When faced with infertility, it's fret or fight.

Location: United States

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

My new blog is at...


Ciao bella

No one knows how long they have on this earth or the kind of life they will have. Will it be long but miserable? Short but sweet? A rollercoaster of bad happenstances interspersed with unspeakable joys? In our most challenging moments, will we rise to the occasion or languish in our fears?

Most of us will live and die without much of the world knowing we had lived. We will do nothing deemed worthy of a TV movie of the week or scandalous enough to be written up in the gossip column. Yet in our lives, we often have people we only get to know from chatting in the hallway or getting coffee in the break room, but feel connected to nevertheless. You know the people I’m talking about. They always have a quirky story to relate or an infectious smile when you pass by.

Norma Taddei was 64 years old when she died. At the time, she worked for Marsh and McLennan, an insurance and consulting company. She and about 1700 employees of the company worked in offices from floors 93 to 100 in the North Tower of the World Trade Center, the same floors that took a direct hit by the first plane to hit the Twin towers five years ago. Norma was one of almost 300 employees who died that day.

Norma was a grandmother who always had a smile for her granddaughter and a kitchen filled with food. She never missed remembering any of her goddaughter’s birthdays and treated her coworkers with kindness and a loving spirit. Her smiles were often accompanied by cheerful exclamations of “Ciao bello!” or “Ciao signorina!” at the office. Norma was the nurturing type. She considered herself the office mom--encouraging one just-out-of-college coworker not to be intimidated by senior members of the company, helping her develop a level of comfort working in the corporate world. Norma brought an affectionate aura to those around her. One ex-coworker wrote, "[i]n an environment that, at times, was pretentious, I truly appreciated her warmth and graciousness."

I wish I knew more about Norma to share, but internet searches only provide these few snapshots of her life. It seemed she carried a warm smile wherever she went. I hope, wherever she is, she is still smiling.


This tribute was culled from messages and articles from various 9/11 memorial sites. Any mistakes or misrepresentations are solely mine.Click here to read about the 2996 project and links to additional 9/11 tributes.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I’ve moved!

If you’d like to see my new place, go here.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The 100 things list every blogger eventually posts

I started this list during my 2ww as a way to do something to make the time pass quicker. Now, it’s done and since I didn’t want to have another depressing, poor me post, here it is (try not to laugh too hard):

1. My birthday is September 22, which is also Frodo’s birthday.

2. The first time I read Lord of the Rings, I didn’t really like it and the only reason why I went on to read The Two Towers and Return of the King was only because I had this obsessive need to know what happened to the ring.

3. Plus, I have this obsessive need to read the original source of anything that has been turned into a movie before seeing the movie.

4. Since then, I have re-read LOTR 2 times and I love it more and more each time though I skip over all the songs/poems.

5. I have all the special extended editions of the LOTR trilogy on DVD.

6. I wanted to have a birthday party on my 33 and 1/3 birthday with a LOTR theme, have everyone dress up (I would be dressed as Frodo, of course), we would watch the whole extended version throughout the day and I would find creative ways to recreate food that had some relation to the movie/books. But, I was too tired from my wedding to plan and have another big party.

7. I often imagine or think about things I want to do without actually doing them.

8. A lot of this planning and thinking occurs when I can’t fall asleep and I just let my mind wander.

9. Mr. Worrier also thinks about more things than he actually does.

10. It is one of many things we have in common.

11. It is strange how alike Mr. Worrier and I are even though there is a huge age gap between us.

12. The age gap between us is 24 years.

13. We have been together since I was 19.

14. Mr. Worrier was the first and is only man I have had sex with.

15. Mr. Worrier is the only man I have ever kissed.

16. If there was anything I might lie to my kids about it’s 15 and 16, because it’s so…1950s.

17. But, I wouldn’t change a thing.

18. Still, after my miscarriage, I wondered if I lost the baby because I hadn’t had my share of heartbreak and I was due.

