Life

Apprehensive, But Good News

So there’s a reason that I haven’t been posting this past week or so. I didn’t want to type everything out yet, because for some reason writing things down seem to make them more permanent, even when in reality it has no impact on those things whatsoever. Similar to why you don’t want to say a good or bad news out loud – whether you just jinxed yourself or made the bad news feel more real, it’s a nervous feeling. Again, completely irrational and baseless most of the time, but you just worry about that minuscule probability, you know?

Well, what has happened, you ask. Well, after more than a year and a total monetary amount that I’m afraid to tally up, so far, I’m finally pregnant. Yep. Second IVF implantation – success! It’s still super early, so I’m definitely still in the “miscarriage can happen any time” phase i.e. the first six weeks. I’m going to my first ultrasound next week, and boy, you don’t know how jittery I am about that. I know stress does not help with pregnancy, but it’s like saying “just don’t be depressed” to a person suffering from depression. I have told very few people about this positive news as of yet – but I feel like writing and blogging about it might make me feel better. The road to a successful birth is very, very long, and from what I’ve read people can lose their baby, well, due to many many reasons even very late into the pregnancy. So it’s not over until it’s over. I’ve barely begun, and my road to even this point is ridiculous compared to other people’s. Modern science really is something, eh? If this were even 40 years ago I’d totally just be childless for the rest of my life.

Right now I’m such a ball of nerves that I’m interpreting every little thing going on in my body as a sign of something bad. Is that cramp on one side possibly be ectopic pregnancy? Early sign of a potential miscarriage? Is my body temperature high because that’s just a normal symptom is or do I have a fever? Am I exercising too much or too little? Am I eating too much? I’m prone to gestational diabetes (have PCOS, am Asian – a group that even with lower BMI than other ethnic groups is still twice as likely to develop gestational diabetes at a rate of 15%), so should I do more glucose tests and up my intake of Metformin? How much is insurance going to cover now that I’ve run out of the fertility allowance? Etc. etc. etc. I’ve been keeping a journal religiously as a way to mitigate all this. There are more things piling on top of this in my life that I don’t want to talk about right now, but this is the big one, so I figure today is a good day to at least let it loose into the ether, so to speak.

So yeah, I’m pregnant, as of today. It might be different tomorrow (cross fingers knock on wood!), but it also might not. I might have a perfectly uneventful and normal pregnancy and in 9 months I’ll have a beautiful baby (I opt to not know the gender yet even though it’s like, clearly on file) and I’ll be a mother. Wow. What a crazy phrase – I’ll be a mother. I know so many people get to this step but for it to apply to me? Feels very surreal.

Life

Good Mondays – Hobonichi Techo

I’m beginning to notice a pattern with my Good Mondays entries haha. Pens, books, and now, a planner/journal system. You know, I guess it’s not hard to deduce that being a booklover and a writer, the things that make me happy are book-related things. Or at least the joyful things I think of first tend to be book-related things. I’m sure as the weeks goes on I’ll have other hobbies or situations to be grateful for. But for now, bear with me, it’s going to be more paper goods.

So, today I’m going to talk about the Hobonichi Techo – a yearly planner that’s apparently a cult favorite, and comes in limited release every year. I was browsing jetpens.com a few weeks ago (my s.o. really needs to keep me off this website so I don’t bankrupt us buying stationery!) and they had a banner featuring the Hobonichi Techo on the front page. So I got curious and clicked, and many, many Youtube videos later, I basically got hooked. The layout is pretty much exactly how I need it to be, AND it comes in Simplified Chinese version. The paper are thin and good to write on (although slightly debatable when it comes to fountain pens due to its thinness, but I mostly use gen pels so it’s not a problem), the colors are beautiful and pastel, and everything just looks so tidy and organized and clean. And the accessories, oh my! So many stickers and covers and all kinds of stationery just tailored for this brand. Unfortunately they go out of stock really, really quickly, and because Japan loves its exclusives, sometimes there’s one shipment to the US and if you miss it, well then you’re just SOL. And they can get very expensive, so I just ended up buying a hodgepodge of accessories that I think are essential but are made by cheaper third parties. (So instead of a beautiful $8 first-party pencil board I got a $1.50 recycled plastic one. Works the same.) Right now I’m still waiting on the last bits to come in, which is funny, because this planner starts on Jan 1 of next year so I can’t really use it now anyway. It’ll just have to sit prettily in my drawer until then.

