MicroblogMondays: Closure

I didn’t think I was going to attend my grandma’s funeral.  My thought was, if I didn’t get to spend time with her before she died, what is the use of going right now as I don’t even get to spend time with her.  The day after grandma died, my dad sent me a text with the dates: the wake will be on 3/23 and the funeral is the next morning.  He called me that evening and wondered if I had thought of going for just a few days.  I was honest about it.  It hadn’t even crossed my mind to go all the way to Asia mainly because of my schedule for the next week or so.  But I promised him that I’d think about it.  He told me that there was no pressure, which I believed him.  My dad never pressures us into doing anything.

So this is what I was originally scheduled to do: driving with Bob to a bible study conference in Southern California on 3/17 Friday and returning on 3/19 Sunday.  I bought plane tickets to go to Annie’s hometown 3/20 Monday morning so I could attend the 12 weeks 5 days ultrasound that afternoon.  The plan was for me to return home on 3/21 evening.  If I stuck with my plan and still go to my grandma’s funeral, I’d basically have to fly out to Asia on 3/21 evening in order to make it to the wake.  Imagine traveling from Friday to Sunday to one place, Monday to Tuesday to another place, and immediately flying all the way to Asia.  I know nothing is impossible, but with my age and stamina, I don’t think it will be the wisest thing for me to do.  I am not that young anymore.

So my choice came down to: seeing the babies?  Or honoring grandma?

I did struggle with the decision.  It’s not about the money.  Fortunately we have been flying Sout.hwest, and this airline allows for cancellation of reservations and the funds can be used towards another travel within a year.  I can cancel the flight to Annie’s hometown and won’t lose our money.  The airfare to Asia is surprisingly inexpensive.  I get five days of bereavement leave at work so it doesn’t make a huge dent in my vacation time that I am saving up for prenatal appointments.  I do miss seeing my babies, especially after the last ultrasound when I felt that I just wanted to be there to witness everything, to be part of my babies’ lives as much as possible during this time.  But I know that the babies aren’t going to go anywhere, and Bob and I are going to attend the 16 weeks ultrasound.  It is really not going to be a huge deal skipping the 12 weeks ultrasound.

Another thing is, I feel that I will not have a whole lot of time to go to Asia the next few months and especially after the babies arrive.  I know of people who travel with their newborns to see relatives in Asia, but I don’t know how feasible it will be with two babies.  My paternal grandmother is approaching 98.  It may be a good time for me to go see her again before my life gets crazy in the next few months.  Nobody knows how long she will be here on earth, right?  And when I go and see her in person, I can share our good news about the twins with her face-to-face.  This may help me cope with the loss of my other grandma who never learned about her great grandkids.

Bob was 100% supportive for whatever decision I was going to make.  So after praying and sleeping on it for a few days, I decided to forego the prenatal appointment and to make a trip to Asia for just eight days.  It is going to be a short trip but enough for me to spend some quality time with my family and supporting my mom who has been tremendously sad losing her mother.  Thank God for technology, I will still be able to see the babies like usual on my tiny phone screen when Annie goes to the 12 weeks 5 days ultrasound.  To me, this is the best plan so that my grandma’s life will be honored.  I feel at peace with this decision.  Although I didn’t get to see my grandma before she died, I believe this trip will help bring closure.

MicroblogMondays: Too Late


My grandma passed away yesterday.

This was my mom’s mom.  My brother was the first grandchild in the family and this grandma took care of him the first few years of his life while my mom was at work.  The two of them had a close bond that none of us subsequent grandchildren had.  I grew up with my paternal grandmother instead.  My maternal grandmother had a stroke not too long ago and was becoming very sick.  I never developed the closeness with her like my brother did, but knowing that the end of her life was near, I desperately wanted to let her know that her great grand-babies would be coming later this year.

Because of how sick my grandma was, my brother flew to Asia to spend time with her.  That was the day after our 8 weeks 5 days scan.  I had given him the task of sharing our pregnancy news with grandma if her recovery from her stroke allowed her to understand his message.  My brother and I spoke on the phone after he arrived and visited with her.  She was simply not lucid enough to have a meaningful conversation at that point with him.  I told him to tell her if he found a good time.  After we hung up, I broke into tears.

Since then, my heart would skip a beat whenever the phone rang or a text message came.  I was afraid that it would be bad news about my grandma.  Saturday night while I was having a good time at a friend’s birthday party, I was totally unaware of my grandma being at the end of her life.  My mom’s text in the middle of the night revealed that grandma breathed her last breath on earth and had passed.  I woke up in the middle of the night and saw the message.  The initial calmness was followed by incredible sorrow in my heart.  Tears kept coming down while I lay in the dark.  It felt like a part of me had left with the death of my grandmother.  When she was pregnant with my mom, the egg that made me was already formed inside my mom as a fetus in my grandma’s womb.  How amazing life is that I originated from her.  And now she has left permanently from this earth, my heart is broken.  I cried uncontrollably at various times yesterday thinking about her and how her life ended.

