Tuesday, September 19, 2017

28 weeks - almost there really!

We have made our way into the THIRD and FINAL semester! Tomorrow will be the official 28 week mark. We have 12 more weeks until due date, 11 more weeks until the max date for delivery (according to my OB), and possibly only 9 more weeks until actual birth given the last delivery that came early at 37 weeks. This time will pass fast, friends!

My last doctor's appointment was great! I'm happy say that I passed the glucola test and the sugary drink was even tolerable until the sugar rush hit! Thankfully it was short lived. My blood cell count came back low which could be a sign that my anemia may be returning as we head into the homestretch of the pregnancy. I'll be retested next month and determine if any action is needed. On the brighter side, we got to see photos of the little guy in 4D. His face is pressed against the placenta; he must think it's nice warm pillow since he never turned from it during his photo shoot. I love how you can even see his sweet little fingers!

super cool!
I was able to text the photos to P before popping them in the mail to her since she couldn't be there that day. She is able to come to the appointment in October so we are looking forward to that. I hope he little guy is more cooperative for his pictures! We plan to tour the hospital next month as well.

The legal side of things has quiet since the initial contracts. Yesterday we received the final draft of the parentage documents for all parties to sign and notarize. Those documents, when submitted and accepted by the courts, will legally name P & Z as the parents and their names will be placed on the birth certificate at birth. We know the baby is all theirs, but having the legal paperwork complete is a nice bonus! 

I made an announcement in the last post about my entry into world of real estate, and that entry has been quite successful already! I spend most of my days in training classes at my brokerage firm - even though I passed the exam, there is still SO MUCH to learn. I also host open houses on the weekend for other agents where I get a chance to meet potential buyer clients. I currently have my first ever buyer client and we are working on finding him a home for his family. Such an exciting time! If you are in the market in middle TN or know anyone who is, you can find me on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/RealtorTashaBrown/

This belly I have now also makes for quite a talking point at the open houses too! Take a look at these bump pics........

26 weeks
27 weeks
28 weeks

The pics don't seem to show too much change but I feel like I grow every day! I'm not able to get as good quality of sleep as I'd like because it's so hard to get and STAY comfortable at night. I'm a natural stomach sleeper so that means I may not sleep well for the rest of the pregnancy.  I'm still at the gym every morning and my energy is still good at the moment. I have no weird food cravings to report, but I've never really had those in any of my pregnancies. I guess I have "boring" pregnancies! 😃 

Our next appointment is October 5 - I hope to have a very boring update then as well, aside from some the cute baby photos we hope to get! I'll check in then, friends!





Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bigger bump and an announcement

25 weeks down already and we are just bumpin' right along! (See what I did there)


I grow a little bit more each week, as is to be expected of course. I'm still in non-maternity bottoms although I am having to fasten the button together with a ponytail loop. I'm in maternity tops a bit more regularly although I find that some of the looser, flowy tops and dresses do just fine.

If this little guy decides to arrive early like the last one (and it's very likely he could!), we may only have 12 weeks left in this pregnancy. I think that will go by super fast as the holiday season approaches. I know P is super anxious to meet her little man!

I have nothing really interesting to report as far as the pregnancy goes - everything is pretty much par for the course: too much peeing and never-ending baby kicks. However, I do have some BIG personal NEWS...

During this journey, I have been considering what to do with my time after this little one arrives. This will be the 8th child that I have carried and delivered, and it's very likely he will be my final carry. As my little ones are growing, I am finding myself with some free time on my hands. With the support of my family and friends, I decided to get licensed as a professional realtor! I am officially working for my local Keller Williams office while completing this surrogacy journey. It's definitely a change of pace and a new venture I'm very excited to begin.

Thanks for letting me share this news with you all! I'll be back next week with an update from the next ultrasound as well as that awful glucola appointment.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

23 weeks!

We are 23 weeks into this thing already, and I have the bump to prove it!

Early AM messy hair - please excuse
I am still getting by with my regular (stretchy) clothes at the moment; maternity clothes are still a bit to big in the waist/belly. They're coming though, promise.

Little guy moves ALL THE TIME! We got to take another peek during our recent ultrasound a few days ago. We met with the perinatologist who performed the fetal echo to check on baby's heart development. Everything looked great - doc says he saw exactly what he hoped to see at this point. He did share with us (P was present) that IVF babies - all IVF babies, not just those carried via surrogate - have a slightly higher risk of still birth, therefore regular monitoring would be necessary as studies show that a health decline is usually gradual rather than immediate. So baby boy will continue to be monitored via ultrasound monthly for growth checks until 34 weeks, then we will proceed to weekly growth checks after that until delivery. This was also the protocol for my prior carries as well.

