MicroblogMondays: It’s Good to Get Away Despite the Bugs

Microblog_Mondays

After some crazy few days, this vacation feels very well deserved.  It seems like a perfect time to get away after major car trouble and broken hot water heater.  And I am grateful that we did arrange for a get away.  We are at a coast town right next to the Pacific Ocean.  We are always drawn to the ocean.  A majority of our road trips are along the coast.  The water just calms both of us down.  This is our first time coming to this town.  I in fact had never heard of it until some of our best friends came here last year.  When I called the hotel where they had stayed and found that there was still one room left for the days that we wanted, I jumped at the opportunity.  We have not been disappointed.  The room is nice with a king bed, nice decor, and a full kitchen.  The bathroom is on the smaller side but I knew that from reading the reviews and I didn’t mind it.

 

The room has a view of the ocean far far away. It is still a view nonetheless. It just gives you a sense of peace peeking out the window seeing the water in the midst of sunset.

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The best kind of vacation is to be staying somewhere you can walk to shops and restaurants. We just parked the car and go everywhere on foot. To Bob, this is like heaven because he can have a drink without worrying about driving. We had some very yummy food.  Being unpregnant means time for wine and beer.

 

  
  

The experience that stands out the most was not the view or the food or any other attraction. It was being attacked and what felt like being eaten alive by gnats.  At breakfast yesterday, we chose a restaurant with great reviews. A table outdoor was available immediately. Since it was sunny and crisp outside, we didn’t mind the cold weather. We sat down and were ready to enjoy a nice breakfast. The longer we sat, the more uncomfortable we felt. These tiny little fly-like bugs were gathering around us. The more we waved them away, the more they came.  A wait staff person brought a bucket with s candle inside in order to fight off these gnats. They only increased in number. Moving to another table away from the flower pots didn’t help at all. The owner came by, apologized, and told us that only certain people attract gnats. We are apparently those people. We discovered that it was more Bob than me. When Bob walked away to stand in the parking lot, I noticed that the gnats weren’t as interested in me. All I could see was poor Bob taking off his jacket and sweatshirt and shaking them like crazy. His whole body including his head and all over his back was covered up with little gray dots. It was quite disgusting. He returned when the food arrived. More and more gnats were floating in our water glasses. It was just simply too hard to put food in your mouth when you are afraid of eating extra proteins from the bugs.  At that point, we just looked at each other and laughed hysterically.  What else can you do but to laugh? I am just glad that we still have a sense of humor about the situation.  We were at that point waiting for a table inside the restaurant.  If nothing turned up in the next couple of minutes, we were just going to pack up the food and go.  Fortunately, a table opened up.  We finally moved inside and ate in peace.  Even after we left the restaurant, we discovered that Bob was the magnet for these gnats.  As long as we were outdoors, we were attacked.  The owner of a hat store where we escaped into told us that the key is to walk briskly.  We took the advice and walked super fast.  Once we walked away from the water, the gnat situation improved tremendously.  We could walk peacefully in the sun.

We saw quite a few babies and little children on this trip. Despite being disappointed in our recent loss, Bob is as curious and drawn to the little ones as always. He doesn’t shy away from them or avoid them. He looks at them,  smiles, and wonders aloud if he will wear his baby or put him/her in the stroller in the future. I admire his resilience and hopefulness. It’s inspiring and encouraging to look to the future. 

This afternoon we will enjoy a massage for the both of us.  Hopefully this will be another highlight of our trip.  Despite the crazy gnat incident, we are still enjoying a very quiet, peaceful, calm, and relaxing vacation with each other.  Hopefully this will be our last end-of-the-year trip that we will be spending just by ourselves.  Next year, we hope to have to bring a little person along anywhere we go.

Christmas Day Reflections

Today is Christmas.

This year, we have no Christmas decorations.  No tree, no ornaments, no stockings.  We did exchange gifts that we bought for each other without wrapping them.  A few presents for my side of the family are scattered in front of the fireplace waiting for the owners to claim them.  We opted out of the Christmas Eve service.  We are not trying to avoid people, festivity, or the usually holiday hustle and bustle.  We are not doing these things deliberately.  We just feel that this year we want to lay low and enjoy a low key holiday season.  I want to recognize that it is okay not to be celebrating Christmas the traditional ways that are done by so many others.  It is okay to just spend time doing whatever we feel like.  It is okay to just chill and be by ourselves.

