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…..

Who Would Like A Long Update?

I have had so many thoughts in my head… I don’t know where to begin.  I will try to write some of them down.

*****

Mother’s Day.  

I actually had been feeling fine leading up to Mother’s Day.  Last year I was a lot more miserable, dreading that day.  Unfortunately, Bob and I are greeters on second Sundays each month at church, so I am always the greeter on Mother’s Day.  Last year, I went but was feeling off all day.  I delegated the duty to pass out flowers to mothers.  This year, Bob suggested switching our week with another couple so we could avoid Mother’s Day.  I assured him that I was feeling fine and didn’t feel a need to avoid going to church just because of this occasion.  I wanted to go to church to worship God.  

So off we went, two days after we came home from our trip.  The sun was very bright on that day.  I wasn’t feeling particularly sad or upset or anything. Once I entered, I saw Anna, my very pregnant infertile friend.  She couldn’t wait to update me on her life so she stood next to me while I was greeting people at the entrance.  This experience proved to be very overwhelming for me.  I didn’t mind seeing her big belly or chatting with her. However, everyone who passed by us said “Happy Mother’s Day!” to her because many people knew about her struggles to get pregnant.  I can understand why everyone wanted to celebrate with her and said the greeting more loudly than usual.  Anna also stopped her conversation with me and said “Happy Mother’s Day!” to all of the mothers who entered the church door.  After hearing this phrase about 50 times, I was about done with her standing next to me.  And I felt a little anti-social for not saying “Happy Mother’s Day!” to anybody.  Our musical director came by to get a bulletin from me and wished Anna a happy mother’s day as well.  Given that he doesn’t really know me, he looked at me and said tentatively… “Happy….?” He wasn’t sure if I was a mother or not.  At that point, so many emotions just surfaced and and I blurted out, “Don’t even go there”.  So can you imagine at that moment, these things happened at the same time: Anna responding to Mr. Musical Director on my behalf and said, “Not yet”, Mr. Musical Director trying to apologize by saying “Sorry I wasn’t sure…”, another male greeter asking me the length of our marriage, and me saying to Mr. Musical Director, “It’s okay… Just walk away right now”.  That was very chaotic.  So finally, Mr. Musical Director said, “I am walking away now… and by the way, I like your top”.  Ha… poor guy.  Probably really didn’t know why he got into trouble.  

Anna kept on talking about things and at that moment, I just wanted to her walk away so I didn’t have to be subjected to hearing “Happy Mother’s Day” another 50 times.  When my pastor walked up to me to say “Welcome back”, Anna said, “I heard you guys are expecting number three?”  I was totally caught off guard.  I knew that my pastor’s wife struggled to conceive her second child for about two years, so I am not surprised to know that they started trying again for number three so early as her daughter is only 18 months.  I kind of understand why she would want to start sooner rather than later because of her struggles.  I am glad for her that she didn’t have to struggle this time anymore… But it still stung to hear a pregnancy announcement after being subjected to “Happy Mother’s Day” fifty times.  My pastor knows about our struggles and he seemed a little embarrassed that he wasn’t the one who broke the news to us.  Because of these moments, I felt very overwhelmed that morning.  I was glad that the rest of the service was uneventful, but it was really a bit much to be fighting jet lag and fending for myself on this holiday.

But really, other than that incident at church, I was feeling fine on Mother’s Day.  I was happy to be worshipping after not going to church for four Sundays.  I was happy to celebrate my mother who has been so selfless and has helped us so much in our life.  I am happy for this change, although I couldn’t help but think about the few women at church who struggled with infertility last Mother’s Day.  One is Anna who is going to give birth in August.  Another one just gave birth.  The last one has a 5-month-old adopted child.  I am the only one (or I feel like the only one) being left behind.

I don’t know about you.  That’s not a very good feeling.  I know that I shouldn’t be comparing myself to others.  But I do feel like I am in this silent club that nobody wants to be in and everyone wants to leave.  I am the only one left in the club.  I don’t really want anyone to join me because I don’t really want anyone to be miserable.  But it’s a lonely feeling.

*****

I love my mom, but sometimes she’s oblivious about my feelings.  My cousin’s wife, who just got married last October, is going to give birth in September.  My mother happily showed me baby sweaters that she knitted the morning after I came back from Hong Kong.  I squeezed out a half smile and didn’t tell her how I felt.  I didn’t think that she’d understand so I didn’t say anything.  Deep down I want my mom to make ME baby clothes, not for someone else.  Bob was upset with me that I wasn’t being clear to my mom that I didn’t want to see baby clothes she made for others.  When my mom showed me another set of baby sweater that she is currently knitting, I still didn’t say anything.  Bob this time was really mad at me for not standing up for myself.  I know I have a problem with being frank with my mom.  I admit that I really don’t know how to tell her my true feelings regarding this.  

*****

Baby shower and baby party.  

Anna again.  I received an evite for Anna’s baby shower when I was still in India.  I can’t tell you the last time I went to a baby shower.  I haven’t been able to say yes to invitations.  After I chatted with Anna the previous time, feeling okay standing next to her and her big belly, I told Bob that I thought I could consider going to her baby shower.  I still think that I can go.  But I don’t know if I can stand being there the whole time watching people going OOO and AHHH over cute baby clothes and items.  