Grandma and I don’t have anymore time on this earth together.  Last October when I visited was the last time I saw her.  My brother encouraged me saying that instead of being sad about not being able to see her again, I should feel comforted that we did spend time together not too long ago.  But to me, it’s too late now as our babies will never meet their great grandmother.  She had no knowledge of them while she was still on earth.  Infertility has robbed us of many things.  If we had been able to get pregnant earlier, then my grandma would have had a chance to meet our child(ren) or to have the joy of knowing their existence.  This lost opportunity highlights how unfair this journey could be.  Many things on this earth are beyond our control, especially life (creating a baby) and death (loved one’s passing).  I know I will eventually be okay, but today I mourn the loss of my grandmother and the impossibility of my children being in the embrace of their maternal great grandmother.

MicroblogMondays: Picking Up the Pieces


I can’t believe I am writing one of these posts again.  I really thought that this was going to be our time.

Two posts ago was supposed to be the 300th post of this blog.  Instead of celebrating it with a fantastic beta number (which would have been the best timing for the 300th post), I had the worst day possible and had to update you all on the longest timeframe I had to wait for any beta in my life.

It was the most peculiar thing that my OB who had ordered my previous HCG labs STAT actually didn’t order STAT this time.  I called the 24-hour line every single hour starting at 11am.  It was the most disconcerting thing ever, speaking to a stranger who did not know how important this phone call could have been for me.  Every time the answer was “Still processing”.  My OB finally returned my email denying that she ever ordered STAT for my previous beta, although I have her previous emails as my proof.  She wrote, “We cannot order them stat unless there is a medical reason as this would delay labs that were a true emergency. They were not ordered stat last time but I think they sent then stat in the lab for you. I totally understand that you want the results as fast as possible and we do not want to cause you extra anxiety but I have to practice according to hospital policy.”  To me, this is all BS.  All the the previous labs were ordered STAT.  But there is no point of arguing with her.

Little did I know that maybe the delay was the best thing for that day.  With the devastating results, I honestly don’t know how I could have survived without Bob being around me.  I would have been in my office with others or alone at home had the results come back any earlier.  Bob didn’t come home until 9pm.  The results were still not back at 8:40pm, a whole 12 hours after my blood draw.  When I called at 9:40, I still didn’t anticipate to hear the results.  But the stranger on the phone delivered the news.  I was in shock, but politely asked for a repeat of the number, then hung up.  Immediately, I started wailing loudly and could not control my tears.  The immediate heartache was too much to bear.  I was angry, devastated, feeling like this was the end of the world.  My head knowledge told me that this was not the end, but the devastation was still the same.  Can you imagine not having my husband’s warm embrace while I got the heart wrenching news?  I can’t imagine it.  So maybe the whole purpose of this delay in beta was for me to be well taken care of by my husband on that day.  I don’t know.  I could not stop my tears from coming.  It was utter disappointment, heart break, and anger.  I was so angry at God this time.  The unfairness of it all was really hard to swallow.  But haven’t we already learned?  Life is unfair, and we can’t control it when we are dealt the bad cards.  I was supposed to get up at 6am to go to my bible study training.  I was supposed to see a speech therapy client right after that.  That night, I couldn’t even breathe.  The thought of seeing someone other than my husband and acting normally was too much.  Canceling all these prior arrangements, I curled myself up in bed and just cried and cried and cried some more.  It really felt like the end of the world to me as the thought of starting all over again, looking for a donor, stressing over egg retrieval results, fertilization report, transfer, timing, and beta was just so overwhelming.  I just could not believe our luck.

My sentiment that night was I was so sick and tired of being resilient, having perseverance, and always being the bearer of bad news.  What else do we have to do to bring home a baby?  Haven’t we done enough?  I just couldn’t think anymore.

I am so grateful that I have a four-day weekend as we both took Tuesday off for Bob’s birthday.  We just let ourselves be.  We slept in the next morning.  My heart still hurt but was getting better little by little.  The thought of starting all over again was still very overwhelming.  So I put that thought aside.  I cried on and off during the day.  Tears flowed down my cheeks whenever I thought about the loss of Lucy.  Bob has been great.  He reminded me that we should still try to celebrate Valentine’s day and his birthday on Tuesday the best we can.  Yes.  We continue to live life to the fullest despite this huge set back.  We were being nice to ourselves so we could grieve and mourn, and begin the healing process.  I know I am loved because so many of you commented on my blog, and many of my friends checked on me repeatedly to make sure that I was doing okay.  I was still angry at God.  With His might and power, why couldn’t He make it better for us and let us fulfill our dreams of conceiving and growing a child?  My head knowledge told me to trust God’s perfect timing, my heart was just calling all of this BS.  When I couldn’t pray for myself, I know my prayer warriors are lifting me up.

Since I couldn’t talk to my nurse coordinator Friday night, I called the nurses station at my clinic on Saturday.  I knew that I had to do a second beta to confirm the results (which is the most meaningless thing ever), so I had to inquire if I should continue with my progesterone shot.  After a discussion, the on-call nurse said it would be better for me to stay on the injection until the second beta.  I lay there teary while Bob was jabbing that 1.5 inch needle on my behind, not understanding why history had to repeat itself.

On Sunday, we were both feeling better.  Believe it or not, we had church greeting duty.  On Saturday, I kept on thinking that there was no possible way for us to stand there, hand out bulletins, with a genuine smile on our face telling people that we were fine.  But I guess in God, everything is possible.  We were fine.  I genuinely felt hospitable, chatted with guests and friends, and sat through the whole sermon whole-heartedly.  During the quiet time right after sermon, I prayed to God, crying out to Him to comfort us, and not to allow us to steer away from Him.  It was the first heart-felt prayer I had for myself since the news.  Prior to service, I saw our friend’s pregnant wife got off in front of church.  I tried to escape her entry by excusing myself to get a cup of coffee.  After service, there was no escaping as they walked directly towards me.  We chatted about the weather while I avoided glancing down at her six-month pregnant belly.  Thank goodness for her extra long and large coat.

