Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chinese Take-Over Ad

While at the doctor's office the other day, I saw this t.v. ad that even my embryos found disturbing...




This is an ad by the Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), an organization that claims to be non-partisan.  However, this ad, with the criticism on 'stimulus spending' and 'healthcare overhaul' sounds to me like a Republican-leaning, anti-Obama policy advertisement.  

I just hope people don't take this ad too seriously because I think it's....ummm....what's the word?.....STUPID.

Why would any Chinese, an educated professor at that, lecture against 'government take over of private industries', when China itself is a communist society???...a society that continues its commitment to a socialist market economic system where government has considerable control over private industries???  Does that NOT make sense?!  Don't you think this advertisement is highly illogical???  And besides, if people did seriously even try to understand what socialism means even if only on a theoretical sense, they would probably realize that it's not some evil practice that can only do harm to societies.  Some people tend to think that just because something has socialist characteristics, that it's equivalent to 'dictatorship', 'poverty', 'suffering' and even 'evil'.  It's so easy for some to criticize and be afraid without even attempting to understand.  *sigh*  

And speaking of 'evil', that's the other thing I don't appreciate about the CAGW t.v. ad.  Why must they make the Chinese professor look so sinister?  Why must it depict the Chinese as an evil race out to destroy the American society?

I don't know about you but I just think this ad feels so wrong on so many levels.  I just hope people are critical enough to see beyond the fear mongering.  Am I hoping for too much?.............


Friday, October 29, 2010

Overwhelmed

Just two days ago, we finally found out that we are 4 weeks and a few days pregnant!  As any IVF patient can attest to, I was holding my breath the whole time I was waiting for 'the phone call', much like when I was waiting for the UPCAT (University of the Philippines College Admissions Test) results in 1990.  At around 13:51, my mobile phone finally rang but I did not take the call and opted for the caller to leave a voice mail message.  That way, Hubby and I can listen to it together.  I let 5minutes pass and went upstairs so we can listen to the message.  Only then was I able to breathe normally.   

It's great that we're pregnant again and that IVF attempt #2 is successful.  But the paranoia doesn't end, does it?  Getting pregnant is only one chapter of this long story.  Having a healthy and normal pregnancy for 40 weeks is another.  This is the chapter I'm fretting over right now.  However, I have two main reasons why the anxiety is considerably less than when I was first pregnant four years ago.

First, I now have Noah.  It's not that I love this pregnancy (and child/ren??) any less, but it's true that the pressure is less since I already have one child.  It's not that I don't want this as much, but I'm able to  put things in perspective, and experience more gratitude for what has already been given and how far I've been allowed to go.  This time around, what makes more sense is to just face up to my daily challenges as a mother with as much hope as any desiring heart can have, while simultaneously acknowledging that relinquishing control in this situation is really the only thing that makes sense.  Just to dichotomize, what I always say is that science has done its job; it's now up to God and nature to take this pregnancy where it needs to go.

The second reason that eases my burden these days is the amount of support I've been receiving from friends and family.  I have been overwhelmed by the amount of well wishes and especially, prayers said for us by my friends, (a special shout-out to my high school friends!).  Through Facebook, a prayer brigade formed and prayers were/are said all over the world...and that's not an exaggeration!  Friends are praying for me from the Philippines, Nepal, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, UAE, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Canada and of course coast to coast here in the U.S.!  (I hope I did not forget anyone!)  I've been receiving messages expressing hope and sending love to our family and this has all been unexpected!  I wish I can hug all these people and truly express to them the amount of gratitude I feel but even this blog entry is not enough.  I am certain it's not  enough for the depth of love and concern I feel coming from these caring souls is way beyond words.  You have no idea how full my heart feels every time I read their messages and the beauty of it, is that I know it's all given freely and unconditionally.    

Everyone knows none of us can be certain how all this will turn out.  I admit I am terrified at times.  But with a circle of love and prayers wrapping itself around me in these hopeful, yet uncertain times, I am always reminded that I am never walking alone...that God and his countless angels are there for me how ever life turns out.

I am reminded of something Iyanla Vanzant shared on the Oprah show more than a decade ago and it has always been one of my favorite words of wisdom.  It went something like this (pardon me for my inaccuracy):

"When you reach the edge of a tunnel of darkness, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen:  that there will be something for you to step on, or that you will be taught how to fly."

To my angels, again, THANK YOU, for sharing your hearts with me.  You are indeed 'letting your light shine'!

