MicroblogMondays: The Bryson – From My Hubby

Microblog_Mondays

The Bryson – A great name for the bouquet that my husband sent to me at my work.

You know, me and my husband.  We have our share of good times and trying times.  We have fun.  We joke.  We take care of each other.  We love on each other as much as we can.  We also fight.  We have “robust discussions”.  We have disagreements.  We have our conflicts.

One day last week, we had a robust discussion about family conflicts with my side of the family.  Whatever it is about, I won’t go into details about it.  Let’s just say that we tried to be as calm, logical, and reasonable as possible, but the discussion was emotionally charged.  There were a few things that I would have rather not heard.  But at the end, we were in good terms again, as we usually do.

Then the day after, I saw this box in the copy room downstairs and literally jumped when I realized that it was for me.

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I opened it up, and saw this:

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I was so surprised!  I did not expect to receive flowers on that day.  I read the card and it said that it was from my husband and he wrote: “This reminds me of the first bouquet that I gave you six years ago. 🙂 ”  He gave me yellow roses for the first time and I teased him that it was for friendship.

See how pretty the bouquet is:

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I chatted with him online and expressed my amazement at such an arrangement on that day.  He told me that this is partly for our fourth wedding anniversary that is coming up in a few days.  It was also partly an apology for sometimes making my life difficult.  I love flowers and he couldn’t have picked a better arrangement named “The Bryson”.

My husband sometimes drives me crazy, but he certainly knows how to surprise me and make my heart sing.  I am a lucky girl.  🙂

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MicroblogMondays: Angry

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I have been having a hard time finding words to say.

I have been reading all the blog posts on my reader.  However, I can’t seem to find the right words to write.  When there is good news (BFP, successful IVF retrievals with many eggs and embryos, or embryos reaching the blastocyst stage), I can’t help but think of my own situation.  Sadness overcomes me.  I have been struggling to click on the comment section and saying meaningful words or a simple “Congratulations”.  And I am not going to force myself.  It is tough to be a part of a blog world when the common goal is to get pregnant.  There are bound to be people who are successful and people who aren’t.  When you are in the camp of the wrong side of the statistics all the time, it is tough to be always positive and upbeat.  I try.  But I can’t always be there in the happy space.  Lately I find myself having a difficult time doing that.  It doesn’t mean that I am not happy for my friends.  But, I just can’t shake the feeling of unfairness.

And that, unfairness, has been making me angry.  I  was so surprised by my anger.  I remember feeling angry a couple of years ago.  And have had that feeling on and off.   But for the past year, I really have been at peace with the path on which we have been placed.  Peace and strength are what I pray for daily, and I get.  However, last Thursday, while looking at all the donor profiles, a sudden sense of unfairness came upon me.  I don’t know the reason.  Perhaps it was the sheer difficulty of choosing the half of the genetic source of your own future children, especially when the choices are limited.  Being Chinese in the States means that you will have to pay higher premiums to have a egg donor that you like, or you may have to compromise your choices.  It feels like we have a very very high mountain to climb.  We look up the mountain and do not know how to get to the top.  For the whole day last Thursday, I kept on having this thought in my head: No one should have to use donor eggs to try to start a family.  No one.  A friend of mine asked that since I felt angry about it, if I’d reconsider cycling with my own eggs again.  What she doesn’t understand is, being angry about using donor eggs doesn’t equate to wanting to risk tens of thousands of dollars for a very slim chance. However angry I am, I have a strong sense of gratitude at the same time that we have the financial means and the option to have a chance at a baby.  This is me these days: in the midst of a dichotomy, pulling me in both directions.  I am fine with being angry.  I need to let myself feel and process the emotions.  I do not want to brush aside my feelings.

My anger reached a new level when I found out on Friday that my friend A. had lost her baby.  Her tribute to her son was so beautifully written and so heart-wrenchingly sad.  NOBODY in this world should have to suffer so much pain of losing her long awaited child in utero after all the trouble and heartaches they have experienced.  I about lost it.  I felt this deep sorrow and rage for A. that this could happen.  I do not understand how it could be.  I do not understand the big picture.  I wish it didn’t happen.  I wish I could take way A.’s pain.

This is me in the past few days.  I haven’t been able to shake these feelings.  I am not trying too hard to shake them either.  I’ll let them be as there is a reason why I am experiencing them.  I hope that without my therapist’s help I can still go back to being strong and at peace.  I know I can do it.  With God’s help, I know I can.

MicroblogMondays: Adults On Board!

Microblog_Mondays

I have always had issues with “Baby On Board” stickers.

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Whenever I see them, I complain to Bob that 1) these people with babies are gloating about their precious little ones and have to share the news with the world, and 2) they think that only cars with babies deserve extra care and protection from other motorists.  Babies’ lives are precious.  However, all human beings need safety on the road, don’t they?  Shouldn’t we all put safety first when we drive???  Does it mean that we don’t have to drive carefully when such a sticker isn’t shown on the windshield because let’s say, not everyone is lucky enough to have a baby?  Why are “Baby On Board” stickers necessary?  Another smug way to distinguish the ones with children from the childless ones?

