Saturday, November 11, 2017

36 weeks and counting!

Hey all,
I am officially 36 weeks and 3 days currently! I cannot begin to describe the level of exhaustion, excitement, and just overall "doneness" that I feel. I know that's not a word, but I'm exercising my right to make up whatever words I want to at this point! Since my last post, I have had a few growth scans to check on the baby's weight and overall health. So far, everything has been right on track with just a few measurements marking her ahead. She has long limbs so we think that could be contributing to the larger measurements sometimes.

At my 28 week growth scan, everything was looking great, she was moving around with fluid levels looking great as well! She wasn't head down yet, but still early in the game at that point, so no need to worry yet.

I always have gotten carpal tunnel pain with every pregnancy I have had except for my very first one. With every pregnancy, the symptoms show up earlier and earlier, and get a lot more intense as the pregnancy progresses and my belly gets bigger. This time, by far, has been the absolute worst. Troy got me some wrist splints/braces to wear at night, and thank GOD for those, as they make it to where I can sleep and not wake up in major pain in the middle of the night. But then, I have to take them off when I wake up and shower, and it is like the floodgates of pain have been unleashed, and it gets very painful, very quickly. I am definitely looking forward to these symptoms getting better after the swelling and overall fluid retention I have experienced with this pregnancy subsides. Will probably be about a month after delivery if it's anything like last time. I am also over being anywhere in public. Thank goodness I work from home. Everywhere I go, people ask me when I'm due, and when they find out I still have as long as I do left, they just look at me with their eyes wide. Do a pregnant lady a favor, and never ask her when she's due. Just tell her she looks great, to hang in there, and this won't be a permanent thing. In some ways, I feel like I have been pregnant for the last 6 years. My body is most definitely done, and now my mental state is done as well. I needed this last pregnancy to solidify that for me, as crazy as that may sound. As a surrogate, it's easy to mentally convince ourselves to do another pregnancy, especially because we know that there are other intended parents out there waiting for their baby, and here we are, perfectly capable of helping them! But three surrogacies is what I'm going to go out with, and hopefully it will be with a bang!

At my 32 weeks growth scan, everything was also looking great! Baby was measuring at 4 lbs and a few ounces, fluid levels were great, and she had moved to the general head down position. Yay! Nothing concerning, and right on track.

I had my 36 week growth scan on Tuesday morning. At this appointment, she was measuring at 7lbs 4 oz, with a margin of error of +/- 17 oz. So she could either be 6 lbs 3 oz, or 8lbs, 5 oz. Insert whatever face you want here! I thought for sure my doctor would want to move the induction day up, as she has been pretty adamant throughout this whole pregnancy that I try to not have another big baby, and to try and avoid the shoulder dystocia we had last time. My doula came with me to this appointment, and we chatted with the doctor about the plans for induction, and what we all envision for the day this baby will make her appearance. My doctor did the Group B strep test as well, and should have the results back from that at my next appointment. Since she was down there, she also checked me. To my surprise, I am currently 1.5 cm dilated, and 60% effaced. So at this point, I will not need to go to the hospital the night before induction for Cervadil. I have been having what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions, but it seems there are real contractions mixed in there too! We will see if I dilate anymore between now and induction day.

So, as of now, the plan is to have one last growth scan at 38 weeks, which will also check on fluid levels. As i'm sure we will just see that baby has gained a little more weight since the last appointment, everything will stay the same. We are planning to induce on November 30th. Since I won't need to go in the night before, I think we will start the induction process a little earlier, so I will need to be at the hospital possibly by 4 or 5 am. My guess is that the actual induction process won't actually begin until closer to 6 or 6:30, since they will be doing the admission process, starting an IV, and getting everything else ready that is needed. It will be nice to be able to shower that morning, and grab a bite to eat so I have some fuel to get me through the labor and delivery.

I have gained a total of 18 pounds so far, and between the swelling, actual baby, and fluid and placenta, hopefully it won't be too hard to get back to pre pregnancy weight.

