Tuesday, December 15, 2015

23 Weeks-Where did the time go?

Wow, I just realized that it's been 6 weeks since I've updated this blog! I have been very busy with homework, projects, studying for finals, and being a mom to two kids that time has just escaped me! But here we are, at the 23 week mark! Woohoo! One good thing about being so busy with school, and other things, is that I have been sort of distracted with the pregnancy that I sort of can't believe that I'm already more than half way there. Yay!

In my last post, I told you all the story of my experience in my doctor's office with the office staff and their problem with the ultrasound that I had requested on behalf of the intended parents. The last time I saw my doctor was at 20 weeks and the intended parents were at this appointment in person, since it was kind of a big appointment for the level 2 ultrasound that we had done. It was a good visit with them! We got to tour the hospital birthing center where I will be delivering their baby, and we got some preliminary paper work done that the hospital needs on their end, and the intended parents were able to ask questions, and I think it helped ease some of their fears of the unknown. They were also in awe of the size of the maternity rooms that are at the hospital I will be delivering at. I will labor and deliver, and recover in the same room. After the birth, they roll the hospital bed out, and a queen size murphy bed comes down from the wall behind, and is very spacious and roomy and comfortable! The intended mother had to share a room with a curtain when she delivered their daughter, and that was after a c-section! This will be a treat for them, I hope! As long as the hospital is not at capacity, they said they would be more than happy to provide a room for them to keep the baby in there with them, and just facilitate some bonding time. We got to hear the heartbeat for quite some time and it was very strong! Nice to see the smiles on their faces, and a little bit of worry leave their faces!

At the appointment, I waited until the clinical things were done, and the doctor was able to go about her normal check up for me, and then I brought up how I was treated when I came in for the ultrasound. As I suspected, the staff member that scolded me for having the ultrasound done was talking as if my doctor was upset and angry that I was having an ultrasound done that she hadn't authorized, when in fact, my doctor had no idea what was going on. She wasn't even asked! I told her what my experience was, and she was very apologetic and the more detail I gave her, the more upset she got. I asked her to please talk to the staff member that scolded me and to make sure that it didn't happen again. My doctor told me, from now on, to only call and talk to the nurse, and not talk to the office staff.  Done! She apologized to the couple and to me one last time, and off we went!

The appointment with the level 2 ultrasound was right after lunch the same day and so we grabbed a quick bite to eat, and then headed over there. The level 2 ultrasound just allows the doctors to see a little more detail than what a level 1 ultrasound will allow in your OB's office. It allows them to measure all of the major organs, see the heart in lots of detail, see the brain, and of course the sex! The baby was moving around a lot which made some of their views very difficult, but for the most part, I think the doctor got what he needed. He asked that I return in 6 weeks (3 weeks from now), so that he could get a better look at the heart, since the baby had curled up and was blocking his view too much. No matter how much he pushed and tried to wiggle the baby to move, there was no budging! So I will return in 6 weeks, and we will try again! He said that what he could see of the heart looked good, that the blood flow was good, so I'm not sure what else he needed to see that he couldn't get a look at, but whatever! We want a healthy baby, right!?

The intended parents headed home with lots of pictures of their new baby boy! :) Yes, it's a boy! Yay!!!

So far, this pregnancy is treating me well. I've gained about 4 pounds so far, which my doctor is pleased with, and most of the exhausted feeling has subsided, except for some days, when I feel like I could sleep all day and night! Wouldn't that be nice? I'm not sleeping that great at night, getting up to pee several times, and I have been having some crazy dreams that wake me up and make it hard to fall back to sleep! Crazy pregnancy brain!

This semester of school is over! I made it, and accomplished my goal of straight A's, too! I retook two classes that are prerequisites for nursing school to improve my GPA, which will hopefully give me a better chance of being admitted to nursing school. It is very competitive, and this will be my fourth attempt at getting in, but the first since I have had my bachelor's degree. I have not given going back to school this much effort before, so I am really hoping that it pays off! My application is due April 1st, but since this baby is due the 10th, I am planning to submit everything mid March. Have to study for a test that is part of the application process, then can submit everything else. I am hoping I will know something by June about whether I got in or not! And this whole paragraph stresses me out!

The baby has been kicking away, and getting stronger every day, seems like! My placenta is in the front, which can make movements hard to feel, but this baby isn't letting that stop him for now! I imagine when he gets bigger and starts running out of room, that I may not feel movement as much, but we will see! It's nice to feel the movements get stronger, makes me feel like I am doing something right! :) I am so excited to deliver this baby to the intended parents! They are so excited and thankful, and I am so happy to do this for them! I have my regular check up with my doctor next week, and then the repeat ultrasound for a better view of the heart, two weeks later, so I will probably update again after that is done!

For those of you praying, thank you, and please keep it up! Pray for a good repeat ultrasound, and for my admission into nursing school, and for the overall health of the rest of this pregnancy!

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, November 5, 2015

17 Weeks

Hey all,

I just had some time to myself, so I figured I would update everyone on the last week! I had my 16 week checkup last thursday with my OB, and everything checked out and went well. We did a blood test to check for Spina Bifida, and am happy to report that everything came back normal for that! Yay! Did you know they can do surgery while I'm still pregnant on the baby to correct the spina bifida if I did have a problem? I thought that was so cool to learn! The advancements in medicine are fascinating to me sometimes!

It is great getting to experience this again as a surrogate with the intended parents. This is the first time they have gone this route, and they have expressed that they feel good about certain things because I have experienced it before, and can sort of prepare them for what's coming. But still, there are some things that are different, as each journey and pregnancy is different.

Overall, I'm feeling great! Nausea is gone, unless I get really hungry. I am still tired, but not like before with all the injections and medications I was taking! I am enjoying this time, because it gets hard in the next few months with heartburn, and carpal tunnel!

Last friday, the intended mother called me and wanted to know if I would be willing to go have an ultrasound done, only for the sole purpose of checking on the baby. From her perspective, she is far away, has no control over the situation, and is putting all of her trust into somebody that she didn't even know at the beginning of this year. It is also the only visual she has of her baby that will be joining their family soon, and pictures of a sonogram are her way of showing her family and friends.  Sometimes, you just need that extra reassurance, even when you're carrying your own baby! I was happy to do it, but told her that we may have some obstacles in the way, with insurance and the willingness of my OB office to do an ultrasound when it hasn't been indicated by the doc to do so. I told her I would call Monday morning and see what they could do. So, I called that morning and spoke to the receptionist and explained the situation: "I'm a surrogate, I don't think there is anything wrong, but the intended mother would just like to see her baby and check up on it and see how things are going! Can you help me out?"

