First Meeting with Dr. No Nonsense re: Donor Cycle

The meeting with Dr. No Nonsense took place bright and early at 7:30am Monday morning.  We even skipped bootcamp for that, although we could’ve gone soaking in our sweat since the clinic is only five-minute driving distance away.  We decided against stinking up Dr. NN’s office.

Dr. NN, like his usual no nonsense self, didn’t say much.  He confirmed with us that the hysteroscopy done at Kai.ser went well, and that we are indeed going to pursue egg donation.  I told him that instead of an in-house donor that we were interested in, we had paid for an agency donor who had donated twice before.  He tried to look it up in the system but couldn’t find any records.  Of course.  Our donor Iris didn’t donate there at my clinic and my nurse probably hadn’t received all the records yet.

From the top of my head, I told Dr. NN Iris’ previous two donations’ results.  First cycle: 8 eggs, 6 fertilized, transferred two embryos and resulted with a pregnancy, but no embryos to freeze.  Second cycle: 25 eggs, 18 fertilized, transferred two with a pregnancy, and 6 embryos were frozen.  He typed all that in without making any comments.

Things that we discussed:

  • Number of embryos to transfer: I am really adamant about transferring one embryo.  I know that Bob sometimes dreams of having twins so that we could be done.  But I really do not want to put myself in a situation where two embryos could split into two to become four embryos.  Dr. NN said that the pregnancy rate for multiples with two transferred embryos is 50%.  Uh.  No…. I do not want that chance.
  • Controlled cycle: We have to sync up my cycle with my donor’s.  I have been on birth control pills, which I will continue to be on including the sugar pills.  Dr. NN was attempting to draw some diagrams representing my uterine lining and whatnot.  I guess after BCP, I will be on Lup.ron for a little while, and estrogen patches for a few weeks?  I am a little unclear on that one.  I am sure I’ll find out when the time comes.  I was a little worried about my bleeding problems since I had been bleeding even on birth control pills. Dr. NN said that after my uterine fibroid in the cavity was removed, I should stop bleeding like how I had been.  Oh, the big thing:  I will have to use progesterone in oil.  I have been dreading this one day when my butt needs to be stabbed.  I asked if it’s possible to use suppositories. Dr. NN said that since this is a total replacement of the hormones, I should really use PIO instead, at least for the first few weeks.  I turned to Bob and asked, “Are you ready?” He gave me a look and didn’t answer.  I shudder to think about him attempting to jab a needle on my behind… But we have to do what we have to do.
  • Endometrial scratch: Dr. NN looked me in my eyes and said, I think it’s better not to touch your uterus.
  • The hope is to grow all the embryos to day five and choose the best one to transfer, and then freeze the rest.  No assisted hatching is needed because of Iris’ young age.  Good.  Less money to invest in this.
  • ICSI vs. conventional IVF: This makes a difference because it costs a couple more thousand dollars to do ICSI. Dr. NN looked at Bob’s semenalysis results and said that everything is fine, so we don’t need to do ICSI.  We had a big discussion about it.  Bob really wants the most conservative way, which is to make sure that one sperm goes into one egg so that we can ensure most if not all of the eggs fertilize.  Dr. NN thinks said it depends on how we define “conservative”.  To him, the conservative thing to do is not to manipulate the eggs and just let nature do its thing.  But Bob feels better to make sure that everything gets fertilized.  I don’t blame him.  We had only done ICSI so far.  Dr. NN said that the only thing to think about is that we might wonder if the method of fertilization had made a difference if fertilization rate or blastocyst rate is not as good as expected.  We might second guess ourselves.  After a lot of discussion, we had put down ICSI for now, but we can always change our mind later.  Bob really would rather spend the money than regret about it later.
  • Blood clots: Dr. NN doesn’t think that some blood clots I had a couple of months ago will affect my implantation.  So he told me not to worry about it.
  • I asked why the results of Iris’ first and second cycles were so different.  Dr. NN said that without the records, he really can’t tell.  He will look at her records, do the medical screenings with her, and make sure that she is good to go for a third cycle.  If her antral follicle count is not good, he’ll definitely let me know.

Our meeting was quite short since we couldn’t really talk about treatment plans.  The agency director was going to send Iris’ records to the clinic this week, so Dr. NN said that we would talk again once all the records are in and the donor is done with all of her medical screenings.

I emailed the agency director yesterday.  She confirmed that all the records had been forwarded to my nurse.  She had asked Iris to contact my nurse directly with her recent pap smear results since the agency director is going on an 11-day vacation starting on Thursday.  My nurse later confirmed with me that 1) she had received all the records except for the pap smear results, 2) Dr. NN said it was fine for Iris to start her screening, so my nurse would contact her soon, 3) Iris will also be scheduled for a genetic consult (apparently the previous clinic that Iris cycled at did not require a genetic consult, so we have to pay for one), 4) I will also get an appointment to go over Iris’ genetic consult results, and 5) Bob and I will return to meet with Dr. NN to finalize all the details.  I emailed her back to make sure that we don’t have to pay for the next meeting with Dr. NN since the meeting on Monday was paid for but incomplete.  Nurse told me to just remind her when we schedule the appointment so she would make sure that we don’t have to pay for it again.

So this is it for an update!  We are moving forward, slowly but surely.  Hopefully Iris will pass all the testing with flying colors.  Both Bob and I are excited.  We continue to pray for God’s hand in all of this.   We are hopeful that we are on the path to parenthood.