When I came home, I also received an invitation in the mail to attend my infertile pregnant friend’s baby party.  My infertile pregnant friend is obvious not pregnant anymore.  She gave birth about three months ago.  It’s a tradition for Chinese grandparents to throw a baby their 100-day party called Red Egg and Ginger Party.  I haven’t seen her or her husband in a very long time… and haven’t obviously met her baby.  I don’t mind seeing them, so I don’t mind going to the party.  I looked closely at the date.  It’s going to be the same day and almost the same time as Anna’s baby shower.  What a coincidence.  It dawned on me that it provides me a way out of Anna’s baby shower.  The baby shower starts at 12 noon.  The red egg and ginger party starts at 12:30 about 30 minutes away.  I can attend Anna’s baby shower for 30 minutes, take off at 12:30, and drive over to the red egg and ginger party being 30 minutes late.  I have enough excuses to not to go both parties for the whole duration.  It’s the best of both worlds.  

Because of these friends, I found myself going to the baby section at Tar.get and bought them both gifts.  This was the first time in a really long time that I stepped anywhere close to the baby section at Tar.get.  It’s a step towards the right direction for my emotional health.  Don’t you think?

*****

The next step.

What is the next step?  I still don’t know.  I emailed Dr. E, my RE, on our last day in India.  I asked her what she thought the next step would be given what she has learned in the four cycles that I did with her. She said that she’d like to do an ultrasound and day two FSH and estradiol in order to tell me what she recommends.  In the last four cycles, we have tried four vials of Menopur a day and Femara plus Menopur.  We haven’t been able to get more than one embryo for each cycle.  I am just a little tired of the same protocol and was hoping that she’d have something new to say.  At this point, because of Bob’s loss of his job as well as the health insurance, we currently have Kai.ser which does not have any fertility coverage.  We have to pay out of pocket for even blood test at a non-Kai.ser facility.  So everything that we do will cost money from this point on.  My period came after a disappointing 20-day cycle.  I have a feeling I didn’t ovulate.  However, it was hard for me to confirm because I didn’t do OPKs and my basal body temperature was all over the place due to international travel.  I obliged and went for a blood draw on cycle day two.  The results came back as follows: FSH was 14, but estradiol was 78.  My RE thinks that we’ll have a viable embryo if our FSH is under 18 (historically my FSH has been around 18 when we have an embryo).  However, the high estradiol (anything over 70) is suppressing the FSH and means that I will only have one egg for this cycle despite stimulation.  Her recommendation is to wait for another cycle, but she could also put me on Femara if I decided to proceed.  I asked why put me on Femara if I would only have one egg.  She said that there is always a possibility for two eggs.  I decided against proceeding, so we’re trying naturally this cycle.

I have contemplated a few possibilities for the next step.

1) Go with Dr. E again, pay $12400 for one egg and gamble all that money into buying a dream (and that amount does not include meds)

2) Go with Dr. Y in Southern California, buy a three-cycle package of mini/natural IVF, which means I’ll have to coordinate out-of-town monitoring, finding a local clinic/facility for ultrasound/blood draw, and risking disorganization and stress from working with a clinic really far away.  Pros: the price of a 3-cycle package is the same as working with Dr. E for one cycle.  Since I only make one egg each time, this seems to be the best option to continue trying my own egg without running out of money fast.  However… I have to take time off work which I would if it’s absolutely necessary but it’s still not desirable.

3) Consult with Dr. Z locally, who last year suggested egg retrievals three times, freeze the eggs the first two times, thaw those eggs at the same time, ICSI them all, do CCS testing on them to find the normal ones, transfer one normal embryo at a time.  Pros: it’s done locally.  Cons: it’s going to cost over $35000.  I would really like to know what he’ll recommend for protocol now knowing my history of being a poor responder to high stims and low stims.

4) Consult with an RE in New York who is known to think out of the box.  Don’t know what he will recommend but am curious to know what he will say.

5) Go the donor egg route at this point so that we don’t have to save up money again if we use up all of our savings on trying my own eggs.

Just looking at the list makes me just want to run and hide.  I admittedly have been in a rut with my thoughts.  The fact that I went and got my blood work done is a big huge first step for me to get back into the game.  I didn’t know that I would be so haunted by a transfer and the subsequent chemical pregnancy that thinking about the next step and starting from square one again would be so daunting.  But I think that it is about time I start coming out of my cocoon.  It has been three months since the pregnancy and the loss.  My friend Jo has been gently nudging me daily to contact these other doctors for a second opinion.  It’s about time I do that.

*****

I wrote about my client S’s mom here.  She had been trying to conceive her number one and number two since eight years ago.  She got pregnant at 40 after her second IVF and gave birth to S, my client.  She had been trying for her second since then.  She did a couple more IVF and didn’t get pregnant.  Last July she found herself being pregnant naturally for the first time in her TTC life of seven years.  It unfortunately ended in a miscarriage.  Since then she decided to stop trying for a second baby.  No more IVF.  No more trying naturally.  She totally quit.

