MicroblogMondays: Surprising Decision

Microblog_Mondays

I was going to write about something light, like how I chopped off six inches of my hair, or Bob’s birthday week fun activities.  But yeah, the agony that I had last week over choosing the next step occupied my mind so much that I have to write about it.

So much went through my head last week.  It was debilitating to not be able to have peace with decision making.  It simply stressed me out so much that my shoulders took the brunt of it.  I constantly felt my shoulders rising up to my ears.  I hadn’t felt so stressed out since we last had to choose a donor.  I think the information that I received from Dr. E and gathering data on cost was just too overwhelming for me.  I was basically on an overthinking overdrive.

What was going on in my mind?  Well, I was weighing the different options of working with my own clinic, working with Dr. E., going to a clinic in San Diego, or going to a clinic in Oregon.  In regards to the cost, it is still the most reasonable to go with my own clinic.  Although the sperm test is extra expensive, the cost of the ERA testing with biopsies on both day four and day five is going to be less expensive than doing one biopsy with Dr. E.  Being a boutique clinic, her fees (except for the sperm test) are higher across the board in comparison to my current clinic.  Cycling with her for a DE cycle is more expensive than at my current clinic.  Since she is an independent doctor not affiliated with any clinics, there is no SART data to support her success rate.  The success rate of my own clinic is similar to those two clinics in Oregon and San Diego.  Then why do I have to spend extra time and money to become a patient at these other clinics?

Why do I have to decide which clinic to go to rather than doing all the testing first?  Well, for the ERA test to assess the receptivity of my lining, the test results will only be relevant when the test transfer protocol for the biopsy is the same as that of the real embryo transfer.  I already know what protocol Dr. NN will put me on and I know that this particular medicated transfer protocol can grow my lining well.  If I go to Dr. E, she may use a different protocol. And if I have her do the ERA testing but don’t go to her for my DE cycle, my real transfer protocol may be different and the ERA testing results would be rendered useless.

My nurse’s calendar for me showed that the biopsies will be done in end of March, which is great timing.  If I wait to make a decision about going to Dr. E, other clinics, or back to my own clinic, then we may have to wait another month to do the ERA test.  That cuts very close to our Maui trip end of April.  If we don’t do it in April, then we do it in end of May.  I would like to get something going with the new DE cycle some time in June, right before my in-laws come in mid-June.

There were some other things that made me uncomfortable about working with Dr. E, which is surprising to myself.  I had never felt uncomfortable with or intimidated by Dr. E when I worked with her in the past.  However, the way she answered my questions this time just made it overwhelming and intimidating to me.  She insisted on seeing my uterus even though I sent her reports and images of my hysteroscopy and my most recent saline sonogram done only two months ago.  The scan clearly showed that my uterine cavity is clear.  She said she wanted to look at it with her own eyes with a simple pelvic scan.  Remember she mentioned about adenomyosis?  My dear friend in this field told me that adenomyosis is usually confirmed only through a pathological report, often after a hysterectomy.  You really can’t see adenomyosis from a pelvic scan because it is in the myometrium, or the middle layer, of the uterus.  She did say that from the pictures of my scans, it did look extremely reassuring, but she would still want to take a look.  I just don’t know what else she could look at.  Doing a scan with her is not cheap.  I pay out of pocket.  So yeah, I don’t know why but I felt very intimidated.  I also felt that one test to check on my receptivity is enough, and two (both the ERA test and the beta-3 integrin test) might be an overkill.

Something else about her also made me feel uncomfortable.  I am interested in a proven donor who worked with another Bay Area doctor and Dr. E for her first two DE cycles.  The first cycle she had 26 eggs.  The second cycle with Dr. E (which is such a coincidence that she had worked with this doctor) yielded 55 eggs.  I don’t know about you but I feel extremely uncomfortable that Dr. E overstimulated this donor so much.  The end results of both cycles were similar: 7 blastocysts and 8 blastocysts respectively, with a successful pregnancy for both.  This piece of information about Dr. E just complicated my feelings.

I emailed my nurse to see if I could do one biopsy instead of two, as well as if Dr. No Nonsense recommends the beta-3 integrin test.  The answer is yes, I can do just one biopsy, but they recommend doing both days 4 and 5 so we could save time.  Dr. NN said that I could do the beta-3 integrin test but he thinks that the ERA test is superior over the other test and he does not recommend it to any of his patients anymore.

