MicroblogMondays: First Road Trip

First road trip, with the babies, that is.

With holiday week-long shut down at Bob’s work, he tagged on a week of his six-week parental leave after the holidays.  Because he had the whole two weeks off, I had the bright idea of taking a road trip with the babies. They would be 3.5 months by then, so I felt that we should be able to go away with the babies.  Honestly the idea of taking a road trip with the babies scared me.  How would one even begin to plan a trip like that with all the logistical issues that may arise.  My friends with twins as well as parents from the local parents of multiples club encouraged me that it would be totally doable, and plenty of people have done that in the past with their three-month olds.  I opted for an Airb.nb rental rather than a hotel room because of the pricing as well as the access to a kitchen and second bedroom.  With bottle feeding and diaper changing, the ability to access a sink and water plus a living room with couches to feed the babies was essential.  After much consideration, a town up north about 1.5 hours away was our choice since the drive wouldn’t be too long, but it was far enough for us to feel like a road trip.  The rental listed all the necessary amenities as well as a pack n play for the babies’ bed time.  The rental fees were reasonable.  Armed with tips and encouragement from fellow twins parents, we booked the rental and were praying for the best.

Instead of using suitcases like usual travels, I filled up three clear storage boxes with baby stuff: clothes, burp clothes, towels, sleep sacks, sound machine, formula, bottles, drying rack, changing pad, diaper cream, etc etc etc.  The thing was, I couldn’t pack a lot of essential things until the morning of the trip.

We managed to get on the road later than planned and checked into the rental after the time that I wanted.  The babies were screaming for food.

The rental was fine.  It was crammed with a lot of stuff.  Too much for me.  And when we sat in the living room for feeding, my nose started itching.  It kept on itching for the next three days, which meant that the living room was very dusty.  The pack n play was set up in the second bedroom. Although we brought a spare, we opted to put both babies in the same rental one just for the convenience of it.  Plus the second bedroom was small, so one pack n play was more than enough to take up room.  The babies barely fit into the same pack n play but we figured that would have to do for those three nights.  The rest of the rental was fine except for a few strands of hair on the shower stall and the bathroom walls.  I guess housekeeping didn’t do that good of a job.

That night was New Year’s night.  I hadn’t thought about the difficulty of finding a place for dinner, but the restaurants that we drove by were all dark.  We finally drove to a mall that had a couple of restaurants open.  By the time we parked the car and walked over, one restaurant was already closed.  That left us with the pub next door.  Good thing they took us in with our massive double stroller.  The food came out fast and we all had a good time.  But it was way past the babies’ feeding time and bed time.  I had a feeling that Okra would have a hard time in the middle of the night.  Lo and behold, he woke up at 4am crying.  We usually let him cry for a little bit at home because he sleeps in his own crib.  Although it is in close proximity to Bunny’s crib, we are comfortable letting him cry trusting that she won’t wake up.  On the trip since they shared the same pack n play, I was trying to avoid waking up baby girl.  I immediately picked up Okra and took him to our bedroom.  I think that was a huge mistake.  The more he was comforted, the harder he cried.  This lasted about an hour, and we decided to feed him and Bunny at 5am.  Needless to say, the next day both Bob and I were exhausted.  And the next morning there was a large quantity of ants hanging out in the bathroom by the bathroom mat.  Very gross.

Exhaustion didn’t stop us from going out.  Where we stayed was very close to restaurants, coffee shops, and shops.  We had visited this town quite a few times before we had these babies.  We pushed the babies in a stroller and walked to brunch.  We visited the visitors center, coffee shop, a yarn shop, and an antique/thrift shop. The babies couldn’t go into the yarn shop due to the steps in the front of the shop.  Talk about all the things that I never noticed prior to having to push a stroller.  So I met Bob at the thrift shop later.  When I was waiting for Bob to look at trains, I was pushing the twins around and spotted this Precious Moments figurine.  You can see it in this photo:

Don’t you think that I had to get it?  And I did.

The babies were really well behaved when we were out and about, but going out with them was tiring.  We stayed in for the rest of the afternoon and even ordered food to be delivered to us.  We just simply did not have enough energy to pack them up for another outing on the same day.  After the 7pm feed, it was time for bed for the babies.  Bunny is usually okay with going down, but Okra had an extremely difficult time.  Rocking him didn’t work.  We eventually had to swing him in his car seat in order for him to go down.  It took over an hour to put him down.  That night, after their 10pm feed, Okra woke up at 1:40 crying.  This time I immediately took away Bunny from the pack n play and let Bob deal with Okra.  It took 40 minutes this time for Bob to calm him down while I slept with Bunny next to me in the next bedroom.  The funny thing was, Bob put Okra down diagonally on the queen bed.  When he returned to the room after getting a drink of water, he tried to put Okra back straight but the baby would have nothing to do with it.  He started screaming again, and Bob had to put him back to the original position which just left 6 inches of room for Bob to sleep.  Poor daddy did not sleep well at all that night.