I got the run around. Had to wait for a call back from the clinic manager, who informed me that it would cost a little under $200 for the ultrasound because it would not be covered under my insurance policy, and it would need to be paid in full at the time of the appointment. She also said that since my doctor is not recommending this, therefore they are reluctant to do this. Their typical way of monitoring a baby at this point, is with the heartbeat doppler and that's it. Okay, but still: "Can you help me ease the mind of the parents, and let us do this?" They ended up letting me make an appointment for yesterday, which was  Wednesday. I arrive to my appointment, and am told that the monthly budgeted amount for October has not been paid yet (error on the agency's part), and so I cannot be seen unless that is paid in full and well as the cost for the ultrasound. I had the intended mother on the phone and she was happy to pay for it and settle up with the agency afterwards. Great!

I take a seat and wait to be called back. The next thing I know, some lady that I have seen before in the office calls me back and is very rude with no smile on her face, and barely asks me to join her at her desk that is out in the open for everyone in the office to see and hear. I take a seat at one of these two chairs she has set up next to her desk, and she then proceeds to scold me. "I just wanted to be clear and make you aware that we will not be doing another ultrasound like this. This was not ordered by the doctor and she is not understanding of why you are doing this, and we will not be doing this again. Is that clear?" "If you want to have this done again, you can go elsewhere, like a 3D ultrasound place and have this done."
"Okay." I said.
"You can go have a seat back in the waiting room now." She says with the rudest tone that matched everything else she had said in our conversation.

I got up and went back to the waiting room, and started shaking, I was so upset! I know, I know, I didn't stand up for myself, and let her have it, but what am I supposed to say? I felt like I had just been scolded like a little child, and that the situation was not being understood. Why did they let me make an appointment, collect the intended mother's money for the ultrasound, and then take me back and scold me for it? If they didn't want to do it, they should have said so, and not let me make an appointment with the ultrasound tech in the first place. Instead, they made the appointment, collected what they were owed, and then made me feel like absolute crap and not welcome in their clinic.

I sit in the waiting room for 5 more minutes, and the sonographer calls me and is happy to see me. Her room is all the way in the back of the office and so I just hightailed it to her room. We get in the room and she asks how I'm doing, and expresses that she is happy to see me again (she did all the ultrasounds for the last journey, for the couple in France).

I just looked at her and said: "You know what? I'm not doing great right now. I just got scolded for being here and doing this ultrasound from the clinic manager. She was incredibly rude and I am sort of ticked off!!!"
She said: "What happened, I feel like I'm in the middle of something and I don't know what's going on!"
I told her what I was there for and why, that this was not something that my OB was asking for, but that the intended mother wanted it done and for good reason!
She understood completely and said she would do her best! I told her that the intended mother was waiting for my FaceTime call and that she was so excited to see her baby! She then tells me that typically they don't allow any facetime, video, or pictures, but that she would go and check for me. She comes back and says that indeed, no they will not allow me to have a FaceTime call with the mother.
At that point, I asked the sonographer to step out for a sec because I needed to call the intended mother and this was probably not going to go well. She was happy to do it, and told me to just open the door when we were done.
I called the intended mother and filled her in on everything. She was definitely not pleased, for good reason, but agreed to still have the ultrasound done as long as we could get lots of pictures. Alright then! I called the sonographer back in and she was happy to do her job! She got lots of angles, we were able to see feet, hands, face, stomach, bladder, kidneys, and we even saw the baby opening his mouth to drink. She said she could tell that everything was working well since the stomach was filled with liquid, and the bladder was filled which told her that everything was working well! Yay! That was all we wanted! She did great at labeling everything we saw. No complaints with the sonographer at all! She is fabulous and she gets it!

I walked straight out of the office and looked and spoke to no one! I was able to FaceTime the mom when I got to my car and share all the pictures with her! She was thrilled and excited and happy to see her baby!

The couple is coming for the 20 week appointment with my OB, and for the ultrasound that we will have done as well! That should be a fun appointment since we will definitely be talking to my OB about this experience. If I think about it for too long, I get mad, so I'm trying to just tell myself that we will deal with it later. This is a direct reflection on my OB and her practice. If they can't be understanding of the situation and a little sensitive to it, then I will find someone else that is. I certainly hope it doesn't get to that point though!

Thanks for reading my ramblings! :)

Will update in a few weeks after the 20 week appointment!


Sunday, October 25, 2015

16 Weeks update

Oh man, I just looked at my last blog update, and realized that I was 8 weeks when I wrote it. I am now 16 weeks! Time is flying by! I have been busy with the kids and playing chauffeur to and from school. Have I mentioned that I am taking 6 credit hours this semester to help reattempt admission to nursing school? Yeah...I'm taking Nutrition and Statistics. Nutrition is a breeze, but my statistics class is going to be the death of me if I get through it and I maintain my A I currently have in the class. My teacher is not very good at all, and is making things very difficult for us. When the semester started, there were 19 people in the class, now there are 8 of us, and only 5 of us showed up to take the test on Saturday morning. The homework, which is worth 20 percent of my grade takes an average of 6 hours to complete, for each assignment. I am having to teach myself the material with the online homework aide, because the teacher does not leave herself enough time to lecture in class. So, all that to say that I have been spending most of my evenings, after the kids go to bed, on homework for this class! December 14th can't come soon enough! But hopefully it is all worth it, so if you could, keep me in your thoughts and prayers regarding nursing school. The program is an accelerated 1 year program for adults who already have a bachelor's degree. Since that's right up my ally, I am really hopefully this will work out! The classes I am retaking this semester are just to improve my GPA so that I will have a better chance for admissions!

So, 16 weeks pregnant! Everything is going well! I don't really feel pregnant mostly. In the evenings, after a day full of kids and whatever that brings, I do. I have been feeling lots of small movements, and its definitely encouraging to get to feel those! I am starting to not be able to button my jeans, so the belly band I used for last pregnancy is my new best friend!

