MicroblogMondays: Disclosure

Microblog_Mondays

We have told a handful of people in real life about our pregnancy.  I told my dad right after the second beta, but didn’t tell my mom right away.  My mom’s mom is currently very sick in the hospital in Asia so my mom’s sisters flew back there from the states.  Because my aunts were around, I didn’t want my mom to share this news with them prematurely.  That was the reason why I didn’t want to tell her yet.  My dad is very good with keeping secrets so I never worried that he would tell my mom.  After our first ultrasound with the confirmation of two babies growing, my mom contacted me regarding adjusting the date of her return to the states.  She was originally going to come back in February, but due to my grandma’s situation, she had postponed her return to May.  I felt the need to tell her about the babies because I would need my own mother to be around when the babies arrive.  I don’t think I need her to take care of the babies, but I would need her to take care of me and my husband so that our house would be at least in a decent state in the first few months of the babies’ lives.  So I decided to tell her at about 8 weeks.  She was very happy about it and promised me that she’d never tell her sisters until I give her permission.  I will have to trust her about that this time.

What about Bob’s parents?  After our ultrasound at 8 weeks 5 days, Bob and I felt comfortable sharing with his parents.  It wouldn’t be hard to share about us expecting two babies but the fact that the pregnancy is via the gift of surrogacy was going to be a bit of a challenge for him.  He was brave and took on the task without hesitation.  He did it on the day we reached 9 weeks. I was a coward and just stayed in the kitchen area while he and his parents chatted on Sky.pe in our bedroom.  My father-in-law was cute.  When he found out, he raised both of his arms in victory and celebrated with a big smile on his face.  My mother-in-law?  I think it probably took her some time to get used to the idea.

When Bob made the announcement, she was pleased that we were finally expecting.  But she became perplexed and confused about the surrogacy part.  She originally thought that the babies would be half caucasian but Bob explained to her several times that these were our embryos, and the carrier is just carrying for us.  She then was sad that she couldn’t announce to the whole world that her daughter-in-law was expecting.  She was sad that she couldn’t send me Indian sweets that she would’ve sent me if I was pregnant.  She mentioned to Bob that Isabelle must have been at least a little bit sad that she couldn’t carry a baby herself.  So it was nice that she thought at least a bit about my feelings.  She said that she probably wouldn’t say anything to anyone until after the babies are born because I wasn’t carrying.  She then said that she still wants the money we send her every year.  She was probably afraid that the cost of taking care of newborns was going to eat away part of the money that we give her.  She then said that she’d name our babies and to make sure that they marry Hindu Brahmin Iyengar, their caste and subcaste in the Indian caste system.  I laughed when Bob told me this comment.  Even her son didn’t marry an Indian, let alone the same caste and subcaste.  The chances of her grandchildren doing that are slim to none. But it tells you how much our marriage has thrown her world upside down and now she has renewed hope in these children.  Anyways, she was a little apprehensive about this news when she heard it.

When I first heard about her reaction, I was a little bit disappointed that she wasn’t more excited about our pregnancy because it seemed as though my mother-in-law cared more about the “world’s” opinion of it.  It was almost like there was a certain level of shame or stigma attached to us needing to use a surrogate, like I am less than what I am because I couldn’t even carry my own child.  But I thought more about it, and realized that this was so out of the left field for her that she probably really needed time to digest the news.

Bob chatted with his parents again yesterday.  This time it was so much better.  I was still a coward and didn’t show my face.  But Bob reported that both of his parents are now overjoyed that they will finally have grandchildren to join the family.  It seems like my mother-in-law has processed the news.  She is now very happy that we have two babies coming.   As predicted, she took the credit for our twins as she had prayed to her gods last week at a temple for us to have boy/girl twins.  They have been dying to tell people about us expecting but they’ll wait until a month or two from now when we sail into the second trimester.  My mother-in-law praised Annie for being so generous, loving, and kind to carry our babies for us, and she also praised me for making a sacrifice for the sake of the health of the babies.

It makes me happy that despite the initial reaction, my mother-in-law came around very quickly and is able to fully embrace this news.  It’s such a joy to be able to share good news with our families after all these years and for all of our parents to be so happy for us.  I just can’t wait until the day they can all meet their grand babies.  I hope my in-laws won’t insist on naming our babies.  As much as I want them to be part of the babies’ lives, I would want Bob and me to be the ones giving them names since I don’t get the biological connection or the chance to carry them.  I hope my in-laws will understand that.