My husband got mad at me because of this whole thing.  I had been trying to gather all the information about various tests from the different doctors, nurses, and financial people.  I didn’t want to present this whole thing to him in bits and pieces.  Since I was still trying to wrap my mind around this whole thing, I was waiting for a good chance to talk to him.  Given our busy schedule last Monday and Tuesday, we didn’t get a chance to talk.  When he came home on Tuesday, he saw that I was chatting with a friend online about it.  Wednesday morning, instead of a usual happy man coming home from fitness bootcamp, he came home unhappy.  He felt left out that I asked everyone else for their opinion but him.  I was at first very upset that he didn’t understand why I waited to talk to him.  However, I put myself in his shoes and thought about my behaviors and actions in the previous few days, I started to understand why he felt the way he felt.  So instead of my original plan of going to work early, I took out my little chart that I had drawn for myself to make sense of this whole thing and used 15 minutes to explain to him what had been bugging me.  I am glad that my life partner does not hold grudges in silence but instead voices his frustrations and concerns with me.  I am grateful that we had a chance to smooth things out.

My trusted therapist helped too.  That same evening I had a session with her.  In that session, I learned that I was back to being cerebral with my decision making.  I was over thinking, which drove me to a point where I couldn’t make decisions.  I was afraid of regrets.  She listened to all of my dilemma and asked me deep down what I believed in.  I told her that deep down, I believe that I have a uterus that is good, I will get pregnant with a good embryo, and I will become a mother.  She told me that whatever decision that we make will be the best decision for our path.  She would like me to consider making a decision that stresses me out the least.

That same evening, Bob and I talked about this whole thing at home.  He asked me if I had made a decision about which doctor/clinic to go with.  I have learned to listen to his opinion.  I asked him to tell me first which doctor he would like to work with.  He thought for a few seconds, and told me that he would still like to work with Dr. NN.  I am so glad I asked him because that was my answer too.  I just feel that it is the simplest right now for me and Bob to not worry about starting all over with another clinic again.  Going with Dr. NN again really gives me the peace that I didn’t have in the past week.  What a relief that Bob and I are on the same page.

So yeah, after a lot of prayers for clarity and peace, I will start Lup.ron next week in preparation for two biopsies at the end of March.  I am finally at peace with this decision.  I cherish this sense of peace so much especially after feeling so paralyzed by the inability to decide.  I based my decision on my emotional responses to these doctors.  Sometimes that’s just what we have to go with.

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MicroblogMondays: A Whirlwind of a Week

Microblog_Mondays

(This is going to be a extra extra long post.)

A whole lot happened in the last week.

Since my last post, I have done a few things to start our next steps.  A lady in my Fac.ebook DE group had used this donor agency that focuses on asian donors.  I had completed my profile back in December but never did the phone consultation that was necessary to get access to view the donors.  This DE group friend had super positive experience with this agency in terms of responsiveness, coordination, organization, and the outcome of her cycle.  Armed with that knowledge, I felt a lot more comfortable contacting this agency.  The case manager assigned to me is the same one this DE group friend worked with.  Last Monday on my day off, the case manager and I had a phone consultation.  She thoroughly discussed all the different aspects of working with her agency and explained the fees in details.  After our phone call, I started looking at donor profiles on the website.  I’d say 99% of their donors are asian all over the United States.  I saw a few of them that I liked and inquired about them.  One particular donor that I like is half Chinese half Vietnamese in Southern California.  She just finished with her third donor cycle.  There were four couples on the waitlist for her when I asked.  The case manager was in the process of going down the list.  She is really super fast and organized.  The next day after I asked, she had already knocked off 3 couples from the list.  The last couple that is from out of state did decide to work with this donor.  If this donor decides to donate again, we will be next in line and will be able to work with her in June or so.  There are other non-Chinese asian donors I am interested in as well, but I am still looking for a full Chinese or part Chinese donor.

Other than this one donor agency, I searched all over California for additional donor agencies.  I saw some more leads but didn’t come across a donor that I truly want to work with.  It’s the location, or their responses to previous cycles, their ages, their nationalities, or their status (currently cycling or matched and have a huge waitlist).