I am hoping to update before induction, but this may not happen since it could literally be any day now, or at the very most, 19 days and counting! If I don't update before induction, I will definitely update afterwards and recount the birth story! Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers, and keep them coming as I near the end! Thank you for reading as well!


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Over half way there-25 weeks!

Oh my goodness, you guys, I cannot believe that the last time I updated my blog was after the transfer and results, knowing I was pregnant! The summer kind of got away from me. I've been working full time from home, and being full time mom as well! The kids started school last week, which is fantastic, and my summer work schedule is back to me working when kids are in school, and no late night hours! Yay! I had pretty horrible morning sickness that would last all day long, and thanks to a medicine called Diclegis, I was able to keep it under control. It made me even more sleepy than first trimester pregnancy already does, but I would do anything it takes not to throw up, so I was very thankful for this medication!

First, I just want to give an update on my job. I freaking love it! I work with some of the best people! We all have been surrogates before, we all know what it takes, and we all care deeply about our jobs and the impact it has on others that it's just a true blessing to be a part of something so great! I still wake up and wonder sometimes how I got so lucky to have an opportunity like this fall into my lap!

Okay, onto pregnancy stuff. I am currently 25 weeks and 3 days pregnant! After it was confirmed that I was pregnant, the same protocol as I have undergone with previous pregnancies was to be expected. Recheck after a few days to make sure levels are going up, and then confirm the heartbeat at around 6 weeks pregnant. Then after that, a few more ultrasounds at 8 and 10 weeks, to track the growth of the embryo and fetus, and then I was released to see my own OB at 10 weeks. I love my OB. She is on top of it, I trust her wholeheartedly with my care, and she truly understands the delicate situation of being pregnant as a surrogate with Intended Parents involved. Once I was released to see her at 10 weeks, we did a little more blood testing at 12 weeks, which came back normal!

As of Monday, which was my last appointment, I have gained a total of 5 pounds, which my doctor is very pleased with, and so far baby is not measuring crazy big. My intended mother came into town for the 20 week ultrasound, and we also got to tour the new birth place that Olathe Medical Center has built. It's beautiful. The rooms are very spacious, there are air circulating tubs in almost every room so that women can still get it the tub if their water has broken, and we labor and delivery in one room, and then once baby is out, we are moved to a different floor where they have post partum rooms that look like hotel rooms. Very comfortable accommodations for sure! They have been very busy since opening the new birth place, and so we were told that there is a possibility that my intended mother may not have a room at the hospital to be in after baby is born. They will work with her to accommodate the situation as best as possible if that is the case.

The ultrasound went great! We just went to my OB office this time around instead of to a special place with a level two ultrasound machine. My OB's office was able to provide all the information we needed, and did not find any reason for further testing or anything! This little baby girl was only measuring a week ahead at the time which is completely normal for this time frame of pregnancy, all of her organs were present, her kidneys and stomach were functioning well, which means she's getting good practice swallowing and peeing, and it was found that she has very long arms and legs. Her uncle is a tall guy, and there are other people in the family that are tall, so she may just fit right in! We are going to keep track of her growth as closely as possibly as my OB is very adamant that I not have another big baby to push out. She doesn't want to risk the shoulder dystocia that I had last time, and just thinks that overall, a smaller baby is what is best. Since we really cannot control this aspect of things, just going to have growth scans starting here in a few weeks to track the baby's growth, and this will hopefully give us a good idea of what we are working with when it comes to delivery day.

