weeks.   She had an abnormal pap smear and was told to schedule for a surgery to scrape her cervix.  She had been putting it off for quite some time.  We don’t know how long, but she told that she got more than a few phone calls to urge her to schedule a time.  She finally did.  At the pre-op appointment, an ultrasound was performed and it was found that she was pregnant.  The surgery could not be done because of the pregnancy.  So this sounds like she did not really try to get pregnant. This is an accident  Why she had to share with everyone about it at the potluck at such an early stage is beyond me.  My Dear Colleague was expressing how she thought that it was so unfair: This person who clearly does not take care of her body and let this abnormal test slip for a long time without fixing the problem got pregnant, but a person like me who tries to take care of my own body has such a difficult time achieving something so easily attainable by some.  I appreciate her sentiment.  She has walked this road with me and my husband from day one.   I know that she’s ready for me to just get pregnant already, and I am too.  What can we do when this is not something that you can just work hard to get?  Nothing.  We can do nothing.  We just pray and wait.

I think eventually one day my newly pregnant coworker will come to me and share her news with me.  I hope that I’ll have the courage to tell her a bit about my circumstances and to kindly request that she not share extra details about her pregnancy with me.  I thought about it and I think that it’s doable.  We’ll see how it goes when/if she does it.  Otherwise, I’ll just treat it like a knowledge that I never had, and go about my work days as usual.  I hope that I won’t hear too many “I am pregnant but…” out in the hallway.  I think I”ll go a little crazy.

The Most Peculiar Cycle

When it comes to IVF cycles, I am convinced that it’s best to know your body and to be vocal.  Let me tell you why.

After all the crying and then being told to proceed with the cycle, I took 5mg of Letro.zole from cycle day three to cycle day seven.  AF was very short this time.  I only bled for three days.  We baby danced on Sunday.  Then I started spotting again on Tuesday which actually matched my experience with my previous cycles with cysts, that I would usually spot mid-cycle.  I have been doing castor oil pack nightly to help reduce the size of Muriel the Cyst.  When I saw the spotting, I knew that the castor oil pack was doing its thing.

We went back to the clinic for a scan on Wednesday.  Dr. Dry Humor, who did my second retrieval at the current clinic, was the one who was present for my scan.  My lining was 9.5mm and the size of my cyst had reduced from 25mm to 16mm.  Way to go Muriel and castor oil pack!   He didn’t see much follicle growth on either ovaries and told me to return in a few days for another scan.  I didn’t have an expectation of the scan so I didn’t have much feeling or thought about the outcome. I was just glad that the devilish cyst decided to pack her bag and begin her departure.

Out of curiosity, I took my basal body temperature the next morning, which was cycle day 10 according to my own cycle and cycle day 9 according to the clinic.  It was the first time I had temped during this cycle, so I had no way of knowing what my BBT was from cycle day 1 to cycle day 8.  But I was shocked when I saw that it was 98.  98 may not mean anything to others but it often means that I am either sick or I have ovulated.  My cover line is usually around 97.3 and 97.4.  Anything above that usually means ovulation.  Period.  I thought it was a fluke so I asked around.  Some ladies who have experience with Clom.id or Fe.mara told me that sometimes their BBT goes up during and a couple of days after they took the meds.  The next morning, my BBT was 97.6.  Still above my usual cover line.  BBT this morning was 97.7 and was taken an hour before my usual time, so it could have been even higher had I taken the temperature at my regular time.  I was determined to get to the bottom of it.  So I decided to ask for my progesterone level to be checked.

Today is CD 11 (according to the clinic calendar) or CD12 (based on my natural cycle).  Dr. Italian did my scan.  Lining has gone down to 8mm.  The cyst seemed small, although it wasn’t measured.  Then the strangest thing happened.  My right ovary had a 10mm follicle and my left one had a 12mm and a 10mm.  I didn’t expect any follicles because there were none three days ago.  I told the doctor about my elevated basal body temperature and he agreed to check my estradiol level and my progesterone level.  I also reported to him that I had been spotting and was still spotting.  I was instructed to return on Monday to check on the progress of the follicle.  We got my blood work done and left.

