MicroblogMondays: Dealing With Worries And Sadness

Microblog_Mondays

I have been trying to digest and accept the news we received last Thursday.  Admittedly, I haven’t been doing a good job.

Since that day, I woke up every morning confused about where I was and when it was.  Once I realized that it was Friday, or Saturday, or Sunday, and that our quest for a baby is once again going to be delayed, sadness overcame me.  This sadness has been intermittent.  Sometimes I feel fine.  Sometimes my heart hurts.

This four-year journey has been so tough for us.  Even before we started to try for a baby, an abdominal myomectomy was necessary to remove over 50 tiny fibroids from my uterine wall.  They were not in the cavity but the sheer number and volume of them pushed on the uterus and altered its shape.  Recovery time for this open surgery was six weeks off work and three menstrual cycles before we were advised to start trying for a baby right away.  My FSH was elevated already.  I knew that we should try quickly before the fibroids grow back.  Well, we all know how that has been going.  Despite how much we want to get pregnant, it just hasn’t happened for us.  We watch people who try with their own eggs and donor eggs get pregnant one by one.  We miss the train every single time.

In the meantime, a new fibroid has been growing in the back of my uterus.  A couple of years back, it was much smaller.  In the last few transfers, nobody had ever said anything about it interfering with implantation or pregnancy.  I felt fortunate that no one had told us that we had to remove it.  Until last Thursday.

I have been trying to avoid another surgery at all cost.  Being cut up and recovering from it is not easy.  Plus I just don’t want to weaken my abdominal wall any further.  I know plenty of people have two or three abdominal surgeries but I didn’t want to be one of them.  I didn’t want another surgery to delay any fresh cycles or transfers.  But, as we have learned time and time again, it is not in our control.

All of a sudden, I am worried about things that may or may not happen.  Of course we want things to go smoothly and according to our timing.  But our history shows that things don’t often go the way we want.  I am worried that the surgery would be scheduled at the time my in-laws are in town.  My surgeon told me that after the surgical consultation (on 4/20) it takes about a month or two to schedule the surgery, and I’ll have to be off work for two weeks.  Can you imagine being home with my in-laws while I am trying to recover?  I so desperately want the surgery to be around the time my own mother is still in town.  I am also worried that somehow my donor has traveled to an area infected by Zika virus and my clinic deems her ineligible to donate until a much later time.  I feel that somehow with our “luck”, bad things that are unlikely to happen will happen.  And, my biggest worry is that after doing the surgery and spending all the money, we still won’t have a child we can call our own.

Sometimes I just want to hide in a hole and quit it all.

Irrational.  I know.  But these are real fears and worries.  I usually try to deal with worries by taking it one day at a time.  But this time I just can’t seem to focus on the positive .  My brain these few days is filled with these worries that I can’t seem to shake.  We skipped Easter breakfast at church because I didn’t want to deal with people.  I avoided meet and greet time.  I didn’t want to have anything to do with babies.  Seeing all the matching outfits of kids and families of two, three, or four kids, I was once again reminded of the void in our life.  Bob was amazing though.  Being a helper at the nursery today, holding all the babies gave him the resolve to become a father of his own child in the future.

I continue to pray for peace.  After having peace on Thursday, I don’t seem to have it these past few days.  I know it’s up to God to answer my prayer.  I desperately want God to take away these worries and give me the peace that surpasses all understanding.  But again, I can ask but this too is out of my control.

Fortunately, although I am a mess this time, Bob is not fazed by any of these potential problems.  He has been my voice of positivity, logic, and rational thoughts.  He consoles me and tells me that it’s okay for me to feel sad, but he doesn’t want me to stay there for too long.  He acknowledges my fears, but is also firm in his beliefs that although our timeline is delayed once again, we will eventually move forward with the next cycle with a uterus that is healed.  He believes that the donor will be fine and will give us the embryos that we need.  He believes that I will get pregnant and we will be parents in 2017.

His unwavering belief is exactly what I need.  I am grateful that one of us is doing well.  Our patience is once again tested.  I hope that soon I will get over this sadness and this state of worries so I can be back to being calm, happy, at peace, and patient again.

And I hope that none of my worries comes true.

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MicroblogMondays: Girls’ Getaway

Microblog_Mondays

When I said yes to my girlfriend for a January getaway weekend back in September, I was hoping that I’d be pregnant by now. The expectation was that she’d have to watch a video of progesterone in oil injection and stick me with a thick long needle.