Monday Conversations

It was a quiet Monday.  Work is under renovation so the number of staff has been cut down to the bare minimum.  I felt good so I sat in the lunch room having lunch alone for five minutes.  In walked pregnant coworker who sat right across from me.  I asked her how she was doing and how her weekend was, fully knowing that she would talk about her pregnancy and any pregnant related issues and complaints.  As predicted, she told me that she went to her child birth class on the weekend and her husband was just sitting there saying nothing, rather than being like other husbands who gave their wives encouraging words.  She was telling me that she was ready for this diet to be over, for this pregnancy to be over, but not quite ready for the baby to be here yet.  Her high risk pregnancy, gestational diabetes, and other things have made this a very difficult pregnancy for her.  Amazingly, while she was going on and on about that, I felt no ill feelings, no negative emotions, and no urges to run away from her presence.  I just listened and chimed in with my two cents.  As pleasantly and calmly as could be.  It was indeed a nice conservation without anybody cringing or escaping.

Another coworker walked in and started talking about her weekend and how much she had eaten and how much she had drunk in the last few weeks.  She was showing her lunch to us: leftovers from this weekend from someone else.  This someone else is actually the former coworker who had gotten pregnant recently.  I wrote about her here.  So naturally, the conversation at the table switched over to this former coworker who is miraculously pregnant.  I never knew the circumstances around her infertility.  So I just listened in.  According to my coworker, former coworker was told that she “does not have as many eggs as she should have” and her “husband’s sperm comes out all broken up”.  Sounds like diminished ovarian reserve and low morphology to me.  My coworker went on and said that they each had like 25% to conceive or something like that.  Like, they both had a 50% chance so together they had a 25% chance.  I was listening and I was thinking like, What?  That doesn’t make sense whatsoever.  I didn’t say, but each couple every cycle has a 25% of conceiving a child.  Whatever number she threw out there was not right.  Of course I did not say anything.  But this conversation was making me more uncomfortable than the one that I just had with pregnant coworker.  So coworker went on and said that yeah since they learned that they couldn’t get pregnant, so they went straight for adoption.  They had put in the paperwork then found out that they were pregnant.  So both coworker and pregnant coworker were commenting on THAT as the main reason why former coworker got pregnant, because now that they had RELAXED.

I had been quietly listening.  But I could not maintain my silence anymore.  I looked up and said, “I don’t believe in that”.  My coworker was probably a little startled by my sudden declaration.  She said, “You don’t?”  I said, “Nope, stress does not cause infertility, just like relaxing doesn’t help people who already can’t get pregnant to get pregnant.”  She said, “But it does happen though.  It happened to my brother and sister-in-law three times and it happened to [Pregnant Former Coworker].”  I said, “Yeah, but it doesn’t mean that they got pregnant because they relaxed.  It just happened.”  I told her and pregnant coworker that I know of so many people who had gotten pregnant at their most stressful time ever, and so many others who try to relax, but still can’t get pregnant.  I said one final time, “I don’t believe in that.”  Then I rested my case.

This coworker does not know about our struggles with conceiving.  Pregnant coworker knows probably minimally because I mentioned it to her when I handed her the baby shower gift.  So they were probably surprised that I even opened my mouth about this because I usually don’t say much at lunch.  But I just felt the urge to say something.  And I did.  They probably thought that I was weird, but I don’t really care.  I just knew that I had to say something.

Now that I am thinking about it, I should have said even more.  Oh well.  Next time.

MicroblogMondays: The Fleeting Feelings will Pass


This could be a difficult post to write, but I decided to be honest about my feelings.

The Monday after we returned from Chicago, I saw my therapist for the first time since she went on maternity leave end of March.  As you may know, from March until now, we had had a whole lot that happened.  Updating her on all the ups and downs of choosing a donor, identification of potential scar tissue during a saline sonogram, failed hysteroscopy with my RE, and all the pregnant women at work took more than half of our time together.  I was also sharing with her about my feelings at around that time.  That was about two weeks ago.  I was feeling very… isolated.  Why?  Well, here is the reason.  I felt that every other person, infertile or fertile, was pregnant, was matched for an adoption, or had given birth.  News was just piling up everyday.  At around that time, a few of my secret FB group friends got their long awaited BFP after suffering secondary infertility for a long time.  It was just difficult for me to even click “like” on a post or comment with a “Congratulations”.  And then another group of online friends that I have was sharing good news about two BFPs with their third pregnancy.  Another member of this group was matched for a baby that would be born in a few weeks.  Since I have been friends with them for a few years, I witnessed their struggles with conceiving number two, finally getting pregnant, and giving birth.  Now they got good news again.  I normally would be okay with this kind of news one at a time.  But when bombarded with one after another, I just could not take it anymore.  That feeling of being lapped… and still waiting for a baby, is not the best feeling.  And then, some of my best blogging-turned-real-life friends have given birth.  I love these friends and I really can’t get enough of their babies.  I keep asking for the babies’ pictures, seek out their news, and feel tremendous joy for them that they are finally mothers after a very long wait and all the heartaches of losses.  However, at the same time, I just experienced sadness for myself.  The joy I saw on their faces and from their words just amplified the emptiness inside of me that I sometimes feel and served as a huge reminder of what I didn’t have.

It is so complicated to be infertile.  You want your friends to be successful because that’s the ultimate goal for everybody.  If everyone was miserable and could not achieve pregnancy, then there would be no hope for anyone else.  At the same time, you feel like the only one who is left behind (which is not true).  At that time, we were still waiting for the hysteroscopy to be done.  The in-house donor that we were interested in was no where to be found.  It just felt like I could not get a break.  I am so glad that the meeting with my therapist happened at that time.  I told her all these feelings, and even had a little guilt that I was feeling these emotions about my friends.  I told her that I felt sad but at the same time happy for them, and I knew that it is okay and possible to feel both.  It’s one thing to know that it’s okay.  It’s another thing to be confirmed by a professional who acted as my sounding board.  She reminded me to do what I have been doing: taking things one day at a time.  On that day, just focus on getting through with the hysteroscopy that would take place in two days, and not to worry about those feelings.  I know how fleeting these feelings are.  Because after a successful hysteroscopy, clearance from my RE to move forward with a donor, confirmation of the donor availability, and turning in our signed contracts and paying the fee for the agency, I am feeling so much better these past few days.