In addition to looking for a new donor, I emailed a few clinics around the country and requested financial information and the process for completing a donor cycle there.  All I can say is that, all the clinics require similar fees, which are going to cost us an arm and a leg regardless of where we go.  All of the clinics were responsive in terms of responding to me with information.

I feel like I should start a spread sheet to sort out all the financial information and donor information from the clinics and agencies as it is getting a bit overwhelming.

My period came back on Wednesday.  The same afternoon, my nurse who returned to work from an extra long weekend called me and told me how sorry she was about the outcome of Lucy.  She notified me that Dr. No Nonsense (my RE) had a cancelation the next day at 1pm and asked if I would want to take it for my WTF appointment.  It was crazy that he was available at a time that worked for me.  So I took it.

I gathered information from various friends about what they would ask and wrote down a list of my questions.  I had to get back to work for my 2pm client so punctuality was very important on that day.  After waiting for 10 minutes, I proactively inquired about the delay.  Finally, a medical assistant who shared my real life name came out and apologized for the delay.  Dr. NN was ready but she was tied up with another doctor’s patient.  I finally sat down in front of Dr. NN at 1:15pm.

It was interesting.  Instead of greeting me, Dr. NN stared at his computer screen as if pondering something.  I sat down and waited for him to give me his attention.  I think he was staring at my record trying to make sense of it all.  About 30 to 45 seconds later, he began to doodle on a blank piece of paper in front of him.  For us being not pregnant, there could just be two reasons he said: embryo and uterus.  Without knowing if the embryos were normal, there was no way to know if it was because of the embryos.  He said it wouldn’t really help him to know if the other ten eggs of the same batch yielded good results because from a batch of 20 eggs, we might have been unlucky and gotten the bad eggs and the other recipient received the good eggs.  It’s hard to know.  Every batch of eggs is different, he said.  So in order to ensure that we know what to blame, it’s natural to want to do PGS testing on the embryos.  He did say that the pregnancy outcome of tested vs. non-tested DE embryos is actually about the same.  So testing them doesn’t really help with pregnancy.  BUT, in my case, testing will mean that if another transfer fails, we’d know if it was because of chromosomal abnormality.  However, PGS only tells you if all the chromosomes are there but it doesn’t tell you if the embryos have other anatomical abnormality.

The next thing to test is the sperm.  He said that the sperm DNA fragmentation test will give us different criteria to select sperm in the future.  However, he said that the impact of sperm on eggs is very minimal.  He compared embryos to a published book.  Messed up sperm is like typos in a published book.  Correcting the sperm is equivalent to correcting the spelling of words in a book.  It doesn’t really change the message.  I found that analogy interesting.  BUT, he does hope that it would be sperm problem so we know how to correct it.

The next next thing to check is my uterus.  He suggested the endometrial receptivity array test (ERA).  This tests whether or not the lining on day five (the typical day of transfer) is receptive for an embryo.  A group of my DE group friends also suggested checking the protein beta-3 integrin.  Dr. NN said the ERA test is better.  Why?  He didn’t say.

So if I still go with my clinic, the plan is to biopsy all the embryos on day 5 or whichever day that I’ll do the transfer.  So that will include the embryo that we will transfer.  The biopsy will be sent to another lab for analyze.  So we won’t know if the transferred embryo will be normal until at least a few days after the transfer.  But that way, if the transfer fails, we will know if it’s the embryo or not.  We would want to do it that way because a fresh transfer often gives the best chance for getting pregnant (70% rate).  So I wouldn’t want to miss having a fresh transfer of a fresh donor.

Dr. NN and I discussed the need of all these tests.  He still firmly thinks that I will get pregnant just by putting back a good embryo.  When I said I would like to check on the embryos, the uterus, and the sperm, he said that if we find success, then we won’t know what makes it work.  I looked him in the eye and said, “I don’t care about what makes it work.  I just want a baby.”  Plus we don’t have luxury of having extra time and money to experiment one thing at a time.  He understood and was like, Okay okay okay.  We’ll test everything.  Yes please.

Bob and I had a discussion about transferring one vs. two embryos.  Dr. NN is still recommending one embryo.  But this time, I’ll leave it to my husband who has not made up his mind yet.