I saw her on Friday and was so surprised to see her big belly!  She said, I have something to tell you.  And I said, I can see it now!  I hugged her and almost burst into tears.  I was so emotional about it.  What happened was, she totally gave up trying.  In January her period was late.  She didn’t even test because it was impossible in her mind that she’d even get pregnant.  So she didn’t test until much later.. Lo and behold. She was pregnant.  This time she and her husband didn’t tell a single soul about her pregnancy. She was scared to death that this would go away.  She hid it from everyone and silently went on her life.  Today at age 44 and 23 weeks pregnant, she can breathe a sigh of relief that her baby boy is checked out okay on every single test, alive and healthy.  I am just so happy for her beyond words.  This is someone who has walked along side me in the past year because of the similarity of our journeys.  She went through what I was going through.  She understood exactly how I felt.  I was heartbroken to see her struggles with her miscarriage last year.  To see that she got pregnant naturally for the second time in her eight years of TTC history, I couldn’t help but be emotional and extremely ecstatic for her.  There are miracles in life and she’s carrying one insider her.  It tells me to never give up but to aim at my goal and see where it leads me.  

Her nurse at Kai.ser told her, “We’ve only had one 44-year-old lady who could carry her pregnancy to term in this clinic’s history.”  Isn’t that the most heartless thing you could say to somebody who has tried so hard to achieve a pregnancy in their 40s?

*****

Bob has had many phone interviews and some onsite interviews.  He hasn’t gotten an offer yet.  I feel that because of the stress of finding a job, we get into fights a lot more frequently.  I really have to keep in mind that we’re in a stressful situation regardless of how much we want it to be stress-free.  I have to remember to cut him some slack if he’s snappy or emotional about things.  We need consistent prayers to ask for patience, total dependence, and protection over our marriage.  We’re mostly good.  I just don’t enjoy fights due to seemingly trivial matters.

*****

I think those are my thoughts so far.  Thanks for reading until the end!  You get an award for being patient and persistent.  🙂

Maybe Babies and Other Babies

First off, update.  Today was the second follicle check.  I have already adjusted my expectation that we will have one follicle.  Any other ones will be a bonus.

I was of course still nervous.  My blood pressure was high and my pulse was even higher.

Dr. E first measured my lining.  It was 10.5mm with a trilaminar pattern.  She was very pleased with that.

Then she measured the “beauty” (that was what she called it) on the right side.  It was 20.5mm.  Interestingly, she also measured two follicles on the right that didn’t exist last Friday.  They were a 10mm and 8mm.  I don’t think they will materialize into anything, but they did join the party.

On the left side, there were two follicles like last time, a 14.5mm and a 11mm.  

I told Dr. E that we have decided to proceed with the cycle.  She was very pleased to hear that.  I said that since this is my pattern that there will be one dominant follicle regardless of my AFC, we’ll just try our luck and see what happens.  She then told me that her 44-year-old patient had only one follicle that turned out to be a 5AB blastocyst.  They won’t know whether or not they will transfer it until PGD is done.  Her comment is, I am so much younger than her other patients.  I will have a great chance.

I made sure to ask her about the lining.  When she showed me the trilaminar pattern, I was relieved.  I said, If we ever need to use donor eggs, at least I have a great uterus with great lining.  She looked totally shocked and said, No you did not just say THE dirty words?!?  Ha.  She cracked me up.  I guess I am not supposed to think donor eggs when my RE doesn’t bring it up.  She thinks that I WILL have a baby with my own eggs.  I really appreciate her vote of confidence.  But it’s also good to know that somehow I should be able to get pregnant… hopefully with my own eggs.  But if not, my lining should be good to go with any embryos.

She said that we could expect three eggs.  According to the number that she gave me, I told her that I realistically expect one egg.  Any other ones would be a bonus.  I really don’t expect the other follicles to catch up.  But I may be pleasantly surprised.  The 14.5 mm one may.  Again, my expectation is one follicle and one egg.  And we are gambling big time that this one egg will turn into a gloriously looking day five blastocyst.  Although, if the embryo(s) looks good on Day 3, we may consider transferring it.  I also really want to give Clay a chance to thaw and be transferred.  I hope that God will direct our decision when the time comes.

I went outside, signed some paper work, and again paid with a check with an amount that is enough to buy a nice used car.  I am going to hold out the hope that we’ll have some nice embryos that will turn into our babies one day, maybe.  I have decided to be hopeful until beta day.

We did the trigger shot tonight.  Retrieval is on Wednesday at 9am our time.  I will have to give myself a Cetrotide tomorrow at 4pm… I have never mixed my own meds… so this will be interesting as Bob will NOT be there at my work to do my mixing for me.  Deep breath.  Gulp.  

****

So what’s up with other babies?

Well, infertile pregnant friend finally gave birth to her baby girl.  You can read about her here, here, here, here, and here.  I am actually happy for her that finally she has given birth safely and soundly.  I can’t say that I can’t wait to meet her baby and hear her birth story.  But I am happy for her.

