28!!!

This was the number I had been waiting for all day!

Today was our big retrieval day.  We got up super early for the 8am semen collection time.  I slept quite well last night, but this thought kept coming back to my mind: what if our donor decided not to show up for retrieval?  I guess once the trust is gone for something, it is harder for me to trust her to hold up her part of the bargain, although she had been showing up for every single monitoring appointment.  But you know, my mind was doing tricks and it wasn’t a lot of fun to have that anxious feeling.  This is exactly what my dear friend Elisha was talking about, the enemy trying to distract us from Jesus and steal the joy from us.  When I woke up in the middle of the night, I prayed on and off for God to give us peace and take away that doubt and fear.

We were happy and excited on our ride to the clinic.  I was the chauffeur so Bob could relax in the car as he had a very important job to do.  Upon arrival, the lady who checked Bob in had a quizzical look on her face when she was trying to locate his appointment in the system.  I should clarify that Dr. E is an independent reproductive endocrinologist who has privilege at different local clinics for procedures and the lab.  This clinic is the main one that Dr. E uses.  So it is quite possible that Bob’s name wasn’t in the system because we weren’t seeing one of the doctors there.  The lady turned to me and asked for my name, which she also couldn’t find because I wasn’t the “patient’ per se for the procedure today.  She finally checked him in and asked him to go to the andrology lab.

The lady at the andrology lab window also seemed to look very confused as she shuffled the lists of names to locate Bob’s.  I had this sinking feeling as I watched her.  Did they not know that he was coming and that his sperm was to be used with our donor’s eggs?  I took at peek a the lab order and saw that the collection time was supposed to be 9:30am.  Why in the world were we asked to arrive at 8?  After some confusion, it was finally declared that everything was fine and Bob headed down to his little room to do his business.

Feeling uneasy about the little drama, I called up Dr. E’s office to speak with the nurse.  She reassured me that the clinic knew what they were doing but told me that she’d get on it to clarify everything with the clinic on the phone if need be.  A few minutes later, Dr. E’s nurse called me back and said that everything was fine.  Apparently we were supposed to arrive at 9:30am so the lab was a little confused about our arrival time.  But Dr. E’s email clearly said 8am.  I guess it didn’t matter as long as the semen was collected and it wasn’t too early for that.

But this little drama kind of threw me off.  What if they couldn’t match the sperm with the eggs.  Then I was reminded to trust God’s plan.  If this is going to happen, it is going to happen.  So I took a deep breath and settled in with my book.  Bob came out in a little while.  He often had a look on his face after his semen collection.  I asked him what was up.  He said he often wonders if he had produced enough sp.erm since the quantity of the semen didn’t look like a lot.  I told him I wouldn’t worry about it because he has been performing every single time.  I don’t see how this time would be any different.

I waited in waiting room when Bob was in the bathroom.  Dr. E came into the clinic and saw me.  She gave me a hug and said that everything was going to be great.  Then she pulled me to the side and said, “Your donor is due for her check in right now, so you may want to hide somewhere.”  Oh okay.  I grabbed Bob who just came out of the bathroom and we quickly exited to the parking lot.  I wouldn’t want to accidentally bump into our donor like this.

I don’t know why.  Maybe because of the little drama, I was still feeling a little anxious about the possibility of the donor not showing up, which does not make sense at all.  If she wanted to be compensated, she’d show up.  She had already gone this far.  And it wouldn’t be fun to have all these enlarged follicles inside one’s ovaries.  So I vacillated between feeling calm and a little anxious.  I was thinking, if our donor didn’t show up for retrieval, Dr. E would have notified us in the morning.  The fact that there was no phone call or update was a good thing.

My friends were asking if I wanted to write Dr. E for an update.  I guess I wanted to just hide in the sand.  I was still treating no update as a good sign.  Dr. E’s email came at 3:17pm.  She had “28!!!” in her subject line, and said that “Retrieval went beautifully.  Just wanted to let you know.  Next update is tomorrow!”  I immediately praised the Lord for answering our prayers!  Bob sounded happy but also cautious as we don’t know how many of these 28 eggs are mature and fertilized.  I think he is still wondering if his boys performed.  But I am grinning from ear to ear!  This is such fantastic news and today couldn’t have gone any better.

