The Lining is Ready!

I meant to write an update, but I have been swamped the last two days.  So here it is!

Right before my ultrasound, I met with my nurse for her to go over my consent.  Unlike the consent for the donor cycle which was about 30 pages requiring both of our initials on every single page, sometimes multiple ones per page, this consent form was underwhelmingly simple.  Maybe 5 pages tops, with two initials and one signature per person.

I was pantless waiting at the ultrasound room for a whopping 25 minutes.  Thank goodness for a smart phone and friends and husband online.  Otherwise, I don’t know what I would have done.  My one and only favorite nurse practitioner came in.  She got right to business.  I spread my legs, lay down, and just watched the screen. She was searching for over a minute for my lining.  She was looking and looking and looking some more.  I was waiting and waiting and waiting some more.  The most amazingly thing is, I was just waiting patiently.  No anxiety.  No worries.  Just watching and waiting quietly.  I didn’t even ask any questions.  I don’t know where this calmness came from.  Well, I do know.  And I thank God for that.  Because of my fibroid, she sometimes has a hard time finding my lining.  This was probably the longest that had taken her.  The measurement from the vaginal ultrasound was 7.4mm.  Not impressive, but passed the minimum requirement of 7mm.  The NP assured me that 7mm and 10mm do not yield different results.  I nodded and felt at peace about it.  She went ahead to confirm the measurement with an abdominal ultrasound.  We have been doing this almost every single time.  Because the view was unobstructed by the fibroid, she could get a quick, better, and clearer measurement.  Once she saw the lining, she exhaled a sigh of relief, and declared a measurement of 9.2mm!  Wow I didn’t know that different views could yield such different results.  And she finally commented on how beautiful the trilaminar pattern of the lining looked with this view.  Looks like the estrogen patches and my body are both doing their jobs well.

What the NP said next was music to my ears.  She said, “Remind me when you come in for your pregnancy ultrasound not to look with the vaginal probe for too long, knowing that the fibroid is blocking the view of the fundal area, which is where the embryo should be.”  I smiled and told her how happy I was that she sounded so optimistic.  She said she was definitely hopeful for this.  It’s just lovely to have professionals around you who are so optimistic and rooting for you.

I met with another nurse who is responsible for scheduling procedures.  She presented the schedule to me and asked which date I would like the transfer to be.  I somehow wanted a Tuesday but she said there were already three transfers on that day.  I didn’t want to wait until Wednesday so I opted for Monday, the first day of the window.  As she was filling the dates for all the meds and stuff on the calendar, I asked a very important question: When will the first beta be?

My clinic is notoriously crazy for asking patients to wait 12 to 14 days post transfer for the first beta.  I waited 12 days for the last two transfers.  That was really long enough to drive me crazy and test my patience.  This time, 12 days post transfer falls on a Saturday.  Because my nurse coordinator doesn’t work on a Saturday, I can’t do it on that day or day 13, which is on a Sunday.  The tricky part this time is day 14 is Monday, President’s day.  It’s a holiday observed by my clinic.  So my nurse coordinator won’t be there either.  I asked for permission to do it on day 11, that Friday.  This procedure nurse was very reluctant to schedule me for Friday, because 11 days past a day 5 transfer is too “early” for a beta.  I honestly think that these people are crazy at my clinic.  That is the equivalent of 16 days past ovulation. Too early?!?  I told her that I won’t do it on Tuesday February 16, because that is Bob’s birthday.  I am not doing a beta on Bob’s birthday.  What a big dilemma.

The procedure nurse went and asked my nurse coordinator.  Another nurse of my RE actually will work on President’s day, so she would be around to give me instructions when my beta came back at my regular doctor at Kai.ser.  So guys, I have to wait 14 whole days for the first beta!  This will be the true test of my patience.  And I still think that I won’t POAS……

When I said goodbye to the procedure nurse, I said that I don’t ever want another one of these meetings before a transfer.  It sounded mean but I hope she understood….

So that’s it!  I did my last dose of Lu.pron tonight.  We’ll start PIO tomorrow.  And then we’ll be all set for Monday!

Come on baby.  We are so ready for  you to come home!

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MicroblogMondays: Transfer Is Approaching

Microblog_Mondays

The next transfer is slowly creeping up on us.

I have been on Lu.pron and estrogen patches for a few weeks now.  The one and only lining check is going to be today at 11:30am.