Remember how I was saying I wasn't nauseous, by some miracle? Well, since my last post, the nausea came on like a vengeance. I was instructed to quit all my shots and pills at 10 weeks, and that is when the nausea and other early pregnancy symptoms made their presence known. But even still, the nausea was by far the best nausea I have had for all my pregnancies. It got really bad in the evenings, around 4 o'clock, through dinner and bedtime, but would wake up in the morning feeling fine. It is starting to get a lot better now, so I can't complain too much! Still very tired, but that's to be expected at this point!

The intended parents are very excited and were able to tell their first born daughter that she is going to have a sibling soon! She is very excited, and I am so happy for them! At just before 13 weeks, the intended mother came to Kansas for the first time to attend the nuchal translucency test that we had done. I had this done last time as well. It is just an ultrasound that measure the amount of fluid between the baby's neck and spinal cord. If it is above a 3.4, then they are able to say that they suspect Down's Syndrome or Trisomy 21. My levels were checked and they said the levels are 1.7 Well below the 3.4, so yay! We also had some bloodwork done that just gives an extra confirmation on the same info, and that came back negative as well. That was great news and it was great to spend time with the intended mother and introduce her to my OB as well.

I have my regular OB check up this week, and so we should get to hear the heartbeat and maybe get a sneak peak at this little being in the oven. The intended parents and their first born will be here for my 20 week appointment and ultrasound, which will be the week of Thanksgiving! We will also tour the hospital and go through some of the legal aspects of the pregnancy regarding the birth certificate, and making sure the parents' name is on there. This part is going by quickly so far! I am just enjoying feeling better, and not being huge yet! Thank you for reading! Feel free to ask any questions you may have! I'm mostly an open book!


Sunday, August 30, 2015


Hey all,

Sorry for the long silence since my last post! Have had a lot going on, and these last few weeks have just flown by! So the last time I updated, I was considered 4 weeks and a few days. I am 8 weeks today!!! I have had a few more blood draws and 2 ultrasounds since the initial blood test. The blood draw after the first one was just a few days after to make sure the levels of HCG are increasing at a steady rate. Since HCG is supposed to double every 48 hours in the beginning, we were expecting a decent number. That blood draw gave me a HCG of 327, and so the clinic in Connecticut just told me to keep doing the same thing I've been doing, which is to continue all the shots and pills. Yay! (sense the sarcasm?) Hey, it's all part of the process! The couple requested a third blood draw, just to ease their worries and reassure them a little bit, so I went back a week after the last one. That HCG level was 5,384! Yikes, I'll be honest, I was freaking out a little bit! If it's supposed to double every 48 hours, we would've been looking at a number closer to 2,000. So to get that number, I secretly googled HCG levels for women carrying twins at 5 weeks. Let's just say it was not comforting! :) Since we transferred one embryo in, that would mean identical twins in the oven. Again, the clinic told me just to keep doing what I'm doing and we will see at Week 6 for the first ultrasound and confirmation of a heartbeat!

The ultrasound was on August 17th! The couple was waiting on FaceTime, and since I had to go to a different clinic than the one I have been going to in Olathe, I was unsure about whether they would allow FaceTime. Got all checked in, got my blood drawn again, and then waited for the ultrasound. Thankfully, after asking as nicely as I could and trying to explain the situation as much as I could, the nurse practitioner (NP) performing the ultrasound agreed to let me FaceTime the intended parents. So, at the same time, we all saw the little heartbeat, just a beating away! Yep, just ONE heartbeat!! PHEW!!! The NP wouldn't let us hear it, but we could all see it on the screen. The couple was very excited, happy, and over the moon! And I think, a little in shock! They have waited so long for this! When it actually happens, it's almost like an out of body experience! The NP did a few other measurements, checked my ovaries, and saw that I had a subchorionic hemorrhage. If you followed my last journey with the couple from France, I had one during the first trimester as well. I did have some bleeding with that, but I was told then that it is very common for patients who have undergone IVF to experience this, and not to worry, that I may have some bleeding, but most of it should absorb on its own over time. The NP asked me if I had had any bleeding, to which I replied no, and so she just said that I have the hemorrhage and that I may bleed or it'll probably just absorb by itself over time. That was two weeks ago, and I haven't had any bleeding or spotting! So glad, because I don't want the intended parents to worry about anything extra like this! The baby is measuring exactly to the day, which is great and the heartbeat was strong! Same word from the clinic, my HCG was over 15,000 and to keep doing what I'm doing!

I think I might just be a person with high HCG levels and that it may not necessarily reflect the presence of twins! I have had some pretty intense nausea during all of my pregnancies and it always starts at 6 weeks, to the day. I am currently 8 weeks, and I am only nauseous when I eat! Go figure! Nothing really sounds good to eat, but I have to eat every 3 hours, or I start feeling shaky and sick! Hey, I'll take it! This is so much better than constant nausea, morning and night! I'm hoping it continues!

I had a second ultrasound on Wednesday of last week. Went in for another blood draw, and then the ultrasound. I think the baby looks like a little gummy bear at this point, and there it was, just floating around, growing! We saw some growth from a week before, and saw the heartbeat again, and they didn't mention anything about the subchorionic hemorrhage, and the clinic didn't mention it either, so I have just told myself that it absorbed and is gone! The clinic would like one last ultrasound before they discharge me as their patient and leave me free to see my own OB for prenatal care. So, I have one last ultrasound scheduled for next week, which will put me at a little over 9 weeks, and as long as everything looks good, that'll be it for the ultrasounds and blood draws for a while! I'll be able to start weening from the shots and the estrogen pills at 10 weeks, which I am so excited for! If I'm honest, sitting is getting pretty painful!

I have talked to the intended parents, mostly the mother, via text messages, and I appreciate our conversations! She is a lot like me, in some ways, so it's nice that we can relate to each other!

For those of you praying, please pray the nausea stays at bay, and that the last ultrasound with the IVF clinic is a good one! We are thinking strong heartbeat and a bigger gummy bear! Will update after the last ultrasound!

Thanks for reading! I appreciate it more than you know!


Monday, August 3, 2015

Results Day

Hi there,

Here we are again, made it to results day! I have to admit, I have been a little distracted with the waiting game this time around since we were getting ready to come back to Kansas, with packing and road tripping it took my mind off of it a little bit! But once the weekend hit, and we were home, I was getting pretty antsy!

