MicroblogMondays: Cards

Microblog_Mondays

This past week I received two cards unexpectedly.  I was touched tremendously by both of them.

I came home from work on Monday and was surprised by a card in the mail from my coworker.  She is one of the only two coworkers that know the details of my journey.  I told her briefly about our donor’s cocaine debacle last week, and she wrote the following in a card and dropped it in the mail:

“Isabelle and Bob,

I awakened on Friday with you two on my mind and felt the need to write – so… sharing my thoughts…

Living for the emergence of life… the fruition of an incredible journey that had its origins in two separate countries and cultures brought together in a third through a 21st century technology… the reaching out over space and time of two kindred spirits… bound together by a mutual love, joy, faith, bond… to a shared path, with many junctures, potential pitfalls, ruts, bumps, rocky steep climbs, protruding roots, boulders and stones to navigate through and across and on which many others would have stumbled.  Two walking hand in hand, side by side toward their shared, firm, mutual destination.  With great admiration for the inner strength, shared support, and unwavering belief in the end result.  What a blessing to have found each other.  What a blessing to those who have had a glimpse of or shared in your journey.

With constant support and love,

[Coworker’s name]”

Such beautiful words that sum up our journey in such a poetic way.  I was utterly touched.

And then on the weekend, I had the honor to meet my dear friend behind Dreaming of Diapers.  You know it when someone gets you.  And that was the feeling I got the whole two hours we were chatting over lunch.  When we said our good-byes, she handed me a card.  The cover of the card said, “Hope is the belief in things unseen”.  On the inside, she wrote that she was happy to be finally meeting me, and that she was excited for me and my 4 embabies.  She said she cannot wait to hear I am expecting soon, that she just knows it in her heart that this is my time.  What a thoughtful gesture and such great encouragement that my dear friend is hoping with me that these embryos will help fulfill my dream of being a mother with live children.

Being loved, thought of, and understood is such a great feeling.  Thank you friends.

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Bonus Afternoon

So, I had this afternoon off.

It wasn’t intended to be an afternoon off.  You see, I had originally taken Tuesday and Thursday afternoons off for the Endometrial Receptivity Array biopsies.  They got canceled because of the possible fibroid surgery.  Since I already canceled all my clients for those two afternoons, I scheduled an MRI scan of my uterus in preparation for the surgical consultation on April 20.  Bob and I talked about getting a second opinion with Dr. E.  I emailed her.  She said that I could schedule an ultrasound and consultation with her any time as long as I am not bleeding.  I called her office yesterday and found out that I could schedule both with her Tuesday afternoon.  I then rescheduled the MRI for another day in order to go see Dr. E today.  Well guess what?  I started spotting yesterday.  I am not supposed to be bleeding at this point.  This is the middle of my cycle.  I was on Lup.ron and estrogen patches for a few weeks.  I guess stopping both last Thursday without any progesterone support makes the hormonal levels of my body fluctuate.  My body reacts by giving me breakthrough bleeding.  The spotting yesterday turned into full flow this morning at 10:30am.  I called Dr. E’s clinic to ask if I should come to the appointment at 1:30pm.  The nurse sent Dr. E a message and promised to get back to me.  By noon time, I hadn’t heard from anyone from the clinic so I called.  The answering service transferred me to the clinic.  The same nurse finally got on the phone and told me that she just connected with Dr. E who advised against me going in because of my full flow.  We had to reschedule it for another day.

I was not bummed per se.  I just find it interesting that when you don’t want your period to come, it comes.  It just can’t hold off for another day.  These are just tiny things.  I have decided not to be bugged by these inconveniences.  The only reason I wanted it to be done today was because I had already canceled my clients.  To see Dr. E on another day means I would have to move or cancel another client.  But this is life.  Life is full of inconveniences.

Instead of staying at work for the rest of the afternoon, the first thing that came to my mind was to have some mother-daughter bonding time.  I immediately called my mom who gladly said yes to my lunch invitation.  I didn’t have a particular place in mind but I often opt for trying out new restaurants or having cuisines that Bob doesn’t care for when I am not eating with him.  My mom is totally adventurous and loved the idea.  I looked up a filipino restaurant.  There are plenty of them around where we live.  I found the one that looks the most interesting and had the highest rating.  Off we went.  Ten minutes later, we sat at this restaurant and studied the menu.  Not knowing what to expect, we both ordered dishes that we loved:

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In the afternoon, a nurse at my current clinic called me with this frantic tone of voice wondering where I was.  I am usually on time and it was really unlike me to be 30 minutes late and had still not shown. They basically didn’t know that the appointments were already canceled.  The nurse practitioner who did my lining check wrote the notes but did not cancel the appointments for me. And her notes didn’t get signed off somehow and they didn’t show up on the system that the nurses had access to.  I am surprised but not surprised that the clinic is too big, there are too many people working there, and they are not always as organized as the customers would like them to be.