Serving at church did make us feel better.  Bob and I were originally going to have lunch at home.  But I wanted to cheer him up so we had an impromptu lunch at a South Indian restaurant close by.  Parking was a beast but we didn’t mind it.  We thoroughly enjoyed our food.  Afterwards, I decided to get my second beta done instead of waiting until Monday like we had originally planned.  If the results were to come back 12 hours later, I’d rather do it earlier so we could get it over with.  Because it was Valentine’s day, the lab was practically empty.  I asked the phlebotomist if I should get the results within 12 hours, I was shocked to learn that this lab was ordered STAT.  Why this was STAT and the previous one wasn’t, I don’t have a clue.  I just found it so ironic that for this second beta, I would find out the results within two hours.  Of course the results were negative.  I was relieved that my body did not have to endure another unnecessary needle and dose of progesterone when there was no life to support inside of me.

It’s amazing how much Bob and I have bounced back.  I didn’t cry at all yesterday.  We managed to make each other laugh most day. We actually started talking about our next plans.  We will definitely test his sperm for DNA fragmentation.  Since we didn’t test our embryos, we didn’t know if we should blame my uterus or the embryos for these failed cycles.  So for our next cycle, we are going to test the embryos even though the recommendation is that embryos from DE don’t need testing.  We will find a donor to do a fresh cycle.  And the most shocking one for myself is, I may switch clinic and go somewhere else.  I need a doctor who is friendlier with immune protocols and I don’t think Dr. No Nonsense is that doctor.  If something is wrong with my uterus, I want someone that can support that.  I have already looked at various donor databases, contacted a Southern California clinic that is famous for egg donation (many of our fellow bloggers and DE moms have gone there), and saw a few donors that have potentials.  It surprised me that looking through donor profiles did not cause me negative emotions or stress.  The most freaky thing was that the original agency that I used for the first donor that disappeared had not contacted me for six months.  The first email she sent me was the day after this failed cycle telling me that there was a brand new Korean donor for us to check out.  Anyhow, I don’t think we’ll work with that donor.  We’ll most likely ask for our money back from this agency and move onto somewhere else.  I will still have my WTF appointment with Dr. NN since I don’t have to pay extra.  Plus I really want to hear what he’d have to say.

Bob and I had a great chat.  We are now on the same page with our next steps.  He agreed to all the testing, and told me not to worry about the money part.  We have money saved up for more than one other fresh cycle.  If the next two transfers don’t work, we are in the position to save up more money, and we’ll start thinking about gestation carrier.  Speaking of which, I was both touched and surprised that one of my friends offered to carry our baby for us if we still don’t have a baby in 2.5 years.  She is currently pregnant and would like to breast feed her child.  I believe that I should be able to get pregnant and carry a child, but it is such a relief to know that someone would so selflessly offer to do this huge thing for me.  I also appreciated my husband telling me that I don’t have to worry about my age so I can just focus on the process itself. 

So this is where we are at, still sad about our failed cycle, still mourning the loss of Lucy, and still angry at God.  But we are also bouncing back and looking forward to the next chance for us to become parents. I do not regret maintaining a positive and hopeful attitude with Lucy. I’d do the same next time. I truly believe that one day we will be parents.  We need to take a deep breath, hold onto each other, and move forward.  I believe we can do it.

Therapy – Round Two Session Two

Session two with  my therapist was very productive, as usual.  She started out asking me how I had been feeling.  Honestly, I thought that I would be more sad than how I have been feeling.  I am very surprised that I can carry on my life like usual.  I don’t think I am being avoidant by brushing aside my feelings.  My therapist wondered if my calm feelings have to do with my mental and emotional preparation for egg donation since last July.  I have had so many months to get myself ready for it.  Now that the time has come, maybe the shock is not as great?  That may be the case.  I just know that I have been feeling good in general.  I am still not ready to contact the donor coordinator at my clinic.  I still have not written an email to donor agencies.  I haven’t even asked for our money back from the clinic.  I am not ready for these steps yet, but I feel good in general.  My therapist did mention that some women may feel periodic sadness during the egg donation process because it would start to feel real.  I will wait to see if that is true in my case.

I still feel a need to be distant from Chloe, my friends who said some hurtful things to me.  When Bob and I talked about plans for the summer, driving up north to visit with her and her family was one of the options.  After our little incident, I am not ready to see her.  Hence we decided to go to Chicago instead.  I told my therapist that I really don’t want to risk being there with Chloe in the middle of a egg donation cycle.  I don’t want to hear anything negative about what I am going through, although I believe that she’ll be very careful from now on when she talks to me about my fertility journey.  I just don’t feel like taking a risk.  My therapist told me that it’s okay to guard my heart and protect myself.  I somehow feel a little guilty for not going to see my friend, but then I really feel the need to take care of myself.