MicroblogMondays: Sinking In

Microblog_Mondays

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: Here We Are Again

Microblog_Mondays

Tomorrow is the day we find out if any of the embryos have implanted.

I have examined my heart, and interestingly, I haven’t felt too anxious, yet.  Tomorrow it will be different.  But as of today, I am feeling as guarded and distant as I was on transfer day last week.  I would like to be full of excitement and anticipation but I am not.  We are hopeful; the embryos looked fantastic.  We have been talking about having twins and how that may change our lives, but I am still taking things one day at a time without getting so far ahead of myself.

Remember that sper.m test that assesses the epigenetic information of the sper.m?  We sent in the sample end of November and were promised the results in three weeks.  When we checked in three weeks, we were told that the company needed two extra weeks.  Two weeks rolled around and nobody had contacted us.  Bob and I decided to transfer our embryos regardless of what the test shows.  Finally last Thursday, three days after transfer, Dr. E received the results and consulted with the CEO of the company of them.

The test is called “Seed” which is run by this company called Episo.na.  (You can google the name without the period in the middle of the word.)  It tests the sper.m sample and yields two measures.  The first one measures the risk of male factor infertility by identifying the number of epigenetic abnormalities presented by the sper.m sample.  The second one measures the risk of poor embryo development by identifying the number of epigenetic abnormalities.  The first measure shows that our sper.m sample shows significantly elevated risk for male factor infertility.  It means that the chances of us conceiving naturally or through IUI are significantly reduced.  So IVF is indicated in our case.  Although this is not news to us, I am still very surprised that the underlying problems with Bob’s sper.m do not match his usually stellar semenalysis results.  Fortunately, we have been pursuing IVF for a few years now so we are not crushed by the results.  However, it means that the chances of us having an “oops” pregnancy are slim to none.  I am realistic and not hoping for one, but I sometimes still dream that I’d be surprised one day.

I care a lot more about the second part that indicates the embryo development.  Our results show that our epigenetic profile suggests no increased risk for developing poor quality embryos.  I was so very relieved when I learned this.  Our tested embryos are most likely going to be good quality.  It is so rare to receive good news so both of us rejoiced in learning about it.  It’s a huge weight off our shoulders.  It means that even if this round doesn’t work, it is most likely that our last frozen embryo is good quality.  Dr. E has another patient that also has significant risk of male factor infertility.  The difference is, his results also showed significant risk of poor quality embryo development.  That means that he may not be able to make any embryos, or his embryos may be very poor quality.  I don’t take our good results for granted as it is not a given.

There is one catch about the results.  There was one gene that was detected that indicates that perhaps Annie should be on a blood thinner like Loven.ox.  Dr. E said that this isn’t something that she can say is based on too much science but as the CEO of the company put it, a blood thinner may help with the situation.  I guess that particular gene may be associated with a higher risk of blood clotting problems presented by the embryo made with the sper.m?  Don’t know.  Annie was already on aspirin, but Loven.ox may be stronger for this case.  I made sure to ask Dr. E that the injection is not going to harm Annie in any way if she doesn’t really need it.  Dr. E reassured me that it is not going to do her any harm.  Based on all the information we got, we decided to do it just so that we have all of our bases covered.  Who knows what it all means, right?  We are willing to pay for the extra cost for anything that may help.

The last few days were not without drama.  Annie was told that she should have enough progesterone until the first beta.  She and I checked her vial before she left and it seemed like she should have enough.  Fast forward to Friday night, Annie sent me a frantic text asking if I had ordered the PIO already.  I was shocked because I thought she had enough.  It turned out she had sent me a text Wednesday but it somehow never showed up on my phone.  I did not know about the shortage of her PIO.  She only had enough for Saturday and Sunday.  She would need new ones today.  My first thought was, what if Fed.ex doesn’t deliver on MLK day?  Then do we have to contact the local specialty pharmacies so that Annie could pick up some?  I knew that the online pharmacy was going to be open on Saturday so I was going to call and place a refill.  Annie checked online and found out that Fed.ex does deliver on MLK day.  I also notified Dr. E.  She said that if somehow the meds don’t reach Annie on Monday, her office would figure out something.  I told Annie that next time if I don’t respond to her about something this important, ask me again.

I was still feeling very stressed out about the situation although I knew that it would be all sorted out.  Bob was telling me that everything would be sorted out and urged me to give it to God.  I couldn’t even pray so he prayed with me and for me so that I could sleep well and not be stressed about it.