I asked him some other questions.  Basically, there was no difficulty with the transfer, although he wasn’t the one who did it.  He did not recommend testing of blood clotting disorder.  He did not think that autoimmune problems are an issue for me.  We discussed the use of Lov.enox.  He said that many people do these things that are not evidence-based.  When it is not evidence-based, it is really hard for him to recommend it.  However, he is open to me using Lov.enox if my lining comes back normal on day 5 of the transfer after the ERA test.  If it is found pre-receptive on day 5, then he wouldn’t recommend it since the lining should be the issue.  He was sharing with me about his obstetric rotation and learned that sometimes doing the least is the best.  He said that many mothers who were about to give birth wanted to check on the baby and the resident obliged by checking manually.  When that happened, many times the pregnant women and/or the baby would develop infections.  Sometimes it’s best to leave things the way they are.  He said that it is actually more important for me to be stress free during this period of time.  We discussed about Donor Con.cierge.  He said that he’d rather me spend the extra $2000 on that service than some of these tests that we will do.  He said that if we decide on using Donor Con.cierge, he would be happy to knock off some of these testings that we will do to cut the cost.  He is that confident that we will get pregnant with a good donor.

Dr. NN said he will be almost as happy as we are when we get pregnant.  He really wants this for us.  He said that having babies is very rewarding although the first six months will be very hard.  I asked him if he had children.  He then shared with me that his wife, who is also a physician, and he went through a lot of treatment before they had their children.  He said that his wife hated him at that time because he was more like a fertility doctor who wanted to find answers vs. a husband who supported her emotionally.  I didn’t expect him to have gone through his own infertility.  It gives a whole new perspective of his heart for his patients.  I think the scientist of him really wants to find out why things do and don’t work.  But often times, we cannot afford to do it that way with the limited time and money.

He also said to make sure to have my nurse schedule him for the transfer and not other doctors.  I teased him and said he told me the same thing last time but didn’t do the transfer.  But I said I was okay with it.  He said that having him to do the transfer has a psychological effect on the whole cycle.  I was like, Okay I’ll tell my nurse.

At the end, he finished typing up his notes.  He reached both of his hands to touch mine and said that “We’ll do this together”.

That was not the end of the story.  Since he doesn’t know the cost of anything, I was in touch with my nurse about both the ERA test and the sperm DNA fragmentation test.  Since our insurance doesn’t cover anything at my clinic, we will have to pay out of pocket for everything if we want to get it done there.  I have spoken to my friends who did both tests so I had an idea of the ballpark cost of everything.  The ERA was supposed to be about $800.  The sperm test should be about $450.  My nurse originally quoted me $900 per biopsy which has to be done twice (?!) so the cost will be $1800 just for the biopsy and then there is also the cost of the test transfer and the meds.  I was so shocked at the cost.  Later on, the patient navigator clarified and said that the biopsy each will be $234 so two of them will be $468.  I was super confused about it.  So finally, my nurse clarified everything and said that the biopsy will be $468 for both and the test itself would be $570 each x 2.  The whole thing will be $1608.  That is really far from the $800 I knew my friends paid.  She explained that the biopsy has to be done twice because they would want to do it on both day 4 and day 5 so that if it comes back pre-receptive we don’t have to waste another month to test it again.  I mean, it does make sense, but it also means that if the test comes back normal for day 5, I am wasting $800+ just to save time.  The sperm test is as ridiculous.  There is a charge of processing the sperm at the clinic for $566.  The sample will be tested by another lab that will cost $450.  The whole thing will cost $1016.  Isn’t that crazy?

So this is what I did.  I emailed my OB surgeon at my insurance because I don’t really trust my own OB anymore.  My OB surgeon would ask the REI there and let me know soon about the ERA test.  I called the IVF clinic of Kai.ser, my insurance about both tests.  The lady who picked up the phone had not even heard of these tests.  She put me on hold to investigate, came back, and told me that they don’t do these tests there at the clinic.  Interesting.

