Lilypie - First Birthday

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Patiently Waiting...kinda ;)

Nothing really to update about.  My doctor is out of town so I have to wait until Monday to find out when the ultrasound will be.  The last couple of nights I've dealt with some minor nausea.  It only comes when my stomach is running on empty.  Monday night, in the middle of the night, I went to the kitchen and ate a little applesauce so I could get back to sleep.  Lets hope this doesn't become a habit. 

I came across this on FB (my agency had posted it on their page) and I think I'm going to have it framed.  It's perfect.



If you have some spare time, go check out this link.  It's a birth story of another surro and it's beautiful!  http://itstartedwithabump.com/  It really makes me wonder what that day will be like for us.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Beta #2

Saturday, June 22nd

Beta hcg....1,056
Estrogen...138
Progesterone....16.3

They were looking for the first beta of 402 to double within 48 hours which I guess I overachieved on that one.  DH is convinced it's twins but I'm keeping my mind open to either option.

The estrogen and progesterone numbers don't mean a whole lot to me just yet.  I'm going to put a call into the RE to find out what the desired range is for these.  I know the estrogen must be low because they called me yesterday and said slap on another patch.  Just when I thought we'd be decreasing the meds, they up it on me.  A little bummed about that but I'll get over it. 


* Update *

RE wants to see the estrogen at 200+ while the progesterone looks fine.  Ultrasound will be week of July 8th.  Just waiting on my OBGYN to confirm the date.  They will also recheck hormone levels at that time. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Coming Out

So it's officially official now.  Up until this point this has been my precious little secret that I have treasured keeping to myself.  So far I've only told the people in my life that have in one way or another been a support system to myself or my family.  I shared with the people that I felt safe handing over my secret to.  These past few days I've felt so selfish in wanting to keep everything so quiet.  Here's why... 
 
My agency posted this photo on their FB page a few weeks ago and it broke my heart.  The colors on the states represent how surro friendly each state is.  Green being the best then bright yellow...darker yellow...orange...then my state...bright red.  Clearly there needs to be more education and a stronger push for Surrogacy rights.  This brings me back to the selfish feeling I've been struggling with.  This surrogacy has become my passion in such a way that I want to be a voice for other surrogates and other parents struggling with infertility.  Here's my opportunity to be a voice!  Yet, I'm scared.  Once I chose to go public it will mean I need to have the answers.  Very few people understand the process and they're full of questions, which by the way is wonderful.  I actually welcome questions from those who are genuinely interested.  But, I want to have the best possible responses I can.  So far I've had nothing but positive reactions but I know the negative reactions will be there.  How will I handle that?   
 
Up until this point I have guarded my secret for fear that I would have to retract my words if something were to go wrong.  I've slowly started to entertain the idea of coming out.  I know this has to happen if I'm going to educate others.  I guess this blog entry is my little way of talking myself into the courage...the courage to be more open and willing to speak about my journey.  But right now, my mind is set on waiting for the first sonogram before sharing with too many others.  I need some of the unknowns to be answered before I can fully share my story.           

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Results

And the Magic Number is......402 and it's confirmed...I am pregnant.  Praise God!

I just found out some crazy news too.  Turns out the IF, who mind you lives in another state, just found out the founding partner for his firm was born and raised in my hometown and went to the same exact school as my dad!  How's that for a sign :)     

Draw #1

This morning was my first Beta hcg blood draw.  The results will be ready within an hour and faxed over to the RE.  I've been searching everywhere online to find some sort of acceptable beta range but the numbers really are all over the place.  Some women have super low betas and go on to have a successful pregnancy while others have really high betas (rumored to be an indication of multiples) and they end up with just one baby.  Unfortunately some also have great numbers and end up in miscarriage.  It's really hard to say. 

If you're curious here's a site that did a little polling of betas.  betabase.info/  Keep in mind the chart goes off of DPO (days past ovulation) which would be 5 days prior to the actual transfer date of June 9th.  So if I've figured it correctly I would be 16 DPO.

PS......I don't care how old you are, you're never too old for a fun bandaid!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A little Anatomy lesson

Well, the RE's (reproductive endocronologist) nurse let IM know the reason I have to stay on all my meds until about week 12, even after the betas confirm the pregnancy.  It's all because of a little thing called a corpus luteum. 
 
That lovely item #10, well that's the corpus luteum. 
 
