MicroblogMondays: Three!

Bunny and Okra are now three years old.  I can hardly believe it.

The last three years seemed to have gone by very fast.  People say that the days are long but the years are short.  I look back and find that to be true.  Sometimes old photos or old posts pop up on my phone or on FB.  I see how tiny the kids were back then and how big they already are and often wonder how they are already three years old.  The last six months were especially a blur.  The days all blended in because of sheltering in place.  That doesn’t stop the kids from growing.  You blink and they are little human beings with a lot of opinions.

We couldn’t (and wouldn’t) have a real party but I still wanted to make that day special for the kids.  I picked up the kids’ favorite buns from a bakery two days prior for their birthday breakfast and picked up food from the kids’ favorite taqueria the day before for their birthday lunch.  Way ahead of time, Bunny selected a birthday shirt that has excavator on it.  Okra chose one with Thomas.  Because of their different preferences, I decided to buy decorations that had construction and Thomas themes.  The day before their birthday, a chain party supply store delivered Thomas balloons, a huge number 3 balloon, letter balloons, and some wrapping papers to us.  I ordered a construction birthday photo backdrop online.  After the kids went to bed the night before their birthday, I couldn’t get started with decorations until after 9:30 because of a prior Zo.om meeting.  Bob was already at work putting the kids’ new balance bikes together.  I put the construction backdrop on the living room wall above the couch, placed the giant number 3 next to the picture, and placed the Thomas balloons on the other side.  I blew up the letter balloons and spelled out Bunny’s name on one side of the wall and Okra’s name on the other side of the wall.  I wrapped all the presents and put bows on the bikes.  After all that was done, it was already 11pm, way past my bed time.  It was worth it for the kids though and I couldn’t wait to see their faces the next morning.

The air quality in the 7 days prior to the kids’ birthday was at the Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy level.  I said to my friends the day before that it would take a miracle for the AQI to get down to an acceptable level for us to take the kids to the zoo and for cake cutting in the backyard with my brother’s family to take place.  I opened my eyes on the kids’ birthday and the first thing I checked was AQI.  It was down to the unhealthy for sensitive group level (instead of very unhealthy).  I wasn’t sure if it would go further down but there was a glimmer of hope that a zoo visit could be possible.  The kids woke up and were very excited about putting their birthday T-shirts on.  Where they sat for breakfast they couldn’t see the decorations and the presents in the living room.  After their teeth were brushed, we opened the gate and led them into the living room. Their facial expressions were priceless!  They looked so genuinely surprised and happy about the decorations.  It was worth all the time and energy.  I checked and rechecked the AQI.  It was down to the low end of the Unhealthy for Sensitive Group level.  I was confident that it would get down to the Moderate level.  So it was truly a miracle that we got to pack up the kids and go to the zoo.  We all had a blast!  It had been a long time since Bob made it back to the zoo.  He especially took a day off, and it was a delight to have him around to celebrate the kids’ birthday on a weekday (as their first two birthdays were on the weekend).  The air quality was getting progressively better.  By the time it was the kids’ nap time, I was certain that we could have a birthday cake cutting time in the backyard with family.

I had gotten a local mom from one of my mom clubs to make a cake for us.  It was an awesome cake with Thomas on top and a track that ran under him, and an excavator and traffic cones on the side of the cake.  This just matched my kids’ strong individual preferences.  I was pleased with the final product.

The kids didn’t know that their uncle, auntie, and cousins were going to show up.  Although Okra woke up being cranky and threw a tantrum, he recovered fast and was very excited about the cake and our family showing up.  The sky was bright and the air was good.  We had a wonderful time celebrating with family.  The kids are so grown that they actually could blow the candles all by themselves this year and nobody ate the candle (unlike last year when Bunny took a bite out of her number 2 candle).

The day finished with dinner from the kids’ favorite restaurant.  But even with their favorite food, Okra was done with dinner after a couple of bites because he couldn’t wait to go play with his new toys.  Bunny followed him.  We ended up having plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day.

We were supposed to have a picnic to celebrate the kids’ birthday the previous Saturday. It didn’t happen because of the air quality. This past Saturday we finally made it as the air was/is good.  We had dim sum at a park!

