My last post was post number 100. I didn’t even notice.

I went to the RE today for CD7 monitoring, I have 1 follicle still on the left ovary that is 12.1. FSH is lower, *weird* E2 is about where it’s supposed to be.  It’s grown exactly 6mm in less than 5 days with a natural cycle. Which as of this morning is no longer natural. I’m on a new protocol this month, where instead of Clomid, I’ve been prescribed Tamoxifen. Which I am only familiar with as a cancer drug. Because my mother took it for 10 years, before being diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. That scared me a little, however it seems my RE has discovered that it acts (stimulates) similarly to Clomid but doesn’t thin your Endometrium or cause your LH to surge unnaturally. I monitor again on day 12 (Tuesday) to see whats happening. I imagine, since I’ve done this 10 or 11 times before, that I will trigger, and get a retrieval at some point next week if all goes well with the new meds. In 10, 11, oh who the hell knows, how many retrievals, I’ve never had a dominate follicle come from my left side. Ever. I’ve gotten a follicle or 2 from it before but they always wind up being the immature ones.

My left ovary is all wallflower-ish and under achieving. Like me in High School. Kinda. It’s the one that’s most easily visible and isn’t in a weird place like my right one, but it’s generally kind of lazy. Who else has 1 lazy ovary? How do you get it to be less lazy? Tell it, “You’re grounded until you produce a follicle?” Seriously, is there anything anyone can do to wake the lazy one up? Throw ice water on it? Poke it? What causes one to be lazy? Is there a difference in the egg quality?

Its been a busy week. Remember how I took Chinese III (Mandarin) a few months ago? We this semester I decided since I’m at home alone a lot at night, to take Honors Economics and Honors Political Science and Chinese IV, for fun. Note to self: Stop making decisions while hopped up on fertility meds or in the middle of a depression after a failed FET. Most people would avoid making decisions during times like that. Not me. Bring on some school, and some homework, and some new pencils, and SHUT THE FRONT DOOR this is expensive! Yes. I am an idiot.

My new “plan” is actually going pretty well so far. I’m avoiding the people and the “friends” and the situations that don’t add something positive to my life or my day-to-day. Instead, I’m trying to focus on friendships and classes and activities like Yoga, that make me feel better about myself. I’m also trying to avoid added stress and while the classes “might* have been counter intuitive, I have to admit it does feel good to have my brain engaged in something intellectual. Add a little more exercise and I should have a good recipe for how to better manage the outside stressors in my life.

Since I had to get a scrip filled from the Dr, I stopped at Costco this morning after my appointment. Where I got the scrip filled and decided to bring home some flowers for no other reason than because I felt like it. Usually there has to be an occasion. But not today. Today I just want to be surrounded by pretty, happy, peace and serenity, and there doesn’t have to be a reason. Right?


Its been a tough week. Thank you to everyone who commented on my arrested post. I loved your willingness to be vulgar and awesome all at once! For some reason, the thought of women I’ve never met cursing on my behalf so I didn’t have to was really comforting. I’m not kidding. Thank you.

3 more days of Provera and Estrace, and a few days after that a new cycle will begin. The 9th one. I bought a new package this week. There will be 3 more attempts, at least. I never thought I’d be one of those women that goes through this month after month. I never thought I’d be someone who would be willing to do anything to have a child. But apparently I have become THAT person.

It’s just one more way my life is unrecognizable to me.

People ask me how I keep going. The truth is, I don’t know what else to do but keep trying to move forward. I try to focus on the future, and hope for the best. More and more I try to make my mind quiet, and with some practice maybe eventually, I will get good at it.  There are days though that I fail epically. I had at least 2.5 epic failure days this week. Including crying so much during acupuncture the Dr. put little wads of tissue in my ears so that the tears didn’t pool there. While useful I’m certain it wasn’t my best look. But then crying with my nose running and my eyes streaming red isn’t my best look either. I admit it. I’m a really ugly crier.

2.5 is  better than 7 but I’d like to do better.

Its hard, but I’m trying to get into the habit of allowing myself the grace to dream and hope. I can’t always see it and that scares me a lot. But if I focus and let my mind wander, I can see myself, and my completed family.

There it is again. Those words, hope, dreaming, and an implied faith. While all of this sounds suspiciously cheesy, I will take that over cynical, bitter and angry every day of the week. With every single fiber of who I am, I do not want to become that person.

I was that person for 2.5 days this week so I’d like to issue a blanket apology to everyone who saw me, drove near me, talked to me or had to interact with me in any way during that time.