I also emailed my former RE Dr. E.  I love love love Dr. E.  I did not continue working with her and instead went to my current clinic because my current clinic offered a lower cost option of mini IVF back then.  I would have continued working with Dr. E if I had the funds.  Anyhow, she is known for responding to emails promptly with details.  This time she still didn’t disappoint.  I wrote her an email detailing our journey since we left her practice and asked a whole bunch of questions.  Exactly half an hour later, she wrote me back with enthusiasm.  She wrote, “Soooooo great to hear from you! I’m doing procedures this afternoon.  I will reply by tomorrow.”  I didn’t have to wait til the next day.  She wrote me back 3 hours later with detailed answers.  She was heartbroken that we didn’t get pregnant with DE.   She’d recommend testing all the embryos even with donor eggs.  She also recommends both the ERA test and the e-tegrity test for me given my history of fibroids and endometriosis.  I would have to check with her finance person about the cost of these test.  The sperm DNA fragmentation test costs only $250 if we did it with her.  Can you believe it?  $250 vs. over $1000 at my clinic.  And bless her heart, she told me that she has leads for proven asian donors for me.  

I wrote her back a bunch of new questions that night.  She responded to me a few minutes later saying that they were all great questions and she’d reply shortly.  She wrote me back the next morning.  She said that it’d be helpful for her to know the history of my donor but also for her to look at my uterus at this point to see what degree of adenomyosis is present at this time.  She included a few donor agencies, guest passwords for them, and a few specific donor profiles that she wanted me to look at.

My question for her: “Can you think of anything else that we may need to do before we proceed with another cycle?  I am so heartbroken by our last failure that I would really like to cover everything before we proceed.  Do you think a biopsy for endometritis is necessary?  How do you view auto immune issues?”

This is her answer.  Pardon the all caps:

“UTERUS, UTERUS, UTERUS

I WANT YOU TO GET A VERY HONEST OPINION FROM SOMEONE RE: WHETHER YOUR UTERUS  IS STRONG ENOUGH TO CARRY A PREGNANCY

WOMEN WITH A HISTORY OF FIBROIDS, ENDOMETRIOSIS CAN ALSO HAVE A CONDITION CALLED ADENOMYOSIS.  I WOULD HAVE TO SEE YOUR UTERUS TO TELL YOU VERY HONESTLY WHAT I THINK AND WHAT YOUR CHANCES ARE WITH ALL THE LATEST INFO I CAN GATHER ON YOU

CHANCES ARE VERY SMALL YOUR ISSUES ARE RELATED TO AN INFECTION IN YOUR UTERUS OR AN UNDIAGNOSED AUTOIMMUNE CONDITION

THE ANSWERS ARE ALMOST ALWAYS: EMBRYO OR UTERUS

AND UNLESS YOU TEST THE EMBRYO (GENETICS) FOLKS OFTEN GO TO THE MORE ABSTRACT ISSUES LIKE AUTOIMMUNE ISSUES ETC WHERE THE ANSWER IS ALMOST RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM

HAPPY TO HELP  

LET ME KNOW HOW!”

I wrote her a bunch of other questions.  She wrote me back within half an hour saying that they were all great questions and she’d get back to me soon.  I wrote her finance person about the cost of all the test as well as a DE cycle with and without PGS.  I am sure she’ll write me back today.

I looked at the donors that she pointed me to.  Beautiful donors, young, tall, and educated.  And part or full Chinese.  I will look more into it but it seems like there is a whole world of donor agencies out there that I didn’t know about.

Working with Dr. E is very different.  She is honest, prompt, and thorough.  I often have to wait a couple of days before I can get a second hand answer from Dr. NN.  With Dr. E, she encourages questions and for you to be as informed as possible.

So I will gather all the financial information and see if my insurance covers for anything.  If not, it’s very likely that I’d at least do the tests with Dr. E and will go from there.

Yeah.  This is where we are now.  Thanks for reading all 3000 words of this post.  This is by no means micro but it reflects where we are in our journey at this point.

MicroblogMondays: Picking Up the Pieces

Microblog_Mondays

I can’t believe I am writing one of these posts again.  I really thought that this was going to be our time.

Two posts ago was supposed to be the 300th post of this blog.  Instead of celebrating it with a fantastic beta number (which would have been the best timing for the 300th post), I had the worst day possible and had to update you all on the longest timeframe I had to wait for any beta in my life.