I am not sad.  I am not uncomfortable.  I am actually at peace with all the decisions that we have made about this holiday season.

Given what happened to us the last couple of days, I thought I would have reacted in a much more negative way, blaming God and being angry at Him for throwing us more chaos and inconvenience on top of all the struggles and hardship that we have had in the past year.  But yeah, I just feel at peace.  This is a huge blessing in itself.

You see, two days ago, Bob’s car died.  The more I think about it, the more relieved and thankful I am that he was the one who gave me a phone call about the news, not any emergency workers.  I didn’t grasp the severity of the car’s problem until our mechanic gave us the diagnosis: the engine just totally died on our 9-year-old Suba.ru, a car that in my brother’s word was “indestructible”.  That morning when Bob started the car, the engine sounded fine.  All the way down the freeway for about 35 minutes, the car ran normally.  It was right when he exited the freeway and had to accelerate going around the curve that he discovered that the car’s accelerator did not listen to his command.  By the time he got off the freeway exit, nothing worked: his power steering lost power, his brakes failed to respond to him, and all sorts of lights were flashing on his dashboard.  God protected him.  It had been raining here, but it was nice and sunny on that day.  The normal traffic was non-existent because of the quiet holiday week.  The spot where he was waiting in the car for the tow truck to come was relatively safe compared to some spots right at the exit of the freeway or even on the freeway.  Since this happened on December 23 earlier in the day, our mechanic hadn’t gone on his four-day break yet.  We were able to tow the car to the shop and were also able to get the diagnosis and were given the options on December 24, the day before our mechanic’s vacation.  Although the car’s engine totally died, the cost of repair is not worth our money, which means we will have to now shop for a new car, things could have gotten much worst.  We could have had this problem while we are 3.5 hours away from home had this happened during our trip down the coast.  Imagine being in the middle of vacation having to pay extra to tow the car back to the city while dealing with the logistics.  Imagine having this problem today.  The only thing we could have done would be to tow the car back home and to worry about towing the car to our mechanic’s shop after the holidays.  Imagine the engine dying On. The. Freeway.  I don’t even want to go there.  I can’t imagine losing Bob and I hope and pray that this scenario would never happen.  But that was a possibility and I am ultra relieved that the car died when the car died.

It is sad that this happened.  It sucks that we are now down to one car and will have to try to purchase a car as soon as possible.  It is a burden to think about what kind of car to get.  We have been talking about buying a car in the past year.  The decision has always been put off by us trying to get pregnant and having a baby.  The cost of fertility treatment has caused us to be very cautious with our spending on big ticket items.  We have earmarked our savings enough for another fresh donor egg cycle should this frozen embryo transfer fail.  We have saved up enough money for a new car if/when we need one.  However, I know Bob’s fear.  He is afraid that we would have to hoard the money saved up for a car for another IVF cycle if both the frozen embryo transfer AND another fresh donor egg cycle fail.  He is driven by this fear to save up every single extra penny that we have.  When you don’t have control over the cycle, how the eggs fertilize and grow, how the embryos behave, how my uterus is receptive, you just want to control something that you think you have control over, such as money.  I do get it.  But, I also feel that we should have faith that the Lord is going to take care of these things if they are the right steps for us to take.  If we need a new car, which we obviously do, then we will spend that money.  If we need to save up more money for another cycle, then we will.  I think we need to learn to turn things around and be happy that the Lord has helped us save up money so we have the means to do this.  We have to learn to see things in another perspective that being blessed with good jobs, budgeting pays off.  I hope we learn to be excited that a new family car is our way to prepare for our new child that will join us in the next year.

Oh you know, car trouble was not the only thing that happened on December 23.  After a long day of dealing with the towing and the diagnosis and other things, all I wanted was a nice hot shower at night.  My heart sank when pulling the temperature control of my shower to the right only resulted in lukewarm water at best.  After finishing the quickest shower ever, I inspected the hot water heater.  After reading the instructions on the relighting the pilot, I resorted to a you.tube video.  Luckily I found one with the exact model of our hot water heater and learned to relight the pilot.  I was desperately hoping for the pilot to stay lit so that I didn’t have to call anyone or spend any more money.  But it didn’t matter how long I held that “pilot” button, the fire would not stay lit.  Being tired, disappointed, and cold (because of the cold shower), patience was running thin in the household.  Bob lost a half day of work because of the car problem, so he worked until after midnight to solve a problem that he had been trying to solve for a few days.  I know it is easy to be down about getting hit by one bad thing after another.  First the car, then the hot water heater that is only 3 years old.  ON THE SAME DAY.  It is so easy to be discouraged by all the expenses that we will have.  But I only let myself be frustrated for a little, and comforted Bob as his day was a lot more emotionally drained than mine.