My biggest question right now is how to go about choosing a donor.  Given the few choices at our current clinic, do I have to venture out and check out donors at agencies?  One night Bob and I were lying in bed looking at all the choices at my clinic.  Now that he has to pay for the cycle for real, he is vetoing all the choices.  I don’t know if he’s joking or not.  But he has his criteria.  At the same time, he also brought up doing what Aramis did, which is to cycle at the Czech Republic, purely for the more affordable cost.  The only problem is that, it’s going to be even harder to find an Asian donor all the way in  Europe.  That would leave us with non-Asian donors as an option.  I actually thought really long and hard about it.  We not only have to think for ourselves and our lives, but also our future child’s life.  We are accountable for creating his/her story.  One day, we are responsible for telling our future child how and why we chose our donor.  I do not want to tell the child that the only reason why we chose to find a donor in an European country is because of its low cost, especially when we have the financial means to cycle here in the US.  It’s another story if we don’t have enough funds for that.  I am really mindful of the impact our choice has on our future child.  So I am going to try in all my power to decide on someone who has some connection to my ethnic background.

My therapist gave me some good points to think about.  She asked me to whom I feel the most connected out of the three potential donors.  Setting aside how “Chinese” these donors are, I feel the most connected with a first-time donor who is currently cycling.  I like her looks, her age, and her educational background.  The most important thing is that I love how she answered her questions in her profile.  Her responses are so thoughtful.  I want to be able to tell my child in the future the specific reasons I chose a particular donor.  I want to be able to say what I loved about her.  Of course I know that not every single donor would work out but I want to let the child know that we take this selection process very seriously and it has been done with love.  My therapist said that this is exactly how she wants me to start thinking about it: the reasons why we want to choose a particular donor.  She wants me to be able to tell my future child the story of choosing a donor with confidence and the particular quality that we find appealing about the donor.

My therapist asked me to think about how I usually make my decisions in life: with many choices, or a few choices.  Thinking back, we usually had three to five choices when we tried to decide on a fertility clinic both the first four rounds and the last four rounds.  Any more than that, it just felt too complicated and dizzying for me to process all the information.  If that’s my pattern, then my therapist thinks that having three potential donors to think about is a very good first step.  She said that some people bring in a whole spreadsheet of donor choices to show her.  To her, that will make it even harder to make a choice because the information of different people may get mixed together.  I am not someone who would create Excel spreadsheets for choosing a clinic or a donor, although there is nothing wrong with that if it’s your style.  So I will stick with the three potential donors that I have right now.  My therapist told me to continue to use my own intuition as I am quite in tune with my feelings.  She said I would know if I want to venture out to find more choices.

We also talked about transferring one vs. two embryos in the future.  I feel strongly about avoiding carrying twins because of the higher chance of premature birth and complications for both mom and babies.  I would rather do eSET repeatedly until we get pregnant.  Although Bob really wants twins and supports transferring two embryos, my therapist told me that it’s perfectly fine for me to be firm on my stance because I will be the one carrying the child.  I am afraid of the chance of an embryo splitting into two.  A single embryo transfer is the safest way to go.

Finally, we discussed about my fight with Bob the previous weekend.  I forgot what exactly we were fighting about.  But it seems like every fight comes back to the struggles of infertility.  Bob is still trying to resolve his feelings regarding the failed cycle and all the time and money that we have spent cycling with my own eggs.  During the fight, he asked why we did not consider adoption or egg donation sooner.  It sounded to me that in that moment, he regretted spending time and effort on these own egg cycles rather than focusing our energy on the other means to get us a baby.  I don’t think he truly regrets it.  But he has been angry with not being able to have a baby and it’s natural to think back and wonder about all the what-ifs and what-could-have-beens.  I do not regret a single thing that we did.  I reminded him that we made the best decision given the information that we had in the moment.  I would not change a thing about the past.  It was the past that brought us to this moment.  We prayed and we had peace about every single step.  I believe that we’re led down a path that will eventually guide us to our baby.  However, it was tough to emphasize on this point when he was angry.  My therapist said that it seems like Bob just wants a sense of control, because this process does not provide him (or anyone) with any control of the situation.  This is why he finds comfort in striving to reach our financial goals, because they give him back the control that he can’t have with the reproductive process.  However, it’s not good to have regrets.  So it’s important for him to work on getting over these feelings.  In terms of what means we use to have a baby, my therapist said that she usually asks if carrying a baby is important to the couple.  If it is, she would suggest egg donation or embryo adoption.  If it’s not, the adoption would be a logical choice.  I have been feeling strongly from day one about two things: being able to be pregnant and carry to term and having at least the genetic links to my husband.  Since these things are so important to me, egg donation is the logical choice for me.  Then we should focus our energy on grieving the loss of my genetic links and our effort on pursuing egg donation.  I know that Bob has the fear of failed cycles after spending all the money on egg donation.  We have to have faith in God for carrying out His plans, whatever they may be.  A couple of days after the fight, I asked him how he felt about egg donation, he said that of course we would proceed with it when we are ready.  So we are still on the same page about the next step.

At the end of the session, I felt a lot better about my ability to navigate the world of egg donation in the very near future when I am ready.  I also felt that it might be beneficial for Bob to come to a session once with me so that we could both talk about our feelings.  Unfortunately, my therapist is about to go on maternity leave and doesn’t have any early evening time for us.  She gave me the names of a few therapists in town that also specialize in infertility.  I am sure I will seek help if I need it.  But I’d rather not go with Bob to see these new people as they don’t really know me.  I do feel equipped to move forward when the time comes.  I just have to wait for the right moment.  I hope that moment comes soon.