         

Friday, October 22, 2010

'Unfriended'

Just a few days ago, I noticed that I've stopped seeing status updates from one of my Facebook (FB) 'friends'.  I found this highly unusual considering she's one to post every single minor event her kids go through as well as every single frustration, from minor ones to serious conflicts with friends and relatives.  As I had suspected, she had deleted me from her friends list.  I have been 'unfriended'. 

In a way, I admit that I felt a bit offended.  But don't get me wrong.  It's not because I considered her a friend.  As a matter of fact, I honestly feel we have nothing in common and we really hardly know each other.  We're mere acquaintances.  Besides, it was my fault that I asked to be Facebook friends with her in the first place, thinking (or maybe hoping) that we really could be friends.  Plus, I wanted to be 'nice', 'friendly'.  So, no, we're not friends and there was no emotional investment wasted. 

I felt offended because she beat me to it and it hurt my pride.  Instead of me rejecting her, she rejected me (when in fact, for months I've been consistently annoyed with her status updates and postings).  Maybe I annoyed her too, although thinking that gives me way too much credit.  For all I know, she just wanted to 'simplify' her friends list and wanted to keep it to 'real friends' of hers. I don't know her reasons and will never know.  But I respect her choice.  Truth be told, I've done the same twice before.  One person became too toxic for me, the other said something totally against my own principles and core belief that I saw no need to pretend we were 'friends'.  In both cases, it was not a real friendship.  And again, I would have to admit that sending and accepting the friend request in the beginning was more of a desire to please and be polite.

It's funny how FB, a social networking site, shields us all from the real dynamics of friendship. Typical of any sort of technology that both mimics real life as well as optimizes what is possible and even 'hyperextends' reality, Facebook has truly transformed the concept of 'friendship'.  I am reminded of a point Don Ihde made in his work 'Technology and the Life World', which I encountered while in graduate school.  He argued that in viewing technologies, the irony is that the user desires 'transparency' or the feeling that the experience in employing a certain technology is as natural as real world experience could be, feeling as if the technology is not there, but at the same time demands much optimization of a certain experience (which could actually make the experience seem or feel unnatural).  In my own words, this is what I coined as desiring 'natural artificiality'.  You know the experience is artificial, but you want it to feel as natural as possible.  

We become 'friends' with various people on FB...hundreds or maybe thousands of friends even.  We send out requests and accept friend requests from people who truly matter to us, people we hardly know and also people we vaguely remember from our past.  We read each other's statuses everyday and sometimes comment with a passion.  We 'make friends' given this technology in a way that can never be truly replicated in real life.  But how many of our 'friends' are real-life friends, as opposed to just virtual or FB friends?  Is it not interesting that the term 'Facebook friend' has become part of modern day man's vocabulary? Is it not true that we often find ourselves in conversations making the distinction between our friend (no quotes) and a 'Facebook friend'?  Each of us have different criteria for such a distinction but I will bet that a 'FB friend' is painless to lose compared to losing a friend.  It's much easier to sever ties with the former than with the latter.  With a click of a button, you can remove someone from your life....well, at least your FB life.  A real friend though deserves so much more than that and it takes far more conviction and strength to actually break ties with one.  No screen or keyboard can shield you both from each others' pained facial expression.  No time or spatial gap can delay painful words being spewed or mask tearful eyes.  

Saying goodbye to a real friend means more (and truly means something) than deleting someone from your FB friends list. And sometimes, a real friend is deleted both from real life as well as virtual life.  It's like breaking up with someone twice just because in such instances, once is just not enough...sadly.

Like I said above, I may never know why I got 'unfriended'...(yet another FB term).  Did I annoy her with my posts?  Did she hate how I posted status updates in Filipino at times and thought that was rude?  Did she want to trim down her friends list to real friends and keep her life more private? It could be any or none of those reasons and seriously, it does not matter. She was free to do what she did.  The technology allows us that.  What this technology clearly does not allow is for the 'unfriended' party to know the reasons why.  Only real friends are entitled to that.      


   





Friday, October 15, 2010

When Life Begins: My IVF Round 2

I've not been busy.  As a matter of fact, I've been quite bored, not to mention quite sore from being sedentary.  Two days ago, I had my embryo transfer.  I currently have three embryos inside me, three potential babies.  We have two 7-celled embryos (one graded B+, the other B), and an 8-celled one graded B.  I've been instructed to take it slow, almost completely get off my feet the day of the transfer but we've decided that I'll just keep taking it slow at least until two weeks after.  I'll be moving around the house of course and by next week, I'm sure I'll be back to driving.  But walking for long periods of time is out of the question for now.  This is not required but we are choosing to stay on the conservative side.  In about two weeks time, we'll find out for sure if any of our embryos took, if we are indeed officially pregnant.       