You know what got me through today?  My happy thought of the day, which is “today is the first day of my future child(ren)’s existence”.  I truly believe that one or two of these eggs will help make our child(ren).  Although our donor had made a mistake and breached our trust and contract, I am still feeling super thankful for her, her willingness to donate, and her super high-performing ovaries.

May this news be the first of many happy moments before we finally meet our baby face to face.

Praise the Lord!

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Giving Thanks for One Egg

The title says it all.  We have one egg!

Mr. Bob was very good today.  He got up early and got ready early so we got to the clinic on time.  I was told to check in at the front desk on the 7th floor for an ultrasound first.  Then the staff would send me up to the 8th floor waiting room to wait for someone to get me inside for the retrieval.  I made sure I asked the front desk lady if I had to check in again so that the 8th floor staff knew we were there.  She said that the nurse would let me know what to do after the scan.  Okay I would take your word for it.  I was quickly called back for the scan, which found two follicles still there; one 24mm and one 19mm.  What a relief that I hadn’t ovulated yet!  The nurse told me to just go right upstairs to the 8th floor.  We went up and sat at the waiting area from 8:15 (our scheduled arrival time) to 8:40.  The sign said just to wait and someone would come get you.  However, no one came out.  The door was tightly closed:

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It must have been the Val.ium because I was feeling very slow.  Like it was time to take a nap.  It was quite a weird feeling.

One of the nurses that I saw multiple times on the 7th floor came out from the elevator and said “Hi Isabelle!”  I don’t know if it’s good that the nurses know you by name.  She went in for a few minutes and came out.  I spoke up and told her that we hadn’t been called back and it had been 25 minutes delayed already.  She went inside and checked for me.  Good thing I spoke up.  Somehow 7th floor did not communicate with 8th floor so the nurses on the 8th floor didn’t know that I was there.

We walked in.  It was the same nurse that helped us the last two times!  I was so happy to see her.  I knew the drill, changed into my gown, and walked out with my Batman socks on.

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The nurse exclaimed and said, “I love your socks!”  We also showed Bob’s matching Batman shirt to her:

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Since I was the first retrieval, the nurse saved me the best seat in the house, the one by the window where the warm sunlight enveloped that whole area.  She put the IV in and I just waited.  Then I had to go to the bathroom with my IV insert on.  The bathroom was occupied so I waited outside while holding the IV fluid bag.  In my horror, I was watching my blood flowing out of my arm and down the IV line.  The nurse came to my rescue as I didn’t know that the IV fluid bag had to go above my heart.  At least it meant that my heart was pumping well!

Dr. No Nonsense entered the clinic and I was officially ready to go into the procedure room.  I am sure the Val.ium was making me happy because I apparently was talking nonstop and no-filtered according to Bob.  I was talking about how we should inform Dr. NN of the outdated “educational material” in the sample collection room for the male partners.  That was exactly what I did while lying on the procedure room table.  I told Dr. No Nonsense that Dr. Dry Humor suggested to me that I should really discuss with him about the magazines in the sample collection room because Dr. NN is the lab director.  This was the best time to say it because I was under the influence of Val.ium so what I said wouldn’t count. 😀  Dr. NN said that it should be pretty updated.  HA.  He told me to ask my husband afterwards.

As usual, Dr. NN put in the speculum and cleaned the area down there.  Then he removed the speculum and informed me that the needle would go in.  When it went in, the nurse asked me how I was doing.  I was fine, and she was amazed that I didn’t even blink when the needle poked through.  I was asked to describe the pain level from one to ten to which I responded “one”.  She rubbed my hands and praised me for doing well with the pain.  The embryologist announced that we got one.  Dr. NN tried to get the second one but seemed like there was nothing.  He then said that since my pain tolerance was so good, he would poke the needle through one more time.  He really wanted to scrape it one more time to make sure that he got it all out.  I really appreciated that.  He warned me that it would go a little deeper so it might hurt a little more.  Now that pain level shot up from one to three.  It was a very strange feeling of something deep being stirred inside your organ.  But it was totally tolerable.  The embryologist still said “one”.  One egg it is.  I am thankful that Dr. NN tried though.  He called me a trooper and told me that maybe because this cycle had delayed so much that the second follicle just petered out.  Interestingly, I didn’t bleed at all this time.  The last two times I bled for quite some time.  This time Dr. NN must have done a great job, or maybe my follicles were in a different location.

