Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pregnancy rhinitis, anyone?

I'm not making up that word...it's a real thing! And I've been suffering enough the last few days to prove it. You can read more at the hyperlink above, but in a nutshell, pregnancy rhinitis is characterized by fantastic amount of sinus pressure and congestion due to an increase in bodily fluids and estrogen and progesterone. I had this with the twins as well, but it wasn't this bad. I have so much sinus pressure that I get dizzy sometimes, and so much congestion that the drainage makes it painful to talk or swallow or anything. Add typical 1st trimester nausea to all the awful snot swallowing, and it's seriously miserable.

My clinic suggested Sudafed and Tylenol to manage. I'm not a particular fan of medicines during pregnancy, but I can't afford to be laid up on the couch in pain and misery for the rest of the pregnancy. Yeah, it can last an entire pregnancy! It's like a sinus infection that will never leave. I'm hoping the symptoms will dissipate after I am able to come the meds, which should happen around week 10.

With it being the first trimester, the morning sickness decided to make a grand appearance a few days and has stuck around ever since, establishing itself as "all day" sickness. The fatigue is a contender, too. I remember this from all my other pregnancies, so this is my normal. Hopefully, my energy and such will return in about a month.

Our ultrasound is one week from today. I'm so excited to see the baby(ies) and the little heartbeat(s). I know C is excitedly nervous as well. On an unrelated note, my kiddos return to school on ultrasound day as well, so it's a WIN-WIN kinda day for me. ;)

I am not showing yet, but my pants are already getting a bit snug. I think this is mostly water retention but also some fat depositing, as my body likes to do early on in a pregnancy: all in the name of getting ready for baby! Hopefully, maternity clothes can hold off until second trimester.

Interesting development tidbits:
We are 6 weeks and 2 days along, and baby is growing rapidly (the cause of all my yawning!). Baby's heart is pumping blood. Blood vessels are beginning to form as well as facial features. Baby's brain is also being divided into 5 parts and optic pits are formed for the developing eyes. Fingers and toes are beginning to form. It looks like this:

                                                                     Soooo cute!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Final beta, finally!

Beta results from today's labs are in, finally! I was hoping the lab I had to go to this morning would be quick but I was not so lucky. I had the lab complete by 7:45a, but results my fertility clinic didn't receive the results until 3:30p. That must sound impatient, but I'm used to getting results in 3 hours. This was a long wait today!

Now, on to the fun stuff and the real reason you're checking in today: the numbers. My beta came back at 4322! That's really good! We can't read too much into the numbers; they really only indicate the pregnancy is continuing to progress. But "normal" doubling time for beta amounts between 1200 - 6000 (mIU/mL) is 72-96 hours. Our rate is doubling at 44.68 hours. Again, we can't read too much into the numbers, but it could be that both embryos decided to stick. Even our fertility clinic noted that it was a "pretty high" number, especially considering this was a frozen embryo transfer. I'm excited for the ultrasound in a couple of weeks, yay!

In the meantime, I will just keep on keeping on, and wait for the typical first trimester symptoms to actually show up. Not that I'm begging for nausea and all the other stuff that comes with it, but it's part of it, and I'm ready!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Beta number #2 is in!

We have the results from today's blood work and I'm not making you wait so long this time. ;)
Today's beta number is 990, wahoooo!!!! HCG levels are expected to double every 48 hours, and we are doubling at a rate of 35.22 hours. It means we have a strong healthy little one in there (or maybe more!). For perspective, my 2nd beta with the twins was 772. We are still in range! We will of course have to wait a couple more weeks before we find out if both embryos are making themselves at home.

I have been cleared by the clinic to begin exercising again, so I hit the gym today for the first time since transfer. I know I'm still just now pregnant (not quite 5 weeks along), the fatigue has already made an appearance and I felt it during my workout. So even though I have to dial back the intensity, I'm happy to be moving again. It's so important for me and the baby(ies).

The next few days are busy around here, preparing for the holidays and such. I'll check back in on Monday after I get the results from that lab appointment. I have to go to a different clinic for Monday's blood work since I'll be out of town for Christmas. I hope they are as fast as the clinic I have here at home!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Results are in! (and sorry I'm late)

No fancy intro or beating around the bush in the post; let's get right to it! Results from the blood test on Monday came back positive! The number is 240 - that's fantastic! For some perspective, with the  twins, the beta was 251, so we are in the same strong, healthy range. I will tell you that I am not surprised at all by our positive beta because I have been looking at these kinds of things since Tuesday morning:

Isn't it cool to see that line get progressively darker each day! The first very faint line (that only experience pee-test line lookers can probably see!) came on Tuesday morning, only 4 days after transfer! Wow! And I kept taking the rest for fun, and to be sure it was still "there." I did not tell C though, because she did not want to know. Of course, she was very excited to hear the the results from Monday's lab. And I did send her the above photo, now that she knows!