It was wonderful to see the kids interact with their aunt, uncle, and cousins.  Life is so much better when you can spend time with family.  This year the kids really understand the meaning behind a birthday and it was a bummer that they couldn’t celebrate it the way we normally could.  And I am really missing my dad. He was here the last two years for the kids’ birthdays and I really feel the void of not having him here this year.  The pandemic has made it so hard for many to make in person connections.  One can only hope that next year we will be all back to normal and the kids can spend quality time with everyone on their 4th birthday.

MicroblogMondays: Back to the Zoo

The zoo reopened some time in July.  At first I was hesitant to return there with the kids.  Pre-COVID, the zoo was our stomping ground as it is only 7 minutes away.  We went almost once a week.  It was closed for a few months.  Finally they got the OKAY to reopen with COVID precautions in place.  I wanted to learn about first hand experiences from people I know before I even considered going back.  Plus I needed time to drill in the kids’ mind that their masks and the stroller are a must when we go to the zoo.  Everybody who went said that their experience was good and they felt safe.  Indoor exhibits, playgrounds, and family farm are all closed.  The train and carousels are not running. There are red lines and orange circles for visitors to stand behind or inside to maintain social distance.  It sounded doable to me.  My twins’ third birthday is coming up.  As I started to plan their birthday, and knowing that a birthday party with friends and family is not going to happen, a trip to the zoo seems special enough.  Okra was the one who resisted wearing a mask, but has since converted to a mask wearer as we started going to the park.  With the confidence that he’d keep the mask on, I booked tickets for last week to the zoo as a trial run for their birthday zoo visit.  Oh yes.  You now cannot just show up at the zoo with your membership card.  To control the flow of visitors, both members and nonmembers have to book tickets ahead of time.  You are allowed to enter into the zoo within the half hour of your reservation time.  The tickets are open two weeks prior to the reservation dates.  The morning times are popular for members and you will need to make a reservation two weeks ahead of time.  The day prior to our visit last week, I spoke with the kids about the rules (i.e. staying in the stroller until I let them out and masks on at all times) and told them what we would get to see and what we wouldn’t.  It had been almost six months since our last zoo visit.  We went on March 10th, just a week before the shut down.  We had so much fun then.  I am looking at the pictures right now as I am writing this post.  I didn’t always ride the Little Puffer Train with them since we had made it a special thing to do when daddy comes with us.  But on that day, somehow, I wanted to ride the train with them and decided to do so.  The kids weren’t even 2.5 yet back then.  Looking at the videos and photos, they were looking much smaller and babylike.  They had so much fun riding the train.  I am so glad we did on that day as it is not an option anymore until COVID is under control.  Fast forward to the day of the visit, it felt kind of funny to get ready the night before as I hadn’t had to get ready for anything in a long time.  I was also worried about the smoke in the air because of the wild fires and the air quality hadn’t been good.  The day of the visit, I decided to still go because if air quality got worse, we could always come home.  Because the zoo is by the coast, the air on that day wasn’t bad at all.  With a mask on, I didn’t quite smell the smoke.  The kids and I had a blast! Since we got there at the first time slot, many animals were still inside.  We waited for a long time for the gorillas and had to return later to see them when they were out.  It was the male lion’s birthday that day so many people were there at that exhibit.  The kids were really good at staying in the orange circles and behind the red line.  They hardly touched any hard surfaces.  They asked about the sloth, the spider, the goats, or other indoor animals.  I had to tell them sadly that these were temporarily not available.  Okra of course asked about the train and I told him that it wasn’t running.  He asked, Can I see it? innocently.  I felt bad that I had to say no to him.  But it didn’t dampen the fun he had.

Everybody had fun and no one threw one single tantrum during that visit.  On the way back to the car, Bunny said, “The zoo is so much fun! Let’s come back again.”  Even though it was weird that they had to wear a mask and many of the things they wanted to do and see were not available, kids adapt fast and they still think it was cool and fun.  I felt safe.  All the adults wore masks.  It was easily to social distance as the zoo keeps it at 50% capacity.  So that’s the plan. On their 3rd birthday in 1.5 weeks, Bob and I will be taking the kids to the zoo and do a cake in the back yard with my brother’s family after the kids’ nap.  That will still be a memorable birthday I am sure.

MicroblogMondays: 46

I wonder what I would have done instead if my birthday didn’t happen during a pandemic this year.