Amazingly, I was not disappointed at all.  I am very thankful for one egg as this is a natural cycle and we expected one egg.  I was a little bit worried about Bob’s reaction though.  I remember how he was calculating how much each egg cost after the last two cycles.  This appeared to be the most expensive egg ever.  But I was worried for nothing.  My husband is amazing.  He walked in after he gave his sample, smiled, and asked how I was doing.  I raised one finger and he was smiling genuinely and said “Good!”  He did not mention anything about the cost.  He was just saying that this would be what we expect: one egg for a natural cycle.  Exactly my thought.  So I sat there sipping my ginger ale and eating my saltine crackers while Bob made good use of UCSF’s free wifi and downloaded a bunch of things for work.  He also got his share of graham crackers and apple juice.  I was well taken care of as I sat there bathing in the warmth of the sun with two heating pads on me.  Bob said, How about five more minutes after my download is done??  HA.  Gotta love this man.  He also said that the material in the sample collection room was from 2011 instead of 2008 like last time, although it was a different room.  Haha.

When we said our good-byes, my nurse said she hoped that she would see me only two more times: one more retrieval and just one transfer!  I hope so too.  🙂

We walked out and back to my work where we had parked the car.  This is one of the perks of working so close to the clinic.  Otherwise we would have to pay for parking at the garage since street parking was only for two hours.  We were there way beyond two hours.  Bob and I drove to the same restaurant that we went to after the last retrieval.  While walking to the restaurant, a little four-year-old boy looked up at Bob and said very  happily, “Hi Batman!!”  It was so cute!  That totally made our day!

We ordered the same things as last time:

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Ha that looks so familiar and it hit the right spot.  We headed home.  I had to take a nap as a headache started to develop.

You may think that I would be disappointed.  But I am not.  So I thank the Lord for that because my emotions could go the other way.  It reminds me of my friend Anna who had one follicle for her IUI that resulted in her baby.  I know going in that we might get zero, one, or two embryos.  So anything is possible.  I am very grateful that we have five embryos saved up.  We’ll get a phone call tomorrow.  Gotta love a clinic that doesn’t close on Thanksgiving day.  (Not the Irvine clinic that we considered cycling with; they close on Thanksgiving day.)

Thanks everyone for reading!  I am happy that we finally get to this point and put this cycle behind us.  I am thankful for this one precious egg.  I hope that Kevin will decide to join us this time.  Onto the final cycle with my own eggs!

Bonus Eggs!

Egg retrieval today.  Since we only did one less than a month ago, things were very familiar, except that I was asked to do a “quick ultrasound” when the nurse called to give me trigger instructions.

On cycle day 12, which was on Friday, we went back for a monitoring appointment.  The follicles were measured as follows: 18mm, 12mm, 10mm, and the small one that wasn’t even measured.  We went ahead with signing all the consents as if we were going to proceed with the trigger that night and retrieval this morning.  The nurses still had to confirm with Dr. No Nonsense if he indeed wanted to trigger that night.  I emailed Dr. No Nonsense’s personal nurse ahead of time about the Val.ium but hadn’t heard back from her.  So I asked this nurse who signed consent forms with us if I could have her call it in for me.  She was very good.  When I checked on the pharmacy website later that day, it was already available.  But see, you really have to remember things and ask for things yourself.

When another nurse called at 4:30, she instructed me to arrive at 7:30am on Sunday for 8:15am retrieval.  Trigger was to be at 10:15 pm.. which was a bit odd.  So instead of a 36 hour trigger, it was a 34 hour trigger.  I wonder why but I would just do it.  The doctor also wanted me to do a quick scan before we head over to the procedure floor.  A quick scan? I had never done a scan right before any retrievals.  Of course I asked for an explanation.   Apparently they wanted to make sure I hadn’t ovulated already.  What?  What about Ganirelix?  I asked about that.  She had to call me back after confirming with my nurses that indeed I would be doing Ganirelix.  I felt a little bit better.  I would NOT want to ovulate before the retrieval.  Ever since I was told about the extra scan, I had been checking my cervix to make sure that it was still high and soft.  Man… It was a bit stressful to know that the professionals thought that there might be a possibility of premature ovulation…  One has to trust….