On Saturday, I tried to call the online pharmacy at the time it opened.  For the life of me I couldn’t get a hold of a live person on the phone.  After trying a few times, I emailed Dr. E who immediately got on it.  I guess there is a special physician’s line.  While I waited, I also called Free.dom and asked if they’d send meds for a Monday delivery.  They would, but it wasn’t needed.  Within 15 minutes, Dr. E told me that our online pharmacy was open, and her nurse actually already ordered a new script.  The pharmacy called me within the next ten minutes and we were good to go for a Monday delivery.  I originally wanted to just order one vial to last her for about ten days thinking, what if she is not pregnant then I’d be spending too much money on something that we don’t need.  But I eventually ordered all three vials by faith as I still believe that this will be our cycle for success.  I hope that she will be able to use it all for this cycle.

 Annie has not been feeling much.  She said that one of her fellow surrogates is feeling a lot of symptoms after her day 3 transfer.  I told her that anything she may feel right now could be due to the effect of progesterone, not anything pregnancy related.  Plus she is somebody who never felt any symptoms for any of her pregnancies.  I told her that it’s always hard to compare herself to others on the same journey.  It will happen if it is in God’s plan, pregnancy symptoms or not.

So here we are at this very familiar juncture of our journey.  Tomorrow could make all the difference in the world for our future.  We’ll see what God has in store for us.

MicroblogMondays: Our Sixth Transfer

Microblog_Mondays

We will have our sixth transfer this afternoon.   But as of yesterday morning, we weren’t very certain if we’d have a transfer or not.  I will explain at the end of this post.

Annie’s lining check was last Tuesday, which yielded a wonderful report of a lining that measured 12.6mm.   It was “gorgeous” according to Dr. E, who loves to use this word.  I am very grateful for Annie’s uterus as it seems to perform well and often delivers with very good thickness.  The next questions that Dr. E asked took a few days for us to answer.  Do we still want to transfer more than one embryo and if so, which ones?

Part one was easier.  We have long decided to transfer two embryos ever since we failed the last transfer.  Although I have to say, both Bob and Annie have been quite bold in suggesting transferring all three embryos.  That makes me cringe even just typing it out.  Annie said that a fellow surrogate is carrying twins after the intended parents decided to put back all three of their remaining embryos.  But what we have here is different.  We have embryos made with donor eggs.  Although we failed the last transfer, there is still a very good chance that all the embryos would implant if we transfer all three.  So why did Bob suggest that?  Well, he is always one embryo ahead of me.  He suggested transferring two last time.  We didn’t listen to him and our cycle resulted in nothing.  To him, if we transfer all three embryos this time and nothing takes, then we can move forward to embryo donation or adoption.  I am not willing to go to the place of fear and worry of potential risks for both carrier and babies should Annie be pregnant with triplets.  I don’t even want to think about the much higher chances of needing a high level NICU in that case and the potential danger of delivering in the neighboring state that bans commercial surrogacy.  A lady in one of my infertility Fac.ebook groups also urged me to transfer all of the embryos.  She insisted that Bob’s sperm problems (with his high percentage of DNA fragmentation) would mean that our chances of getting pregnant would be higher with three.  She told me to trust her, and that I met her for a reason.  But to me, this is all noise.  I have prayed for quite a few days about it and do not have peace with putting back all three embryos.  So two is the magic number.

Now for part two of Dr. E’s question, we had a little bit of a difficult time.  Which two embryos should we transfer?  If Dr. E never told me that these embryos are a mixture of male and female, I would have never thought to make a choice based on the sex of the embryos. I would just ask her to pick the two that she thinks have the best chance and move forward from there.  However, when we had a low first beta, Dr. E mentioned on the phone about transferring two embryos and told me to make a choice of transferring two of the same sex or one each.  Since I have always not wanted to find out the sex of our future baby until birth, I was taken aback by her suggestion.  But that was back in November so we hadn’t had to make a decision.

Fast forward to last week, Dr. E asked us to make a choice.  The embryos’ stats are as follows: one day five blastocyst (embryo #2) that has a high mitoscore which means the implantation potential is about 80%.  So we are definitely going to transfer this one.  We also have two day six blastocysts that were 5AB (embryo #4) and 5BB (embryo #5).  Their mitoscores are the same, with the implantation potential of 56%.  Dr. E revealed that #2 and #4 are the same sex.  So it means that #2 and #5 are different.  Since #4’s quality is slightly better than #5, she would transfer #2 and #4 if we don’t care about putting back one male and one female.  Otherwise, we could transfer the opposite sex ones (#2 and #5).