So, when I got the call today, I was more than ready! The nurse on the phone said: "Hi Sarah, I have some great news this time! You're pregnant! Your levels look great! Good job, you did it!" Alright, I'm not exactly sure what I did, but who the heck cares! I'm pregnant, peeps! That is all that matters! The nurse said they want the HCG to be above 50 and my level was 137. They want the progesterone level to be above 12 and my level was 19. And while she didn't say what they want my level to be at for the estrogen, it was in the 800's, which she said was great! I will have another blood draw on Wednesday, just to check to make sure the levels are going up, and then if everything is good there, we will schedule the first ultrasound by mid August! That should give enough time for this little bun to get a strong heartbeat we can hear! Right now, I am considered to be 4 weeks and 1 day!

Now, for the confession: I cheated and took a pregnancy test on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Both were positive! By the end of the day on Saturday, I just wanted to know already! Ever since the transfer, I have had this gut feeling that I am pregnant. With the way the doctor and staff reacted to the transfer itself, and how pleased they seem to be, it gave me some courage to take a test. I also had noticed a few symptoms like a heightened gag reflex, sharp pains that only last a quick second in my uterus that continued even after the transfer day, a heightened sense of smell, and just getting clumsy, dropping things mostly. I also was talking to the intended mother via texts messages early on Saturday, and she told me that her and the intended father weren't going to be together today, due to work, and that sort of sealed the deal for me. So, I went and took the test, and Troy told me not to peak and he said he wouldn't either.  The test said to give it 2-10 minutes to view the results, and so I went about my business. About 5 minutes in, I went back upstairs and waited for Troy. He said: "Ok, here we go. I already peaked, and it's negative, except for it's positive!" Little stinker, right?! Pretty sure I had a small heart attack, and for a brief second, I went through going through another cycle in my head. Then when he said it was positive: relief, excitement, happiness, and cue the disconnect between my brain and my body. I gave it about 20 minutes to sink in slightly, and then I called the intended parents! They definitely weren't expecting my call, but were glad to talk! The conversation went like this:

Me: "Hey guys, I just took a pregnancy test, and it was positive!!!"
Them: "Oh. MY. GOD! Wait, what? Are you sure? Take another one!"
Me: "Yes, I'm pretty sure! Let's FaceTime, and I'll show you the test!"
Them: "OH MY GOD!!!"

They were so surprised and excited! They are being really cautious with their excitement but no one can blame them! They've been through a lot to get to this point, and it's only natural for them to feel this way!

For those of you who followed me through my last surrogacy, I talked about feeling as though my brain wasn't connected to my body a lot because I wasn't really registering all that my body was doing with growing a baby with the plans to give it back to the parents. The only thing I can think of for why I feel this way is because when you find out you're expecting one of your own, you immediately start thinking about what life will be like with another baby in the house, another sibling, making room for the baby, and all of that! As a surrogate, I don't have to put thought into any of those things! The pressure is off, for those things and it's the same thing this time around! I'm in a little denial most of the time, except for when I feel those little sharp pains! I'm also really not looking forward to the months of nausea ahead of me! With all three of my last pregnancies, as a surrogate or not, I am usually really nauseous by week 6. I'm just gonna take it as it comes at this point, and do what I can to feel good and keep this baby healthy!

So for those of you that are praying and sending good thoughts and vibes out this way, THANK YOU!!!! Thank you so much for taking the time, even just for a minute! At this point, I would ask for all of your prayers, thought and good vibes to be directed towards another great blood draw on Wednesday, and for a good strong heartbeat after that! This little bun has some plans, I can tell!! :)


Monday, July 27, 2015

Transfer #2!

Hey everybody!

Just thought I would give this blog an update after transfer #2 just happened on Friday! We have been in New Jersey since June 26th and so I've been going to a different monitoring clinic for all my blood draws and ultrasounds before the transfer. The vibe towards surrogates in New Jersey is definitely very different than Kansas. The clinic where I have been monitoring at, while nice and did their job, was very standoffish, and the doctor barely looked at me for the appointments that required an ultrasound. It's been a little weird in that sense, but I guess there is a reason why surrogates are illegal in New Jersey! Once I do become pregnant, per our contract, I am not allowed to travel to New Jersey, and five other states like it who are not okay with surrogacy after my first trimester. It would be a complete disaster legally if I were to unexpectedly go into labor!

Everything has pretty much been the same leading up to this transfer with a few variations. At my first blood draw and ultrasound, everything looked good uterus-wise, but they asked me to increase my estrogen pills a little earlier than previously done with the last cycle. On my third blood draw, a week before the transfer, my blood was drawn again, and instead of getting the go ahead from an email sent by the clinic in Connecticut, I got a phone call. As I was picking up the phone call, I started to panic just a bit. It turns out, my uterus is perfect. She said that if they could take a picture of a uterus and paste it into a text book for what a uterus is supposed to look like before an embryo transfer, mine would be the picture they would paste! But what they were having a hard time with was the level of estrogen in my blood work. The reason I take estrogen pills during a cycle is to build the lining of my uterus to a desired thickness that is comfortable for an embryo to latch on to. While it was building the lining well, the nurse said I was metabolizing the estrogen pills quicker than most, and so that is why I was getting a little discrepancy in my blood work. So, with that, they have added an extra shot of estrogen that has to be injected into the same area as my progesterone shots (in my buttox), twice a week. So Saturdays and Wednesdays, my butt gets two shots in one day. I am extremely sore already, and standing still during a shot is getting harder and harder, but it's all for a great reason! Positive visuals are my friend during these shots. Seeing a newborn baby in the arms of his parents mostly is what I picture! :) The first shot seemed to have improved my blood work greatly because the nurse emailed on Monday afternoon after my blood work that morning and she was pleased with the numbers and ready for transfer day!

Since we have been in New Jersey, we traveled to Connecticut by car. I was definitely glad not to have to get on a plane again! It was about an hour and forty-five minute drive, but with traffic, it took more like three hours, there and back! Frustrating, to say the least! Troy and the kids were my companions this time around and it was nice to see their faces when the transfer was done! The intended mother picked me up from the hotel before the transfer and we had lunch together. In the few days leading up to the transfer, I just had a different overall vibe this time around. I can't quite put my finger on it, but just to say that this time feels different. We arrived to the clinic in time for my acupuncture treatment. This time, it was done by a Chinese acupuncturist, which I took to be a good thing, and a different doctor performed the transfer too! The acupuncture treatment this time was completely different than the first one I had last time. She focused the laser on more spots all over my body and also included some acupressure at the end to help with blood flow and relaxation. I was definitely more relaxed this time around!