How have I been feeling?  Mostly at peace.  I pray for peace and strength, and total trust in the Lord daily.  I did have one moment of panic about one week ago but it went away quickly.  I found myself in a different state this time.  Lighter, perhaps?  The old me would have been very on top of things.  However, this time, I have been quite forgetful.  I often get startled by the Goog.le calendar reminder for the Lu.rpon shot at 9:15pm. At times, I truly forget that an injection has been scheduled daily.  Maybe I feel that there are better things to do than to get overly stressed about the injection?  As long as the phone reminder does its job, I have nothing to worry about.  I was supposed to leave a voicemail with my clinic after I started my estrogen patch.  I did start the patch, but totally forgot about calling the clinic until my nurse hunted me down with a phone call.  This is very unlike me, but it tells you how much I am not thinking about the transfer.  After taking a break since our failed cycle, I finally contacted my acupuncturist for a few sessions leading up to the transfer.  When she saw me last week, I shared my feelings with her about this cycle.  She observed my face and my body language and said I did look lighter.  It’s so interesting to know that she could actually see it on my face.

Another interesting thing is, today’s lining check does not stress me out.  The last time I was stressed out because I had a date set and I really wanted to do it right before Thanksgiving.  With my mind set on a date, the appropriate thickness of the lining was very important on my lining check date.  This time we don’t even have a set transfer date.  Transfer will be any day between February 1 and February 5.  So the thickness of the lining today is not as important.  I feel that I am just going with the flow.  Whatever the nurses and doctors say, I’ll follow.

Don’t get me wrong. Even with this newfound “lightness”, I am still hopeful.  I am still thinking and planning ahead for a pregnancy.  I do think about a couple of months down the line what I will be doing with my new pregnancy.  Recently, Bob and I started talking about planning a trip for our 5th year wedding anniversary.  We were originally going to go to Hawaii for our honeymoon.  Because I just didn’t have enough energy to plan another thing right before our wedding, we abandoned that plan and went somewhere locally (and still had a blast).  We always talk about going to Hawaii but still haven’t gone.  We have already saved up the money for it.  We have even labeled our savings account for that trip “Babymoon”.  So we are going to go.  I haven’t booked anything yet pending Bob’s vacation approval from his work. But during all the research and planning, it did cross my mind that anything could happen at that point.  We could be 14 weeks pregnant.  We could have failed the cycle and be still looking for a donor.  Or we could have found a donor and our planned trip would be right in the middle of our cycle.  But you know what?  I can’t let all the what-ifs stop us from living life.  And I choose to believe that by the time our trip rolls around, I will be bringing our baby along.  It will be a trip for our family of three.  Isn’t that a wonderful thought?  I will even sacrifice the enjoyment of consuming various kinds of fish that Hawaii has to offer for the sake of my child.

And how’s Bob doing?  He is doing much better.  He was angry at God for a while but he seems to be in a better place.  He can pray again and we pray together.  He is also hopeful about this coming cycle but not as “light” as I am.  He is still skeptical about it and sometimes feels that we should save every single penny up for more treatment, such as the money we have already set aside for our babymoon trip.  I just let him go a little crazy for a while before he comes to me and tells me that we should go on our trip.  😉

So yeah, I guess transfer will be here before we know it.  I am really ready for it.  Hopefully I can keep my “lightness” through out these next few weeks.

MicroblogMondays: A Ghost From the Past

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I have been involved in a project to which my work contracts me out.  My main responsibility is to develop curriculum and do presentations.  If you have been reading my blog for a while, you may recall that I do prenatal classes and discuss about communication strategies with first-time moms-to-be.  The contract stipulates that I train two staff members and transfer my knowledge by mid-year for them to take over this presentation.  I have grown fond of this curriculum as it is almost like my work baby.  There had been one staff member with whom I work closely.  The project had been trying to hire another staff member.  Right before my presentation last week, I found out the name of the new hire.  This name made me physically sick to my stomach for a few minutes before I could calm myself down to do a professional job.  Who is it?

My brother’s first and only girlfriend before he dated and married my sister-in-law.

The world is so small.  Out of all the people in this area, she has to be the one hired.

Now, you may ask, why does that even matter in any significant way?  What I can tell you is that there are only a couple of people that I truly don’t get along with in my life.  She is one of them.  I guess it all depends on your world view.  Are you someone who tries to be all inclusive and accept everyone in your life?  Or do you try to maintain a healthy boundary and keep those that you know won’t bring positive changes out of your life?  In the last few years, I make an effort to keep toxic people out of my life.  I try to surround myself with people who truly care about me and I truly care about.  This is the reason why I was so appalled by this news.