With two nights of minimal sleep, we were again exhausted the next day.  But we were very excited because we made a decision to go to a Peruvian restaurant that we visited before and loved.  Let me just tell you that the food was to die for!  We had 3 kinds of ceviche, pork stew with a side of beef heart, steak, and yuca fries.

Everything was so delicious and I savored every single bite.  Once again, the babies were so good, and we all had a wonderful time.  It was the highlight of our trip and that was the only thing that we did that day.  We went back to the rental and let the babies have a chill afternoon so they could nap better than being out and about.  The third night, Okra (along with Bunny) slept well until after 5:30am.  It seemed like our baby boy finally got used to the new environment.

There was one little incident that left a little negative note in our get away.  I texted the host of our rental to ask for a late check out at noon time so we could feed the babies. He responded with “no” because the housekeeper was going to show up at 11am for a cleaning.  Of course I honored that and tried our best to get out of the house at 11am.  Bob started loading the van at 10:55am and I was putting the babies in the carseats. At 11am, we were upstairs in the second bedroom trying to put away the pack n play.  We finally did, and I did a final walk through.  We were in the van at 11:06am.  I know exactly what time it was because we were trying to figure out if we should go to town or go home and feed the babies at home.  We decided to go home.  However, once we got on the freeway, we realized that the two Boppy pillows (that the babies use for every single feeding) were left on the couch.  We drove back to the rental to retrieve the pillows.  Later that day, to my surprise, I received a request from the host through Airb.nb for $75.  It was for the penalty for rescheduling the housekeeper.  After going back and forth with the host, I finally understood what happened.  The housekeeper came by after 11am and saw that our van was in the driveway.  Instead of checking with us, she told the host that we were still inside the property.  The host asked her to return later to clean, but she requested $75 rescheduling fees.  Of course now we had to pay that $75.  What made me upset was that the host never checked with us to see if we were on our way out.  Through his messages, I gathered that he believed that we ignored his text and decided to feed the babies in the house past the checkout time.  He wrote a review about me saying that we checked out an hour late, when in fact we vacated the property by 11:06am.  I was very upset that he made assumptions about us that we were feeding the babies there, but it was just not true.  He was basically calling me a liar which I loathe because I am an honest person.  I believe that when the housekeeper saw our van was when we returned to retrieve the pillows.  I had never rented a place or a hotel room where there was no grace period for checkout.  We paid the $75 but I maintained that the penalty was unreasonable and unfair.  It was not about the money but about the principle.  The only things that we did wrong were 1) leaving 6 minutes late and 2) forgetting some very important things at the rental.  I was mad for a couple of days as it left a bad taste in my mouth for our first road trip with our babies.  But I decided that it wasn’t worth my time and energy, so I let it go.

All in all it was a great trip despite that little unfortunate incident.  We now know that we can survive and still have fun with the babies.  Everything was very low key.  We would have gone out more and would eat out instead of ordering takeout if we didn’t have the babies.  But I didn’t feel like we were missing out.  We were building memories as a family and that’s important.  This trip also allowed us to once again realize how blessed we are to have so much help at home.  Without my mom and the night nanny, Bob and I were truly on our own.  The time we had by ourselves with the babies was very trying and testy, but we survived.  (LOL)  We had to figure everything out ourselves, and I couldn’t just call out to my mom for the things that I needed done.  Plus we were not in the familiar environment of our home so we had to figure out a new set of routines for those few days.  It was challenging, but it was definitely the right decision to go away.  Having kids shouldn’t and won’t stop us from having fun and living life.  I am just so glad that we went and can’t wait to go away again when the babies are older.

MicroblogMondays: Babymoon Number One?

We are in the middle of our babymoon, or what I call “an excuse to go play”.  Or should I say “Babymoon Number One”?  I will explain later.