It goes to tell you (and me) that having those feelings in one moment does not mean that they will last forever.  Just acknowledge having them, hang tight, and hopefully they will eventually pass.  As they did for me.

We Have a Donor!!!

After we were cleared by our RE last Thursday, Bob and I talked and prayed on and off about the agency donor the whole weekend.  I was still waiting for the clinic donor coordinator to confirm that the in-house donor was still nowhere to be found.  Monday morning, I completed a phone consultation with the patient navigator at my clinic to discuss about the cost of the cycle and the timeline for the fees.  I got a good understanding of what we are getting ourselves into.  On Monday afternoon the clinic donor coordinator confirmed with me that Yes, she still could not reach the in-house donor who said she was going to be available in July/August.  After learning that news, Bob and I decided that the outside agency donor would be the one with whom we would like to work.  I wrote the agency director and notified her of our decision.  She was on vacation at the time and had told me that she’d read her email once a day.  Within two hours, she returned my email telling me that she had emailed our chosen donor to confirm her availability.  Once the donor confirmed, then we would proceed with signing the agreements.

This is the process: when you choose a donor, you won’t know if the donor will work with you until the donor agency director confirms with the donor that yes, she will in fact work with you.  So of course, there is no guarantee.  For all we know, the donor may not feel like it is the right time to donate again, or work/family/school/other things may get in the way.  Basically, life happens.  So Bob and I knew that the email could come back saying that the donor is not available.  The interesting thing is, I had been very calm and at peace about this.  I wasn’t anxious, nervous, or impatient.  From Monday to Tuesday, I just waited patiently for that email, not thinking too much about it.  I told Bob that we could always find a different donor if this one doesn’t work out because obviously if she is not available, then she is not going to be our donor.

The email came right after work on Tuesday, just after 5pm.  My Dear Colleague and I were in our office wrapping things up before we left for the day.  When I saw the email and read the first line, [Donor’s Name] has confirmed her availability”, I exclaimed out loud, turned to my Dear Colleague, and told her what I just saw.  I was tearing up a little bit!  Honestly, I was surprised by my emotions again.  I didn’t think that I would be so excited and relieved about it, given how calm and at peace I had been about the whole thing.  I think it had to do with finally getting positive news repeatedly after receiving bad news for a while.  It’s so nice to know that we are finally moving forward after being stalled for a few months.  I forwarded the email to Bob, who was super excited as well!  He said, We could have a baby next year!  Yes, that IS a possibility!  We could not contain our excitement.

That night instead of cooking, we went out for a celebratory dinner in our neighborhood.  We love this one deep dish pizza restaurant in the city.  The sister restaurant was opened a while ago in our neighborhood and we hadn’t tried it.  We ordered Bob’s beer and our pizza, and was told that the wait would be about 30 minutes for the deep dish.  No problem, we said.  So we sat there and enjoyed our time while waiting for the food.  Way after 30 minutes later, we were wondering where the food was.  The manager came by and apologized to us for the wait, saying that somehow the print ticket was messed up and the pizza was finally in the oven.  To compensate for our wait, he would comp us the pizza and anything that we would like right now to tide us over.  We were in a general happy mood, albeit with a hungry stomach.  We told him that the delay was okay (of course, with a free pizza) and ordered a salad.  At the end, all we had to pay for was Bob’s beer and the tip for the waitress.    Here is our celebratory pizza on the house:

Celebratory Pizza on the house!

Currently we are in the process of getting the following ready: the fee for the donor agency, the agreement between the agency and the intended parents (us), and the agreement between the donor and us.  After carefully reading the agreements, we had a few questions that got answered by the donor agency person tonight.  Apparently, under California law, the donor has to consent to how intended parents handle their remaining frozen embryos after they have completed their family.  If the donor does not consent to 1) donation for research purposes and/or 2) donation to another couple, the intended parents cannot legally do so.  The donor agency person checked our donor’s prior consent with the previous couple and found that she did consent to both, so the prediction is that she will also consent to both for us.  We also were wondering about the pros and the cons of keeping ourselves anonymous vs. disclosing our identifying information.  The donor agency person told me that it’s actually usually the intended parents who would like to know the identity of the donor so that future contact is made possible for any sort of health related issues.  She checked for us and said that our donor is okay with disclosing her information as well as to a meeting.  One is usually scheduled in the evening on weekday at the donor agency that would last for 30 to 60 minutes.  The donor, agency person, and we will sit around casually and chat about anything.  We have opted for meeting with the donor so hopefully a meeting will be scheduled after the agency person returns from her next vacation that will start in a few days.  I asked about donor sibling registry.  Apparently I was the second person who asked her about this in the past week.  The donor agency person said that she has no experience or knowledge about it but she’ll look into it.  Finally, she forwarded us our donor’s psychologist evaluation and made it known to us that our donor took an anti-anxiety drug for a period of time in college for general anxiety.  It’s interesting though, that I too was anxious in my last year of college and in fact had insomnia for a few months.  I eventually went on anti-anxiety drug for a few days.  Anyhow, I spoke with Bob.  Both of us don’t have any problem with it.

Tonight, we are finalizing the letter that we are writing to the donor as part of the requirement of the donor agency to help the donor have a sense of who we are.  I think that this is a great idea and we have put a lot of thought into it.  We detailed how we came to this point of egg donation, the treatment that we had, our backgrounds, how we met, our dreams as parents, and our interests and hobbies.  Most importantly, we are expressing our appreciation for her willingness to give this gift of egg donation to couples who otherwise have a really difficult time to become parents.

