Here Be Some News

Well, I have some news. I had an appointment with a geneticist yesterday, because my fertility doctor was trying to figure out why I kept on having miscarriages when they couldn’t really find things obviously wrong with me, so they took some of my blood and did more testing. The results came and I had a very revealing talk with a very nice lady about my karyotype.

So, turns out I have a rare genetic disorder in which some of my cells are missing an X chromosome. It’s called mosaic Turner syndrome. Apparently I have a very mildly expressed case, so it went undiagnosed until now, when I’m a full-on adult for a while. Usually they start testing when you’re a teenager and didn’t start your period at all, or you had a heart attack in your 20s, or you’re just exceptionally short, and other very obvious and abnormal things. Those are the full-on Turner syndromes, where all the cells are missing an X chromosome. For me it’s only about a quarter defective – hence, mosaic. Luckily I missed a lot of the negatives growing up, as nothing happened to me that was out of the ordinary. Unluckily, I did not get spared when it comes to getting pregnant. I apparently have about 40% miscarriage rate compared to normal people’s 10%, and all in all my entire reproductive system just doesn’t work quite right.

So yeah. Quite some news, huh? I’m still processing the shock of it, and I think it’s an effect of the pandemic years, because now I’m just numb than depressed. A bit sad, surely, but not catatonic or anything. My spouse and my in-laws are very sad about it. My mom, however, when I told her, was more understanding. Probably because she works as a lab technician so she has medical background, so I didn’t have to explain too much about what’s going on and she “gets” it, you know? Unlike my mother-in-law who has no idea what’s what and is just like “what is wrong with you why how what does this mean?!” Bless her heart, yeah?

Now, because I’ve been diagnosed, I have to go get some routine checks. The most important two are the cardiologist and a nephrologist. Or maybe not necessarily a nephrologist but definitely a renal ultrasound. I have to go get an echocardiogram first, just to rule out there could be some function issues with my heart, and then make sure I have functional kidneys. Key there is plural, kidneys; people with this disorder sometimes have one messed up kidney and one okay one. So fun times ahead. Either way I’m not planning go anywhere near a hospital until well into February because of Covid. I’m expecting to hear from my fertility doctor soon. I imagine we’d make detailed plans then.

Like I said I’m still processing. I’m definitely giving myself a few days off so not much going on work-wise. Maybe I’ll start cleaning the house or something, just so I can deal with it while doing something productive that doesn’t require too much brain work. I’ll keep you updated for sure.



Hello folks. I have a very short update on life for ya. So I went through another round of IVF embryo transfer and will be expecting the result tomorrow. I am very nervous, and although my family have been 100% supportive of “what will be will be”, it still makes me scared to find out. My insurance does not cover a single cent of this this time around, so it cost quite a hefty penny on top of all the hopes and fears of someone undergoing this ordeal normally. I have been trying to meditate and distract myself with happy things instead of all nerves like last time. So August was basically a giant wash when it came to creative work. Now it’s September, and I haven’t progressed much anywhere in my life. But I’m not going to think about it today.

I will probably write a longer entry tomorrow about things after I find out whether I’m successfully pregnant or not. No guarantee if I’ll have another miscarriage six weeks from now, but at least I’d have vaulted the first hurdle of at least been pregnant for a week.


And It Begins Again

I’m starting IVF again. Yep, more hormones, painful shots, expenses that insurance doesn’t cover, the whole nine yards. I’m doing a “mock cycle” right now, to prep for a biopsy on Monday. Basically they want to measure that the condition of the uterus is where it should be given the amount of medication I’m on. If it’s not, then they’d adjust the day when implantation happens. Maybe I just have super low hormones so the usual length or dose of medication is just not enough, so they’d wait for it go up longer before trying implantation. Or everything is the way it should be and I just can’t get pregnant easily, even if an embryo is implanted directly in the uterus. In that case it’s just a constant trial and error until I run out of embryos. Fun.