I turned 46 on Friday.  Because of the pandemic, we stayed in for most of the day.  In the morning the kids and I just hung out and had a great time.  The kids were playing when I asked them to sing me a birthday song.  They at first were willing to sing.  When I put my phone camera up to record them, it took a lot of coaxing, then Bunny started singing.  Okra continued to play with his toys.  I asked him to sing to me, and he said, “Mommy I am very busy.”  I was laughing out loud.  Last year they needed my help singing the whole birthday song.  This year they could sing it all on their own but apparently life is too busy for him to sing to me.  My mom treated me to a delicious dim sum lunch.  We went to pick up the take out with the kids.  My kids love dim sum so I thought for sure we would have a good time enjoying the food.  Unfortunately, my son had other ideas.  When I was washing his hands prior to lunch, he said to me, “I won’t let grandma eat dim sum”.  I responded by telling him that we treat everybody kindly and with respect, especially grandma.  He then told me not to talk.  Telling mommy not to talk is not permitted in this house.  When I told him that, he threw a huge tantrum that lasted a long time.  Needless to say, lunch wasn’t very enjoyable even when the food was excellent.  This reminds me of my birthday last year.  My kids were both very pleasant throughout the day, but threw a tantrum all day long the day after.  At least this time Okra only threw one huge one (that was big enough for Bunny’s share) and didn’t do it again the rest of the day.  But let’s talk about the highlights.  My niece wrote me a few days prior and asked if she could make me a birthday cake.  I asked for a mochi cake that she is so good at making.  In the afternoon, my brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew showed up with the cake that was made into a heart shape!  With one candle on the cake, the whole family sang me a birthday song outside our window.  It was truly lovely and heart warming.  Then the adults spent the next 30 minutes drawing kids pictures on the window, as if it was the kids’ birthday rather than mine, haha.  Dinner was takeout from this lobster restaurant that I had always wanted to try.  I went to college in New England and had the joy of eating unlimited lobster tails at a lobster festival put together by my school.  I had been craving good lobsters and Bob was kind enough to make it happen.  The kids had lobster roll for the first time and seemed to enjoy the brioche bread the most.  They did like the butter and finally dipped the lobster meat in there.  I had two lobster tails, some shrimp cocktail, a bowl of lobster chowder, and coleslaw.  It was a fantastic dinner that everybody enjoyed.  All in all, it was a low key but wonderful celebration.

Back to my question in the beginning of this post.  What would I have done if it wasn’t for COVID-19?  I think we would have gone to the zoo, or on a short trip, or Bob and I would have picked a nice restaurant for dinner just by ourselves.  Instead, I got to spend all day with the kids (Bob was working).  Even though we didn’t go anywhere special, and despite that one huge tantrum by Okra, being with my family would have been all I wanted.  And that was exactly what we did.  So in a sense, COVID not COVID, it makes no difference as long as I am with my loved ones.

Four more years before I turn 50.  I can’t even fathom that.  But it is also time for me to embrace my age.

MicroblogMondays: Two Two

Our babies are no longer babies.  They turned two yesterday.

A couple days prior to that, we sent our gestational carrier a gift certificate for a massage.  We are so grateful for her and want to celebrate her on our kids’ birthday as long as we can.  She loved the gift and was texting with me a bit.  When I told the babies about her, they wanted to see her.  We actually had a video chat that evening for the first time with the babies ever since they were born.  It was so much fun!  Bob had just gotten home from work so he also got to join in.  The kids were drawn to her, her kids, her husband, and their dog.  They smiled and spoke a bit.  Annie truly loved our kids.  You can tell from her smiles to them.  We should have done a video chat much sooner, but this is not too late!  We will try to video chat more often in the future.

This year’s birthday celebration was a low-key one.  In the morning we opened their bedroom door and sang happy birthday to them.  They were so excited they jumped up and down.  It was so cute to see!  Now that they understand about their world much better, birthday and birthday celebration are a fun concept for them.  They were in love with the Thomas happy birthday banner that we hung on the wall.  I made them special smiley pancakes for breakfast.