For somebody who didn’t want to know the sex of the embryos in the first place, this had been an extremely difficult decision to make.  Let me see if I could explain my thought process here.  I really wish that Dr. E hadn’t mentioned about the sex.  Then I would just say transfer the embryos based on quality.  However, I can’t undo what I do know.  So we really had to make a choice that we won’t regret in the future.  Do I have a particular preference?  Well, I have all along wanted two children, one boy and one girl.  If we transfer two and both take, then we’ll have both genders.  However, I really didn’t want to know the sex of the baby before birth.  If both take, then we know from the beginning that they are one of each.  How big of a deal is it?  Well, I just want one surprise on this journey.  I guess I can let go of that surprise if we are blessed with two babies.  If only one takes, then we will still not know the sex of the baby until birth.  We also won’t know the sex of the remaining embryo until we transfer it.

The question is, should we put back the two that are the best quality knowing that we give this cycle the best chance?  First of all, the two day 6 embryos are very similar.  They both have good implantation potential.  Dr. E said that there is not a huge difference between the two.  And second, sometimes the best looking and even “normal” embryos don’t implant, but the ones of lesser quality do.  So it’s really hard to say that we are not giving this cycle the best chance if we don’t transfer the two embryos with the best quality.

I almost wanted to bury my head in the sand and just let my RE choose.  I just wanted to wait until the last moment and finally it came.  A nurse from my RE’s office gave me an urgent call last Friday as she had to put in an order to indicate which embryos to transfer.  She left me a message so I discussed one last time with Bob.  I had been praying for it but it wasn’t clear to me.  He told me that if he had a choice, he’d opt for one of each.  When I heard his choice, I felt completely at peace with it.  So that was the choice we made.  A male and a female.

Why was I uncertain about whether or not we’d transfer?  I learned that there was going to be a storm hitting this side of the country.  It would hit the hardest on the day of Annie and Kenneth’s arrival.  If Annie’s flight got canceled, we wouldn’t be able to have a transfer.  It would have to be postponed for another month of so.  I was honestly quite worried about a canceled cycle.  But Bob reminded me that this is totally out of our control.  God has already ordained these events. If it is in God’s will for us to transfer, we’ll be able to do it.  If not, then it’s okay to wait for another month.  It would suck, but it’s not the end of the world.  I prayed and prayed for their travel to go smoothly, but more importantly, for my complete trust in the Lord and His sovereignty and control over my life.

The fortunate thing is, instead of booking a flight into SFO that has at least one stop, I decided to book a non-stop flight into OAK (as there are no direct flights from Annie’s hometown airport to SFO).  The biggest reason was that it’s much easier to make changes on Southw.est Airlines rather than other airlines should we have to change the transfer date.  It did cross my mind that a non-direct flight would mean a higher risk for Annie and Kenneth to be stranded at another airport during transit.  The storm started after midnight on Sunday.  The wind and rain picked up and sounded very scary at home.  Despite the bad weather at Annie’s hometown and here, Annie and her husband got to the airport safely and the plane departed on time and arrived on time.  We did witness one spinout on the freeway on our way back home but we got home safely.  I just want to praise the Lord for his provision as He protected them and us on the road.  Later on, we found out that many flights from Annie’s hometown airport were canceled later in the day.  So it’s such a blessing that Annie and Kenneth’s flight arrived safely and on time. 

It has been wonderful to see Annie and Kenneth again.  We are like old friends.  They even brought superhero socks and shirts to wear for the transfer.  That warms my heart.  Transfer is scheduled for 12:15pm.  Bob is coming with us this time too!  He’s coming mainly because he wants to drive us there in the rain as I have major anxiety driving in rainy weather due to my experiences having two car accidents both in the rain. I love my husband that he takes care of me. Annie will have her pre- and post-transfer acupuncture sessions.  We won’t have to pay as much as last time since she is a repeat customer.  Although I’d much rather her NOT to be a repeat customer for this, we still got to celebrate small victories such as saving a bit of money, right?

I will report on the transfer after it’s done.  Hopefully the embryos thaw well today and we will have Noelle and Quentin safely home soon.