Tomorrow I will drop off the signed agreements, the check, and the letter at the agency.  After that, the agency will send the donor’s records to our clinic.  Things will officially start.  Depending on how much testing needs to be done and how much we need to sync our cycles, the wait from now to transfer could be from two to four months.  I am very thankful that we have come to this point, and hope that our donor will have a successful cycle like the one completed in May.  My heart is full of hope.  Praise the Lord for this big step forward!

From now on, we will call our donor Iris, (suggested by my dear friend M) which means this in flower language: “The flower symbolism associated with the iris is faith, wisdom, cherished friendship, hope, valor, my compliments, promise in love, wisdom.”

MicroblogMondays: Baby Shower for Pregnant Coworker


You know, ever since my original pregnant coworker announced her pregnancy, I have been bracing for the possibility of a baby shower at work.  I was lucky that somehow there wasn’t a baby shower for my previous pregnant coworker (although I felt that there should have been one).  I was wondering if my luck would continue with this pregnancy.  I still can’t bring myself to be like my selfless blog friends who celebrate with others by sitting through baby showers smiling and genuinely happy for the future mom.  I still can’t do it despite my heart wondering if I could brave through it at times.  When I returned from Chicago, the dreaded email came: a baby shower at lunch in a couple of weeks (which is going to be tomorrow).  Often times I let my actions be guided by my reaction.  My heart skipped a bit and my mind went all sorts of directions.  This reaction tells you that I am really not ready to smile through a baby shower.  Initially, I was thinking maybe I could force myself to attend.  But then the email said that there would be games and gift opening.  My heart raced even faster…. then I decided that it is going to be too much for me to take.  I had a few choices.  I could simply shut myself in my office and not attend, which is unwise and isolating (my office is only steps away from the lunch room).  Or I could lie about my whereabouts or even make a medical appointment for that day.  But I decided to be honest about it because I am not ashamed of my feelings and experiences.  I want to be as true to myself and others as possible.  Although my pregnant coworker had no clue about my struggles so talking to her would mean exposing myself, I prayed about it and had a plan.  Initially, I was going to chip in for the big gift for her and speak with her privately about why I would not attend her shower.  I thought more about it.  I felt that it would be more genuine and meaningful if I gave her my own gift from her registry and tell her the reason for my absence.  I held my tongue for a few days.  I looked up various possible websites and found her registry.  The day after my procedure, I had that morning off and purchased a gift at Tar.get for her.


I wrapped it, wrote the card, and brought the gift to work.

On Friday, I knew that she was there already since I saw her pull into the parking lot.  I was careful about it; I made sure with one of my coworkers that the baby shower wasn’t going to be a surprise.  My coworker reassured me that it wasn’t, since people had been talking about it and the potluck sign-up sheet was still posted on the door of the copy room that morning.  I got my morning routine ready.  With the gift in my hands, I took a deep breath and approached pregnant coworker’s office.  I wanted to do it bright and early in the morning so her office neighbors would not be there to eavesdrop (especially my pregnant supervisor whose office is right next door to hers).

I walked into her office and put the gift in front of her.  She had a confused look on her face and asked, “What is this for?”  I said, “For your baby shower.”  She looked even more confused and said, “My baby shower was a month ago and I am now nine months pregnant.”  In that particular moment, I realized that she had no idea about the work baby shower next week!  I went, “Uh oh!” and closed her office door because I didn’t want anybody to know that I broke the news to her.  (Haha)  Then I told her that, Well, there is one for you next week and I thought you knew because the potluck sign-up sheet is there in the copy room. I also confirmed with one coworker before I came in.  She said she knew nothing about it but nicely reassured me that it was okay because she probably wouldn’t remember about it next week given her pregnancy brain these days.  I sat down and gave her my spiel.  This is what I said:

“I just wanted to let you know that I will not be there at your baby shower next week.  I have been struggling to try to have a baby in the past few years.  It is very difficult for me to sit through a baby shower.  So I just want to let you know that I celebrate with you but I won’t be there.”

I was a little choked up when I said the first part (the struggles part) but I pulled myself together.  And I made sure that I did not say “I am sorry” because really, there is nothing to apologize for.

She was so gracious.  She told me that she understands because her sister-in-law who had trouble conceiving was also the same way.  She and I got up and hugged each other, and she kept saying, “You are so sweet.”  I told her that I do want to celebrate with her but just not there at the baby shower.  We went on to talk about her pregnancy and her last couple of weeks at work.  Before I left, we hugged again and she promised to act surprised next week.  🙂

As it turned out, the organizers forgot to remove the potluck sign-up sheet and was forced to disclose to her the plan.  So after all, I am not the bad guy. 🙂

I am so glad that nobody is mad or hurt and the talk went so well. It feels so good to be true to myself and my feelings and at the same time being honest and respectful to others.

I think I will have a nice lunch by myself tomorrow.  Hopefully the sun will cooperate so I can get some Vitamin D.

“You Are Cleared To Proceed”

Those are the words that were written in an email from Dr. No Nonsense’s nurse to me.  I was so emotional I nearly teared up.

It has seemed like many months of waiting, although it has only been four months since we found out that our last effort of my own egg cycles was over.  It took me a month to finally reach the point where moving on to egg donation felt like the logical and acceptable next step in our path.  The processing of choosing a donor and realizing that it wasn’t going to be an easy task was a bit overwhelming.  Once we thought that we could work with a mixed Chinese/caucasian donor, my uterus was not cooperating.  I think I had probably lost perspective along the way.  I had wanted things to move forward at my timeline since I had never anticipated problems with my uterus.  I should have realized by now, after being at this infertility journey for a few years, that when God has a time and a plan for you that do not match your own, there is absolutely no rushing it.  Who would have known that my own RE could not do a simple procedure that even a regular OB/GYN (like the one that I had before) could easily perform?  This is me rushing the timeline, and God saying No.