At the appointment, P was so sweet to think of me and bring me a treat from a nearby bakery...


This is a vanilla bundtlet with cream cheese frosting. I promptly took a bite as soon as I got home! It was a perfect after dinner dessert (I may have a bit of a sweet tooth!) and I did not share it with anyone.

Appointment day was pretty great as baby is doing well and the treat was just icing on the cake. 😉

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Anatomy scan looked great!

Our anatomy ultrasound went beautifully! P and Z were able to be in the room and see their little guy! At times, he was quite uncooperative for the ultrasound tech, forcing her to give him a little shake in my belly to encourage him to turn and face the right directions for her measurements. He is measuring exactly where he should be, now measuring only 2 days ahead. (Remember, he had been measuring 5 days ahead.) P was sent home with some very cute photos of course, but not before she graciously let me scan a couple to keep for myself.

little guy's profile

profile with left hand up and legs up, getting ready to kick!
My doc recommended that we have an additional ultrasound in a couple of weeks to complete a fetal echo under the care of a perinatologist due to studies that show a slight risk increase in heart anomalies in IVF pregnancies. This is standard and my OB saw no concerns on our ultrasound. I have the fetal echo scheduled for August 14; P is going to be at this appointment as well.

During our appointment, we also discussed the possibility of an early delivery (based on the last very fast delivery that occurred at 37 weeks). We may be a little ahead of ourselves but it's always nice to know what you might be able to expect. It's especially important for P as she plans to come and stay towards the end of the pregnancy - she doesn't want to miss the birth of course!

We scheduled my next prenatal appointment for Sept 7; I'll be about 26 weeks along, and will have to drink that dreaded glucola (50 grams of glucose!) for the gestational diabetes test. I'm always happy to get that over with.

I could tell that P and Z were very pleased with how well the appointment went; they are very excited to be getting closer to meeting their little one! Time will pass fast as they keep busy with their work and as we keep busy with the school year getting underway next week! Baby boy will be here before we know it!

Monday, July 31, 2017

We're at the halfway point!

20 weeks...we're halfway there. Actually, I'm 20.5 weeks today so we are OVER half way there!!

I'm starting to get a much more noticeable bump as we move along...


I'm in maternity shirts but still in regular shorts, mostly because I am avoiding buying maternity shorts. Their fits are always so weird on me. I figure I'll spend the bulk of the pregnancy in the winter months so I'll need more pants than shorts anyway.

I am feeling pretty good at this point in the pregnancy. Nausea and food aversions are all gone and I'm back to working out very regularly. Even the varicose vein that I posted about previously isn't giving me much trouble at all. No pregnancy cravings to report -- my diet has returned to my usual following the first trimester. Except for the growing belly, I feel pretty normal.

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly hot here in middle TN, so I've been spending my days at the pool with my crew. School starts next week so we are soaking up all the summer we have left.

Our big anatomy scan is in 3 days! I'm so excited for P and Z to able to attend and to see their little guy wriggling all around. He is a mover and shaker for sure!

I'll be back soon to report on the ultrasound. I'm heading out to take advantage of the sunshine and the slightly less humid day!

Talk soon, friends!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Any new symptoms?

"Any new symptoms?"

My OB asks me this question at every check up. I usually respond with the usual symptoms that come with a progressing pregnancy - no big deal. Except this past appointment (while still no big deal) I had to share a brand-new-not-my-usual-experience symptom.

This. This right here...


Do you see those large varicose veins?! I know they are normal in pregnancy, BUT I have not ever had them, ever. I have spider veins that show up in each pregnancy and they fade shortly after the birth. But varicose veins are new to me! This one (or two) popped up the second day of our trip to SC a few weeks ago and I can only assume it was due to all the walking - over 20k steps a day! - we do while on vacation. They are perhaps in my genetics as my grandmother's legs are covered in them.

There are no health concerns and they don't give me much trouble save that it's not so pretty to look at of course. It does come with some mild discomfort (a little tender/achy and itchy) at the end of the day if I've been on my feet a bit. Elevating my leg clears that up, so I guess it's a nice excuse to "take a load off" at the end of the day.