I woke up early and left a message at the two plumbing services 30 minutes before their supposed opening time.  I was hoping that the plumbers would still work on December 24th.  One of them called me back within 15 minutes.  (I never heard back from the other one.)  This guy quoted me a bunch of money, which was still within my reasonable budget, and gave me a window between 9:30 and 10:30 that same morning.  Bob left for work without a shower.  Two plumbers arrived on time, diagnosed the problem, fixed it, and entertained me with jokes and humor.  Within 20 minutes, and a couple of hundred of dollars out of our pocket, we got hot water back.

What did I learn from this incident?  Time and time again, I think that my father is the wisest man on earth.  He often tells me that a problem that can be resolved with money that we have is not a real problem.  We have always put aside money for house maintenance, so the cost is not a problem.  I am just so thankful that this happened on December 23, so a nice plumber who decided to work on Christmas eve could fix the water heater for us.  I happened to have found somebody who was very experienced in this type of water heater, so the problem got fixed beautifully.  The plumber said that he had to turn away callers that day for services, so I felt tremendously fortunate that 1) the water heater broke on a day when a plumber was still willing to come, 2) it was an easily fixable problem by capable hands, 3) I got to the plumber early enough, 4) he got it done in no time.  Things could have gone worse.  It could have happened today and nobody would have been willing to come out.  It could have been the other problem that would cost southward of one grand.  The plumber said that this part that needed to be replaced usually breaks between three to five years.  We moved back into the house after our new remodel on December 22, 2012.  The part broke on December 23, 2015.  Right on the dot.  Crazy?

The plumber kept joking that bad things come in threes.  He told me to go break a glass or stay in bed for the whole day.  But hey, one’s gotta live life, right?  Can’t avoid life by staying in bed all day.  Because the heater got fixed so quickly, I got to have lunch with one of my best friends for three hours.  We caught up and chatted about anything and everything.  Just being very real with each other about our joy, happiness, frustrations, struggles, insights, perspectives.  It was a wonderful afternoon.  My friend is not without her struggles.  She is a single person who wants to be married and have kids.  She watches her friends reach their goals and check things off their life list, and she is still trying to find someone to spend the rest of her life with.  But her resilience is such a great example for me to follow.  We learned a lot from each other in those few hours.

I don’t anticipate the third bad thing to happen.  But if it did, I know that I have the resilience and strength to face whatever that may come our way.  These so-called “bad things” are helping me to reflect on my way of handling things and ways to change my response if needed.  Who is to say that this is not a great Christmas present from God?

My Time Off

Today is the fifth day of my Christmas break.  I am glad that I am not in the office.

Things were interesting in the office the last couple of weeks.  After the most recent loss, some days felt worse off than others.  When that happened, I often stayed in my office and avoided social interactions.  Even one of my male coworkers noticed.  One day he saw me in the kitchen heating up my lunch and asked me how I was doing.  I told him, “I am not doing too well, but it’s okay.”  He had a concerned look on his face, not at all awkward that I gave him an answer that went outside of the usual pleasantries.  I told him that it was just life.  Then I walked back to my office with my hot lunch.

And then there was my supervisor’s baby shower.  The day before the baby shower, my no-longer-pregnant coworker (the one who always talked about her pregnancy) came by my office and asked if I was going to the baby shower.  I told her I wasn’t, just like what I did for her shower.  I told her that I’d give my supervisor a separate gift afterward, but I wasn’t planning on being there.  No-longer-pregnant coworker then said, “I have a favor to ask you.”  She handed me a piece of paper titled “Wishes for Baby”, one of those baby shower games for people to fill out their wishes for the baby.  She said no pressure.  I could fill it out or I could just toss it in the recycling bin.  I was honest with her.  I told her that I most likely wouldn’t fill it out.  I took it and left it on my desk.  I just wonder if no-longer-pregnant coworker really thought about my feelings.  If I wasn’t going to attend the baby shower, would I actually want to participate in a game?  The piece of paper ended in the recycling bin.