Now I know you’re asking: my dear, you already have bullet journals and actual journals and task notebooks – why do you need yet another planner? Well, to be truthful, I don’t. However! It makes me happy, and I think I want to use this as a dedicated work journal. So right now I use my bujo for everything – appointments, work goals, chores, food to eat, people’s contact info, etc. I mean, that’s how bujos are meant to be used – a catch all. But I found that I need a little bit more structure when it comes to prioritization. Right now I feel like my work goals get lost in the minutiae of everyday living. Write two pages, followed by doing the laundry, followed by phone call from a friend, followed by another page of writing, followed by a blog – it’s just so jumbled. Some days when I have a gazillion chores to do I might only write a little bit, but then I would feel like I achieved a lot when in actual work, I’ve done very little. And the reverse happens too. This is not conducive to accurately gauge how much work I’ve done and whether I am on track for my goals. If I have dedicated work planner, I’d be able to isolate my actual workload. Because you know, sometimes how much we think we’ve done is not necessarily how much we’ve actually done, and come review time we’re either caught off-guard how little we’ve accomplished, or don’t give ourselves enough credit when credit is due. And that’s just no good at all.

Or I just really like having such a cute and useful notebook by my desk. That’s a legit reason too.

Life

Insurance and Water Leaks and a Million Phone Calls, Oh My!

Wow. You never realize how many steps there are to get some tricky medication covered by insurance until you have to, well, deal with insurance because you’ve received tricky medication. Well, it’s not “tricky,” it’s just a higher-than-average dosage, but apparently insurance freaks out over that. I’ve spent literally the past two weeks calling among three different insurance departments, two different pharmacies, and my doctor’s office every single goddamn day for at least an hour to get my new meds covered. Basically it needs to be verified by the doctor and the pharmacy, then get pre-authorization through several departments, then get an override because of the dosage increase, since insurance mistakenly thought I already picked up the full new dosage when I only picked up the old dosage, but because of that they won’t let me refill it before October when I needed it yesterday. The whole huge process is just a crapload of time wasted on phone calls and listening to hold music and explaining the same situation over and over and over and, yeah…

Good news is that I finally got through and successfully picked up my meds an hour before closing at a pharmacy I don’t usually go to. Turns out the factory that makes this medication was shut down for a while because of Covid, and so the prescribed amount did not arrive on time for me to pick it up. The pharmacist at my regular pharmacy is really nice, and she’s like, well, I would fill it partially but I’m afraid that it’ll trigger something with insurance and you can’t fill it again and then you have to do this whole thing again, so I’m just going to see if I can transfer you to this other pharmacy which I think have the full dose and you can go there. Oh and did I mention it’s like $400 of meds, for one month, and I need to be on it for at least three months even if everything goes well? The other pharmacist was like, are you sure this isn’t a mistake and I was like I wish, but no. She said when she called my regular pharmacy to verify she was told of the ridiculous runaround I had to do to get it covered, and she sympathize greatly. Good times!

While all this shenanigans are happening, our bathroom drain pipe decided to spring a leak (probably because one of the earthquakes) and soak a giant water bubble into our downstairs laundry ceiling. We peeled off the paint and drywall, put a bucket under the drip, and called a plumber. Someone came and fixed the pipe (small, simple leak) and then we got a water damage crew over to look for mold. They said there’s very little mold, and it’s a small job, but haven’t given us an exact quote yet. And then we have to call some construction people to patch the hole in the ceiling and/or replace the cabinets, depends on if they’re warped from water damage or not (won’t know until the water damage folks get going). And all these things are all relatively “small” but they all add up, you know? There was a lot more phone calls and texts and emails being exchanged but my s.o. handled most of those. What is with these few weeks? I’m having try #2 at getting pregnant next week and all these crap just have to pile on top of each other, don’t they? You know, they say the year 2020 is bad luck for folks born in the Year of the Rat. Superstition and all, but sometimes I really wonder.

Life

Good Mondays – Reading

Well hello folks. It’s been a slight while for a Good Mondays entry but hey, at least it’s here. With all the crazy stuff going on in my life I’m just glad that at least I have a small part on the Internet where I can talk about insignificant but happy things. Anyway, today I want to talk about reading. More specifically, the fact that I’m reading books again!

You know, I was an avid reader growing up. Bookworm definitely described me to a T, all throughout grade school, college, grad school, and all that. I didn’t have that many books in my house mostly because I grew up poor. But it’s why I love libraries, and I’ve devoured many many tomes through that (and occasionally I go into bookstores and just read, yes, I know, not good for the bookstore, but I can’t afford buying all the books!). But as the years went on, I began to read less and less. No time, other distractions (TV, video games, yeah mostly those haha), or bouts of depression that make me not want to devote any time to reading. Eventually I just let everything drop, and basically only read articles online or forums, which, as we all know, could take a toll on one’s mental health, especially if done for a prolonged amount of time.