It was the most peculiar thing that my OB who had ordered my previous HCG labs STAT actually didn’t order STAT this time.  I called the 24-hour line every single hour starting at 11am.  It was the most disconcerting thing ever, speaking to a stranger who did not know how important this phone call could have been for me.  Every time the answer was “Still processing”.  My OB finally returned my email denying that she ever ordered STAT for my previous beta, although I have her previous emails as my proof.  She wrote, “We cannot order them stat unless there is a medical reason as this would delay labs that were a true emergency. They were not ordered stat last time but I think they sent then stat in the lab for you. I totally understand that you want the results as fast as possible and we do not want to cause you extra anxiety but I have to practice according to hospital policy.”  To me, this is all BS.  All the the previous labs were ordered STAT.  But there is no point of arguing with her.

Little did I know that maybe the delay was the best thing for that day.  With the devastating results, I honestly don’t know how I could have survived without Bob being around me.  I would have been in my office with others or alone at home had the results come back any earlier.  Bob didn’t come home until 9pm.  The results were still not back at 8:40pm, a whole 12 hours after my blood draw.  When I called at 9:40, I still didn’t anticipate to hear the results.  But the stranger on the phone delivered the news.  I was in shock, but politely asked for a repeat of the number, then hung up.  Immediately, I started wailing loudly and could not control my tears.  The immediate heartache was too much to bear.  I was angry, devastated, feeling like this was the end of the world.  My head knowledge told me that this was not the end, but the devastation was still the same.  Can you imagine not having my husband’s warm embrace while I got the heart wrenching news?  I can’t imagine it.  So maybe the whole purpose of this delay in beta was for me to be well taken care of by my husband on that day.  I don’t know.  I could not stop my tears from coming.  It was utter disappointment, heart break, and anger.  I was so angry at God this time.  The unfairness of it all was really hard to swallow.  But haven’t we already learned?  Life is unfair, and we can’t control it when we are dealt the bad cards.  I was supposed to get up at 6am to go to my bible study training.  I was supposed to see a speech therapy client right after that.  That night, I couldn’t even breathe.  The thought of seeing someone other than my husband and acting normally was too much.  Canceling all these prior arrangements, I curled myself up in bed and just cried and cried and cried some more.  It really felt like the end of the world to me as the thought of starting all over again, looking for a donor, stressing over egg retrieval results, fertilization report, transfer, timing, and beta was just so overwhelming.  I just could not believe our luck.

My sentiment that night was I was so sick and tired of being resilient, having perseverance, and always being the bearer of bad news.  What else do we have to do to bring home a baby?  Haven’t we done enough?  I just couldn’t think anymore.

I am so grateful that I have a four-day weekend as we both took Tuesday off for Bob’s birthday.  We just let ourselves be.  We slept in the next morning.  My heart still hurt but was getting better little by little.  The thought of starting all over again was still very overwhelming.  So I put that thought aside.  I cried on and off during the day.  Tears flowed down my cheeks whenever I thought about the loss of Lucy.  Bob has been great.  He reminded me that we should still try to celebrate Valentine’s day and his birthday on Tuesday the best we can.  Yes.  We continue to live life to the fullest despite this huge set back.  We were being nice to ourselves so we could grieve and mourn, and begin the healing process.  I know I am loved because so many of you commented on my blog, and many of my friends checked on me repeatedly to make sure that I was doing okay.  I was still angry at God.  With His might and power, why couldn’t He make it better for us and let us fulfill our dreams of conceiving and growing a child?  My head knowledge told me to trust God’s perfect timing, my heart was just calling all of this BS.  When I couldn’t pray for myself, I know my prayer warriors are lifting me up.

Since I couldn’t talk to my nurse coordinator Friday night, I called the nurses station at my clinic on Saturday.  I knew that I had to do a second beta to confirm the results (which is the most meaningless thing ever), so I had to inquire if I should continue with my progesterone shot.  After a discussion, the on-call nurse said it would be better for me to stay on the injection until the second beta.  I lay there teary while Bob was jabbing that 1.5 inch needle on my behind, not understanding why history had to repeat itself.