The day of the baby shower, my friend Q, who was supposed to be my lunch date, totally forgot that she was supposed to have lunch with me.  So at noon, I walked over to Pane.ra Bread and had lunch by myself.  I did make it back at 1pm just in case we had a department meeting.  Well the shower was still going on.  Being so close to the conference room, I could hear all the laughing inside.  The baby shower continued on until 2pm, a total of two hours.  I had prepared a gift for my supervisor.  I gave it to her right after my last client of the day.  I didn’t want to do it in her office since it’s very close to other people’s offices.  When she came out of the bathroom, I waved her my way.  She was babbling about some work stuff while she entered in my room.  All I wanted to do was to get this part over with.  While she was still talking shop, I handed her my gift.  She was surprised and happy.  I didn’t do much of an explanation like the last time with my other pregnant coworker.  I simply just said, “I don’t go to baby showers but I wanted to give you this.”  It was a gift that she had on her registry.  She gave me a big hug so that was nice.

My last day of work was last Friday.  It was also my supervisor’s last day of work before her maternity leave.  Our work holiday party was that night.  A few weeks prior, before my beta, my Dear Colleague and I joked about me going to the party being the designated driver for Bob because I would be pregnant and would be forbidden to drink.  Well, for somebody who had gone to every single work holiday party in the last 12 years, I just did not feel like going to our work party, socializing, and talking about things that don’t matter to me when deep down my heart just died a little after the last cycle.  But I knew I wanted to say my good-byes to my supervisor.  Right before I left work, I looked for her and found her in the copy room.  I went in and said my good-byes.  She was surprised that I wasn’t going to attend the party.  I told her that I didn’t feel like socializing.  We chatted a little about how she was doing and what she’d do before the baby comes.  We hugged each other and that was it.  Yesterday when I chatted with my Dear Colleague, she told me that my supervisor wondered aloud to a small group of people at the holiday party about me.  She said something like, “I am worried about Isabelle… I wonder how she’s doing.”  My Dear Colleague just pretended that she didn’t hear it.  But I think that maybe my looks and my demeanor recently did show that I wasn’t doing too well in the last few weeks.

Yesterday, Dr. Gentle, the OB/GYN surgeon who did my last hysteroscopy, squeezed me in for a saline sonogram.  Dr No Nonsense had told me to get a hysteroscopy again to check the cavity.  I emailed my own OB/GYN who said that she doesn’t do it in her practice.  She referred me to the surgical team.  I knew that it would take forever before I could get an appointment if I went through the scheduling people.  So I emailed Dr. Gentle directly.  She is really the nicest doctor ever.  She wrote me back saying that she didn’t have availability for a hysteroscopy this week, but she could see me for a saline sonogram, which to her is a better way to look at the whole system right before a transfer.  I got the Okay from Dr. NN’s nurse.  Dr. Gentle wanted to see me this week because it is best to look at the uterus right after menses for the lining is usually thin.  This time I had to wait 30 minutes as Dr. Gentle was running behind.  She came in with another doctor probably in training.  They were funny.  They talked shop while getting me ready.  Apparently my cervix was wide and they couldn’t distend my cavity without clipping my cervix and placing a balloon inside.  It was uncomfortable but nothing intolerable.  Originally they thought that they saw scar tissue that turned out to be the balloon.  Dr. Gentle showed me how the whole cavity and the lining looked nice and smooth.  I got the ultrasound picture as a souvenir.

Staring at the ultrasound photo, I couldn’t help but think that yesterday or the day before would have been our first ultrasound to check the heartbeat.  I would have been 6 weeks 4 days, right when people check their heartbeats in an IVF cycle.  Instead of a little blob inside my uterus with a heartbeat flickering away, my uterus looked sadly empty.  Yes I know it is good news to have a smooth lining.  But it’s still sad to know what could have been.

