MicroblogMondays: Great Beta Levels

It’s been interesting to support my cousin alongside her on her fertility journey.  Although she has been trying for more than a couple of years, she hardly ever reads any blogs or joins any online groups.  In those 5.5 year of trying to become parents, I was on many online forums, joined many FB groups, and was a regular reader of many many blogs.  Because of that, I feel that I have a lot more knowledge regarding things like the IVF process.  Many of the questions that she has asked me are ones to which she’d know the answers if she had been following infertility blogs.  I am happy to answer them.  It is just interesting to see the differences in our approaches dealing with our fertility issues.  And now that she is pregnant, it feels even more obvious that she doesn’t know much.  Every time she gets her beta results, she’d ask me if they numbers are good.  I have to reassure her that the numbers have been beyond good.  Here is the lowdown:

Initial beta on 7dp5dt: 80

Second beta on 10dp5dt: 577

Third beta on 16dp5dt: 5582

Those are crazy numbers, aren’t they?  When I saw that her second beta was over 500, I couldn’t help but wonder if the embryo had split.  This value was even higher than Annie’s second beta of 464 on 10dp5dt, and Annie was carrying twins for us.  Dr. E, my RE, said that there is a 1% chance that the embryo would split, so it could still be one very strong embryo.  One day my cousin was scaring me though.  She messaged me to ask if she should do an injection of progesterone in oil that evening.  It was already 11pm her time.  She was supposed to insert one progesterone suppository in the morning and two in the evening.  She only had one left in the evening.  A shipment was supposed to arrive that day but didn’t get delivered on time, so she ran out of the suppositories.  She still had PIO at home from previous cycles so she asked if she should inject some.  I asked Dr. E who answered me right away (you got to love her for her fast response).  Dr. E said that missing one dose of progesterone could cost her pregnancy, and urged her to inject the PIO right away.  My cousin did.  Then she told me that she wasn’t too worried about not receiving the shipment since she still had PIO at home.  It was just that the suppositories were not covered by insurance and would cost $1100, so she asked around and someone was willing to order some for her and ship them to her.  Of course the shipment was messed up.  And now knowing that skipping a dose could cost her pregnancy, saving that $1100 doesn’t sound like it’s worth it at all.  I just told her to always have progesterone around until her placenta takes over.

It does look like her pregnancy is going well.  I can’t wait to see how many babies they see on her first ultrasound!

MicroblogMondays: Almost 28 weeks, and Things Are Looking Up

Almost 28 weeks here.  Today, at 27 weeks 5 days, we will have our ultrasound at 10am.  We were all supposed to be there with Annie this weekend for this appointment.  Ever since Annie’s anxiety and hemorrhoid problems, we canceled this trip that was also supposed to be for our maternity photo shoot not knowing if she was going to up for moving around and smiling in front of the camera. I was bummed about not being able to go or to have my photo shoot but didn’t want to force things on anybody.  So I was okay with canceling.  As usual, I will be attending today’s appointment virtually by video conferencing Annie in the ultrasound room.  I hope that we will continue to have good news all around.

Speaking of Annie, she seems to be doing so much better these days.  Interactions with her remind me of the Annie pre-anxiety attack.  She is slowly going back to being her old self.  I am so psyched to see that we can freely contact her without feeling as if we are walking on eggshell.  I felt that Bob had become a little guarded with his feelings after the whole thing with the anxiety attack.  We talked a few times about going to visit Annie one weekend and spend time with her as well as to feel the babies’ movements, but nothing really materialized.  Two weeks ago, Bob and Annie were exchanging emails with regard to something computer related that he was helping her with.  Annie mentioned that the babies were saying hello by moving around a lot while she was writing the email.  This must have touched Bob’s heart somehow because after that he told me that we should really find a time to go visit in July or August.  We can’t go in July as all the weekends have been booked.  Plus the plane tickets are pricey.  The first weekend of August seems to be a good choice.  We finally booked the tickets to arrive at Annie’s town the first Friday in August late evening.  Bob will come home that Sunday so he doesn’t have to miss work.  I have arranged for myself to fly home a day later so hopefully I can attend an OB appointment with Annie that Monday as we will reach 32 weeks then and Dr. OB wants to see her twice a week for non-stress test.

