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!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Embie baking, round two!

Hi! We returned home late yesterday evening from our transfer trip and I am happy to report that two beautiful embryos are in and are (hopefully) making themselves at home. I would have happily updated earlier, but I didn't bring my laptop with me on the trip and blogging from my tablet just isn't practical for me.

See how beautiful!

The picture above is magnified and shows the 2 embryos at the blastocyst stage. They look good! The transfer went very smoothly. The clinic sent us home with a perfect picture of these two little embies getting nestled into that lining! See...

K, J, and the hubs and I went out to lunch after the procedure. We haven't been able to spend as much time with them as we would have liked, so this was quite a blessing.

Our flight out to NYC went pretty smoothly other than a typical delay. I say "typical" because it seems my flights are always delayed; I don't remember the last time one was actually on time. I suppose all that matters is that we made it.

After we grabbed the rental car and a quick bite to eat (breakfast at 3p!), we headed to meet up with C and the twins. We were able to visit with them at their home for about 45 minutes before C had to load up kiddos and head to another activity. I almost forgot how busy little ones can be! She is in a very busy season of her life for sure. We took several pictures, but for privacy I can not post them here. You'll just have to trust me when I tell you that those two are the cutest kids I've ever carried! I mean, they rank right up there with my own!

They are in NY and we are in TN so visits are few and far between as you can imagine. Although it felt like a short visit, I'm so grateful to have been able to see them; they are such a sweet family and they hold a special place in my heart.

Our return flight was a bit more dramatic - perhaps everything is "dramatic" when you hate flying! The airline attendant announced that 4 people would be bumped in order to accommodate a "weight restriction." The captain was in the terminal and requested a baggage and head count and asked that the plane not be fueled until after everyone and their bags were on board. He didn't say this to the passengers of course, but my anxious ears perked up after the announcement. The thought of being on a plane that may be too heavy, and therefore not weight balanced, was a bit unnerving. I know a (very) little bit about physics, and I'm pretty sure that weight and balance is important when flying a bird!

As we were sitting (me, anxiously!) on the tarmac, the captain then announced that we would be flying over some stormy weather so the second hour of the flight could be a bit choppy. *sigh* We made it just fine all the same, but I don't think I will ever get used to, let alone like, flying!

My beta blood test is scheduled for May 31. The Memorial Day holiday costs us a WHOLE  extra day of waiting! In the meantime, I've been instructed to carry on life as usual but with a 15lb lifting restriction. I need some time away from the gym anyway. ;)

I'll check in again soon, friends.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

FINALLY moving forward

We FINALLY heard from all points of contact regarding my last appointment - May 4 - and we are FINALLY a go for transfer! My uterine lining measured 17-18mm, which was a slight decrease from the 21mm it was previously. My clinic is happy with that and we are preparing for embryo transfer on May 19.  I am waiting to receive travel arrangements, but given the 19th appointment date, we should be flying out on the 18th and coming back home on the 20th. Then we wait for beta to see if either of those 2 embies decide to stick around! As much as I would like to lament over the fact that this is 3 weeks past our original proposed date, I'm too excited to care! We are FINALLY going to attempt a second transfer nearly 3 months after our chemical pregnancy. It's been a loooong 3 months, y'all.

C and I continue to be in touch about our travel dates, so we still hope to be able to see the twins when we travel for the transfer. We're excited about that as well.

My estrace was decreased again in preparation for the transfer; I'm down from the original 8mg/day to 2mg/day. The decrease in the estrace has caused some slight spotting (which helped to decrease that lining a bit), but this is normal and expected. I will take my last dose of Lupron tomorrow and begin the big progesterone shots Friday. I should be getting used to those by now...should be.

I hope you all enjoyed your Mother's Day this past weekend. My boys and I spent the day Saturday hiking, picnic'ing, and ended the night with a frozen yogurt outing, yum! On Sunday, we relaxed a bit at home and had a cookout that evening: grilled BBQ chicken and corn on the cob! We don't take time often enough to slow down and spend some time together;  it was such a blessing to do that this weekend with my family.

I will check in again soon, friends!