We wanted to go away before the babies come.   When we planned it a little while ago, May seemed like a good month to go because we would be well into our second trimester and things should be going pretty well.  (That was before the whole anxiety attack saga went down.)  The destination of choice is an area a bit over an hour from home.  Our niece is a freshman at a local college there so I really strived to visit before her quarter ends.  I feel so lucky that we found this quaint bed and breakfast in a very quaint town.  Restaurants and shops are within walking distance to the inn.  The room rates are reasonable.  The town is a short drive to everywhere we would want to go.  And how blessed we are that the world an hour away is totally different from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The trip started with a massage that both Bob and I desperately needed.  My left shoulder had been hurting and Bob had been complaining about his upper back (and also been asking for a massage from me daily).  That turned out to be the best way to set the right tone for the rest of the weekend.  I was hoping and praying that my period would stay away until after the massage.  I knew that my last period started on May 1st, so it was highly likely that Aunt Flow would visit around the first day of our trip.  To my very pleasant surprise, AF was nowhere to be found and I got to have the most amazing massage ever.  I know massages.  I am picky.  So for me to say that it was amazing I really am not joking.   After I informed the massage therapist my preference of firm pressure, she got to work.  I knew to breathe through whatever she was doing so we were in unison.  Have you ever had a massage where you don’t have to tell the therapist what to do and he/she does exactly what you would like?  My massage was exactly that.  She was so intuitive that I felt like we were in sync with each other.  Every stroke felt so good and intentional.  To say that I was in paradise was an understatement.  I am already plotting to return someday hopefully even after the babies arrive.  And guess what?  My body knew exactly what I wanted.  My flow started about 15 minutes after my massage concluded.  It was weird and wonderful at the same time that my body knew to hold off on the flow.

We checked in to the lovely bed and breakfast.  It is a tiny four-room inn and I have no complaints about it.  The innkeepers are warm and welcoming.  The wife of the team kept on calling my husband Cutie Patootie which was hilarious and fun.  We picked up our niece and saw her dorm for the first time before she leaves for the year and returns to another dorm next year.  She had picked out a Mongolian/Russian restaurant in town and we enjoyed a very delicious meal with lamb riblets, dumplings, and this amazing carrot salad.  I am not usually a carrot fan but it was so good that I requested an extra order of this dish.  We caught up with our niece about her school life, about her summer plans, and our babies.  It just amazes me that my niece has grown into this mature young adult and we are just starting our own family with the babies that are still baking.  It just boggles my mind sometimes how the life paths of siblings (me and my brother in this case) could be so different.

We slept 9 1/2 hours.  Many people joke about how much sleep we won’t get and tell us to sleep as much as we can. We know that you cannot store sleep but we still cherish the chance to sleep as many hours as we want right now.  Breakfast was home cooked and delicious:

After breakfast, we headed to a local state park for the highlight of our trip: meeting up with Rain, McRuger, Cadet, and Pumpkin.

I had been following Rain at Weathering Storms ever since before I became Isabelle on Binky Moongee.  I started reading even before they were matched with Cadet and his birth mother.  I feel like I know her and her family because I do.  I remember the details of that adoption and subsequently with Pumpkin’s adoption.  Seeing the boys grow up with such a wonderful couple  just warms my heart.  Knowing that we live in the same geographical area always made me want to get together with her.  I knew that she recently moved to the area where my niece goes to school.  Once I knew that we were going to spend a couple of days there, I immediately contacted her to see if she’d be available.  And I had been so looking forward to this weekend ever since we made plans with her.

I have got to tell you that meeting up with a fellow blogger who knows you has got to be one of the most marvelous experiences in the world.  I have been blessed with meeting quite a few bloggers and this experience never ceases to amaze me.  There was basically no awkward period to get through because you know them and they know you.  I didn’t have to update Rain about the things that were happening now because hey guess what?  She read the latest blog post already.  It was simply hanging out, “catching up” (although we really just met in person for the first time), and marveling at our fortune of seeing and touching the real person behind the screen.  Pumpkin and Cadet are just so adorable.  They look exactly like their photos.  I just love Rain and her husband.  I wish that we lived closer to one another so we could have a walk in the park every single weekend.  I am so happy for Rain that she is living the life that is so good for her family and her health.  It looks like small town life really suits her.  I feel so blessed to have met this wonderful soul in person.

Sunday afternoon was as lazy and relaxing as could be.  Bob took a nice long nap in the room.  I sat in the back porch of the bed and breakfast and wrote this blog post while listening to the breeze gently blowing the leaves and the subtle sound of the nearby creek.

I even managed to read a few chapters of my novel uninterrupted as I had the open area of the inn all by myself.  This is my definition of a perfect vacation.  Some active time and some down time.

Things on the food front were great on this trip as well.  In additional to the dinner with my niece and the breakfasts, we had a leisurely lunch (over 1.5 hours) and a relaxing and slow dinner (over 2 hours).  Bob had a beer flight at an alehouse for lunch.

The German meal for dinner was within walking distance to our inn.  My pork shank was such a delight: flavorful and tender inside, crispy on the outside.  I did Chinese people proud by cleaning all the meat off the bone.  The mushroom sauce on Bob’s dish was delicious.  I thought we didn’t have room for dessert, but I was totally wrong.  We had crepes with chocolate and hazelnut sauce.