Since Beta Day…

I have been staring at this blank “Add New Post” browser for a few days now.  What does one write about after the crushing news of negative beta results following the second and the last embryo transfer with one’s own eggs?

I know I need to write.  There were things that happened on the day of the beta test.  There were thoughts that passed through my mind, emotions that I felt and processed, and love that I received.  I need to document as much as I can, so I will have a chance to look back in the future and know what had happened.

Last Thursday before all the symptoms went away, my friend Jo asked me what my gut feeling was regarding this transfer.  I told her my gut feeling was that I was pregnant.  After the loss of symptoms on Friday, Bob asked me the same question.  I told him that my gut feeling was that, we probably had a chemical pregnancy and now it was all gone.  Of course there is no way of confirming any of this.  It could well be my mind and progesterone doing tricks on my body.  But I would like to think that our embryos really fought hard and tried.

On Monday, I was feeling calm while sitting in the waiting room of the UCSF lab at 8:25am.  Instead of staring at my phone, majority of the time I observed the people around me.  Didn’t seem like anyone was there for their beta.  At 8:49, my number flashed on the board.  I went inside the phlebotomist’s room.  It was a nice older Asian lady.  We talked about the weather and how I was doing.  I pointed at my lab order and said, “I’m doing as well as I can be.”  She took a look, and asked, “You’re trying to get pregnant?”  I said that it’d been over three years.  She was busy getting set up, but took one look at me and said, “You know what the key to getting pregnant is?”  I was actually quite sure what would come out of her mouth next, which was confirmed by her next statement: “You have to relax.”  She went on to tell me that her 30-year-old niece had been trying for five years but still had no babies so she often tells her niece the same thing.  After we chatted for a little, and after she finished poking me with a needle, I said, “You know, for people who have been trying for a baby for a while, the one thing that they don’t want to hear is someone telling them to relax.  It is a stressful process and they are trying their best to make a baby.  So try to support them without telling them to relax.”  I felt compelled to say it.  I don’t know how receptive she was, but it seemed like she didn’t get upset.  I am glad that I opened my mouth and did my part as an infertile.

The rest of the morning I was busy doing work.  I was actually able to be productive most of the time.  My “village” (namely, my friends in real life and my online community) was getting impatient.  Still no word at noon.  No word at 1pm.  No word at 2pm.  One friend asked, “What part of STAT does the nurse not understand?”  I was still able to keep my composure at 1:30pm.  However, by 2pm, it was getting a little difficult to wait.  I had clients from 3pm to 5pm.  Getting a phone call with beta results is just not cool during a speech therapy session.  I finally emailed my nurse at 2pm.  The phone call didn’t come until 2:45pm.  What was going through  my head?  In a split second, I was thinking, this is it.  This will determine our fate for the next 9 months.  I kind of knew the results, but was still holding out hope.  From the way my nurse said Hello, I could guess the results.  We exchanged pleasantries.  Then she said, “Unfortunately, the results are negative.”  She told me to stop all meds and tried to schedule an appointment for me to talk to Dr. No Nonsense end of the week.  All I wanted to do was to hang up and be…. because I needed to get myself together before my 3pm client.  We settled on a time and I tried to hang up.  I could hear her say, “I am so sorry sweetie.”

I was kind of stunned but at the same time not surprised.  I was hopeful prior to the phone call but was also realistic.  I knew my odds.  It would have been a long shot to be pregnant and to stay pregnant with my own eggs.  In the next 15 minutes, I notified Bob, my Face.book group friends, a couple of other friends, and wrote the last blog post because I knew that my friends there were waiting.  It was almost like I had no time to process this news because I knew I had to put on a brave face so that I could get through the next two hours without being upset or crying.  I said a quick prayer for God to sustain me and went ahead with the rest of the work day.  Surprisingly, I was quite focused during those two hours.  After my 3pm client, I went to make some copies.  Pregnant Coworker was standing there in the copy room.  She asked me how I was doing.  Instead of saying “Good”, I said, “I am alright.”  “Just alright?” she asked.  Yes.  I am not going to tell you that my long journey of trying to conceive with my own eggs just came to an end.  After a few awkward seconds of no talking, I commented on her nicely painted nails, to which she responded that her prenatal vitamins have been making her nails strong and fast growing, which enabled her to paint her nails.  I regretted saying anything.  I just fled the room after I was done.

Maybe things had not sunk in yet, and I knew I wanted to be strong for the rest of the night for my Bible Study group ladies.  I went ahead with the rest of the night as planned.  I led Bible study and attended the lecture.  I felt loved though, as my friends at Bible Study all remembered the big beta day.  I received many warm hugs.  A couple of my friends were teary. I am thankful that God orchestrated the timing of the beta so that I could focus on Him and others on that Monday instead of any other day.  Tears didn’t come until that night when my husband was hugging me in the bedroom before he went to get ready for bed.  I looked at him and asked, “Can I cry?”  That was a silly question.  But I felt so much better and safer crying in front of him and with him while he held me in his arms.  Life was so much better after the release of my emotions.  I went to bed in peace and had a great night sleep.