Another victory over jealousy happened on Saturday night.  Bob and I have been doing a lot of entertaining and been inviting many friends to come to our place for dinner.  We moved back into our newly remodeled home a year ago.  I was too consumed with my own life, misery, and fertility journey last year that I hadn’t seen many friends.  So beginning of this year, I made up my mind to start inviting friends over.  These are friends that we hadn’t seen in the last year or so.  This past Saturday we invited Alice and Mike over for dinner.  They knew our history and also knew that we struggle to get pregnant.  In my email to her, I did a P.S. and said that we’re not pregnant yet and will update them when we have dinner together.  Alice and Mike struggled over a year to conceive their first son.  Their second one, a daughter, was easily conceived within a couple of months of trying.  Alice is currently in her early 40s.  When I opened the door on Saturday, I saw all these adorable faces and invited them to come in.  Alice was wearing a huge shawl that covered her whole body.  When I was giving her a hug, I felt this huge thing in our way…. and I looked down, here she was with a huge belly… I was so so shocked!  I did not expect to see anything like this without a prior warning.  But I did not have an ounce of jealousy in me.  After I recovered from my shock, I began to be very happy for them and started asking 10,000 questions.  What happened was, they wanted to try for a number three before Alice turned 41.  They tried and tried and didn’t get pregnant.  So they stopped and was waiting for Mike to go get a procedure done last summer to stop all trying.  Lo and behold, she got pregnant when they stopped trying.  According to Mike, this was really an act of God.  Science probably cannot explain how they got pregnant.  He didn’t go into details but I could imagine them not timing things right at all.  Sometimes it’s like that.  It’s in God’s will so it really doesn’t matter how it happens.  It happens.

Alice thought about giving me a heads up with an email so to give me time to process her pregnancy news.  However, she explained that she couldn’t bring herself to writing me back with her pregnancy news after my email telling her that I wasn’t pregnant.  To her it just didn’t feel right.  I can see that.  So it was really okay.  Good thing I love her so much and am so happy for her that it doesn’t matter.  I am grateful that I feel this way and Bob feels the same way as well.  Needless to say, we all had a very lovely evening.  

She is due in two weeks.  So in no time, there will be another baby announcement.

Hopefully by then, I will have my own good news to share.  Beta will be on February 18th, the day of the baby’s scheduled C-section.

 

A Few Recent Conversations and My Thoughts

Just want to document a few conversations, thoughts, and feelings I have had in the last few weeks.

Remember my infertile pregnant friend?  She continues to be pregnant (which is a good thing) and send me messages.  I have opened up a little more and have asked her more about how she’s doing.  I want to be a better friend and am frankly getting better with responding to her.

A couple of weeks ago, she was telling me that she was feeling very tired.  I commented how this pregnancy has not been nice to her.  She said that everything has been fine and she is supposed to feel this way at this stage.  Then she went on to tell me the details of how many days of pregnancy she has left and how she’d miss her baby’s kicks because they are really strange but amazing and entertaining.

I don’t know about you.  I am okay with engaging in a conversation about facts of the pregnancy but… how amazing and entertaining her child’s kicks are?  Not the visual I would want.  

She went on to ask me to let her know if I wanted recommendations to any REs at the Big University Clinic that she works at.  Yup.  She works with REs.  I should appreciate her thoughts.  But I don’t.  She wants to help but she doesn’t know that she’s not helping.  I have already told her that I have gone to see one of the REs there and I have decided against going there.  I know more about the lab of that clinic than she does, I’m sure.  I told her, “I’ve done enough research in the last two years; More than i would like to.”

And guess what she asked me next?  She wants to do gender selection the next time when she tries for number two.  Yup.  She’s already thinking about doing gender selection while she is still pregnant with her first baby.  She asked me how one would go about doing that.  She said they would want a boy next time since she’s carrying a girl.  What?  Okay.  I am not too okay with that question coming from someone who is still pregnant with her first girl to someone who is still struggling to have her first child.  I know that doing IVF for gender selection is a very personal choice.  I will not judge her for that.  BUT, talking to ME and asking ME how she should do that?  I guess she doesn’t know that it’s very tough for me to empathize with her at this moment because I myself would just die for A BABY.  I am not thinking about if I could have a boy or girl.  I just want a healthy take home baby.  And yet, she asked ME how one goes about doing IVF for gender selection.  She is assuming that all will go well and she will have enough embryos in the pool and they’ll be healthy and normal with both male and female.  I know she has tried to get pregnant for four years so she did struggle.  But still.  I was shocked by that question and the assumption that she makes.  At the same time, I am envious of the naivete that comes across.  The happiness of being a pregnant lady.  The innocence of thinking that IVF will give her what she wants without any problems.  

At the end of the conversation, she said, “I just hope that you don’t need to go down to Southern California (for another clinic).  As long as you are producing eggs, the process will remain hopeful for you.”  Yes infertile pregnant friend.  I remain hopeful too.