The thought of this ex-girlfriend brings back many bad memories.  When my brother and I were teenagers, we lived in an apartment by ourselves most of our high school years.  My dad was making a living overseas and my mom would be with him about 3/4 of the time during the year.  It could feel so lonely and uncared for as teenagers to be left alone to fend for yourself.  My brother started dating and I was even more left alone.  I’d say that it was mostly my brother’s doing for not taking care of his little sister, but this girlfriend didn’t help either.  They were always hanging out at her house and I’d rarely see the two of them.  But it wasn’t just this.  It was her personality as this loud, uncaring person who was not nice or friendly to me.  Somehow there was this rivalry going on with her.  Belonging to the same church and the same youth group, we had plenty of opportunity to get to know each other.  The more I knew her, the more I didn’t want to know her.  After they had been dating for about two years, my brother discovered that this girlfriend was cheating on him with his best friend.  I clearly remember the day they broke up; how my brother calmly told her that it was over and how she was screaming and slamming the door of the apartment.  The funny thing was, my brother was really over her, and continued to maintain a friendship with his best friend and this ex-girlfriend.  It was partly because he himself found a great girl who later became his wife.  But it was still great to see my brother having such an open heart and mind.  Ex-girlfriend still very much wanted to be in my brother’s life.  She asked to be one of my sister-in-law’s bridesmaids and later on asked if she could be the godmother for my brother’s children.  She ended up being in my brother’s wedding and got named the godmother. There were many more things that I won’t go into details about.  All I can say is that for my young self, it was very difficult to love her or like her when I found her so unlikable.  My mom is the most easygoing person and even she was super relieved that my SIL married my brother and not ex-girlfriend.

Ex-girlfriend eventually married my brother’s best friend, who happened to be the brother of my guy best friend.  Our social circles were a bit intertwined.  She asked me to play the piano at her wedding because my SIL had just given birth at the time.  I saw her repeatedly at social gatherings in the 10 years of her marriage because I am close to my best friend’s family.  She was in my life and I felt like I didn’t have a choice.  The last time I saw her was at my best friend’s wedding.  I was surprised to see her because she had already separated from her husband.  She wore her huge engagement ring and walked around like she was part of that family.  That was right before the divorce was finalized and she stuck herself in front of the camera for every single family photo.  I remember how upset my friend’s father was because her presence would forever be in my friend’s family wedding photos.

I get news about her once in a while.  She remarried in her early 40s.  Her doctor told her that at her age, the only way to get pregnant would be through fertility treatment.  She went ahead, tried naturally, and got pregnant the first month she tried.  I had been trying for a baby for a couple of years already at that time and couldn’t believe it that she had achieved what I couldn’t without any effort.  I know it’s shallow of me and I admit it, but her pregnancy news was a really big blow to me.  But I was happy that she was out of my life and I didn’t have to endure any Face.book talk of her pregnancy.  I got a glimpse of it when my brother told me that she posted a lot of details about her pregnancy including yelling publicly at her husband for being out late with friends leaving his super pregnant wife at home.

So now, back to this news about her being back at my life.  I still can’t believe it that the world is so small and she is the one who got hired.  I texted both my brother and my SIL that brother’s girlfriend got hired to work with me.  We all just jokingly call her my brother’s girlfriend because she would show up once a year or in two years and cook my brother’s favorite food for his whole family, then disappears for another year or two.  Both my brother and SIL found this news so funny.  They were laughing aloud and wishing me good luck.  Bob joked that my brother should apologize to me as this was all his fault for bringing ex-girlfriend in my life.  My sister-in-law joked that I should thank her for marrying my brother instead.  She said “Better work with her than be related to her.  The scale of pain is all relative.”  I was laughing so hard at that comment.  It’s very true.  And it does put things in perspective.  I do have to have contact with her.  I do have to sit down with her and train her on my baby (presentation).  But I do believe in myself for being able to keep things very professional.  I am in the driver’s seat and I know my ability.  As much as the thought of working with her is unpleasant, my anticipation could be a lot worst than reality.  Maybe she has changed?  Maybe she is super nice now?  I won’t know until I see her.  But I am grateful that I find out right now and have time to prepare myself rather than being surprised and shocked when I get introduced to her for the first time.  A coworker of mine said that I should codename her Janice after the character on “Friends” who kept on creeping back in Chandler’s life.  That’s such a brilliant idea!