Someone said something to me today that resonated with me.  低调.  The translation is something like “blessings arrive in tune”  like music, but what it really means is “low-key” as in good things happen when you’re not shouting the house down. It’s a Chinese proverb that I need a lot more practice with. A whole lot more.

I’m going to keep practicing, and continue trying to quiet the cacophony of noise, thoughts, anxieties and worries that are in my head. Someday, the silence is going to be peaceful and amazing.


CD12 Monitoring Appointment, Cycle 8

I was up at the crack of dawn this morning showering so I could go to acupuncture before this appointment. I showed up early with raspberry preserves for everyone, both at the acupuncture office and for my RE’s office.

Im sitting at the clinic using their computers to write this post. After 4 days off Clomid and on Estrace my numbers are better, I’m not sure they are good enough but there is definite improvement and this cycle may not be lost.

E2 149.8, FSH is 23.2, LH is 13.9. 1 follicle on the right side measuring 9.4.

The E2 is closer to where it should be, my FHS is more than 10 points lower so that’s a big improvement in 4 days, ideally though it’s not quite low enough, in my non professional, unmedically trained opinion. Because my FSH has been so high, my LH is also artificially elevated. So I’m waiting now. To see what happens next.

The plus side of this is for the first time since last Monday, I’m pretty calm. We also get to see my little Peanutgirl today so that’s a very happy thing. I’ve missed her a lot since she’s been in Hong Kong for the last 2 weeks. It feels like forever.

We will do some more work in the yard, Husband is building some kind of a fountain so I cant wait to see how that turns out. Our Neighborhood 4th of July block party is tonight. They have a fireworks show, a kids bike parade, a live band, dancing, face painting, pony rides the whole place comes out for it.

Good things. Things to look forward to and be thankful for.

Sorry I have been an asshat this week. Seriously. I’m sorry. My approach was abrasive.

Just spoke to the Dr. He says continue Estrace Monitor again on July 3rd.

My RE is going to some big IVF convention in Turkey for 3 days, and will be back on July 5th. He expects that if I get a retrieval it will be that day. When he was in China last month, I’m pretty sure my retrieval was also his first day back. I have no idea when this man sleeps. Seriously.

As an aside for everyone who comments on my controversy post, thank you for your input your opinions your thoughts support and even though I was abrasive in my approach, your kindness. I really enjoy being part of this community, even though it’s a club no one really wants to belong to. I’ve met some of the brightest most talented writers, kindest women and most genuine people even virtually than I ever expected.

I hope you all do something fun that’s NOT fertility related this weekend!


No. I didn’t run off to Phoenix, nothing personal to anyone who lives there, but I’m not a fan of the desert. If I am not near a body of water I get disoriented and wander around in circles like some kind of dehydrated nomad. Plus as I’ve said before, my natural color is somewhere in the range of “pale blue” so the desert doesn’t generally look good on me.

I went to see Dr Yelian this morning, was happily greeted by my favorite vampire, where my blood was drawn and she informed me that I was indeed scheduled for an ultrasound. To which I responded “Dammit!” because if my cycle is going to be canceled I should be exempt from having to take my pants off. Right? It’s in the rulebook. Oh that’s right, there is no rulebook.

The ultrasound tech did the ultrasound, “cold gel, I’m sorry its cold, please let me know if its gets too uncomfortable” Right ovary, no clear visualization. Because its Memorial day, and it apparently went away for the long weekend.

Left side… 1 follicle that at first appeared around 5.2 mm, then after looking around again and checking from another angle measured 9.8. She didn’t believe it so she called for Dr Y to verify it. I hung out pantsless for about 20 minutes before Dr Y came in, shook my hand, looked for himself, couldn’t find anything and said “Get K in here so she can show me this follicle.” She came in, showed him, he said “Yep that looks like a real follicle”. What? There are fake follicles?

E2 137, LH 15.3, P4 1.47

What does this mean? I’m not sure, to quote the Dr. “I was monitoring your levels from China, and this is a very strange cycle”  My P4 from Friday made it seem I had ovulated. Although, how an egg can be mature at 6mm is beyond me. Whatever. Yes this is still a strange cycle. I now having something called a Luteal Phase Follicle. Which means a new, maturing follicle of good size AFTER I’ve already ovulated. Wait, are you still confused? Me too. I will do another post later about Luteal Phase follicles, just bear with me here.