The next day, she asked me a question that I had dreaded the most.  She asked if we wanted to get together with her and her hubby during the break.  I have been hoping that she wouldn’t ask that question.  I have not seen her since she got pregnant.  There are people that I feel fine hanging out with.  Somehow it’s been tough to bring myself to see her.  I feel guilty for not being a good friend but she really has rubbed me the wrong way with her insensitive remarks that I just want to avoid her.  I didn’t respond to her immediately.  I just wanted to think through it.  Eventually, I decided not to come clean and just said to play it by ear because Bob has to work and we were still trying to figure out a trip out of town.  We left it at that.  I know I am not being a very good friend that shows grace.  I just don’t feel ready to see her and her belly.  

The next day, she asked me a bunch of questions about the names of some famous Chinese women.  She said she was trying to come up with the Chinese names for her baby girl.  Oh boy.  I think I had enough on that day.  I DO NOT want to be a part of her baby naming process.  So I chose to respond some and then kept my mouth shut.

I think I need a break from her. 

*****

I want to talk about a friend of mine.  I’ll call her Anna.  We’ve been friends for a few years and I know that she’s been trying for a baby for over four years.  She is one of those few people in real life with whom I share my story.  You know the sense of camaraderie when you’re struggling with the same thing.  She is a couple of years younger than I am.  Her hormones all checked out.  Her husband’s SA was fine.  She was diagnosed with unexplained infertility.  Periodically we would get together for dinner to chat and update each other on our lives.  Bob and I also see her and her husband at church on a regular basis.  I know that she had tried one IUI which didn’t result in a baby.  They are in the no IVF camp and IUI is the extent they would go as far as fertility treatments go. Right before getting together with her last Friday, I asked Bob how he would feel if Anna announced her pregnancy to me during dinner.  He said he would congratulate them and feel happy for them.  I don’t know how sincere we both were when we talked about it.  I mean, it did cross my mind that she could be pregnant but I was also not really prepared for her pregnancy news since it hadn’t happened in the past four plus years.  

Came Friday dinner.  Anna asked us why we suddenly decided to go away for a few days.  So I explained to her what had happened in the last month with the IUi cycle that was converted from the IVF and the Christmas cycle that is never meant to be due to the cyst.  After my long explanation, I asked her, “How are you guys doing?”  This question was actually loaded.  She knew what I meant.  She suddenly had this half smile on her face and answered with this drawn out “Gooooood”.  In that moment, I knew.  And then I scolded myself for being stupid and not really preparing my heart for it.  I should’ve prayed for my heart to be open to whatever answer that would come out from her mouth.  But I didn’t.  I depended on myself.  Then I experienced this sudden sharp heartache that lasted for more than a few moments.  I found myself asking her, “Is this what I am thinking it is?”  She nodded.  She was six weeks along.  Very early.  I am the first person she’d told other than her parents.  You know the mixed emotions of feeling very happy for someone that their long wait is finally over but at the same time feeling sorry for yourself that it wasn’t you who could make such an announcement?  I know she had been dreading telling me and wanted to see if I had good news to share before she segued into her good news.  My heart kept on tugging while I asked her the details about how she found out.  Her second IUI worked.  She did not expect it to work.  There was only one follicle and her husband’s sperm count was 4.5 million, which was way lower than the 300 million that he had the first time (even more than the Angry Birds Bob had!).  She went in with zero expectations and was already thinking about trying injections for her next IUI.  Here she is.  Pregnant at 6 weeks.  It really only takes one.

I recovered quickly from her news and we went onto have a normal conversation for the rest of the dinner.  I even managed to ask her about her symptoms and the other details.  Bob, on the other hand, was not doing as well.  He responded with “Good for them” and left it at that.  I know he’s hurting that we don’t have the same good news to share.  It doesn’t really matter if they have struggled like we did.  It still stings to be the one left behind.  I hope that one day we will be totally free of negative emotions and be able to rejoice with friends who share good news with us, regardless of how long they have been trying.  But we’re not there yet.

*****

Bob’s Second Cousin had a housewarming party on Saturday.  I just didn’t feel like attending this time.  It’s more about not wanting to mingle with people that I don’t know than not wanting to hang out with her and her baby.  Bob went while I finished sending out our Christmas cards and decorating the tree.  I was perfectly content to just have a peaceful night without trying to smile and listen to some strangers’ conversation.  Bob came home late that night and told me that he had left his nice down jacket at Second Cousin’s house, some 45 minutes away.  So we had to go back there on Sunday to pick up the jacket.  Of course we couldn’t just go but to sit and have some coffee and biscuits before we parted ways.  No escaping seeing Second Cousin and her baby.  The baby continues to be very cute.  He woke up from a nap.  When I clapped my hands together to get his attention, he beamed with a big smile, extended his arms, and leaned forward to come to me.  So I held him for quite some time while he placed his head on my shoulder.  He was a good snuggler.  Well, then his mom went on to talk about all the gruesome details of her birth and the few days after her birth.  To my surprise, I was not that bothered by the details and wasn’t thinking that, well, at least you got a take home baby out of it.  This is a huge improvement for me.  I was genuinely feeling sorry that she had such a bad experience with the hospital and the doctor at a time when she was supposed to be joyful with her new baby.  