I pondered what I should do for the rest of the afternoon.  I could have done many things but I decided to take a nap.  It was such a rare treat for a Tuesday afternoon that was supposed to be a work day.

I’m also glad to report that I am feeling much better.  My dear friend Maddie gave me a pep talk yesterday that alleviated many of my worries and fears.  And God did answer my prayers.  I woke up this morning feeling calm and at peace for the first time in four days.  I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have supportive friends on this very difficult journey.

I thoroughly enjoyed my bonus afternoon and loved every single minute of hanging out with my mom, even eating food that I don’t normally eat.  Although today didn’t turn out to be what I thought it would be, sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

MicroblogMondays: Another Dilemma with Fertile Friends

Microblog_Mondays

About five months ago, I had a little conflict with my out-of-town friend Chloe because she had said some hurtful things to me when she learned that I wasn’t going to attend dinner with her and our other friends, including my pregnant friend Leanne.  I love Leanne and usually wouldn’t mind seeing her, but I just couldn’t see her the week after I got my BFN for my last Own Egg cycle.  Chloe and I have since mostly made up.  I promised her that I would see her when she is in town in August.  Here we are.  The dinner has been planned for this coming Friday.

Originally when Chloe arranged for this dinner, she only asked me, Leanne, and another friend.  We are the core group of people.  Last week, she sent out a text to the three of us and then three more people regarding dinner.  There were two phone numbers that I didn’t recognize.  I really do hate it when she does this: inviting people that I don’t know.  It makes it really hard to talk about anything.  I can predict that there will not be much catching up, especially sitting next to people you don’t know.  It defeats the purpose of getting together when you can’t even talk about your life.

I am friends with one of the extra girls that Chloe invited.  Let’s call her Candace.  She got married last year at age 38, so I was quite sure that she was going to try to have a baby.  I haven’t seen her since her wedding.  She texted back saying that she might or might not come to dinner because she lives and works two to three hours away from the restaurant, and would need to leave at 2pm to make it to dinner.

Well, Candace, who usually is not active on Fac.ebook, suddenly posted her baby shower photos.  Baby shower photos!  What?  I was totally surprised and felt blindsided.  Apparently she is due in October, and her coworkers threw her a surprise baby shower, so she had to post it.  I don’t blame her for posting and announcing, but my first reaction was that I just wanted to hide from her and escape dinner.  If our last transfer had succeeded, my due date would be October as well.  If she comes to dinner, imagine this: I will have to hug her, say congratulations, and I am quite sure others will be oohing and ahhing over her bump, pregnancy, new life, etc etc.  This is too much of a trigger for me.  When I said yes to dinner, I didn’t sign up for a soiree with a pregnant woman.  This is different from having dinner with Leanne.  Candace and I aren’t close friends and we don’t necessarily have to get together.  This is a situation I really didn’t have to subject myself to.

I went to bed feeling bugged.  And I woke up feeling bugged.  Bob told me that I should skip dinner and was a bit mad at me for torturing myself by still going.  But I really can’t bail this time.  If I want to maintain my friendship with Chloe, I better make it to dinner.  So Bob’s question is, why do I want to maintain my friendship with Chloe?  We really go way back.  She and I went through a lot as friends.  It is stupid for letting these things go between us.  But it’s also very sad that I do not look forward to our dinner.  Going to this dinner stresses me out.  All this week I will have to work on getting myself mentally ready to spend two hours enduring the talk of pregnancy.

If Chloe had already known of Candace’s pregnancy and still invited her, I would be very mad at her.  I guess I can’t expect her to understand how I would feel because I guess to her it has never been that big of a deal.  Probably in her mind, I, as an infertile, just have to handle my emotions for the sake of friendship.  To me, it’s almost asking for too much from her to give it a little thought about how I might feel sitting there staring at a seven-month baby bump and listening to pregnancy talk.