After nap time, our family and close friends came over for a little play time, dinner, and cake time.  These are all people that the kids know, love, and enjoy being around.  This is about them and I wanted them to be as comfortable as possible.  I ordered these T-shirts for them that say “Two Two” with a train on it and their names at the bottom.  They wore these shirts as well as train engineer’s hats for their party.  They played.  We got Chinese takeouts (ordered waaayyyyy too much food).  My niece made a cake.  Funny story.  I asked her to make a cake for the babies.  I was expecting a round cake like the one she made for herself on her own birthday.  I bought two Thomas trains to put on it for decoration.  My niece showed up with a bear cake!  I wasn’t going to put the trains on the bear’s face!  So later on, I decided to put the trains below the bear’s ears.  It looked like the bear was wearing train earrings.  Hahaha.  When it came to cake time, Okra spotted the trains and would not settle down.  So I gave him one of the trains with chocolate frosting stuck all over its wheels.  When it was time to blow the candles, Bunny got too close to the candle and her lips got burned by the fire.  When we were not paying attention, she picked up the number 2 candle and chewed off the top.  Haha.  All the mishaps.  The highlight for me was the bread pudding that the kids’ godma brought over for me.  I hadn’t had one in a long time and it was so scrumptious.  We had a lot of leftover food that we gave away to our friends and family but I had kept all the leftover bread pudding to myself.  Haha.

All in all, it was a great birthday celebration.  Small, intimate, and very appropriate for our kids’ age.  I can’t believe that it has been two years since the kids were born.  Two days ago, I thought about the journey that we were on to become these particular kids’ parents, I became teary-eyed.  It was not a guarantee that we would become parents even with the amount of effort and money that we had poured into this process.  We are extremely lucky and blessed to have everything lined up exactly the right way for these kids to be our kids.  I do not take them for granted even for a minute.  I just realized that part two of the kids’ birth story has still not been published yet.  I had hoped to have it done by their second birthday.  Well, they are now two and it is still not done.  But I WILL get it done because I truly want to document how amazing those first couple of days of parenthood was for us.

MicroblogMondays: 45

Last Wednesday I turned 45.

It seems like it wasn’t too long ago when Bob and I met, dated, got married, and tried for kids.  You blink, and I am at an age when I thought my kids would be at least teenagers.  My friends who got married and had kids early now have high schoolers and college-aged kids.  My kids are not even two yet.  The number 45 feels old because next year at 46 things seem to go downhill with approaching late 40s and becoming 50.  When I am 50, my kids are only going to be 6, almost 7.

Anyways, these thoughts about my age didn’t stop me from enjoying my birthday.  When I was still snuggling my pillow in my warm blanket, Bob was already up and walking around.  Later, he put something on my head. I opened my eyes and grabbed whatever it was.  He gave me a birthday card from the kids and another one from him.  I love these cards!  The one from the kids is really cute, and the one from him says these really sweet things about me and us.  The cards started my day right.  Bunny and Okra have been kind of into birthdays and singing birthday songs.  So on that day my mom led them to say happy birthday and sing to me several times.  It is so cute that the kids are now talking and can say many things that are mostly clear, including happy birthday.  This is vastly different from a year ago when they were only 9 months.  The rest of the day was low key, with me taking the kids to get my favorite coffee, my mom taking me out to a yummy Burmese lunch, and dinner out with my husband to get a nice bowl of udon at our favorite udon place.  Only the two of us having an adult conversation.

You know the best thing that happened on that day?  The kids did not throw one single tantrum or have any meltdowns on that day.  ALL.  DAY.  LONG.

Wow you know how much of a miracle that was considering the kind of tantrums and meltdowns they have these days?  They were SOOOO pleasant all day long.  Even prime time for tantrums like right after nap was filled with laughters and happy chatting.  I was so impressed that it was like they almost knew that they had to give mommy a pleasant birthday.

Well, the next day was definitely payback time.  Tantrums were nonstop from breakfast time until bedtime.  The two of them took turns having meltdowns about everything under the sun, and sometimes you don’t even know why they were having a hard time.  It was like they exploded after not getting upset for a day.  My fellow twin mom friend said, “At least they kept it together for your birthday itself.  Much more than that would be too much to ask.”  I completely agree with her.

The highlight of this birthday was returning to our favorite steak house on Saturday for our prime rib dinner.  This place has gotten harder to make a reservation in the last few years.  We tried to make one for Bob’s birthday in February.  When it didn’t work out, we booked it for my birthday instead.  So we had had our reservation for five months!  The dinner did not disappoint.  It was lovely to again sit and have adult conversation while eating yummy food.  I was supposed to have a glass of white wine after my lemon drop, but I am so light weight now that one cocktail did me in.  That was okay though.  I didn’t need to drink another glass of wine to feel celebratory.  The dinner and the company were perfect.