*****
Finally, I can’t finish this post without talking about my mother-in-law.  I wrote about her and my father-in-law here.  A week ago, Bob and his mother were chatting on Sky.pe.  Afterwards, he told me what they talked about.  He mentioned something about his future children and his mother said, “No you’re too old for children.”  How about that for a very encouraging parent?  She doesn’t ask him about us having children.  We don’t share with her because she has a way of telling us off.  Her comment confirms to me that we are right not to include our struggles and journey with my in-laws.
 
I’m thankful that my parents and brother/sister-in-law are supportive.  I can’t imagine both sides of the family to be this discouraging.  I hope that God works in my heart so I don’t feel negative towards my in-laws.  Still a work in progress.

Interactions With Two Women

Today has been an interesting day.

One of my clients came in for his speech therapy as usual.  We went into the therapy room.  Before his mom exited the room to let him work with me, she apologized and said, “I am so so sorry that we haven’t practiced the words that you gave us last week.  I had a miscarriage at 20 weeks last week and had to have a D & E.”  I was so shocked and felt heart broken for her.  “Don’t even apologize for such a thing!  I am so sorry for your loss.”  I went and gave her a hug and started tearing up for her.  She teared up as well.  I cannot even begin to fathom what she has gone through in the last two weeks.  We got ourselves together and I went on with my session with the boy.

When we were done with the session, the mom and I started chatting about her miscarriage.  She and her husband had gone into get her 19 week ultrasound with the kids so that they could all find out the sex of the baby.  It was at that appointment when they discovered that the baby boy had no heartbeat.  She was so shocked.  She gets pregnant easily and things usually go easily for her at all of her pregnancies.  She had no symptoms.  She didn’t even look pregnant.  And just like that, the baby was gone.  I really don’t wish anything like this upon anybody.  Although she is a fertile person, I really wouldn’t have wanted this to have happened to her.  I probably would fake a smile or two and be bitter for a day or two when I finally discovered about her pregnancy had it not gone this route.  I really didn’t want to find out about her pregnancy this way.  My heart was sad and heavy.  

I also shared my journey with her.  She actually understood what I had gone through since one of her best friends who is in her late 30s as well went through IVF twice and got two sets of twins.  Anyhow, I didn’t expect to have a special bonding time with this mom going into work today.  I hope that giving her a chance to talk about it somehow helps to heal her heart a bit.

After that happened in the morning, I went about my usual business in the afternoon.  My infertile pregnant friend sent me messages on Gchat.  She has gone back to work since Monday and she has been feeling sleepy.  I told her to hang in there.  She told me that she has 16 more weeks to go.  It’s fine.  I just went on my business.  She then asked me questions about my cycles and clinic choices.  I stalled for a bit and didn’t respond until later in the afternoon. 

me:   Insurance pays for whatever services they billed. so we probably have money for the transfer.  We don’t know yet. One round at a time

Her:  Don’t worry, things will work out

I don’t know.  That just didn’t bode well with me today.  First of all, in nowhere did I say that I was worried.  And really?  She knows that things will work out?  How?  Is she a prophet?  I at first didn’t say anything.  Then I thought that maybe this would be a good chance for me to say something so she doesn’t mindlessly offer her platitude repeatedly.  

me:   I know you mean well, but you don’t know if things will work out. I may never have a child or I may.  You don’t know and I don’t know. I just try my best to do what I can. The rest is not up to me.  But thanks for asking.

Radio silence on her side.  

Maybe I will lose this friendship.  Maybe she is offended.  Maybe I am petty.  I just feel the need to say something to her finally.  If she had said that she hoped that things would work out, I’d take that.  But that was not how she put it.  My hubby was saying that I could say that to her, but I also have to prepare for others who make mindless suggestions and comments and I can’t possibly speak to every single one of them this way.  I hope that infertile pregnant friend is right, that things will work out in the end.  I do not wish to prove her wrong. I would LOVE for her to be right. But what she said really doesn’t help me in this situation.  

Now I think about it… Isn’t it interesting that I had a bonding time with a fertile person over an unfortunate event and a disconnect and maybe even a loss of friendship with an infertile pregnant person?  

Mini Vacation and Other Things

Uh… What do I need?  I need time!  I feel like I don’t have time to blog anymore ever since the Fall began.  Dear Colleague saw me today and asked if I had nothing to say since she checked my blog and saw no new blog posts.  I have a lot to say but I don’t have time to write my thoughts down.  Since she asked, here I am blogging.

The biggest news is that Bob’s last day at his Big Corporation job is tomorrow!  And tomorrow is our third anniversary of our engagement, which happened on 10/10/10.  Three years have passed already and we have experienced so much as an engaged couple and married couple.  I still love my engagement ring and the thoughts he had put in to purchasing the stone and the style.  Anyhow, on Monday, he will start his brand new job.  He has a choice of working from 9 to 5 or from 10 to 6.  He will initially choose to work from 10 to 6 so that he can avoid most of the morning commute.  I am very excited for him!  He has been feeling excited but at the same time nervous.  I think these feelings are totally understandable.  I hope that his talents and skills will be recognized and put to great use at his new job.