My OB tells me that it's unlikely to go away during the pregnancy and will likely become worse as my uterus grows and blood flow continues to increase. The good news is that most pregnancy induced varicose veins usually go away within the first year after delivery. In the meantime, I'll be sure to take time off my feet, continue exercise for good blood flow, and hope that I don't get anymore!

We will have the big anatomy scan in a few weeks. P and Z are planning to attend - should be a good appointment!

No updated bump pic as I was too tired - or lazy - to put on "real" clothes, ha! I will make the effort next week as little boy is definitely growing in there!!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Back from the beach and growing

We are back from a week at the beach and I'm happy to report that both adults and all 3 children remain sunburn free, hooray! (No easy feat under that South Carolina sun!) It was a pretty uneventful trip save for the rainstorms we had to drive through while traveling to and from the island. And it rained (pop up storms) almost everyday we were there, but we were still able to enjoy the beach, take a dolphin cruise that ended with a fireworks show, and take an early morning kayak trip followed by a fantastic breakfast of fresh fruit crepes. That's what I look forward to every year. ;) And of course taste the ice cream at nearly every ice cream store. I have the growing belly to prove it...

baby or sundaes??
Bump pic above was taken right after we got home - about 16.5 weeks. I'm slowly moving into some maternity tops but I'm not quite in maternity pants yet. It still looks like a bit of bloat rather than a baby, I think.

hardly noticeable from the front
My little belly companion is getting a lot more active this last week; there's no question between baby movement and digestion any longer - another milestone moment in the  journey.

I'm not holding my breath for any real big return of energy (if you remember my previous posts lamenting all the fatigue!), but I'm managing better. I'm pretty much wiped by 4p most days. I definitely need to take care of any errands or domestic duties early in the day...like baking the cherry cobbler earlier for Friday night dessert, which will likely leave me with an even bigger bump but I have to feed the baby, right?!

Thanks for catching up with me, friends. Enjoy your weekend. Check back next week for an update following my OB appointment in a few days.

Friday, June 23, 2017

3 weeks later and a bump!

I cannot believe it has been 3 weeks since I posted an update. I really should do better. I want to keep this blog updated as often as possible, BUT it's the actual doing that throws me apparently.  We are currently a little over 15 weeks along and things are going so smoothly that I guess there's just not much to talk about.

But I do have a lil' bump starting to make an appearance...


These photos were taken last week, at the 14 week mark, and truthfully some of that "bump" could be a little pregnancy bloat -- does that ever end?! The bump is not nearly as noticeable in my regular clothes but those are my gym clothes and they are bit more fitted. 

I am no yet in maternity clothes, though I suspect I may have to transition into some tops in the coming weeks as mine get a bit tighter as we move along. Thankfully, I can still fit into my shorts and dresses and even my bathing suit for the time being. That's great because my little family and I are preparing to go to South Carolina next week for some beaching and ice cream eating. (I could come back with a bigger bump, ha!)

I also think I have been experiencing some very early baby flutters in the last few days. They are ever so slight and quite inconsistent; I may only notice them a few times a day. It's very early so it can still be hard to tell if it's the little guy moving around or just good ol' pregnancy digestive bubbles. But he was measuring about 5 days ahead on the last several scans, so maybe feeling slight movement a bit early is to be expected. I'll know for sure soon enough. 

P and I haven't talked much lately. No reason other than there's just not much to talk about -- a rather textbook pregnancy so far. She also keeps very busy with owning her own business so I imagine her time is limited at the moment. We usually communicate more around doctor's appointments and such. That is all to be expected. 

We'll spend the next week at the beach then take a quick visit to my mom's house for a few days to celebrate the 4th of July. My children return to school a month after that so I suppose school supply shopping will be on the agenda in the very near future. These summers seem to roll on by quicker and quicker the older I get! 

My next OB appointment is in about 2 weeks, so definitely be looking for an update about that. I hope to pop in and share some vacation photos here as well. Be on the lookout!

Friday, June 2, 2017

12 week scan complete

I had the nuchal scan yesterday as scheduled. Everything went well however we won't receive the results for another week. The nuchal scan measurements have to be combined with my labwork in order to have the results. Until then, we wait.

But we did get to see the little guy on screen again. He has gotten so much bigger since we last saw him a few weeks. Aaaaand he's looking a lot more like a tiny human these days! He was wiggling all around moving his hands and making faces with his mouth. It's always so fun to see that! His heart rate was very normal, coming in at 161bmp. He is measuring 4 days ahead; if he continues to trend ahead as he has been it could mean we'll deliver a "big" baby, whatever that could mean. There's no concern of course, just a little guy that's growing a bit ahead of his gestational age.

isn't he a cute lil' human!