Remember that maternity photo shoot I have always wanted to do?  Annie is totally up for it.  So I contacted the photographer that we have booked for the birth photography and she can do a session for us the Sunday morning of our August trip!  I know that the light before sunset is the best, but we don’t have that kind of time as the photographer is already booked that Saturday.  But it doesn’t matter.  I am just so grateful that we still have a chance to do this barring the babies deciding to come any time before that.  (My hope is that they will stay put until much later.)

Getting my hair colored and cut was one of the items on my to-do list called “Before Twins”.  White hair has sprouted all over my head the last six months.  I had never highlighted or dyed her hair, so getting it colored was a bit scary.  But, I would like to look more youthful for my babies, so I finally made an appointment with my usual hair stylist and got my hair colored dark brown for the first time in my life.  I love the new hair color!  It looks very natural on me, and it does make me look a lot younger as it covers up all my white hair.

This new hair color and cut is totally photo shoot ready.  Now I just have to figure out what clothes to coordinate with everyone and the style of photography I want.

Our C-section was originally scheduled for September 15th, at 38 weeks 2 days.  Annie picked out a Friday because her husband was originally going to attend a 3-month training 9 hours away starting in late August so she thought that a Friday might be easier for him to take time off.  Apparently, her husband’s supervisor decided to postpone his training to January 2018 because he does not want Kenneth to be distracted by the birth and what’s happening at home.  I know that Kenneth is a bit bummed about it, but right now at least he’ll be around during the last few weeks of the pregnancy to help out so Annie doesn’t feel stressed about single-parenting anymore.  Annie asked us if we could move the C-section date to a Sunday or Monday so that Kenneth could stay home with the kids on his days off while she recuperates in the hospital.  Originally we were okay with moving it earlier to that Monday prior, which will be 37 weeks 5 days.  However, Bob doesn’t want the babies to be associated with a birthday on September 11th.  Today, we will ask Dr. OB if 37 weeks 4 days (Sunday) will be too early or 38 weeks 4 days (the following Sunday) will be too late.  You know, we can plan all we want, but the babies may decide to come earlier.

On the home front, we have made a ton of progress.  All the furniture that needed to be moved out of the babies’ room got moved.  We put one of the book cases in our bedroom, which has made our room look so much nicer somehow.  The shades that we ordered should arrive any time and we’ll have them installed.  We have kept all the books that we want and put away the ones that we don’t need anymore.  The house is looking better each weekend.  The car seats and the extra bases that my mom bought for us are waiting in the garage.  We even have the cribs!  A church friend totally surprised us and bought the cribs on our registry for us.  I never expected anyone to buy them for us let alone a friend.  Having these baby items in our house makes it all very real that we will have some new members who will occupy (invade?!?) our otherwise very tidy and clean space very soon.

Can you believe that we are almost done with the second trimester?  If all goes well (and the twins stay put for as long as possible), we’ll meet our babies in about 10 weeks.  It is still so surreal but at the same time so real.  It is a little scary to not know how things will all unfold, but I can hardly wait to have the babies in my arms!  In a matter of weeks, our lives will forever change.

MicroblogMondays: 16 Weeks Ultrasound and Headaches

Just a warning that this is definitely NOT a micro post (and it’s actually super long)…