My due date is December 6th, however, we have an induction day set for November 30th. We are inducing for several reasons, a couple of them being so that we can make sure her Mom is there, but also to try to help the big baby situation. I will be 39 weeks on the 30th of November, so hopefully she won't be too big at this point. I am also planning to do no epidural this time around. If you have read my last two delivery posts from my two previous surrogacy journeys, you would know that I have had a terrible time with this! They either kept wearing off, or just didn't work at all! My plan, this time around, is to be induced, but with no epidural or other pain medications (have had experience with those as well, and they are not effective). Yeah, yeah, I'm crazy, I know! I just am really trying to avoid an experience like I have had in the past where I go into the induction thinking: "oh no biggie, I will have an epidural when it gets bad", and then I get the epidural and am confined to the bed because I can't move my legs, but am still in major pain because the epidural hasn't worked. I have also hired a doula for this birth, and I think that with her experience and knowledge about different positions, and strategies to manage the pain, I will get through it just fine! Is it going suck? Most definitely! But I would rather be in control of that suckyness, than be stuck in the bed with no end in sight!

So from here on out, it's just going to be tracking baby's growth, have a glucose test coming up to check for gestational diabetes, and just trucking along. I'm not nearly as uncomfortable as I was with my last surro babe at this point, so I am thankful for that! I started my heartburn medicine a few weeks ago and that has helped tremendously! The carpal tunnel pain that I always experience during pregnancy started a lot earlier this time around, but Troy got me some wrist splints that I wear at night, and they are also helping a great deal! I hope they continue to do so when I get further along! I have also started seeing a chiropractor, which is a first for me, but my doctor seemed to think that it could only help my situation, so I am hopeful and optimistic that with having the best doctor, chiropractic care leading up to delivery, and a doula, I will have a much better experience! This is my last journey, I know I know, I've said that before, but I realized something at about the 15 week mark with this one. Last pregnancy, I was physically done. This pregnancy, I am both mentally and physically done! My brain needed to be the one saying: "no more, Sarah!" and finally that has happened!

My first surro babe will be turning three in two days! Sometimes, I can't believe it has only been three years, but then I also think, man it feels like she should be 18 by now! I should be facetiming with her parents soon, but with the time difference in France, it can be difficult sometimes! My second surro baby just turned 16 months, and he is walking and learning to talk, and is just such a joy for his parents and big sister!

Thank you so much for reading, and while I would love to promise that I will update soon, I'm just going to say that there will be at least one or two more posts before the labor and delivery post.


Friday, March 31, 2017

Transfer Trip and Results!

Hi All!

I told you all I would update at the end of March, and with a few hours to spare, here I am! I left off with my last post about to leave for my trip to Boston for training for my new job with Circle Surrogacy! It was a great trip, once the travel was over, of course! I was able to meet people I have emailed back and forth with a lot, and put faces to names, and train for my new job! Everyone was so nice, welcoming, and helpful! Since I was in town, the marketing department set up for me to have my picture taken for the new website we are working on. We had to take an Uber to a different part of the city and head to the photographer's studio. The photographer was a cool dude. He was quirky, kind, made me feel comfortable, and took about 500 shots! lol. He's photographed people like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Joe Biden, and a few other famous people I did not know. Cool right?! :)  My job is going great! I am learning new things every day, and am so thankful for the opportunity I have been given to help other surrogates who want to help others in the same way!

So I got back from my trip to Boston on February 24th! I was very happy to be home, see the kids, and get my office set up! I went to my first monitoring appointment for the new cycle the day after I got back into town. Hey, it was better than going while I was in Boston! Results came back from that, and turns out the Lupron shots I had kept doing the whole time I was waiting for my period worked, and I started on the regular protocol from there. On day two of my cycle, I started estrogen injections in my hip, and went for another monitoring ultrasound and blood work appointment shortly after that. Everything was going just as it should, and was definitely nice to hear, instead of the opposite like the month before this! The transfer day was set for March 20th, in Connecticut, and I would get to meet my intended mother, some of her family, and get to just spend some time together getting to know each other more! My mom flew with me, and it was nice to have her with me!