P is of course very excited to be moving right along. I was able to send her an image of the photo so she could see him right away. I'll be popping the hard copy in the mail to her today.

It's warming up a bit here in middle TN, so we've been spending a bit more time at the pool. The water is still a little chilly as our nights are still cool but it's nice to just spend some lazy time around the water. It keeps my kiddos busy for a minute or two and allows me to pick up a nice tan to get the summer started.

I will have my next prenatal appointment in a few days. I am officially just over 12 weeks (only 5 more days to go in the 1st trimester!!) so hopefully more energy will return soon. I'm still quite tired most of the time. It takes A LOT of work growing a little one.

Thanks for keeping up with me, friends. I'll check back in soon, but right now the sun is shining and the pool is calling!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Nuchal scan...rescheduled

I went to my appointment yesterday as planned only to find out (while I was in the ultrasound room!) that they scheduled the scan too early in the pregnancy. It has to be done between 11 and 13 weeks, and between 12 and 13 weeks is the best time to receive the more conclusive results. Since I was just shy of 11 weeks, we had to reschedule. It was kind of a bummer as I was looking forward to taking a peak at the little bean again!

Our new appointment for the nuchal scan is June 1; my next prenatal appointment is June 5. Unfortunately, there was no room in the schedule for me to have both appointments on the same day. So back and forth I will go. Thankfully, the drive is only about 20'ish minutes. I feel like I am always at the doctor's office, and I guess that will continue for a bit longer.

Tomorrow, I will officially be 11 weeks along. My nausea is continuing to wane, making it's debut much later in the day (or early evening sometimes!) now. My dizziness upon standing is lessening as it's not happening quite so often. And my shortness of breath is all but gone unless I spend too much time in the humidity. That time of year is coming but I'm hoping it's just a first trimester symptom and should be out of here before the heat really kicks in. Pregnancy fatigue is still kicking my butt; I'd be content to go to bed every night at 7p if I could! My pants are definitely starting to get a little snug, and I'm sure I'll be having to unbutton them before too long. Thankfully, I have several shorts with the elastic waist (think athletic shorts or linen shorts) and dresses that I think I can wear once the jeans get too uncomfortable. I'm heading into that "in-between" stage where my regular clothes are getting uncomfortable but I'm definitely no where near ready for maternity clothes. Of course I'll post bump pics when there's a bump to show -- at the moment, it just looks like I've been eating more than my share of cupcakes lately, ha!

Today is the official last day of school for my kiddos, and it's only a half day so they'll be home soon. Summer break begins tomorrow and I'm looking forward to not having to drag kids out of bed for early morning bus stop calls. They'll be out for less than 2 months, but I'm sure I'll be ready for them to go back by then. But for now, I'm looking forward to some slow mornings and lazy summer days in the sun by the pool.

Friday, May 12, 2017

9 week update

This week officially puts us at 9 weeks along! Our scan earlier this week went very well. Baby is growing and heart rate has jumped to 182! We are really just moving right along. P was able to be present at the appointment; we went out to brunch afterwards. It was nice to be able to spend some time together talking about all the exciting things that come with surrogacy as she begins preparing for motherhood!

My nausea is trying to subside it seems. It shows up from time to time, mostly when my stomach is empty or right after I've eaten something that disagreed with the pregnancy. It doesn't last all day any longer, so I'm thankful for that! I still battle a bit of fatigue (normal of course!) and I go to bed a bit earlier than usual these days, 9p most nights. I ventured back into the gym this week as I was beginning to feel somewhat achy from all the "rest" last week. I always feel better when I move. To my surprise, my energy level wasn't too low and no nausea at the gym. WIN! I'm interested to see how that changes as we move along.

My OB's office called me back with my lab results. To their surprise and mine, my iron levels are all normal: I am no longer anemic!! Wahoo!! I guess that iron infusion worked well and hopefully I can maintain good levels throughout. My OB attributes my earlier symptoms (dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches, etc) to simply "early pregnancy" and the fact that I'm "a little older" than I used to be. That's a nice way of saying that I'm just an old pregnant women, ha! She did say that pregnancy symptoms can feel worse as women age. So there's that.