Emotionally, I had been doing well until yesterday.  All of a sudden, I panicked.  My clinic’s fees will go up in 2016.  I wanted to pay for the frozen embryo transfer before the end of the year for tax return purposes.  The fee schedule I received from my billing person shocked me.  It went up at least $600.  I checked with her.  She said that all the fees are going up beginning January 1st.  I don’t know.  I just panicked.  It’s not very rational.  But, I started searching for a new donor to prepare for the possibility that our FET doesn’t work.  There aren’t too many choices out there.  My mind went really far: the FET not working, another fresh DE transfer not working, we are out of money to try, we will be childless.  Then I came across California Con.ceptions, a clinic that specializes in offering embryos that are made with donor eggs and donor sperms.  The cost is a fraction of what it is with a DE cycle, and the success rate is super high because of double donors.  But is this really what we want to do if all else fails?  I literally sat there for three hours googl.ing, thinking about things, and panicking all by myself.  It was just not healthy, but I couldn’t help myself.

When Bob got home, I was trying to see how I could break the news to him that the fees are going up at our clinic.  I somehow brought that up along with California Con.ceptions.  The talk about double donors made him really upset.  I don’t have to go into details but the sheer panic of not knowing if we would ever have a child we could call our own is really tough on a marriage.  We didn’t have a good evening.  But you know, I think it is necessary to talk about these things, our fears, our concerns, our frustrations.  I am glad we had a chance to do that.

This morning, Bob’s car died when he exited the freeway to get to work.  He just couldn’t accelerate but he was able to pull over the shoulder off the exit.  He said that he lost all power including the steering wheel and the brakes.  My heart about jumped when I got his call because it is never good news when he calls me on his way to work.  He had it towed to our mechanic’s shop.  I am just glad that it happened in the morning and he was safely away from the freeway.  We have been talking about buying a new car but because of the cost of all of our cycles, we have been pushing off purchasing a new car.  Both of our cars are old, so driving the car on our road trip could be a bit dicey.  *sigh*  When we worry about money, there are always more expenses.  However, I am just so thankful that the Lord protected him from any danger on the freeway.  The more I think about it, the more thankful I am.  Also thankfully, Bob is in good spirit.  He is not too down about the car.  He is now working from home and it is good to have him around.

This is my vacation so far.  I will be meeting with one of my best friends for lunch tomorrow, Christmas eve.  Christmas day I will be making steak for dinner.  We leave for our little get away on Saturday.  It’s nice to be able to wake up in the morning not worrying about going to work.  It’s also nice to be able to clean up whenever I want to, do nothing if I want, and basically do whatever I feel like.  I really love this kind of vacation.  I hope that the rest of my time off will be as peaceful and uneventful as possible.

MicroblogMondays: A Man’s Pain

Microblog_Mondays

My husband is hurting.  And it sometimes feels so helpless to see him in pain.

His recent emotional experience reminds me of myself a couple of years ago.  At that time, I hated people.  I didn’t feel good at all when I was bombarded with birth announcements, pregnancy announcements, and adoption news.  I just wanted to hide from the world.  All sorts of feelings consumed me: anger, despair, disappointment, jealously.  You name it.  I had it.

Even though we just lost another early pregnancy, I am in a much better place emotionally and spiritually than my old self back then.  My relationship with the Lord is going strong despite all of this going on.  It is not the case for Bob.

Bob was strong for me the week we found out about the chemical pregnancy.  He comforted me.  He was there for me, smiling and cheering me up.  However, my poor husband has definitely been hurting.  The weekend after we lost the pregnancy, I found him home early Saturday morning.  He was supposed to be at his bible study training until 9am.  He told me he left early.  At first he wouldn’t tell me why he did.  Later, he finally divulged.  What happened was, during prayer time, one of the leaders gave thanks to the Lord for his wife’s new pregnancy.  Everyone else was praising the Lord and praying for the baby.  Bob told me that all he felt was anger.  Angry that it was supposed to be our turn as well.  Angry that this journey wasn’t any easier with donor eggs.  Angry that others got to celebrate their blessings but not us.  He lasted for another part of the training.  When he returned to the main room for the last hour of the training, he looked inside and saw that people were still talking about that pregnancy.  He did not feel that there was the place for him.  Instead of going in and enduring the silent pain of listening to others’ joy, he decided to pack up and go.  He went to a coffee shop, picked up a cup of his favorite coffee, and drove home.  He told me that he sat in our car in the driveway for a long time, thinking about our life and our journey.  Listening to him, my heart was filled with compassion for my dear partner in life who was hurting so badly.  His desires to be a father are so strong that this recent loss just pushes him over the edge.  It hurt me to see him hurt.  All I did and all I could do was just to hold him in my arms and to tell him that I understand 100% of how he was feeling.  Sometimes, just being there for him brings comfort.

