MicroblogMondays: Road Trip Again

Going on a road trip with two kids of the same age (AKA twins) is so tiring.  We lucked out that Okra and Bunny had minimal tantrums on our last road trip.  We got brave and planned another one last weekend.  It was only about a two-hour drive to the California State Railroad Museum, one of Bob’s favorite places on earth.  He had wanted to show the kids all the huge locomotives in this train museum for quite some time.  Our original trip last November got canceled because of bad air quality.  We finally made the trip this time, which to me is better timing in terms of the kids’ understanding of things around them.  Plus Okra is a confirmed train enthusiast like his dad so it was even more exciting for me to plan the trip in order to wow him.  The goal to impress the kids was a mission accomplished.  Okra and Bunny’s faces lit up when they approached the huge locomotives.  Okra was especially excited; he kept on pointing at all the trains and making choo-choo sounds.  He ran around non-stop touching different trains.  The kids had so much fun up at the Thomas play area that meltdowns were almost guaranteed every single time.  We also rode first class on the excursion train ride.  The kids really loved standing at the window looking outside.

In terms of building memories, this was a fantastic trip.  However, other moments were not as enjoyable as the previous road trip because the kids have grown older and somehow have become whinier and more demanding.  Maybe because they are approaching two?  So many demands but not enough language.  Tantrums came more easily and longer for each toddler.  And when there are two of them, it just felt like it was never-ending.  It was like the end of a battle after we put the kids down for the night.  The only thing one would want was a good night sleep.  Both kids had had no problems sleeping through the night for months even during our last road trip only a couple of months ago.  This time Okra woke up in the middle of the night wailing two nights in a row.  The first night we had to get him so that he didn’t wake up Bunny.  The second night he did it again and both of them woke up crying.  So we had two kids in bed with us.  Needless to say, both Bob and I were extra tired and cranky the next day.  And when the kids didn’t sleep well the night before, they threw tantrums more easily the next day.  It is just a vicious cycle.  Bunny had an unusually huge meltdown when we were about to depart that we had to change plans and skip out on my dear friend Jane Allen’s little girl’s birthday.  I was so bummed to have to miss it but the kids wouldn’t be pleasant to be around anyways.  I truly do not mind the extra work that is required with all the logistics that comes with a trip, but the tantrums and meltdowns with twin toddlers are emotionally and physically (holding them down while they arch their back fighting being held) exhausting.  We have bought plane tickets for a four-week trip to Asia this coming Fall.  I shudder to think about being away from home for so long not having our routines and the tantrums these then-two-year-olds will have.  I know the key is to set no/low expectations but still.  I really have to mentally and emotionally prepare myself for such a long trip so far away with the effects of time zone changes and other changes on the kids.  BUT, this train museum trip was worth it despite the difficulties, and hopefully I will feel the same way about the international trip.

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MicroblogMondays: Road Trip #2

Today is the second day of our second road trip with our twins.  Yesterday we drove 275 miles down south from home.  This is the farthest that the kids have gone from home.  They did relatively well.  Other than whimpering once in a while, Bunny did not cry at all.  Okra napped twice and finally had a full meltdown 30 minutes before arrival.  I’d consider that a win.  We have rented a hotel suite with a living room and kitchen.  The hotel provided two pack n’ plays.  The kids were probably confused about what was going on despite me trying to explain to them that we were going on a road trip.  They explored all the rooms and tried to open doors, drawers, and cabinets.  We tried to contain Bunny by putting her in her pack n play.  At the end of the night, she figured out how to climb out of it.  Three times.  You could see her brain work.  Haha.  But once the sleep sack went on, it was a lot harder for her to try. Plus that acted as a cue for sleep time. Okra had a much harder time settling down.  Poor guy was confused.  He finally went down for bed.  And despite my best effort with a packing list, we forgot one of the most important things: sound machine.  Fortunately the iPad has white noise on it.  Those who say that with little kids you take trips, not vacations are absolutely right.  I was exhausted last night from the driving, chasing kids, taking care of their needs, and outwitting them.  Hopefully we will have some fun today.

Here is our packed car.  Doesn’t look too bad!