So last month I set a goal. I will read more! Starting with the non-fiction book I checked out from the library that I wrote about in the last blog post. It’s the first book I’ve finished in years, and I think that must’ve opened the floodgates, so to speak. I started to follow book rec blogs (since I definitely have not kept up with any bestseller lists) and put the ones that I could find onto my library’s digital loan program. Not everything has a Kindle version and not every ebook is available in my library, but there’s enough to get me started. I’m not ambitious – none of the a-book-a-week or whatever awe-inspiring goals these book reviewers go through. If I can finish reading one thing every month I’ll be a happy gal.

I wish I have more profound things to say than “yay! me reading!” I don’t really haha. However, I do feel like I’ve recovered something I’ve lost due to years of depression. I’m not sure I’ve stopped reading books solely because of depression, but stress definitely has something to do with it. And the more stressful my environment is the less I want to do things that require thought. I would delve into Youtube and other visual, super passive media because I just didn’t have the energy for more focused activities. (Come on, you can’t say that reading things like Swann’s Way doesn’t require active energy. Like, there’s a reason people study this stuff for their Ph.D thesis or whatever.) So me getting back into reading actual books, and finishing them, is a good sign. I can’t promise continual progress, and so my Book Thoughts series might be slow, but I’ll definitely try to set some time off every day to read. It used to be one of my greatest joys. It should become one again now.

Life

Bad News

Got my blood test back. I am, unfortunately, not pregnant as of this time.

Yes, I am sad. My husband is faring worse than me. The doctor remains optimistic. There’s only a 60% chance that it would succeed, after all, and I have enough embryos to try again. I’m just sad that I went through all the painful shots for two weeks for nothing so far. Oh well. Five more times until I run out, right? Although if I keep on trying and it just ain’t happening maybe at some point I’ll reassess. But now is definitely not that time. It’s only my first try after all.

So the current plan is to stop all meds until I have my period again. And on the first day of my period I call my doctor and I guess we just do the whole shebang once more and hope for the best? So it’ll be at least two weeks before anything happens – enough time for my super bruised and sore buttock muscles to recover, at least (only to be jabbed more later but, I digress). I read it takes an average of three tries to get pregnant this way, so, hope?

I’m not feeling great today but I’m sure I’ll feel better soon. It just means that I have to do the procedures again and again until it sticks (and, * sigh *, more Covid testing). Like I wrote yesterday, it’s mostly out of my hands, so spending too much energy being sad doesn’t help. Better conserve it for the next chance. Meanwhile I will think and post about happier things, like books I’m reading. (Oh hey, I finally started reading books and finishing them again. Wow. Been years since I’ve done so.) So yeah, it’s not all anxiety and gloom on the horizon.

But maybe just a little bit, today.

Life

The Light at the End, Maybe

Well hello peoples. My, can you believe it’s September 1? It felt like an eternity since I last blogged. Partly because I’ve finally gone through the final, man-controllable step in my IVF journey, and so it feels like a huge hurdle cleared. Partly because, well, every day since March feels like forever, doesn’t it? (And the smidgen of hope that is November is another eternity away.)

But anyway, I’m going to talk about what has been happening with me. So I finally had the embryo transfer done last week! The whole process was an ordeal, but not really painful or anything. They had me taken a valium instead of any anesthesia, as they didn’t have to cut anything. Basically an embryo technician took out the chosen embryo in the petri dish, showed me to make sure it was mine (everything’s double checked by multiple people), suck it into a syringe thing, which then went through a catheter that my doctor had already inserted into my uterus, and then it got implanted inside guided by another technician with an ultrasound machine (you know, the kind they use over a pregnant lady’s belly to see blurred image of the baby). It was only uncomfortable because I had to have a full bladder for this to work best, so I was just trying so hard not to pee while they do the procedure. And boy, the lady who operated the ultrasound was like the most cheerful person ever haha. She was so gung ho about it and optimistic and everything (my doctor was too, of course). It really felt like they were really cheering for you to have this baby, you know? Especially since my husband couldn’t be in the room because of Covid (normally he would be.) I was very sad that he missed the whole thing, because yeah, so technically I was just watching a tiny cell in a petri dish on a tv screen becoming a shiny spot on the grainy ultrasound imaging screen after, but somehow it was so emotional. Like, I was watching life potentially happen! Not gonna lie, I totally cried afterwards (you needed to lie down for 15 min post procedure), feeling all emotional and wishing my husband was next to me. Well, until I had to get up because my bladder was about to burst and ran to the bathroom as soon as I was able. At least I got pictures to show him.

