Friday, June 28, 2013

2nd trimester fun... Surrogate Side

I cannot believe the second trimester is here!  With all of the waiting and whatnot, I really thought this time would never come.  Not to mention the yucks of the first trimester!!  Thank the heavens above for no more nausea/sickness!  Yippee!

We had a battery of baby appointments last Friday, June 21st.  Our first entailed a discussion with a nurse to review our medical history.  I have to tell you, if K hadn't been there, it would have been hard.  Doctor's offices don't have surrogacy specific forms for circumstances like this, so the questions were answered as a collaborative effort.  I have to admit, my OB's office had their stuff together and treated K as the parent from the get-go.  When speaking of the baby and things pertaining to the baby in the future, direct eye contact was made with her.  It was a little weird being the patient and not taking the lead on answering the questions, but I gladly took the backseat (seeing as though this IS her baby after all, LOL)!  After all of the paperwork was complete, the nurse did an internal exam to be sure all was happy in there since I had a little bit of an issue the day before with what I thought was odd discharge - but, all is well and my OB just thinks I peed myself.  She would; that is her personality and I love her for it.  (In my defense, I certainly DID NOT pee myself.)

After my internal exam (or maybe it was before, who knows? I'm pregnant and I blame all memory fail on it), the nurse placed the fetal doppler on my belly to hear the butterball's heartbeat.  Usually, they would have to navigate around to find the heartbeat, but that sucker popped right up as soon as it landed on the gel on my belly!  After a few "whoosh, whoosh, whoosh"es, I looked over at K and caught her crying.  So sweet!  I remember doing that for my own as well. That is the most beautiful sound in the world until you hear your baby cry for the very first time.  And then it's when he or she says, "momma" or "I love you"...  You get the point. :)

When we were done with the intake exam with the nurse, we had a meeting with my OB.  I warned K that my OB was "direct".  In fact, the nurse also warned K of my OB being very direct and blunt.  I like that in an OB - no BS for me; just tell me like it is.  I just hoped K was okay with it, too.  Either way, we'll be switching to another OB closer to the end of the pregnancy because K&J decided that they felt more comfortable delivering in a hospital with a NICU onsite.  Completely understandable.  That said, our meeting with my OB went great.  All of our questions were answered -- I can participate in water-park fun until I am 16 weeks along and can get my hair highlighted for my brother's wedding in September...  Phew!! Those were weighing on my mind like you wouldn't believe (wink, wink)!

From there, we stopped by the cafe to grab a bite to eat before our NT scan appointment.  During that time we chatted and caught up on our family stories.  I was heading to Boston for the weekend and then to NYC for a few days in the city and to visit my husband's family.  I learned that K's cousin is also pregnant and due just a couple weeks after us!  How exciting is that??  Their family must be on baby overload!  WooHoo!  When I finished my blueberry muffin and yogurt with granola, we headed towards the diagnostic imaging center down the hall.  Although we had to wait a bit, it really wasn't so bad.  I shared with K that there is a man who looks JUST LIKE Channing Tatum.  I saw him the last time I had an ultrasound there.  I think looking for him kept our interest pretty good.  Too bad he never appeared. 

We were finally called for our ultrasound.  We explained our situation; K was the mom and I was the carrier.  The technician was really nice and was interested in our story.  People always seem to ask the same question - "did you know each other beforehand?"  No, but we know each other now!!!  And very well, to boot!  As the technician started the scan, I could tell that K was nervous.  She wanted everything to be A-okay and I can completely relate.  During the scan, that little butterball in there was a jumping bean.  I could not control my laughter!!!  Every time the technician went to get a heart rate, the little bugger would fling itself like a jumping bean!!  All ended up turning out great and I was finally told the beautiful words that I could now empty my bladder!

After the scan, we headed over to the lab to have my 9,000 vials of blood drawn.  As I walked in, the lady said that I would also need to leave a urine sample.  WHAT????  Couldn't they have told me this before I just relieved myself 2 minutes ago??  That said, I walked out of the lab to meet up with K and explained the situation.  She laughed at me.  We found a water bubbler and I began chugging away.