I think the reality still had not sunk in yet on Tuesday, as I was feeling fine throughout the day.  One of my best coworkers walked in my office in the morning with this:

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Such a thoughtful friend and such a wonderful gift.  It totally cheered me up.  Then in the afternoon, my mom sent me a text saying that someone sent me flowers at home.  I knew it wasn’t from Bob because he only sends flowers to work.  I had my guess which was confirmed when I got home:

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It was from my sweet friend Jane Allen.  Thank you so much friend for being so thoughtful and being there.  The flowers have been bringing a smile on my face every single day.  They also became the topic starter with my mom about what happened.  She of course asked me why my friend gave me flowers.  I shared with her about the failed transfer.  So thank you Jane for helping me with that.

Wednesday, I woke up feeling sad.  My original plan was to resume going to fitness bootcamp.  I couldn’t get myself up.  All I wanted to do was to lie in bed until the very last moment before I had to get up for work.  Bob was sweet and told me not to worry about going to bootcamp.  He went and did my share for me.  🙂  There were appointments that I couldn’t cancel or reschedule that morning.  But I could cancel my afternoon appointments.  I made a decision to take care of myself.  The first thing I did that morning upon walking into work was to ask my front desk staff to cancel all my afternoon appointments.  I left at around 12:45pm, had a nice slow lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, bought a cup of my favorite fully caffeinated coffee, and headed to Tar.get for some much needed essentials for home.

When I got home, my mom asked me about the cost of the cycles.  Instead of telling her the cost of each cycle, I told her how much we spent last year for all the cycles.  I also shared with her that one donor egg cycle will cost as much as the total we spent last year.  After my nap and when Bob got home from work, mom came up from her room and handed us an envelope.  I opened it up.  Inside was a wad of cash enough to buy the IVF meds for the donor.  I looked at her with disbelief.  She told me that both she and dad wanted to support us knowing that we worked so hard to save up the money.  I looked at Bob and handed him the money to give back to mom.  He tried to pass it back to her but she refused to take it.  I started tearing up.  She teared up and came to give me a hug.  My parents are about some of the most generous people I have ever known.  I was speechless at their kindness and generosity.

I again felt better on Thursday except for one moment.  Lying in bed at night, I was thinking about a two-year-old with whom I work on Thursdays.  I think about his smile and how much his smiles resemble his mother’s.  Thinking about that, I started feeling sad as I know that I will never be able to see my own smile in my future child.  I just let myself cry.  Bob was next to me letting me cry it all out.  All these tears are doing my heart something good.  I need to mourn.  I need to grieve the loss of genetic links with my own future child(ren).  I am just taking care of my feelings and letting things be.  I knew I had to talk to my therapist again in order to move on.  Fortunately, she is a few weeks away from her maternity leave (she’s pregnant with her first child at her early 40s via IVF) so she can still see me next week.  I happily scheduled an appointment.  I don’t mind her big pregnant bump at all.

This morning Bob and I met with Dr. No Nonsense to talk about the next step.  I opted for an in-person meeting because it’s often difficult to talk to him on the phone when he puts me on speaker phone.  Dr. NN looked at us and asked what we had in mind about the next step.  I looked at him and asked him to tell me his thoughts first.  He wouldn’t budge!  He said, I want to hear what your thoughts are.  Ha.  So I told him that we are done with our own eggs and would pursue egg donation.  He commented how much effort we have put into these cycles.  He said that we have done everything that we could.  I agree with him.  We have.  It’s a logical next step to move onto egg donation.  Dr. NN looked pleasantly surprised that I had already talked with the donor coordinator and we had met with the psychologist.  We could start choosing a donor any time we want to.  There were a few things we discussed about.  If we want more than one child, fresh cycles are better than frozen cycles.  Each cycle he will try to get 15 to 20 eggs.  If it’s a donor that has a potential for only 8 eggs, he said, he’d call me and ask me if I would still want to proceed.  A frozen cycle only guarantees six eggs.  The chances of having extra embryos to freeze will be a lot lower.  With the clinical pregnancy rate of 71 to 79% in the last few years, he thinks that our chances of getting pregnant and staying pregnant are high.  If we ever have questions about a first-time agency donor, he said he can always look at the testing and paperwork before we make a decision.  One way to avoid that is to choose someone who has already done a cycle or two.  The discussion of singleton vs. twins also came up.  Bob always wants twins but I want to avoid any complications.  Dr. NN did say that the pregnancy rate is about the same whether you put one embryo or two embryos back, but the twin rates are a lot higher when transferring two.  Bob commented that he had always wanted four children but now he just wants to get a child and be happy.  Dr. NN said that once we have one child, we will want to have a second one.  So getting ready for that right now will be a wise choice.  He said that endometrial scratch isn’t proven to make a difference according to studies.  And a lining of over 7mm is good as long as it’s trilaminar.  Studies show that a lining of 7, 8, 9 or 10mm does not make a big difference in terms of pregnancy rate.  Dr. NN ended the conversation by telling us to find a suitable donor and we can have a meeting to go over the treatment plans.  He wants us to be excited about our cycle and be 100% on board.  He said he is very excited for us.  I am very thankful for his enthusiasm.

My wonderful friends have been checking in on me daily.  I am very grateful that every time they ask me how I am doing, they also ask me about Bob.  So how’s Bob doing?  He felt angry the first few days.  I think he’s been feeling better.   And after today’s meeting with Dr. No Nonsense, I think he is feeling hopeful again about the possibility of the future.

And I am too.  I just still need a bit more time for my closure.  I am grateful that egg donation is even an option, and that we started saving up for it since last July.  This time I feel a lot better than last year.  Last year we didn’t have a plan.  I was paralyzed by the chemical pregnancy and couldn’t move on for many months.  This time we’ll be able to move on much more quickly.