This was how I celebrated being 45.  It was perfect for me.  We will see how 46 feels next year.

MicroblogMondays: Birthday

My birthday this year was about two weeks ago.  It officially marked the first birthday in my life that was spent with my babies.  The last few years my birthday wish was all for us to have a take home baby.  Every single time a birthday candle was placed in front of me, my wish was the same.  It is so amazing to me that this wish has come true.  Bob was in the middle of the last two weeks of his bonding leave.  When he asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, the first thing that came to my mind was to show the babies my favorite animal: giraffe.  After the babies’ first nap, we drove 10 minutes to the zoo.  We bought membership since I foresee myself taking the very mobile babies to the zoo often so we have some place fun to go.  We fed the babies right in front of the safari animals.  Looking at the giraffes up close while feeding the babies was amazing:

We strolled around looking at monkeys, hippos, rhinos, penguins, tigers, lions, etc. until the babies fell asleep in the stroller.  We walked all over so that they could nap well.   Unfortunately, at the end of the trip, I discovered that the necklace given by my in-laws this year as my wedding present fell off from my neck.  I backtracked our steps for 30 minutes but couldn’t locate the necklace.  I left my contact info with the office but still haven’t heard back.  I am so tremendously sad about losing that one thing that my in-laws gave me.  This necklace had a S-hook clasp.  It kind of fell off one time prior but fortunately I caught it.  So the clasp itself wasn’t too secure.  But still, I was the one who lost it and I feel so bad.

After the babies went to bed, we headed out for a late dinner.  I am so appreciative of my mom for being there to watch the kids.  A nice simple Japanese dinner was enough to make my heart sing:

This was the simple joy of having a quiet dinner with my husband on my birthday knowing that our babies were sleeping safely and soundly at home.  It was a truly satisfying birthday.

MicroblogMondays: Turning 42

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This is nothing new.  I make a wish for a baby on every single one of my birthday in the last few years.  Every single time the outcome is the same: another year has passed without a baby.  People often tell me that I am one step closer to our baby, but new challenges and unforeseen circumstances often make me feel like we are farther and farther away from achieving that.

I turned 42 yesterday.  I have never imagined myself not being a mother with a baby/child in my arms on my 42nd birthday.  This is my reality and I have accepted it.  Bob had planned a nice and low key day for me.  Church, massage, and a nice dinner.  When I was still at church, Dr. E emailed me with this information: our donor is available to donate to us until September 6th.  After that, she won’t be available anymore.  So there is a deadline for us to figure out the other part of the equation: the sperm.  We have an appointment with a urologist on Thursday.  We will figure out at that time if we could proceed with a cycle end of August.  I won’t go into details about the discussion with Bob at his request. But let me just say that depending on the results of the consultation on Thursday, we may have to delay our cycle until the end of the year because of certain treatment.  If that’s the case, then we won’t be able to work with this donor unless we want to freeze her eggs instead of fertilizing them right away.

It sucks that every single step we take is a roadblock.  First my eggs.  Then my uterus.  After that, the sperm. And now the donor’s availability has a deadline.

Despite getting discouraging news on my birthday, I am proud of us for being able to get over the disappointment of having one more thing to worry about.  I was determined to not let it get me down.  So our day went as planned: special lunch that my mother-in-law made for me and a relaxing massage followed by a stellar dinner.  Everything at dinner was perfect.  My time with Bob, our conversation, the attentive service of our server, the selection, the wine, the apple bacon beignet, the perfect pork chop, the steak, the mushrooms, the dark chocolate bread pudding, and the salted caramel ice cream in our dessert.

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There is no guarantee that I won’t go crazy and get very stressed and anxious about our situation tomorrow.  But right now, I feel blessed that we have the ability to enjoy each other’s company despite our less than desirable circumstances.

We still believe that God has a plan for us.  His plan is not always the easiest.  But we know that it is always the best.  I just want our head knowledge to align with our hearts’ response.  We are trying our best to be okay with the unknown.  And things could still turn out fine.  We could still have a baby in a year.

And we have each other.  That’s the most important thing.  And it is comforting to hold onto this truth on my 42nd birthday.

The Big 4-0

I am a 40-year-old woman.

Wow.  Looking at the above statement.  I still can’t believe that it describes me.  I always thought that it was going to take a long time for me to get to forty.  The time has come.

