Thursday, October 13, 2016

A little getaway before surgery

October is my anniversary month. It also includes a mini Fall break for the kids. During their break from school, they got to spend time with their grandma while the husband whisked me away to the beach for a little early anniversary celebration. We are celebrating 17 years of marriage this year. (If any of my readers have been married for any length of time, y'all know this is no easy feat.) No marriage is without it's trials; it's what we choose to learn from them that can determine what kind of marriage we can have. I'm grateful for the many (and I mean many) opportunities for my husband and I to learn from our trials and grow in our marriage.

It's about a 6 hour drive to FL for us, and we ended up in a bay side condo on Navarre Beach. We were able to leave the windows open, let the breeze in, and listen to the waves.

View from the condo
We took the time to just enjoy being together and even went on a few adventures. We explored some historical sites at the Pensacola Naval Base and visited the National Aviation Museum. We took our obligatory beach dolphin watching cruise where we got to see a few Flippers. We even rented a jet ski for a little bit to have a little fun on the water. We decided that perhaps we are aging out of those kinds of adventures, haha!!

We traveled to the Orange Beach area to visit one of our favorite places

Us- about to enjoy some FABULOUS beignets at Brick & Spoon
After 4 days, it was time to head back home and get ready for the surgery. The pre-op appointment was easy enough of course. The next day, we had to be at the hospital at 9a to prepare for the procedure at 11a. My husband was with me the whole time; he takes care of me well.

Looking unafraid ....I'm lying.
I was super nervous about the anesthesia. It's a very vulnerable thing to know you are going to put to sleep and be at the mercy of total strangers with none of your own control. That's some fear right there. Thankfully, I had a wonderful team who made me feel as comfortable with the procedure as possible. All in all, it went very quickly. My team wheeled me back to the OR around 10:30a and I was at home resting by 1p. My doc shared some photos of my uterus -- showing off her work. ;)

Polyps circled on left; all clear on the right!
I spent the rest of the day sleeping off the anesthesia. And today I'm back to normal with no cramping or spotting. I have no activity restrictions other than vaginal rest (no intercourse, tampons, douches, etc) for 2 weeks. I hope to get medical clearance to carry again at my post-op appointment on October 26.

I have not heard from K & J, or their attorney regarding their decision of legal liability in the matter. We have reached out several times, but with no response. I am ready to put that journey completely behind me and move forward in my search for another match. I may have some prospects in the works, but it's a bit too early for me say at the moment. You'll have to check back in for that update!


Monday, September 26, 2016

Going under (the knife?)

I'm back with an update -- I was hoping to have the legal side of things cleared up before I posted but I'll share where I'm at so far...

My consult with my OB was rescheduled for another day due to my doc having to deliver during my appointment time. The nerve of that laboring mama, right? ;) I did eventually have my consult about having these polyps removed. I shared the medical notes from the saline sonogram with my OB. Initially, the nurse performing the ultrasound said my polyps were "tiny." However, my OB said they were a "pretty good size." Those are my relative terms. I guess I agree with the "good size" description since my cycles have been AWFUL! I don't want to share TMI, but I literally can't go anywhere for the first 2 days of my cycle due to heavy bleeding and horribly painful cramps. I have never had cramps like these in my life. These symptoms have been present since the chemical pregnancy back in January. I knew they were likely from the hormonal changes from the IVF medications, but I didn't realize they would be permanent! So, surgery is my only option to take back my life from these monster cycles.

My d&c is scheduled for Oct 12. It will be an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia. I did not realize that I have to be asleep for this procedure. I am a bit nervous, I confess. But it has to be done, so on we march!

As for the legal side of this situation, it is still being "discussed" among the attorneys. The discussion is revolving around whether the IVF medications actually led to the development of the polyps. If they did, then the IPs would be contractually liable. Their attorney is stating that there's no proof that the medications caused the polyps, therefore the IPs shouldn't be liable for the cost of removal. *cue my eye roll here*

A very simple internet search can you tell that polyps are a very common side effect of IVF medications. K's previous doctor told her that as well as my OB. But the attorneys need it in writing from a doctor. *cue another eye roll* My OB will not put this in writing for me as part of a legal document because I was not in her care during the IVF medications and procedures. K's doctor does not consider me a patient -- K is the patient, not that doctor cannot offer that. And of course, the clinic we previously worked with did not diagnose the polyps, so it's doubtful they would provide documentation of the cause.

It goes without saying that had our journey continued as we agreed, the IPs would have been responsible for the procedure in order to move forward with the next transfer attempt. Since they broke the contract before that could happen, this now seems to be a grey area in the contract.

While I do want to carry again, in light of this current situation, it's highly unlikely that I will carry with the same agency. I'm not feeling very confident in their abilities or desire to be an advocate for the surrogates as well as they are for their intended parents. (And I never even shared here about some issues with the previous surrogacy.) I'm certainly not comfortable with the surrogacy agreement resulting in me being left with a large medical bill as well my husband's personal time off from work to care for me during recovery. As this looks to be the likely case, it seems that perhaps I could not afford to work with this agency again. It's obviously my personal belief that the surrogate should not be left financially responsible for any medical procedures that are a result of the surrogacy agreement.


Other than all of the above, life has been pretty good to me these days. My oldest child at home just turned 16, got his permit, and got a job. He's working to save for a car.

My youngest (the one with the football) plays flag and is his team - that his daddy coaches - is currently undefeated.

The husband took me to see Boyz II Men with The Nashville Symphony. It was a super fun date night!

All in all, things are going well at the moment.