On Sunday, we were both feeling better.  Believe it or not, we had church greeting duty.  On Saturday, I kept on thinking that there was no possible way for us to stand there, hand out bulletins, with a genuine smile on our face telling people that we were fine.  But I guess in God, everything is possible.  We were fine.  I genuinely felt hospitable, chatted with guests and friends, and sat through the whole sermon whole-heartedly.  During the quiet time right after sermon, I prayed to God, crying out to Him to comfort us, and not to allow us to steer away from Him.  It was the first heart-felt prayer I had for myself since the news.  Prior to service, I saw our friend’s pregnant wife got off in front of church.  I tried to escape her entry by excusing myself to get a cup of coffee.  After service, there was no escaping as they walked directly towards me.  We chatted about the weather while I avoided glancing down at her six-month pregnant belly.  Thank goodness for her extra long and large coat.

Serving at church did make us feel better.  Bob and I were originally going to have lunch at home.  But I wanted to cheer him up so we had an impromptu lunch at a South Indian restaurant close by.  Parking was a beast but we didn’t mind it.  We thoroughly enjoyed our food.  Afterwards, I decided to get my second beta done instead of waiting until Monday like we had originally planned.  If the results were to come back 12 hours later, I’d rather do it earlier so we could get it over with.  Because it was Valentine’s day, the lab was practically empty.  I asked the phlebotomist if I should get the results within 12 hours, I was shocked to learn that this lab was ordered STAT.  Why this was STAT and the previous one wasn’t, I don’t have a clue.  I just found it so ironic that for this second beta, I would find out the results within two hours.  Of course the results were negative.  I was relieved that my body did not have to endure another unnecessary needle and dose of progesterone when there was no life to support inside of me.

It’s amazing how much Bob and I have bounced back.  I didn’t cry at all yesterday.  We managed to make each other laugh most day. We actually started talking about our next plans.  We will definitely test his sperm for DNA fragmentation.  Since we didn’t test our embryos, we didn’t know if we should blame my uterus or the embryos for these failed cycles.  So for our next cycle, we are going to test the embryos even though the recommendation is that embryos from DE don’t need testing.  We will find a donor to do a fresh cycle.  And the most shocking one for myself is, I may switch clinic and go somewhere else.  I need a doctor who is friendlier with immune protocols and I don’t think Dr. No Nonsense is that doctor.  If something is wrong with my uterus, I want someone that can support that.  I have already looked at various donor databases, contacted a Southern California clinic that is famous for egg donation (many of our fellow bloggers and DE moms have gone there), and saw a few donors that have potentials.  It surprised me that looking through donor profiles did not cause me negative emotions or stress.  The most freaky thing was that the original agency that I used for the first donor that disappeared had not contacted me for six months.  The first email she sent me was the day after this failed cycle telling me that there was a brand new Korean donor for us to check out.  Anyhow, I don’t think we’ll work with that donor.  We’ll most likely ask for our money back from this agency and move onto somewhere else.  I will still have my WTF appointment with Dr. NN since I don’t have to pay extra.  Plus I really want to hear what he’d have to say.

Bob and I had a great chat.  We are now on the same page with our next steps.  He agreed to all the testing, and told me not to worry about the money part.  We have money saved up for more than one other fresh cycle.  If the next two transfers don’t work, we are in the position to save up more money, and we’ll start thinking about gestation carrier.  Speaking of which, I was both touched and surprised that one of my friends offered to carry our baby for us if we still don’t have a baby in 2.5 years.  She is currently pregnant and would like to breast feed her child.  I believe that I should be able to get pregnant and carry a child, but it is such a relief to know that someone would so selflessly offer to do this huge thing for me.  I also appreciated my husband telling me that I don’t have to worry about my age so I can just focus on the process itself. 

So this is where we are at, still sad about our failed cycle, still mourning the loss of Lucy, and still angry at God.  But we are also bouncing back and looking forward to the next chance for us to become parents. I do not regret maintaining a positive and hopeful attitude with Lucy. I’d do the same next time. I truly believe that one day we will be parents.  We need to take a deep breath, hold onto each other, and move forward.  I believe we can do it.

Still Waiting…

I called every hour and was told that there were still no results.  I finally asked to be connected to the advice nurse who connected me to the local lab.  I spoke to a lady in the lab.  She was very nice.  She went and checked for me.  Then she told me that my OB/GYN DIDN’T order STAT like the last few times.  The blood got sent to a regional facility (probably in the same area) instead of the lab across the street from where I got my blood drawn.  SO WE DO NOT KNOW WHEN THE RESULTS WILL COME IN!!!