The phone call this afternoon confirmed to me that yes, as a patient, we have to be on top of things and know our body.  The progesterone level is 17.1.  Based on this level, it means that I did indeed ovulate.  It’s actually a good progesterone level.  I’m so glad that I checked my basal body temperature and trusted my instinct.  But I don’t know what this all means.  Isn’t it odd for my body to be producing multiple follicles during the luteal phase?  What does that mean for the timing of retrieval (if indeed the follicles continue to grow bigger and bigger for retrieval to happen)?  Or maybe Muriel the Cyst was actually a follicle that began to grow in my last luteal phase and matured in the follicular phase of this cycle, hence the size of 25mm on cycle day 2 (or cycle day 3).   It’s all very puzzling to me.

I asked the nurse who phoned me what this all means.  She did not have an answer for me.  She told me to ask the nurse practitioner that I usually see for my monitoring scan on Monday.  I am so curious to see what Dr. No Nonsense will say about this.  I have heard of women with high FSH who would start to recruit follicles during the luteal phase when the ovaries are supposed to be quiet.  The end result is an early ovulation the following cycle.  I don’t really know how healthy the follicles/eggs may be if they were recruited out of phase.  Do I take birth control pills to sync up my follicular growth with the right phase of my cycle?  This is all so puzzling.

I don’t know how to feel about this.  I guess I will hold off my opinions, feelings, and thoughts until our scan on Monday.  This is the strangest place of unknown I have ever been.  When do I get my period next if I had ovulated early?  When should we do a transfer next?  Will I still get my period fourteen days after ovulation even with follicular growth in the luteal phase?  This is an uncharted territory and I feel like I am lost.

Pray that God will give us clarity and wisdom for directions in the upcoming days and weeks.  It’s hard to wait for God’s timing without being able to predict approximately when things will happen.  This journey requires us to exercise patience and trust.  I am definitely experiencing that right now.

MicroblogMondays: Ocean, Jellyfish, and Yummy Food


The title of this post pretty much sums up our end-of-the-year getaway.  We went to a coastal town that faces the Pacific Ocean.  Our wonderful bed and breakfast is only a block away from the path that goes by the ocean.  The food at the B&B was outstanding.  The sunroom was nice and warm.  The made-from-scratch breakfast helped start the day right.  The best thing about the inn was that coffee, tea, water, and hot water were available throughout the day.  Our room was just right next to the sunroom which made it very convenient for me to get hydrated.  For someone who has to drink hot water every night, this was just perfect.

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Just like how we liked it, we walked everywhere.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium was only a short 10-minute walk away along the coastal path.  The crisp air and the ocean scene were very pleasant for the walk.  My favorites at the aquarium were the sea otters and jellyfish.

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I can seriously stare at the jellyfish all day long.

We visited the Mission in Carmel, drove on the 17 Mile Drive, and walked on the beach.

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Wearing my new boots was the best while walking on the beach so no sand could get on my feet.

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The sand was so white.

We also walked a very long way to go visit the Monterey train depot that had been converted into an upscale grocery store.  Because I love my husband and he loves train, I walked a very long way with him so that he could see it.  He bought me a hot chocolate there while imagining passengers waiting at the train depot for boarding.

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The B&B had a nice afternoon tea time.  Bob and I would sit in the living room after a long day of walking and outing to enjoy a glass of wine and the homemade snacks.

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It wouldn’t really look like my blog post without pictures of some food.  That was another highlight of our trip.

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I don’t know about you, but trips like these make it easier to tolerate the lengthy fertility treatments and long wait that we have to endure.  Now I have to go back to work today so that I can earn my time for another vacation like this!

