MicroblogMondays: Christmas Dinner

Just like Thanksgiving, we stayed home celebrating Christmas all by ourselves instead of spending time with extended family.  In the years past, I’d usually have to labor in the kitchen making roasted root vegetables which involved purchasing the vegetables ahead of time, and on the day of, peeling, cutting, and roasting all of them for a dinner for almost 20 people.  This would be true for both Thanksgiving and Christmas day.  This year, we made it simple for me.  We ordered from a catering company and the food was delivered to our door.  It came with reheating instructions that were easy to follow.  And the food itself was phenomenal.  We had a salad, rice pilaf with dried fruit, roasted root vegetables with herbs, roasted rack of lamb with red wine sauce, french onion soup, dinner rolls, and assorted mini cheese cake.

We were really satisfied with dinner this year.  Everything was delicious.  The meal was supposed to be for 5 to 6 people.  With three adults and the kids not eating much, all the food lasted us several meals.  Even though this year it was kind of nice not having to go to someone else’s house as it made things simpler, I still prefer to have the choice to celebrate Christmas with loved ones outside of our household.  There is hope that next Christmas we will be back to having this option again.

MicroblogMondays: Starting a Tradition

When we were trying for a baby, I had a few things in my mind that I wanted to do with my future children for Christmas.  One was to give them an individual ornament each year.  Another was to do the Advent calendar with them.  After the twins were born, we started the first tradition and have since gotten them each an individualized ornament each year.  This will be the third year.  We often get them something that they like, such as a fire truck for Okra and a girl reading a book for Bunny last year.  This year, we will get Okra a train one, but for Bunny she still loves books so we will get something that is related to books.  We didn’t do advent with the babies the last two years because they were still young. This year is different.  The kids can communicate and have understanding of things around them.  I feel that they will have fun with advent this year.  We purchased a fabric calendar with the nativity scene and 24 pockets.  This is the one we got:

I was so excited to start it yesterday!  I had watched my sister-in-law do this with her kids on a yearly basis and always wanted to continue this family tradition with my own kids.  It is so exciting to finally be able to do this with Okra, Bunny, and Bob!  We read some bible stories and sang two Christmas songs.  Then I asked Bunny to choose something to put in pocket number one.  She picked the dove but refused to put it in the pocket because she wanted to hold onto it!  In the mean while, Okra picked out the donkey and stuck it in pocket number one.  I spoke to my sister-in-law afterwards.  She said they had always done it backwards, meaning to put all the items in all the pockets ahead of time and take out one each day to stick it on the scene as you tell the story.  When you get to day 24, you will have completed the scene.  I think I am going to try it her way today.

It is such a blessing to be able to start family traditions with the kids.

MicroblogMondays: Christmas 2018

This past Christmas Bob and I started a discussion on how to handle the topic of Santa Claus with the kids.  I used to laugh at the pictures of babies crying sitting on mall Santa’s laps until I have my own kids.  I am not comfortable with the thought of placing my kids on the lap of a stranger.  Unlike parents who grew up in the states and are used to taking their kids to the mall to meet Santa, we did not engage in that activity.  One friend suggested that we can ask the kids in the future if they want their picture taken with Santa in the mall.  More than a Kodak moment with a man with fake beard on, we wonder how to talk about Santa when the babies start to understand these things.  Both Bob and I did not grow up in the United States, which means we did not grow up with the wonder of getting gifts from Santa and later discovering the truth.  Growing up poor, I had always known that Christmas meant having a good meal on Christmas day (the one and only fancy meal in the year) and nothing else.  Bob was from a Hindu household that did not celebrate Christmas.  As Christ followers, we want our kids to focus on the meaning behind Christmas, which is the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  We wonder if we should engage in this fantasy of Santa Claus as parents who did not have first hand childhood experience of writing to Santa, leaving cookies and milk for Santa, and finding presents from Santa.  More importantly, we wonder if focusing on Santa would take away from our focus on Jesus.  I asked our pastor, our gestational carrier, and the kids’ godmother how they handle this topic.  They all chose not to do Santa.  Some chose to tell the kids about Saint Nicholas and why people celebrate him.  Our pastor did say that he didn’t think it’s a bad thing to do, but just wants us to make sure that the kids understand Santa is not the most important.  After discussing with Bob, we are leaning towards not doing Santa.  Our kids are still young.  We did have a Christmas tree and hung their special ornaments for this year: Okra’s is a fire truck (his favorite) and Bunny’s is a girl holding a book that said “I love reading”.  The babies wore their Christmas pajamas and opened their presents on Christmas morning.  We went to Christmas eve service and spent quality time with family.  Other than that it was another low key Christmas with a few good presents and a whole lot of love going around.  The babies didn’t quite get the art of ripping the wrapping papers and getting new toys.  But we had a great time with them nonetheless.  I am quite sure they will get much more excited next year.