Maybe God has a lesson in this for me?  Something for me to learn?  This is definitely a good example for me to pray for love in my heart for unpleasant people and in unpleasant situations.  Hopefully with the right attitude, my interaction with this ex-girlfriend will be as painless as possible.

But I still can’t believe that she’s back in my life, and I have no choice to get out.  It will take me a while to get over this.

MicroblogMondays: Girls’ Getaway

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When I said yes to my girlfriend for a January getaway weekend back in September, I was hoping that I’d be pregnant by now. The expectation was that she’d have to watch a video of progesterone in oil injection and stick me with a thick long needle.

Expectation and reality are two totally different things.

Despite the disappointment, I think I was able to make the most out of it.

Sometimes taking a trip with a friend could ruin friendships. You just never know if you’d be compatible travelers. I had confidence that my girlfriend and I would travel well together. I’m so glad I was right.

We chatted non-stop once we met up at the airport. It was basically one long chatting session all afternoon and evening. We met up for lunch for three hours on Christmas Eve and that was a really nice and long time. But I don’t think we ever had a very long time to talk about anything and everything and not just using the time to catch up.  Having a friend that you can talk to non-stop is a blessing. And it’s even a bigger blessing that we had the opportunity to do that on a trip. No distractions from our daily life.  No rushing to places or appointments. It was wonderful. At the airport and on my flight, I didn’t even touch any of my entertainment. We just chatted.

My friend booked a really nice hotel resort. I know that Bob and I would probably not spend this kind of money on a hotel room so I gladly said yes to it. It didn’t disappoint. Every single staff member was nice, attentive, and courteous. Service was fast. We got upgraded from one king bed (to save money originally) to two queen beds.


And instead of the “resort view”, we got upgraded to the mountain view! It was all dark at night so we didn’t get to see the spectacular views until the next day. Look what it looked like out of our window:

The snow-capped mountains were just so soothing for the eyes. We lay in bed and just looked out for a while.

Before breakfast, we went on a 1.6-mile hike close to the hotel. It’s so unique to have an area to hike at a resort. Here are some pictures of the hike:

  

The rest of the day, we just chilled and did whatever. When my friend spent her time at the spa, I opted for my time by the pool. It wasn’t the warmest to allow for bikinis or swimsuits, but it was sunny and warm enough for chilling there with my glass of spicy strawberry margarita.


The food on this trip was amazing. The burger we had the first night was seriously one of the bed burgers I had had in my life:

Breakfasts were good:



Our dinner was at this restaurant in town that I chose ahead of time.  It had the best reviews and even better, a three-course dinner at a super discounted price between 4:30 and 5:45. We arrived at 5:15 and honestly, we were the only people who didn’t have gray hair!  Local retirees know where to find good food!

The Manhattan clam chowder was just right. The pork chop was so juicy and flavorful it was seriously one of the best I had. The service was pleasant and attentive. All in all a very great dining experience at a discounted price.


  

The best gift and surprise of all was that we were contacted by our dear friend and spiritual mentor who saw on Face.book that we were in the area. She happened to have just arrived here a week ago for her month-long vacation from Colorado.  We didn’t know that she was going to be in the same area since she usually would go to Florida for her January trip.  It was a wonderful surprise to be within a few miles of each other after she and her husband moved away a few years ago from the Bay Area.  She was both of our mentor about eight years ago.  We met up once a week and talked about spiritual things.  This time, we were so blessed to be able to get together for coffee and caught up for over two hours.  The power of social media is amazing.  She hadn’t gone on Face.book for a long time and once she went on, she saw our photos.  Without that, she wouldn’t have known we were there.

Finally, it was wonderful to come home to my husband.  He bought groceries and made dinner so I could have enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  Before he came to pick me up at the airport, he made sure that he filled the tank so I would have gas for work this coming week.  I love seeing his face after not being with him for a couple of days.

And my girlfriend and I are already talking about another girls’ getaway.  I guess we still love each other after seeing each other non-stop for 48 hours.  😉

Next (And Hopefully the Last) Frozen Embryo Transfer

Somehow I have been putting off writing about this.  I can’t explain why.

When my period started in December, my nurse gave me a calendar.  I started taking birth control pills on day two of my cycle.  Exactly 21 days after I had been on the pills, I started spotting, just like the previous cycle.  But unlike my reaction last time, I have been very chill this time.  I know that it is not a big deal that I bleed while on birth control pills.  I didn’t even write my nurse.  I just continued with the pills until the last dose without fussing about it.