They just make no sense to me. 

I was so happy to see this one day when I was driving to work:

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You probably can’t see the sticker on the right side of the rear windshield of the car in front of mine.   I found a better picture on Goo.gle for you:

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I love it!  It speaks to me. 

Maybe as an infertile person, I am just jealous.  Or not.

Therapy – Round Two Session Two

Session two with  my therapist was very productive, as usual.  She started out asking me how I had been feeling.  Honestly, I thought that I would be more sad than how I have been feeling.  I am very surprised that I can carry on my life like usual.  I don’t think I am being avoidant by brushing aside my feelings.  My therapist wondered if my calm feelings have to do with my mental and emotional preparation for egg donation since last July.  I have had so many months to get myself ready for it.  Now that the time has come, maybe the shock is not as great?  That may be the case.  I just know that I have been feeling good in general.  I am still not ready to contact the donor coordinator at my clinic.  I still have not written an email to donor agencies.  I haven’t even asked for our money back from the clinic.  I am not ready for these steps yet, but I feel good in general.  My therapist did mention that some women may feel periodic sadness during the egg donation process because it would start to feel real.  I will wait to see if that is true in my case.

I still feel a need to be distant from Chloe, my friends who said some hurtful things to me.  When Bob and I talked about plans for the summer, driving up north to visit with her and her family was one of the options.  After our little incident, I am not ready to see her.  Hence we decided to go to Chicago instead.  I told my therapist that I really don’t want to risk being there with Chloe in the middle of a egg donation cycle.  I don’t want to hear anything negative about what I am going through, although I believe that she’ll be very careful from now on when she talks to me about my fertility journey.  I just don’t feel like taking a risk.  My therapist told me that it’s okay to guard my heart and protect myself.  I somehow feel a little guilty for not going to see my friend, but then I really feel the need to take care of myself.

My biggest question right now is how to go about choosing a donor.  Given the few choices at our current clinic, do I have to venture out and check out donors at agencies?  One night Bob and I were lying in bed looking at all the choices at my clinic.  Now that he has to pay for the cycle for real, he is vetoing all the choices.  I don’t know if he’s joking or not.  But he has his criteria.  At the same time, he also brought up doing what Aramis did, which is to cycle at the Czech Republic, purely for the more affordable cost.  The only problem is that, it’s going to be even harder to find an Asian donor all the way in  Europe.  That would leave us with non-Asian donors as an option.  I actually thought really long and hard about it.  We not only have to think for ourselves and our lives, but also our future child’s life.  We are accountable for creating his/her story.  One day, we are responsible for telling our future child how and why we chose our donor.  I do not want to tell the child that the only reason why we chose to find a donor in an European country is because of its low cost, especially when we have the financial means to cycle here in the US.  It’s another story if we don’t have enough funds for that.  I am really mindful of the impact our choice has on our future child.  So I am going to try in all my power to decide on someone who has some connection to my ethnic background.

My therapist gave me some good points to think about.  She asked me to whom I feel the most connected out of the three potential donors.  Setting aside how “Chinese” these donors are, I feel the most connected with a first-time donor who is currently cycling.  I like her looks, her age, and her educational background.  The most important thing is that I love how she answered her questions in her profile.  Her responses are so thoughtful.  I want to be able to tell my child in the future the specific reasons I chose a particular donor.  I want to be able to say what I loved about her.  Of course I know that not every single donor would work out but I want to let the child know that we take this selection process very seriously and it has been done with love.  My therapist said that this is exactly how she wants me to start thinking about it: the reasons why we want to choose a particular donor.  She wants me to be able to tell my future child the story of choosing a donor with confidence and the particular quality that we find appealing about the donor.

My therapist asked me to think about how I usually make my decisions in life: with many choices, or a few choices.  Thinking back, we usually had three to five choices when we tried to decide on a fertility clinic both the first four rounds and the last four rounds.  Any more than that, it just felt too complicated and dizzying for me to process all the information.  If that’s my pattern, then my therapist thinks that having three potential donors to think about is a very good first step.  She said that some people bring in a whole spreadsheet of donor choices to show her.  To her, that will make it even harder to make a choice because the information of different people may get mixed together.  I am not someone who would create Excel spreadsheets for choosing a clinic or a donor, although there is nothing wrong with that if it’s your style.  So I will stick with the three potential donors that I have right now.  My therapist told me to continue to use my own intuition as I am quite in tune with my feelings.  She said I would know if I want to venture out to find more choices.

We also talked about transferring one vs. two embryos in the future.  I feel strongly about avoiding carrying twins because of the higher chance of premature birth and complications for both mom and babies.  I would rather do eSET repeatedly until we get pregnant.  Although Bob really wants twins and supports transferring two embryos, my therapist told me that it’s perfectly fine for me to be firm on my stance because I will be the one carrying the child.  I am afraid of the chance of an embryo splitting into two.  A single embryo transfer is the safest way to go.