We are going home today.  As far as a long weekend goes, this has been one perfect one.  So why am I calling this Babymoon Number One?  A few weeks ago, Bob asked me if he could go to a work conference in Hawaii in July.  Initially I was a little hesitant about it because we would be about 30 to 31 weeks into our pregnancy.  But then I thought about it, and thought what the heck.  Let’s just enjoy life and plan for it.  Bob went ahead and bought his plane ticket.  And then this thought crept into our heads.  What if I tagged along and went with him?  Hotel will already be paid for.  I would just need to purchase a plane ticket.  After a lot of contemplation (such as using up vacation time, the babies’ possible early arrival, and the cost), we decided that we should just take this opportunity for me to play before the babies come.  So I did!  I bought a plane ticket along with travel insurance (just in case we need to cancel) for me to go for about 6 day to Honolulu!  Bob will be very busy with his work conference even on the weekend.  I will most likely be playing by myself one last time before our babies take up our lives.  So should I even be calling that Babymoon Number Two if we are going to have fun separately?  I’d say so!  It will be our one last chance before we enjoy having two extra little people enriching our lives.  I know I will thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the downtime before craziness starts.

MicroblogMondays: An End and a Beginning


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: Mid-Visit Report


A few more days before I go home.

One day I came down with a fever and had to stay in bed for two whole days.  I managed to throw up everything that I ate.

Once I felt better, Hong Kong was hit with two typhoons.  One of them was strong enough for the government to cancel work and school for everyone.  So I was again trapped at home.  The weather next day was better but I had heartburn and nausea.  Extreme discomfort made me feel for those with chronic illnesses and pain.  Feeling normal and healthy is so precious.

I visited with one of my closest college friends.  That wasn’t the original plan.  Originally lunch was with a few other friends, but the plans were changed due to my sickness.  When I finally felt better, I opted to just see this one friend and her 4-year-old girl.  It was nice to catch her up on my journey of DE and surrogacy.  I doubt that I would have shared anything about it to the bigger group of friends.  Her little girl is sort of a marker of the length of my fertility journey.  My friend and I started trying for a baby at the same time.  That was a month after she got married.  She got pregnant right away and I didn’t.  Her daughter is already four and mine has not even implanted yet.  Seeing her, I wasn’t upset or anything.  It was just a thought that crossed my mind.  I know that it will forever be a thought that crosses my mind.  A part of my fertility history.  That my friend’s dream came true right away while I continue waiting for another five years.  Hopefully the wait is going to be over soon.

I don’t know why but many of my friends feel the need to tell me about their own friends’ fertility journey.  I guess because these people also had to use IVF to get to their babies.  This friend told me about her friend who tried for a couple of years, first in Hong Kong, then in New York, and finally now is in her second trimester after trying one more time in Hong Kong.  This friend of hers is a year older than me but she used her own eggs.  Sometimes I don’t know how to react to this kind of news especially when she’s successful carrying using her own eggs but I have to use donor eggs and another person’s uterus.

My grandma’s birthday banquet was last Saturday night.  I responded well to all my younger cousins’ babies as I played with them and interacted with them.  Most of my family was good and didn’t ask me about babies.  Except for one person.  My least favorite relative.  This is my grandfather’s nephew who grew up without his dad so he was raised by my grandpa.  He somehow disliked me a lot when I was a little kid and yelled at me a lot.  After I grew up, I had made peace with his existence and do talk to him when I see him at gatherings.  The moment he saw me, he asked me, “Why don’t you have a baby? You should have a baby by now.”  What the heck?  I didn’t know how to respond to him so I just mumbled something. But it had been a long time since I reacted strongly to someone’s inquiry about my childless state. I guess it’s because I knew that he didn’t mean well, unlike other inquiries. My childless oldest cousin who has had miscarriages and recently divorced overheard our conversation defended me and said to him, “You think it is that easy, huh?” She turned to me and said, “Just ignore him. ” Thank you cousin for being my voice when I couldn’t find one myself at that particular moment.

My best friend told me a story about her elementary school classmate that had me scratching my head. Let’s call her Jean. Jean is our age and tried for a long time to have a baby with her estranged husband.  This is the first red flag of the story. Why would she want a baby with a man she doesn’t like or love anymore?  She eventually got pregnant via IVF and gave birth about a month ago. This is what my best friend discovered through their conversation. Once the baby was born, Jean hired a helper and sent the baby and her husband to her mother-in-law’s house since Jean’s own house is under renovation currently. But, since she doesn’t like her MIL, she won’t let her MIL take care of the baby. Only the helper does all the feedings and diaper changes. What does Jean do?  She watches the baby and the helper’s every move via a webcam on her phone all day long ever since the birth.  She yells out commands to the helper via the webcam.  She has not gone to see, visit, touch, hold, kiss, or feed the baby since he was born.  She sits at home daily by herself and monitors another person’s work of taking care of her own baby. In Chinese culture, traditionally women are recommended to stay at home postpartum, but it’s an extreme that she doesn’t even go visit her own baby who had taken a lot of her effort to make.  So her husband and helper take the baby to all the checkups and she stays home by herself.  She doesn’t have friends and she’s not close to her family. So she is home everyday without any human interaction and just stares at the screen on her cell phone.  You can imagine next month when she takes the baby home she would have missed a lot of her baby’s development and bonding time with her. It boggles my mind.  To each their own.