19. I am not much of a girly girl.

20. I like dressing up occasionally, but I hate figuring out what to wear every day, plus I have no fashion sense.

21. I also hate doing my hair.

22. Or wearing shoes that look great but hurt my feet.

23. When I wear uncomfortable shoes, I just spend the day thinking about how uncomfortable I am and asking myself if all this discomfort was worth it (it’s usually not).

24. I don’t like anyone touching my bare feet, not even Mr. Worrier.

25. When people touch my bare feet I feel like I am being tickled, but in a painful way.

26. I can touch my own feet just fine.

27. When I get the munchies or want to snack, it’s usually for salty foods like chips or sausages.

28. What? You don’t think sausages are a snack food?

29. I very rarely have a craving for chocolate and usually only have dessert when I’m out with other people just to be polite.

30. Every 6 or 7 years I have a craving for chocolate and then I eat huge bars of chocolate in one sitting.

31. I love tiramisu, though, and can eat it anytime.

32. I eat about 5 times a day—breakfast (
7AM), lunch (12PM), second lunch (3PM), dinner (7PM), second dinner (10PM).

33. Guess, it’s the hobbit in me.

34. I’m taller than a hobbit, though, at 5 feet 2 inches (or ~158 cm).

35. When I change the toilet paper roll, I must have it so that the next sheet(s) to dispense hangs over the roll instead of coming from under the roll.

36. If the toilet paper doesn’t hang this way, I get the heebie jeebies because it’s like the toilet paper is unsanitary or something.

37. Luckily, Mr. Warrior feels the same way about how the toilet paper must go (though I don’t think it’s because of the heebie jeebies, he just thinks there is the right way and there is the wrong way).

38. I didn’t use to be able to sleep if my closet door was open, even just a crack because if I left the door even slightly open, then there was the possibility that someone or something was in there. If the door was shut, then that negates any possibility of anything scary hanging out in the closet.

39. I also used to be incredibly scared of snakes. I couldn’t even think about them let alone see a picture or *gasp* view a live one without giving myself the creeps.

40. Now I can think about snakes and maybe even see a picture of them or see snakes on TV, but I still don’t want to get close to a live one.

41. There is no way I will ever watch this movie.

42. Sometimes I kill spiders that get in the house, sometimes I catch them and release them outside.

43. If I have to kill insects and other bugs, I prefer to squish them to death first before flushing them down the toilet. I think it’s because I read drowning was the worst way to die.

44. I started knitting about a year and a half ago.

45. But I first learned how to knit when I was about 10 years old.

46. My grandmother taught me one summer when I spent 6 weeks with her.

47. I learned on a pair of large wooden chopsticks because she thought it would be easier for my hands to handle.

48. After that summer, I didn’t knit again until after my miscarriage.

49. I was looking for a hobby that I would enjoy and would get my mind off of things like the fact that I wasn’t pregnant and was trying to get pregnant.

50. Seems counter-productive, especially since I mostly like to knit baby things like blankets, booties, hats and toys.

51. Most of the baby things I knit, I have given away and that feels good to me. Like I’m generating good karma or something.

52. I am a slow knitter, but the more I do it the more I love it.

53. I think it has something to do with the fact that there are a lot of patterns and rhythms to knitting and I like repetitive patterns and rhythms.

54. I have taken the Meyers-Briggs test twice, ten years apart.

55. When I was 21, I was I N T J/P

56. When I was 31, I was I N T/F J

57. I was in therapy for 3 years in my early twenties.

58. I was deeply depressed and without therapy, I never would have overcome it.

59. I still get depressed easily, but for the most part, I cope.

60. I thought I would need a therapist again after my miscarriage and I did see one briefly, but the internet IF community proved to be better support.

61. I was born in
Taiwan, but I have lived in California since I was seven.

62. I remember the day I became a
US citizen. I was 11 years old and my family and I were sworn in in a courthouse with about 20 other people.

63. I love going to the polls and voting.

64. I miss the voting machines that use the levers and hearing the click as it punches a hole in your ballot.

65. I like to decide who and what I’m voting for before going to the polls and MUST fill out my sample ballot before I go.