I don’t even think that it’s worth it to talk to Chloe about my feelings.  After the conflict last time, I just feel that the divide between her and me is too wide when it comes to my point-of-view as an infertile person.  So this is what I will do.  I will just suck it up and go to the dinner, smile, say my congratulations, and pretend to be happy.  I know that it doesn’t match my usual way of handling things: being honest and transparent.  However, this time I just really feel that it is not worth it.

Or, maybe Candace will decide not to go.  After all, it is probably no fun to sit through three hours of traffic while you are 7-month pregnant.

Either way, I think I will do fine.  I just need to vent.

MicroblogMondays: Friendships with Super Fertile People

Microblog_Mondays

Friendships with super fertile people are a bit tricky.

I have been friends with these two super fertile ladies for a long time.  They were like sisters to me until these past couple of years.  Life circumstances have drifted us apart.  Chloe, who moved away out of state a few years ago, conceived both of her kids the first couple of months trying.  Leanne, currently six months pregnant with her second child, was the one over whom I cried once learning her pregnancy news in December.  I saw both of them three months ago when Chloe was in town.  I struggled with the pregnancy news but I still went to dinner.

Chloe comes to town maybe every three to six months.  Whenever she’s here, she arranges for us (the four core friends) and some of her other friends to get together for dinner.  Dinner usually happens in the vicinity of her in-laws’ house where she is staying.  So I will usually have to go the distance and drive 40 minutes for that dinner.  Looking at the last couple of years, I have been to every single one of these meals when she was visiting.  Sometimes with our core group of friends.  Sometimes with only a couple of us.  Sometimes with a bigger group of her friends for whom I don’t care much.  I go because I want to see her.

Chloe was once again in town this past weekend.  Like usual, she wanted us to come to have dinner with her.  And this time, in addition to our core group of friends, she also invited one extra friend.  Since I knew that my beta test would be this past Monday, I let her know that I might or might not be up to getting together.  I might or might not be pregnant by this weekend so I might or might not want to hang out with Leanne, our pregnant friend.  Chloe was disappointed that I might not go.  I told her that I have to protect myself and I chose to be honest with her rather than making up some lame excuse. One week ago when we learned the beta results, I let Chloe know that the blood test was negative, and I would see about my emotions before I made a decision about dinner.

Fast forward to Saturday night.  I was trying to be true to myself and my feelings.  I did not feel up to meeting with Leanne, seeing her big belly, and not being able to chat about things freely because of the friend who is not in our core group.  I was not ready to hang out with them for Sunday night dinner.  I told my pregnant friend who responded with, “I am so sorry, Isabelle.  I’ve had you in my thoughts, wondering how things were going.  Please let me know if I can help in any way, Ok?  Will miss you tomorrow but understand of course.  Love and hugs, L”

That night, Chloe and I had an exchange on chat.  This is how it went:

C: Hello! Hope you are hanging in there. I also hope you decide to meet us all for dinner tomorrow.

I: I’m feeling better, but not ready to hang out. Hopefully next time you come or next time we go there.

C: I’m really sorry to hear  this. I’m sorry you are in so much pain. I have to say I’m hurt and disappointed. I can only imagine how hard this is for you. I’m upset because I’m here and you won’t see me. You can’t avoid seeing pregnant women in public unless you aren’t leaving your house. Leanne isn’t pregnant to be malicious towards you. I’m disappointed that you will be the only one missing. I don’t know when I will be down again. When I do come down, I care more about seeing you and the girls more than seeing blood family. You are my sisters and more of family to me than my blood family is.

After seeing what she wrote, I was really upset.  In fact, I was boiling inside.  She was making it about her.  Her comment about my reaction towards other pregnant women and Leanne’s pregnancy was ridiculous, insensitive, and hurtful.  She made a rash judgment about me without knowing how I have been handling myself in the past three years.  I go out.  I see pregnant ladies every single day.  And I am fine.  I don’t avoid going out.  I don’t avoid going to work and seeing my Pregnant Coworker.  I am doing as much as I can to be a normal human being.  I have never said one single thing about our friend Leanne being malicious towards me.  I was hurt that such an assumption  was made without truly trying to know my life as an infertile person in the last few years.  This time, all I was asking for was for her to give me some understanding and empathy as to what I am going through for this one freaking time so I can skip dinner.

And my friend Jo was right.  If she really wanted to, knowing my circumstances, she could have offered to see me one-on-one.  But no… her time is very limited every time she comes, so there is no way she could do one-on-one with me.