I will begin tapering my medications next week. Basically, I'll be stopping the estrogen patches completely. I cannot say I will miss having all those stickies and their residue all over my skin. I will continue my progesterone injections, but only every other day as opposed to daily until May 31. Those will end completely at that time and I will be medication free!

My next appointment is May 22 for a nuchal scan. That is a scan to measure the fluid at the base of the neck which could indicate a chromosomal abnormality such as Down Syndrome. Even though the embryo was PGD tested, the doctors feel like this test is still warranted. I have had this test with prior carries (here and here); it is pretty routine. And of course any excuse to check on the little guy is always good! I will not actually see my OB at that time; she will call with her thoughts on the scan results and we will talk more in depth at my next appointment on June 5. (I feel like I have lived at doctors' offices this year!)

The school year is wrapping up for us in a little over a week so I will be busy with end of the year breakfasts, awards ceremonies, picnics, field days, and end of the year parties. You will definitely hear from me after our next scan!

Thanks for following along with my on this journey. 😊

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

First OB Appt

I had my first official prenatal appointment a couple of days ago. Although I haven't been released from the care of the fertility doctor just yet, I wanted to go ahead and see my OB and share some concerns with her. For the past week and a half, I have been experiencing some dizziness (that throws my balance), shortness of breath (with only minor exertion), chest discomfort (I assume from the breath shortness), and muscle weakness. All of that along with first trimester fatigue and nausea has had me DOWN for the count!

current situation...erry day
The verdict from my OB is that these are all normal symptoms of pregnancy with the addition of anemia. No real cause for concern except that it's kind of getting in the way of my life. 😐 A small sacrifice really though. Her suggestion is to basically "take it easy," no exercise or strenuous activity until the symptoms subside, which she suspects will be in a couple of weeks. That should also be when the full effects of the iron infusion should kick in. I hope so. I've always exercised throughout my pregnancies, so it's bothersome that I can't right now. But I will just keep telling myself that this is only a season and the gym isn't going anywhere.

I did get to see the little guy and his heartbeat beating away again. My OB has a portable scanner that she brought in the room to do a quick ultrasound. All is well! She also drew my blood to check the iron levels again. I am of course still waiting to hear back.

I will see the fertility doctor next week. We will discuss tapering medications as well as check on the little one again. That's still so fun to me! P is coming to that appointment as well and we have plans to grab brunch afterwards. I'm really looking forward to that!

See you all next week!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Heartbeat = check!

Our ultrasound earlier in the week went exactly as we had hoped! The little guy is measuring one day ahead and his heart was beating like a champ at 132bmp. Both P and Z were able to be at the appointment, and I'm so grateful they got to be there to see their little one's heart pumping away.

such a lil' guy!
I am definitely behind on posting this update. All those early pregnancy symptoms that I had just bragged about not quite arriving yet fully arrived about a week ago. The nausea and fatigue wasted no time in taking me out! I think my anemia is playing a role as well as I am experiencing some nasty symptoms: dizziness, even more fatigue, shortness of breath, headaches. Those in particular have really slowed me down! I have my first OB appointment scheduled for early next week; I will definitely be discussing that and managing the anemia.

Ultrasound day was also my birthday, yay! After the appointment, my husband took me - just me, no kids! - to Chattanooga for a quick overnight trip to celebrate. We enjoyed some leisurely walks (with more breaks that I'm used to thanks to the fatigue and the breathlessness) in Coolidge Park, the art museum, the zoo, and Point Park at Lookout Mountain. It was nice to getaway, even if it was for just a quick minute.

We will see the little guy again in about a week. At that appointment, we will discuss the tapering schedule for the medications as I prepare to transition from the fertility clinic to my OB's clinic. That's always an exciting step - no more patches or hip shots!

Thanks for being so patient with me, friends, as I post updates whenever I can find the energy. Hang with me!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

All betas are in!

I had two blood draws this week for our final betas. Our numbers are SOARING! My previous beta was 387. Four days later, that number jumped to 1914; 2 days later, we came in at 4478! Beta levels are supposed to double every 2-3 days; our doubling rate is every 1.5 days! That assures us that this pregnancy is a strong one!

I have an ultrasound scheduled for April 25 (also my birthday, yay!) at 9am. Both P and Z will be able to come to the appointment; I can not wait for them to see their little guy's heart beating away! After all that excitement, the husband and I will be off to celebrate my birthday.