 
 
A normal pregnancy starts with an egg released from the mother's ovary which travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus where it joins with the sperm and becomes the embryo. This follicle that releases the egg then becomes a temporary estrogen and progesterone ovarian cyst called the corpus luteum. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpus_luteum The corpus luteum produces estrogen and progesterone for up to 12 weeks until the placenta develops and takes over its duties.   Because we didn't want to fertilize any of my eggs, I was given the Lupron shots to prevent ovulation therefore leaving me with no corpus luteum to produce the necessary hormones that maintain the inner lining of the uterus for the embryo.  After 12 weeks the placenta will take over producing the necessary hormones therefore allowing me to discontinue the meds.  This will be the point at which my body is allowed to do what it naturally does, completely unassisted.  I like the sound of that!
 
The nurse also informed us that if the betas confirm that I am indeed pregnant, we will have a sonogram two weeks from that date to determine if the pregnancy is a singleton or twins. 
 
 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Last One

This is officially the last test in the box.  No more peeing on a stick for this gal.  Now we wait for the betas.  I'm very happy to say that I feel great.  No sickness at all but it's probably still fairly early for that.  I've been blessed in my previous pregnancies to have never battled with morning sickness.  I do recall that slight tummy ache if my stomach was empty but it wasn't much of anything really.  Crossing my fingers for that same blessing this time around. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Confirmed

I think it's safe to assume the transfer was a success! 

 
The symptoms have started as well.  Soreness, always so thirsty and consuming lots of snacks lately.  I weighed in last Thursday at 134 lbs.  Typically I wouldn't share that but it seems pretty relevant for the journey.  Next up...blood draws.  
 
Sunday was Father's day and let me just say...I have the most amazing husband and my children won the lottery on their father!  He has given so much of himself and refused to give in when all odds were stacked against him.  If you know our story, then you "get it".  
 
As well, I am also very fortunate to have a father that was always very supportive as I grew up and made some good and not so good decisions in life.  He was there to catch me when I fell and always allowed me the space and time to figure out life on my own.  He continues to be that same great dad to this very day. 
 



Friday, June 14, 2013

Cautiously Celebrating...

I know yesterday I said I would wait a couple days and test again but I woke this morning and just had to take another test.  Again, it's still pretty early but this is what I got 5dp5dt (5 days post 5 day transfer).  I see it.  It's faint but it's there and it clearly wasn't there yesterday.  If all goes as it should, this line will darken each day as more hcg is produced.  We have a long way to go but this feels so good to see.  I've been having some symptoms that I wasn't sure if they were in my head or not.  I'm still as bloated as can be so I emailed the nurse yesterday and she assured my that it was completely normal and the hormones can cause GI irritation and if I am indeed pregnant that it would all make sense.  I've also felt these weird tugs and stings in my abdomen.  They're less than a second long but it's enough to get my attention.  I have been drinking a lot of water as well. 
 
 
I text the IP's this photo first thing this morning because I know they are anxious for some sort of a sign.  I warned them that we have a long way to go and to remain very cautious about it all.  I can't say I know what they're feeling as I've never been through what they have.  It must be a battle to want to scream from the rooftop with excitement and celebrate but know that they can't just yet.  I'm going to continue to test every morning until I see two bright pink lines that leave no doubt.     

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The 2ww

Here's another surrogacy acronym for you...2ww.  It stands for 2 week wait.  The 2ww is the period between the date of actual transfer and the blood draw to see if you're pregnant.  I am fortunate that my wait is actually 11 days instead of 14.  And yes, 3 days make a huge difference when you're in a waiting game.  I posted a few days ago the timeline of what's occurring (if it's occurring) in the uterus after the transfer.  During the 2ww many women start taking home pregnancy tests (hpt) because 2 weeks is just too long to wait.  The downside of that is if you test too early you will get false results.  Your body doesn't start to produce the hcg until the embryo has fully burrowed itself in the lining.  If you test too soon you'll receive a negative result because the hcg is not detecable yet.  I've been warned that testing too early and getting the big fat negative (BFN) will take a toll on your emotions.  So, I held out for 4 days but my willpower gave out.  I knew it was entirely too soon to test but I did it anyway.  This morning I got the BFN.  It did exactly what they said it would.  It made my heart sink.  But, I do feel a lot better knowing I got the first one out of the way and my willpower is back again.  I'm going to wait a few days before taking another one.  By that time, the hcg should be present and detectable and a BFP will be highly likely if it was a successful transfer.  I've decided not to share this test result with the IP's.  It was a pointless test taken way too early and I don't want them to stress out over the result. 
 