That night, we pre-celebrated with a Japanese dinner.  We hadn’t had Japanese in a while.  Our engagement anniversary is a great excuse to eat some sushi.

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When I got ready the night before, I picked out these owl socks that Bob bought me for Christmas:

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Owl is my second favorite animal.  I love these socks and was happy that I could wear them.  Since I am not wearing super hero socks or outfit, I enlisted the help from my secret FB group friends.  One of them even had her whole family wear super hero outfits to church.  I am so so touched!  Bob wants to buy a super hero t-shirt for the next round to join in the fun.

I have been quite at peace with this cycle.  My thought process is… we’ll get what we can get.  Bob was very good this morning and got me there 15 minutes before the scheduled time.  I had been fasting so I only took a little sip of water before taking the Val.ium.  When we arrived, the receptionist initially couldn’t find my name.  And when she found it, she didn’t have it down that they wanted to do a quick scan before we went up to the procedure room.  We did a scan anyways.  It was a real RE who did it.  In fact the RE who would later perform my retrieval.  Dr. Dry Humor came in and I asked him why we needed to do a scan.  He said that with my kind of protocol there would be a possibility that I had already ovulated prematurely.  They would do a scan just for precaution.  Although he said that he didn’t understand why I needed one since I wouldn’t be doing anesthesia so they could see my ovaries in the procedure room before they poked me with a needle.  I was thinking, well, it’d be better to discover earlier on when I was fully clothed than after I was all prepped for the procedure.  We were all relieved that there were still follicles on both left and right ovaries.

I like doing egg retrievals on the weekend.  The clinic appeared so peaceful.  It was the same nurses who helped me.  I changed into my gown and sat at my designated seat.  The difference today from a month ago was it was cold in the room.  BRRRRRRRR.  I needed not one but two warm blankets.  The Val.ium started to take an effect quite quickly and I felt heavy all over.  I sat there waiting and watching people go in and out of the procedure room.

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Today’s procedure was actually on time.  The operating room was very cold.  They put two blankets on me and I was still cold.  Dr. Dry Humor was not as mellow as Dr. Turkey but was still very gentle with everything.  My thighs were high up and quite exposed.  Because my behind was so cold, my legs were shaking a bit.  I was definitely not nervous.  I was just cold.  I tried my best to hold still for the doctor.  He did not have to release any urine like last time.  He cleaned my cervix quickly and proceeded to start with the right ovary with the needle to get the big follicle.  One of the nurses came by and held my hand throughout the whole procedure.  Dr. Dry Humor got that big one quickly and passed the needle through the plexiglass to the embryologist on the other side.  After a couple of moments, they declared that there was an egg.  Very relieved.  The needle only felt like it poked me instead of a sharp pain.  Totally tolerable.  Then Dr. Dry Humor attempted the left side.  I felt the needle going in and he maneuvered it a little.  We got two follicles there.  After a few moments, it was announced that we got two eggs there!

We had a total of three eggs?!?!!  I was expecting one.  And we got some bonus ones!!  I was very pleased and surprised!

Apparently my right ovary has some very prominent veins.  Dr. Dry Humor said it was almost impossible to avoid nicking them.  He had to go in and stop the bleeding, which took longer than the retrieval itself.  HA.  After a few minutes, the bleeding decreased to 20% and then 10%.  When I got up from the table, I could see my blood all over the pad that was under my gown.  Gross…

Throughout the process, I was joking with them about a bunch of things.  Bob did semi-complain that the “educational material” while giving his semen sample was a bit outdated and boring.  Dr. Dry Humor said… Dr. No Nonsense is actually responsible for the material.  😀  He urged me to bring that issue to Dr. No Nonsense and see if he would go improve the quality.  I was like…Noooooooo.

The nurse already prepared a heating pad on my seat when I sat down.  It felt soooo good.  She then placed another heating pad on my tummy.  They really took very good care of me.  I was given hot water and was just told to lie there and rest.  I asked to bring Bob back.  When he walked in, I asked him to guess how many we got.  He said.. I don’t know.. two???  I said nope, Three!!!  He was very pleased.  And guess what he said?  He was very happy that we paid $2000 per egg instead of $6000 for one egg.  I gotta laugh at his mentality.  It’s as if we got a bargain or a deal… which we did!