They left, I put my clothes back on and put the paper sheet in the trash and was told to wait to be called by the nurse. Dr. Y was insanely busy so I didn’t really get a chance to speak to him but he said I would be given meds to take home, and when my blood work came back they would call me with a plan.

296.00 for 2 shots later, I left with 2 big doses of Menopur, in the clinics signature pink bag, and a lot of questions.

We had Dim Sum with my husbands mother, and sister, and her husband. His mother told me I was not eating enough, but that I’m too fat, and that my face is too thin, so keep losing weight, but not in my face. Hard to please much? Shes 89. My understanding is that women over the age of 60 can say and do anything they want, to anyone they want, when ever they want. So we have that to look forward to.

Here’s the treatment plan, 1, 150ml shot of Menopur tonight at 8pm along with Clomid. Continue Clomid daily, another 150ml shot of Menopur on Wednesday night and I see the Dr on Thursday.

Do I know what happens after that? No. What do I think? I have no clue. Am I hopeful? I don’t know. But it feels better to be DOING something than to be contemplating my navel and berating my ovaries.

People ask me all the time, “Why do you call it the Fertility Circus?” This cycle is a perfect example of why. Plus it sounds way better than the Fertility Roller-coaster, or Fertility Merry go Round.

Why did I call this post Phoenix? Because apparently like that mythical bird, this cycle has risen from the ashes.

Maybe Not Maybe

CD 8 monitoring update

I want to think of everything as a new cycle a new beginning. I don’t want to become cynical or bitter or someone who doesn’t hope. But to review, after last months cyst freak show, I was put on Provera. Which means from the start of that cycle to the start of this one was 16 days.

On day 3 I had 2 follicles right side was 8.2 and left side was 5.8. Today I had 2 follicles right side was 6.3 and left side was 6.6. My RE says that its very possible that the 8.2 follicle disappeared, and that a new follicle grew that is now 6.3. Or it shrunk. He doesn’t know. Of course neither do I.

So, the rest of the numbers are: E2 90.3, FSH24, LH9.1.

Dr Yelian asked that I monitor again on Friday, and that if there is a retrieval it will probably be Monday depending on Fridays results.

After consulting previous cycles my “normal” retrieval day is around day 11 or 12, and the one time I had it later the results were extremely poor, but I am told that a longer cycle is better and that this may still turn out to be a good cycle.

To explain how all this works, if the Clomid works and the follicle grows, FSH goes down inversely to the E2 which goes higher. A good cycle will be an FSH under 10, and an E2 over 120 or so. An FSH over 30 can inhibit the growth of the follicles so at that point es-trace or some other kind of estrogen medication can and often will be administered.

I did a LiveChat with my RE on Friday night. Only a few people showed up (much to my disappointment) but the questions were serious and educated. I’m not sure how he feels about it, but I recorded it in case anyone is interested in listening. I will post the link if I get some requests for it. The women that attended really liked it. Because this is my field of work, this lead to a discussion of how he could improve his site, what videos he needs to do, what kind of forums he needs and what are the best practices to keep him one step ahead of everyone else.

He and I had one of those heart to heart talks today, where I explained to him why I want to be a mother so much (for the first time), and why I cried so much at the beginning, and he told me he knew we had “glitches” but that he really thinks I’m a good person and will do everything in his power to help me get pregnant. Clearly we now have a better understanding of one another.

Can someone just wring me out so I stop with the bizarre weeping? Please?

While I’m a little worried about not having a retrieval this week, he gave me comfort in knowing that if I do have a retrieval it will probably be Monday when he’s back from China. Which is some comfort for me. He’s going to China to be a Keynote speaker at some event, traveling for literally a day and a half, to do a speech and then travel back in a total of 3 days. How committed is that?

Monday will be Memorial Day, when Banks, normal Drs offices, and other govt related businesses will be closed. Dedicated? I have to say, I like what he stands for, and I like his commitment and passion. I have to admit when he said he considered me a friend, I started to cry.

I’m blaming the Clomid. Not my sentimentality or the acknowledgement or the care. I’m blaming the drugs.

Because normally no one ever sees me cry.

Things Worth Saving

I wish I could say that I have a good relationship with my family. The truth is I just don’t. I can’t have a civilized conversation with my mother for more than 5 minutes, neither of my sisters speak to me, so that leaves 2 brothers. One who talks to me occasionally and the other who doesn’t. My father passed away suddenly 11 years ago.