It was so nice to see K and have her there to experience this with me.  I loved watching her as she listened to and saw her baby.  I am so lucky to have such great IPs.  At the end of the day, we said our goodbyes and looked forward to our next get together -- which will be August 7th for the BIG ultrasound where K&J find out the sex of their baby.  This girl is gonna wait to delivery to find out.  We hope...

Oh yeah!  Can't forget the growing baby belly!!!

(almost) 14 Weeks!

Visit to Carrier and NT Scan.........IP Side

Happy Summer! 

Things have been a little busy with starting a new job and the hubby being extra busy at work as well, but things are going great! Last week I was able to travel to New England and meet our carrier for our NT scan and meet the OB on June 21. Our carrier met me near the hospital and we followed each other to the hospital where we gave each other a big hug and we were excited to start the day! I was quickly introduced to the medical staff at the doctor’s office and I could immediately tell that they adored our carrier, which anyone who has spent 5 minutes with her would tell you she is the sweetest.

I met one of the nurses who did a quick internal exam (our carrier had a little issue a few days prior, but no biggie, all was well). She also checked the baby’s heartbeat with the fetal Doppler and I got teary eyed (okay maybe I cried a little, what can I say). It was amazing to hear! I also met the OB, whom I loved and she spent as much time with us as we needed. This appointment was a little different, because I wasn't the 'patient' this time, but no less exciting. Our ALWAYS carrier does a fantastic job of always making us feel included. Even though she has has obviously been pregnant before, she really makes us feel like this is our pregnancy too,and that is fun to experience and watch.

My hubby and I did decide that we wanted to deliver at a larger hospital about 40 minutes away, in the rare chance we needed a NICU, so we will be transferring to another OB a little later in the pregnancy, which is a little sad because I really liked this OB, but hopefully she understood our feelings as well. We had an opportunity to eat lunch together after and catch up on our families and all of our summer adventures. After this with a VERY full bladder we moved to the next appointment where we had our ultrasound. The staff at the hospital were so accommodating and helpful. It was extra work for everyone to have a few meetings in one day and we really appreciated it. The little gummy bear (or should I say Swedish Fish, since that is the size the doctor said the baby was at the time) was moving all over the place, but we were able to get some good views and the tech told us that everything looked great! BEST NEWS EVER! We are still waiting to hear if the blood work was okay, but hopefully it should be just fine. The next OB appointment will be in a few weeks, and then August 7 will be the next BIG ultrasound. Since it’s summer things seem to be moving along a little more quickly, and I am so happy I was able to see our carrier in person, she looks adorable!
Now, on to the pictures.I think it looks like me!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Oh, happy day... Surrogate Side

After 12+ long weeks of faithfully following medication protocols and taking required hormone supplements, I have made it to the end -- today is my LAST day of medications!!  Woo freaking Hoo!!!  Just last night I was thinking to myself, "tomorrow is it..."  No more patches, no more pills, no more PIO needle fills!  Ahh...  Maybe now I will return to my normal self??  Then again, what is normal ?  Hmm.

That said, this also marks a pretty substantial milestone in this pregnancy -- the end of our first trimester!  That, in itself, is a reason worth dancing for!  I think I may just do that...  The ladies at work will love this one!  (wink,wink)

Oh, happy day!!!  And now on to the bigger and better things relating to pregnancy -- a growing belly, fluttering, kicks and wiggles, gender reveal (for K&J at least - we're keeping it a secret from me!), baby names!  And, bring on the belly pics!!!  Here's one to start it off (besides the bloating pic from week 6, of course).

12 week baby belly!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Things are looking up... Surrogate Side

I never imagined that a surrogacy pregnancy could be so different than my own pregnancies.  Now, don't get me wrong!  I am in no way "complaining" - I am just expressing the differences that this pregnancy presents versus the pregnancies of my own children.  My husband and I were actually discussing this last night.  Let's compare our thoughts:

     ME:  Eh, I've been tired, nauseous and feeling some side-effects 
of the hormone therapy -- Crinone crap, hugely sore boobies, bloating, etc.  
That said, not too bad.  No biggie.