MicroblogMondays: An End and a Beginning

Microblog_Mondays

Our trip up north was much needed for a change of pace and  to get away from the mundaneness of our typical life.  During those five days, we enjoyed hiking, massages, driving along the coast, wine tasting, and eating.  We also did a whole lot of nothing.  Although we were only 90 minutes away from home, it was a whole other world out there.  The breathtaking sceneries, the yummy wines, the slowness of life, the hospitality of the innkeepers, and the scrumptious homemade breakfasts made those few days nothing short of magical.

Four breakfast dishes are shown here for four mornings, with wonderful company of other B&B guests including this hilarious Filipino older lady who told story after story of her adventures coming from her country to the United States.

I had been craving oysters so my wonderful husband drove me to a place known for their seafood and we had a delicious lunch with a dozen oysters, crab sandwich, and clam chowder.

One of the highlights was a hike in the redwood forest a mere 10 minutes away from our bed and breakfast.  The increased heart rate while climbing uphill, the fresh air, and the tall redwood trees are a reminder of how much we should enjoy and appreciate nature and exercise in our lives.

Needless to say, the ocean is always breathtaking and a great reminder of God’s handiwork.

 I didn’t quite want to think about the upcoming cycle during this trip, as I just wanted to get away from it all.  However, we could not escape the reality of it as we are still pretty much in the middle of our cycle.  We still haven’t heard from Dr. E or the company that was supposed to share the epigenetic sper.m test results with us.  Bob actually doesn’t want to find out about the results since they would not change our desires to transfer two embryos.  So daily it crossed my mind to email Dr. E about it but I still haven’t.  Annie has been taking estrogen to prepare for her lining.  One evening during our trip, she sent me a frantic email about running out of the insulin syringes for the Lup.ron that she’s been injecting.  I guess the 14 syringes that came with the Lup.ron kit and the extra 10 syringes provided by the pharmacy were only enough for 24 days, and she needed to be on it for a total of 28 days.  I forwarded her email to Dr. E asking for help, but I didn’t sleep too well that night wanting to resolve the issue the next day.  I am glad to report that it got resolved quite easily but it was nevertheless an interruption of my otherwise tranquil mind that was relatively free of the thoughts of reality.

Since we returned on New Year’s eve, our trip marked a perfect end of 2016, a year that was full of ups and downs like the previous four years since we started trying for a baby.  I am glad we had a moment to take a breather and just be by ourselves without the hustle and bustle of life.

Just like Christmastime, I opted for doing nothing special for New Year’s eve.  We had a very early, no frill dinner, and had a glass or two of the yummy champagne that we bought on our trip.

We went to bed like usual and didn’t even wait for midnight to ring in the new year.  It was just another evening and another day.

Tomorrow is the day Annie will have her lining check to confirm the transfer.  If all goes well, in a week, she will be lying on the same table and I will be staring at the same screen in the transfer room just like the end of October.  Bob told me yesterday that despite all the setbacks, his desires for a child are as strong as ever.  I feel the same way too, and I feel blessed that we are on the same page.  May our resolve to bring home a baby align with God’s perfect plan for us in this upcoming cycle.  May this be the beginning of something super magical.

MicroblogMondays: A Low-Key Break

Microblog_Mondays

Bob and I decided to have a low-key Christmas this year.   However, my emotions have been going up and down.

Our first week of vacation was spent doing a lot of nothing, which was glorious.  We binge-watched many episodes of Parentho.od, had a movie date at Moa.na, and admired artwork at the newly renovated SFMOMA.  We even had a sleepover at our friends’ house and hung out with our favorite kids.   This was the good, peaceful, and fun part.

We deliberately did not decorate for Christmas.  There is no Christmas tree, wreath, stockings, or ornaments.  If you walk into our house, you will not see a hint of the Christmas season except for the Christmas cards of kids and babies on our fridge.

I just feel that if I do not want to hang any Christmas ornaments, I am entitled to do that.  I got Bob his Christmas gift, but I haven’t picked out the purse that he is going to give me.  There is no pressure to decide on one and have it mailed to us before Christmas day because, let’s admit it, it is an arbitrary day to receive a gift.  It makes no difference to me if I get the gift before or after December 25th.  It does not mean that I don’t celebrate Jesus, my Lord and my savior who was born on this earth being fully human and fully God.  But I don’t have to do anything to show that I have the so-called Christmas spirit in the cultural sense.

