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: What’s In a Name?

I don’t know if people who have been trying for a baby for a long time are all like me.  I have had names for my future babies for quite some time.  I guess when there is plenty of time to wait, there is also a lot of time to consider names.  I have fallen in love with this one particular boy name a couple of years ago.  It’s a name that could be viewed as an English name or a Chinese name, and it also exists in many other languages.  It has a great meaning in my native tongue, which means “to enlighten”.  I just love it so much.   I didn’t have a middle name for the boy for the longest time.  My husband, who is quite a jokester, has not been very helpful in this endeavor.  He kept on coming up with funny sounding Indian names that couldn’t possibly become our boy’s name.  We finally found something that we liked after we got pregnant.  This middle name has a meaning that is symbolic of enlightenment found in difficult situations, which matches our boy first name perfectly.  As for a girl, I have liked this one middle name for a long time.  It is also in my native language that means “easygoing”, but it is not an English name so it doesn’t sound too good as a first name.  Hence it will become our baby girl’s middle name.  With a Chinese middle name, an Indian first name seems fitting for a girl.  I had liked this one Indian girl name for a long time, but it seems like every other Indian girl has that name.  I do not want a super popular name for my child.  So this name has been abandoned.  A couple of years ago I came across this other beautiful name that means “grace”, which is perfect for us.  We haven’t told any of our parents about the names yet, but my mother-in-law recently has declared that we can do all we want to name our babies, but she’ll call our children the names that she will give them.  These names that she will come up with will not be on any formal or government documents but she can use them if she wants to.  I have no qualms about them.  Now since I won’t disclose the babies’ real names on this blog now or ever, I will tell you all their nicknames that derive from these real names.  Like I said, my husband is a jokester.  He jokes around a lot.  Our boy’s first name unfortunately sounds like vegetables in one of Bob’s Indian languages.  I am quite adamant about using that name so even though it means something funny in his language, we are still going to use that name.  Now since the name means vegetables, we have nicknamed our baby boy “Okra”, which is Bob’s favorite vegetable.  Unfortunately, there is not a single emoji made for Okra, so our boy has appeared as an eggplant in Bob’s texts to me.  And then my jokester husband has been making fun of our girl’s first name and been rhyming it with something funny.  I initially was upset that he had been butchering our girl name and had considered not using that name.  But knowing Bob that he likes to joke and he’d butcher whatever name we’d come up with, I decided to just use that name and let that joke become the nickname for our girl.  I won’t explain why but we have nicknamed our girl “Bunny”, which derives from the joke for our girl’s name.  So there you have it.  Okra and Bunny.  Or as presented as an emoji of a Bunny and an emoji of an Eggplant in all of Bob’s texts to me.  I hope that Fac.ebook answers Bob’s inquiry/complaint about the nonexistence of the Okra emoji so we will be able to use one in the future for the boy.  Otherwise he’d have an identity crisis: Am I an Okra or an Eggplant???

Not Happily Ever After

You may wonder how an intended mother may feel once she is expecting via gestational surrogacy.  The answer is, it changes all the time, and you don’t know when and how frequently your feelings may change.

The other night Bob and I were chatting in bed about how we’d turn 15 weeks the next day.  Suddenly, this sadness overcame me.  It just hit me like a ton of bricks without warning.  I lay there and started tearing up.  What went through my mind was how Annie will start feeling the babies’ movements in a few weeks and I will feel nothing inside of me.  That loss on that particular day at that particular moment was so unbearable.  My babies are growing in another person’s body, and I am 100% grateful for that.  However, this same fact also reminded of my missing out on this experience and it was very difficult to bear.  I knew all of this going in, and I knew that these feelings are going to surface once in a while.  I do think that it is important to acknowledge them and cry when I need to cry.