Annie does not experience any pregnancy symptoms except for these headaches.  They started about a month ago and sometimes get really bad.  Tylenol does not work for her so once she was in the 2nd trimester, our OB allowed her to use Ibu.profen when the headaches get bad.  Annie doesn’t want to take that all the time so she just endures the headaches.  She looked into the side effects of Love.nox and Syn.throid.  Both of them said headaches.  She was scheduled to stop Love.nox by 14 weeks anyways but I told her to continue until the meds runs out.  Once I learned about the headaches and the side effects, I told her to stop the injections.  But since Syn.throid is helpful with controlling the thyroid thus preventing preterm labor, she would need to be on.  Her dosage is so small that our OB doubts that the headaches have anything to do with that.  Annie did not have headaches during her first three pregnancies, but she does get headaches during her monthly cycle.  So I would imagine the increased blood flow during the second trimester in her body and the pregnancy hormones carrying twins both trigger these headaches.  She said they are constantly on the background and a few times they got really bad.  She uses essential oils.  Last week she had a massage and a chiropractic adjustment of her neck two times.  She does feel better after the adjustments.  This week she’ll have more adjustments and an acupuncture session.  Many asked if she is hydrated and she guarantees me that she is.

Here comes the part that scared me.  Because she was originally prescribed Syn.throid by Dr. E, my reproductive endocrinologist, we kept Dr. E in the loop regarding the headaches to see if Annie could stop the thyroid meds.  Dr. E is an alarmist by nature.  After learning that Annie has had these headaches for a long time, she really wanted Annie to be seen by a neurologist because to her, untreated headaches could be dangerous and headaches could be due to other neurological conditions and not just pregnancy hormones.  Annie wasn’t worried and still isn’t worried about these headaches being neurological based.  But Dr. E wrote me and asked me to convince Annie to go see a neurologist.  That was two days before we flew in for the scan.  I was sitting there at work with  my mind going really far away, having irrational fears about pre-term labor, Annie’s life being in danger, and the babies’ health on the line.  Simply because my doctor was suggesting my gestational carrier to see a neurologist.  Annie did try to call the neurologist office in town and was told that she would never be seen for just headaches unless she gets a referral.

Dr. E also forwarded a meta-analysis study about the effect of vaginal progesterone suppositories to prevent pre-term labor in women with a history of one.  She felt that it would be beneficial to Annie since she is carrying twins and might have the risk of per-term labor.  I said I would run it by our OB.

I was not super worried per se, but I really didn’t/still don’t like this feeling of doom and gloom.  Annie again is not worried because she has no other symptoms.  Her blood pressure is good.  She does not have any localized weakness or pain on any other part of her body.  She only has these freaking headaches that are super annoying.  I am just so thankful that she is my gestational carrier because her calmness is contagious.  She has learned to give it all up to God and I really have to learn to do that as well.  She is not ignoring these headaches.  She actively tries to find a solution to resolve them.  But she is just not worried that any of this was caused by problems in her brain.  She will go see a neurologist if he/she would see her, but she isn’t stressed about it.  I figured we’d see the OB anyways on Friday, so waiting a day or two to talk to him wasn’t going to make the situation worse.  So I prayed repeatedly for my peace and trust in the Lord and just waited.  But there is always something that can cause worries, isn’t there?

It was such a blessing for Bob and me to attend the ultrasound on Friday with Annie when we reached 16 weeks 2 days.  I was a bit nervous before going in because you just don’t know what you’d see on an ultrasound.  I had confident that both babies were still there but a part of me was anxious.  I didn’t really have much time to think about things because once Annie arrived, the ultrasound technician was ready for us.  It was so wonderful to see Annie and her/our bump in person.  Hugging her felt so interesting because inside her bump was our babies.  Annie hopped on the table and off we went with the abdominal ultrasound.  Annie said that she did feel some movements the other day and was quite sure that it was the babies.  This time I didn’t feel sad but felt that it was such an amazing thing for her to feel the babies.

I reminded the tech that Dr. OB said that he would do all the preliminary anatomy stuff during this scan because Bob was able to be present for this one.  The tech was super friendly and said she’d get whatever she could get.  Immediately we saw Baby A waving his/her arm on the screen.  It was quite exciting to see that he/she was so much bigger at this point.    The tech first measured Annie’s cervix, which she said was adequate.  Baby A was moving around.  The tech changed into different views and measured a bunch of different things.  She looked at the heart, which was beating at 151 beats per minute.  We could see the four chambers, the baby’s kidneys, head, brain, arms, legs, stomach, diaphragm, etc. etc. etc.  Everything seemed to be going well.