66. I usually spend anywhere from a few days to a week researching on the web and reading the booklets before I vote.

67. In this day and age, if you’re a candidate for public office and you don’t have a website, I refuse to vote for you no matter how much you and I agree on the issues.

68. I also refuse to vote for you if don’t make time to submit information here or here.

69. I’d like to feel my vote makes a difference, but according to these guys most of the time it doesn’t.

70. Freakonomics is one of my favorite books and a great reminder that just because something makes sense doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true.

71. I have always liked reading and read a lot when I was younger.

72. Nowadays, I don’t have as much time to read books and mostly I just read blogs.

73. I used to be a huge Stephen King fan.

74. But I never liked Carrie or Christine.

75. I think the last best Stephen King book was Insomnia.

76. My favorite Stephen King book will always be his collection of novellas, Different Seasons which I read when I was 12 or 13.

77. My favorite novella from that book is “Breathing Lessons,” the only story which hasn’t been made into a movie yet and I hope it never becomes a movie.

78. I haven’t read any of the
Dark Towers books because I wanted to wait for the whole series to be written so I wouldn’t have to wait to learn the ending.

79. Some of my favorite TV series that are no longer on TV are Homicide: Life on the Street, Firefly, Picket Fences (why aren’t these episodes out on DVD?!?!), Buffy, most all of the Star Trek series (I never watched Enterprise) and Millenium.

80. I am sure there are more TV series to list, but I can’t think of them right now.

81. I get easily attached to inanimate objects and I have a hard time getting rid of things because of it.

82. I think it’s because I like to anthropomorphize things.

83. Sometimes I go so far as naming the things I am attached to.

84. Most of the items I name are named Charlie.

85. It started with this plant we got about 8 years ago that was called a Red Creeping Charlie.

86. Then we got a wooden rocking horse and I thought it would be funny to call him Charlie (as in Charlie Horse).

87. Now, we call most things we really like Charlie, including our car even though the car’s real name is “Junior.”

88. Junior is my car’s real name because that is the “name” (JR) the state “gave” it when we received our license plate.

89. We keep a notebook labeled “Junior’s Log” in our car in which we record our gas mileage and, in the last year, the price of gas.

90. Last year at this time, we paid $2.69 a gallon for gas.

91. Last week, we paid $3.15 a gallon.

92. We get our gas each week as part of our Friday night “date.”

93. Our date consists of going to Costco and doing our weekly shopping and stocking up of necessary and unnecessary items.

94. We think Friday after 6pm is the best time to go to Costco—there are relatively few people and they have already stocked up for the weekend rush.

95. Before we started eating more healthy foods, our Costco date would also include getting the $1.50 hot dog and soda combo for dinner.

96. Now, we often grab the $4.99 whole rotisserie chicken for dinner.

97. Our Saturday night “date” is to watch our netflix movie while we eat dinner.

98. I’ve always been a cheap date.

99. If we got a dog, we would get a mastiff. I told Mr. W that if we did get one, we would have to name it Chewie.

100. I just found out my brother and SIL just got a a pug (which is a miniaturized bullmastiff, which is a cross between a mastiff and bulldog) and they named him Yoda.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The silent T

Thank you for your comments and words. I haven’t felt this defeated in a long time and to hear your care and concern is invaluable and gives me strength. I imagine I will have a lot of rambling in my posts as I figure my way out, so I hope you bear with me.

Mr. Warrior has been trying to get me out of the house and he finally convinced me to go out to dinner. I haven’t felt like eating much, but the fresh air and different scenery was good and I was able to finish half my dinner. He is such a wonderful man, I don’t know what I would do without him.

I’m trying to make sense of why I feel so lost. Knowing now that my highest chance of success for a live baby is donor eggs, the road ahead is clear, right? I want more than anything to have a successful pregnancy and a screaming baby that will keep me up at night. I know I will love my babies no matter if they have any genetic link to me or Mr. Warrior, so why the lost feeling?