Why is tomorrow his last day instead of Friday?  Because we are going to attend my younger cousin’s wedding at the wine country on Friday!  My cousin is actually going to get married at one of my favorite wineries in St. Helena.  We were about to begin our fertility treatment when he announced his wedding date.  My mind immediately began calculating the possibility of my pregnancy by that date, whether or not I’d be showing a bump, if I would need to wear a dress that would hide said bump, or whether we would need to announce the pregnancy before the wedding.  Well, no worries right now.  I am free to wear whatever dress I wish.  It’s such a bummer.  Anyhow, I am still looking forward to having a few days off.  We will head to the wine country early on Friday and hang out.  I have booked a vacation rental about half an hour away from the wedding site and will be sharing with my older brother’s family.  This will be the first time Bro’s family and Bob spend time away.  I am very excited about this opportunity for Bro and Bob to become closer friends.  This job change has brought them closer together as Bro gave advice and listened to Bob’s concerns.  I am hopeful that they will even be better friends after this trip.  I have also booked onsite massages for Bob, SIL, and myself for Saturday.  I cannot wait to have some chill time.

One thing that I dread about the wedding is seeing my relatives and the possibility of being asked about babies.  How do I dodge the bullet?  Maybe avoid talking to anybody. HAHA.  Or maybe because they don’t see a baby or a baby bump two plus years after our wedding, they’d get the clue NOT to ask the question?  I don’t know.  I don’t know how well Chinese people behave when it comes to their own relatives’ fertility.  

My temperature finally rose about four days after the positive OPK.  However, the temperature has been hovering a bit over the cover line, for those who chart.  All in all, I think this is a weak ovulation because of the crappy temperature.  I have lost hope that we would miraculously get pregnant naturally this cycle.  And I don’t know if I should count those days before the temperature shift as part of the luteal phase.  I truly don’t know when my period will come this time.  I guess it doesn’t matter.  We still have not decided what our next step is.  I have been taking a break from therapy and treatment for fertility so I have not gone back to Dr. K, my acupuncturist.  We have been emailing each other for updates though.  Last week she emailed me and told me to call her.  She had completed a cycle with Dr. Y down in SoCal at the clinic at which I am considering doing mini IVF and natural IVF.  She wanted to give me her first-hand insight of Dr. Y and the clinic.  I have already heard of the clinic’s services going down hill for out of town patients.  My conversation with her totally confirmed that.  She said that the instructions for her cycle were given at various times by various nurses and they were chaotic.  She wasn’t asked if she knew how to do the injections.  She was given the order of injections.  Good thing she had done IVF before so she knew how to do them.  When she had a question, she would be put on Dr. Y’s call-list and he sometimes wouldn’t call until very late at night.  Due to poor response the first cycle, she had to do a stimms the second month.  The blastocysts from that cycle were frozen.  She then had to return for her frozen embryo transfers in two consecutive months which resulted in BFNs for both.  In those four months that she dealt with the clinic, she only spoke to Dr. Y four times.  When she arrived in SoCal for the egg retrieval, she was shocked to find that Dr. Y wasn’t even the one who performed the retrieval.  It was some random doctor that she had never talked to or met before.  The one thing that totally turned her off was that Dr. Y didn’t seem to care who she was. She was just a number.  One of the women seeking help from his clinic.  Dr. K and Dr. Y have mutual patients.  Dr. Y knew that.  If Dr. K had that impression that he couldn’t care less even with the knowledge that Dr. K is also a practitioner, how would he treat me?  Dr. K’s conclusion is that, if I can, stick with Dr. E because I’d never find a doctor who would give me the level of care I’ve been getting.

That was a long explanation of why we haven’t made up our mind as to what the next step is.  With our savings, we can see Dr. E for three more cycles that we would pay out of pocket.  After that, I don’t know what we will do.  With Dr. Y, we can do nine mini IVF cycles or natural cycles even with his recent price hike.  I am torn.  What if nothing results from the cycles with Dr. E?  Then I begin to pray for God to give me a clear direction and take away my fear, because fears do not come from Him.  If God leads us to one direction, God will see us through.  I just wish that I always have that faith about God and what He intends to do in my life with His plans.

My infertile pregnant friend continues to write me daily messages.  I have not had the guts or energy to write her an email telling her off.  So she continues her way.  She finally declared that she would go back to work on Monday.  I was so happy because that would mean that she won’t have time to write me online messages as her job is demanding.  The other day she wrote me and said, “By the way, do not give up!  My mom’s cousin’s wife did a few rounds and she finally gave birth this past weekend.”  I said, “You know, giving up is the last thing that I’d do.”  Then she said, “Good. I’m hopeful that you can do it.”  Really, I know she means well, but she does rub me the wrong way sometimes.