Finally, we discussed about my fight with Bob the previous weekend.  I forgot what exactly we were fighting about.  But it seems like every fight comes back to the struggles of infertility.  Bob is still trying to resolve his feelings regarding the failed cycle and all the time and money that we have spent cycling with my own eggs.  During the fight, he asked why we did not consider adoption or egg donation sooner.  It sounded to me that in that moment, he regretted spending time and effort on these own egg cycles rather than focusing our energy on the other means to get us a baby.  I don’t think he truly regrets it.  But he has been angry with not being able to have a baby and it’s natural to think back and wonder about all the what-ifs and what-could-have-beens.  I do not regret a single thing that we did.  I reminded him that we made the best decision given the information that we had in the moment.  I would not change a thing about the past.  It was the past that brought us to this moment.  We prayed and we had peace about every single step.  I believe that we’re led down a path that will eventually guide us to our baby.  However, it was tough to emphasize on this point when he was angry.  My therapist said that it seems like Bob just wants a sense of control, because this process does not provide him (or anyone) with any control of the situation.  This is why he finds comfort in striving to reach our financial goals, because they give him back the control that he can’t have with the reproductive process.  However, it’s not good to have regrets.  So it’s important for him to work on getting over these feelings.  In terms of what means we use to have a baby, my therapist said that she usually asks if carrying a baby is important to the couple.  If it is, she would suggest egg donation or embryo adoption.  If it’s not, the adoption would be a logical choice.  I have been feeling strongly from day one about two things: being able to be pregnant and carry to term and having at least the genetic links to my husband.  Since these things are so important to me, egg donation is the logical choice for me.  Then we should focus our energy on grieving the loss of my genetic links and our effort on pursuing egg donation.  I know that Bob has the fear of failed cycles after spending all the money on egg donation.  We have to have faith in God for carrying out His plans, whatever they may be.  A couple of days after the fight, I asked him how he felt about egg donation, he said that of course we would proceed with it when we are ready.  So we are still on the same page about the next step.

At the end of the session, I felt a lot better about my ability to navigate the world of egg donation in the very near future when I am ready.  I also felt that it might be beneficial for Bob to come to a session once with me so that we could both talk about our feelings.  Unfortunately, my therapist is about to go on maternity leave and doesn’t have any early evening time for us.  She gave me the names of a few therapists in town that also specialize in infertility.  I am sure I will seek help if I need it.  But I’d rather not go with Bob to see these new people as they don’t really know me.  I do feel equipped to move forward when the time comes.  I just have to wait for the right moment.  I hope that moment comes soon.

MicroblogMondays: Choo Choo!!!

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Bob and I had been talking about taking a trip somewhere for the Fourth of July weekend.  One of the choices was to drive up north for about ten hours to visit with my friend Chloe and her family.  After the little incident between me and Chloe, I don’t feel ready to spend a few days with her.  I have this instinct to guard my heart and to protect myself from any more insensitive or hurtful comments, although I know that Chloe will be extra careful with me when it comes to talking about my fertility.  Still, I don’t want to risk it, especially at around the time when we expect to be in the middle of a egg donation cycle.  Plus, after all that we have endured in the past nine months, Bob really wants to have something to look forward to.  I do too.  We still have to live life, right?  Bob’s first love is trains.  He talks about trains on a daily basis.  He has been wanting to take an overnight train ride somewhere in the country.  Sometimes when Bob cuddles with me at night, he would ask me what train we are pretending to be taking.  I would often say “a train to Chicago”.  He would slightly shake his body and make quiet train sounds while we fall asleep.  I really want to make him happy and to thank him for being there with me on this life journey.  I checked the Amtrak fare for California Zephyr that runs from San Francisco to Chicago.  After doing some calculations, riding a train on July 4th is cheaper than any other days  around that time.  I originally hesitated booking because of the unknown timing of a DE cycle. However, living life is more important.  If a DE cycle happens to be around that time, it can wait.  I am done holding off our life because of infertility. The whole train ride will be over 51 hours.  A roomette was our original plan since it contains bunk beds.  However, after I saw that a bedroom has a lot of extra space, a possibility for two people to sleep in the lower berth, and its own in-room shower and sink, I was sold.  It costs a lot more money to book the bedroom.  But I figured that a train journey is an attraction in itself.  So the extra money is worth it.  All the meals are included.  There is no wifi on the train, and the cell phone reception is reportedly spotty. I guess we really have to interact with each other in these 51 + hours.  Haha.  It’ll be good for our relationship.  Free of unnecessary distractions.  We’ll spend a week there and fly back on July 11th.  That means that I’ll celebrate my birthday there in Chicago!  One of my best friends lives there so we’ll be spending a lot of time with him and his family.  AND, one of my best online friends lives a few hours away so we may have a chance to finally meet up!

I shared the news with Chloe, who, although was super bummed about not seeing us in July, took it really well and was excited for us.

We are so excited about the trip.  It’s important to build memory as a couple, especially something more fun and memorable than our IVF cycles.

Three more months.  Can’t wait!

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