Hi friends! I’m sorry for being super MIA on the blog and on social media lately. The past 4 weeks have been the most intense 4 weeks for us both professionally and personally. We recently opened up the cafe portion of Morning Lavender OC and it has kept us super busy to say the least. In addition, we had our IVF transfer last month! I wanted to update you all so stay tuned for a super long post today! I’m also sorry if there are grammatical errors or if I’m all over the place – it has been a very long 4 weeks!
MORNING LAVENDER CAFE
In March 2017, we signed a lease and began this long and crazy journey of renovating an old 3000 sq foot building in Old Town Tustin to open up our dream concept of a retail store and cafe in one. Why a cafe within a store you ask? Well two things I really love are CLOTHES & COFFEE and after visiting similar concept stores in Europe & Asia, I knew I wanted to open a space that combined my two loves. I wanted Morning Lavender Cafe to be a beautiful place people can gather and be inspired. We will also offer one of my favorite things to do: afternoon tea!!! It’s crazy how everything all came together – thanks to a lot of help of course =).
During the past 12 months, we hired a general contractor, architect and countless new employees to get the boutique and cafe ready. We had NO CLUE what it meant to renovate a building or open a restaurant. I just knew I wanted it to be cute ;). From budgeting to designing, we poured over every detail and made a lot of financially tough decisions. I’m not going to lie – it has been a very stressful process and at times, created added stress to our marriage (think wedding planning x 1000). But we have worked through the difficult times and conquered many things that didn’t go as planned (for example, a week before opening, we discovered major plumbing issues as tree roots were growing into our sewer pipes!).
We opened the cafe doors on February 15, 2018 and it has been an intense (but fun) labor of love everyday for the past 4 weeks. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from our family, friends and the community. Every day when I walk into our space, I have to pinch myself because it doesn’t feel real yet. I am proud of what we have created and thankful we have been given the opportunity to chase our dreams. I constantly look at Jason and say “I can’t believe we are really doing this and people actually like what we are doing!” I am especially proud and grateful for my husband who has learned so much about running a coffee & tea shop and putting his own needs aside for the business. He has gone above and beyond to provide a wonderful service to our customers. He is a leading example to our young staff and has taken so much initiative to mentor and train them. I wouldn’t have been able to get through these past 4 weeks without him!
If you are ever in Orange County, we would love for you stop by and visit!!! You can find us there almost everyday!
As I have previously talked about, we began our IVF journey last November. We planned for an embryo transfer on February 22, 2018. To prepare for it, I began my medications in January to get ready for the transfer. I had to have progesterone injections every morning and wear estrogen patches daily to get my body ready. The progesterone injections are not fun. Every morning became the same routine since mid February: wake up at 7:15am, prep my butt (ice it), warm up the oil in the needle for the injections and then my wonderful husband would do the injection for me and massage my butt afterwards to spread out the oil. He would be out of the door by 7:45am to open the cafe and begin his 12-15 hour day at the cafe. I am so grateful for all the women who heard my progesterone pain over social media and gave me amazing tips on how to deal with the injections! If I were to become pregnant, I would continue these hormones for another 10 weeks and through the end of my first trimester.
So the transfer in February went smoothly (it was probably a 10 min process in total). The embryologist wheeled in this big glass contraption that contained this tiny lil’ embryo. We got to see it all happen so fast on a monitor via an ultrasound. We were very emotional when we saw our lil’ embryo and we were very hopeful when the doctor told us we had a 75% chance of this working! After the transfer I was on bed rest for 2 days which was actually very hard to do since the cafe had just opened. My mom came over and cooked for me (nothing like homemade Vietnamese cooking) and I was thankful for Jason who took over all of the cafe duties while I rested. Next came the 2 week wait where the embryo is suppose to implant and then you take your first blood test to see if you were in fact pregnant. The wait is unbearable but I had the cafe to keep me really distracted. I was constantly looking for changes in my body and I couldn’t really tell if it was all the hormones I was on or if I was really pregnant. I’m pretty much hungry all the time right now lol. Then as if the medications weren’t bad enough – I started develop an allergy to all of my medications. The progesterone oil was giving me itchy welts on my butt and I became allergic to the adhesive on the estrogen patches so I developed these rashes on my stomach. I’ll spare you guys any images of this!!!
I suffered through all of the pain because I knew it was important for our lil’ guy. I apologize if you encountered me scratching my butt or my stomach often during these past few weeks. So the 2 week wait was finally up and I had my first blood test and the following day – I got that anticipated call from my doctor. My heart sank when he told me I was pregnant but he followed it up with a BIG BUT – my HCG levels were incredibly low. An HGC level over 5 meant you were pregnant and I was at 9.8. Sounds good right? Well he advised that most people at my stage (4 weeks pregnant) have HGC levels of at least 100 already. He said that my low levels could mean that I would have a chemical pregnancy – which would mean that the embryo implanted but never grew. Immediately I felt nervous and I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. I wish that the day I finally found out that I was pregnant, I could be elated but I just couldn’t be. I didn’t really want to tell anyone because I didn’t really know what I was. I would have another blood test 2 days later to see if my levels would double, which would be a good sign. I began taking a home pregnancy test every morning just to make sure I was still pregnant – and it honestly drove me a little crazy. I would go on to do this for 2 weeks:
When I saw 2 positive lines for the first time, a few days after my first blood test, I was so emotional. I had never seen 2 lines before in my entire life and just seeing those 2 lines gave me so much hope. But then I couldn’t be happy either. I was still scared that the lines weren’t dark enough – what did it mean that they were so faint??? The next blood test came back and my levels were 25. Yes – they doubled!!! But they were still so low that my doctor was still concerned. I would have to do another blood test the week after and also come in for an ultrasound. So last Monday, at week 6 of my pregnancy, we went in for an ultrasound to hopefully see a sac – the structure surrounding the fetus early in pregnancy. Jason had just come back from photographing a wedding in Barcelona and I had just went through another 2 weeks of excruciating waiting. We went in for the ultrasound and the first thing you could see was nothing. There was no sac. There was no baby. I was numb and heartbroken. I had just allowed myself to believe that I was pregnant and at 6 weeks, I was no longer pregnant. I know he was just a little embryo but I loved him so much already. We cried a lot that day. We went to work and kept busy so we wouldn’t cry all day long. We smiled at our customers at the cafe, remained professional and did our best to provide outstanding service to them in spite of all the pain inside. We talked to our staff as if nothing had happened. Unfortunately, our business does not stop running just because we had gone through something so heartbreaking. I went in for another blood test (did I mention I hate blood tests) to see where my levels are at now. My levels have to go back to 0 before we can try again. I heard from the doctor last week and he informed me that my HGC levels are now 16 so it was clear that I had a chemical pregnancy. We were no longer pregnant.
The past 4 weeks have felt so long and yet so short. I can’t believe so much has happened and haven’t had time to process all the highs and lows. I know I should feel grateful we have more chances (2 more embryos) but I’m not quite there yet.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my past 4 weeks. I wouldn’t be able to be this open and strong without your support.