In terms of fertility, I never imagined myself to be 40, not pregnant, and childless.  I always thought that I would have at least one child by now, and would be pregnant with number two (since we started trying when I was 37 1/2).  How naive were those thoughts.

I was more demanding this year when it came to my birthday.  I usually let Bob plan whatever he wants to do for me.  This year, as if wanting to compensate for what I don’t have, I requested a few things.  I didn’t want a party as I have never been a party person.  I wanted a massage, a particular place for dinner on my actual birthday, and flowers to be sent to my work.

Bob is usually very agreeable with what I want.  He booked the restaurant of my choice for my birthday.  He secretly enlisted the help of one of my best friends to find a good massage therapist.  He was also planning other festivities on Saturday, two days after my birthday.  He truly wanted to make my 40th birthday memorable for me.

Bob usually gives me flowers in person.  He gave me roses last year on my birthday, the day of our first IVF egg retrieval.  He is willing to buy me flowers but thinks that flower delivery is a big waste of money.  I had been nagging him about ordering flowers to be delivered to my work on my birthday.  He had been resistant.  But being me, I continued asking every other day.  I know it’s something that I should not be doing… but I did.  I don’t know.  I was just so anxious to want to make my birthday memorable this year that I started to be a bit unreasonable.  I was thinking, if he could make me happy by just clicking on a few websites and paying a little bit of money, why not?

The day before my birthday, Bob came home and asked me what website he should go on to get me flowers.  I was annoyed at his questions since I thought that he should have done his research and better yet, should’ve already ordered the flowers.  I told him a website and he was muttering something, making comments about how it was a waste of money.  I wasn’t happy about his attitude so I fought back.  One thing led to another.  We got into a huge fight about money.  That was the last thing I wanted to do right before my birthday.  I wanted everything to be “perfect”.  There is no such thing as perfect.  We reconciled by the end of the night and realized that the fight was more than just about flowers.

In my mind, I was not feeling good about turning 40 and being childless, so I wanted to make things nice and happy by requesting things I thought could make me happy.  I thought that my husband should just fulfill my wishes since I was a bit depressed about turning a big milestone.  In his mind, he had already planned an actual birthday dinner, another activity on Saturday, a massage, and a pricey dinner for Saturday.  Everything added up to quite a big amount of money.  He just started working again and we agreed that we have to save up a lot of money for donor egg cycles.  He thought that he had already planned enough for my birthday.  He couldn’t see why he couldn’t just buy me flowers and hand them to me rather than ordering a floral arrangements that would double the cost.  I thought he should indulge me.  He didn’t see the value of flower delivery to work when we have to save up so much money for future cycles.  You see the differences in our views?

My argument is that ordering me flower delivery is not going to prevent us from doing a donor egg cycle.  The amount of money is so insignificant in comparison to the tens of thousands of dollars that will come out of our pocket.  After all, we should not let infertility rob us of our joy in life right?  But Bob thought that it was an unnecessary waste.  We just think very differently in regards to flowers.  He was willing to do it, just not without making comments about it.  That made me mad.  He eventually did order the flowers and I ended up loving them.  But I didn’t feel nearly as happy as I thought I would, under these circumstances.

The fight was just not worth it.  But it did expose the stress and pressure that infertility has brought on in our marriage.  Imagine not having the burden of needing to save many tens of thousands of dollars in order to fund our donor egg cycles?  Imagine what we could actually do with that money?  We could replace our car.  We could pay off the house faster.  We could put more into our retirement account.  We could save up for our kids’ college now.  I know Bob is feeling the pressure.  He wants to provide for me.  He wants to fulfill my wishes of pursuing as many mini-IVF cycles as I want before we embark on the egg donation journey.  In his mind, spending money on floral delivery just does not make sense when we have such a huge goal to reach.

My birthday day.  With puffy eyes, I went into work and had a great birthday celebration.  A bouquet of flowers, a card, and a box filled with homemade blueberry scones were on my desk when I arrived at work.  An hour later, the same coworkers brought a birthday cake with four candles into my office so I got to make a wish.  At lunch time, my closest coworkers took me out to lunch and surprised me with a spa certificate.  We usually don’t give birthday presents to one another but I guess this year is the exception.

Here are the flowers from Bob:

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Bob and I had a wonderful dinner.  We had this:

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The crab was perfect.  The garlic noodles were yummy.  The mango salad had shrimp and scallop and this wonderful dressing.  The shrimp toast was nice.  I also had a pear martini.  That dinner was perfect.