I rested for a little bit and felt a lot better.  I got up to change and the back of my gown was full of blood.  I think the bleeding has stopped now.  Bob and I went to a mexican breakfast place and I got my comfort food there, beef soup with rice and tortilla and some plantain:

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It definitely hit the right spot.

I am very surprised and pleased with three eggs.  Praise the Lord for this miracle!  I am well aware of the possibility that some of them may not fertilize.  We may end up with one embryo.  We may have two.  OR we may have three!  We’ll find out if they fertilize tomorrow.  Every egg gives us more chances for our take home baby.  I hope to bring Ivan, Jenny, and Kevin into the family.

Three eggs!  Way more than what we had anticipated!  God is so good!

Four is Our Lucky Number

What do you know?  We got four eggs!

Bob had a sore throat last night.  He took some NyQuil and fell asleep fast.  The problem is that, he started snoring in the middle of the night.  It happens whenever he is not feeling well and needs medicine to soothe his symptoms.  I was up at one something waiting for him to stop snoring.  I gently touched him hoping to get him to change position.  No go.  So I shook him a bit and he turned.  But my sleep was interrupted already.  Although I didn’t sleep well, I was in very good spirit.

We left at a decent time and found a street parking spot a block away.  I always have a fall back option: parking at my work.  But it IS three blocks away and I didn’t know how I would feel after the procedure.  We arrived 15 minutes before we were supposed to.  So we sat at the empty waiting room for 15 minutes.  Finally, a very pleasant nurse came to greet us.  I was instructed to go into this changing room and change into a hospital gown, put my own socks on, and put those hospital shoe covers on.  This is very different from my previous experience at the clinic Dr. E used.  Over there they give you disposable gowns, you change into it behind the curtains, and you put all of your clothes in a bag.  Here they give you a locker.  The nurse led me to a spot by the window.  The seat had a heated cushion on the back and I was covered with warm blankets.  This is the view from the seat:

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Unfortunately, it was facing the wall where the clinic stacked all of their big water jugs.  It was almost cruel to be staring at the water when you’re not allowed to drink anything.

Last night I was trying to decide if I should wear Wonder Woman or Bumble Bees.

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Since I wore Wonder Woman before, I opted for some buzz:

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Some of my FB secret group friends were dressed in super hero attires with their babies today.  So I am all covered there even if I didn’t wear my Wonder Woman socks.

Bob was there keeping me company.  As usual, he was on his phone:

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I am pretty amazed at the IV insert.  Apparently they don’t leave a needle in you anymore.  It’s a thin plastic tube that stays in your skin.

photo 3The clinic was running a little behind.  I took two Va.lium an hour before the procedure was supposed to start.  This time I didn’t talk nonstop like at my last transfer.  But it really calmed me down and it was reflected in my blood pressure.  The lady before me took about 35 minutes.  By the time they called me in, it was 9am, 15 minutes past my scheduled time.  It was okay though.  My trigger shot was done at 9pm on Thursday.  I believed that my eggs were still there.

Everyone in the operating room was very nice.  They took very very good care of me.  They were oohing and ahhing over my socks.  I was given a ball to squeeze on.  It was apparently donated by one of the patients to give to other patients during an egg retrieval without anesthesia to relieve some anxiety.  Lying there in the dimmed room, I said a prayer for the eggs and for God’s will to be done.  Having two warm blankets on me, I was pretty cozy lying on the table with my legs spread.

Finally, Dr. Turkey (apparently he’s from Turkey and speaks with an accent) came in and was very gentle about everything.  He told me exactly what he was doing.  My bladder was a bit too full for him to see so he had to help me release some urine.  I just don’t know how that was possible.  I hadn’t eaten or drunk anything since midnight last night.  And I went to the bathroom three to four times before the retrieval started.  The nurse gave me antibiotics before the speculum went into the vag.ina and later pushed in fentanyl for me when the needle poked through.  He said that the ovaries actually don’t have a lot of pain receptors.  All the pain came from the vag.ina.  The nurse checked with me constantly on the pain level.  At one point I told her that it was a two.  The left ovaries were emptied out first.  We got all three eggs there.  He then tried the right ovary.  It was apparently swimming around a little and he had to catch it.  (How that was possible, I don’t know either.)  He got the follicle out and handed it over through this channel of plexiglass.  We waited for a few moments before they declared that we got all four eggs!  Throughout the process, I could feel the pulling and tugging.  I could feel the needle going in.  But it really wasn’t bad at all.  I am so so glad that I chose to opt out of anesthesia and saved ourselves some necessary expenses!  Dr. Turkey said that I was bleeding a bit much.  It wasn’t the ovaries.  It was the vag.ina when the probe went in.  He went inside and pushed onto the artery to stop the bleeding.  It took another two to three minutes for it to stop.    All the people in the room kept praising me, calling me a trooper, and said that this procedure couldn’t have gone any better without anesthesia and my manageable pain level.