MicroblogMondays: Choked Up

This Christmas was obviously different from the many Christmases in the past now that our twins are here with us.  We had a low key Christmas still.  One manmade but fully decorated Christmas tree, four stockings, and one present from us for the babies (and other presents from friends and family).  Regardless of how low key it was, I felt tremendously blessed that the babies have helped make this season extra special.  Christmas day was not unlike other days.  Other than opening presents in the morning, we had the same routines as usual.  Well, except for one moment when I was particularly reminded of the blessings that our life has become.  While feeding Bunny, there was a sweet moment that I noticed.  She was quietly eating while holding my fingers.  I was choking up a little while enjoying this tender moment with my daughter knowing that it took such a long time and tremendous effort to get to this point.  Once again, I am reminded to not take these little precious moments in life for granted.

MicroblogMondays: Full Circle

Merry Christmas to you all!  It has been an extra sweet and precious holiday season as our babies are safe and sound at home with us.  The four stockings on the mantel and all the presents with labels of the babies’ names under the Christmas tree make it all real that this year’s Christmas tree is very different from the previous five year’s.

A couple of days ago, we made a trip across the bay to visit our beloved Dr. E who helped made this little family of four possible.  This trip reminds me of a post that I wrote more than three years ago.  One day I came home early from work and saw Dr. E on TV.  At that time, we were working with our second RE Dr. No Nonsense after we parted our way from Dr. E.  That was the end of our 3rd year pursuing our dream of having a baby and we didn’t seem to be any closer to fulfilling it.  I wrote in that post: “I so wish that she would be the person who breaks the news to us with fantastic first and second beta results.  I wish so much that she would be the one who would have the joy of finding the heartbeat for our first baby.  It doesn’t seem like things will turn out this way.  I sat there staring at her.  Pondering about the what-ifs.”  God works in very mysterious ways.  I didn’t know it at that point, but it turned out that Dr. E WAS the one who broke the news to us about our fantastic first and second beta results.  She wasn’t quite the one who found the heartbeat of our baby as we had to do our first ultrasound at Annie, our surrogate’s local clinic, but that was close enough.  It didn’t seem like things would turn out the way I wished but God had that plan all along.

With two boxes of pastries in our hands, we pushed our “chariot” (the huge double stroller) into Dr. E’s clinic.  It was quite something to show up at our RE’s office and not leave crying with empty arms.  After all these years of holding onto the hope that one day our baby would meet the doctor that helped him/her come to this world, it had become a reality, not only with one baby but two.  According to her intern, Dr. E was still in her office speaking to a patient about something “depressing”.  I know how that is.  I had done it many times with her.  To be sensible, we retreated to the office space across the hall so her patients wouldn’t have to see cute babies in the office.

Dr. E eventually made her way across the hall to meet us.  Her face lit up like a Christmas tree when she saw the babies.  She knew what they looked like as I consistently send photos to her.  She had said this a few times in the past, that the most beautiful babies come to those who patiently wait the longest, and we prove her point again x2.  She scooped up the babies and held them both for the rest of the visit.  She kept on saying that we have the most beautiful twins.  I agree with her, but I am obviously biased.  Haha.  The babies were so good and stayed in her arms without fussing the entire time.  The twins eventually got hungry so we had to part ways to go to our beloved Pane.ra Bread to feed them.  That was Bob’s and my stomping ground every single time after a monitoring ultrasound, egg retrieval, or transfer.  How sweet it was to be able to go there with our babies who attracted a lot of attention from strangers.

We have come full circle.  I don’t have to ponder the what-ifs anymore.  And for that I am forever grateful.

MicroblogMondays: A Low-Key Break


Bob and I decided to have a low-key Christmas this year.   However, my emotions have been going up and down.