Expectation and reality are two totally different things.

Despite the disappointment, I think I was able to make the most out of it.

Sometimes taking a trip with a friend could ruin friendships. You just never know if you’d be compatible travelers. I had confidence that my girlfriend and I would travel well together. I’m so glad I was right.

We chatted non-stop once we met up at the airport. It was basically one long chatting session all afternoon and evening. We met up for lunch for three hours on Christmas Eve and that was a really nice and long time. But I don’t think we ever had a very long time to talk about anything and everything and not just using the time to catch up.  Having a friend that you can talk to non-stop is a blessing. And it’s even a bigger blessing that we had the opportunity to do that on a trip. No distractions from our daily life.  No rushing to places or appointments. It was wonderful. At the airport and on my flight, I didn’t even touch any of my entertainment. We just chatted.

My friend booked a really nice hotel resort. I know that Bob and I would probably not spend this kind of money on a hotel room so I gladly said yes to it. It didn’t disappoint. Every single staff member was nice, attentive, and courteous. Service was fast. We got upgraded from one king bed (to save money originally) to two queen beds.


And instead of the “resort view”, we got upgraded to the mountain view! It was all dark at night so we didn’t get to see the spectacular views until the next day. Look what it looked like out of our window:

The snow-capped mountains were just so soothing for the eyes. We lay in bed and just looked out for a while.

Before breakfast, we went on a 1.6-mile hike close to the hotel. It’s so unique to have an area to hike at a resort. Here are some pictures of the hike:

  

The rest of the day, we just chilled and did whatever. When my friend spent her time at the spa, I opted for my time by the pool. It wasn’t the warmest to allow for bikinis or swimsuits, but it was sunny and warm enough for chilling there with my glass of spicy strawberry margarita.


The food on this trip was amazing. The burger we had the first night was seriously one of the bed burgers I had had in my life:

Breakfasts were good:



Our dinner was at this restaurant in town that I chose ahead of time.  It had the best reviews and even better, a three-course dinner at a super discounted price between 4:30 and 5:45. We arrived at 5:15 and honestly, we were the only people who didn’t have gray hair!  Local retirees know where to find good food!

The Manhattan clam chowder was just right. The pork chop was so juicy and flavorful it was seriously one of the best I had. The service was pleasant and attentive. All in all a very great dining experience at a discounted price.


  

The best gift and surprise of all was that we were contacted by our dear friend and spiritual mentor who saw on Face.book that we were in the area. She happened to have just arrived here a week ago for her month-long vacation from Colorado.  We didn’t know that she was going to be in the same area since she usually would go to Florida for her January trip.  It was a wonderful surprise to be within a few miles of each other after she and her husband moved away a few years ago from the Bay Area.  She was both of our mentor about eight years ago.  We met up once a week and talked about spiritual things.  This time, we were so blessed to be able to get together for coffee and caught up for over two hours.  The power of social media is amazing.  She hadn’t gone on Face.book for a long time and once she went on, she saw our photos.  Without that, she wouldn’t have known we were there.

Finally, it was wonderful to come home to my husband.  He bought groceries and made dinner so I could have enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  Before he came to pick me up at the airport, he made sure that he filled the tank so I would have gas for work this coming week.  I love seeing his face after not being with him for a couple of days.

And my girlfriend and I are already talking about another girls’ getaway.  I guess we still love each other after seeing each other non-stop for 48 hours.  😉

MicroblogMondays: The Bryson – From My Hubby

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The Bryson – A great name for the bouquet that my husband sent to me at my work.

You know, me and my husband.  We have our share of good times and trying times.  We have fun.  We joke.  We take care of each other.  We love on each other as much as we can.  We also fight.  We have “robust discussions”.  We have disagreements.  We have our conflicts.

One day last week, we had a robust discussion about family conflicts with my side of the family.  Whatever it is about, I won’t go into details about it.  Let’s just say that we tried to be as calm, logical, and reasonable as possible, but the discussion was emotionally charged.  There were a few things that I would have rather not heard.  But at the end, we were in good terms again, as we usually do.

Then the day after, I saw this box in the copy room downstairs and literally jumped when I realized that it was for me.

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I opened it up, and saw this:

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I was so surprised!  I did not expect to receive flowers on that day.  I read the card and it said that it was from my husband and he wrote: “This reminds me of the first bouquet that I gave you six years ago. 🙂 ”  He gave me yellow roses for the first time and I teased him that it was for friendship.