The next morning, I went into work and was surprised by one of my best coworkers who put 40 post-it notes all over the four walls in my office.  This is one of the walls:

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These notes were filled with wisdom, humor, and historical facts about my birth date.  Things like, “It’s not old if you’re a tree” and “7/10/1913 Highest temperature recorded in USA Death Valley 134 degrees! Pass the iced coffee”.  I had a busy morning so I finally read all the notes by lunch time.  She is crazy and I feel very loved.

Friday night was my birthday dinner with my brother and sister-in-law.  We had German food.  I had the best beef stroganoff ever:

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Saturday was a big celebration.  Bob did a great job.  We first visited the zoo.  We live like five minutes away from the zoo but had never visited it together.  I got to see giraffes, my favorite animal, and some very cute gorillas.  I also bumped into my ex-boyfriend’s mom who volunteers there.  Bob and I had so much fun walking around seeing every single animal.

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I hope that this stork would help bring me a baby:

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The zoo was also filled with pregnant women who were apparently carrying their number two, number three, or number four.  They walked around pushing strollers or holding their kids’ hands.  I was okay with them though.  I didn’t feel like I had to hide from or avoid them.

The massage in the afternoon was heavenly.  It was 90 minutes of bliss, thanks to my husband for arranging for such a long massage.  The spa was tranquil and calm, and smelled very good.  Bob waited for me for the whole 90 minutes out in the waiting area.

Finally, he surprised me with this meal. He told me the location but I thought it was another restaurant.  When he walked me over to the restaurant and I saw the sign, I was very surprised.  It was a French bistro for which we had to cancel our reservation a few years ago.  I had always wanted to try it but never had a chance.  I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered I wanted to try it.   The ambience was lively, the service was great, and the food was excellent.  I didn’t know it at the time but one of the owners actually served us throughout the dinner.  I ordered the chef menu that included filet mignon with bone marrow.  She told me that the bone marrow was not available for this menu but was available for the prime rib meal.  I didn’t want prime rib so I was okay with not having the bone marrow, although it was disappointing.  The server lady actually asked for the bone marrow and included it for me in my plate!  That was so nice of her.  Here are the pictures:

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This fish just melted in my mouth.

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The beauty of the bone marrow with the filet mignon:

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My lava cake.  I made a wish that I will be holding my baby on my birthday next year.

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That was such a memorable birthday celebration.  Whatever fight we had the previous week, this had made up for it all.

Finally, one of my best friend took me out to lunch and we had dessert before the main course, french toast bread pudding and sticky bun.

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My husband placed a birthday card on my side of the bed on Sunday.  I opened it and started tearing up.  The card says “Wishing you a year that soars with possibilities”.  He wrote: “Possibilities is one word that I want you to keep in mind as you start a ‘new’ year.  Looking forward to walking with you as we encounter new possibilities.”

Yes.  The possibilities are endless.  I really look forward to what possibilities my year 40 may bring.

Tearful

I have been feeling tearful today.  The trigger?  My last phone consultation with an RE.

I had scheduled this phone consultation a month ago.  It was scheduled for July 8th at 1:45pm.  In anticipation of it, I called the 2pm client’s mom and scheduled them for 2:15pm.

Yesterday I scheduled an phone conversation with the precycle coordinator at UCSF to go over the checklist of things that I need to get done.  It was to take place  today at 10am.  I figured that I could do one phone call in the morning and one phone call in the afternoon.  No problem.

A little later in the afternoon, I stared at the appointment reminder email for the phone consultation and realized that the time of the phone call was supposed to be 1:45 pm, but EASTERN TIME.  The RE is in New York so of course the phone call is 1:45 pm his time, which translated to 10:45 am my time.  DUH.

Good thing I caught this mental mistake the day before the appointment.  I was confident that I could finish the UCSF phone call by the time I call the New York RE.

Fast forward to today.  The phone call with UCSF was 40 minutes.  My head was spinning writing down all the previous lab work and procedure that I have to check and all the new lab work that will be ordered.  When the phone call ended, I quickly went and got ready for my 11am client.  At 10:45 am, I called the clinic of the New York RE.