My husband (obviously) has been privy to a boatload of changes in these past few months.  Here's his list... 

HIM:  "You're tired, sick and moody.  I never know which G I'm gonna get.  
I tiptoe around you with the fear that your head will spin without notice."

Well, geesh!  I didn't think I was THAT bad!  My kids don't seem to notice...  Well, at least they can't tell me and continue to treat me as their own local celebrity.

With some further thought, I guess  things have been a bit different.  As I thought last night after our conversation, I realized that there were more dishes left in the sink on a more regular basis.  The laundry would get done, but folding it was not on my priority list and would pile up pretty high.  My floors had more "sprinkles" than ever before.  And, I just felt run-down - like I could sleep for a week. 

But, all that being said, it made me realize and appreciate at a more significant level what exactly I am doing and for whom I am doing it.  I know if K could do this on her own, she would in a heartbeat.  She may even wish she could experience these things on her own - she'd be crazy to want to feel this way, but I can appreciate why.  As much as I try to let K&J know how things are going, I know they aren't able to know everything they want to know as soon as they want to know it.  J can't go over to K's belly and give it a hug or kiss.  K can't caress her belly and sing it lullabies when she sees fit. 

They have given ME this gift of growing their little butterball for them.  They have entrusted in ME that I will take the BEST care of it until they are able to take over.  That has to be the hardest thing to endure.  Who am I to complain about not feeling well, or being tired and nauseous?

Friday, June 7, 2013

11 week mark!! Intended Parents Side

We made it to 11 weeks! We are thrilled to have made it this far! Also, only 1 more week until we are at the '12 week mark' and the end of our carrier's medications. THIS IS A BIG DEAL!!! 

As you can see from her last post, it’s been a roller coaster of a ride over the past few weeks (well months really). Our carrier has had a LONG few weeks, and we hope it's smooth sailing from here. We were able to have another sweet ultrasound yesterday, which was our third to date. Although we weren’t able to FaceTime this ultrasound due to the local monitoring hospitals rules, our carrier and the amazing technician made a 4D video for us! She got a copy of it, and mailed it to our house, isn’t she amazing? But even better she also emailed us a short version of it this morning, and we viewed it with amazement!! Our next large step is our NT Scan and blood work and I’m flying down to Boston for a few days to visit family and friends and then driving to the local hospital where our carrier is having the testing done on June 21. This is a big day for us because: 1) I get to see our carrier again-yay, can’t wait! 2) I get to meet the local doctor who will be taking care of our baby and our carrier for the next 6 months and 3) We get to complete our first trimester screening, which hopefully goes very smoothly! We can’t believe we made it this far, and we couldn’t be more thankful. Stay tuned and thank you for all your well wishes and prayers.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What a long couple of weeks... Surrogate Side

Well, first, let me apologize for the delayed post!  It's been a long couple of weeks with a lot going on!

We had our follow-up ultrasound on May 29th to determine the progress of Twin B (and to see a thriving Twin A - yippee!).  We were able to FaceTime the scan again and I was actually able to have the scan sans "weenie-wand"!  WooHoo!  The warm goo on my belly shot me right back to when I was pregnant with my own children and how excited I would be to see them on the screen.  It's different this time around, as I am now more excited to see the reaction of K&J of their little one on the screen.  Don't get me wrong - it is still SUPER fun to see, but seeing the parents watch their child is the most rewarding part of this whole journey so far.

The ultrasound showed us the same thing as last time - one sac with a magnificent heartbeat (176!) and another smaller sac with no heartbeat.  It appeared to me that the second sac hadn't grown at all, but HOLY SMOKES did Twin A get bigger!!!  And a MOVER, too!  That little gummy bear was wigglin' all around!

This ultrasound marked a big step for me in this journey - I got to be released to my own OB rather than be monitored via the IVF clinic.  I have to say, I was really excited to get to this point.  I really like my OB and her nurses and was excited to share this experience with them; they all have been so excited to be a part of this journey as well!