The next day, we were at church for our greeting duty.  Bob was outside the church greeting people while I was right at the entrance.  A very good friend out ours, an American of Indian descent, came to me with a special smile on his face.  I had been anticipating his announcement of his wife’s pregnancy for months now, simply because he and I had a long talk about babies before he proposed to his wife.  After a year and a half of marriage, I knew that I would hear from him any time.  Plus a few weeks ago, after learning that she wasn’t feeling well, I had an intuition that she might have been pregnant.  This friend said, “We had some good news to share with you!” I forced a smile on my face and waited.  He went on to tell me that his wife is expecting.  I said congratulations with my forced smile and asked him how far along she was.  She is now about four months.  Then, there was this awkward silence before he walked away telling me that he would go and share the news with some other people.

This was the weekend after we learned about our most recent loss.  As hard as it sounded, I was doing okay with this news.  It wasn’t a great feeling to learn that yet another couple successfully became pregnant seemingly without any effort.  But surprisingly I was doing okay.  I knew how Bob had been with pregnancy news and I thought about not telling him until after the service.  However, I didn’t hold my tongue and shared with him when he came back inside the church.  I could see the hurt on his face, which broke my heart.  Pregnancy news from his guy friends two days in a row was just too much for him.  He asked if he could just leave right after our duty.  I told him to feel free to do whatever he felt like.  It was going to be very tough for him to sit through the service not feeling loved by God.  I didn’t want to force him to do anything as he had his way of handling and processing his emotions.  I think this one hit him hard also because our friend’s wife is Chinese, so the baby will be an Indian-Chinese mix.  We have always been the first Indian-Chinese couple who got married first and tried for a baby first.  I can imagine how difficult it is for him to be waiting for so long and watching someone else have their Indian-Chinese baby first.

Bless his heart.  Bob sat through service and even waited for me to finish my duty.  He went for a walk right after service.  We skipped the going away party for our close friends right after service.  Although I wanted to be at the going away party, I knew how much Bob just wanted to be left alone and not to be forced to smile when he felt like he was dying inside.  I really got it.  So we just spent the rest of the day at home by ourselves.

How has he been doing since?  I have never seen him so angry and sad in his life.  This failure of the first DE cycle has really pushed him over the edge.  He continues his ministry as a children’s leader at bible study, but he has just been going through the motions.  He has been angry with God for allowing us to be on this journey for so long without any results.  He does not feel loved by God.  He refused to talk to God.  He does not want to talk to anyone about his struggles.  He has not shared with any of his friends about them.  When he shares his prayer requests, he shares about mundane stuff.  I asked him about it.  He said that our loss and our struggle is just too huge for him to put into words to share with others who may or may not pray for us.  He even has an idea of us not sharing with anyone about any details for our upcoming frozen embryo transfer so that nobody would pray for us.  To him, clearly, prayers have not been working.  I have never seen his faith in God so shaken up.  But as a wife, I have learned to shut up about it because really, it is between him and God, and I have no place in talking with him other than prayers for him.

The Lord is merciful, full of grace, and full of comfort though.  Fortunately, when Bob is weak, the Lord has kept me strong.  My heart and my soul yearn for a baby, but I have not been pulled down by this failed cycle.  I still have faith that things will work out in the end, and I have seen the Lord’s hand in sustaining us.  I can be the strong one for my husband when he doesn’t have enough strength and faith to carry on, hopefully for this short time of grief.  Although emotionally I am doing better than he is, I am very attuned to my feelings.  Skipping my work holiday party for the first time in the 12 years that I have worked there tells you how meaningless I feel to be socializing with people who know nothing about our struggles.  I don’t feel sorry for skipping.  It’s our way of preserving our sanity.

The Lord is patient though.  Even though Bob is going through some very trying times, He is still speaking to Bob through his struggles.  The day after our weekend full of pregnancy news, Bob did his daily bible study and came across a passage that spoke to him.  He shared with me that morning, telling me that God has not given up on him.  This passage is from Ephesians chapter 4:

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

I am so glad that Bob did not just tune God out.  He is still receptive to whatever God has to show him.  This whole last week, he has been talking on and off to God about his feelings, his anger, his disappointment, and his pain.  I have never prayed for my husband so much in my life, but I know that I have to be the one praying if he is too hurt to pray.  I am glad that he is slowly coming back to an open dialogue with God.  I know that I cannot force Bob to feel better because he needs to sort through his feelings and reestablish his relationship with God himself.  But I am confident that with my patience and with God’s patience, my husband will return to the previous state of trusting and having faith in the Lord for guiding our path.