So what do we do?  We wait.  Right?  Nothing you can do.  In the meantime, I had requested the in-house donor coordinator at my clinic to contact the donor that we liked.  Although originally she had told me that she wouldn’t contact the donor until the month before the donor’s available time, which would be July (meaning right now), she started trying to reach the donor in June some time.  The coordinator and I have since exchanged a few emails.  Each time she told me that she had left voice messages and emails, but still had not reached the donor.  She would try and let me know.

How did I feel about it?  I actually felt okay.  I feel that you don’t have much control over this process anyways.  So if this donor could not be reached, it’s not hard to imagine that maybe God has other plans for us.  I had been reading up quite a lot of posts on the site called “Parents Via Egg Donation”, and came across a post called “The Truth about Donor Po.rn”.  The title totally got my attention immediately. What the heck is donor po.rn?  I read on.  And then it was as if a light bulb went off in my head.  This is basically talking about intended recipients of donor eggs poring over many many donor profiles trying to find the most perfect donor, and once decided on a donor, became uncertain about the first choice and went on to look at more agencies, clinics, and other sites to find a more perfect donor.  The post also talked about it as “The Grass Is Always Greener” syndrome.  So, I see two sides of this phenomenon.  Once you choose a donor and decide on her, do not second guess yourself, because if it works out, the baby that you will have is meant to be the baby that you will have.  On the flip side of it, don’t fall in love with any donors.  If a donor does not work out, then you choose someone else that may work out.

I think I did mention this.  In addition to the in-house donor pool, we also looked at the donor pool of a local agency.  There was one particular donor that we were originally interested in when we first met with the donor agency person.  She is half Chinese, half Caucasian.  She had donated in another city last year, and had only eight eggs and one embryo that was transferred and became a pregnancy for the recipient.  However, there was no frozen embryos left.  She is young (currently 24) and was chosen again for a second cycle by another couple despite the less than stellar first cycle result.  She was going to complete a cycle in end of May and we were waiting to see the results.  I was very pleased when I found out that the second cycle, which was done at a different clinic than the first one, yielded a much better, or I would say, excellent results.  Twenty-five eggs were retrieved and 18 were fertilized.  The recipient transferred two day-five blastocysts and became pregnant.  Six blastocysts were frozen for future use.  I remember reading her profile and liking her answers.  I remember seeing her pictures and thinking that this was someone with whom we could work.  In June, the donor agency person asked us if we wanted to work with this donor.  At the time, we were still waiting for my hysteroscopy at Kai.ser to be done in mid-July, as well as choosing between this donor and the in-house donor who could not be reached.  I was honest about it with the agency person.  And I asked if we could be matched with this agency donor first before I get clearance from my RE so that the donor could start testing early.  The agency person came back saying that usually REs don’t do any testing with the donor until the recipient is cleared.  Oh well, then we just had to wait.

When we were on the architecture river boat tour in Chicago, my phone rang and it was UC.SF’s number.  I knew I had to pick it up.  It was the very nice donor coordinator calling me letting me know that she had been trying to reach the in-house donor but had not been able to reach her for six weeks now.  So she told me to start thinking about other donors.  I was feeling really at peace at the moment.  It is clear that a decision has been made for us.  After all, we don’t have to choose between two donors.  Good thing we did not fall in love with any donors, per advice.  I informed her of the other possibility with the donor agency.  She was pleased to hear that and told me to contact her once my hysteroscopy is completed.

You know how my life was really chaotic in the last couple of months.  With all the family issues going on, all the bad news that we got from doctors about my uterus, and just all the waiting, one could easily feel weighed down.  I know I was.  It felt really heavy that life could feel so grim.  However, I had always held onto the trust and belief that God would one day take me out of the bottom of that pit that I have been talking about.  And plus, it seems that God was giving me that time to physically, spiritually, and emotionally be ready to start the egg donation process.  I went from being nervous, skeptical, angry, and apprehensive about it, to fully embracing the idea of having my own baby regardless of where the genetic source comes from.  It has really taken me a few months to come to this point.  I just want a baby.  And when God blesses us with one, that will be the baby that we will have.  The timing is everything.  If we had started any earlier, then the baby would have been a different baby.

After the successful procedure on Wednesday, I notified the donor agency person that the hysteroscopy had been done, and I had emailed my nurse the results.  Once I get a clearance from Dr. No Nonsense to move on with a donor, I’d let her know.  That was Wednesday.  She said she would wait for my email.  I feel that this is no small miracle that this donor is still available.  Usually donors get picked quickly.  When I saw those words “You are cleared to proceed and identify your egg donor per Dr. No Nonsense” in my nurse’s email at the end of the work day on Thursday, I was so emotional.  Wow.  We have been not-so-patiently waiting for this moment, and here it is.  We can finally proceed with the process.  I notified a group of my very best real life, online, and blog friends, and enjoyed the little celebration that everyone was having with us individually.  