Finally, to everyone who read my posts in the last week, checked in on me, or commented, please accept my sincere gratitude for being there and showing your support.  You all have warmed my heart and helped me get through this difficult time.

Thank you for your love.

MicroblogMondays: I Hold You in My Heart


Bob and I have a tradition of getting one new ornament per year since our wedding.  I had been wanting to find one that can commemorate our short yet important pregnancy.  I don’t know if both Clay and Eli implanted, or just one of them.  There is not ever going to be a way to find out until we meet them again in heaven.  Nevertheless, the loss of this pregnancy still tugs at my heart and there is no way I will let this year pass without honoring the existence and loss of the baby(ies).  I started looking quite early on but couldn’t find something that I really liked.  I saw a few that had a graphic depiction of a shape of a tiny baby or baby that looked like angel.  Somehow they just weren’t quite what I was looking for.  I came across a very simple ornament one day and felt the urge to buy it.  So here it is:

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A very simple message in my favorite color.

Now we need to get a tree.  🙂

Missing Clay and Eli

Today, I miss Clay and Eli, our precious embryos that were lost.  I actually hadn’t thought about them in a while.  When I do think about them, I don’t usually get overly emotional.  I think for a little, then my thought would pass.

But today.  Today was a little different.

A friend of mine had success with her first IVF.  She transferred a blastocyst and a morula.  One of the embryos became her 18-month-old daughter.  The toddler is a beautiful girl and I can’t be happier for my friend.  From the batch of embryos that fertilized in that cycle, there was one that was growing slowly.  It turned into a blastocyst on day six and was frozen.

When my friend wanted to try for number two, she thawed this embryo and transferred it.  Luckily, she became pregnant and is currently about 12 to 13 weeks.  Somehow I am not jealous of this pregnancy probably because I just love this family so much and I love this little girl.  I really didn’t want my friend to have to go through with the anxiety of a fresh cycle and waiting for the embryology report.  It’s a wonderful thing that the embryo implanted.

I always thought that the embryo was a morula on day five and turned into a blastocyst on day six.  I was told by her today that it wasn’t even a morula on day five.  It somehow grew into a 5BB blastocyst on day six.

Today after dinner, I told Bob that this friend’s embryo was just like any other ones that they had.  Not even a morula on day five.  Somehow it miraculously became a blastocyst, attached to the uterus, and is now a baby forming inside my friend.  I commented, “What a fighter this embryo was.”

Bob said, “Just like our Clay.  Clay was a fighter.”

I was in the car while Bob was driving.  Tears started streaming.  It wasn’t because of my friend’s pregnancy that hurt.  Bob’s comment just touched a special spot in my heart.  It was so raw.  It was almost like I could feel the touch on that tender spot in my heart.  Sometimes I wonder if I am cold blooded because I don’t always get emotional when I think about Clay and Eli.  But today, I am again grieving the loss of these embryos.  My babies that tried so hard to hold on… but gone forever.

Bob held my hand and let me cry for a while. He apologized for making me sad.  I assured him that it had nothing to do with what he said or with my friend’s pregnancy.  I just needed a moment to grieve those lives that were lost.  And that was the right moment.

Sometimes we need that moment to just stop what we’re doing and think about the past.  Then we move on again.  I think this is part of healing.

My husband drove me to a restaurant, stopped, and bought me bread pudding.  The sweetness of both his action and the bread pudding more than made up for the sad moment for today.

I do have a wonderful husband.  Having him makes this journey easier.

An Unexpected Trip

Life continues to change unexpectedly.  A week ago, we wouldn’t have guessed that we would be taking a trip to see family in India and Hong Kong mid-April.

About five months ago, I wrote a post celebrating being married for 2.5 years.  I listed all the things that we had experienced as a couple in those short years.  We are now adding one more item to the list: the loss of a job.  

Bob called me at 5pm exactly one week ago informing me of “a bit of a bad news”.  He was let go by his company.  We went through a lot in our relationship to finally decide to take this job.  You can read about it here, here, and here.  From August to October last, I went from being ambivalent about switching from a big corporation to being proud of him that he was willing to take a risk and try something that he liked.  We prayed and sought the Lord’s guidance.  We believed that it was God’s leading that we finally decided to take that job.  We still believe that it was a good move.  In this situation where he was let go, I believe that he was being wronged and treated unfairly.  For that I have been angry at his bosses and have been bitter about it.  But, there is nothing we can do about it but to accept the fact that he no longer has that job.  

Thanks to this biblical financial workshop that we took a couple of years ago, we have saved up funds for emergency such as this.  We also have separate funds for trips (which my husband passionately called our “Babymoon” fund), IVF treatments, and a replacement car.  I still have a job.  We did some math.  My monthly income and his unemployment income should be enough for our monthly expenses if we cut things down a little.  Praise the Lord that financially we can last for a while before he finds another job.  However, it’s not the finances that I am worried about.  I am worried about a man’s psyche… of losing a job, not being able to provide for his family for a little while, and the self-doubt (albeit temporary) that may come with the job loss.