I wish I could say that everything was just an anxious wait after. But it’s not. Why? Well, I’m seriously in so much pain that I didn’t even think much about the pregnancy test at all. So I had to do these progesterone shots to help with pregnancy. They’re suspended in oil and you have to inject them in your butt cheeks every day with a pretty damn long needle. And the shots are so goddamn painful! My whole buttocks and upper thigh swelled up to twice its size after the first couple of days – so much that I couldn’t fit into my normal underwear and had to co-opt my husband’s boxers instead. I could only take Tylenol, which is not great for baby’s development, so I try not take it as much as possible. Also, they recommended bed rest for 48 hours post-op and I totally understand why. I couldn’t keep my eyes open, because the swelling was so painful that it interfered with my sleep. I couldn’t lie down properly, couldn’t sit properly, and had absolutely no energy for a solid week after. It’s why I didn’t blog anything, because I couldn’t sit for more than half an hour on my computer chair without getting completely wiped out. As the days dragged on it got better by tiny increments. I can sit more or less ok now, and the swelling had gone down to a half of what it was before, but I still looked bloated as heck and the pain is not going away. I seriously cannot imagine another full 8-12 weeks of daily progesterone shots after this. I may have to, at some point, ask my doctor if we could switch to a different method. Like right now I couldn’t walk properly and stairs (yes, my house has lots of stairs) are a nightmare still.

Well, I’m going in for the first pregnancy blood test tomorrow, bright and early. I hope everything turns out positive, because otherwise I just suffered two weeks of the shots for nothing, we’re down one embryo, and we have to do everything again. But let’s try optimism, yeah? Everything’s out of my hands now, so let’s just take a deep breath and hope for the best.

Cheers!

Life

Health Update

I interrupt my Good Mondays post to bring a health update. I just had a doctor’s appointment this morning, and it looked like I won’t be moving on to the next step just yet. Doctor said my hormones are a still a bit low, so I have to keep taking medication for another week before I have to go back in and get reassessed, and then perhaps we can move on to the next step. Not ideal but, hey, at least it’s going in the right direction!

What I don’t like about these visits the most is that I have to get bloodworks done right afterwards, and that means I have to spend about an extra hour waiting in line at the labs. I don’t feel as safe there, although they closed the usual waiting room and moved some seats out to the hallway outside. But there’re a lot of foot traffic and a lot of people just standing around waiting too. It’s a large hallway but still. I’m wearing an N95 mask yet it still makes me nervous, you know? I wish they have a speaker outside the building or something, that way I can hear my number being called while waiting in an outdoor space, even though I probably have to stand out in the sun for an hour. But it beats inside with inside air, and I do have some pretty strong sunscreen.

Covid’s making me pretty paranoid, especially with repeat hospital visits. Well, at least we have plenty of hand sanitizers and Clorox wipes – silver lining of getting up early for doctor appointments; we can get to Target early before they sell out their limited stock for the day.

Life

Good Mondays – Pens

Alright let’s start our official Good Mondays post – where I post something that makes me happy (and hopefully the happiness is contagious? ahaha bad word choice but you know what I mean) so I can get through the rest of the week. Or more like a daily gratitude post – thankful for small things, but weekly – anyways I should just get on with the topic, yeah? Today – pens!

More specifically – gel pens! So you know from my past posts that I do bullet journal religiously. I mostly use fountain pens with it, and they’re great, but lately I’ve been bitten by the ‘more color all the time’ bug and changing ink every time is a huge hassle. I actually don’t own any colorful pens – it’s either expensive fountain pens or cheap plain black BICs, so I thought, let’s go to the middle and buy some nice gel pens, eh? I kinda went on a shopping spree and bought a bunch different ones to test out. I’m a sucker for muted colors, I found, so sepia, various “colored” blacks (that also sounds bad, but I just meant like red-tinged black, blue-tinged black, etc.), deep green and navy and aubergine and etc. They just look very…calm and centered? Without being boring. And god knows we all need some calmness right now.