Once the treatment was done, it was time for the transfer! After checking to make sure my bladder was full enough, the doctor came in to talk to us about the embryo they had unfrozen that morning and to see if we had any questions. I got to thinking, this is my fourth round of IVF. I don't really have any questions at this point, I just want them to tell me that what they are doing will work, guaranteed! That's obviously not something they can do, but a girl can hope, right? The doctor was incredibly nice. He sat down, and showed us a little picture of the embryo, and explained to us the grading that they give embryos. He told us not to get too hung up on the grading, it doesn't mean anything significant with regards to successes apparently. He did tell us that in the few hours after they had unthawed the embryo, it had expanded 5% more than what it was frozen at, which was a great sign! They recorded that 100% of the cells survived the unthawing, even better, and by the time of the transfer, the embryo had expanded to a total of 25% more than what it was frozen at! Yay! Great signs!

When doing the transfer, it is very much like getting a pap smear, but with an extremely full bladder and a nurse pushing on my uterus with an ultrasound wand to let the doctor see where he is placing the embryo. The embryologist came in and handed the doctor the tube with the embryo in it, and the doctor inserted that tube into my uterus through a path he had been mapping out. Like I said, I have done 4 of these so far, and I have not seen anything like this one! Once the little tiny catheter was inserted, it was time to deposit the embryo. You can see it on the ultrasound. It's a tiny little while dot. This time, it shot right out of the tub and flew to the top of my uterus! The entire room gasped and started immediately saying: "Wow, that's awesome! We couldn't hope for a better situation" "This is a fantastic transfer and it's the best one I have seen all day, and I have done a lot of transfers today!" They kept going on and on to the point where the intended mother and I had to ask:"Do you say this to all of your transfers?" They, of course, said no, and continued to gush over the transfer and how well it went!

I was allowed to get up and empty my bladder right away, which was great and much needed, and then went to a recovery room to get my post transfer acupucture treatment.  I was still really relaxed and just tried to calm my nerves about the whole thing as best I could! Now, the waiting begins...again! lol The pregnancy is August 3rd. We are leaving to come back to Kansas on Thursday and I'm hoping it will distract me enough for a few days at least, until then! I may sound like a broken record at this point, but if you're reading this, just keep me and the intended parents in your prayers, and keep thinking sticky thoughts! I will be back with an update after the pregnancy test! I'm thinking positive and am looking forward to the results!

Sticky thoughts and prayers, people! :)

Thank you for reading!


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pregnancy Results

Hey all,

I'm sure you are all waiting for an update.  What a long ten days it was waiting for the blood test that would give us the results of this transfer. Unfortunately, I am not pregnant. Wah, wah, waaaahhhh....

Yes, it blows. Blows bad! Like a ginormous elephant just had to blow his nose, and missed the tree as his tissue and you're standing right next to the tree, blows. Like my visual? But what can you do? We have all been anxious, and nervous, and talking about it over the last ten days. I talked with the intended parents a few times during the waiting period and they were so hopeful and excited and so anxious to know.

Yesterday, I went in for the blood draw and was a total mess! I was nervous, my stomach was a little off, and I couldn't sleep passed 5:30 am. The test was at 9:00 am and we got the results around 2:00 p.m. It was a very long five hours for sure. The nurse was nice on the phone and tried to handle the information she had to deliver gracefully, but it must really blow to have to make phone calls like that every day or even once a week, or however much it happens. She told me that it was nothing that I did or didn't do, which I know in my head, but part of me will always wonder. The odds were definitely in our favor, and the doctor himself told the intended parents that he really didn't have a medical explanation for why the embryo didn't attach, just that this is sometimes just one of those things. Not great to hear, especially when you just want an explanation for what went wrong. I asked what we could do differently the next time around and he really said there was nothing they would change. They were pleased with the quality of the embryo, and with how my body responded to the protocol with the medicines and the shots during the cycle. Again, just one of those things. I was told to discontinue all my meds and shots, and to expect my period within the next week or two.

So...after taking some time, I spoke with the intended mother over the phone. They are both obviously disappointed and were very hopeful that this would yield a positive result. But they are also ready to move on, and try for another cycle.

I say, why not?! There are no reasons for why I couldn't go straight into another transfer cycle after I get my period.  So, that is what we are doing. At this point, we are just waiting for my period, so that we can start with the Lupron shots and be on the way to building my uterine lining again. We might have to do a week of birth control just to make sure my own biology doesn't kick back into gear and try to ovulate. The nurse was worried that if we went straight to the Estrogen pills and didn't do the birth control or Lupron, that I might ovulate through the estrogen pills, which would not be ideal. Just part of the process. It takes a good three weeks to do build the uterine lining, so we are aiming for another transfer by the end of July.

Truthfully, this process is exhausting. I felt defeated, weary, and overall sad. I'm sure the intended parents had those feelings, and a thousand more! I can't imagine what they have been through over the last few years with their own trying. I wish I could have a baby for everyone with a struggle! They want another child so bad, I can taste it. I want to provide that for them, and we are in this together! I will do what it takes to give that to them. I definitely knew this was a possibility when I signed myself up to do this again, but of course, hoped it wouldn't take more than one try! This is just the nature of this process, and while extremely disappointing, I tried to prepare myself for this side of things as much as I prepared myself for a positive result. I'm actually looking forward to a little bit of a break from the daily shots of progesterone with the large needle that has to be injected intramuscularly (in my upper butt area). I was starting to get really sore! There's always a bright side, right?

There is a possibility, if the doctor recommends it, that we may transfer in two embryos this next time around, but that is yet to be determined. It will require a little amendment on our contract, but not a big deal. Everything is negotiable, right?!

So, going forward, I want you all to know that I appreciate your support and kind words more than you know! Sharing this news is a little hard, but I am keeping my eye on the prize! I will keep you all updated as we start moving forward with this next cycle. Until then...pray, think happy thoughts, send good vibes, do whatever you do...we need extra this time! :)

Will update when there is something to update!
Thank you so much for reading!!


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Now we wait...

Hey all,

It's been a busy month here just getting ready for the embryo transfer and preparing my body to give this little embryo the best odds he or she has of feeling comfortable enough to stay awhile! The last I left you with, I was asking you to think sticky thoughts and pray sticky prayers. I am still asking for those!