I had the ultrasound report faxed over to my OB for her review and for my records there.  She called me the very next day and said that she'd like to have another ultrasound in a week to further monitor Twin B - she, too, doesn't believe it will be viable (and I think we're all on the same page at this point).  So, we'll have our 3rd ultrasound this week on the 6th of June.  From there, I really need to get on them about scheduling the NT scan (another ultrasound and blood test combination that screens for any biological complications such as Down's Syndrome).  This special risk assessment is a time-sensitive matter and needs to be completed before I am 13weeks6days along -- right around the corner!!  And, I'd like to get this scheduled ASAP since K (and possibly J) will be coming for this appointment and they'll need to book a flight and make travel accommodations!!  I can't wait to see them!

So, I said that there was a lot going on these past two weeks.  The ultrasound turned out fabulous and I was finally released to my super-fantastic OB - all good things.  There were, however, some not so fun things happening during this time.

To preface, I want to remind everyone that I am still on lots of medications to help make this IVF pregnancy successful.  I am on a hormone regimen that consists of two different types of Estrogen and a Progesterone supplement.  The Estrogen has been simple - take a pill twice a day and change a patch every 3 days.  No big deal.  My Progesterone supplement was awful.  I was taking Crinone (a vaginal suppository) twice a day.  Not that I have to explain this, but that area  is quite sensitive and after about 10 weeks of adding a foreign substance to it twice a day can begin wreaking havoc in there.  That said, my area  was beginning to hurt (burn is more like it).  On Monday, May 27th, I was in touch with my nurse at the IVF clinic and she (sweet, sweet soul) recommended taking a tub and letting it soak while trying to remove all the "excess" Crinone and sleep sans panties for a while to let it "air out".  I almost cried after reading her response.  Those are all things that I did on a regular basis and it didn't work.  I decided to suck it up and put on my big-girl panties for the next day or so.

Nope.  This is not going to work.  The pain has gotten worse.  I contacted the IVF clinic again on May 29th (after our ultrasound) to pretty much say that I was done with Crinone and that I couldn't tolerate the discomfort for the next 3-4 weeks.  Unfortunately, I hadn't heard back from her all day and took it upon myself to go see a doctor.  As I was on my way to the appointment, the nurse from the IVF clinic phoned and said that she is swapping out the Crinone for Progesterone In Oil (PIO) injections.  I couldn't have been more relieved.  I was dreaming of the injections for quite some time now because of my disdain for Crinone.  I let her know that I was on my way to the doctor to be sure nothing more was going on in there.

At the doctor, I was diagnosed with at urinary tract infection (UTI) that was ultimately caused by the stress of the Crinone on my body.  Good thing I followed my instinct and went to the doctor!  An internal exam was performed and my poor area  - it was raw, irritated and inflamed.  Good riddance, Crinone.  No more "what goes up, must come down (but in a less attractive state)".  No more being wet.  No more burning.  No. More. Crinone!  WooHoo!

The next day, I received my couriered med delivery (yes, this lovely woman drove my med package to my home all the way from Massachusetts).  Sweet, sweet lady.  I gave her a bottle of water and some cookies for her time.

I can't explain my next reaction upon opening the package - was it relief to finally not have to do Crinone any more? - was it astonishment and fear when I took a look at the syringes they packed for me? - was it denial that I couldn't have used a syringe that big when I did PIOs before?  Yep.  It was all of the above.

The syringes they supplied me were GINORMOUS!!!!  I was horrified!  There was no way that I used those before.  I wasn't just in denial since the last needles I used were the small ones from the Lupron.  These needles were freaks of nature.

Luckily, I had saved (and I don't know why) my old - but never used, of course - syringes from our failed attempt in December.  I ran upstairs to compare the two needles.  Much to my relief, they were different!  The needles I used back in December were smaller - thank GAWD!  I counted to make sure that I would have enough of the smaller ones for the next 2 weeks of injections - phew...
I believe this is self-explanatory...