We will have another blood test tomorrow; ideally, the beta number should be doubling every 48 hours. We will be anxiously awaiting those numbers tomorrow, and I sort of promise to post those results as soon as I get them. Our first ultrasound will be January 7. That seems like FOREVER away!

I started having some early pregnancy symptoms a couple days before the blood test, and I seem to getting more as time goes on... mostly in the form of super headaches, random nausea, fantastic fatigue, and other little things. Christmas should be fun! ;)

I will be at my clinic first thing in the morning and we should be able to get the results in by lunchtime, so be on the lookout for that update sometime late in the day tomorrow.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Baby, it's cold outside!

When I left middle Tennessee, it was 65 degrees. Right now in Connecticut, it is 29 degrees. Even though I'm taking it easy in the hotel, I was able to get out for a little bit. (Don't worry- I took it very easy and did more sitting than walking.) And it is coooold out there! It's December in the northeast, so I shouldn't be surprised, I suppose. But now I'm settled into a warm and cozy hotel room.

As I said, I did take it easy today and didn't do too much, but...

We got to see C and visit with the twins today!!! I had so much fun seeing them; this was the first time I have see them since they left the hospital as little infants. Even though C sends me updates and photos, it's so cool to see them and hug them. They are the sweetest kiddos! C & M sure do make good looking kids; I'm glad to have had a role in that! ;) We live so far apart that I don't know when I'll get to visit them again, so this was very special.

More exciting news: I had some pretty noticeable pinches/twinges, even cramps!, in the uterus for a several hours today.  Of course, things could like can happen for a whole host of reasons, but my money is on implantation cramps! I super, SUPER hope that's the case!! I guess we will find out on Dec 16th...unless I pee on a stick earlier. :) Although C doesn't want to know if I take a pregnancy test (she wants to wait for the blood test), she said she doesn't mind if I do. I'll try to wait for the blood test too, but I may not be able to do that.

We have to wake up pretty early tomorrow to catch our flight home, so I'm off to shoot up with some progesterone and get ready for bed. Hopefully my next post will be a positive one!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Embies are IN!

After a long travel day yesterday, I am happy to say that 2 perfect embryos are getting settled into my uterus and hopefully are making themselves at home!

The first leg of my flight was pretty uneventful...except for some crazy turbulence that was so strong it lifted me out of my seat. I might have gasped a little too loudly. In my defense, I had no warning and it was kind of freaky! The pilot apologized for the bumpiness and asked us to "stay with" him. Where did he think we were going to go? Nearing our landing, my husband taps me and asks me to look out the window to see this:

 It's a pretty cool photo because how often do I get to see a plane in flight that close? Seriously, it looked really close...maybe too close for my comfort.

The last connecting flight was a bit more of a headache. Our flight was delayed by 3 hours due to weather conditions (dense fog and low visibility). There's really only so much I can do in an airport for three hours!

We did eventually arrive of course, but much later than we planned. We had hoped to visit C and the twins that evening, but it was too late. We are going to try to see them tomorrow. C is planning to come to the hotel for the visit.

We had breakfast with C & J this morning at the hotel before our transfer appointment. Our transfer went perfectly! C& J got to be in the room with me. The clinic has a screen that they send the embryo images to so we all got to them. We also got to see them being placed into the uterus on the ultrasound screen. They were placed so close to the uterine lining -- I really hope they stick! It was very neat to see them on the screens. We all went home with "photos" of the embryos...so sweet!

C&J came back to the hotel with us afterwards and we were able to visit for a bit longer before they had to return home. Now, we wait! For the next 2 days, I'm on bedrest at the hotel. God thing I brought the hubby along so he can fetch my food and be at my beck and call night and day. ;)

We will have a blood test for the pregnancy on December 16. C does not want me to tell her if I take any at home tests. Until then, I am restricted to light activity (no lifting anything above 15 pounds, no jumping/running/heavy exercising/etc, no sex) and will remain on the estrace pills and the progesterone gel and injections.

I'm so excited and so nervous. It will be a long 10 days for sure!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

We are a go!

My lining check was 3 days ago, but I hope all of you were too busy enjoying copious amounts of turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, pies, etc (like I was!) to care about what those results were. Now that I'm out of my food coma, I can update you all...