Our first week of vacation was spent doing a lot of nothing, which was glorious.  We binge-watched many episodes of Parentho.od, had a movie date at Moa.na, and admired artwork at the newly renovated SFMOMA.  We even had a sleepover at our friends’ house and hung out with our favorite kids.   This was the good, peaceful, and fun part.

We deliberately did not decorate for Christmas.  There is no Christmas tree, wreath, stockings, or ornaments.  If you walk into our house, you will not see a hint of the Christmas season except for the Christmas cards of kids and babies on our fridge.

I just feel that if I do not want to hang any Christmas ornaments, I am entitled to do that.  I got Bob his Christmas gift, but I haven’t picked out the purse that he is going to give me.  There is no pressure to decide on one and have it mailed to us before Christmas day because, let’s admit it, it is an arbitrary day to receive a gift.  It makes no difference to me if I get the gift before or after December 25th.  It does not mean that I don’t celebrate Jesus, my Lord and my savior who was born on this earth being fully human and fully God.  But I don’t have to do anything to show that I have the so-called Christmas spirit in the cultural sense.

A couple of things has made this season difficult.  The first is all of the baby announcements and pregnancy announcements I saw in the last week or so.  Quite a few babies have been born this past week.  Many of their mothers were on the journey with me when they struggled to conceive their first babies.  They were successful at their IUI or IVF and I was not.  Fast forward to the current time.  They gave birth to their second babies while I am still waiting for my first.  Same with the pregnancy announcements that I have seen this past week.  Many struggled with their first and now they are onto their second.  It’s hard not to look at myself and feel the hurt of having empty arms that long for the warmth of holding our own baby.  My husband was so protective.  On Christmas eve, I opened the mailbox and found two envelopes that looked like Christmas cards inside.  When I was wondering aloud who one of the cards was from as I didn’t immediately recognize the address, Bob snatched it away from my hand.  He said, “You don’t want to open this one”.  I immediately understood that it probably contained a pregnancy announcement of some sort.  He admitted, “It’s the worst kind of pregnancy announcement on a Christmas card.”  He had seen the announcement on Fac.ebook earlier that day and had hidden it from me.  I said, “You mean an ultrasound photo.”  Yup that was it.  The worst kind of Christmas card for an infertile person to receive.  He took away the card and hid it.  I am grateful that he saved me from that moment of the surprise, hurt, and pain seeing the grainy black and white image.

And then one of my best friends wrote me a text Christmas Eve morning asking me to pray for her dad.  She was originally going to fly home for Christmas that morning anyways, but earlier that morning her dad was sent to the hospital in a critical condition.  She was waiting for her flight when she wrote.  Her dad suffered from cancer a couple of years ago and was doing better, but took a turn for the worse recently.  My friend spent Thanksgiving with her parents and was planning on spending Christmas at home as well.   I asked her how her dad was in the afternoon.  She wrote back sharing the news of her dad’s passing earlier that afternoon.  My beautiful friend longs for a life partner and children in her future.  It’s so hard for me to imagine losing her dad in her 30s and for her to miss out having her dad walk her down the aisle when she finally gets married or for her to not ever have a chance to introduce her future children to him.   My heart is so heavy for her.  The loss of her father and the future with him just feels so unbearable in this moment.

Tomorrow we will be driving up north to stay at a bed and breakfast for four nights.  I look forward to a simple few days of being away, reading, eating, hanging out, and enjoying nature.  I hope that it is enough for us to recuperate from the roller coaster of a year in 2016 for us to prepare for the life that is ahead of us in 2017.

Christmas Day Reflections

Today is Christmas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Time Off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas Week and Hope

Vacation in our mini-honeymoon town was wonderful.  The highlight was having full hot breakfasts delivered to our own room.  The breakfast table was placed right in front of the bay window that looked out to the Pacific Ocean.  We always had a fire going in the fireplace in the evening and in the morning.  The weather was glorious; in the 60s and sunny every single day.  We mostly did nothing.  We walked around town, had long and quiet lunch, took naps, read books, and hung out during tea time at the bed and breakfast.  It was almost everything that we had wanted.






Almost everything.

Things were wonderful on Monday and Tuesday.  On Christmas morning, things were also great before breakfast was served.  I had been looking forward to it since the day before because the innkeeper promised that we would have our favorite breakfast at that B&B: stuffed French toast.  I sat down at the breakfast table waiting for Bob to be done with his morning routine before we enjoyed the breakfast together.  I opened Face.book on my phone.  The first thing that popped on my newsfeed was a Christmas card that I had received from a church friend.  When I paid closer attention to the words that she typed, my heart sank for a little.  She wrote, “Merry Christmas from [her family’s last name]!”  Then she listed her husband’s name, her name, her daughter’s name, her son’s name, and also “#3 coming in July”.  