Finally, I bought a couple of things for my future baby. Here they are:

You know me. I’m not afraid of jinxing things.  I can’t wait to put these cute onesies on my baby.

One more week until transfer!!!

MicroblogMondays: Without My Husband


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!

Breast Scare and Grandma

One of my grandmothers is going to turn 97 or 98.  (Age and year of birth of that generation in the Chinese culture is often vague.)  I haven’t seen her since our trip to Asia in April 2014.  It is tough to live so far away from the majority of my family.  Grandma had been in very good health until this summer when she fainted and was hospitalized.  Physically she is fine.  However, her mind might have been a little chaotic.  As someone who used to have the best memory (remembering everyone’s birthday), she exhibited some symptoms of mental confusion and at one point didn’t even recognize my cousin who lives with her.  She no longer takes the shuttle from her home to the market for her breakfast, which was her routine for 20 years.  Her mind has improved since the summer, but it feels that a visit with her overseas is necessary at a time when she is still relatively lucid and healthy and we can still spend quality time together.  I do not want to go when it is too late.  Since we have been trying to sort out the whole donor egg cycle and surrogacy, there has not been a good time to go.  The timing seems good now that we are down to the wire in terms of preparation for our gestational carrier’s transfer.  The legal paperwork will hopefully be completed by the second week of October and we are hopeful to do the transfer the first week of November.   Grandma’s birthday this year is October 22 (it changes yearly according to the lunar calendar).  My brother is set to fly over for a visit around that time.  It would be good for me to go around the last two weeks of October just in time for a transfer in the first week of November.  I was doing my search of reasonable airfare and then…

I found a little lump on my right breast last weekend randomly while watching TV.

It felt small and it moved around a little, but it was definitely something new.  I freaked out a little but decided to make an appointment with my primary care doctor online.  I scored an appointment for Monday afternoon.  I am not going to lie, but my mind was going fast and I was worried.  You know how it is.  Our worries about the future cloud our judgment as our mind jumps to conclusion.  The worst case scenarios flashed in my head.  Fortunately, prayers for peace and the determination to stay away from Goog.le search had kept me sane.

My doctor reviewed my mammogram results prior to coming in the exam room.  My one and only mammogram two years ago was normal but did indicate that my breast tissues were dense and fibrous.  Upon palpation, my doctor couldn’t even find the little lump at first until I pointed it out to her.  She said it felt more fluid-filled, like a cyst.  Just to be sure, she also examined my left breast and found a bigger and denser lump on the top left part of it.  She said that since this one felt more solid, it’d be best for me to do a scan.  She put in an order for a mammogram and told me to go to radiology to make an appointment.

At radiology, I was told that I could be seen immediately.  However, the staff members asked me a question that was taped on the counter: Do you have new masses or lumps on your breast?  I answered yes.  Because of this yes, I was told I had to go to the “Breast Health Services” downstairs.  Over there, I was told that I had to be scheduled to see a doctor there first.  The first opening is this coming Monday late morning.  So that means that I have had to wait a whole week to see this doctor before I can get any scans.

During this week of waiting, I still freak out at times, thinking about the possibility of me being sick and us bringing a baby into this world and the baby not having a mom.  The mind can go to the worst place fast.  But I am mostly at peace with this and am just waiting for the appointment.  I pray that I surrender everything to God as He is the one who is in control.  It could be psychological, but ever since these two lumps were found, I could seriously feel my breasts throbbing with soreness at times.  Speaking with others helps.  Both of the coworkers that I spoke with have had the same happen to them.  Both were checked out and were fine.  It’s helpful to know that the results could be normal.  This has also freaked Bob out.  The first night was the hardest as he was worried and wondered why we had to deal with one thing after another.  He has since then calmed down and has also just been waiting patiently for the appointment next week.

Because of this new development, I have been hesitant with the trip to Asia.  What if these lumps are more serious than I would like?  What if treatment is needed?  What if what if what if.  I have delayed looking into plane tickets but then I am also mindful that I would like to be around for all the initial scans that Annie, our gestational carrier, would have if/when we get pregnant.  It will be even harder to schedule a time to go see my grandmother in the near future once a pregnancy is achieved if I want to be as present for the pregnancy as possible.  So I have decided to purchase my plane tickets this weekend regardless of the outcome of the exam on Monday.

