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

Microblog_Mondays

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: Sinking In

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We find ourselves in this uncharted territory: we are expecting, for the first time, with very strong beta numbers.  We had dreamed of being in this position but never reached it.  Until now.  It is just so surreal.

I remember my dear friend A.’s words: Things don’t change until they change.  She said this to me in December when we ended the fifth year of our quest without a baby or pregnancy and this journey seemed to be never ending.  A few weeks later, everything changed.

I woke up the day after second beta feeling tremendously grateful for this pregnancy, for the life or lives that the Lord is sustaining inside Annie’s womb, and for Annie herself who has been nothing but a blessing to us.

Annie is so good.  She did her first prenatal workout the other day.  I have 100% confidence in her that she will do her best to take care of herself and this pregnancy.

I am allowing myself to dream a little dream, that maybe this is really the time that we get to bring a baby home.  On Friday, my heart was full and my stride was a bit bouncier and lighter.

I had some email exchanges with Dr. E on Friday and Saturday.  I told her that I was still soaking in my joy and disbelief.  I asked her for the record of the beta results, and which scans other than the 6.5 week appointment we should attend.

Dr. E’s response: “I love it!!  ‘Soaking in your joy’.  Life is good!  The next big scan will be at around 20 weeks to look at the anatomy of the babies.  That’s a great one to attend too.”

Babies?!?  I know that our betas were high.  But I ain’t too sure about “babies”.  And what about the NT scan at 12 to 13 weeks?

Her response: “You already did PGS.  You can skip the NT.  You can go if you want.  It’s just like the first scan.  Not much different.  Buuuut there are babies in there :)”

She seems to think that there are twins inside.  I am emotionally not quite there yet.  I am still at that stage where I am wavering between having confidence that we’ll see a heartbeat or two and the fear of a huge disappointment and devastation at the appointment.

The next day, I emailed Dr. E again to ask if 6 weeks 5 days would be a good time for an ultrasound, and if there are any other supplements she might recommend for Annie if she is indeed carrying twins.

Dr. E said that Annie doesn’t need anything right now other than all the support she can get to have a stress-free pregnancy.

She also said, “She is such a relaxed person at baseline.  We are really very lucky.  Stress is  one thing that is consistently linked to preterm birth.  Six weeks and five days is perfect.  No words to describe how excited I am for you.”

I just love Dr. E.

An ultrasound has been scheduled for 2/6 at 6 weeks 5 days.  Plane tickets have been purchased for both Bob and me to attend the appointment.  A week ago we wouldn’t have dreamed of doing all of this.

There are definitely many emotions to sort through.

We are in general super happy and feeling super fortunate to get to this point.  We celebrated with a deep-dish pizza dinner.

As requested, Annie bought a FRER and POAS’d just for my satisfaction of seeing a dark second line.  It felt really surreal to receive a picture of that FRER.  It was not my pee but it is SOOO my pee stick.

I don’t know how to describe the feeling of seeing a BFP that supposedly belongs to us but at the same time it is so far remote from our life here.

The long awaited BFP.  I thought I would be jumping up and down in joy, but instead I felt a little jealous that the life/lives are not growing inside of me.

And then, there is a question of how much to check in with Annie about feelings or symptoms without being overbearing.  I don’t want to ask her every single day how she is feeling, if she is feeling symptoms or tiredness, etc.  Bob asks me everyday how Annie is feeling.  I think he is gauging how pregnant she is on how sick she feels.  He is probably feeling even more far removed from it all because he does not usually contact her directly like I do.  It is even harder for him to navigate this new stage of how to care for our gestational carrier without going overboard.  It is a fine line to walk.

As this news is sinking in this weekend, I suddenly feel a sense of loss.  As much as I look forward to finally closing this chapter of our TTC life and moving on to hopefully becoming parents, I also feel this intense loss of not being able to carry my own child(ren).  I know that it is a process to grieve and mourn this loss, and I shouldn’t expect myself to get over it at this moment.  As I think about what Annie will be going through in the next many months, I feel sad that I am not the one who will have these precious moments with my husband.  Bob will not be the one who comes home and puts his hands on my tummy waiting for his baby to kick.  I will not be the one who would notice my belly growing bigger and bigger.  As much as surrogacy is such a gift and an amazing thing, we still mourn the loss of these moments.

This sense of loss was so strong last night that I lay in bed in the dark with tears soaking my ears wet.  In darkness, Bob held my hand and said, “It may be a good time for you to go talk to S.”  S is my therapist.  I am very thankful for my husband who is perceptive of my needs.  Today, I emailed S and scheduled an appointment for the Wednesday after our ultrasound.  I hope to have good news for her and at the same time have her help me navigate the complicated emotions involved in this process.