I do hope to seek another match after my procedure and complete a third (and most likely final!) journey. Stay tuned, friends!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Big, BIG changes


I don't even know where to begin this update. So much has happened in this journey in the past 3 weeks. This is a heavy hearted updated as this surrogacy journey has come to a close. K abruptly decided to no longer continue egg retrievals for the purpose of this surrogacy.
Here's how we got here:
You'll remember that K made the decision to switch clinics and I was to have another saline sonogram performed for our new doctor. I was fortunate to be able to have this sonogram rather quickly on August 8. The appointment went well, and my results were sent to the clinic.

I spoke with K regarding the appointment while we waited to hear back from the doctor. The sweet practitioner that performed the ultrasound noted 2 very tiny polyps in the uterine lining. K's doctor warned her previously that this could be a possibility due to the multiple rounds of fertility meds taken during these attempts. The fix is to have me undergo a d&c -dilation & curretage - which is a minor surgical procedure to remove the polyps from the uterine tissue. K and I had discussed this possibility previously and weren't discouraged at all by the results. This is not uncommon during IVF and we both agreed that having this procedure would be the next step in our process. We both ended the call in good spirits and excited to be moving forward.

Less than 24 hours later, my agency sent me a break-up email, stating that K had decided to break our match and put surrogacy on hold due to emotional and financial reasons. This news came as quite a shock to me as there was no hint at all that this was even an option for her. I reached out to K, but she said she did not want to talk. She did finally respond a few days later via text to apologize. She let me know that her decision was not based on the ultrasound results since she hadn't even spoken to her doctor. She said she would touch base with soon but of course she has not. I do not expect her to do so at this point.

I feel that the IPs are contractually responsible for the surgery costs since the polyps are a direct result of the surrogacy contract. My agency disagrees at this moment, so that is something I have to let the attorneys handle. *sigh*

I am now left trying to decide if I should undergo the d&c (I can't get approved as a carrier again with the presence of the polyps) or consider this the end of my road for surrogacy. I do have a desire to carry for another couple but an elective surgery, no matter how simple, is not to be taken lightly. I have a consult on August 30 with my OB to discuss the procedure, risks, etc. In the meantime, I will continue to search my heart to decide about my future as a gestational carrier.

Thank you all for following along with me. Life isn't always peaches and roses, I suppose!

I'll reach out to you all again soon.

Monday, August 1, 2016

A long awaited update...

Y'all. Summer break is almost over - back to school is in 4 days!!
I have been MIA on this blog for almost the entire summer break! BUT, I finally have an update. Fair warning: this may be a tl;dr post for some of you.

If you remember from the last post, we were waiting on K to begin meds for her thyroid condition before proceeding with her egg retrieval. She was finally able to begin those meds after weeks of begging the clinic to actually give her the prescription. She waited 5 weeks, THEN had to beg for the blood test to check to see if the meds were working. After several back and forths with the nurse (when she actually returned any phone calls or emails that is), K finally got to speak with the RE himself. That conversation left her even more confused than ever with the him telling her that her levels were well enough to proceed but couldn't tell her when she could proceed. He also mentioned several times that it was important she have her uterine lining checked. She corrected him that her surrogate - that's me! - would need the lining check. That seemed to confuse him, so he repeated that she would need her lining checked. He also said that K would need to repeat all her prior tests since the clinic had performed them "incorrectly." After all this, K still had no clear answers as to our next steps and was be no closer to beginning our 3rd attempt. She was very confused and frustrated, to say the least.

I have lamented in the past about the slow communication from this clinic. I can no longer lament about poor communication because they don't communicate at all. In fact, I have several unanswered messages out from months ago. It's a good thing I didn't hold my breath! This is such a shame because they've worked so well with me in the past. However, staff changes seem to be getting the best of them and they are no longer able to keep up with their patient load.

K made the decision to switch clinics to a facility that she could trust. We were very fortunate that she was able to be seen quickly at Baystate Reproductive Medicine in MA. She has already had her initial consult and bloodwork. The new RE has requested another round of testing for me as well; she is graciously allowing me to work with a local fertility clinic instead of flying to MA for the testing. I have reached out and been approved by Nashville Fertility Clinic. I hope to have an appointment next week for the initial testing and monitoring. In the meantime, K is waiting on her med protocol to prepare for her egg retrieval.

Although it was quite stressful to change clinics, we feel we have made the best decision. We feel we are capable and caring hands at Baystate.

Ok, so this post was not as long as I thought it was going to be. Seriously, there's even more to the story; I guess I just refrained from a lot of unnecessary details. I'll be posting again when I get the appointment confirmation from my local clinic.

We are so excited to finally be moving forward!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Waitin' on Round 3

If you read the post title, then you know that our recent transfer was not successful. Our beta blood test was negative. We are 0-2, folks. :( After recovering from the shock (K and I both had really thought we would be successful this time!) and speaking with the doctor, we have decided to move forward with our third transfer attempt.

We will be changing up our med protocols this time. For K, she will begin medications to treat a pre-existing thyroid condition before proceeding with meds for the egg retrieval. The doctor feels like this could help her body respond to the hormones in a more positive manner. The hope is to end up with two top graded tested embryos from one retrieval, however K is prepared to do multiple retrievals if necessary.

My med protocol will change as well. I don't have exact details yet but the doctor would like to try to avoid some of the lining setbacks that we experienced earlier. I'm excited about this proactive approach since the lining issues were definitely a new situation for me. This ain't my first rodeo, y'all!

We are planning to do two embryo frozen transfer as before. As of right now, we are looking to transfer near the end of August or possibly early September. In the meantime, I am just hanging out enjoying the summer, waiting to hear when I will begin meds again.

I'll be in touch soon, friends!