When it came time to see the sex of the baby, I only wanted to know if we really had a boy and a girl inside, but I don’t want to find out which baby is which.  Bob really wanted to find out.  So when the tech looked, I hid in the bathroom adjacent to the ultrasound room.  Bob was going to stick himself right in front of the screen and find out.  I was adamant about him not finding out because it would mean one day he’d leak out the information and I wouldn’t have my surprise anymore.  He was really torn because he really wanted to know. Eventually he agreed not to and hid in the bathroom with me.  He was half mad because I was denying him the right to know, but he agreed with me later on that he would not be able to keep a secret from me.

Apparently the tech took a very good look and confirmed to herself what she saw.  Baby A was measuring 16 weeks 6 days and his/her leg was very long, measuring at 17 weeks 3 days.

The tech then switched over to Baby B, who also had a great heart rate of 156.  We could clearly see that he/she had a tall nose.  The profile was just very cute (probably only in my eyes as his/her mother).  This baby was measuring 16 weeks 4 days and the tech also confirmed his/her sex.  So we officially know that we are going to have one boy and one girl.  🙂

Both babies weigh about 6oz each and over 4 inches each.

The tech changed the view to 3D for Baby B.  He/she was holding his/her fists up on the cheeks.   We switched again and saw that the babies’ head were together.  Apparently one baby was head down and the other was breech.  So their heads were together but one was up and one was down.  You can click on the page “Ultrasound Photos” on the left to see the babies, the two heads of the babies looking like an infinity sign, and the 3D image of Baby B.

The technician measured the blood flow of the umbilical cords and the placentas and it seemed to be fine for both babies.

We finally got to meet Dr. OB.  I had only talked to him on the phone several times so it was nice to finally meet him in person.  He was a middle-aged man who sounded very passionate about his job. He talked a mile a minute and every single time we asked a question, he gave an example of one of his patients and what happened to her.  So this is basically what we discussed:

  • Dr. OB asked if Annie had any localized pains, slurred speech, or other things.  He felt her head, her forehead, and areas around her nose to check for sinus problems.  After that, he said that it is highly unlikely that her headaches are due to a brain tumor or a blood clot.  The neurologist received Dr. E’s referral and said that he’d need Dr. OB’s notes in order to see if a visit with him is warranted.  But Dr. OB said that the headaches are most likely due to the fluctuation in hormones and he has seen it many many times.  He will write the notes and forward to the neurologist clinic and see what the neurologist would say.
  • The babies are doing well.  They are measuring on time and there is nothing to worry about.  Baby B does have a little white dot on his/her heart shown on the scan, which is called “fetal echogenic intracardiac focus”.  The doctor said that it occurs in 5% of pregnancy and by itself it’s not harmful to the baby at all.  But when it happens with a load of other problems such as short femur, high risk for Down syndrome, or other things, then it may raise some concerns.  As for us, Dr. OB said that it will resolve itself and there is nothing to worry about.  I guess it is his job to inform us of this thing.
  • One baby is currently breech (feet down) and the other one head down.  Baby A is in the front of the uterus with an anterior placenta.  Baby B is in the back with a posterior placenta.  The placentas are in the right place and not covering the cervix in any way whatsoever.  This is a relief.
  • We’ll have the 20-week ultrasound and by then we’ll see more anatomical structures that will be bigger then.
  • Annie will be seen every four weeks until 32 weeks.  At 32 weeks, she’ll come in twice a week for monitoring and non-stress test.
  • She will do her blood sugar test for gestational diabetes in the next week or two.  It’s done early because she’s carrying twins.
  • Annie’s urine is good without protein.  Her blood pressure was 110/70 which was excellent.
  • We will aim at delivery at 38 weeks by Ceasarean section.  I forgot to ask when we determine if we would do a C-section early.
  • I asked how we would be able to tell if there’s preeclampsia. Dr. OB said that she’ll be monitored closely after 32 weeks so she’ll be in good hands.
  • Annie only gained three pounds in the last 4 weeks.  I forgot to ask if this is a good gain or if she needs to gain more weight.  I will write the doctor and ask.
  • Dr. OB said that the vaginal progesterone suppositories are not warranted in Annie’s case because studies show that for those who are at risk for preterm labor would still have a higher chance of having pre-term labor even with extra progesterone.  In our case, Annie never had that problem.  It is not warranted at this point.  Plus Annie joked that she pushed for over 50 hours for both of her last two births and her cervix was shut closed.  Dr. OB was joking that in this case since Annie had a steel of a cervix, we most likely won’t have to worry about this problem.
  • Finally, Dr. OB said that he’d order a vaginal ultrasound next time so we can measure the cervix more accurately.