Bob was upset that I was upset.  He told me not to respond to her when I was so mad.  But when do I listen to my husband?  😉  This is what I said:

“I am disappointed that you are not even going to try to understand my point of view.  I try to see you every single time you come down.  And the one time that I am hurt and in pain, you are telling me these things.  I don’t know what to say.  I have to do things to protect myself.   Again, I am being honest with you rather than giving you a lame reason.  This is what friends do.  Being honest.  So just please let me heal and get over this hurt before you make a judgment about me and what I am going through.  I hold nothing against Leanne.  I told her that I won’t be there tomorrow and she understands.  I just need a bit of time to heal as everything is still  so raw.”

Then I said, “I am done with this conversation tonight.  We can talk again in the future.”

I was hurt.  I really don’t think I was being unreasonable.  I know I can’t expect super fertile friends to know how I feel.  She must have thought that I could just brush my feelings aside for the sake of friendship and getting together with them.  But I just couldn’t this time.  And my expectation was for her to give me a little bit more room and understanding rather than judging me for skipping one dinner.  I was utterly disappointed that the understanding was not given to me.

Chloe at this point knew that I was mad.  She kept trying to patch things up.  These were the things that she typed:

“I’m being honest with you because I love you.  I’m not trying to be mean or hurt you. I love you and wish you would join us.  I know I can’t understand what you are going through. I can’t be in your shoes.  I wish I could make all of this better for you.  I’m sorry if I upset you.  I’m truly sorry. I love you and just wish you could be with us tomorrow.”

Yeah but please do not try to guilt trip me into coming to dinner.

So to that, I responded, “I just can’t tomorrow. I have learned to take care of myself.  I don’t expect you to understand what I’m going through. but I need some empathy here. So just please let me be.  I love you all too, but I need some distance.”

She said, “Ok. I respect your need for time.  I miss you and love you. I hope I can see you sometime sooner than later this year.”  She then apologized a few more times.  At that point, I just wanted to be done with the conversation, so I said, “Okay Chloe. Thanks. I hope you guys have a great time tomorrow. Night.”

 She just wouldn’t quit.  She wrote, “Isabelle, I wish I knew the right things to say and not say. I wish I could make all this better for you. Please forgive me, I didn’t mean to upset you. I’m sorry my words were upsetting and selfish.  I want to see you, but you aren’t up for it. I need to respect that.”

I knew she was still worried that I was upset with her.  So I reassured her that it was fine and now that we knew what we were both thinking, we could move on.  She still went on for a little while until I stopped responding.

Is it too much to ask for when I just want to skip dinner with my pregnant friend and my out-of-town friend for this one time just barely a week after my negative beta results following my last failed cycle with my own eggs?  Is it unreasonable for me to expect that I could just stay home and mourn when I need to rather than putting up a brave face in front of my friends?  I know that she apologized and did acknowledge that her words were upsetting and selfish.  But I think it will take me a little while to get over this one.

I am a little tired of dealing with fertile people and explaining myself.   But I am not worried about our friendship.  We are still good friends.  We’ll be fine.

A New Cycle, And Conversations

Phew!  No need to name any cysts this cycle.  There was none!

Antral follicle count: three on the left, one or two on the right.  We got the clear to start Cl.omid tonight!  I am quite pleased with the AFC since it gives us a chance to have a few follicles again.  I know how great our last cycle was.  Of course I would love to replicate it.  However, I know that these things are not a guarantee.  I have been praying for a perfect number of follicles, a perfect number of eggs, and a perfect number of embryos.  I am going to wait patiently for these numbers.  Next ultrasound to check on the follicles will be Monday, October 6th.  IVF #6, banking cycle #2.  Here we come!

*****

I love my dad.  We have had a very good relationship since I was  a little girl.  He has many qualities that I would love to have myself.  My dad was born in China as the 4th child of a huge family.  He did not have a chance to have a formal education.  He started working at age six tending cattle.   At one point he also begged for money on the street.  He moved to Hong Kong with most of his family from China at age 11 and started working then.  When he was a teenager, he started to attend night classes while working a few jobs a day.  Despite not having a formal education, my father is one of the most intelligent men I have ever met.  He is also caring, patient, has a very open mind, and is a great problem solver.  We don’t have to talk much but every time we talk, I can pour my heart out and tell him anything I want to.  When we first experienced fertility problems, my dad was one of the first people that we told about considering IVF.  He is a trustworthy man who can really keep a secret.  When told not to tell my mom, he really kept everything to himself and never said a word about our treatment.  Although at one time, I got mad at him because he advised me to let nature take its course and not to force things.  I told him that he wouldn’t understand because he and mom never experienced any issues when they conceived my older brother and me in their 20s.  After that, my dad never said anything that would offend me about this process.  He supports us quietly.

