Christmas Day Reflections

Today is Christmas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A thinking break

I have been taking a thinking break.

That is, a break from thinking about all things IVF.

Last week we have had to think too much about what to do every step of the way.  Emotionally and mentally, I am tired.  We asked Dr. E a bunch of questions when we talked about the embryo that was going to be frozen, such as what the next step was.  According to her, we would wait for AF to come, check on the follicles, and go from there.  If the follicles look good, we may proceed to a fresh cycle immediately.  If there aren’t too many, we may take a break for a month.

Honestly, after that phone call on Tuesday, my brain has been shut from IVF.  I went about doing my own things.  Going to work, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, commenting on Facebook, and having a car that broke down.  Yup.  My car broke down.  

A little history of my car.  It’s a 2006 Mazda3 hatchback.  My hubby calls it a “Mouse”.  It has not been the best car to us.  Ever since its warranty expired, this car has been giving me a lot of trouble.  I would have to show up frequently to my very trusted mechanic to chitchat with his wife while he figured out what the problem du jour was.  It stalled and refused to move three weeks ago when we stopped in front of a traffic light.  All the dashboard warning lights came up.  I cranked it three times before it decided to go again.  I brought it over to my mechanic, got a 60,000 mile tune-up, and let him drive it around for four days before he declared that he could not find anything wrong with it.  He didn’t charge for the driving around part but I did pay him close to $400 to get the tune-up.  So I didn’t expect anything to be wrong with it.

Fast forward to last Thursday.  After work, I started the car, pulled it to reverse, and got ready to go.  The car jerked violently two times forward and backward.  I was totally shocked by it and quickly stepped on the brake.  I turned off and on the ignition, and the same thing happened.  It was then that I saw the check engine light and the AT light on.  My first thought was… NOT AGAIN??!??  The next thing I did was to check the owner’s manual.  Apparently, the AT light is for the “autotransaxle” (whatever that means) and you are advised to not drive the car with this particular light on.  Fantastic.  I pulled my car back into the parking spot then went back up to my office to see if any of my coworkers could give me a ride home.  I should say that I feel lucky that the car had a problem at my own work’s garage.  Our garage was under construction for about six weeks and we had to park at a high school’s garage about two blocks away for those six weeks.  It was just this past week that we were allowed back in our own parking garage.  I am grateful that it didn’t happen when we were forced to park at the high school garage or on the street.  I didn’t end up getting a ride from my coworkers since no one was leaving soon.  So I took public transportation for the first time in the 9 1/2 years that I have been working here.

I got the car towed the next day to my mechanic.  He finally called me back on Saturday with bad bad news.  My 7-year-old car has transmission problems that need to be fixed.  My mechanic does not do Mazda transmission.  If we want to get it fixed, we’ll need to be referred to another shop.  It would cost quite a bit of money so it is really up to us whether to fix it or to simply sell it/trade it in.

I hate car trouble (who doesn’t?).  I am super bummed that it decided to have problems after I spent several hundred dollars to make sure that it wouldn’t have any problems.  I hate to have to think about what to do with it.  I hate decisions at this moment as there are so many other decisions to make in life.

Bob is right though.  He thinks that the car broke down with good timing.  Imagine having car trouble a week ago when we were going through so much with our first IVF.  I think I would’ve lost it if everything happened at the same time.  And he is also right that this is something we can fix with money.  We don’t need this car.  We have other cars we can use so we are in no rush to decide what to do with it.  We have other things that we have to worry about that can’t be fixed with money, such as infertility.  This is something that we can control.  Just fix or sell the darn car.

Thank you husband for your wise words.  I think you are more and more like my daddy. 🙂

Because of car trouble (or using my car trouble as an excuse), I haven’t really thought about our next cycle.  I have been procrastinating with the thought of the need to write down questions for Dr. E when we get together with her.  I don’t know when AF will arrive since I have never done IVF and don’t know what happens when your body does not release progesterone on its own.  I have not really been taking my temperature since there is no point.  Although today I did temp and got a nice 98.0.  Everything is unpredictable again.  I thought I would have written down some questions by tonight already.  Guess what?  I have done everything but writing down questions.  Bob and I met up with a good friend of mine who moved out of town a couple of years ago and came back in town for a visit.  She came with her two kids and we had a great time visiting.  Bob ordered me a new MacBook Air for my birthday on the day when we thought we had a failed cycle sort of as a “be nice to ourselves after a failed cycle” not knowing that we would have a frozen blastocyst the next day.  We received it on Friday and I have been playing around with it as well as looking on Etsy for a nice laptop cover.  I cooked a full meal for dinner.  And now I am blogging and not writing down questions for Dr. E.  

It has been a nice six days off of not thinking about any questions.  But I think I have to get back to things…. There is so much to think about.  We have some insurance money left since we didn’t do the transfer.  Do we go with Dr. E or do we go with Dr. Y in Southern California?  We only got one frozen embryo with high stims protocol.  Should we try to save money and buy a package of three cycles for $10,000 with Dr. Y rather than paying a lot more to stay with Dr. E?  I honestly think that the kind of care and personal attention that we get from Dr. E is truly phenomenal.  I truly think that it made a difference in how we made our decisions when we had our medical provider that would give us all the information we needed for every step of the way.  She was the one who talked to us and broke our news to us and answered all of our questions regardless of what time it was.  I know it’d be hard to find someone like that.  

Anyhow, it’s approaching bed time and I am still not ready to write down my questions.  Maybe tomorrow????


I just want to welcome those who are here for ICLW.  We just finished our first IVF cycle with ups and downs and ups and downs and some more ups and downs.  Finally we got a frozen blastocyst on day six after egg retrieval.  Thanks for visiting!