I think that’s about all the issues that we discussed on that day.  I have to tell you that I was tremendously relieved and happy to see the babies alive and well on the screen.  It is not a given that we have a good scan and I don’t take things for granted.  I didn’t know this until that evening but Annie was very nervous going in this scan.  She is usually the calm and confident one, but something shook her a little.  In her surrogacy group there are these two surrogates who got pregnant with twins at around the same time with her.  One discovered that she lost both babies at 16 weeks and the other one lost one of the two babies at 15 weeks.  Because of this, Annie said she only cared about the heartbeats during our ultrasound.  She just wanted to know that they are both still alive.  It is tremendously sad to learn about these other losses.  This knowledge makes me even more grateful for what we have.

The rest of the visit was great.  We attended a Seder Meal with Annie and Kenneth’s friends.  People there knew who we were and came to tell us that they had been praying for us.  We went to the only breakfast place in town the next morning and the server there was Annie’s close friend so she told us that she had been praying for us.  You’ve gotta love small towns.  They are so warm and friendly and they are so happy for us.  We hung out with Annie and her kids for a little before we left.  I passed on many maternity clothes from my friend to her.  I also got to take her bump photo with her (which you could see on the left side here that says “Gestational Carrier’s Bump Photos”).  It was such a precious time to share with her.

Can’t believe we are almost 17 weeks.  Praise the Lord for the growing and healthy babies.  I pray that Annie’s headaches will go away forever.  Hopefully we will see our babies in 21+ weeks!

MicroblogMondays: Five Weeks Five Days


Today, we have reached five weeks five days.  I get asked a lot about my feelings regarding where we are in this process.  It has been quite interesting to be the intended mother and not the person being pregnant.  I continue to struggle a little on the frequency of getting information from Annie about her feelings.  I ask her about once a day. Some days I don’t ask.  She has told me that she would tell me if she is feeling something other than good.  But I feel that I should still ask because I do care a lot about how she is feeling.  Last week, she was feeling good earlier in the week but on Thursday, she told me that she had been feeling tired and very grumpy for two days and was seeking prayers for grace and compassion.  I took her fatigue and grumpiness as a great sign but I felt bad for her that she wasn’t feeling good.  But like she said, I don’t have to feel bad because she signed herself up for it.  But it’s at times difficult that I am not the one feeling anything.

Last week throughout the week I woke up every morning feeling anxious about all the things that have been happening in this country with the new administration.  In disbelief, I wondered for the first time in my life if it was the right choice to bring children into this world.  The direction that this country is going has made me really nervous.  At the same time, I know that I have to put my complete trust in God’s sovereignty.  But the events that were unfolding in the last few days definitely made my feelings of having children via surrogacy even more complicated.

I received an email last week from our surrogacy agency and the paralegal for our attorney discussing about the first payment for Annie.  In the contract, it stated that a beta 20 days post 5 day transfer would be done and a payment would be made to our surrogate after confirmation of the continuation of the pregnancy.  However, since we weren’t going to do a beta and were going straight to the first ultrasound, our agency had asked the paralegal to send the first payment to our surrogate.  It made it a little bit uneasy for me to issue the payment without confirming the progress of the pregnancy.  Agency said that we could always have my RE order a 20 day beta (which happened to be yesterday, but it would be done today since yesterday was on the weekend).  My anxiety went way up once I saw the words “20 day beta”.  I did not want to have to see another beta number for this current pregnancy in my life.  I did not want to wait all day for the number and feel nervous about it.  I wrote Dr. E to ask her for advice.  This is what she said, “Pay her for it.  I don’t do 20 day beta.  Never heard of it before!  Everything will be fine.  Only reason to do it is if she has spotting or anything like that.”  So with that, I authorized for the paralegal to issue a check for Annie.