Last week I chatted with him about our cycle.  I bragged to him about the savings for doing the egg retrieval without anesthesia.  I went on to tell him about all the mini cycles we intend to do for the next couple of months and how much each costs.  He listened to me quietly.  Then he asked, “How are you guys doing financially?  You must have to cut down on your expenses because of these cycles?”  I told him not to worry about it.  We have saved up money for these cycles.   We are also actively saving up for donor egg cycles.  Ever since Bob found a new job, saving up money is getting easier.

I love what my dad said next.  He said, “While you’re trying to save up for the baby, make sure that you guys set aside some money to enjoy life and each other.”  I was very touched by what he said.  He does not want us to pour every single penny we have into having a baby.  He wants us to live life.

I don’t know if you remember a fight Bob and I had a few months ago.  He wanted to put every single penny into our IVF fund.  He felt that we were not on the same page and was disappointed that I didn’t have the same intensity he had for saving up for IVF.  Even my therapist told me to tell him that it’s okay to spend some money to live life and not to focus everything (money or time) on the cycles.  When my conversation with my dad ended, I went down to the living room and sat next to Bob who was watching TV.  I told him I talked with dad.  And he had some advice for us.   Bob really respects my father.  So he paid full attention.  He listened to what I had to say and he seemed to take my dad’s words seriously.  I am grateful that my dad made such an advice and my husband is receptive to it.  Living life is important too, right?  My dad is wise.

*****

My first serious job out of college was a research assistant at a university clinic.   I became very close friends with a few of the girls there at work.  We’ve been friends for the last 18 years.  They celebrated most of my birthdays in my 20s and early 30s.  They are like sisters to me.  In our mid-30s, the relationships started to drift apart for a little.  We no longer work with each other.  One of them, who was usually the one organizing get togethers, moved to another state.  Another one married her long-term boyfriend who cheated on her during their dating years.  This kind of put a strain on her relationship with us.  Nonetheless, I still consider them very good friends although I don’t see them as much anymore.

Both these friends were very fertile.  Chloe conceived her first the second month trying.  Then she conceived number two the first month she was off the pill.  Leanne, the one with the husband that we don’t really like, also got pregnant within the first couple of months.  When Bob and I first started trying, both of them dismissed my concerns of my fertility difficulty and laughed at me for charting and doing OPKs.  According to them, I shouldn’t be doing all these things.  Just have sex, relax, and it will happen.

Well, guess what?  Fast forward to two years nine months later, a baby has not happened.  They don’t make these insensitive remarks anymore.  Instead, they both feel sorry that I have such difficulty having a baby.  I don’t update them with all the details.  I just tell them all the big things, such as the transfer, the miscarriage, and just in general that we’re pursuing mini-IVF.

Chloe’s done with building her family as she has two kids.  Leanne’s husband is nine years older then she is and has a teenage daughter from his first marriage.  Leanne has always wanted number two but her husband often said no because he felt that he was old.  So I have never been worried about her announcing her pregnancy to me because I knew that she wouldn’t try unless he is on the same page.

This weekend Bob and I went to visit Leanne’s new house.  She moved from a two bedroom condo to a single family home by the coast.  I was surprised when we arrived.  It was practically a mansion.  It has a few huge rooms with a huge master bedroom and front and backyard.  It’s much much bigger than what they had before.  While we were all standing in the master bedroom admiring the vastness of it, Leanne broke the news to me that they are trying for number two.  I was very shocked as I never expected that her husband would’ve said yes to it.  Well apparently he didn’t want to try because of the small size of the previous home.  Now that this house is so much bigger, he feels that there is room for an extra baby.

I don’t yet know how I feel about it.  I never thought that I would even have to decide how to feel about it.  It had been quite safe with both of these friends in terms of pregnancy news as they were done by the time I started trying.

It’s such a mixed bag of emotions.  I love Leanne dearly and don’t want her to have to go through any sort of trouble with number two.  She is after all 38 years old and is five years older than when she had her first.  It could take a little longer for her this time.  However, I don’t want her to have an instant pregnancy either.  At least try for a few months?  I am conflicted.  I still have to process my feelings.