I haven’t emailed the donor agency person yet.  I want to really pray about it and have Bob look over the profile of this donor one more time before we say Yes.  Plus I want to make sure that the in-house donor is still not reachable.  The pros about the in-house donor is that she could probably start her cycle immediately without doing extra testing. Cycling with her would be a few thousand dollars cheaper than using an agency donor.  However, if she is so flaky now, how do I trust that she’d follow through with all the appointments and testing?  I really do like the agency donor, and every time I think about cycling with her, I feel at peace.  So although it costs a few more thousands, and the timeline may be pushed back a couple of months, I still know that it is a good move.  I just hope that my body will be cooperating.  I have been on those birth control pills which cause me to bleed more than any other time.  I thought that once you are on BCP, you don’t bleed.  I bled for days, stopped for a few days, and am now currently bleeding again.  I am not too thrilled about that.  But I know that God has a plan for us.  If that includes me bleeding so we can’t start the cycle until the bleeding is done, so be it.  We have been waiting for so long.  What is a couple more months, right?

So friends, looks like we are moving forward.  This gives me chills!  Our appointment to talk about treatment plans with Dr. NN is on July 27th.  We shall see what he will say about all this.

Will keep you all posted.  Thanks for all the good thoughts, prayers, and blessings you can send our way!

Hopeful Again – The Mighty Hands of My OB/GYN Surgeon

It’s such a good feeling to get good news.

Finally, after all the previous saga with a failed attempt at our operative hysteroscopy at my own clinic, today was hysteroscopy take two with Dr. Gentle.  I guess because of our vacation, I hadn’t been thinking too much about it.  Plus, I somehow had more confidence about it this time because of Dr. Gentle.

One thing I notice is that UC.SF and Kai.ser handle things in very different ways.  In the pre-op instructions at UC.SF, I was told to 1) not to take any or other similar meds a week prior to the procedure, and 2) fast four hours before the procedure.  Kaiser instructed me to 1) insert two Misoprostol vaginally the night before the procedure to help soften and open up the cervix, 2) start taking antibiotics the night before the procedure and continue until I run out of it, 3) take Ibuprofen and Tylenol with codeine the morning of, and 4) take a Val.ium an hour prior to the procedure.  I was allowed to have a light meal before the procedure.

When we arrived, I was quickly checked in and called back.  Somehow I knew I was a little anxious, so my blood pressure would reflect it.  I told the nurse who was going to take my blood pressure.  She told me to sit for a few moments first. When she operated the machine, she told me to imagine a vacation spot and good times.  I closed my eyes and visualized Hawaii.  The machine beeped.  My reading was 120/90.  Although the systolic number was fine, the diastolic part was a bit high.  I sat for a bit before she redid it.  Phew so much better.  This time it was 126/86.  If it remained to be 90 or over, I’d have to go to internal medicine to be monitored or something like that.  I also hate being weighed right after my vacation.  *Sigh*.  It was inevitable.

A urine sample was required to confirm the lack of pregnancy, although that was kind of silly and unnecessary as I have been on birth control pills for two months now.  I was situated in a temporary exam room.  A nurse came in to give me two shots on my behind.  I was told to face the exam table, place my palms on it for support, and pull my pants down a little for the injections.  I think one was to relax my muscles and the other one was for pain relief.  One on the left and one on the right.  I almost burst out laughing because it was just a very vulnerable and compromising position for one to be in.  I have high pain tolerance so the shots only stung a little.  However, when the muscles absorbed the medication, it actually burned quite a lot.  The nurse praised me as a great patient and went her merry way.  I felt drugged up from head to toe and was feeling a little drunk without having any alcohol.  I waited for a few more moments and was taken to the “Minor Procedure Room”.

This is another difference from UC.SF.  At my previous hysteroscopy, I was put in a gown and was connected to an IV catheter.  This time, I was told that at the clinic procedure doesn’t require that.  Only in the hospital operation room you are allowed to have an IV.  So here at Kai.ser, I was told to remove my clothes from waist down and drape myself.  I didn’t even have to change into a gown.  Dr. Gentle came in and was as pleasant as ever.  She said, “Let’s hope we have better luck today than the last time.”  I had on my Wonder Woman socks, and the nurses and doctor were ooing and ahhing over them.  I had my legs up on the stirrups while Dr. Gentle did her thing.  She was explaining to me everything she was doing, which I appreciated.  The nurse gave me a heat pad for my stomach area.  Nothing really hurt throughout the whole process except for the injection she did for numbing the area.  Boy that totally burned for at least 15 to 20 seconds.  I went “ouch ouch” a couple of times.

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After that killer injection, the rest of the procedure was pretty straight forward.  I felt tugging and pulling, then the doctor pumped saline solution into my uterus.  There was a beautiful sight of my uterus, unlike whatever I saw at my last hysteroscopy at UC.SF.  Dr. Gentle first checked the opening to the left tube.  She said it looked healthy and wide open.  Then she went onto the right side.  There was no scar tissue anywhere whatsoever, but there was something that looked initially like a polyp, then later on she said it looked like a fibroid.  It was this white substance that blocked the right tube.


She checked again.  There was no scar tissue.  So I guess whatever Dr. Director saw during the saline sonogram was that fibroid-like thing.  Here comes the very very cool part.  Dr. Gentle inserted the Myosure probe and my fibroid was removed right in front of my eyes.  The device sucked the tissue away.  Later on the tissue would be retrieved and sent for biopsy.   The nurse took quite a few photos of each part of the procedure.



During the procedure, because of the position of my legs on the stirrups, the bottom half of my body started shaking slightly.  I kept on taking deep breaths to stop my legs from shaking.  It helped a little.  However, towards the end of the procedure, my whole bottom half was shaking like a leaf.  I really didn’t want to interfere with the procedure but I couldn’t keep myself still.  I knew that it wasn’t because of me being nervous, because I wasn’t.  It was the weirdest feeling.