Very nice guy on the phone.  Very obviously did not read my history that I took a lot of time to fill out.  He asked me a few pertinent questions.  Then his conclusion:

1) There are usually three causes of high FSH: familial, autoimmune problems, and endometriosis.  It looks like mine could be endometriosis (a small patch of endometriosis was removed during my surgery to remove fibroids back in 2011).

2) He suggests doing an immune testing panel with him, which will cost $3000.

3) He suggests doing laparoscopy to remove all the endometriosis that exists inside me.  Usually he will have to accurately diagnose it.  But since endometriosis has already been discovered in my system, we can skip that part.  He predicts that since the surgery was three years ago, the endo may have worsened at this point.  He recommended going to a doctor that specializes in stripping away the endometriosis rather than just lasering it away.

4) I should go see him for a workup and he can talk about the next steps.  He can work with local doctors if we decide not to do IVF again.  If we do IVF, we have to do it there.  He thinks that for my age, I should continue to pursue IVF because I don’t have a lot of time to waste.

5) He thinks that my high FSH, poor responses to stimulation, and egg quality all have to do with endometriosis.  After treatment, my response should be better.

All this information was gathered in a 10-minute phone conversation.

I was feeling very overwhelmed.  This is a brand new suggestion.  I have asked Dr. E, my previous RE, and Dr. No Nonsense about the cause of my high FSH.  They both said that it is difficult to know the cause.  I asked Dr. E if it could be because of immune issues, and she said that it could well be, but there is no treatment for it.  Dr. Y from Southern California is the only doctor who has ever said that my endometriosis is a factor in my response to stimulation.  However, he never suggested a surgery to remove it.

My head felt overstuffed with ten thousand pieces of information.  Where do I go?  Do I do a surgery?  Do I just go with the local doctor and try a few more cycles?  Do I try to remove the endometriosis to see if my response is better?  Am I not trying my best if I don’t do what this doctor suggested?  Am I not giving it my all if I don’t go the difficult route of traveling out of town for treatment?

I am going to turn 40 in two days.  A year ago, we started our first IVF cycle and had the retrieval on my birthday.  I played in my mind many scenarios last year.  Will I be pregnant in a year?  Will we already have a baby by then?  What will the next year bring?  Will my 40th be a happy occasion, celebrating with a new baby or one growing inside me?  Or will it be the same as last year, only a little grimmer, a little less hopeful, a little more fear-filled?

I am usually pretty good at being hopeful.  But today, I allow this fear to set in.  In a year, will I be still in the same situation?  At a crossroad?  No baby?  No pregnancy?  No clue what to do?

I know it’s hard to predict what is going to happen around the corner.  But when we first embarked on this journey, I really didn’t anticipate myself in this situation: 40 years old.  No baby.  No pregnancy.  I never thought that I will still be childless at this point.

I have been holding back tears all afternoon long.  I had kids I had to work with.  I had coworkers around me and I couldn’t show this weakness on my face.  Deep down I feel like hiding under the cover and having a good cry.  But I had to put on a happy front for my clients.

This huge sense of unfairness came upon me today.  Why in the world do some of us have to make such difficult decisions all the time?  Why can’t we have a break?  Why do we have to wait so long and have to do so much just to have a baby?  Why do some people have it so easily?

Of course there will not be an answer to any of my questions.  They are rhetorical.  But I have to ask them anyways.

In order to make myself feel better, I made a detour on my way home and got this:

hot chocolate

 

It is making me feel a little better.  We’ll see how I do on my actual birthday.  I may just break down and cry like a baby.  Stay tuned.

The best case scenario so far

Although my hubby has to hide his thumb when he does his high fives.

We got four eggs! 

To me, this is a very good outcome.  We arrived at the clinic 15 minutes earlier than our designated time and did our paperwork.  I changed into a gown, put socks on, got my IV going, and walked into the operating room.  I have no recollection of what happened and boomed, I woke up a little loopy.  Hubby had already made a contribution in a very comfy and well-equipped room (wink wink).  So we’ll see how my eggies do.  Will learn more tomorrow.  I have been feeling very good.  No soreness and am feeling back to normal.  Best of all, Dr. E approved of our plan of Japanese dinner! Bob made a reservation and I have no clue where we’re going.  I can’t wait to have me some sushi and sashimi tonight!  I rarely take time off for my birthday so having Bob here with me at home is a great present.  Thanks all for your good thoughts and prayers!  I feel very loved today.  🙂

Thank you Lord.