For the two to three weeks before the transfer, I was preparing my uterus for the embryo transfer. That included all of the meds like the estrogen tablets and progesterone shots with the large needles and a few other meds that are to be taken for the 5 days leading up to the transfer. My upper hips are really sore already. It hurts a little when I walk, and definitely to the touch. Hopefully, this part will be worth it! If the embryo transfer was successful, the progesterone shots will continue until week 12 of pregnancy. Yay! (loads of sarcasm here if you didn't catch that!)

Throughout the weeks leading up to the transfer, I was going to appointments at a nearby monitoring clinic that are able to send results to the fertility clinic in Connecticut on the same day. There was mostly blood work ordered to make sure the levels of estrogen and progesterone were rising appropriately, but also a few ultrasounds to get a base measurement of my uterus lining and another a week before the transfer to make sure the medicine did its job. A week before the transfer, my uterus lining was nice and thick, at 10.7 mm and the clinic said it looked great, but that my estrogen levels were slightly low, and to add one pill to my morning and evening dose. That seemed to have done the trick since my levels were checked again the day of the transfer and everything was right on track!

My dear friend, Krista, came with me for the transfer trip. Troy had to work some and he was able to help with the kids as well, and I was very thankful to leave them in such good hands. Helped me relax, which was key! Krista was a little freaked out about giving me my progesterone shots but she did great!

The transfer was set for June 8th, and we got there on the 6th, and were able to do some exploring of New York City together and we enjoyed our time! If you are ever in the city and want a great place for brunch, the Boathouse in Central Park is amazing! Such beautiful scenery and great food!

The closer the transfer was getting, the more nervous I was feeling, but it was great to spend some time together just us girls, and that definitely helped to ease some of my nerves!

About a week before the transfer, the fertility clinic contacted the intended mother and asked her if she would be interested in a laser acupuncture treatment for me. After telling me about it, I decided that we should go ahead and try it! The clinic we have been working with is the only one in the state of New York that offers laser acupuncture and they have found that in a lot of cases, offering it to women right before and right after an embryo transfer can increase the woman's chances of a successful transfer by up to 15%. Why not, right? It was a quick procedure and the acupuncturist was very passionate about her job and knowledgeable about the process and their benefits. She put me at ease almost immediately! The laser did not feel like anything, and all the acupuncturist did was count the beeps the laser would make in certain areas of my body. The inside of my ears, the middle of my forearm, a couple of spots on my legs, and feet and two spots right over my uterus. The idea is that these areas, when stimulated, can help promote blood flow to the uterus and can also minimize uterine contractions which are both good things when wanting an embryo to implant! The same areas were again lasered right after the transfer, but this time the area over my uterus was not touched.

The transfer itself went great as well! Since we are working with frozen embryos this time around, the embryologist unthawed one of the four embryos the morning of the transfer. It survived the thaw, and was even starting to grow more just in the few hours between the thaw and the transfer. Good signs! The night before and an hour before the transfer, I was required to take a little bit more progesterone in different forms. I was also required to have a very full bladder. I apparently had not drank enough because when they checked my bladder, it wasn't full enough, so they asked me to drink some more. They checked my bladder three times and I drank 48 ounces of water in about a half hour to help things along. I was pretty uncomfortable by the time the transfer was happening, as I'm sure you can imagine! My bladder needed to push on my uterus just right so as to create an angle that would make it best for the embryo to settle in. When everything was ready, the embryologist came into the room where Krista, the intended mother, the doctor and one nurse, and I were waiting. They made sure we were identifying the proper embryo for the intended mother and that I was the right oven! My uterus lining had grown to 11.7 mm and the doctor was pleased with that. He kept saying "perfect" and so we decided that it would hopefully be a continuing theme for this whole process! A perfect, sticky process! We were all able to see the embryo being transferred into my uterus. It was such a bright light, and so hard to miss! Once the transfer was completed, I was able to empty my bladder, and get ready for the last laser acupuncture treatment. I asked the doctor about what he thought our chances were of this being successful and he said 60-70% including the acupuncture success increase! Those aren't bad odds!

The intended parents, Krista and I all drove back to the city together! The intended mother wanted me to sit in the front seat with it fully reclined and with my feet up, and so that is what I did. I was told to take it easy for the rest of the day, and since we had done so much walking and sightseeing in the city for the last two days, we were happy to oblige. We got some food delivered and just enjoyed the calm and rest! Our flight was early the next morning and so we got some sleep and prepared for the flight back.

Now the wait...It. Is. Torture!!! The pregnancy test is on Wednesday morning. It's a blood test like last time which is the most accurate this early! I am so anxious for the results. I have experienced both phone calls, the unsuccessful transfer, and the successful transfer, and we all can guess which one is the best! It's nerve racking, and I can't imagine how the intended parents are feeling! It is only 10 days from the transfer but like I said...torture.

So for the next three days, I need all of your prayers, and well wishes, and sticky thoughts to continue! We should get the results by mid afternoon, and I will try to update either that day, or the next day depending on the results! PRAY PEOPLE!! I'm so nervous and am trying to stay calm and am doing everything I'm supposed to do but the not knowing is exhausting in a lot of ways!

Thanks for reading, and for the support!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Contract and Cycle Time!

Hey all,

I always feel like I have to apologize for the length of time between some of my blog posts! AHH! Sometimes though, the thought of typing everything up is somewhat daunting, because that means it's actually happening. And happening it is!

The last time I updated, I was just newly matched with the new intended parents. We have since met each other in person and attended the medical screening together as well! It was great to spend some time with them and meet their adorable little girl. She will make a great big sister! (Fingers super crossed!)