MicroblogMondays: “Freedom”

After eight days of being home, my trip quickly came to an end.  Unexpectedly, my emotions were all over the place the last day I was in my home town.  I woke up thinking that this would be the last time I would roam around my birth place “freely” all by myself.  It would be the last time I could quickly get ready to go out the door, meet up with my dad for breakfast without a lot of effort, ride on public transportation without much thought, and go in and out of stores at a shopping mall independently without a lot of care or consideration.  And that was what happened.  I savored the “freedom” that I had on that particular day because my life is going to change drastically the next time I step foot in my place of origin.  I will no longer be only responsible for myself.  I will have two lives that are dependent on my provision and care.  I have been waiting for a very very long time for this responsibility and it made my last day there with my family different and memorable.  For this reason alone, my trip home was the correct choice for me in terms of my emotional state and timing.  Without my grandmother’s funeral, I would not have had a chance to experience this final “freedom” before I become a mother of live children.  It made me nostalgic of what I have been given so far in my life but at the same time my gratitude for this opportunity to become a mother grows exponentially.  It is hard to explain my feelings on that last day.  It is complicated.  It signified a sort of finale and a beginning.  I am just grateful that I have this day to remember and I am quite sure that when we return to my home town with the twins in the future, I will be even more appreciative of the reality of a new life and this lack of “freedom” that I have been craving for so long.

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.

MicroblogMondays: Approaching Our First Ultrasound

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We are currently in Annie’s town waiting for our first prenatal ultrasound.  As you know, we opted out of doing a third beta.  Waiting for another beta was simply something that I didn’t want to do.  So we took a leap of faith, purchased plane tickets, and hope to be able to see some flickering heartbeats on the screen for the first time.

How have I been feeling?  I feel hopeful that we will finally see a heartbeat (or two heartbeats) for the first time in our journey to make a baby.  Annie has been feeling mostly okay. She hasn’t felt nauseated but was feeling yucky last week.  She said that food didn’t sound good at all, and she could not cook raw meat.  Having food aversion is similar with her last two pregnancies.  The difference is that her symptoms only lasted a few days the last pregnancy but it has been persistent during this pregnancy.  Although I felt sorry for her feeling yucky, I was happy that she was feeling pregnancy symptoms.  It is reassuring to know that maybe things are on track and her body has been changing rapidly.  She continues to feel very tired, which is also a good symptom to have.

Despite having a lot of hope, sometimes I still feel anxious as I have the fear that we might not see anything on the ultrasound.  My daily prayer is for Annie’s health and safety, the baby/babies’ healthy growth, safety and protection for Annie’s family, and also for Bob’s and my complete trust in the Lord for what He has planned for us.  I believe that God has been protecting me from having negative thoughts.  Although I still at times have this fear and image in my head of not seeing a heartbeat, I more often have joy in my heart that we may well be on our way to becoming parents.  Not being the one carrying my own baby/babies only occupies a fraction of my mind.  The rest of my mind is very much appreciative of Annie’s selfless choice of helping us build our family.

I am letting myself to have a little more faith that the pregnancy is progressing as it should be.  These are the things I’ve done:

  • lying in bed discussing baby names with Bob at bed time
  • searching online, reading, and watching videos about pregnancy at 6 weeks and beyond
  • telling my dad about the good news
  • upping my 401K contribution per paycheck so it will reach the annual limit by end of July in preparation of maternity leave sometime in August or September
  • sharing our news with my HR person at work so that I could get educated on maternity leave by our HR person
  • marking on my work calendar 12 weeks and 20 weeks so I know when we may have to fly out
  • finding myself thinking about the second bedroom in the house, how we will move the bookcases out of the room, and finally doing window treatment in the whole house after our remodel four years ago
  • thinking about the possibility of doing a maternity photo shoot with Annie and how to go about doing one
  • thinking about the need to purchase a new car to go pick up the baby/babies later this year
  • thinking about the reality of actually having a baby shower

As you can see, I’m making progress in believing that this may well be happening.

Our trip to Annie’s town was as smooth as one could hope. The flight departed on time and arrived early. The whole place was covered in snow.


But it wasn’t that cold. Kenneth came to pick us up as Annie wasn’t feeling too well. It was so wonderful seeing them again. And it is so amazing that we are staying with Annie and her husband so we could save on hotel. Annie’s two younger kids were waiting out front for us in the snow. We went to pick up eggs from the chicken coop in their backyard.

Annie and Kenneth are truly lovely people.  They made Bob a turkey/Thanksgiving dinner because Bob usually gets a prime rib Thanksgiving meal with my family and would miss having turkey. Annie couldn’t contain her excitement last week when she said she had a surprise for us. Bob was so touched and had a wonderful time having his turkey dinner for the first time  in the past year.