We were in shock for a little… I don’t know what stages of grief we have been going through.  I mean, back in January, we were in shock that his bosses used this smallest misunderstanding and blew it up big time.  They gave him an “official warning” with an HR person in presence without even talking to him about what happened or hearing his side of the story in private first.  He was told one thing by one boss but another thing by another boss.  The two bosses’ stories didn’t match and he got blamed for it.  At that time, we were saying that if this company was not the right one for us, and if he was let go, then we would take a trip to India and Hong Kong.  We have wanted to go but there never seemed to be time in Bob’s work schedule.  Every time he switched jobs, he was talked into taking the new job right away.  It has been two years since we went.  But I really did not think that these people would actually let him go because of something so small.  At the end of last month, he was told by his boss that everything was fine.  The lesson is, not to easily trust when someone like his boss said that everything was fine.  My husband worked so hard at his job and loved it.  It was the people that made it a difficult work situation.  My heart hurts for him that he lost his job under these circumstances.

For now, Bob is taking a break.  He has been home.  He promised me that he would change out of his pajamas daily and he has been doing that.  He has been taking care of some maintenance in the house.  My brother asked him for his resume and has forwarded it to the appropriate department at his company.  There were companies that he had turned down second interviews previously.  So there are leads that he can follow.  But I think it IS a good time for him to take a break.  He went to the library that he never had the time to go to and really enjoyed his time there.  When we did the budget, we discussed about whether or not to continue to pay for our fitness bootcamp.  I strongly believe that working out is going to keep him sane and fit when he’s unemployed.  So we wrote our bootcamp instructor, told her this situation, and asked if we could get a discount until he gets a new job.  She said she’d work something out for us.  So Bob still goes to early morning 6:15am bootcamp with me.

We also got into a huge fight over the weekend.  I can’t even remember the last time we got into a huge fight.  I guess losing a job can do that to you.  Let’s just say that our ears are highly sensitive because we are highly sensitive these days.  We totally misinterpreted the intentions of what we said.  Instead of walking away and letting go immediately, like what we would usually do, we chose to fight.  It was ugly.  And we made up quickly, like usual.  But in the moment, I realized that I have to allow Bob time to heal and mourn this situation and not to underestimate the impact of this news, despite us being financially secure at this point.  In my morning prayers, I asked the Lord to give me extra patience and love for my husband during this time.

We originally were going to plan for a trip for Hawaii as we had always wanted to go to Hawaii for our honeymoon.  After we got married, I was too tired to plan for a trip like that so we never went.  But after a lot of thinking, I feel that visiting with family is more important than us lounging around on a beach by ourselves.  And I want to do the international trip when I am still taking a thinking break from the next IVF cycle.  In the big scheme of things, it will be okay to wait for another month or two before we embark on the IVF journey again.  Bob asked me if I wanted to do a cycle before we leave for the trip.  I gave him an “Are you crazy look?”  We are not doing a cycle before we fly out.

So how about we talk about what to expect in India?  Well, we can’t talk about our expectations without talking about my father- and mother-in-law.  Before we booked the plane tickets, I insisted on Bob calling his parents to tell them our plans.  His mother was very upset that he lost his job and that it was the result of him “abandoning” his big corporation job.  He heard no consolation from her.  The next phone call, she complained that he did not buy her a house like she wanted, as she compared herself to her friends whose children bought them properties.  And now that he lost his job, she has to wait longer for the money that we give them annually.  I get so mad at her sometimes for not even asking how he is doing.  All she usually says is to blame him for things.  She also complained that I was yet again going to be there in India the whole duration of his stay.  She was envisioning me leaving early so that she and my father-in-law would get some alone time with Bob.  Well, MIL, it is not happening this time.  I am going to be sticking with Bob the whole time.

We were in India a bit over two years ago.  We just started trying for a baby.  Because his mother and his father did not accept our marriage, they told their neighbors that I was his “project manager” rather than his wife.  We found that ridiculous and joked that yes, I was his project manager but it was for “Project Baby”.  Little did we know that after over two years and a lot of effort, the project is still in the development phase.  We joke that I am failing as a project manager for “Project Baby”.  Although it’s a joke, sometimes I do feel like a failure… 

Hong Kong will be a much more pleasant place to be in terms of friends and family that we will see.  I haven’t seen my dad for 18 months.  I can’t wait to hang out with him.  Both of my grandmothers are in their 90s and are alive and well.  I am thrilled to be able to spend time with them.  My paternal grandmother, with whom I grew up, last time joked that Bob would not be allowed to return to Hong Kong without a baby.  Poor woman, I think she stopped joking about that.  Instead she wishes us for all of our dreams to come true during Chinese New Year.  I will also see my childhood best friend and maybe tell her all the details about the cycles that we went through.

As for our TTC effort this month, I ovulated but I didn’t know exactly when because the temperature shift was kind of weird.  We timed it every other day so it was quite well timed.  This is our last chance to reach the goal of having a baby in our arms by Christmas this year.  Hoping and praying that I will receive the biggest surprise of my life.  I went to acupuncture a couple of times and Maya abdominal massage once.  But, I haven’t written Dr. E after she checked in with me a week after our pregnancy loss.  I have not taken any prenatal vitamins since AF came.  I have stopped DHEA and the other supplements.  I guess, I just need a break.

So here you are.  The update of my life.  We are going on an unexpected trip to recuperate and rekindle our relationship with our family and friends, and on an unexpected trip of navigating the world of unemployment.  Although we are bitter at times, we are still grateful for all the blessings that have been poured upon us.  Life is still not too bad.