I do not understand why my OB didn’t order STAT like last time.  So I will have to call my insurance’s 24-hour line hourly to check if the results are back yet.  And I WILL BE CALLING every hour.  This is nuts…..

This is seriously one of the longest and more torturous wait ever.  I have hardly done any work today.  My calm and peace went out the window.  But now that I know I will have to wait, I just wait.

Please pray that I will be at peace and calm until we get the results.

Fortune Cookie

I had lunch with a friend at our favorite Chinese restaurant today.

I picked up one of the fortune cookies.  There were two different slips there.  The first one I saw was this:

Wow!  Again, I don’t believe in these things, but out of all the many many thousands of fortune cookies out there, it is for sure very timely to get this particular one!

The second one in the same fortune cookie says: “Long life with blessings of family and friends is yours.”

But I like the one in the picture much much better!

Tomorrow is the day!  May it be an exciting time for me and Bob!

Spotting Scare and New Beta Day

So at this moment, I am still feeling at peace and calm.  However, my peace and calm was interrupted for a short while.

Monday night, which was 7 days past 5 day transfer, I found brownish stuff on my toilet paper.  It was a minimal amount but it was enough to worry me.  I was wondering why I was spotting since I had never spotted while still being on progesterone. I was afraid that my period was going to come.  I posted my concern online with my TTC group friends.  Many suggested that it could be implantation spotting.  That night, I prayed and prayed, and finally felt a lot calmer and back to being at peace.

The interesting thing was, that night was also the night I felt like the half burrito that I ate at 5:30pm was suddenly stuck and couldn’t be digested at 9:45pm.  It felt so stuck that I was miserable.  Bob looked at me helplessly because there was nothing he could do about it.  An hour later, I finally puked and felt so much better.  Still, my stomach didn’t feel good going to bed.  Fortunately, I woke up feeling fine the next morning.  I thought it was stomach flu but nothing else happened after that.

My Fac.ebook TTC group friends were so funny.  I posted that I was not feeling well with indigestion and puking.  It was funny how puking in this context could get so many “likes”.

The spotting has continued on and off, never more than just on the toilet paper.  I was still wondering if my period was coming, or if progesterone is making me spot.  Again, many people reassured me that it is likely implantation spotting.  Some even told me that they spotted around the same time frame and was with pink instead of brown.  That just sounds so terrifying.  Any sort of bleeding is terrifying.

Last night I made the ultimate mistake of googling things, like “Can you still have your period while on progesterone”.  I basically committed a crime of freaking myself out unnecessarily.  Good thing is, I do have some self-control.  I have since stayed away from googling.  And I have to remind myself that other people’s stories are not my story.  My calmness level did go from 95% down to 90 even 80% at one point.  But now it’s back to 95% although I continue to spot occasionally.  And it’s no fun to check the toilet paper every time I wipe.  I pray for myself to put my complete trust in the Lord and not to be discouraged by something as little as brownish discharge.

On Monday, before any of the spotting scare, I wrote my nurse an email pleading my case of moving my beta to Friday:

I know that we had this discussion about the day I should do my first beta.  I know that we have scheduled for February 15th.  That’s 14 days past 5 day transfer, a whole 19 days after ovulation if there was an ovulation.  It just seems very long to wait for beta.  When I did my day 2 transfer, I  waited 12 days so it was only 14 days past ovulation.  19 days past ovulation seems very long.  Can I do it on February 12th, which is 11 days past 5 day transfer?  That’s practically 16 days past ovulation.  I truly believe that it’s enough time to be sure if it’s a pregnancy or not.  Please consider that for me so I don’t have to wait for so long.”

And guess what? My nurse said yes!  She wrote, “I will make you a deal. You can test on Friday and  I will make you do a double check on Monday also.  What do you think?”

Of course I said yes.  I don’t know what difference it makes to her say if my beta is negative then on Monday it would still be negative.  But if beta is positive then I’ll have to do a second beta on Monday to check on the level.

So guys, I get to do my beta earlier!  Friday is so much better than Monday.  I am so thankful that my nurse is understanding. I know she likes me.  🙂

I pray that I can continue to keep my peace and calm until beta day.  And I hope the spotting will stop soon.  I still talk to Lucy.  I still pray for God’s protection on the embryo.  I am still assuming that I am pregnant unless I am told I am not.

Two more sleeps!