These complicated feelings made the next day even more difficult.  A close friend of mine who had been banking day 5 and then day 3 embryos for the last two years (because of diminished ovarian reserve) just received her positive beta after failing her first transfer a month ago.  She started banking after she turned 40 and she had been quite adamant about not using donor eggs.  I totally respect what she’s been doing and support her in her endeavor.  It has not been easy for her and I want her to be successful.  At the same time, I didn’t know how I’d feel if/when she eventually gets her BFP.  I found out on Wednesday that her BFP has hit me hard.  I was super jealous of two things: 1) she does not have to consider the need of donor eggs, and 2) she gets to experience a pregnancy.  I know that this jealousy and these thoughts are not rational.  As a close friend, I *should* be very excited for her.  But I was just super super jealous.  There is no rhyme or reason.  Like I said, I would not have known how I’d feel about a particular person’s pregnancy until it happens.  There have been many times I am immediately very happy for someone and do not feel an ounce of jealously.  Unfortunately this time my primary feeling has been jealousy rather than anything else.  I felt a little bad for not being able to fully celebrate with my friend, but I was told by another co-sister on this journey (and she’s a therapist herself) that I don’t have to feel bad.  I am not going to analyze myself too much, but I believe this stems from both my need to use donor eggs and my necessity to use a gestational carrier.  I knew that I was still sorting through my feelings about not being able to carry, but I was surprised by my feelings regarding donor eggs.  I thought I have completely worked through those emotions, but I guess the grief for foregoing my own eggs lingers for longer than I thought.  I knew and still know that I was completely done with my own eggs at the time we moved forward to donor eggs and am very grateful for having the twins using this method, but it’s still tough when someone else achieves what I can’t.

Today was tough for me.  My friend was of course still super excited and sent me two pee stick photos.  It was hard for me to see pee sticks without prior warning.  Pee sticks, bump photos, and ultrasound photos still serve as such a trigger for me.  She also mentioned about other pregnancy related things that were too much for me at this point.   After a few moments, she asked me if it was okay for her to show me these photos.  I was silent for a little while then decided to tell her that I was okay with them because as a good friend, I don’t want to dampen her joy.  However, my friend A. wanted to make sure that I don’t get ambushed by this friend in the future so it might be wise to establish some boundaries.  I decided to be honest with my friend so I made this suggestion: “I support you and love you and am very happy for you for getting to this point.  Just for me, you may need to be a bit less specific about your pregnancy symptoms and things in the future.  I’m not saying that you are overdoing anything right now because you are not, but this is to protect myself because I don’t get to experience what you will experience.  I don’t know how I’d react.”  My friend took it very well and thanked me for being open with her.  I wish I could be there for her 100% but as of now, I am not quite there yet.

So it goes to tell you that even when we are 15 weeks into this pregnancy, we don’t live happily ever after.  We still have all sorts of feelings to process.  And sadness and jealousy hit whenever they want to.  We’ll have to be honest with ourselves and handle these feelings as they come.  Hopefully, like what A. said, that by the time the twins come, I will be so busy mothering that this stuff will have less opportunity to fill the space in my head.

MicroblogMondays: Difficult to Tell

I have been home in Asia for a few days now.  My mom’s sister is also here from the States  to take care of things for my grandma’s funeral and has been staying with my parents as well.  I have spent a lot of time with her.  There has been several times I wanted to share with her about the twins but have found it really difficult to open my mouth.  I just don’t know how to tell her while sitting there watching TV.  Do I go, “By the way we have a surrogate carrying twins for us” right after commenting on a drama series?  Plus, telling my aunt means her telling her friends and my cousins.  I somehow hesitate opening this can of worms fearing that misinformation would be passed along.  I will tell her before I leave on Wednesday.  I also have many chances to see my other relatives such as my dad’s siblings and some of my cousins.  I still haven’t told anyone of them.  How do I begin to tell relatives about my babies when I am not the one being pregnant?  In theory it seems to be easy to tell because it is happy news, but in reality it has been very difficult.

I’m proud of my 97-year-old grandma. I told her the news. It took a little bit of explanation but she understood what I was telling her rather quickly. She looked very happy that we are finally going to have children although taking care of two will be a lot of work.  I showed her the photos of our embryos, the ultrasound photos at various stages, and Annie’s bump photos. She was amazed at the technology that is available nowadays. She’s also very on top of things.  She asked if others know. I told her not yet so she said she’d keep it to herself until later.  I feel such joy to have a chance to spend time with her and share with her about the twins in person. This is my silver lining of losing my other grandmother who never had a chance to learn about the babies.  Her passing gave me the opportunity to see my last remaining grandparent face to face. I suspect that after the twins are born, it’d be a while before we can travel overseas.