I'm still feeling a lot of pressure, bloating and sometimes little tinges of pain.  They're not the sort of back aching, cramping feelings I get when a period is getting ready to arrive.  It's more of a small, sharp sting in the abdomen.  Not quite sure what that means but I do feel different.  We'll soon find out if it's all in my head or not.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Blow Fish

IM sent me a text yesterday asking if I was feeling pregnant yet.  Bless her heart she is so anxious to know and so am I.  To be honest, not really feeling like anything but this...
 
 
The bloating is crazy.  I can wake looking completely normal but by the end of the day I look about 3 months pregnant from all the bloating.  Obviously I have no idea if anything is or isn't going on inside but I did read that bloating is completely normal so no worries there, just discomfort from pants fitting way too snug :-/

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Perspective

The waiting game in life is never usually enjoyable.  The waiting game to know whether your body is creating life or not turns into mental torture.  Everything you do, say, feel...it all plays mind games with you.  Every little cramp or strange feeling instantly starts to bring all sort of thoughts through your head.  Oooh, oooh, is it attaching...is that the pain?  Or is it just the opposite?  Is this the beginning of a failed attempt?  I find it incredibly difficult to focus on much of anything else lately.  It's the most challenging when I'm alone.  At home with the hubs and kids around there's enough distraction to take my mind elsewhere and give me a little mental relaxation.  Being a first time surrogate there really is no way to fully prepare yourself for such a situation.  Of course I did the research and continue daily to soak up as much information as I can but you don't know the impact it will have upon you until you get your feet wet.  I've told myself I can look at this one of two ways.  1) I feel isolated and lonely.  No one "gets" the serious roller coaster that my mind is on right now, not to mention my hormones....OR.... 2) How insanely fortunate am I?!  How many people do I know that get to take a journey like this...highs and lows included.   I choose the latter. 
     

Monday, June 10, 2013

The facts

Here are a few interesting facts I found...(dpt = days past transfer)


5-DAY TRANSFER

-1dpt ..embryo is growing and developing
0dpt... Embryo is now a blastocyst
1dpt....Blastocyst hatches out of shell on this day
2dpt.. Blastocyst attaches to a site on the uterine lining
3dpt.. Implantation begins,as the blastocyst begins to bury in the lining
4dpt.. Implantation process continues and morula buries deeper in the lining
5dpt.. Morula is completely inmplanted in the lining and has placenta cells & fetal cells
6dpt...Placenta cells begin to secret HCG in the blood
7dpt...More HCG is produced as fetus develops
8dpt...More HCG is produced as fetus develops
9dpt...HCG levels are now high enough to be immediately detected on HPT

My blood pregnancy tests are schedule for 6/20 and 6/22 which puts us at 11 days post transfer

The Transfer


 Where do I even begin?  It was an amazing weekend full of so many emotions. 

I flew into the IP's city around 1pm and IM was waiting for me as I stepped off the plane.  She drove me around for a little while showing me some of the big sights.  The gay pride festival was in town so they had quite a bit of activity going on.  She treated me to lunch at a really great local joint that had the largest and most amazing crepes.  After lunch we made our way to the hotel and I was able to relax, contact the family back home and grab a quick shower before dinner.

That evening IP's were both there to pick me up for a fancy dinner at a nice seafood restaurant.  IM and I both share a love for seafood so they knew it was the perfect place to go.  We had such really great conversation and they allowed me to ask any questions I wanted to.  Never once did they hesitate to answer either.  They were genuinely concerned about my life and family as well which was very touching.  If I hadn't already been convinced of how wonderful these people were, they had officially sealed it within my mind and heart.  I learned that they had somewhere around 30 profiles, one even local, to choose from and they had chosen me.  I was able to share with them that they were actually my second match...the first one was not meant to be as we had different expectations.  God had aligned this.  He knew they needed me and I needed them.  We were meant to take this journey together.

TRANSFER DAY.....

I woke up around 7 am and went through my morning meds routine and slipped downstairs for breakfast.  What do you eat on the morning you are going to become pregnant?  Oatmeal seemed like a sensible choice.  You would think at this point, a mere two hours from the procedure, the nerves would be setting in but they weren't.  I was so calm and at peace.  The decision to be a surrogate has always felt right and I can't recall any anxiety over the decistion itself. 