The highlight of the night was the homemade piñata that Annie made for us. After the boys busted it open in the garage, we found what Annie had hid inside. She knit two pairs of booties and a headband for our babies. 


We have the most thoughtful gestational carrier. I feel so blessed. 

So friends, this is it. We will find out the state of our pregnancy later this afternoon. I hope to have good news to share.

MicroblogMondays: An End and a Beginning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MicroblogMondays: Without My Husband

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This will be the longest Bob and I are apart from each other since we got married.  I wish he were here with me in Hong Kong.  The trip is not the same without him.

Why didn’t he come, you may ask?  This is kind of a last minute trip as an effort for me to spend some time with my aging grandmother and celebrate her 98th birthday before we embark on our journey of maybe/really/hopefully/finally making a baby.  I anticipate our life to be a little bit busy flying to Annie’s state periodically for appointments when we get pregnant.  Then I won’t have the freedom to just hop on a plane for a trip out of the country as easily as right now, when we are just waiting for Annie’s lining to be built and for the transfer to take place.  If Bob came with me, we would have had to also go to India to see his parents, and two weeks would not have been enough time to visit both places.  Since I just saw my in-laws for an extended period of time in the summer, my presence in India is not required.  However, if Bob had come, then his mom wouldn’t have let him just go to Hong Kong and not fly home to India.  Because of all these reasons, we decided that it was best for me to just do the trip alone.

The 14-hour-flight was actually pleasant.  I slept for 7.5 hours on the plane.  The two movies that I watched were both a trigger for me.  Finding Dory made me think about my unconventional way of creating my family, and Up always makes me cry.  I have watched that movie quite a few times so I started crying even before the flashback scenes got to where Ellie was told she couldn’t have a baby.  I didn’t care about what the guy next to me would think of me and cried an ugly cry.

Once I got off the plane and freshened up at home, my dad and I went to see my grandmother.  She has aged quite a lot.  Compared to how she looked and sounded 2.5 years ago, she is now a lot slower with her movements and her response time.  She has become more suspicious about people and things and her memory has deteriorated.  She doesn’t go out anymore unless my dad gives her a ride.  She walks very slowly and insists on using her umbrella as her support rather than a wheelchair or a walker.  My dad only drops her off at places where she does not need to walk up and down the stairs or even an escalator.  When I speak to her, I need to speak slowly and often repeat myself several times.  It pains me to see her this way as she had been so mobile and lucid for so many years.  And it also pains me to know that it will be a little while before she can meet my future child.  I just hope that she is still going to be around for that.

My BFF and I met up the first day I arrived.  It was great to see her as the last time we hung out was 2.5  years ago.  We have known each other for 30 years. I had to catch her up on all that has happened to us including the whole history about our donor disappearing, frozen DE cycles failing, the need to use a gestational carrier, the whole fresh DE retrieval with the twist of positive cocaine urine test and to the most recent development of waiting for a transfer.  Just like many other people, she asked if we had thought about adoption since it’s not my eggs or my uterus in this endeavor, as if adoption is automatically the best plan for those who can’t get pregnant naturally.  I gently explained to her our choice and the rationale behind that without being offended or emotional.  Education is the best way to respond.  And yes, even though it is not my eggs or my uterus, I still want to start my family this way.

I realized that it would have been so much more fun to have Bob around.  Coming here by myself, many people asked me what I wanted to do.  To me, this is just me coming home and having a chance to hang out with my friends and family. If Bob had come, we would be taking many different modes of transportation and going to many different places. Without him being here, I don’t have a lot of motivation to do much. I’ll be seeing my old friends of 30 years as well as my college friends. I originally didn’t want to see my old friends since they don’t know much about my fertility journey.  I didn’t want to get together with them and their kids. It would just remind me of how far they have gone with growing their families while I’m still trying to get started. I thought more about it and decided to have a girls’ night without kids.  That way we can still catch up and I will not be constantly reminded of what I don’t yet have.  I’ll also be going to my grandma’s birthday banquet and will see all my younger cousins and their new babies.  I just hope that no one will ask me when I will have mine.  And I hope even more that if someone does ask me, I will handle their questions with grace.

Thanks to technology, Bob and I get to talk to each other and see each other’s faces on video chat. It makes life a little easier without him around. Ten more days before I go back to my husband and fourteen more days before our transfer!