I got three separate sets: the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner in Summer Festival, the Uni-ball Signo UM-151 in Off-black, and the Zebra Sarasa Push Clip in Vintage Color 2. They’re all slightly different thickness but all write very smoothly. It’s funny, because I’m trying to consolidate and streamline my life but ended up dividing things into categories anyway, like with these pens. I was totally just going to use them interchangeably for everything, but found myself delegating the Zebra ones to writing long journal entries, the Staedtler ones to daily logging, and the Uni-ball to everything else. I think it’s mostly because the Zebra ones are thicker, therefore more comfortable to hold, and so best suited for when I need to write for an extended amount of time. And it really tells me something about my psyche when I’m drawn to the yellows in all the sets first. Yellow is a happy color, and I could definitely use some pick-me-ups, so my notebooks are just swamped with bright and cheery colors now.

It’s kind of silly to be so happy over such mundane things like a set of pretty gel pens. And even sillier that so far my happy things are all stationary products haha. Well, these are abnormal times, folks. Normally I’d be ecstatic over going to a good restaurant or watch a good movie or going to a good concert – none of which are possible right now and probably for many months to come. I know people have been going to bars and restaurants regardless, but I need to be extra safe because of my upcoming medical procedures. I guess obsessively recording and organizing my life is a way for me to cope with the stress, so pardon me while I celebrate tiny things like a smooth-writing pen on thick, none-feathering paper. And if the color yellow reminds me of sunshine and brings a smile to my face, then everything is working as intended, and I’m only thankful that such small gestures are actually enough.

Life

Surgery Recovery, and the Next Steps

Alright, so my surgery went well, however, it took me longer to recover than I thought I would, hence the rest of my July kind of was a wash because I was too tired to do much for a long time aside from getting out of bed. But it’s August now, and I’ve completely recovered from all the fatigue and the mental fogginess, and am more motivated to work than I’ve been for a long time, so I guess that’s a win?

I have more surgery and Covid testing to do this month. And more drugs to inject (no, not illegal ones, but hormonal ones to prep for the surgery) and to take. And testing and so on and, yeah, still not fun. But hopefully at the end of everything I will be pregnant with a healthy baby. Boy, sometimes you really wonder why when it came to me shit is so complicated and hard when for other people it’s like, op, done, pregnant from having fun instead of so many goddamn medicine and blood-drawing and surgery and tons and tons of money spent, all on top of being terrified of going into a hospital setting during the current pandemic climate. But them’s the breaks, so I guess I can be sad and complain or be excited and just, follow the roadmap and hope for the best. You know to be honest I kind of was excited for one moment that other day, which I did not expect. I also did give myself a pep talk all month of July and so I’m right now relatively calm instead of anxious. I’ll take that for a good start in August.

I will definitely post more about my health and such on this blog. Along with other things, because I actually feel motivated with writing right now. Everything is melting down outside because of the stupidity of, uh, a lot of people, and I’m just sitting here thinking, well, things can always get worse so better just take it one day at a time and be thankful that the world is not quite on fire today, and seize the moment. Kinda morbid, really, but for some reason I’m not that emotional about it. I think my head gave up on worrying at some point and just went ‘fuck it’ and that’s why I’m feeling pretty centered and okay. Let’s hope this keeps up, and of course, everyone, stay safe and health, alright? Wish y’all the best.

Life

Covid Testing, Me

Well, my surgery is tomorrow and I got myself Covid tested today. Still waiting for the results and the subsequent call from the surgery center confirming that the procedure can happen tomorrow. I hope so; I should test negative since I have no symptoms, neither does my husband, and we both have been doing as much shelter in place as possible since March. But it is getting late in the day and still no calls, so I’m getting a teensy bit worried. Oh well, not much to do but wait.

Covid testing was not fun. I got the up the nose really deep kind. I already had a bit of sinus issue from…I have no idea what haha. I’m guessing dry weather? Anyway, my nasal passage area isn’t doing well, and sticking a thin needle up there for 10 seconds does not help matters. No, it did not feel like your brain’s getting scooped out – it doesn’t go anywhere near that. It just felt exactly like the nurse told me: a tool touching the innermost part of your nose where it affects your nose, throat, and ear. My left ear ached for a while after, and my nose was running and my eyes were watering and it’s been a few hours since then and I’m still feeling wonky inside my left nostril. Ugh. They told me that false positives are less than 1%. Well, I hope I don’t have it. I really don’t want to do this again in two weeks or whenever (except I probably will have to because I have another surgery coming up and, yeah…) And if I somehow test positive, uh, that’s the most lucky (?) result then since I definitely gave it to my husband if that’s the case, but we’re both asymptomatic? I seriously doubt that. Anyways, let’s just hope they call me soon.