 


 
After breakfast the IF picked me up and drove me to the clinic.  I was informed that I was their only transfer patient for the day.  I gowned up, popped a Valium (they have you take this to make sure you are as relaxed as possible.  It wasn't for pain management).  Then I got to hop up on the bed and just relax for about 20 minutes or so.  The doctor stopped by to show me the lucky two embryos that she would be transferring.  Here's a pic of the little guys...or girls. 

The procedure itself was very quick and painless.  The only discomfort came from the fact that you are required to have a full bladder and according to the techs I overachieved lol.  They had a technician performing an ultrasound so the doctor cold see the exact placement and I was able to watch the entire process.  It was mindblowing to see how amazing science really is.  Within 15 minutes, everything was completed.  The IF drove me back to the hotel and left me with a delicious Starbucks cinnamon roll.  I was completely wiped out from the Valium and after I chowed down on the roll I napped for 3 1/2 hours.  I don't recall ever taking a nap like that before.  It was great!  After that I just relaxed and caught a movie on tv while I waited for the IPs to return to take me to the airport. 



 As they were dropping me off at the airport they handed me a card.  I wasn't expecting it, after all they had just pampered me with love and kindness all weekend.  As I waiting for my flight I opened it.  This is only a small portion of what they wrote to me but this is why surrogates do what they do....



I also want to mention how amazing my DH has been through all of this. I was unable to attend a race that he has been looking forward to but luckily our oldest son was able to take my place and enjoy the trip to OK with his father. While I was away I received such supportive and loving words from him. He's the best husband I could have ever asked the Lord for.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Zzzzzzzzz

Pure exhaustion is setting in.  More than likely a side effect of the meds.  I'll be taking my last lupron shot this evening.  I feel a small celebration is in order.  Not much to blog about today.  As the weekend approaches I'm getting more anxious.  It's not so much the transfer that is causing the anxiety, it's meeting the IP's in person for the first time.  I know they're good people, that doesn't worry me.  It's just that concern of will it be awkward.  The procedure is actually very quick so I will be left with two full days of exploring a new city.  Fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

♪ ♫ ♪ ♫

video

This is a dear friend of ours named Andy.  Andy married the hubs and I and he's been one of our biggest supporters.  He is an incredibly talented singer and we had the privilege of listening to him sing over the weekend.  I recall D telling me about how he crossed paths with this guy that he really clicked with.  Hearing him speak of him was like hearing D talk about himself.  They may not be similar in physical appearance but these two in every other way could be twins.  I'm so very thankful that God placed Andy into D's life.  As with all things, He knows the perfect timing.  Unfortunately (due to a phone issue) I was only able to upload a short section of the entire song.  So here you go, Enjoy!



Surrogacy update:  Today was day #1 for the progesterone gel.  I take this twice a day, at morning and night.  I'm down to just 3 more days of the lupron shots!!  Amen to that.  So I'm up to six medications right now.  I cannot emphasize how much I'm looking forward to getting to the stage where my body is allowed to do it's own thing and no meds are involved! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Right on Target!

So, they increased my estradiol pills from 2 to 3 and added in a .10 mg estradiol patch as well.  Below is a pic of what the patch looks like.  It's a little larger than a quarter.  Any red dots you see are injection sites.  Some days they bleed, some days they bruise (also in shown in picture) and other days they leave no trace.  I got to wondering just how many shots I've had exactly so I thought I'd take of picture of those while I was at it. 

 
They scheduled me for another sonogram early this morning and the results...I went from a thickness of barely 6 to a thickness of 9.67 which is right on target for a transfer.  If you know what you're looking for it's easy to spot the difference, otherwise they probably look very similar.  The top pic is from Friday while the bottom is from today.  The little crossmarks are where they take the measurements from.  I received the email today giving me the official transfer date of Sunday, June 9th.  Yep, that's a mere 6 days from now and the excitement is starting to build!  I'll be flying out on Saturday and hopefully returning late Monday.   

 
On the homefront side of things, we spent Sunday afternoon at the local nursery (think plants) and spent a small fortune on bushes and flowers to fill in that half circle of dirt I posted a few days ago.  I can't wait to post the before and after pics.  I found this new app and I'm addicted to posting before and after pics.  It's so convenient!   
 
I've been making it a priority to read a chapter of my Bible every morning as I eat my breakfast.  It helps me get started on a positive, Godly day.  My favorite passage today...