Last night, I tagged along my parents when they had dinner with their friends.  One of the friends asked me if I had kids.  I didn’t mind the question so I just said, “No yet.”  He then asked if I planned on having kids.  I was caught off guard by that question because most people don’t ask super private questions like that.  So I just smiled and said, “Yes I do”.  My parents both smiled politely without saying anything.  When I came home, I thought about the future: how my dad and my mom are going to tell their friends and our relatives about the twins. If I were the one pregnant, it’d have been easier for them to just say that I was pregnant.  If I were the one carrying the babies, it would have been a lot easier for me to answer those questions that my dad’s friend asked me.  I would not hesitate telling my aunt.  I would be joyfully telling my dad’s siblings and my cousins and showing my bump.  It is because our way of building a family is so unconventional and the people with whom we’d share the news are so traditional that telling others has been such a chore.  I am not at all ashamed of our need of using a surrogate to make a baby.  This is why it’s surprising that sharing such happy news has been so tough.

I hope that it’ll be easier to share the news as we get closer to the due date.

Ultrasound at 12 Weeks 5 Days

I didn’t get to fly to Annie’s hometown for our ultrasound today since I will fly out tonight to my grandma’s funeral.  Bob has been home burning with a fever all day, so he got to witness the ultrasound remotely for the first time.  The connection at the clinic was again spotty.  We could see Baby A on the screen, but the screen would freeze.  This happened several times then Kenneth, Annie’s husband, found a good spot for the connection.

Baby A looked a lot like a baby.  I couldn’t hear what the tech was saying because Annie’s youngest son was talking and counting numbers.  Eventually the tech started measuring the heart rate and it was such a sweet sound.  Bob later said that it sounded like a train going uphill (such a nerd!!!).  But he was so delighted to actually hear the heart beat for the first time!  This one’s heart rate was 162.  Baby B appeared on the screen and was moving his/her arms.  The heart rate was 171.  The tech suddenly switched the view to 3D.  All I could see was some fleshy things that I couldn’t recognize.  Kenneth helped by pointing out what was what on the screen.  Basically it was Baby A and Baby B’s heads kind of crammed together.  It didn’t seem like there was a lot of space in there.  Real estate was tight inside Annie’s womb!  It was such an amazing and weird thing to see.  Later, Annie told me that the tech usually doesn’t do ultrasound this early so she just wanted to see what they’d look like.  She said what she had imagined looked better than what they actually looked like, haha.

Baby A was measuring 12 weeks 2 days, and Baby B was measuring 12 weeks 5 days.  I instantly was worried about Baby A.  He/she was measuring 11 weeks 1 day at our last ultrasound.  I don’t know if it’s a good thing to be 3 days off.  Of course while I was waiting to talk to the OB, I consulted Dr. Goo.gle for margin of errors for these ultrasound measurements.  I had to remind myself not to go crazy and just wait for the doctor to tell me.

Finally the doctor came on.  He said that the pregnancy is progressing well and the babies are measuring well with great heart rates.  I asked about the measurement.  He said that they are measuring right on target and there is nothing to worry about.  There is always a discrepancy on the measurement because of the fetal position and stuff like that.  We are measuring well within where they are supposed to be.  So I felt very relieved after talking to him.

Although we weren’t going to do it, the doctor did ask the tech to measure the nuchal folds of the babies.  He said that anything over 3mm would cause some concerns for cardiac development, but our babies both measured at 1mm, which is normal.

In terms of my other questions, he said that they’d like to do an ultrasound every four weeks from now on.  Bob and I are going to go for the 16 weeks ultrasound.  Originally he wasn’t going to do much for that ultrasound in terms of scans.  But since Bob is coming, the OB will allow for a vaginal ultrasound with more measurements and we get extra time to talk to the doctor.  As for the anatomy scan, we originally scheduled for 19 weeks 5 days.  But Annie is going to be out of town.  So we may have to push it back to about 21 weeks, which the OB said it’s okay to do.

Annie has gained 7 pounds since the last weigh in.  The doctor said that the weight gain is good.  He does not recommend any other supplements in addition to the vitamins that she’s been taking.  He said that for a normal pregnancy with a person without any prior prenatal problems, nothing much is needed as long as the carrier is eating healthy.