See how pretty the bouquet is:

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I chatted with him online and expressed my amazement at such an arrangement on that day.  He told me that this is partly for our fourth wedding anniversary that is coming up in a few days.  It was also partly an apology for sometimes making my life difficult.  I love flowers and he couldn’t have picked a better arrangement named “The Bryson”.

My husband sometimes drives me crazy, but he certainly knows how to surprise me and make my heart sing.  I am a lucky girl.  🙂

MicroblogMondays: Tender Moment

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After our disappointing scan on Wednesday, Bob and I were cuddling in bed at night chatting about the day.  I made it through the day without crying about the lack of follicle growth.  I closed my eyes when Bob said:

“Imagine in the future when we go to Hong Kong and your dad takes away our baby to show off to relatives and refuses to return the baby to us.”

I immediately had a vivid image in my head: my dad holding our baby who has a head full of black wavy hair, proudly showing baby off to friends with a big smile on his face.

My heart all of a sudden hurt a little.  It ached for this image that felt so far from reality.  I kept my eyes closed.  Suddenly tears started coming down.  Bob’s forehead was tenderly resting on mine.  When he noticed that I was crying, he thought he had said something wrong.  I reassured him that he didn’t say anything wrong.  It was just the right time to shed some tears at that tender moment.  Of the hope that this could become a reality when we push forward.  Of the fear that it would never become a reality.

Bob just held me in his arms and both of us were silent.  As I was feeling his warmth, I felt fortunate that he’s always here for me bearing the weight of the unknown with me and braving through these storms in our fertility journey.

Despite a disappointing cycle, I am still a very lucky woman to have a man who stands by me during the most difficult times.

*****

Yesterday’s scan on cycle day twelve showed very little follicle growth.  I might have been over-suppressed by the estrogen I took before the cycle started.  Three cycles of Clo.mid might have messed up my hormones.  I didn’t cry and didn’t feel overly disappointed.  I kind of expected this outcome.  Jane is right.  These are her wise words: “There are still so many positives; in just 2 cycles, you got 5 embies that were  further and rated better than before.”  It IS such a positive thing.  Imagine not having those embryos.  I don’t know the outcome of this cycle.  But I know that I’ll get through it just like any other disappointing moments in this journey.  We’ll get through it.

Surprises – The Pixley and Dr. No Nonsense

“The Pixley” is the name of the bouquet that my wonderful husband sent to my work.  I was so surprised!  Remember our big fight on the eve of my birthday this year?  I would never have guessed that he’d be so thoughtful so soon after we had that fight.  Yesterday I went down to greet my 11am client.  I was signing the intake sheet when one of my front desk staff pointed at this bouquet of flowers right next to me.  I still didn’t understand what she meant.  She said, “This is for you.”  Since the note was clipped on the bouquet, I couldn’t see the name of the sender.  My coworkers who gathered around me at that point said that it must have been from your hubby.  I was still doubtful and said, “I don’t think so”, simply because of the fight and the subsequent talk that we had about saving money for more IVF.  I took off the clip, turned the note over, and read it.  I immediately started tearing up.  This is what it said:

To: Isabelle

From: Bob

Note: I know it’s been a tough week for you and us.  Hang in there.  Love you!

the pixley

This is the biggest surprise of the year.  The packaging, the flowers, the presentation.  Everything was perfect.  I didn’t even want to take the flowers out of the burlap because of how perfect it looked.  I am very grateful that Bob was there with me during the baseline appointment when we found out about Ursula the cyst.  He saw how disappointed I was and how much I wanted to cry but couldn’t.  He witnessed everything and thought that some flowers would cheer me up.  They definitely did cheer up although I cried like a mess in front of others who had no clue why this week has been difficult for me and us.  Fortunately, my 11am client’s mom is the one who is pregnant with her miracle baby after losing her other baby.  I wrote about her in this very long post.  I am so glad that she was the one who was there to see me being a mess.  I showed her the flowers in the waiting room and told her what happened this week.  She started tearing up and we hugged each other.  We were both a mess!  This is the sweetest and most perfect gift.  My husband rocks!  I think I’ll keep him.  😉  (Too bad he doesn’t read this blog anymore so he doesn’t know my praises for him here.)