I came out of the room a little loopy because of the fentanyl.  My abdomen area felt a little heavy.  I was spotting a little bit.  When I sat back down at my window seat, my nurse placed a heating pad wrapped with a blanket on my tummy.  I was given liquid and crackers.  Bob walked in.  I raised my four fingers and he grinned.  He gave his sample without a hitch although he said that the education material was outdated.  I guess it wouldn’t matter right?  Outdated or not, this kind of material all shows the same thing.

The nurse told us that since UCSF built a new building somewhere else in the city, the clinic will be moved there by end of December.  So the clinic will close for two weeks.  I am a bit bummed about it because I have really enjoyed the convenience of the location.  I hope to be able to bank a couple more cycles before the end of the year to take advantage of the current location.

We walked out into the warm sun.  I had to walk slowly because my abdominal area still felt heavy.  Plus Bob was still not feeling too well.  We walked a block to a popular breakfast spot.  There were a ton of people waiting outside.  The list was so long that I shook my head and left.  We walked to our favorite pastry shop and got our favorite Chocolate Banana Almond croissant:

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I just took a nap for a couple of hours.  My abdomen is still sore.  But I am so so grateful for four eggs!  I hope that they are all mature and will all fertilize.  I will get a phone call tomorrow from a nurse on the fertilization.  On Monday, I’ll be notified of the number of embryos to freeze and their grades.

That’s it!  I am very thankful for a chance to grow some embryos.  This is a very good start after a break for seven months.  Thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts!

More Than One

First off, my heart is aching for two blog friends who received devastating news with their beta test results.  If you have a moment, and haven’t already done so, please go give Aramis and Wilhc121 some comfort and hugs.  😦

*****

I guess the 14.5er on Monday caught up?  We have two eggs.

I was feeling very calm all day.  It showed in my blood pressure.  Unlike the last two times, it was back to normal today.  I woke up feeling at peace, calm, and happy.  When I put on those Wonder Woman socks, I thought about the love and support this community has given me.  It totally warmed my heart at 6:45 am.  

Bob and I left an hour and 15 minutes before the appointment.  I constantly checked Google Maps for the different routes that we could take.  We finally decided on a new route that was recommended by the Maps because of the back up that was shown in two usual routes.  It was on a back road that was quite pleasant to travel on in the morning.  We got there in exactly an hour.  The nurse who took care of me was the same nurse the last two times.  We all knew the drill, except that I totally forgot to take off my underwear.  When the nurse came back to see if I had any sores or bruises, I showed her my tiny little bruises on my tummy.  She then said, Honey your undergarment has to come off.  Cued embarrassing smile.  Imagine going in the OR and Dr. E had to take off my underpants first.  

I swear that I wasn’t totally out during the whole procedure.  Everybody was noticing and complimenting on my lucky socks.  So we started talking about how Wonder Woman still looked good, what her real name was, and things like that.  Then I felt like I was out but then I could hear people talking.  Maybe I was hallucinating.  I was awake when they wheeled me out of the OR.  At the door, I think I saw Dr. E and she told me that we got two eggs.  And I was saying in my groggy state that I could hear “everything” they were saying.  And then I said, Oh that’s good.  One more than what we had expected.

Every single time I was in recovery, there would be another woman next to my bed, separated from me by a curtain, and was told by their RE that they had an amazing amount of follicles or eggs.  This time was no different.  When I was still trying to get over my grogginess, the lady next door was told by her doctor that her response was excellent and they expected to see many eggs.  The last two times I was super bugged by that.  This time not so much so.  Somehow I feel that I have my own journey, I have accepted that I won’t get too many eggs, and I will mind my own business.  That really helps with putting my heart in the right place.