It is sometimes difficult, but I am determined to focus on the good things: seeing my family, spending time with my grandma, and being full of anticipation for our upcoming transfer.  I pray that the exam on Monday yields good results so that my mind can rest and truly enjoy the good things that life has to offer.

MicroblogMondays: “Family” Vacation


A couple of months ago a close friend of mine told me about a trip that she had planned for her family at a university about five hours away along the coast.  The university turned its student dorms into a vacation center in the summer.  It provides weeklong activities for families.  Parents can drop their kids off at their age-specific groups and then go off to join adult activities.  Each family is assigned a suite with two, three, or four bedrooms with a bathroom and living room inside.  Meals at the dining hall are included in the fees.  My friend signed up for a mini-week, which was four-day, three-night.  After looking at the schedule, I was very tempted to go with them as well because we would have a chance to hang out with my friends and her kids, who are also our favorite kids.  But I hesitated because our donor schedule and our search for a gestational carrier were still up in the air.  After some thinking, Bob and I both felt that what the heck, we have to live life.  So we signed up knowing that this place is meant to be for “families” in the most traditional sense: parents and kids.

Our room had this welcome sign on it:

 I am quite sure that it is true in the case of the vacationers who are parents.  I looked through the list of families who participated in this camp for our week.  People who didn’t have children listed with their names mostly had “retired” next to their occupations.  I am quite sure Bob and I were the only people who were relatively young without children at the camp.  But it was okay.  We still had a lot of fun as a childless couple.

We joined a few activities that we had to pay extra for.  We joined a local tour at a historical park.  The beer tour took us to two microbreweries that provided four 4-oz beers each and a behind-the-scene tour of the beer-making process at each place.  We joined the family bingo at which I won a big box of Oreos for winning the blackout.  We witnessed parents dancing with their 80’s hairdo and leg warmers at the 21+ only 80’s prom night.  Adults also had a karaoke party with so many parents who took the stage and sang their hearts out.  And did I mention that both of those adult activities had an open bar?  I had quite a few cocktails during this trip.  There was campfire at the beach, family photo time, and making s’mores with the kids.  When you don’t want to join the activity, you can just lay by the poolside with a book for a whole afternoon, like what I did one day while Bob took a nap in the room.

I was told that parents could just drop their kids off after breakfast and don’t have to worry about them until late afternoon.  During the evening adult-only activities, parents can hire the camp babysitters at a very low rate to watch their kids until late at night.  No wonder it said on the sign on our door that it is going to the best vacation since becoming parents.

I think what I enjoyed the most was not having to worry about cleaning the room or planning for meals.  The dining hall food was actually quite delicious with great varieties and many organic choices.  Even when we go on vacation by ourselves, we would always have to figure out meals everyday.  Over there you don’t have to worry about reading reviews or driving to a restaurant.  You just walk to the dining hall at a designated time then you’ll be fed.  Even the BBQ lunch at the beach wasn’t what we had expected.  I thought we’d be fed burgers and hotdogs, but the actual meal was delicious and tender tri-tip and other tasty dishes that were all catered.  You don’t have to worry about where to go or what to do.  Things have been prepared for you.  And the bonus was that we got to spend some quality time with our friends and their children for a few days.

Seeing families with kids and pregnant ladies everywhere was surprisingly okay for us.  I felt quite brave as someone who has been trying for our first child for five-plus years.  I think having our friends there helped a lot.  We didn’t look too odd as a couple without kids when we had our friends and their kids to be with.

I heard that families return to this place every single summer.  It sounds like a great plan when you have children.  I look forward to one day when we can return with our little ones so that we could drop them off at Small World when it is open for naps so Bob and I could go kayaking or paddle boarding or whatever activities that fancy us.

Although it wasn’t our typical vacation spot, Bob and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  All in all, it was a wonderful trip and some much needed down time.

MicroblogMondays: Maui In Photos


We finally did our “real” honeymoon, five years late.  So glad that we chose Maui.  It was indeed a beautiful place for honeymooners and apparently babymooners as well.

Like I said in my last post, there were plenty of pregnant ladies on the plane.  These ladies with bumps were also spotted on beaches, restaurants, and hikes.  A favorite game between Bob and me was spotting a lady in bikinis on the beach and asking, “Is she pregnant?”  Out of all the ladies that we spotted, I’d say 9 out of 10 times those ladies were pregnant.