My bloodwork was perfect and the ultrasound showed my lining at 12mm, which is right on track where my RE wants me to be. This means we will keep our Dec 6 transfer date as planned. C and I are ecstatic to finally be moving on to the next step! My flight leaves on Dec 5 (from TN to CT); we'll transfer 2 sweet embryos on Dec 6, follow that up with bedrest, then I'll return home on Dec 8 and wait. Ahhhhhh, the waiting!!!

Since we are on for transfer, I begin new meds tonight. I will have my first PIO shot: right into the hip with this bad boy:

Maybe the needle doesn't look so daunting in the photo, but it really is. You would think that since I have experience with this, I wouldn't be so nervous. Except I am. Maybe I can never really get used to sticking a giant needle in my rear. The crankiness from this hormone won't be too far behind - no pun intended, ha! Prayers up for the husband! :)

Tomorrow I will also start Crinone twice a day (a lovely vaginal suppository...it's not that lovely!); I'll also start Prednisone and Doxycycline pills. I will remain on my Estrace tablets twice a day and my prenatal vitamins. Daily med recap: 1 injection, 2 suppositories (yes, they're a little gross), and 6 pills. This protocol will continue until the beta blood test, which should happen 10-14 days after transfer.

I'm off to do this shot thing...will chat soon, friends!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

2nd cycle's a charm?

Our second cycle officially began November 9. I began estrace (to begin rebuilding the uterine lining) on November 15 and I remain on the Lupron injections. This time around, my doctor adjusted the estrace dosage to half from my the previous cycle, hoping to avoid another over-achieving uterus. Our tentative transfer date is set for December 6. Of course that is dependent upon the uterine lining this time. I will have another ultrasound on November 27 -- if that shows that my uterus is ready, then we will be a go. If not, we will have to adjust meds or possible even cancel the cycle again. Fingers crossed that does not happen! I think I would cry, again. But I'll tell you, it doesn't take much for that to happen these days anyway. I cannot be responsible for my actions while on these hormones. ;)

In the meantime, I am spending my days volunteering at my children's school and baking -- I blame the hormones for the ridiculous amount of sweet treats I've been baking, and eating, lately! But keeping busy will pass the time until next week's ultrasound. I'm a bit nervous about it.

I wish I had more to say about the surrogacy, but all I got for you is: I'm taking my meds and waiting.

But, if transfer date holds, I suspect I'll get to see some northeast snow first week of December? That will be interesting. And of course, we still plan on visiting the twins.

Here's hoping the 2nd cycle is a charm!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Catchin' Up

A whole lot has happened since my last post (over a year ago!), so I thought I'd catch you all up.

My kiddos have grown sooo much since the blog design...may be time to redo that! They are now 6, 9, 13, and 16. Yes, the 16 year old is driving, her own car (that was wrecked 2 weeks after she got it *not her fault*). My 6yr old just finished up his first season of tackle football; those were very fun games to watch! We also moved several months ago, which caused my 2 youngest to start a new school this year. Oh, and we got a cat. With this crew, I am obviously B-U-S-Y! Too busy to even keep this blog updated, until now...

C & M's twins turned 2 in March of this year. It feels like only yesterday I was posting their birth story! C keeps in regular contact with me and I get to see pictures of the twins often. I love watching them grow up in those photos. They are a busy bunch, too! While I had hoped to carry again for C & M, the timing is not right for them yet. I still have hope that I will get to carry for them again, in the future.

I have been working the surrogacy circuit over the last year, and I'm very happy to announce that I was matched with a fantastic couple (C & J) in  July of this year. I am working the same agency (Worldwide Surrogacy) and clinic (Connecticut Fertility) as before. Since our match, contracts have been complete as well as medical testing. We have decided to transfer 2 embryos in hopes of having twins.  I began fertility meds on Oct 4 with a planned transfer for Nov. 7. But I am posting from home instead of a cozy hotel room because that cycle was transferred. Boo. During my lining check, it was discovered that my lining was too thick - apparently, I am an overachiever ;) - and therefore not optimal conditions for a transfer.

We (C, J, my hubby, and myself) are all obviously bummed about this, but we know that this is just a minor setback, and we are ready to move forward with another cycle. Our current plan is for me to stop meds (except the Lupron injections), shed the uterine lining with the help of Provera (a not-so-nice hormone that makes me sad, and hungry), and begin Estrace again to rebuild the lining. We will get a new timeline and calendar when Cycle Day 1 shows up - it's expected any day now - but we have our fingers crossed for a transfer by the end of November if my body responds well this cycle.

Oh, and when we go back to CT, we hope to be able to visit C & M and actually see those sweet faces in person for the first time since they left the hospital!