Annie is so great though.  She knew that I was a bit anxious about the pregnancy.  For my satisfaction, she bought two FRER and peed on one on 11 days post 5 day transfer, the day after our second beta.  It was pretty dark for that day.  Yesterday was 20 days post 5 day transfer.  I woke up to her message on my phone with an awesome picture of a FRER.  The test line was way darker than the control line.  It appeared that her hCG was so high that the test line had pulled the color from the control line.  It means that she is still very pregnant.  It is very reassuring to know that the pregnancy has progressed.  I try not to post anything that may be a trigger for others in this blog post.  If you go over to the left side of the blog, you will see a page for the pee stick images.

Time has been going kind of slowly as we wait for the first ultrasound.  At the same time, it has been very exciting for Bob and me to talk about the very good possibility of bringing home a baby or two in September.  I know we still have many months ahead of us, but I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I can’t wait to get to that point.

MicroblogMondays: Sinking In


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: Up in the Air


Like I mentioned before, I am involved in a project where I present to parents with children under three about strategies to boost their children’s communication.  Later on, I was also tapped into doing monthly presentations to pregnant ladies about how they can communicate with their babies.  At first I was a bit apprehensive about seeing baby bumps on a regular basis.  But I have really grown to enjoy connecting with these mothers-to-be, helping them understand their importance in their babies’ development.  Last Friday, the project’s organizer, my pregnant supervisor, and I had a meeting to discuss the plans and the contract for 2016.  I can’t help but think about the first time I met with this project organizer.  She jokingly told me not to get pregnant until after the workshops were done.  That was almost exactly a year ago.  Now a year later, I still have no baby.  Anyways, so we were discussing about a few things: 1) me teaching another social worker my prenatal presentation content by mid-2016 so she could take over the presentation, 2) developing a curriculum for parents with children between 3 and 5 years old by February, 3) doing the newborn to three year old presentation and three to five year old presentation at most 6 times next year, so once every other month, 4) presenting the prenatal curriculum to the clinic OB/GYN, pediatricians, and staff in February so that they know what these new mothers are learning.  It is going to be a busy year.  When the organizer was talking about the timing, my mind kept wandering to where I would be in my potential pregnancy.  When I do my January prenatal class, I would be 9-week pregnant.  By February, I’d be 14 weeks.  Mid-year, hopefully I should be seven months pregnant.  Then I was thinking, I probably wouldn’t be able to do the last three of the six presentations in the plans because I would be with my baby.  The organizer asked me how I felt about the planning, I said everything looked fine and made sense.  I also said, Nobody knows what’s going to happen next year.  I am sure they didn’t know what I meant.  I know it’s dangerous to let my mind go so far about next year.  I am hopeful that things will turn around for us this time.  But at the same time, I am scared to death that we would be disappointed.  If these donor eggs don’t work out for us, I know that it would be extra hard to go through with this project, doing these presentations, and being involved in all the planning knowing that I was once so hopeful about the chances.  But then, I know that God has a plan for us.  He has sustained us for the last four years with our ups and downs.  I know that if this doesn’t pan out for us, He would continue to carry us through.  But still, I know it would be extra tough for both Bob and me to enter the fifth year of our fertility journey without a baby bump or a baby.

I am still opting for being hopeful, because, why not?  I just hope that my optimism and hopefulness pay off and my time with this project will be over by August next year.

MicroblogMondays: My In-Laws and My Parents


My in-laws say that they want to come next Summer.  This is HUGE.