Maybe it’s not that I feel lost, but I feel loss? I suppose that make sense. Though I had worked through some of the loss before, when I first tested with high FSH, I see now that I was still harboring hope of having a baby using my eggs. And Dr. No Face’s optimism fed that hope, gave me more confidence in it. I was still not completely trusting of his optimism, but I wanted to. I was scared because I was basically the one diagnosed myself DOR (diminished ovarian reserve). I had to fight for getting an FSH test done because they felt I was too young to worry about these things. But, I’m no doctor. This is not my training. Yes, I work in science and know how to read a research paper, know the limitations of the studies, but I don’t have the experience these doctors are trained in. So, why should I trust my book learning more than the doctors’ first hand experience? Why not trust the Dr. No Face’s opinion?

Last cycle, when I went in for my baseline u/s I was cautious. I wasn’t convinced they would see any antral follicles. But, they did. They saw a “good number.” I think because I so wanted to trust the doctors and because the news seemed to be good, I put aside my skepticism and doubts and I trusted Dr. No Face’s assessment of what a “good number” was. I had been so tired and scared after reading study after study about DOR and POF (premature ovarian failure) and the low chances of pregnancy and high chances of miscarriage. I needed to put my trust and faith in someone else. I wanted and needed to feel less alone in this struggle to understand why my body is the way it is. So, when the good news started pouring in, I trusted and shushed my doubts. I told my doubts they have every right to express themselves, but NOT too loudly. Afterall, Dr. No Face’s opinion was that I had a good chance of getting pregnant. That it was just bad luck this time that I didn’t.

When I asked the doctor this cycle if there was any note of how many antral follicles they saw last cycle, there was no record. Dr. SIL who was there both times remembered 3 or 4. How could that be a “good” number? Then I asked about the 3 mature follicles and that was when I heard about the 28 mm follicle. At that u/s they saw a 17mm and 20mm in one ovary and one they didn’t tell me the measurement of, but which Mr. Warrior saw it was larger than the 20mm. This must have been the 28 mm. If I had known then how large that follicle was, I would have known it was not a good sign. Why did Dr. No Face make no mention of how big it was? Why didn’t I ask? Because I wanted to believe in the good news. I wanted to believe that the high FSH was a horrible mistake and lab mix up. And in light of Dr. No Face’s optimism, it was easy to do that. And I felt relieved not to have to carry the weight of my infertility for awhile. I wanted to trust, to believe and to be unburdened just for a little bit.

I don’t blame Dr. No Face for his optimism. I truly believe he wanted the best possible scenario for me. But as we all know in Infertility Land, hoping is no guarantee for a good outcome. So maybe this feeling of loss is not just of the little hope I still had to carry a pregnancy to term using my eggs. Maybe I am also feeling the loss of trusting the professionals for the care of my infertility. You always hear about how you need to be proactive in your own care, to always question, to stand up for yourself and what you believe, to push for tests and whatnot even when the doctors are doubtful. I did that before in my initial diagnosis and I suppose I will be able to do that again. So, I know that place and how to be in that place.

But, I also know that being a warrior can be lonely and scary.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

This time around

…the news was hard to hear, but I kept it together enough to ask questions and get more information about what we have learned by doing the first IUI cycle and trying to do another. It turns out one of my “mature” follicles last cycle measured 28mm. Way too over-developed to be normal. What we thought was a good response of 3 mature follicles was not.

…at my baseline u/s I had a cyst that measured 25mm and no antral follicles in either ovary. The doctor we met this time training Dr. SIL (Dr. No Face is no longer with the clinic) was one we met with last summer when we went in for our fertility evaluation. She was the one who gave us our IVF and possibly donor egg talk. Her take is that this month’s finding that I have no antral follicles confirms that my high FSH reading of 31 was likely real. And, given that I had a 28 mm follicle last month by day 14, it says to her that my body had already tried to recruit follicles before I started the Clomid which is earlier than typical and consistent with diminished ovarian reserve. She also agreed that given that I had a miscarriage before, this suggests there may be issues with egg quality.