My last day of the pill was yesterday, January 7th.  I am supposed to start the estrogen patches next Tuesday if menses have already begun.  I have been bleeding more and more heavily, almost like a full flow.  I have been instructed to call my nurse to schedule for an ultrasound if full flow doesn’t come.  So I believe that I don’t need that ultrasound to make sure that my lining is thin.

My nurse called me out of the blue yesterday to check on me.  I was both surprised and touched.  She really didn’t have to check on me because she had already given me a calendar and I should just be following it.  But since she hadn’t talked to me since before the holidays, she wanted to make sure that everything was good with the pills, Lu.pron, and all the other meds.

I ordered my meds before the end of the year so I can count the medical expenses for 2015.  I was shocked to learn that the original pharmacy I ordered Lu.pron from jacked up the price from $189 to $295.  Instead of ordering a refill from them, I had to contact my nurse to put in a script for another pharmacy.  As for my other meds, I feel fortunate that I got help from others.  I recently met a lady who got pregnant with twins at my clinic using frozen donor eggs.  She only got six eggs (unlike the 10 eggs that I got).  Five thawed and four fertilized.  She transferred two day-three embryos and both took.  The other two day-three were frozen.  She is going to be a single mother by choice.  The interesting thing is, I wasn’t jealous of her at all.  I  was actually very happy for her that she found success and she could end her 8 years of fertility journey with babies.  She mentioned to me that she had some estrogen patches leftover from her cycle that she could give me.  On top of the leftover ones I had from last cycle, her patches, and the sample that Jane will give me, I only needed to order 7 patches instead of 32.  Call me lucky.  😀

Oh yes.  I started my Lu.pron.  Very uneventful except for me spilling some on the table.  Bob is usually the one who draws the liquid for me because I am always scared of spilling.  I decided to practice drawing the liquid on the first day of Lu.pron in preparation for my girls’ getaway weekend (which starts today after work!).  I successfully drew 10 units of the liquid but forgot to invert the vial right side up before I took out the needle.  Gravity pulled the liquid out and it made a line of it on the table.  Duh.  I should have thought of it, but I didn’t.  It freaked me out.  After that one incident, I shied away from drawing the liquid for a couple of days.  But knowing that I eventually would have to do it myself over the weekend, I finally gathered enough courage to practice again, this time pulling out the needle while the vial is firmly pressed on the table.  No spillage.  Phew.

My lining check will be on January 25th.  If the lining is good, we’ll do a transfer.  I did see on the calendar that the transfer window is between February 1st and 5th.  When I  saw that, I was a little puzzled about the dates because I always thought that transfer would happen five days after the lining check, which should be January 30th or 31st.  However, those dates are on the weekend.  My nurse clarified it for me.  Since we have the embryo already, the IVF nurse will look at the clinic’s schedule on the lining check day to see which day between February 1st and 5th the clinic can accommodate my transfer.  I didn’t know that it works like that.  So from the start of my birth control pills, it takes more than 7 weeks before we can transfer.  It just seems like many many weeks.  But I won’t fret over it.  It is whatever it is.  The timing of things doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things.  If we transfer on February 1st, beta could be the day before Bob’s birthday and second beta could be the day after.  Hmmm…..  Maybe I’ll give him the best birthday present ever?  I just hope that it won’t be the repeat of our first transfer also around Bob’s birthday two years ago.  I really want this to be a great birthday present for him.

For now, I won’t think too much about it.  I will focus my energy on my girls’ weekend.  One day at a time, yeah?

MicroblogMondays: Worry Dolls

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We love to visit missions in California.  The San Luis Obispo one that we visited on our trip was beautiful.  At the mission gift shop, I was looking at the abundance of nativity sets while Bob was browsing around.  He spotted these dolls.  The explanation says:

“These worry dolls are symbolic of the folk art of Guatemala and Mexico.  The legend is that when a child whispered their worries to their doll before going to sleep, the next morning their worries will be gone.  What a simple way to ease their minds.”

Bob looked at me and asked, “Should we get them for our future baby?”

This has become the fifth thing that we have purchased for our future baby in the past four years.  I love it that we don’t shy away from buying things for our baby and aren’t afraid of jinxing ourselves.

I can’t wait to give our baby stuff to our own child one day.