Either way, I’m expecting this whole thing to be over in the next year or two. By then I’d have exhausted all possibility and we’d have to look into adoption. It’s fine, just another huge money pit. But in the meantime let’s just stay hopeful, I guess. I personally am not optimistic, but the main thing this time is to stay calm. Being anxious 24/7 is not good for any pregnancy, let alone a difficult one. So I’m just going to try to stay as calm as I can while being all on kinds of artificial hormones. As of today I have started the painful progesterone shots again. Ugh, but a least this time it’s only for a few days until the biopsy, and I have some ways to try to deal with it. It’s going to be bad, but you know, eventually you get used to it. It’s kind of like how people keep asking someone who’ve survived a tragedy “how do you get through that?” You, uh, are kind of forced to by being alive still? I mean life doesn’t stop just because you’re in pain, so the only thing you can do is just do what you need to and know, at least in my case, that the pain will go away.

And Advil. Lots and lots of Advil. Until I’m actually pregnant, then it’s Tylenol. Modern pain meds are a marvel.


And We March On in Small Steps

I had my first pregnancy ultrasound on Monday. At this point I’m only at week 5 and this one basically was to confirm the embryo had actually implanted in the uterus and not ectopic, which was exactly what I was afraid of ever since my positive pregnancy test. My doctor was out sick – I hope she didn’t catch Covid!! – and so another doctor came in her place. I’ve met her before and she helped with one of my previous procedures – I actually don’t quite remember what; there’s been so many things I had to go through this past year that a lot had blended all together. Sidenote, I probably should actually recall this entire year as much as I can and write it down in my journal. Not because I want to publish a memoir or anything like that, but to get me pregnant was such a long process and a huge chunk of my life that I think it deserves an actual, thoughtful write-down.

Anyway, everything looked on track on the ultrasound, although it was too early for detecting a heartbeat. I asked the doctor if the baby was alive and she said, well, right now we can’t tell, but all the measurements seem to be okay so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Yeah, telling me not to worry totally would keep me from worrying, uh-huh. I will try, though; pregnancy is such a long and hard and stressful road, I really don’t know how people did it. The miracle of aggregate numbers, yeah?

I will go back next week for another ultrasound to see if there’s a heartbeat. God I hope so. I dread counting the days but every day feels like a year, on top of the whole Covid situation. Will 2020 ever end? Like seriously.

Well, it is what it is, right? Fretting does me no good, and I think blogging in general is healthy, so I’m going to try not to fret and also post more here. Like I said before, when I get stressed/nervous I just stop writing, period, which is probably the exact wrong thing to do to relieve stress. So I’m going to post more here, and write more altogether. God knows I need to finish my novel before the baby comes because, well, because! At least it’s a good 7+ months away. Come on, I gotta get myself into shape, both physically and mentally, so I can live like a responsible adult again.


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.


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.


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.



Minor Surgeries Are Still, Well, Surgeries

Well, I guess this is the beginning of it. I am officially doing the steps of IVF. Pre-requisites, that is, to make sure I’m healthy otherwise before they start the crazy hormones and injections and endless blood-draws and ultrasounds and all that monitoring, just so I can attempt to have a baby. You know, back in the day I’d just be childless, or had to adopt. I guess I shouldn’t really complain when the miracle of modern medicine is (hopefully) allowing me and my s.o. to have a child of our own. Pregnancy is already an ordeal in itself – my luck have it that the process of getting pregnant itself is apparently an ordeal as well.

But first, before any of that, I went through a minor surgery. No, it’s not the one that I talked about before. It’s one where they simply send a camera up my vagina to see if my uterus lining is good, and if they see any polyps they’d remove it. (hysteroscopic polypectomy I believe was the medical term.) No incisions, minimally invasive. So I got that done. The pictures they showed me afterwards were hella freaky! (high tech cameras and their insane details!) and apparently I had a lot of polyps. Like, covered in polyps. Yeah. You know, I’m beginning to think that I’m just not made very well internally or something. At least when it came to the reproductive system. So they took care of all that and my uterus should be good to go.

The recovery was not anywhere near as bad as when I had my myemectomy two years ago. They put me under but there were no breathing tubes or anything, and it was like an hour instead of four hours and cutting and all that. I had no major pain afterwards (nothing Advil couldn’t handle), no bleeding, no infection, everything was fine. However, I was bone tired for a solid week! Slept most of the days the first two days, and then gradually got more energy as the week went on, but still felt like passing out after dinner. So stupid. I guess surgery just takes a lot out of you regardless. It also doesn’t help that I’m trying to lose weight right now so I can get my numbers down to the optimal range by cutting my calorie intake by half. But I was not expecting it to take me like a full week to get back to “normal.” Lesson duly noted.