...I could only hold it together until we walked out of the office. We took the stair well and before I got to the first landing, I knew I would lose it. Very surreal hearing your sobs echo in an empty stairwell.

…Mr. Warrior took it harder than I did. He was angry he placed trust in the hope Dr. No Face had given us just days before. He is feeling distrustful of how much to trust doctors next time.

…I am feeling sad but having no antral follicles at my baseline u/s confirms my belief that my infertility problems started long before I ever got pregnant and miscarried. That I may have had a chance to have healthy babies in my early 20’s, but my periods really changed when I was 27, the year I started grad school. I had chalked it up to stress, but now I think that is when my eggs started to decline. Strangely, it makes me feel more grateful for my pregnancy and miscarriage. A proof that the infertility I am experiencing is not something I could have avoided. I couldn’t have eaten better or taken care of myself better or taken more care to not let the stress of grad school get to me in order to avoid this.

…I still feel lost even though we have a plan (IVF with donor eggs). I guess it’s a little like knowing my grandfather was going to die when he first got sick. There is grief and sadness in this realization, but he wasn’t dead yet and so there was time to process some of the feelings. When he did die, it was painful and heartbreaking, but having had some time to prepare for it, I didn’t need to try to both grieve and make sense of it all. I could just grieve.

…I tried reaching out more to the people around me. But, it’s hard when you know they don’t understand the depth of your pain and don’t know how to help you. I end up trying to console them instead or reassuring them that I recognize they are trying to be helpful. Maybe that’s why I feel lost. I feel like I am being lost when I come into contact with other people. Being overshadowed by their discomfort and need to help.

…I know I will get through this. Afterall, I have before. I’m just not sure how I’m going to get through it.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Bad news again

We had decided to go on with more IUIs. I went in for my baseline u/s today.

No antral follicles. We’re back to the diagnosis of DOR. We got the IVF and donor eggs talk.

This is the second time we’ve gotten this news and it’s not any easier to take. I feel so tired. I feel drained. I don’t know what I'm supposed to do anymore.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Please join the 2996 project (Updated)

Next month will be the 5th anniversary of 9/11. 5 years ago on that day, I was driving to work at about 8:30 or 9am (west coast time) and turned on my radio. Immediately I was confused. Why was the station replaying an old news broadcast of the bombing of the World Trade Center from 8 years ago? And why were they playing an erroneous report about the World Trade Center collapsing? I remember having a hard time comprehending what the phrases, “…both towers completely gone…” and “…reports of just rubble where the Towers once stood…” meant.

Before I could figure it out, I had found a parking space and begun making the trek through campus to my lab. I was still confused, trying to make sense of the snippet of news I just heard and at the same time realizing how eerily quiet campus was. The quarter had not started yet, but the undergrads had begun to move in and normally at this time of day there are a lot more people out and about.

As I made my way up the stairs and down the hallway, I realized every lab and office had their radios on. Everyone was sitting at their desk or next to the radios, listening intently. Everyone seemed to have a stunned expression on their face.

When I got to my lab, the same thing. Radio on, but everyone else just silent. It was only then that it sunk in, that I realized something else, something different than the 1993 bombing had happened to the World Trade Center. But “completely gone?” The meaning of that phrase was still incomprehensible.

I went into the common office where we kept our computers. Someone was there and had the page of the local newspaper up on the screen. That was when I saw my first image of 9/11. It was a picture of one of the towers on fire after one of the planes hit. So, much like a picture from the latest summer blockbluster I thought. So, unreal. What is happening?

The rest of the day was hazy. We learned only a little bit more as the day went on. I still couldn’t fathom how two tall buildings could be completely gone. And the people, oh, the numbers of people who were killed. I think the first reports were that the possibility was 4-5,000. Then the reports of the Pentagon. Then of a plane crash in Pennsylvania. It seemed like the deaths would never end.