Another difference is that I didn’t recover right away like the last two times.  I had to sip liquid slowly so that I didn’t have the nauseating feeling.  Yesterday I had a slight headache going into work.  The headache was getting progressively worse.  At 3:50pm, I quickly went and got the Cetrotide and all the other supplies and locked myself in my therapy room to do the shot.  Finally did the shot at 4:01pm.  All of a sudden, my head was exploding and I started feeling nauseous.  I rested for five minutes and went and got my therapy kid.  The mom saw how I looked and insisted on leaving me alone and canceling the session. She said, Go home and rest.  So they left, and I went on to become violently ill for about an hour.  I felt like something was stuck in my stomach and had to go puke (sorry TMI) in the bathroom three times.  I couldn’t even open my eyes or look at the computer screen as my head was hurting so much.  One hour later, I was feeling much better.  In fact, when I arrived at my acupuncture appointment, my pulse showed that my qi was flowing, which indicated that there was no pain inside me.  What a weird experience.  The whole time, my thought was, Oh No don’t let me get sick the day before egg retrieval.  Praise the Lord that I was fine and dandy the rest of the evening and today.  Somehow today at recovery, it took me quite some time to feel back to normal.  It could have something to do with the sudden illness yesterday.

My acupuncturist also taped three dots on three points on my right ear that represent the Uterus, the Life Gate, and the Kidney.  She told me to press on them once in a while to help with the retrieval and eventually the transfer.

I didn’t get to see Dr. E afterward.  Bob came back from giving his contribution.  He grinned and said that the educational materials have been renewed.  HAHAHA.

I just took a very long nap.  My dreams were full of images of the eggs fertilizing and then the eggs not fertilizing.  

*****

On Monday in my Bible Study discussion group, I opened up and finally shared about our fertility journey and our current treatment after hearing one of the ladies sharing about her struggles with a surprise pregnancy out of wedlock five years ago.  She said she cried every single day until two days before she gave birth, not understanding the purpose of it.  And now she can see what a blessing her little daughter is.  Seeing how she was willing to be vulnerable, I shared about the opposite end of a heartache, the heartaches of not being able to get pregnant and not having embryos that would survive in our IVF cycles.  Yesterday I received an email from one of the group ladies that is my age and is currently about 6 months pregnant.  She wrote:

“Thank you for sharing your personal struggle with the group yesterday. God has really placed you on my heart recently and now I know why. My husband and I also struggled with infertility with no real diagnosis, “unexplained infertility”.  And after our second cycle of IVF, God has blessed us with this pregnancy. As I shared with my close friends and last year’s Bible Study group, it was the most painful waiting period of my life. This process completely stretched my faith and patience as I went through all the emotions, from being angry and feeling unloved by God to complete surrender and humility and like you, peace. Looking back now, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness and just the feeling of joy because I am able to appreciate this gift so much more and I am blessed to be able to connect with other women who are going through this. No one really knows all the emotions and physical pain you go through unless you’ve been through it. I kept reminding myself to just continue to trust in the One who creates all life and His perfect timing because nothing is impossible with God.  So, I will be praying for you this Wednesday for an appropriate response to the meds and for a successful retrieval and transfer! You’re a pro by now, but remember to get lots of rest and, for me, after the second transfer, I ate pineapple core and brazil nuts for the bromelain, which supposedly helps with implantation.”

I am so grateful that she reached out.  Because of her and her pregnancy, I started to pray for an open heart and peace.  I didn’t want my jealousy to take over and consume me.  And here I am, in a pretty good place emotionally.  It shows you that you can never judge a book by its cover.  You just won’t know who had struggled with infertility or not just by looking at their belly.  I am really happy for her that she’s on the other side now.  

*****

First fertilization report tomorrow.  Gulp.