Interesting Proposition

What do you know?  There are always twists and turns in an IVF cycle.

On Friday, I was waiting for my nurse to email me or call me.  I didn’t hear from her, so I emailed her early afternoon.  I had had this idea in my mind that maybe we could still do a frozen embryo transfer even if the cycle had been canceled.  I felt that I could probably still transfer the best three embryos (all the four-celled grade ones) if there is no retrieval.  If they don’t take, then we could do a fresh next cycle in February and transfer the remaining frozen embryos and be done with my own eggs.  I asked my nurse to ask Dr. No Nonsense if the cyst would interfere with a transfer if we do indeed decide to do an FET.  Being a responsible nurse, she wrote me back immediately and let me know that Dr. NN was on vacation.  But she emailed him already and hoped to connect with me next Monday or Tuesday.

Alright then.  I guess I could wait.

Around 4:45pm, my phone rang.  I looked at the number and was surprised that it was my clinic.  It was my nurse calling.  She connected with Dr. NN already.  He told her to let me know that he suggested me taking Letro.zole despite having a cyst.  If I don’t respond to the meds, but if the lining is good, we can still decide to transfer the frozen embryos.


I never thought that I could take any meds with a big cyst in my ovary.  Nurse said, there is nothing to lose.  If I don’t grow some follicles, the lining might still be good for a transfer as the cyst doesn’t interfere with the lining.

Okay.  I was like, let me try to understand what you’re asking me to do.  So I take Letro.zole tonight for five days. Then return on cycle day eight for a scan.  If I respond to the meds, then we’ll do a retrieval.  If not, but if the lining is good, then we’ll transfer?

Yup, you got it!  She said.

What about my cyst?  I asked.  Wouldn’t it grow bigger?

Nurse said we won’t know.  That’s why we’re monitoring you.


I hope that they’re not wrong.  I really don’t want my cyst to grow bigger and rupture.  But I do know that other REs would also suggest continuing with the cycle even when the patients have a cyst.  So we’re taking a risk.

So… our cycle is tentatively back on.  I started Letro.zole since yesterday, which was cycle day three.  Apparently it’s okay to be on it from CD3 to CD7 instead of CD2 to CD6.  Thinking about it, I probably didn’t have to fret about going in on cycle day two for the baseline ultrasound.

I am a bit skeptical about what is going to happen.  Bob is very skeptical and a bit worried about the cyst.  But this time, I choose to trust the doctor to see what may happen.  Today there was a dull throbbing ache on my left ovary.  I don’t know if it’s something that I imagine, or it is really there.  I hope that the castor oil pack that I did tonight helps.  I plan on doing it daily until my scan next Wednesday.

Thank you so much for your support in my last post.  This process is such a roller coaster.  It would probably be a lot harder to get over these setbacks if I didn’t have all of you who understand what I am going through.

So IVF cycle number eight is back on.  My prayer these past few days has been that I will trust in the Lord in all that He has planned for us and not to let fear take over.

Please pray that I focus on the Lord again, instead of on the fear of the future.

My Not So Happy New Year

Good news: we didn’t have to cut our vacation short.

Bad news: a pregnant doctor found a big cyst on my left ovary.  The cycle is canceled, again.

My period came at 5:45pm on December 30th.  My clinic counts full flow after 4pm as cycle day one the next day.  I was totally relieved as we could stay on vacation as planned.  No frantically driving back to the city for that short ultrasound.  I was teasing myself for the little trust I had in God for His timing.  I didn’t know that my trust would be tested again very soon.

What a way to start the New Year, right?  Getting a baseline ultrasound for our new cycle on New Year’s Day, the cycle that we would finally transfer and have a chance at pregnancy.  Sounds like a great new beginning right?  Soon, that sense of a fresh start was crushed by the news.  Delivered by a pregnant doctor nonetheless.  She walked in with a glow on her face and her hands resting on her bump.  Like Maddie said, Who glows???  Maybe it’s a California thing, because all the pregnant ladies around her just look tired.  But yes, Pregnant Doctor was glowing.  I didn’t much mind her.  I just wanted to get the scan done to know that we were good to go with this cycle.  I kept my fingers crossed and whispered “No cysts”.