When I finally got home, I saw the videos of the plane actually hitting one of the towers. That was the only time I ever saw that video. I had to look away anytime it was replayed. To this day, I still cry when I think about what happened on that day or of the hijacked planes.

About a month later, I had to get on a plane to Chicago. I remember seeing the National Guard with their rifles in their hands patrolling the airport and realizing the rules were changed now. We would never go back to the way it was. I would tell my grandchildren about how it used to be that we could hug and kiss people at the gate right as they got off the plane. And how we were able, once, to spend time with our loved ones up until the very moment they had to board the plane.

The effects of 9/11 are wider than that, of course, and I can only hope that whatever our world becomes because of the events of that day, it is for the better. Unfortunately, it is too soon to tell.

Please consider getting involved in the 2996 project. It is a 9/11 memorial project, blogger-style. If you sign up, you are assigned a name of someone who perished on 9/11, you gather as much information about them as you can and then post a memorial to them on 9/11 of this year, the five year anniversary.

The traffic to my blog is small compared to many of yours who are readers here, so even if you don’t wish to participate, please consider putting the word out on your blog. It would be a shame if we are short the 2996 bloggers needed to pay tribute to each person on the list.

Update: If you are having a hard time finding information for the person you are writing a tribute for, try clicking on the "Research" link under Categories on the 2996 project page for resources. Unfortunately, some people will have very limited information, but relatives, friends and coworkers have submitted their thoughts and feelings to some of the sites listed on the Research page.

Of plans and pigs, part 2

So, we were good with our decision to hold things off for a couple of months. Then, yesterday morning Dr. No Face calls to see if the IUI had worked or not. He had mentioned he would be calling Monday, but I guess I really didn’t believe it. I told him about the negative pregnancy test and the fact that I had started spotting that morning and he sounded genuinely disappointed and proceeded to tell me to come back in once my period starts and we’ll try again. I told him Mr. Warrior and I had talked about it and decided to do the sperm analysis before going on with anymore treatments. But, Dr. No Face felt that sperm was probably not why we didn’t get pregnant this time and he felt it was just bad luck.

Aside: I don’t know why doctors like saying things are “bad luck.” It actually bothers me quite a bit because it’s almost like being superstitious or something. I know medicine doesn’t understand everything and can’t control everything and I can be as superstitious as the next person, but I really don’t want my Dr operating on superstition. I’m not saying Dr. No Face is doing that, because I think he was just trying to convince me to try the Clomid/IUI again because he really believes it can work for us. But, still, I think I would have rather had him tell me the odds were low and we were just on the wrong side this time and next time we may be on the right side, instead calling it bad luck.

Dr. No Face’s feeling is that since Mr. Warrior has gotten two women pregnant (his first wife and me) and the sperm prepared for my IUI had a good count and motility, the only thing that may be wrong with Mr. Warrior’s sperm is morphology. But people get pregnant with bad morphology. He thought we might as well keep trying at least a few more times because the chances of the IUI working for us is pretty good. I discussed with him the possibility of going to IVF since my eggs responded well to the Clomid. He basically said that we should definitely go ahead with that if that is what we feel comfortable with since the differences between IUIs and IVFs is that IVF has the better success rate but it also costs more. And, since it would take time to get through the initial consultation before actually starting an IVF cycle, why not think about doing another IUI cycle while we started on the IVF process?

Everything Dr. No Face said made sense. I became very weepy in the process of talking to him. It has been a long time since doctors have been optimistic about our fertility situation. And, Dr. No Face really has no obligation to us anymore since he no longer works for the clinic and was just following up on the patients he had worked with through the end of their cycle.

So, now we are rethinking our plan and thinking about doing at least one or two more IUI cycles. We’re not sure if we’ll pursue IVF now or wait until I graduate and we get settled in our new place (we’ll most likely move after I graduate).

And we’re thinking about how touched we were that Dr. No Face seemed to genuinely care about us. At one point, Dr. No Face said to me, “You know, I really want to see you pregnant.”

Me, too Dr. No Face. And after that, I really want to see me holding a live baby.

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