I feel like I need to mention a few things about the fertility clinic that we have been dealing with. Since the beginning of working with them, they have struck all of us as very. thorough. I say that with a nice semi-sarcastic smile on my face. For those of you that know me well, you know that smile well too! The paperwork they sent me to fill out before my medical screening was 12 pages long! I think most of the paperwork was geared towards infertile couples hoping to carry their own baby through the help of the clinic, but I was still asked to fill it out. The second big issue that was raised was about my BMI. I just need to pause for a minute and say that the subject of my weight is a touchy one for me. I feel like I have struggled with it my whole life, and in the last 2 years, I have really made a strong effort, even when pregnant with my last surrogacy pregnancy, to stay healthy and eat the right things and not give into my cravings for fast food and junk. So when the topic of my BMI came up, I was a little caught off guard. This clinic is the third clinic I have worked with throughout my journey as a surrogate. This was the first time that my BMI has come up. The way the process works normally is that the intended parents have been working with a clinic where their embryos are. This was the case with my last journey and also with the first failed attempt. In this particular case, the intended parents have their embryos somewhere else, and so they have the freedom to chose a clinic to work with. The clinic we are working with was highly suggested through the surrogacy agency because of their success rate at getting surrogates pregnant. That is a good thing, and I have had to remind myself of that fact a few times during this process. When we attended the medical screening, we sat and talked with the fertility doctor for about an hour.  He was fantastic! Totally personable, very interested in what I had to say, was definitely making sure I wasn't crazy for wanting to do this again, especially after he heard my last birth story lol.  I have nothing but good things to say about him! He even called me personally after our appointment to ask me which form of medicine I would prefer when we got to the cycling part of things. I took that as a good sign that I would be approved to move on as a surrogate for the intended parents and to work with their clinic. They took 11 vials of blood from me, and only 3 from Troy. For Troy, it was to test his blood to make sure he didn't have any STD's he could pass along to me while pregnant, just like last time. The amount they took from me was also to test for STD's but also check my hormone levels, thyroid and whatever else they could think of. I was also weighed there, which I knew was coming thanks to the agency. They gave me the heads up. For the month leading up to the medical screening, I started getting really strict on my calorie counting, and kept my same morning workout routine that I do at home. It is vigorous exercise, and I hate it, but I'm sweating 5 minutes into it, and at the end of it, I'm glad I finished it! As most of you know, I'm pretty short. 5 ft 2 inches on a good day! There's not much space for the extra fluff to go, if you know what I mean! Anyway, I lost 12 pounds before the medical screening and was feeling pretty great about myself and what I had accomplished. So when the issue about my BMI came up, I was a little defeated. I had met their requirements but just barely, and so they wanted me to have a Skype meeting with their nutritionist on staff at the clinic, just to cover all of their bases. That Skype meeting went great! She told me that I was on a great track and to keep doing what I was doing, but to add a little more calcium into my diet. Noted, and done!

Then came the signing of the contract! It took a little longer than my last signing with the last intended parents, as each intended parents are different, as is the journey itself. I'm not sure I completely realized how different it really can be. Don't me wrong, not in any shape or form a bad thing, just different!

So now, since the contract is signed, and the fertility clinic informed us that I had officially passed the medical screening, it was time for a cycling schedule! Cycling just means that I am preparing my body for the embryo transfer with the required medications and shots, and attending the monitoring appointments to make sure that the medications are doing their jobs. We are back to thinking thick and sticky thoughts, people! We need a good oven again!

So, last Friday I received my shipment from the pharmacy with all of my supplies and medications that I will need to get ready for the embryo transfer.

The picture on the left is my Lupron shot. I have to give it to myself every night. It's just the shot in my tummy with a small needle. No biggie, though I may have slightly hyperventilated when I had to give it to myself the first night! The picture on the right is of everything I have to take between now and the embryo transfer. The big shots with progesterone are coming, and that is what I am really not looking forward to!

So, I am down another 5 pounds since the medical screening, and am trying to lose as much weight as I can before the embryo transfer. Pointless, some might say, but it makes me feel better, and hopefully won't be as difficult to pick up where I left off and get back right on the weight loss train after this pregnancy! A girl can hope right?!

For those of your wondering about baby Alice, she is doing well! They send me texts here and there about her and it is definitely nice to know she is growing and learning to eat new foods, she even has her first tooth! I have a FaceTime meeting with them tomorrow afternoon, and I am excited to see them and catch up! Our last conversation was slightly uncomfortable and tearful, but all is good! They weren't aware that I had decided to pursue another journey and were a little caught off guard and sad. They had decided that in the event that they wanted to give Alice a sibling, that they wanted to do it with me, or with no one! I was not prepared for that, and I immediately felt sad and so we had our moment together via FaceTime with some tears. They also told me that while they would like another sibling, that they're not sure if it is reasonable and practical for them at this point in their life. They are so thankful and over the moon for their daughter, and couldn't ask for anything better in her.

The embryo transfer is scheduled for June 8th! We are doing one embryo transfer, and I've been told the odds are 40-50% success rate that it will take. Pray and don't stop until I tell you to! I will be back  with an update as soon as I have something to update you with! Don't stop! :)

If you have any questions, or are wondering anything, I am happy to answer! Send me a private message, I'm an open book! :)


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Getting matched!

Hi everyone!

Well, I have lots to update on. When I wrote my last blog post, I was in the early stages of starting back up again with the agency and getting the paperwork going. This process has gone much faster this second time around! I actually can't remember doing half of this stuff, but somehow it got done or I wouldn't have been able to complete my first journey.

I was assigned a social worker that works at Circle to help with the screening of me as a surrogate again and she also assists with matching me with a couple when that stage comes. Once all of my paperwork and medical records were reviewed by the doctor's at circle, and the legal team signed off on my insurance policy, we were good to go with matching. During one of my first conversations with the social worker, she asked me some questions about what I was expecting for this last journey of mine. I told her pretty much that I wanted to work with a couple that lives here in the United States and that I was thinking it would be nice to work with a couple who doesn't have a child yet. Then came the funny part. The social worker calls me on the phone, which I thought was weird because all of our previous conversations have been via email for the most part. So I answer the phone call, and she asks the typical, hey how you doing, great thanks, blah blah. Then, hey by the way, Kansas has a law for surrogates that they are only allowed to carry for intended parents where the embryo is 100% biological theirs. So the use of egg donors to conceive would not be allowed. When I had talked to her earlier in the week, she had told me that they had three couples that were a potential match for me and they were still figuring a couple of things out, legally, but looked like three was a good number to start with the matching process. When she found out the information about Kansas and egg donors, that brought the 3 down to 1. One awesome couple. The second reason why she was calling me was because of our earlier conversation and me saying that I was hoping to work with a couple who doesn't have a child yet. The one couple left after the news from Kansas, have a child. She wanted to make sure I was ok with that. I don't know why, but I paused for a second. After some talking some more with her, I told her that I wanted to go ahead and move forward with the matching process with this couple and receive their profile. Once I got off the phone with her, I called Troy. He is my "support person" after all. I told him the whole story and the two minute conversation went like this:

Troy:"So, what's the problem? Why do you think you have the right to decide who gets a child or not?" "If Hanah and Caleb (my twin sister and brother in law, who are struggling with secondary infertility) asked you to become their surrogate, would you say no because they already have Bailey?"
Me: "Heck no!"
Troy:"Okay, then what is the difference? Does this couple not deserve a second chance to complete their family with a second child because they already have one?
Me: "Okay, you've made your point!" :)

Then, just like that, I was completely on board, and didn't think twice about my decision to tell the social worker to send me the intended parents' profile.