I am just over 5 weeks along and have no symptoms to report except for quite a bit of pregnancy fatigue. That's normal for me early in my pregnancies. I have found myself dozing off in the afternoons and going to bed earlier than normal. I have to get all my "stuff" done in the morning or I may run out of energy by the afternoon and be down for the count, ha!

Me...After 1p
That's my life right now. I'm grateful the nausea hasn't made its appearance yet. I'm sure it's coming. Until it does, I'm eating all the runny egg yolks with sausage for breakfast! All bets are off after the morning sickness arrives.

Thanks for following along, friends. I'll check in with you soon!

Friday, April 7, 2017

No surprises here!

While all those pretty positives in my previous post were so fun to see, the beta numbers were even better to hear! My nurse called me a few hours after the draw to let me know that our beta number was 387! Y'ALL -- that is a FANTASTIC number!! We expected a positive number of course, but this is really, really strong. That's a terrific sign as to how strong the pregnancy is so far. For comparison, my previous positive betas at this point were 251 with the twins and 240 with the singleton. I definitely say we are looking good! Needless to say, P is over the moon excited! (Me too!!) Our due date is Dec 13, 2017. I suppose with my history, P could be welcoming a Thanksgiving baby!

To celebrate, we stopped by a local'ish pie shop and grabbed our favorite: Peanut Butter Silk. Actually, we ordered it a week ago in anticipation of the beta results. We figured it'd either be celebratory pie or sympathy pie. Either way: PIE!

I will have two more beta tests next week; the RE will be watching to see if those numbers double as they should. That will also give us an indication of the strength of the little guy growing! We will have an ultrasound the week of the 24th. That's my birthday week so hopefully we'll have something big to celebrate!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

It's been a long week...

I was so disappointed when I realized this morning that it was only Wednesday. It feels like transfer was FOREVER ago, and we still have a couple of more days to wait for the beta test. And my week is kind of slow - I don't have much to do to keep busy to pass away the anxiety of waiting. So, I've been taking home pregnancy tests to keep my mind occupied.

ta-da!*
Lookie what we have there...those are positives! All day, every day! (Told you I had a slow week!)
*I took the first test on Saturday morning, which was 4.75 Days Past 5 Day Transfer, and each morning thereafter.

I have let P know each day that I tested; we are both cautiously excited as we know that the blood test will be the only accurate YES or NO. But for now, it's looking very promising!

I have no symptoms yet as it is quite early (I'm only barely 4 weeks today) other than breast tenderness which could be just as much a result of the progesterone as the pregnancy! Progesterone is not a nice drug; the side effects mimic early pregnancy symptoms.

I'm hoping the clinic will be lighting fast in getting the results to us. Depending on the numbers, we'll likely have another beta next week, then prepare for ultrasound very shortly after (possibly only a week or two).

These results definitely make the wait a tiny bit more relaxing. I'll be back very, very soon with Friday's beta numbers!!

😃

Monday, March 27, 2017

Pregnant until proven otherwise!

Transfer went off without a hitch this morning! I even got to wear a fancy hat...

fancy
I arrived at the clinic an hour before my appointment time as instructed. P was there as well. She was able to go back into the surgical center with me. My husband had to stay in the waiting room -- only one person was allowed back during the transfer, and OF COURSE I chose this little embie's mama!! 😊

The transfer was delayed by about half an hour, which wouldn't have been so bad as P and I passed the time away chatting, BUT my bladder had to remain full for the procedure. And since my bladder had been FULL for nearly an hour and a half prior to the actual transfer...

this might have been me
Once we got into the transfer room, they put my feet in the stirrups and covered me with a warm blanket...on my bladder. 😧 The good news is that the procedure was quick, even though a bit uncomfortable. We transferred one 5 day blastocyst, already hatching. Congratulations are in order for me as I held my bladder with a warm blanket, an ultrasound on my belly, and a speculum all fighting against me!

one sweet embie
Thankfully, my sweet doctor allowed me to use the restroom immediately after transfer before resting for 30 minutes prior to my discharge. P left to take care of some business before heading home and my husband was able to join me while I lied in the bed in the patient room. After 30 minutes of that, we were off and on our way home.

My post-transfer instructions include "take it easy" for the next 24 hours, and return to normal activities thereafter. No strenuous exercise, heavy lifting, or intercourse until at least after the beta blood test. So, I am nestled on my couch with my laptop, my pups, and my television. My husband here is taking care of me, the house, and my kiddos who are out for the last day of their spring break.