A little bit of background.  Bob is the only child.  His parents live in India.  Their hope and dream were to marry him off to another South Indian girl in an arranged marriage.  They came to visit Bob right when we first started dating.  That was the one and only time they had ever come.  They were really angry with him and refused to meet with me at that time.  His father was so furious with him for going forward with the wedding that he called Bob the day before the wedding, yelled at him, and refused to talk to him for another ten months.  Needless to say, none of his family came to our wedding.  I did not meet my father- and mother-in-law until I went to visit them with Bob the year after we got married.

This means that it has been six years since they stepped foot in America.  Despite Bob’s repeated invitation, there is always this or that reason for not coming.  I won’t repeat the reasons here out of respect for Bob, but I would shake my head when I hear some of them.  His parents mentioned about coming this year, but the plan was postponed because of Bob’s grandmother’s passing and the tradition for his parents not to travel for a year and stay put to perform rituals for the one who passed.

Recently, it seems like every time Bob talks to them on the phone, they mention about coming next summer.


It will take a lot of adjustment to have my in-laws around for two months.  I know that other Indian in-laws come for four, five, six months.  Two months may sound like nothing.  It’s just that, I am not used to having them around.  I cannot imagine just yet how it will all play out.  I am thrilled for Bob that he gets to spend quality time with his parents, and it is a chance for me to get to know them better than those nine or ten days that we usually spend with them when we visit.  But still, this is going to be very different than when my parents visit.  My parents are independent here.  My in-laws will not be.

The biggest concern of mine is that… I am really hoping that I will be at least 7 months pregnant by then.    So that means that my in-laws, if following their plan, will be around the last two months of my pregnancy (I am sounding very hopeful here but I am actually scared to death that it won’t happen).  I do not know about you, but I think I would want my own mother to be around as my comfort, support, and help more than having my in-laws around.  I think Bob understands that.  So we are telling his parents not to look into plane tickets yet because it is quite a way from now.  We should be able to find out about our fate for next summer come November/December.  Then we can have a more concrete plan as to how we want to arrange for our and their schedules.

It’s such a dilemma.  I do want them to come so Bob can have his quality time with his parents.  But I also want to be pregnant and have my mother around.

I told my mother last week on the phone that she may not get to come back from overseas in the summer because Bob’s parents may come.  My mom has such a good heart.  She was super excited for them to be willing to come, and told me not to worry about her coming home.  She can postpone her trip until whenever.  I would like to learn from her and her enthusiasm to realize that this is a great opportunity for me to develop a good relationship with my in-laws.

I also spoke with my dad on that day.  My mom knew that we would pursue egg donation but does not know the timing of things.  She will eventually know the details when we get pregnant.  But I don’t feel that she should know any details yet.  On the other hand, my dad knows everything about our development.  I just hadn’t updated him on the disappearance of our donor since he had been traveling and it was hard to catch him when he was on a biking trip in China.  So I finally caught him on the phone when he was home with my mom.  So I began to tell him all about the donor and all the things that happened with the choice of frozen eggs.  Bless his heart, he is so good at not divulging anything to my mom when she was around him.  He just quietly listened and made neutral comments.  At the end, he said, as long as we are handling our emotions well, then any decision is a good decision.

Then he said this, “The money that I helped you send to Bob’s parents, you don’t have to return it.  Just use it for treatment.”

We usually ask my dad to help send money to India for Bob’s parents and we pay him back here.  It amounts to quite a few thousand dollars.  So this is not a small sum of money.  Out of his love for us and the desires to help us, he just wants us to have more money saved up for treatment.  But I told him that we don’t need it, since we have saved up the money already.  He said, “We have money here too.  We don’t need the money.  Just take it.  End of discussion.  Here is your mom.”

I was speechless.  I have always been stunned by my father’s generosity, thoughtfulness, and love.  This is somebody who didn’t want us to have a big celebration at our wedding out of respect for my in-laws.  This is someone who has always wanted to go with us to visit my in-laws so that he can get to know them.  My parents have already given us the same amount of money one previous time to go towards treatment.  This is the second time.

I hope that I learn a few things from my father and my mother and be open, loving, generous, and caring towards my mother- and father-in-law if/when they come to visit, even if I would be 7 months pregnant.

(Gosh I really hope that I WILL be 7 months pregnant.)