I have been sick for the last week and a half.  I am still sick right now.  Majority of the time on Maui I was coughing and having a stuffy nose.  I think that was why I was so tired the first two days we were there. Our original plan was to go watch the sunrise at the summit of Haleakala National Park in the first two days of our trip since we would still be on California time.  But due to my crazy fatigue, we didn’t make it on day one or day two.  Instead, we just hung out on the beach and chilled.  The condo that we rented had everything that was needed for a beach day.  You’d often find us in our swimsuits and coverups hauling two beach chairs, a beach umbrella, a bag with towels and sunscreen lotion, a novel, and a bodyboard.  We only had to walk across the street from our condo complex to a very nice and calm beach.  It was so serene to just sit on the white sand and watch the ocean.  The sun was hot and the umbrella helped to keep us cool.  However, at times, the wind was also blowing strong.  Don’t let this picture fool you.  The umbrella flew away a few times.  Imagine me or Bob running after it in the hot sand.


That IS Bob in the water facing the ocean on the right side of the picture.

I went into the water quite a few times.  It was quite fun the first couple of times when the water was calm.  The final day we went to the beach it was significantly windier.  The water was so choppy that floating on the bodyboard was a little bit scary.  Quite a few times I thought I was floating too far away from the shore and panicked a little bit.  For someone who is not a good swimmer, it was quite a scary thing.  The waves flipped me over quite a few times.  All in all, I am very thankful that we rented a place so close to the beach so we could go as often as we would like with the convenience of going back to the condo and washing up without getting into our rental car.

I have always loved Hawaiian food, so I am very happy with the food choices there.  Many good restaurants were within walking distances to our condo in Kihei.  I particularly loved the macaroni salad that came with all my Hawaiian plate lunches.  To save money, we also ate in a few times.  We picked up fish from Costco: ono, opah, blue marlin.  Fish that we usually don’t find here in California.  We ate very well there, but I also loved that we had a balance and didn’t overspend on dining out.


My own cooking: ono with asparagus


loco moco, kalua pork, and fried spam musubi


loco moco, again


macadamia nut pancakes


seared ahi tuna and coconut shrimp


two kinds of poke and pineapple cole slaw


mahi mahi and ono fish and chips


french toast with mac nuts


kalua pork moco


korean chicken and short ribs

And then there was dinner at a fancier restaurant our last day.  The chef apparently made one too many crab dips so we got that dish on the house at the end of our dinner.  Who doesn’t love some free food?


buffalo shrimp


short rib pot pie


mahi mahi with lemon caper sauce


crab dip on the house

Okay enough food talk.  Here comes my favorite part of the trip, which involved getting up at 2:15 in the morning.  Yup.  You read it right.  TWO FIFTEEN A.M.  I guess if you want to watch the sunrise on the summit of Haleakala, you have to leave Kihei at no later than 3am so that you can get a parking spot on the summit. Otherwise, you’d have to park somewhere lower and that’d have defeated the purpose of getting up so early.  Sunrise was at 5:48 that morning.  The night before we were going back and forth about whether or not we should do it.  Out of the fear of missing out, we said screw it and let’s get up early in the morning.  I went to bed at 8:45 the night before since I was still feeling sick anyways.  Bob probably didn’t go to bed until closer to 9:45.  Waking up wasn’t as torturous as we had imagined.  Bob even measured out the coffee grounds and the water for fresh coffee the night before.  It took about one hour 45 minutes to drive up that winding road to the summit.  Being from California, I am very used to winding roads.  The road wasn’t as horrible as some people on message boards described it to be.  It was like a zoo by the time we got to the summit parking lot at 4:45am.  It was pitch dark.  Park rangers with flashlights directed us to a parking spot.  We were dressed in our light down jackets and jeans, but it was still cold.  The temperature was probably about 45 degrees.  Comparable to a colder night in San Francisco.  As warned by my friends, I brought blankets and towels from the condo.  They proved to be very useful.  Instead of standing inside the glass hut on the summit, we opted for standing out in the open and braving the wind and the cold for a better view.  Bob wrapped a towel over his head and a blanket around his body.  He looked like he just got off a camel in the desert.  My phone’s compass pointed us to the east, and we occupied a spot facing that direction with plenty of crazy people who stood around like us.  We looked up and could see so many stars in the sky.  It was a great idea to come so early because the changes in the lights in the sky were phenomenal:

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Standing there at 10,000 ft above sea level, you can totally see and hopefully appreciate the grandeur of God’s creation.

That same day, we got a massage in our condo.  I felt that I slept funny the day I was staying at home being sick.  My back had been hurting and the massage was heavenly.

After much debate, we decided to also do Road to Hana.  I got mixed reviews from various people who had done it. Some said you don’t want to miss it.  Others said that it was really nothing much to see.  We don’t know when we’d come back to Maui again, so we decided to do it.  After reading many times on message boards about it, I paid $5 and downloaded this app.  It approved to be the best $5 that I had ever spent.  This app uses the GPS on your phone to guide you where to go.  It tells you what sights were must-sees, what sights to skip, where to park, where to eat.  On the way back, it also tells you stories about the history of Hawaii.  I highly recommend it.  You can download it at the app store.  It’s called “Road to Hana GyPSy Driver Tour”.  It will be the best $5 you will ever spend.  With this app, I didn’t have to look at a map or flip a book.  Since the road was winding as well, I would have felt sick and thrown up looking at a map or a book.