Then there it was.  Huge round dark circle on the screen, measuring about 25mm.

I know the drill.  I knew the cycle would be canceled.  This sense of unfairness overcame me and my heart again.  I was sad, disappointed, and hurt.  But on my face, I probably looked composed and calm.  I was not calm at all.  I was trying so very hard to hold myself together.  We discussed calmly about the next steps.  I asked if it was an estrogen producing cyst.  She suggested blood work to check the estrogen level, although later on at home I realized that the level wouldn’t accurately reflect the estrogen level since I had been taking Estradiol for priming.  I got poked anyways.  And estrogen did come back at the 800 level.  Very high.   I was instructed to connect with my RE’s care team the next day.

On the car ride home, I was extremely quiet.  All I wanted to do was to cry.  But I didn’t cry in the car.  Bob wasn’t feeling much better.  At first he said that it was okay that we just wait for the next month.  Then he said that he didn’t want to transfer in February because of the bad memories from our transfer and chemical pregnancy last year in February.  He wanted to just do a freeze all cycle again in February and try to transfer in March.  I almost lost it there but I kept my mouth shut.  Both of us were in extremely bad mood, very hurt and angry.

I was so angry at God.  I was so angry at the world, at the unfairness of it all, at the waiting, the pain and suffering that we have had to endure.  Then I felt guilty for being angry at God.  I vacillated between guilt and anger all day.  Tears kept coming down when I was cutting vegetables.  Bob told me to just rest instead of cooking.  He didn’t understand that at that moment, I just wanted to be left alone and let my emotions and tears out while doing something productive.  So he left me alone to read in bed upstairs.  When I was done cooking, I went upstairs, squeezed next to him and rested with my eyes closed.  With his body behind mine, and his hand moving up and down on my back, I curled up like a fetus and just let myself cry the best cry I could have.

Will all the tears be worth it in the end?

This delay had hit me harder than any other delays.  I have been so ready for a transfer since November.  Our wonky 42-day failed cycle in November pushed our December cycle into the time of the two week lab closure that made it impossible for retrieval and transfer.  We celebrated the rest that we had during the holiday season and tried to make the most of it.  We were so hopeful for finally moving forward and believed that this new year would bring the long-awaited transfer.

What a way to start our new year.

Needless to say, a severe headache consumed the second half of my day.  It took a really long time to go away.

I kept my eyes tightly shut this morning and did not want to wake up.   I was praying and talking to God about how disappointed I was in my body and in His timing.  I didn’t like His timing a bit.  My head knowledge tells me that God’s timing is the best.  But my heart was rebellious.  I was chatting with Maddie about it.  And I was saying that Elisha is probably the best person to talk me out of this nonsense that I was feeling.  How do we talk to God and pray to Him when we feel that He is so so far away?  When we don’t feel His love and that He has my best interest in His mind?  It’s such a struggle to stay faithful, positive, and trusting in God’s plan and timing.  I don’t know how others do it.

My prayer is that my trust in God and His plan will be strengthened.  I realize how fragile my faith and trust is.  Asking for God’s peace and strength is an everyday occurrence.  I’ll pick myself up again soon.  I just need to allow myself some grace and some time to get over the hurtful feeling.

My dear friend Jane made me laugh for the first time yesterday.  When I told her about the cyst, she said: “Cyst name suggestions: Agatha or Muriel”.  I burst out laughing.  The last thing that I had in my mind was to name my cyst, although this has been my tradition to name my cysts to make them go away.  It helps to have friends who would take care of that for you.  I love that she always gives me two choices.

Muriel it is.

Good bye Muriel.  I don’t want to see you next month.