Egg retrieval number two and Classmate

Today is retrieval day.  Everything felt eerily familiar.  This cycle has been kind of weird.  I have been a lot more relaxed in terms of the process.  Bob arriving home 15 minutes late for the injections?  No problem.  I even almost forgot that I needed to refrain from eating and drinking at midnight.  Good thing my husband was on top of things.  Otherwise, I would have gulped down the glass of water that was by my bedside.  Since retrieval was on a Sunday morning, there wasn’t any traffic even when the bridge on our usual route is currently closed.  It took a total of 52 minutes to get there versus the one hour 25 minutes that took me on Friday.  The clinic was busy; many women walked in and out with their husbands and children to get ultrasound and blood work done.  Bob was taken to the lab early for his part of the deal while I was still waiting in the lobby.  At 8:30 sharp, the nurse who prepped me at the last retrieval came out to greet me.  We did almost all the same things; changed, answered questions, signed consents, bathroom visit, IV insertion, and visit from the anesthesiologist.  I was glad that Bob made it back before I had to go to the operating room so he could hang out with me and give me one more kiss.  Lying on the table, I lost another twenty minutes of my life without having any memory of it.  The last thought I had before I felt asleep was a prayer to God, “Please let there be eggs.”  I guess I have been a little ambivalent about this cycle.  At the last follicle check, five follicles remained in the running.  One big follicle and four smaller follicles were visible.  I had in my head that maybe the one big follicle had sucked up all the meds and the other ones might be empty.  Again, this is my fear and my defense mechanism speaking, but I was just hoping that there would be more than two to three eggs.  Bob was still holding out hope for five eggs.  

Twenty minutes later, I slowly woke up.  Bob was by my side.  Dr. E came in and cheerfully reported that we have four eggs.  Just like last time.  I was pleased but at the same time I was secretly wishing for five.  And then in my very groggy and sleepy state, I was thankful that I got four again.  Not one, not two, not three, but four.  That was worth celebrating.  We did it with significantly less drugs than the first IVF.  Now we’ll just see if the egg quality will be better this time.  I can’t wait for the fertilization report tomorrow, but at the same time I’m terrified.  I am hoping for one more embryo than the first time.  That will be awesome.

Our little Clay has to wait a little before he/she comes home to my uterus.  Dr. E announced that there is a small fibroid in the uterus.  There is also the big fibroid in the uterine wall.  There is definitely no transfer this time.  I will have to return to Dr. E’s office in about two weeks for a procedure to remove the fibroid in the cavity.  At that time, we’ll discuss about the bigger fibroid.  I hope that we will get to do a transfer some time before November.  I may be setting myself up for disappointment since there may be recovery time before we can prepare for a transfer.  This is again time to exercise more patience.

The three-hour nap post retrieval was awesome and much needed.  We had sushi for dinner.  It was a good way to finish our retrieval day.

**********************

We had a wonderful day hanging out with my elementary classmate whom I had not seen for 21 years.  We played tourist in the city and took the cable car all the way from downtown to Fisherman’s Wharf and back.  We walked around and had the best fish and chips.  The fish and chips place was decorated with happy birthday banners because it was the owner’s birthday.  It also happened to be Classmate’s birthday.  When I told the owner, she came out and gave Classmate a free soda.  Since we had already ordered a fried Snickers bar, she gave us an order of fried Oreos on the house!  I have to say both the fried Snickers bar and fried Oreos were out of this world tasty and amazing.  I didn’t forget the fact that it was extra fattening.  But it was so good!  I think it was worth the calories.

Classmate has a son who was conceived nine years after he had gotten married.  I always thought that it was due to fertility issues.  After catching up with him, I found out that the pregnancy was planned as they had no problems conceiving.  However, when they tried for number two, his wife developed a thyroid condition and had to be on radioactive medication.  Her doctor advised them NOT to try for a pregnancy for 1 1/2 years.  Since they don’t want their children to be too far apart in age, they opt for not trying for number two since his son is already five years old.  

Bob and I hung out with Classmate for about six hours.  About four hours into our outing, Classmate made an observation and said, “Bob really likes children, doesn’t he?”  I was thinking, wow is it that obvious?  I guess Bob was really drooling over all the cute kids that he encountered on the tourist-filled streets and destinations.  About twenty minutes later, Classmate opened his mouth and asked, “Since Bob likes kids so much, are you guys going to try for a baby?”  Duh, Classmate, of course.  I didn’t say much.  Bob responded with something vague like, “We would hope so one day.”  I just smiled.  Classmate continued with his opinion, “Don’t wait too long.  It’s going to get harder when you get older.”  Duh again, Classmate.  I just smiled again.  What else can you say, right?