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: Girls’ Getaway

Microblog_Mondays

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

Expectation and reality are two totally different things.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

  

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


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

Breakfasts were good:



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

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


  

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

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

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

A Season of Waiting, Again

For those who have been following me for a little while, you may remember Rekka?  That was the name my friend M gave to the cyst that stalled our first ever IVF cycle.  Rekka was finally dead the following month.  Well, I think Rekka either reincarnated or has sent her cousin, the party pooper.  At my baseline ultrasound bright and early at 7:40am, Dr. E discovered one follicle on the right side.  She said it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any other follicles on that side.  They could be hiding.  When she ventured to the left side, this big follicular cyst appeared on the screen.  So yeah.  Either Rekka decided to come back after being gone for six months, or her cousin showed up as her representative.  M, should we give the cyst another name???

Anyhow, unlike two months ago when I really didn’t want to try another cycle, this month I am very ready for one.  But God has His own timing.  With this cyst, we cannot proceed with another IVF cycle this month.  The medication is going to make the cyst bigger and bigger.  Similar to last time, I will not go on any birth control pills as we do not want to risk overly suppressing my ovaries.  It doesn’t really matter how ready I am mentally and physically this cycle, my ovaries are not cooperating.

I was a little bummed this morning.  It was a very long morning.  I gave up fitness bootcamp and left at 6:30am for my 7:40am appointment.  I got there at 7:26am.  Dr. E and I discussed about the cyst and our plans.  I still have an option of transferring my frozen in January or do a fresh cycle.  We are still going to think about that a little more.  When I left the clinic, I chatted with Bob on the phone and went over all that had happened.  I checked on Google Maps that going back to work would take almost 1.5 hours.  Lovely.  So I headed over to Starb.ucks, got myself a cup of grande hazelnut latte, and braved myself through the traffic.  While I was driving, my phone rang.  I looked at the phone number that I didn’t recognize and didn’t pick up.  It turned out to be the place where I had ordered Bob his Christmas present over the weekend.  Apparently the item that I ordered was out of stock and my order was officially canceled.  Even lovelier.  When I finally got into work at 9:45am, it was supposed to be the beginning of my work day but I felt like I had been in a battle physically and emotionally for several hours already.

Things aren’t actually that bad.  I mean, instead of starting injections or oral medication tonight, I am not going anywhere near any syringes.  Sticking myself with a needle is not the most pleasant thing so I am spared of that this month.  I contacted the store to re-order something else and got the lady to honor the discount that I got for the cancelled order.  At least Bob will get his Christmas present.  Bob and I had been talking about taking a trip somewhere during the last two weeks of the year as I have those two weeks off and he gets to work remotely from anywhere.  However, we had been holding off our plans for a trip because we didn’t know how this cycle would turn out.  Since the cyst is making us wait, we jumped at that opportunity and booked three nights at a bed and breakfast about three hours away.  We had gone to this place twice, once for our mini-honeymoon (those nights after our wedding… our official honeymoon in Hawaii has yet to be booked) and another time for a couple of nights after my abdominal myomectomy two years ago.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were still rooms available for those nights we want to go.  So we will be spending December 23rd, 24th, and 25th in a small scenic town facing the ocean.  Instead of being poked and prodded by a dil.do cam at my RE’s office, I will be having freshly cooked hot breakfast delivered to our room at 9am each morning.  If we went ahead with this cycle, then we would never have a chance to go away for Christmas.

I know I’d much rather get a cycle going.  But when I can’t, I got to find the silver lining, right?  Instead of a cycle, Bob and I get to have some down time for just the two of us.  I think that ain’t too bad.  God has a way of allowing us time to rest.

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.