Once the doctor was done and removed all probes, I asked if I could remove my legs from the stirrups.  Wow so much better when I could put my legs together.  No more shaking.  I sat up.  Dr. Gentle showed me two pictures.  Here they are:


On the top is the view of the fibroid on the left side of the image blocking the right tube.  The bottom picture shows the uterus free of any scar tissue, fibroid, or polyp.  The little reddish areas on the left and the right sides show the opening of my fallopian tubes.  The top whitish triangular-shaped thing was the Myosure device.  Dr. Gentle commented on how great my cavity looked and how great my lining looked.  She said that she was glad my UC.SF doctors thought that there was scar tissue.  If we didn’t remove the fibroid, any embryos implanted in that area would have been miscarried.  She said that there is no reason why I can’t get pregnant with such a nice looking uterus and lining.  Wow, isn’t that nice to hear?  A normal looking uterus that can get pregnant.  This is the best news I could get today.

I couldn’t help but compare my experience here vs. at UC.SF.  It was so stressful there at UC.SF because Dr. No Nonsense was frustrated and it was not successful.  Here, Dr. Gentle made everything looked easy and effortless.  I am sure it wasn’t, but she really did know her stuff.  I feel so fortunate that she was the one who removed the fibroid.

I went on to ask how I could show the results to my UC.SF RE.  Dr. Gentle is the nicest doctor ever.  She gave me those two pictures to show Dr. No Nonsense.  Then she told me to wait in the procedure room so she could quickly go and write the report.  When I got up from the table, blood was gushing out.  It took quite some time to clean myself up.  I was told that bleeding is normal.  I only waited for a few minutes before Dr. Gentle came in and handed me the report.  She said that I should wait a week before intercourse, but if I am going to ovulate soon, go ahead and do it.  Well, I have been on birth control pills, so there is no way I will be ovulating any time soon.  Dr. Gentle shook my hand, wished me luck with my upcoming cycle, and walked me out of the clinic.  The surgeon herself walked me out of the clinic.  What do you think about that?

We parked our car at my work, so we walked a few blocks back to get it.  I was walking so slowly.  With all the drugs in my system, I could just move at a very slow pace.  When I got home, I already got an email from Dr. Gentle.  This is what she wrote me:

It was a pleasure seeing you again during your visit to ob/gyn clinic today. I’m glad you were able to visualize your procedure and that all went so smoothly. As a reminder, I do recommend that you take your pain medications around the clock today, then as needed tomorrow and afterwards. Today, I recommend you take one each of your Ibuprofen and your Tylenol with codeine tablets at 2 PM and again at 8 PM. If you have significant pain between these times, you may also take another of the Tylenol with codeine tablets. Make sure also that you complete your antibiotic course as prescribed. Please refer to your patient handout for expected post-procedure symptoms, and feel free to email me if you have any questions or concerns.
Good luck with your upcoming transfer!”

I just love her.

I scanned the report and the photos of my uterus and emailed them to my nurse.  She responded saying that 1) I should continue with my birth control pills and 2) she will show Dr. NN my report and hopefully get clearance from him before we say Yes to a donor.

So this is it!  I am so grateful for good news.  It’s a fresh breath of air after having repeated bad news.  Most important of all, I am becoming hopeful again that this dream of having our own baby can really be accomplished now that my uterus seems to be good to go.  We just need to make some good embryos.  Praise the Lord that this procedure went so well.

Now we are all good to go with our next steps!!!  Wow!  This is such a great feeling!

MicroblogMondays: Some Thoughts after the Train Ride


We made it!  The train departed and carried us safely to our destination with only a 4-hour delay.

The journey was such a new and special experience.  Sleeping in a rocking motion, taking a shower while trying to balance ourselves, dining and making fast friends with strangers, and learning to enjoy the slowness of time all proved to be such memorable experiences.

Bob and I got along well without any big fights.   I also learned a thing or two about myself.  Our luxurious bedroom (vs. riding coach or in the tiny rooms called roomette) allowed us to have a two seater plus an extra seat, a big window, a private toilet with shower, and a sink.  Although the room was much more spacious than other rooms, the space was still limited.  I found myself having a hyper sense of control of my surroundings and needed order of the environment at all time.  Everything had a “regular” place (which is funny because the train ride was only 2.5 days) and things would have to be returned to their spots.  In such a tiny space, anything out of order would make it too chaotic for me.  This extreme control of environment doesn’t happen as much at home because the space we are allowed to move around is exponentially bigger.

Another thing I learned about myself is my love for drawing.  Remember I said in my last post I brought a sketch book to document the journey and an adult coloring book?  I did not touch the coloring book at all because I found drawing my own pictures and coloring them is so much more fun than beautifying other people’s work.  I hadn’t drawn anything in the last many years, but I have always had a passion for drawing and painting.  Thanks to this train journey, I was allowed a lot of time to just focus on this passion.  I took my time and just drew whatever I wanted.  A creative time that does not involve running my fingers on a keyboard.

Here is one that I did:


I saw an unexpected pregnancy announcement on Facebook during the train trip.  I don’t know about you, but I have a few people that I can “count on” keeping me company or being infertile with me while I wait for my turn.  It could be kind of like a mean thing to have, but I can’t help but keep track of these people. This person was one of them.  I actually mentioned about this former coworker in a previous post that a currently pregnant coworker had a difficult time figuring out how to share her own pregnancy news with.  I knew that this former coworker, who got married eight years ago, had been trying to adopt.  I don’t know her fertility issues, but I knew that she wanted a baby.  So when I saw the pictures of her baby bump online, I was super surprised, but I was actually happy for her.  I clicked “like” and then closed the page.  Later on I started seeing her taking pictures of her pets on her baby bump, I knew that I had to unfollow her for a while.  Even though I am not jealous, I still have to protect myself from triggers.  The sense of being left behind is also stronger than ever.