I asked one final question, about what indicates the need to consult with a high risk OB/maternal-fetal medicine specialist.  He said usually with pregnancies that are associated with birth defects.  And then he went off on a tangent about an emergency delivery at 25 weeks and we would have to fly Annie over across state line to the next state that prohibits commercial surrogacy because that would be the closest trauma hospital and helicopter wouldn’t fly you to a location six-hour driving distance away within the same state.  I mean, the phone connection already wasn’t the best and he said something so scary in response to a question that really didn’t have much to do with his answer.  I was panicking a little with the thought of the legal ramification of delivery in a state that does not allow surrogacy.  Of course the OB was like, this scenario would very highly unlikely to happen to your situation.  I was thinking… why say it???!?  Later on Annie told me that this OB likes to give the worst case scenario and then tell you that it probably won’t happen to you and don’t worry about it.  But it’s hard not to worry about things when we are so far away, isn’t it?

So there it is.  Our babies are still there with good heart rates and measurements.  Although I didn’t get to attend the ultrasound, my heart is filled with joy that the twins continue to grow.  And now I have the newest ultrasound photos to show my paternal grandmother when I share the news with her face-to-face.

Off to the airport now.

MicroblogMondays: Closure

I didn’t think I was going to attend my grandma’s funeral.  My thought was, if I didn’t get to spend time with her before she died, what is the use of going right now as I don’t even get to spend time with her.  The day after grandma died, my dad sent me a text with the dates: the wake will be on 3/23 and the funeral is the next morning.  He called me that evening and wondered if I had thought of going for just a few days.  I was honest about it.  It hadn’t even crossed my mind to go all the way to Asia mainly because of my schedule for the next week or so.  But I promised him that I’d think about it.  He told me that there was no pressure, which I believed him.  My dad never pressures us into doing anything.

So this is what I was originally scheduled to do: driving with Bob to a bible study conference in Southern California on 3/17 Friday and returning on 3/19 Sunday.  I bought plane tickets to go to Annie’s hometown 3/20 Monday morning so I could attend the 12 weeks 5 days ultrasound that afternoon.  The plan was for me to return home on 3/21 evening.  If I stuck with my plan and still go to my grandma’s funeral, I’d basically have to fly out to Asia on 3/21 evening in order to make it to the wake.  Imagine traveling from Friday to Sunday to one place, Monday to Tuesday to another place, and immediately flying all the way to Asia.  I know nothing is impossible, but with my age and stamina, I don’t think it will be the wisest thing for me to do.  I am not that young anymore.

So my choice came down to: seeing the babies?  Or honoring grandma?

I did struggle with the decision.  It’s not about the money.  Fortunately we have been flying Sout.hwest, and this airline allows for cancellation of reservations and the funds can be used towards another travel within a year.  I can cancel the flight to Annie’s hometown and won’t lose our money.  The airfare to Asia is surprisingly inexpensive.  I get five days of bereavement leave at work so it doesn’t make a huge dent in my vacation time that I am saving up for prenatal appointments.  I do miss seeing my babies, especially after the last ultrasound when I felt that I just wanted to be there to witness everything, to be part of my babies’ lives as much as possible during this time.  But I know that the babies aren’t going to go anywhere, and Bob and I are going to attend the 16 weeks ultrasound.  It is really not going to be a huge deal skipping the 12 weeks ultrasound.

Another thing is, I feel that I will not have a whole lot of time to go to Asia the next few months and especially after the babies arrive.  I know of people who travel with their newborns to see relatives in Asia, but I don’t know how feasible it will be with two babies.  My paternal grandmother is approaching 98.  It may be a good time for me to go see her again before my life gets crazy in the next few months.  Nobody knows how long she will be here on earth, right?  And when I go and see her in person, I can share our good news about the twins with her face-to-face.  This may help me cope with the loss of my other grandma who never learned about her great grandkids.

Bob was 100% supportive for whatever decision I was going to make.  So after praying and sleeping on it for a few days, I decided to forego the prenatal appointment and to make a trip to Asia for just eight days.  It is going to be a short trip but enough for me to spend some quality time with my family and supporting my mom who has been tremendously sad losing her mother.  Thank God for technology, I will still be able to see the babies like usual on my tiny phone screen when Annie goes to the 12 weeks 5 days ultrasound.  To me, this is the best plan so that my grandma’s life will be honored.  I feel at peace with this decision.  Although I didn’t get to see my grandma before she died, I believe this trip will help bring closure.