I shared with another friend of mine over lunch of our IVF journey.  I debated whether I should share or not.  I eventually decided that I would, since it has been a big part in our lives.  This friend is 40 years old and not married.  She has already given up on having kids in her life.  So after I shared with her, she asked two questions.  The first one was if we had considered or would consider adoption.  My answer was, Yes.  Then I asked her, “Do you know how much adoption would cost?”  I told her the figure.  Then she said, “It seems like doing IVF would cost as much, right?”  Well, I wasn’t going to go into details about the differences and the hardships for both and all that.  The second question hits home a little bit harder.  She asked if I had ever thought about the possibility of not having a normal pregnancy or having a special needs child at this age.  What I said was, “Even younger people have a chance of having children with birth defects.”  Do we stop living life and living out our dreams because we fear that there is a possibility of having babies with health concerns?  I don’t know.  I wasn’t particularly bugged by either question but I am just amazed at how quickly people come to conclusions about other people’s fertility.   I wonder what she would fall off her chair if I had shared with her my thoughts on donor egg and donor embryos.

Anyhow, this is it for an update.  I would let you know how everything goes at the wedding and if I would get bombarded with questions about babies.

 

Annoyances

What is more annoying than not getting a positive OPK for many days?  Finally getting a positive OPK but ovulation is no where to be found.  

We have been diligently having our BD sessions everyday. Bob was sick over the weekend but he has been a very good sport.  He fell asleep early on Saturday night when he was suffering from a sore throat and high temperature and got knocked out by NyQuil.  Other than that one night, baby making has been high on our agenda.  I usually ovulate on CD 13.  However, I didn’t get a positive OPK until CD 16.  I was so excited that my poor husband could finally rest as positive OPK to me means just doing the deed for one more night and then temperature would usually rise in two mornings.  No such luck this time.  Temperature is still low today, which is CD 18.  I find it very very annoying.  I do want to get the show going and start my two week wait rather than wondering when an egg will pop.  Egg white cervical fluid came and went.  Cervix has been high and soft.  But… as you all may know, low temperature = no ovulation.  I know this is the cycle immediately after the our failed IVF #2.  So my body may be doing some wacky things.   All my calculations of the next cycle and when we should cycle in November if we choose to do a fresh one are offtrack.  You think that I should’ve learned by now that nothing is predictable or reliable when it comes to baby making.  

In other news, I have been feeling a tad nicer to people this week.  Then the following happened.  My infertile pregnant friend continues her extreme pregnancy sickness and extended rest at home from work.  Yup.  That’s the friend with the famous line of “Let nature take its course; It’ll happen when you least expect it.”  She continues to write me messages everyday.  I sometimes write back, sometimes don’t.  The other day, I chose to write back and engaged in this exchange with her:

Her:  By the way, heard ICSI works.  Have you guys looked into it?

Me: (Cue eye rolling and suppressing my urge to say something mean and sarcastic) It’s just a part of IVF.  We’ve done it.

She then asked me a bunch of questions about our IVF cycles, which I answered.  Then…

Her:  As long as you are still producing eggs, it is still hopeful that there will be success.  Just be persistent.

Me: (Cue major eye rolling) …………

I chose to NOT respond to that.  First of all, I don’t know why she felt an urge to make IVF suggestions to me.  Anyone who has already done a round or two of IVF probably has the knowledge of what each procedure does and how each one helps.  I know that not all would do ICSI but most likely would have looked into it.  Does she assume that I didn’t do my research?  What does it mean that by “heard ICSI works”?  Who did she hear it from and who did it work for?  I reject anything so generic and one-size-fits-all.  I know she might have meant well but the effect of it was totally opposite of what she intended.  I am not as quick as my hubby when it comes to responding to such a comment with a good comeback.  When I told him what she suggested, he said, “I heard sex works too”.  Heehee.  

And don’t even get me started on part two of her advice.  Just be persistent?  Hm…  I don’t know what part of my life is not being persistent when it comes to trying to have a take home baby.  Is it the drive of at least an hour each way five to six times during each IVF cycle to see my RE?  Or is it the daily injections of four to five vials of medications on my belly?  Or maybe it is the phone calls to the insurance company, pharmacies, and doctor’s office countless times to get the best out of the money that we pay?  Could it be the thousands of dollars that we have thrown into this route or the tens of thousands more that we will continue to drain?  Or maybe it’s the time, effort, and money that we put into acupuncture, Maya abdominal massage, or Chinese herbs.  I don’t know.  I sometimes just cannot stand someone who knows nothing about the struggles of having the diagnosis of diminished ovarian reserve and failing IVF cycles to give me advice about what I should or should not do.  

And then the chat got even better.  Many hours later, she typed:

“Have u ever had a slight cold during pregnancy?”

What the heck?  I have NEVER EVER gotten pregnant before.  Why the heck did she ask ME?

Then she realized that she typed in the wrong window and asked the wrong person.  But she did not apologize for asking the wrong question to the wrong person who might really mind her asking such a question.  She just said, “I’m trying to get rid of my stupid cough.”

Maybe I have become bitter and resentful towards this friend.  Bob thinks that I should just block her from gchat so she does not continue to make suggestions, give advice, or share her pregnancy annoyances with me intentionally or unintentionally.  I am really not the best person for her to share about her pregnancy ups and downs.  

I have been praying for a heart of love, openness and acceptance, one that is free of jealousy, annoyance, and self-pity.  I have to say that on some days it is a huge struggle.  I have to tell myself that it is okay to feel these things.  I am a work in progress.  I hope nobody is expecting me to be perfect and always nice and happy.