After some confirmation from the clinic about a week before the transfer date, my lining was at an 18mm and triple striped! PERFECT for transfer! My mom and I flew out to New York City on Saturday the 18th. We landed in La Guardia after a quick stop in Washington D.C. I was very glad to touch down...HATE FLYING!!! Okay, okay...strongly dislike flying! Once we landed, my intended mother's neighbor picked us up at the airport, and dropped us off in Times Square. Our plan was to see a Broadway show, have some dinner, and then head back to a suburb of New York where my intended mother lives. My mom and I got in line for half price tickets to Broadway show, and we decided to see Cirques Du Soleil Paramour. It was a great show! Love story with acrobatics, singing, and dancing! Those shows never disappoint! My intended mother and I formally met in person, while in line waiting for tickets. She arrived shortly after we had arrived to Times Square, and we hugged in line, and made small talk as we were waiting for the ticket booth to actually open up. Once we had tickets in hand, we decided to do a little shopping for the kids at the M&M store in Times Square. We  had time to take the subway to the New York Public Library. It was beautiful! I had never been so I'm glad that we were able to see that! So much absolutely beautiful architecture. The history of the city really gets me sometimes! After the museum, we decided to grab a bite to eat before the show! We talked a lot through dinner, got to know each other some more, and just discussed some logistics for the next day and transfer day. I was exhausted, I know my mom was too, and we were supposed to come back to the city the next day and go to the natural history museum. The thought of that exhausted me even more, so I asked my Intended Mother (IM), if she would be heartbroken if we skipped coming to the city again, and maybe did something a little more local to her. With it being the day before transfer, I didn't want to completely exhaust myself! After all, transfer day was what we were there for. So we saw the show, and then took the train back to my IM's car in the suburb, and then she dropped us off at our hotel around midnight. We had gotten up around 4 am that morning, so it was a super long day. Was ready for bed for sure!

We slept in a little the next morning, and then headed to brunch with my IM. It was a good meal, more talking, and sharing our thoughts and fears about the situation. She took us to the a mall that was very cool! It had a skating rink in it, all the restaurants were on the first floor of the mall itself. There was go-kart track in the mall, and an obstacle course that was suspended from the kids would've completely gone crazy for it! We spent a few hours, just browsing. They didn't really have any stores that we don't have, but it was nice to just chill and relax! We had dinner at a great little Italian restaurant close to our hotel, and then went back to the hotel after dinner and just sat around and talked.

Transfer was at 2:00 pm the next day. I had to be there for blood work at 12:45, and acupuncture at 1:00. We slept in, and had breakfast at the hotel, and then my IM picked us up and drove us to Connecticut for transfer! No traffic and we made it there on time! Got blood work done, acupuncture done, and transfer was done at 2:00. I FINALLY got to empty my bladder and then had last treatment of acupuncture, then we were on our way! Stopped at McDonald's for a large french fry. Us surrogates swear by them for an after transfer aide to get embryo to stick! There is something called Bromine in them, and bromine is supposed to be really great for embryos sticking, so I ate the whole thing...not gonna lie, it was pretty delicious as they were fresh ones, too! After transfer, my IM drove us to her place, she gave us the tour of her home, and we relaxed on the couch and I ate some pineapple, which also has lots of Bromine in it, but just the core does. It was chewy but I got through it lol.

My IM had planned a meet and greet for her family and friends to stop by and meet me. It was nice to see her support system, and talk to people who care about her, and be able to ease their minds a little about me. I answered questions about my life, about why I want to do something like this, and it was all met with endless thank yous and gratitude!

Our flight was at 9:30 am the next morning, and I was ready to get home! I woke up at 4:30 am with the most intense cramps, so I was walking a little slow that morning and taking it easy at the airport! My IM's neighbor picked us up at the hotel at 6:00 am, and he drove us to La Guardia. We had plenty of time before the flight, but because of how traffic can be in the city, better early than late! Straight flight home, and then touched down in KC! Got home in enough time to pick up my daughter at 2:00 from school! Was exhausted, but so glad to be home, and wait for the blood test on March 29th!