For years I wished things were different. While I seemed to grasp that logically, emotionally there was still a sad little girl who wishes we aren’t so fractured as a family. My husband has learned that some holidays I tolerate better than others and that  some are altogether un-salvageable. Which 1. Made me think I married a pretty awesome guy and 2. Made me wonder how much my sadness has affected the family I have now. It’s a sobering thought. It made me uncomfortable, because my sadness is my responsibility. If I’ve focused on my sadness, then I’ve not been giving my best to the family I’ve created.

I’ve heard that I need to “live in the moment” or “walk out of your upbringing” and lots of other colloquialisms that seemed trite and never really resonated with me. I mean seriously where is the instruction manual?!

I was in my 30’s before I started cooking regularly, because I thought that cooking for 1 was a waste of my time and cooking for 2 was also a waste of my time.  I outsourced my housework, laundry, dry cleaning, and sometimes cooking, because my time was worth so much more than those menial tasks.

A few months ago, by accident, I realized that I save things “for a special occasion”.  Saved them for a time that’s more important than now, where I will be prettier, thinner, happier, more satisfied. Endless tomorrows that never seem to come.

What I suddenly grasped was that life is ordinary. It’s made up of lots of menial tasks, a million ordinary moments, and a few extraordinary ones. There are no special tomorrows. Yes there will be special times, but I think that the point is to see the beauty in the menial tasks and ordinary moments.

Maybe it’s time to wear that outfit I’ve saved, or to use the crystal or china that’s been sitting in the cupboard for years gathering dust. Maybe it’s time to stop looking at the past, and letting it overwhelm me. Time to realize and accept that I’m never  NOT going to be sad about it. Being sad is a normal reaction to terrible events. It’s time to make peace with it, to realize it’s never going to go away, and for lack of a better term, acknowledge that it walks along with me whether I like it or not. Acceptance.

I don’t like cleaning but I love a clean house. I HATE folding laundry, but I love the smell and feel of fresh sheets, towels and clothes. I’ve learned to enjoy cooking because I like to know what I’m feeding my family. These menial tasks, they have become a huge part of my life.

Ideally you get two chances at parenthood. You get the ones who gave birth to you, and the ones you become in whatever form that takes. My past is sad, but I’m aware that I need to put it aside, stop saving things for a “special occasion”, give my fullest attention to my family, and both work toward and allow myself to hope for a better now.

An Extraordinary Husband

This weekend was our 6th wedding anniversary. Our 12th year together. 5 years living together total before we married. I should tell you something about the Mister since I pick on him a bit in this blog.

He’s amazing. On every level, he’s handsome, hes kind, his spirit is generous and he came from the kind of poverty we don’t really understand in the US. He has defied the odds and come out successful in a way that shames me, and makes me feel like even though my upbringing was enough to bring a decent person to their knees, I don’t know anything about being alone, the way he does.

He was born in Kowloon, Hong Kong in 1962. His father was 65 when he was born. Which means his father was born in 1897. During the reign of the last Emperor. He was educated,  wore a queue, wealthy, and married several times as his wives kept dying in childbirth. During the 30’s when the Japanese invaded China, he sent his sons to the 4 proverbial corners of China, so that if one city was bombed and a son was lost, he wouldn’t lose all his children at one time. Most of them never saw each other again.

By the time my husband was born his fathers wealth was long gone. His father was punished for his education. His children were punished for being doctors and lawyers, artists and thinkers. Most of them were executed during the cultural revolution. His father escaped to Hong Kong, continued to try to work but was over 60 and considered an old man of little value. I’m not sure who his mother was, I’m not sure he knows either, however I can say that he identifies as completely Chinese, and gets upset when you being up that he is 50% Japanese.

They lived in an area of Kowloon that’s since been demolished. It was called the Walled City. There is a book about its horrible conditions, its poor lighting and the fact that it was built around a temple in the center, where people threw their waste, their trash and their leftovers. The smell had to have been suffocating in the Hong Kong heat.They lived in an 8 by 8 room, with 2 walls walled off with curtains, a shared kitchen and a bathroom shared by the entire floor. Theirs had a window, which meant they got at least a little fresh air. He didn’t have a crib, only a mahjong table turned upside down to make a playpen for him.

As he grew older and attended school they had money for congee or rice porridge, but could afford meat only 3 or 4 times a year. There is only one photograph taken of my husband as a child. It sits on our living room mantlepiece, showing him in all his fat legged glory as a toddler, maybe 4 years old with one leg eating his shorts and a really happy look on his face.