I know that her pregnancy will be none of my business because it’s not about me.  But I do secretly hope that I will get pregnant first so that at least I don’t have to endure another close friend’s pregnancy announcement while I am still waiting for my turn for my first baby.  Does that make sense?

The human mind is so messed up sometimes.

Being Loved and Cared For

I feel so loved.

A fellow leader from my bible study group learned of my loss during the retreat.  We were not close but the retreat brought us closer together.  When I saw her at the meeting last Saturday, she told me to go out with her to her car on my way out.  She handed me a paper bag.  I looked inside.  There was a card and this:

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I was so touched.  The orchids has definitely brightened my life as well as my garden window in the kitchen.

And then this came in the mail yesterday:

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I was so so so so so shocked and very very very surprised.  In that big box, there were six tubs of Schulzies bread pudding of three different flavors.  It came totally out of the blue.  Schulzies is a bread pudding shop in San Francisco with 108 flavors.  When you go to the shop itself, it’s like buying ice cream.  You order a scoop, then you get it in a cup.  

I looked at the note that was attached.  It was from two very special ladies.  One of them was my friend who lost her baby at 16 weeks.  I mentioned about her in my last post.  The other one was our other friend who struggled to get pregnant for three years and finally gave birth to her second child.  I met them on the Taking Charge of Your Fertility website (TCOFY) a few years ago.  We all became good friends.  The note said:

“We wanted you to feel the love even from a distance.  Thinking of you and sending warm healing hugs, R & A”

I almost cried.  They are so thoughtful.  They knew that my favorite dessert is bread pudding and they found a local store to buy me a lot to cheer me up.  I was stunned and speechless.  I am still stunned at the thoughtfulness and generosity of these ladies.  Thank you R and A.  You ladies sure know how to take good care of me.  Deepest gratitude from my heart.

And finally, I also loved and cared for myself.  I needed new bras.  But my boobs became so much bigger during the last IVF cycle due to the side effect of the progesterone suppositories.  I was also waiting to see if I was pregnant… If I was, then I would  need different bras.  Well, turned out the pregnancy didn’t last.  So instead of waiting, I bought myself some new bras that came yesterday.  I was going to take some photos and show them.  Well, everyone knows what a bra looks like.  I decided against it.  But I just really want to take good care of myself as well.  The bras and the bread pudding arrived at the same time. 🙂  

Taking good care of my self and being cared for by others feel so good.

 

Two Dear Friends

During those few days of my own pregnancy and loss, my friends’ news created a crazy mix of emotions for me.

Like I mentioned before, I have made some very good friends online.  I know that we have never met in person, but we know each other and have shared many deep thoughts with each other despite not having physically spent time together.  I wrote about one of them here.  

To recap, she was the one who was pregnant with twins.  Then at one of the subsequent ultrasound scan, the tech discovered that there were actually three heartbeats.  That sent her to a place of confusion, doubt, and fear.  It was a difficult decision to figure out whether to keep all three babies, or to do selective reduction.  It was a very personal choice and a very painful choice.  But when the reality hit and when she discovered at nine weeks that two of the three babies no longer had a heartbeat… the pain was almost too much to bear.  The one remaining baby has become very precious.  

Every week I checked on her and the baby’s progress.  Usually everything would be fine.. until 16 weeks.  That was a few weeks ago.  At her 16 week scan, she was told that the baby did not have kidneys.  Everything else was fine… but no kidneys.  WTH?  Had she not suffered enough for losing two of her three babies?  Now this?  I was feeling so so mad and sad.  Week after week, the answer was the same.  No kidneys.  So what was the implication?  She was told that the baby’s “development is incompatible with life.”  Yes, a baby born without a kidney does not usually live.  These babies usually die in utero or shortly after birth.  How does a mom bear with this news knowing that her baby will not live?  Especially after losing two other babies? 

The day I got my first positive beta ever in my life, this friend told me that she was going to drive to Baltimore that night for a second opinion.  Apparently this woman’s daughter is the first baby to live without kidneys.  The baby was treated by doctors at Johns Hopkins.  So my friend was going there for another scan using their super machine and see what could be done to save her own baby.  She also had an appointment scheduled with another hospital for a second opinion… but she had L & D on the books for the following Monday if they didn’t feel that amniotic infusions were their miracle and if they were not able to be convinced by the doctors that the baby wouldn’t suffer if she were born alive.  I really couldn’t imagine what went through her mind when she was driving in the cold all the way to Johns Hopkins.