I told myself I wouldn't take a home pregnancy test, and my IM and I had even talked about it, saying that she didn't want to know if I did. By Day 7, I couldn't handle it anymore. On March 29th, I got the official word. Beta HCG came back 115!!! Anything above a 50 is considered great at this point and definitely pregnant! Was told to go back for another blood draw today, and the number needed to at least double. It went from 115 to 240!Yay, more than doubled! So, the 6 week ultrasound is set for the 13th, and we will hopefully be able to see a little heartbeat on the screen, even if we can't hear it! In the meantime, I stay on the morning and night shots, and suppositories until I will be 10 weeks. My butt is bruised and very sore, but 6 more weeks! The end is in sight!

For those of you praying, and sending good thoughts and sticky vibes my way, thank you!!! I will update after my ultrasound on the 13th! Keep all those thoughts, prayers and vibes coming!


Friday, February 17, 2017

I did what?

Hi guys!

So, since my last update, life has gotten a little crazy, with lots of changes, but awesome opportunities.

Shortly after my last entry, I got an email from the IVF clinic saying that because I had already been there for a medical screening with my last intended parents, I wouldn't need to travel this time, and that I could have the blood work and ultrasound done at a local monitoring clinic! I was very excited about that! I don't particularly like flying so I was thankful for that news! Once the medical aspect was done, I would meet with the doctor at the IVF clinic via video conference, chat with him, and then move on to start a cycle!

So in early January, I had the ultrasound and blood work done, video conferenced with the doctor a week later, and then got approved for another journey with my new intended parent. This time around, I will be carrying for a single mother. She is great! She has been through a lot, and while life has happened to her, she knew that being a mother was not something she would be able to let go of, and so she has turned to surrogacy! She appreciates my experience in this process as well, as a lot this whole journey is foreign to her, so it is nice to help ease her mind with some things as much as I can!

So at the end of January, I was approved to start a transfer cycle, and so I started birth control on the 29th of January, then started Lupron shots about a week later.  I got to my first base line ultrasound and blood work on the 6th of February and was told that I ovulated through birth control and Lupron ( a drug that is supposed to suppress my natural cycle). After a recheck a few days later, the clinic sent me a drug called Ovadrel (basically it's a trigger shot to get my ovaries to release all the follicles that were in there) and I am currently waiting for my menstrual cycle to start. The wait is the worst! Once I get my period, I will go into another cycle with slightly different protocol and now instead of transferring on March 3rd, we will probably transfer either the 3rd or 4th week of March.

Remember that research project that my agency, Circle, asked me to do? Turns out, those hundreds of hours of research paid off! A few weeks ago, I was offered a position with Circle as a Surrogate Outreach Coordinator. People, this is sort of like my dream job! I have been begging them to hire me since my first journey, so the fact that this has finally happened isn't all that surprising but totally awesome! I will be one of the first faces a surrogate talks to when she applies with Circle. I will answer questions, help her through the application process and then move her on to the next step after applications. SO excited for this opportunity and am eager to get started!

I fly to Boston, Circle's headquarters, on Sunday for a week of training! Troy is going to be taking the reigns with the kids, doing drop offs, pick ups, packing lunches and anything else my role as mom has required! Pray for him! He has stayed with the kids by himself before but not for this long, nor when the kids had school schedules and places to be! I am confident he will do great, and that the kids will be just as different for him as they are any other time, than when they're with me! :/ lol. When I get back, I will get to work from home, Monday through Friday, while the kids are in school! It's pretty perfect and just the right timing for me to go back to work! I'm excited, stressed, and eager all at the same time!

So, I am currently packing for Boston, waiting for my period any day now, and gearing up for transfer at the end of March! For those of you who have been praying, thank you! Pray that my body cooperates with the medicine and with the cycle, and that I'm where I'm supposed to be for transfer! Also, pray for my flight and trip to Boston, and my flight home! I will update after my transfer, so probably at the end of March!

Thanks for reading!

Sarah Harris
Surrogate Outreach Coordinator (HEHE!!!!!)