In Chicago, we stayed with one of my high school best friends, his wife, and his daughter.  This is my third time being in Chicago.  The first time was right after my friend had gotten married and moved there.  I went to visit when they had barely been there for two months.  The second time was when I went to help take care of his newborn daughter for his wife while he was on a business trip for week.  Being my best friend, he knows what has been going on in our fertility journey.  He knows all about the previous cycles and our pursuit of egg donation.  However, being a guy, he had never told his wife about our struggles.  His wife and I get along really well, but afterall, I am his friend.  Whenever I see her in California, there never seems to be a good time to bring up these things.  So I made a decision to find a time to tell her.  It was difficult to find the right moment though because the little five-year-old was always around and always so curious about our topics of conversation.  I just didn’t know how to explain to a little girl about the struggles that a couple could have for trying for a baby.  One day a chance came.  Kimberly from No Good Eggs was traveling to Chicago for a weekend and we were making plans to meet up.  I told my friend’s wife about this online friend that I would finally meet in person.  Naturally, she inquired about how we met online.  I thought it was a great segue to introduce to her this main theme that has been dominant in my life in the last 3.5 years.  Bless her heart, she wasn’t fazed by any of this.  She just naturally didn’t know much about the assisted reproductive technology world.  I brought her up to speed in the next three days about what we went through.  We didn’t have a lot of time for any in-depth conversation because little missy was around most of the time.  But in passing, she showed enough interest in asking me questions about the IVF process.  And I disclosed to her about choosing a donor and our mentality and emotions behind moving towards egg donation.  The conversation was fruitful and I was surprised by my openness and ease with talking about this topic with a real life friend.  When we were parting at the airport, she gave me a long tight hug and told me to keep them updated.  It was great to be able to talk about this freely.

Turning 41 and doing it Chicago style was wonderful.  It has always been Bob and me alone to celebrate my birthday.  Having my friends and their daughter there with us was so precious.  Friendship is wonderful.  And although I still don’t have a baby, I decided to celebrate my age the best way I could.  I really had a memorable day.

Oh and Kimberly and I did meet up!  That was such a highlight of our trip.  Fortunately we weren’t leaving town until late afternoon, so Kimberly and I made plans to meet for breakfast.  It was worth the effort to get up super early for the twins.  I had seen plenty of their pictures but it was something else to see them outside of a picture online and become alive in front of my eyes.  Meeting up with a fellow blogger has always been a wonderful experience.  She knows what is going on in your life.  You don’t have to say much to catch up.  You don’t have to explain anything.  She knows what you are going through.  It is just so refreshing.  And those kids… my goodness, they are so so cute!  What a treat for us to be able to spend time with them.

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Bob got to hold little J.

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I will write more about the whole train ride next week some time after I recuperate from all the walking on our trip.  What I can say is that I really appreciate the trip because it helps me cherish even more my own home and the routine that I have established.  Without a vacation away from home, I would not be as appreciative of my own boring routine and a sense of order that is needed in my life.

Stay tuned next week for some of the highlights on the train and in Chicago!

MicroblogMondays: Pre-Train Trip Saga


Today should be the conclusion of our train journey to Chicago that we have been looking forward to for a few months now.  Since I do not have wifi on the train, I am writing this blog post in advance and it is scheduled to be published on Monday morning.  Since I am writing this prior to the trip, I can’t tell you the experience.  However, I can tell you how stressed out Amtrak had made me in the days leading up to our trip.

If I didn’t have a crazy train enthusiast husband, I probably would never know anything about Amtrak’s usual delays and potential cancelations.  But I do have a crazy husband who constantly checked the status of the train that we were going to take.  Train number 6 runs from Emervyille, CA (our station) to Chicago.  Train number 5 goes from Chicago to Emeryville.  About 1.5 weeks ago, train 5 was stuck in Iowa due to some tracks that were washed out by the flood.  That particular train was about 36 hours late arriving in Emeryville.  The resulting ripple effect caused both 5 and 6 to be canceled on certain days following the epic delay.  The trains were totally canceled.  The passengers could not be rebooked for another day because all the trains were sold out.  Imagine my stress level when train 6 (the one that we were going to take) was running on June 28, June 30, but canceled on June 29 and July 1.  Our trip was going to be on July 4th.  The interesting thing is, you couldn’t find any of these updates on the Amtrak website.  All it said was “No status update due to service disruption”.  We found updates on some Amtrak enthusiasts’ forum.  I originally gasped at how delayed the trains could be (mostly 5 to 6 hours, sometimes over 13 hours).  As the days passed, our expectation had gone lower and lower.  We went from only wanting 2 hours delay, to not caring about any delays as long as our train would still run on our departure day.  Imagine having to scramble for last minute plane tickets to Chicago if our train was canceled.  And because this was caused by natural disaster, we weren’t sure if Amtrak would refund the train fare to us.  The stress of it all made me a bit crazy for a few days.  To give myself peace of mind, travel insurance including trip cancelation was purchased.  Those fifty-eight bucks were the best investment ever.  I had been breathing better because of it.

Plus, I have been all ready to entertainment myself on the train.  Here are the things that I have prepared:


  • Coloring book for adults
  • 50 colored pencils
  • Sketch book to document our journey
  • Micron pens to use with the sketch book
  • Pass the Pigs (the most hilarious game ever throwing pigs and earning or losing points, thanks M!)
  • iota – another game that is pretty interesting
  • Books: Orphan Train, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, the Girl on the Train (on iPad, not pictured)
  • iPhone games: Can You Escape 1, Can You Escape 2, Criminal Case, Cross Fingers, and possibly more puzzle games

Can you tell?  I am totally ready for the 51 hour journey and any delays that get thrown our way.

If you get to see this post, it means that we are on our way there.  Hopefully you get to see this!