So I received it. This is their first time trying a surrogate. They are a such a sweet couple who have been through a lot and don't really believe that this process is finally happening for them. They live in New York, and have a young daughter. I am going to respect their privacy and that is all I will say about them for now.

We met on FaceTime last saturday night, and it was so nice to get to know them a little bit besides what we had seen on paper, and the same for them as well, I'm sure! So, we are officially matched! I really do believe that this is going to be a great last journey for me!

The medical process will be slightly different this time around since we will be using frozen embryos that the couple has made, instead of the fresh embryos I did with the first intended parents. I will also be working with a different clinic, as the couple has chosen a clinic located in Connecticut. Yes, the other one was in Connecticut as well!

I actually did a little bit of research on the clinic after I read the intended parents' profile and knew who we would be working with. They seems like a great clinic and I actually learned something new. The powers that be in the field of fertility medicine, recommend that only one embryo be transferred in, if the woman is under the age of 35 and has a good chance of achieving pregnancy! After my first experience with the very first intended parents who had frozen embryos, I was a little worried that if we only transferred in one, we might not have great news to report. But after talking a little more with  the clinic over the phone and discussing some logistics, I feel great about transferring one in! But that doesn't mean I won't be needing your prayers and well wishes, and good thoughts headed my way! It is still a science and still so much unknown and unpredictability! I, of course, am going to do everything on my part to ensure that this little embryo has the best chance of latching on! Think sticky thoughts!

Coming up next month will be the medical screening. It requires me and Troy to fly to the clinic in Connecticut. They will be taking blood work from the both of us, just to make sure we do not have any diseases that could pass to the baby. They will also be checking out my downstairs to make sure there aren't any polyps or anything that might not make my uterus a cozy little oven for a baby. They will perform a saline sonogram which includes injecting a couple of teaspoons of saline into my uterus, but is not painful other than a little cramping during that time. After that, we will be free to go and visit with the couple and get to know them a little bit more face to face! The result of the ultrasound and our blood work should take a week, and then we will be good to move forward with the next step medically.

That next step can't happen until we have agreed upon and both parties have signed the Carrier Agreement. Should be the same as my last contract, with a few minor changes, but otherwise, not something new to me! Once that is done though, it will be embryo transfer time! The weeks leading up the transfer, I will start medication and start the twice a week monitoring with the clinic here that can send same day results to the clinic in Connecticut. I am definitely not looking forward to the shots again, but it's only for three months! :)

For now, we just use the time to keep getting to know the couple via facetime and preparing for what is ahead! I will keep you all updated as progress comes! Thanks for reading, please don't stop praying, and I appreciate all of your support! :)



Thursday, March 5, 2015

I have some news!

Hello people!

I realize it has been a while since my last post but I finally have some news to share! I have officially decided to be a surrogate...ONE MORE TIME!!!

This will be my second and last time as a surrogate and to be honest, I'm kind of more excited that I thought I would be at this point. I just went to my doctor for my annual check up and she gave me the OK to have another baby, and even put it on paper for me so that I could send it in to the agency! So much easier this time to get that beloved piece of paper.

I can't tell you what really solidified my decision to rent out my oven again, other than this feeling that I can't seem to shake. I feel like I am supposed to do this one more time. Like, there is one more couple out there, just waiting for a surrogate to deliver them their baby. I can do that right? One of my friends that was pregnant with me at the same time last time, reminded me of something I said to her while I was pregnant and very uncomfortable. I told her to tell me I was crazy if I talked about doing this again lol. But the timeline of the last pregnancy is the same as this. It is 9 months. There is an end to some of the misery that comes with pregnancy. The truth is, I felt great with this last pregnancy, once the nausea was over with and I could control the heartburn towards the end. The payoff of seeing the joy in the parents' face when they are handed their newborn baby is more than enough to tough the 9 months out. I mean, really! I'm healthy, able, and willing to do this one more time. I ask myself a lot if I would regret not doing something when I am contemplating it, and the answer to this one is yes, I would regret it if I didn't do surrogacy again. So here I am! I know, I know, I'm crazy! You can say it, I know some of you are at least thinking it! :)

Baby Alice is almost 7 months old! Can you believe that? A lot of people have asked me how I am feeling since the birth and whether in the days and months that have passed, if I feel sad or regretful in any way that I don't have the baby. NOPE! Not at all! She was never mine to begin with and I don't have any sadness or regret! I actually feel like giving birth to Alice was something I did more than a decade ago or even in a passed life! It's weird to think that I gave birth to a human being 7 months ago! I kept saying during the whole pregnancy that it was like my brain and my body weren't attached because of the lack of emotion that I felt regarding the baby and any kind of attachment you would feel carrying your own child. Apparently, that hasn't changed even after birth and throughout the passed months! Maybe that's the way it should be?

I have been back in contact with the surrogacy agency and will be working with them again during this second and last journey. They were great to work with the first time, and I don't anticipate them being any different this go round! Being a surrogate the second time around is much easier than the first and far less time consuming. I did have to reapply and submit my latest medical records from Alice's birth, otherwise, I am good to go! I could potentially be matched with a couple next month! I realize, of course, that this second journey may not go as smoothly or as easily. I may not get pregnant on the first try, or I may end up on bed rest due to complications or being pregnant with twins. These are risks I am willing to take as I am fully aware of the large realm of possibilities. In the meantime, I would appreciate your prayers and good thoughts sent my way. One try and a healthy pregnancy would be the most ideal but I am committing to this knowing that it may be a longer journey. The payoff is worth it though. Keeping my eye on the prize! :)

I will, of course keep you updated as things progress. I appreciate the support more than you know, and am looking forward to this next journey and the love and joy it will bring to a couple who so has a desire for a child of their own.

Thanks everyone, I will be in touch! :)