But, this time, it may really take some time.

Emotional Meeting With Dr. No Nonsense

This morning was my WTF appointment with Dr. No Nonsense, my RE.  I was originally offered a phone consultation by my nurse.  I insisted on an in-person meeting because 1) I hate speaking with Dr. NN on the phone because he uses a speaker phone, 2) for this important meeting, I need to look him in his eyes, and 3) I just need to see his face and find out why he thinks the cycle didn’t work.  Last night, I typed up all my questions on Goo.gle Docs and placed a writing pad and pen in my purse.

Being ten minutes early, I was surprised the nurse called me right away and led me to wait in an exam room across from Dr. NN’s office.  To my greater surprise, Dr. NN came to get me at 10:02.  Practically on time.  A student doctor was introduced to me as someone who would observe the session.

We discussed about why this cycle didn’t work.  Basically, nobody knows.  We commented on how the embryos all fertilized but didn’t grow too well on day three.  Dr. NN said that eggs usually carry the most weight when it comes to fertilization and growth.  The sperm plays a role but it’s very hard to tell what kind of role.  He said that the fertilization and growth for frozen eggs are about equal to fresh eggs.  So it’s an unknown why these eggs didn’t grow well since the sperm and the eggs all looked good.  Dr. NN said that in the future if we need to fertilize eggs again, we could do the DNA fragmentation test.  He said that DNA fragmentation is highly experimental.  It doesn’t really change how we fertilize eggs because ICSI is still the way to go.  But it does provide a different set of criteria to identify which sperm to use.  It basically helps to choose the sperm differently.  Dr. NN told me not to worry about that right now as we should focus our effort on transferring the great embryo that we have.  I asked about the possibility of needing donor sperm if Bob’s sperm is not good.  Dr. NN said that we wouldn’t even go there as it is not necessary.

Early blastoscyst’s success rate is not as high as regular blastocysts.  I thought that Kevin our early blastocyst was from an embryo that had a fragmentation of four on day three because of how it was listed on our embryo report.  Dr. NN clarified that no one knows which day three embryo Kevin came from.  He said that the lab used to grow the eggs separately.  However, it was discovered that embryos grow better together in a petri dish.  So he said that there was no way of knowing which embryo Kevin was originally from since they were all put together in on place.  He said that that piece of information isn’t important anymore.

I made him go through the donor’s previous cycles just to see if they actually grew as poorly.  He spent his time digging up the information on the computer.  Her blastocyst rate for two of her fresh cycles was 50% and 40%.  I don’t know what I was trying to prove, but it really seems like either 1) we got a bad batch of eggs, 2) we have sperm that doesn’t work as well, 3) it’s pure bad luck, 4) it’s my uterine lining.  Nobody knows.

I asked about my lining.  He opts for a medicated embryo transfer because my low reserve means that my ovary may not produce enough estrogen for a good lining.  It is much easier to develop a good lining in a controlled environment with medications.  He does not think that I need any immune protocol.  We have these two new factors: donor eggs and sperm.  He does not want to throw in another factor and mess with my lining with something that may or may not be beneficial to the cycle. He thinks that an 8mm lining is perfectly good for a transfer.  I asked about spotting some blood clots during my menses.  He said that that’s perfectly normal.  It doesn’t mean that I have a blood clotting disorder.

I think around 20 minutes into the meeting, I became increasingly emotional.  I really wanted to remain as calm and composed as possible.  However, with the whole talk about the failure and possibly having to spend more money and time on a brand new donor if Lucy doesn’t work, it was just too much to bear.  I started tearing up thinking that it could happen that we’d never have our baby.   I actually cried in front of Dr. No Nonsense for the first time.  In fact, this was my first time losing my emotional control and crying in an RE’s office.  Period.  I was surprised at my tears, but my fear just surfaced and I couldn’t control myself.  I was telling him that we spent so much money on this, and that other people who used donor eggs got pregnant and have their babies left and right.  I felt like we got the short end of the stick.