A couple of things has made this season difficult.  The first is all of the baby announcements and pregnancy announcements I saw in the last week or so.  Quite a few babies have been born this past week.  Many of their mothers were on the journey with me when they struggled to conceive their first babies.  They were successful at their IUI or IVF and I was not.  Fast forward to the current time.  They gave birth to their second babies while I am still waiting for my first.  Same with the pregnancy announcements that I have seen this past week.  Many struggled with their first and now they are onto their second.  It’s hard not to look at myself and feel the hurt of having empty arms that long for the warmth of holding our own baby.  My husband was so protective.  On Christmas eve, I opened the mailbox and found two envelopes that looked like Christmas cards inside.  When I was wondering aloud who one of the cards was from as I didn’t immediately recognize the address, Bob snatched it away from my hand.  He said, “You don’t want to open this one”.  I immediately understood that it probably contained a pregnancy announcement of some sort.  He admitted, “It’s the worst kind of pregnancy announcement on a Christmas card.”  He had seen the announcement on Fac.ebook earlier that day and had hidden it from me.  I said, “You mean an ultrasound photo.”  Yup that was it.  The worst kind of Christmas card for an infertile person to receive.  He took away the card and hid it.  I am grateful that he saved me from that moment of the surprise, hurt, and pain seeing the grainy black and white image.

And then one of my best friends wrote me a text Christmas Eve morning asking me to pray for her dad.  She was originally going to fly home for Christmas that morning anyways, but earlier that morning her dad was sent to the hospital in a critical condition.  She was waiting for her flight when she wrote.  Her dad suffered from cancer a couple of years ago and was doing better, but took a turn for the worse recently.  My friend spent Thanksgiving with her parents and was planning on spending Christmas at home as well.   I asked her how her dad was in the afternoon.  She wrote back sharing the news of her dad’s passing earlier that afternoon.  My beautiful friend longs for a life partner and children in her future.  It’s so hard for me to imagine losing her dad in her 30s and for her to miss out having her dad walk her down the aisle when she finally gets married or for her to not ever have a chance to introduce her future children to him.   My heart is so heavy for her.  The loss of her father and the future with him just feels so unbearable in this moment.

Tomorrow we will be driving up north to stay at a bed and breakfast for four nights.  I look forward to a simple few days of being away, reading, eating, hanging out, and enjoying nature.  I hope that it is enough for us to recuperate from the roller coaster of a year in 2016 for us to prepare for the life that is ahead of us in 2017.

MicroblogMondays: Trigger

Microblog_Mondays

Triggers come at any time, and not always when we expect it.

I hadn’t teared up about our situation in quite some time.  Not when I saw all the babies and kids at my work’s preschool class’ Christmas performance.  Not when my once-again-pregnant coworker loudly declared to everyone in the hall that she isn’t going to find out the sex of her second baby.  Not even when we were told last week that the company that tests the epigenetic information of Bob’s sper.m would need an extra two weeks on top of the three week that they had promised to give us the results of the sperm test, which meant that we might once again have to decide if we wanted to postpone the January yet again.  And also not when the scenes of pregnancy and birth showed up while we were watching the TV show Parentho.od.

I expected to shed a tear or two, but I didn’t.

This is why triggers are so crazy.  They just come unannounced and when you are not prepared.

Bob has had his green card for a few years and has been eligible to apply for citizenship for a couple of years already.   He had been putting off working on his application for a long time until yesterday afternoon.  One of the questions on the application was about how many children he has.  This was an extremely easy question to answer and required no effort on his part because he simply has zero living children.  He got to skip all the information that he could have had to fill out because there was nowhere on the form that allowed you to tell about those ones that didn’t make it alive to this world.

As I sat across from him and listened to him joke about how easy it was to fill out this part, I started to feel the weight of this question.  A marriage of 5.5 years.  Nothing to show for.  Not even one living child.  And it was not for the lack of trying.  We have practically done almost every single type of treatment maybe except for donated embryos.  At that point, sadness came over me.  My eyes were warm with the tears that were about to shed.  It came as a surprise.  It was just some application asking some common questions.  I wasn’t even the one who had to answer the question.  But it just amplified the helplessness of the situation.  Children come so easy for many who have had to answer this question, but not to us.  All those other situations I mentioned about didn’t make me cry, but this one did.  There is no rhyme or reason.

That’s the thing about this journey.  No rhyme or reason.  You just have to take the challenges as they come.  And it’s okay to shed a few tears.