Yesterday’s 10 Weeks 5 Days Scan

It has been such an emotional roller coaster ride for me.

I didn’t sleep that well Sunday night.  My mind was a bit unsettled with grandma’s news as well as the scan on Monday.  There was no reason for me to be nervous.  I had been quite confident that the pregnancy was going well, but my irrational mind would sometimes take over.  Sometimes I suddenly had this fear that both babies somehow were no longer there.  Annie had been doing very well.  She felt a bit yucky for a couple of weeks whenever she ate sweets.  If she didn’t eat sweets, then she’d feel fine.  She joked that the babies took after me as I don’t eat candy.  It is kind of funny to think that way because it’s impossible for them to take after me, the one parent with whom they have no genetic connection.  Bob had been also irrationally nervous about the pregnancy especially 1) we were still early in our pregnancy and 2) Annie hadn’t felt a whole lot of symptoms so Bob didn’t get the reassurance that she was still pregnant.  We have to keep in mind though that this is somebody who never really felt much sickness during the first trimester for all of her pregnancies.  Anyhow, Annie had been very calm and confident that the pregnancy was going well.  She is already showing.  You could check her out on the page labeled “Gestational Carrier’s Bump Photos” on the left side.

Monday morning, I repeatedly prayed for God’s calmness and peace, as well as my complete trust in Him.  Nevertheless, I was still a bit nervous.  And I was also mourning the loss of my grandmother as I suddenly teared up in front of my coworker.  Gotta love Annie.  She is always so on time, or I should say early.  Her appointment was at 11am, but I received the payment receipt from the clinic at 10:50am already.  At 10:56, my phone rang and it was the video call.  Once connected, I could see a wiggly baby on the ultrasound screen!  The connection was horrible and the image was all grainy, but it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen!  Baby A was moving around on the screen.  All I could do was to exclaim at the growth and Baby A’s resemblance to a real baby.  When I heard Baby A’s heartbeat for the first time, it was just music to my ears.  Although it was delivered on a tiny iPhone screen with exceptionally poor connection, I didn’t care.  It was just wonderful to hear how fast it was beating!  This baby was moving so much and was so lively that I couldn’t help but guess that this would be the girl!  Baby A’s heart rate was 168.

Then it was Baby B’s turn.  This baby was hiding for a little bit and took a little bit of time to locate.  I wasn’t sure what I was seeing, and I was told that the baby was on his/her tummy.  The technician shifted the view for a little and went back to Baby B.  All of a sudden we saw that the baby flipped!  Now he/she was facing up.  Both babies were doing acrobatic moves for me!  It was just so surreal to see how lively they were at such a young gestational age!  Baby B’s heart was beating super fast as well, measuring at 167.

While staring at the screen, all I was thinking to myself was I just really wanted to be there physically seeing my babies and witnessing all the scans I could go to so that I wouldn’t be missing anything.  It was tough to be so far away.  But I am also tremendously grateful for the opportunity to even be “present” this way with the help of technology.

I didn’t get to see how big the babies were measuring or what the cervical length was on the video chat.  I couldn’t quite hear what was told to me but I gathered someone was going to call me after the appointment.  I was feeling relieved and overjoyed that the babies are alive and well, but at the same time I was still a bit unsettled with the uncertainty of the cervical length.  I told Bob the good news and both of us were so happy and relieved that both babies are doing well.  Annie called me after her appointment and delivered more good news.  Baby A was measuring ahead at 11 weeks 1 day.  Baby B was right on time at 10 weeks 5 days.  Her cervix was 4.1cm long!  Praise the Lord!  At that point I was completely relieved because I don’t have to worry about the cervix being short and any potential complications that a short cervix may cause, for now.  I can at least breathe at this moment.

If you are interested, you could click over to the ultrasound photos on the left side.  The babies do look like babies now.  We will be 11 weeks tomorrow.  I still haven’t told my boss.  I will tell her after our next scan, which will be in two weeks at 12 weeks 5 days.  I am just so incredibly grateful to be at this point.  I know we are still early, but as we get to each scan with good news, it has become more and more real that we may just be able to meet our children in about 27 weeks.  I can’t even fathom how I will be able to stay calm for the next many months, but I know that I can at least be able to breathe more easily for the next two weeks.