It's definitely exciting but mostly excruciating, to be honest.  These are going to be tough days ahead...days of wondering, praying, hoping and like I've written before, waiting.  I'm just hoping that it won't be quite as stressful as four years ago when I first went through this.  The nurse already warned me that bleeding does happen and cramping and all the other unwanted things that can make me think it did not work.  And she reminded me not to give in to the 'dark side' and just 'stay with the Force'....(her words exactly, by the way....what a wonderful lady!).


So...that's what I've been working on with all my might...to stay with the Force, to keep the faith.  And as they say, faith is not believing that things will go your way, but rather believing that no matter how it turns out, you will be fine.


Before I sign off for now, below is a picture of my uterus after the embryo transfer.  The bigger white dot towards the top is actually the 'bubble' or 'sac' (not sure what they call it) containing my three embryos.  Ignore the date and time stamp.  The machine was wrong



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mommy Seuss


I know that you love
The Cat in the Hat
I read it to you
Most days just like that

But honestly I’m tired
Sometimes I think it’s too long
It’s just hard when you’re wired
Asking for books and a song

So your tired and old Mommy
Has come up with a dark scheme
Which I know will make others
Curse baja-boo-baja-beem!!

Next time you choose this book
For the hundred and tenth time
I’ll skip pages and not tell you
Trust me you won’t miss a rhyme

I know that that's not
What ‘good’ mommies do
But hey!  I could be worse
‘Tis no reason to sue

I’m sure you’ll be fine
There's no real damage done
Mommy just wants a shortcut
And still let you have fun!



Monday, October 11, 2010

Mother Hen's Eggs

We're done with procedure number one and am happy to report that I have permission to breathe.....for now.  Yesterday was my egg retrieval and I was just informed this morning that they were able to retrieve 11 eggs.  Out of the 11, only 8 were mature enough for fertilization. And then out of those 8, only three are ready and, in my own words, 'in good shape' to be transferred back this coming Wednesday.

They normally 'grade' the embryos before embryo transfer is done but they only tell us that before the procedure.  When we did this in 2006, we also had three embryos (and therefore had a chance for having triplets) graded A+, A-, and B.  If I remember and understood correctly, the grading has to do with the cell division and clarity of appearance (no dusts, no remnants).  Hubby is convinced that Noah is the one that was graded A+ but I guess we'll never know.  I've always thought it would've been cool if there was a way of finding out.
(Our 2006 embryos)

I'm trying to be short-sighted with my prayers so as not to overwhelm God too much.   For now, I'm praying that my three embryos keep developing well so that they make it until Wednesday or beyond; and that of course, at least one of them makes it all the way through, like Noah did!  Every time we do this, I really realize all the more what survivors we all are!  Despite the fact that I've gone through assisted reproduction and that the fertilization process itself was heavily manipulated, there are still only three good embryos out of the eleven eggs that were harvested!  And then of course we all know that the story inside the womb is an altogether different story of survival.  That's why my Dad used to remind me that in reality, ALL of us are indeed WINNERS.  

Life is indeed full of wonders.  And the fact remains that science can only go so far in helping us in this endeavor.  At some point, we really just have to relinquish all control and just pray.  And so again....THANK YOU VERY MUCH to all you friends who continue to support and pray for us in this journey.  We truly are very grateful.

Stay tuned for the next adventure...

    

Friday, October 8, 2010

Evening Adventures

Last night while I was doing my shots, I heard Noah asking his Dad why I do my 'pokey' every night.  (Note: 'Pokey' is our term for doing any sort of shot.)  AJ then explained to him that it's as good as any sort of medication that has to be taken a certain time each day.  Then Noah continued, "And we need to do this so we can have a baby!"

Poor Noah.  He must think this is how babies are made, how normal people have babies.  But hey...I'd rather have him think that now than have to explain to him how it's REALLY done!  


Well, as an update...Since Friday of last week, I've been giving myself the Bravelle / Menopur combination, both for stimulating ovulation and to help the ovarian follicles to grow.  I was also started on Ganirelix as of last Tuesday (to be taken every morning and I've been taking mine at around 6:15am). This drug helps the doctor further manipulate my ovulation such that my eggs are prevented from being released prematurely.  I suppose this is necessary considering that my eggs will be manually harvested at some point.  If my current IVF protocol is similar to how it was in 2006, then I'm anticipating the egg retrieval procedure to happen in the next 3 days.  We'll see...


For now, the above picture pretty much sums up my evenings (and mornings) this past week.  What fun times!!  


Tuesday, October 5, 2010