I overestimated myself.  First, I never thought that I would see a pregnancy announcement from her for her number three, let alone on Christmas day.  Second, I didn’t think that I would be emotionally affected by it so much.  I thought I had become better with pregnancy announcements.  Somehow, the combination of Christmas and her pregnancy announcement made it worse for me.  It proved to be still tough for me, especially from someone who is carrying her third child.  I tried to get better so that our Christmas would not be affected by someone else’s pregnancy news.  I was trying to get over it before Bob came out from the bathroom so that my emotions would not affect his.  Well, let me just say that things didn’t go the way I wanted.  This was how it went down.  Bob came out from the bathroom, upset that I got upset over the pregnancy announcement.  I claimed that I was trying to get better.  Then he told me not to go on Face.book for the rest of the trip.  Being someone who does not like to be told what to do especially by my husband, I refused.  That led to a little fight.  Then he himself got upset that these friends kept on having babies while we struggle to have our first.  I got more upset when he got upset.  Vicious cycle.  

When Bob and I fight, we usually get over it quickly and can enjoy the rest of the time within half an hour.  This time it was no different.  It was done not without a little tear on my part.  I cry easily.  We were able to salvage our Christmas day and went on to have a very good time going on a tour around town, learning about the history of the town.  But, I hate for us to be in that state where we are so fragile and get so affected by people around us.  Instead of holding onto God for healing and comfort, we fight each other.   At first I thought that our vacation would have been perfect if we didn’t have this fight.  I thought more about it.  Instead of focusing on the ugliness of the fight, I want to focus on our weaknesses and God’s strength, our bond, and our commitment to each other as well as to our future children.  Our vacation and the incident reflect where we are in our journey: we are weak but God makes us stronger and stronger.  I hope that this incident helps us to see that relying on God is essential in our journey towards being parents.  Avoiding pregnancy announcements may help us have our “perfect” vacation.  But confronting our feelings will help us work towards emotional and spiritual healing that could bring total peace and joy for us in the end.

One interesting tidbit we learned on the tour is that the wife of one of the founding fathers of the town gave birth to her last child at age 44.  It was this child that gave the family offspring and continuation of the family line as the other three children’s second generation all stopped having children.  The docent of the tour was amazed at the “old age” of the lady when she gave birth.  I couldn’t stop thinking about the friends that I have who gave birth at age 43 and 44 these past two years.  I am only 4.5 years away from age 44, and I don’t even have any children at this point.  It’s so hard for me to fathom that I am at the tail end of my fertility here.  I am sure that no one else was paying attention to that one particular piece of information except for me who is waiting to become a mother for the first time.  

The rest of the break has been great.  I have been reading “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett and really happy that my friend has loaned me this book.  I am still reading it but I love the story about the maids in the South and the white people that they served in the 1960s.  My other source of entertainment is watching “Dow.nton Abb.ey” on my laptop.  In the past few days my head has been mixing with the complex relationships in the South and those of the upper class and the servants in England at the turn of the last century.  I really welcome this change of enjoying reading a book and watching some shows as well as sleeping in until 8:30 each morning.  

On the TTC front, my body is not being cooperative.  I started some mid-cycle spotting a few days ago.  My RE thinks that it is ovulation bleeding.  I wonder if the bleeding actually comes from the cyst.  Needless to say, I am a little discouraged by it.  I don’t know when I will ovulate so we’ll continue with our intimate sessions every other day until ovulation is confirmed.  

Because of the UPS delivery problems, we didn’t get our Christmas gifts until after Christmas.  Bob bought me one thing that I requested and another thing that he chose for me as a surprise.  The surprise gift was a gray and yellow bag that he bought for me to use for hauling laptop and other things around, to replace the not-so-fashionable red tote that I have been using.  Here is the gift that I requested: 


“Hope” is what I have and what I want to continue to have on this journey.  God continues to give me the hope that everything will work out in the end.  This is just a little reminder for myself as I wear this pendant daily.  As we enter into 2014 and the 25th month trying to conceive, I want to hold onto this hope that we will finally be able to experience the joy a child will bring to our lives.