I am very glad we went.  It was beautiful out there.  There is really nothing much to see in Hana.  The journey itself is the highlight.


black sand beach

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This was about the best vacation one could have.  Eight days was the perfect length.  We got to spend quality time with each other.  Bob didn’t have his phone with him the whole time so we could have a conversation.  We had beach time, lazy time, crazy time to see the sunrise, driving on the road to Hana to see the lush side of Maui, massage time, reading time, and even a lot of Gilmore Girls time.  Yes we watched plenty of Gilmore Girls on Ne.tflix.  We talked a little about our next steps for our fertility treatment but majority of the time we just relaxed and went with the flow.  It was perfect.

On the beach and on the flight back, we were surrounded by babies and little children.  These babies were all so cute in their little swimsuits.  Bob repeatedly asked if I could imagine my own little baby in a swimsuit playing with sand.  It didn’t quite make me sad, but it is a reminder of what we have been longing for.  My dream is that next time we go to Maui we’ll be with our baby as well.  I am really hoping that this dream will one day come true.

MicroblogMondays: Anniversary on Maui


Despite me being sick, we are having a blast on Maui.

Believe it or not, I have been sick since last Tuesday night.  I had to leave work early on Wednesday.  I lay in bed all day with a severe sore throat and feverish body on Thursday.  I was still not feeling well enough to see kids on Friday, but had to return to work to finish things up before our vacation.

Even with a hugely stuffed up nose, none of this matters.  Because, I am here on vacation for our 5th anniversary.  We arrived here without a hitch.  Rented a car, bought groceries at Costco (as recommended by numerous people including a popular guidebook), and drove to our condo.  The view from the balcony is to die for:


The photo doesn’t do it justice.  All day long, the lighting and color of the ocean change.  This is a picture in the morning.  We sat in the balcony and ate our breakfast looking at the ocean.  Before I woke up, I could hear all the birds chirping and the sound of the waves.  This is so drastically different from our life in California.

We could have chosen a restaurant with a great view but so-so food for our anniversary dinner.  We eventually chose good food over a view. We were not disappointed.





The spicy tuna tacos, the steak appetizer, and our fish of the day entrees were all so tasty that the dinner was very memorable.

The night ended with a wonderful shave ice:


The next day, we sat on the beach in the morning.  The breeze, the warm sand, and the cool ocean water made it a perfect morning:


When we were saving up money for this trip, we had always called it our “babymoon”.  I saw plenty of pregnant ladies on the plane on our way here.  I know that we are nowhere close to that, but we are not sad about not having a baby growing inside of me yet.  We are keeping our faith that one day we’ll be able to celebrate the growing of our baby in a way as memorable as our trip to Maui.

As for now, I’ll savor every bite of raw fish I can enjoy here on Maui for the next six days.

MicroblogMondays: Maui Is Around The Corner


Our much anticipated 5th wedding anniversary trip to Maui is just around the corner.  Five days from now to be exact.  Back in January when we planned the trip, we were wondering where we would be in our quest of our binky moongee during our Maui trip.  Would we be in our second trimester?  If our February transfer had failed, would we have found a new donor already?  Would we be in the middle of our new cycle?  Despite the unknowns, we decided to forge ahead with our plans for our 5th wedding anniversary trip because living life is as important as waiting for a baby.  I would not have imagined ourselves to be in this uncharted territory: deciding if carrying a baby would be a dangerous choice for my body and my baby.  My therapist was right: it seems like this is a season of uncertainty and we’d better get used to this space.  Bob and I have discussed about the various case scenarios.  We are trying to figure out the right direction for us.  It is no easy task.  How does one go about doing that?  Therefore, we are not forcing ourselves to make a quick decision.  Maybe those eight days in Maui will give us some down time to continue to let the news sink in.  Maybe one path will emerge as the right path for us.  I am grateful that we made a decision to love ourselves and plan a trip.  A very good friend of mine who has been banking embryos finally prioritized an overseas trip over a banking cycle.  She has missed many opportunities for travels in the last year because of her fear of missing a cycle.  I am so proud of her that she has chosen to live life this time.  In this cruel journey, we have to make a choice to be kind to ourselves.  Although this is not the babymoon that we had hoped for, I am still looking forward to sleeping with the sounds of the ocean, sunrise at Haleakala, savoring every bite of fresh fish, enjoying all the fresh fruit Maui has to offer, bathing in the sun on the beach, sporting my brand new swimsuit, and spending some quality time with my dear husband.  Hopefully during the time of our trip God will give us the clarity and maybe a new perspective that we need to move forward in our journey.