But then, sadness only appeared for a little.  At church yesterday, I let myself daydream a little about it finally being my time to leave my baby or babies at the nursery.

This is my reality: constantly moving from being ecstatic to sad to grieving to happiness to hoping for the future.

This news is so fresh and it still feels very surreal.  I just feel so blessed to be writing this post.  I hope that I will be able to keep on delivering good news for the next many months.  And hopefully as the news continues to sink in and the time goes by, I will feel more and more joyful and less of a need to mourn my loss.

MicroblogMondays: Unexpected Trigger

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I was at my nephew’s graduation.  Watching all the 8th graders walk into the hall and listening to that familiar “Pomp and Circumstance Graduation Walking March”, I started to tear up a little.  I was surprised by my emotions.  For sure I am proud of my nephew, who received a few awards including one that was given to one boy and one girl who were elected by their 8th grade classmates for being the nicest and most helpful throughout the year.  But I suspect that my emotions were much more complicated than the pride I had for my 14-year-old nephew.  Next to me was this couple, who looked full of joy and pride for their son.  One of the segments of the evening was for the graduates to walk to their parents and hand them flowers and a thank you card.  Being next to that couple, I could see the large-sized hand-made thank you card that read more like a letter.  Their son practically wrote them a love letter.  The mom was wiping her tears while taking in all the little words that filled the whole card.  Watching her, I was suddenly overwhelmed by a sense of loss.  Do I ever get to experience this joy of seeing my own child become a successful young man?  The earliest that could happen would be when I am in my mid-50s.  That feels really far away from now.  I mourn the loss of what could’ve been, where life could’ve taken me on a different path.  What if I met Bob earlier?  Married earlier?  Had no problems conceiving?  Then being at my child’s 8th grade graduation would not feel so far-fetched at this moment.  A sense of loss, unfairness, envy, jealousy, fear, etc.  These are feelings that I would usually have when I see a pregnant lady or a mom with young babies.  I never would have expected myself to experience them at a middle school graduation.  I was very surprised.  I did actually shed a few tears there.  It goes to tell you that triggers are everywhere and sometimes happen at unexpected times and in unexpected places.

Presents and Exchanges

Here I am on the first day of my two-week break.  I just woke up and am in a very good mood.  We are going out with my mom to get some dim sum today.  It just feels like I can finally relax and not think much about the next cycle or what not because really, there is nothing much I can do in these two weeks.

Thanks to the lovely ladies in this blogging community, I have in my possession two lovely things that were sent by two lovely bloggers.  The first one is the sock exchange.  The sweet Mrs. Lost forwarded her super power to me in these very cool socks:

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I was totally hoping that I could wear them to get some super power when I go to my first prenatal ultrasound.  Well, things didn’t quite happen the way *I* had planned.  But it’s okay.  I’ll power up next time when I get to my retrieval.  Thanks Mrs. Lost!  I hope that your little babies are nice and snug inside you!

Next, please take a look at my awesome hummingbird courtesy of Jennifer:

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Isn’t this the most awesome hummingbird ever?  Jennifer also included a note that says: 

“I hope you find some joy when you look at this hummingbird.  Hummingbirds lift negativity; show resiliency; and are playful.  May all your dreams come true!”  She is so very thoughtful!  Thank you Jennifer!  I love love this bird.

Next up is our Secret Santa for my Facebook secret group.  My partner happens to love two things that I love: Coffee and Owl.  We are supposed to give a homemade gift or anything under $10.  I am NOT gifted in crafts, anything homemade, or creativity, but I have a mother who is.  She is the queen of knitting, crocheting, and sewing.  I went on Etsy and looked and looked.  Finally I came across these coffee mug cozies that have an owl on them.  Instead of ordering them and waiting for them to arrive, I enlisted my mother’s help.  This is one of the many ones that she has made ever since, and this is the one that I sent to my Secret Santa:

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My mother is SO talented.  Since I showed this off to many, my mom has made over five of them to give to various of my friends and relatives.  She has already declared that this is too boring for her and she’s no longer making them anymore.  Bummer.

Finally, on a more somber note, I wanted to give my friend who has lost two of her three babies something.  Here is the bracelet that I will send to her:

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Just want to let her know that I am thinking of her.  Each pearl represents each baby.  She also lost one baby during this season several years ago.  She said she doesn’t understand why this has to be the season of loss.  I just really want to wrap my arms around her and let her know that I am here for her.  Well, we’re physically too far apart.  Hope that she finds some comfort in this bracelet.