The day after my first beta was the day she went to see the specialist.  My heart was full of anticipation and anxiety for my own pregnancy as well as for my friend’s consultation.  It was a matter of life and death for her unborn baby.  When I got her message, I was in the middle of a work retreat.  I shouldn’t have checked my message but I did.  I about fell off my chair when I saw what she wrote: 

“They found one kidney! It still looks like her left kidney has never developed but they said that having one to me is a variation of normal and it should not affect her at all!!!”

I burst into tears.  That was a great day for the both of us.  She WILL have her baby after all and I was pregnant for the first time in my life.  She does not have to make a decision about what to do with the baby because her baby will live!  It seemed that the right kidney had been there all along but at 16 weeks, it would’ve been the size of a grain of rice.  The less precise scan could not detect it.  The kidney on the left is still missing.  But the baby will live.

That was the Best. News. Ever.  Better than my own pregnancy news.  For my friend who had gone through so much with struggling to get pregnant, getting pregnant, losing babies, being told that she might lose the last baby, this is a miracle.  My pregnancy was a miracle.  We were celebrating our miracles.

Although my miracle ended the next day, my heart is full of gratitude that hers lives on.

On the day of my second beta, I got my sad news, and another friend of mine needed to get her D&C done.  It was  a sad day for the both of us.  I met her on the TCOYF forum.  We became close friends since we had a spin-off Facebook group for a few of us who would like faster communication.  She and I are similar in age and are both believers in Christ.  She has been a great source of support for me.  Her husband and she have been trying for their first child together for quite a few years.  He has two children from a previous marriage and is older.  She longs for her own children.  They decided to pursue IVF.  After the first round of IVF, she had her first pregnancy which unfortunately became her first loss.  Two subsequent frozen embryo transfers yielded two BFNs.  She did another fresh cycle, made many blastocysts, and transferred three of them.  Eventually she got pregnant with two beans, one with a heartbeat and the other was a yolk sac.  Unfortunately one of them didn’t make it so she was pregnant with the remaining twin.  

Her pregnancy continued to go well.  I had been very happy for her and did not have any sort of jealousy that I usually had for others.  I just felt very connected to her and felt that we understood each other very well.  She has been a great support of my life and consistently asks me how I am doing and is truly concerned about my wellbeing.  After each ultrasound, she would give an update of her little baby growing well inside her.  We in our group would all rejoice with her for the wonderful news, until two weeks ago.  That was the day when I was chatting with her online about symptoms.  That was four days after my transfer and I felt nothing.  She told me that she had not felt any pregnancy symptoms.  After she made that statement, she went for a scan in the afternoon.  Then came the most heartbreaking news.  At her 16 week ultrasound, no heartbeat was detected.  The baby appeared to have stopped growing about two weeks prior to that.  My heart totally broke for her.  I did not and will not understand why she had to lose her baby at 16 weeks.  Why in the second trimester?  Why the baby continued to grow until that point but not beyond?  Why torture her like that?  Of course nobody had an answer.  I just could not imagine what she was going through.  The hope and the dream of her forever baby was taken away at a blink of an eye.  I know that many people have experienced something similarly heartbreaking and painful.  But somehow this felt so much more real when this is her, my friend, who deserves to take home this baby as much as any other moms.  

Despite her own news, she was still able to be excited for me and the prospect of my potential pregnancy.  When I got my first beta, her excitement was almost palpable even though it was online.  I was happy for myself, sad for her, and very super happy for the previous friend who got news about her precious baby’s existing right kidney.  It was such a crazy mix of emotions for those few days.  This friend’s D&C was scheduled for the Thursday, the same day I was getting my second beta.  She would like some good news from me.  Unfortunately, both of our babies’ lives were too short.  

That was me… and my emotions in the last few weeks.  All the ups and downs with my own news and my friends’ news.  I am hopeful that my first friend’s baby will be born in July, with her due date being on my birthday.  As for my other friend and myself, I am also hopeful that we will eventually have our take home babies.  She mentioned that we would have our playdates in heaven for our babies who went up there first.  I said, let’s have our playdates on this earth with our take home babies first.  I truly believe that this will happen in the future.  We just don’t know when.  But I truly believe that our babies will play together on this earth.