*****

Another surprise is Dr. No Nonsense’s phone call to me on Thursday.  After I was told by the doctor who did the ultrasound that the cycle would be canceled, I didn’t think that anyone other than the nurse would contact me.  After all, this is a big university clinic with many many patients.  I didn’t expect any more personal phone call from the doctor himself like the care that I’d get from Dr. E at her tiny little clinic.  I was actually writing his nurse an email when the phone rang.  I picked it up and was so surprised to hear Dr. No Nonsense’s voice.  He asked me how I was doing.  I told him that I was a bit disappointed.  We went on to chat about my history of having cysts and how they were the cause of two canceled cycles.  He said that this cyst is pretty big. He asked me how I would feel about putting me on estrogen after ovulation.  I asked him what that would do.  He said that it would help suppress my FSH so that my body does not start recruiting follicles prematurely.  So that’s the plan.  I will take estrogen a week after ovulation and we’ll see how things go.  I like that Dr. No Nonsense is proactive.  I feel that he cares and I feel cared for.  The sting of the canceled cycle has slowly subsided.  I am starting to feel at peace again.  I will continue with acupuncture and Maya abdominal massage next week to hopefully make Ursula go away.

*****

Finally, I have blocked infertile no longer pregnant friend on gchat.  She will not see me online anymore… at least until I unblock her.  It has actually been a relief.  I still feel a little guilty at times for blocking her but I enjoy the peace and quiet and being free of unsolicited advice.

*****

Cycle day five.  Time is moving very slowly…..

Bob the Pro

So… My period came yesterday.  The luteal phase was only 12 days this time, which kind of confirmed that maybe my basal body temperature spiked a couple of days after ovulation as my usual luteal phase is 14 days.  I emailed Dr. E to ask about the next step. She said she’d send me a calendar today.  Today came and there was no sign of said calendar from Dr. E at 5pm.  I usually wouldn’t want to be pushy, but I do want to know what the plan is.  So I emailed her.  She actually thought that she had already sent me the protocol and calendar.  In my mind, I thought she was going to prescribe Femara to me, alternating two pills and three pills and then add Menopur on day five.  But apparently she had other plans for me.  I received two options.  One is to do pure injectibles, meaning four vials of Menopur a day.  The second option is to take three Femara for five days and start Menopur on day four or five.  She asked me which option I felt like doing and my gut was telling me.  

I never thought that I would have a say in what protocol I would like to use.  I sat there minutes before I had to leave work to go to my Bible study and had to quickly make a decision.  I considered quickly the two protocols.  Our first IVF brought us the most success (one frozen day 6 blastocyst) and it was that protocol that we used four vials of Menopur.  The difference is, I had 6 antral follicles at the time and this time I don’t really know how many follicles I have.  The second option with Femara happened to be the same as the second and third IVF cycles, which yielded poor results.  One gave us embryos that didn’t grow.  The other one gave us one follicle.  What did my gut tell me?  My gut told me to go with the protocol with four vials of Menopur a day.  I quickly wrote back Dr. E.  She said that was her gut feeling as well.  So that was the decision making process: gut feeling. 🙂

I emailed Bob who enthusiastically said, Let’s do it!  I had to change my plans for tonight.  I led my group discussion and left early without listening to the lecture.  I still had 26 vials of Menopur left.  Bob was watching a cricket game online, India vs. New Zealand.  I took out all of the Menopur vials and the Omnitrope vial, sterilized all of them, and set out the syringes.  Bob began to draw out the liquid and started mixing the powder.  I sat there and watched him.  He was keeping an eye on the score on the computer screen while mixing the meds.  I found it so amusing to watch him do both at the same time.  I still remember six months ago when we were doing the same thing for our first IVF cycle.  I wiped the table and laid everywhere out in an orderly manner for him.  He was very focused and did everything meticulously without any distraction.  Compared to the very first time when table was free of any non-IVF related stuff, the table this time was chaotic.  It had my laptop, his laptop, a Bible, a water bottle, two placemats, my cup, Menopur packaging, and other miscellaneous items.  This time, it felt like second nature to him.  He knew exactly what to do and did it like a true pro.  It’s definitely NOT a skill that I would want him to master since it means that we have done it one too many times.  The upside of it is that at least I won’t worry about him spilling anything on the table.  Every drop is worth a lot of money.

So here is it guys.  IVF #4 has begun.  I feel pretty good.  We shall see what these Menopur vials can do for us.  We’ll find out more on Friday.

 

The best case scenario so far

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

We got four eggs! 

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

Thank you Lord.