Dr. NN was so kind.  His student fetched me tissues.  I apologized for being emotional, and he was very compassionate about it.  He said that you have gone through so much and have done so much treatment.  Of course you are feeling emotional.  He looked me in my eyes and told me that he believes one day I will get pregnant and have a baby.  He went on to tell me about one of his patients.  This poor woman failed a fresh DE transfer, a frozen embryo transfer, and another fresh DE transfer with a different donor.  She finally got pregnant with twins with a frozen embryo transfer.  The fourth time.  It goes to show you that you never know what will happen.  He said that yes, DE success rate is high, with a 70% pregnancy rate. But there is still a whopping 30% of people who don’t get pregnant during each cycle.  We just have to try.  And we have a great embryo waiting for us on ice.  He said that he will do everything in his power to help make it happen for us.  He asked how I would like him to help.

I told him that I just need my uterus to be in the best shape for our frozen.  He told me to get another diagnostic hysteroscopy to make sure that my uterus looks good.  We had one done back in July.  The surgeon back then told me that my uterus looked pristine.  Dr. NN said that it doesn’t hurt to look again so that we have a peace of mind.  Then he said that he’d make sure he is going to be the one doing the transfer.  He will try everything and whatever voodoo he has (whatever that means) to make sure that the embryo gets transferred in the safest way possible.  He said that together we’ll make it happen.

At the end of the session, I had already calmed down.  Dr. NN was finishing up his notes on the computer.  I told him that the embryo was called Lucy.  He actually typed it in and said that we’ll make sure that Lucy makes it home safely.  He told me to wait so that he could give me a hug.  He finished typing, came out from behind his desk, and gave me a huge hug.  He told us to focus on this great embryo that we have during this holiday season and keep ourselves positive on the outlook.

I really appreciate my doctor who gave me over 30 minutes of his undivided attention answering all the questions that I had.  So yeah, we won’t be purchasing any frozen eggs until after we transfer Lucy.  I know that the frozen eggs may be claimed by then. If we get pregnant with Lucy, the baby will not have a fully biological sibling.  I think we are going to be okay with that.   My own OB responded to my request for a hysteroscopy saying that she doesn’t do that in her practice so she has referred me to her colleagues who do.  Just like last time I may have to wait for a while before I could get an appointment.  I went ahead and emailed the surgeon who did my last hysteroscopy and I will see if she can see me earlier, such as some time in the next two weeks.

I like that we have a plan.  I hope that despite what happened this cycle, we will still be full of hope for the possibility of Lucy.  I believe that we will.  We just need time to heal.

MicroblogMondays: Sadness is…

deleting all the reminders of PIO injections and replacement of estrogen patches on my Goo.gle calendar

removing Kevin the embryo’s photo from the fridge and putting it in a folder

seeing that Christmas cards of friends’ children have replaced Kevin’s photo in the prime spot of the fridge

running my hands on the areas made tender by the progesterone injections

feeling the subsiding soreness of those once-tender spots

looking in the mirror and seeing the faded “permanently-marked” circles for injections on my back that no longer need any re-marking

seeing the deflated hot water heating pad that has been untouched in the last three days

spotting the box of syringes, sharps container, and meds I kicked under my nightstand

reaching for the pads in the drawer that I thought I would say good-bye to for a while, but now are needed because of AF’s arrival

opening the freezer and seeing the ice pack that I had been using to ice the injection sites

touching the itchy rectangular residue from the estrogen patches that are no longer required for my lower abdominal area

tearing up while cutting open the Am.azon box and touching the panda hooded towel that is going to be my baby shower gift for my super pregnant supervisor

seeing the date knowing that we are approaching the end of our 48th month trying for a baby

closing my eyes at night having Kevin’s picture vividly in my mind

feeling heartbroken waking up at the crack of dawn losing this pregnancy

 

 

… but, it’s okay to be sad.

And I will be okay.

Microblog_Mondays

Friends That Cheer Us Up

Every time we hit a bump on our fertility road, there would always be a friend or a group of friends that would do something to cheer us up.  Today Bob and I received this surprise gift in the mail:

It was from our dear friend Aramis and her husband M.  In the notes, they said, “Just a little something to pick you up.  Hope you enjoy!”

Oh yes.  Definitely!  We feel so loved and are grateful for friends.  Thanks friend for being so thoughtful.  We will thoroughly enjoy this gift.  More importantly, the gift of friendship and support makes this journey a little bit more tolerable.