He spent his youth being afraid of clocks, clocks that would foretell his fathers passing and what would happen to him then, clocks that would chime death and bring an uncertain future to a smart, talented boy who loved his father so much. Clocks that indicated the closeness of the Cultural Revolution and how he would never ever have a family again. Time made him afraid.

At some point it was decided that he would be sent back and forth between the US and Hong Kong because his father was aging, and didn’t know how much longer he would be able to take care of a young and growing boy.  He tolerated it, until the day came when he had been sent to the US and his birth mother told him ” I don’t love you, I never wanted you, I have my family now, and you will never be part of it”

He was 12. He ran away. His mother lived in Beverly Hills with her new husband and family but he took a bus to Pasadena, lived under a bridge near Echo Park, where he was going to school, and stole for food. He lived like this for several months, never missing a single day of school. He would be so ashamed if he knew I was writing this.

Eventually his fathers 4th wife heard about it. She never bothered to divorce him she just emigrated to America with her daughter and started over. But she heard, and she went searching. Over time she found him, and raised him as her own son.

They were so fucking poor. Even as a child he worked in the sweatshop until midnight, and then the days would begin again with him getting dropped off a few miles from school, and then going to the sweatshop after.No time for projects, for the AP classes he was assigned to, no help with homework, and no help in the general idea that education was beneficial. They believed his best use was at the sweatshop, making clothes along with them. No better no worse.

to be cont.

Viva La Vida

Today was my day 8 monitoring appointment after hearing that on day 2 there were no follicles. The plus side of this is that I wasn’t bleeding, but no I still can’t look the ultrasound tech in the eye. I’ve given up on that. Shes a really pretty, nice, woman. I just want to apologize to her that she’s seen my vagina more in the last 4 months than I have in my whole life.

It was stressful. I was given the blood-work, then the ultrasound, for some reason they can never find my right ovary, I’ve mentioned that before but I’m not kidding, at least once a month they can’t find it. It wanders off like my husband in the grocery store when he sees that there are 1 bazillion choices of soup. I keep shopping and he stays there staring. 10 minutes later I notice he’s not with me, and then I can never find him either.

During the ultrasound, the tech couldn’t find my right ovary. She called for the dr to come in, who also couldn’t find it. He told me to get dressed and from the lack of success I assumed this would be a throwaway cycle at best, and the beginning of the end at worst. I was at the desk waiting to check out my bloodwork came back, the Dr stopped me asked to do another ultrasound. Apparently my E2 was so high that there was no way there were not follicles in there. Without ever getting a clear look at my right ovary, the Dr  found 2 follicles, one that was 5mm and the other was 14.1mm so he wants me to monitor again on day 10. There was good news today but after the fear of this past week, I am back to squishy and a little raw. I’m sitting here relieved, a little hopeful, and a little vulnerable. I don’t know yet what comes after this, if I will be doing a retrieval or not, but after the anxiety of this week I’m trying to slow down, to one day at a time, one hurdle at a time. LH was 4.3, so I’m not close to my “surge”.

To clarify a few things, I’m not doing traditional IVF, I’m doing something called Minimal Stimulation IVF or Natural Cycle IVF, it’s a protocol used a lot in Japan, and China, its supposed to be a good for older women, and women with certain issues, like cancer, or PCOS. It also costs a lot less than traditional IVF, the idea is to get fewer, but higher quality eggs. There are only a couple of clinics in the US that do it, and they are crazy busy. Upon entering the office for the first time, my husband said, “He’s either incredibly talented at what he does, or its free”. I’ve never been to any doctors office that’s so busy. It still surprises me every time I go.

I should also mention that the Dr is compassionate, kind and patient. I am not the easiest person to treat, I question everything, I am impatient and vague reassurances don’t cut it for me. I am demanding, without being a dragon lady, but he has always taken the time to answer my questions. I believe he cares about his patients and isn’t a used car salesman like so many of the IVF clinics you hear about are, making promises they know they can’t keep.

Women in this for the long haul, I think the most important thing you can do for yourselves is take care of you. Eat well, sleep enough, avoid additional stress, exercise enough. This process is not for the weak or faint of heart, have a good support system. If its family or your significant other awesome. But a solid group of girlfriends wouldn’t hurt either *something really I need to work on*, and if there is a peer-to-peer support group offered at your clinic, give it a shot.

Today was good news. I think I need to take some time to breathe, and then actually put in practice the awesome advice I just gave you.