Beta is scheduled for April 7. I may or not test at home prior to that date. P would like to test as early as possible, but after the last 2 failed transfers last year, I confess I'm a little nervous to do that. That can be an emotional roller coaster for sure! *If* I test, I'll keep you all posted on the results!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bring on the iron!

Hey, guys! How are you?? Great! How am I?

Oh you know, just hanging out in an oncology center for 4 hours! getting an iron infusion to knock out this anemia.

IV arm is super cold!
I am currently being monitored for allergic reaction after receiving a test dose of the iron. There is a 1 in 100 chance that I could go into anaphylactic shock from the treatment, but only 1 in 1 million chance of that reaction being fatal. Odds not too shabby!

I'm here today after seeing the hematologist yesterday. She prescribed this treatment to give me an iron boost. She feels like just this one infusion should do the trick. In the meantime, my OB will monitor my blood count during the pregnancy; if the transfer is unsuccessful, my hematologist will do the monitoring. I'm hoping the see my OB all the time for the rest of the year!

After I have been monitored for an hour following the test dose, the full 2 hour dose will be administered. It's a long day here but thankfully I'm wearing yoga pants, laptop in tow, and a servant husband who loves me enough to fetch me a Starbucks breakfast. I'll spend my time here blogging, catching up on emails, and parenting my kiddos from the chair...if the IV Benadryl doesn't take me out first. Soooo sleepy...

I'm off to request a heated blanket, and wait warmly on my husband to deliver the goods!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"He'll cancel the cycle!"

You want to know how to strike fear in the hearts of your surrogate and parents? Say "cancel the cycle." 😨 Seriously. That's all it takes. And those words gave me a very stressful past week. Here's what happened...

During a routine blood test for this cycle, results showed my red blood cell count to be lower than optimal. Sounds scary, but just means that I have anemia (literally "lack of blood"). With a low red blood cell count, the body's cells do not receive a sufficient amount of oxygen leading to fatigue, headaches, dizziness, cold hands & feet, etc.

I was diagnosed with this condition as a teenager and had to take iron supplements in my first (and possibly my second - I can't even remember. Hello! It was 17 years ago!) pregnancy. Shortly after, I changed my diet to include more meats and veggies and viola - no anemia! I have spent the last 10+ years anemia free. However, it seems it has temporarily returned thanks to the heavy bleeding I experienced in my cycles last year due to the polyps. The blood loss caused my iron levels to drop and they haven't been rebuilt yet.

I was not concerned about this as I know that anemia is not a pregnancy disqualifier and that it can be managed during a pregnancy. However, my PCP felt differently (I was sent to her to review the labs and begin management for the anemia), and she sent a letter to my fertility doctor stating that in was in her professional opinion that I be "seen by a hematologist for treatment before being cleared to proceed as a surrogate." WHAT!? I was already mid-cycle and preparing for transfer in less than 2 weeks! My head almost exploded! Of course, the fertility clinic called to let me know that the doctor would very likely cancel the cycle if I couldn't get clearance or a second opinion prior to transfer. AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

So, I began making phone calls: first to my PCP's office - the doc wouldn't budge there. I then called my OB's office to see if she would look at the labs and offer her opinion. I spent most of the week back and forth with them, but my OB did agree to oversee the management and treatment of my anemia while I underwent a pregnancy. She did not see it necessary to avoid pregnancy (read: cancel the cycle) while treating the anemia. She felt that it was indeed caused by my recent heavy cycles. She did agree that I need to see the hematologist for treatment and to possibly begin iron infusions, but that a clearance was unnecessary.

The fertility doctor agreed with her assessment of the situation, however he did want me to complete a hemoccult kit to rule out any gastrointestinal bleeding. (Anemia can be caused by blood loss, so he wanted to be sure that my cycles were the MOST likely cause.) The text came back negative, as we suspected it would.

With my clinic feeling better about continuing the cycle, we proceeded to the lining check.
AND IT WENT PERFECTLY!! The doctor himself performed the exam, and said my lining was "very thick" at a 15.6-17mm and trilayered. Now, we plan to receive those embryos!

I begin the big progesterone hip shots today, and will begin another round of doxycyline tomorrow. Transfer appointment is set for Monday, March 27th at 11:30a. Despite the stress of the past week (thinking our cycle could possibly get cancelled and jumping through hoops to make sure it didn't!), the situation did end on a very positive note, obviously! On to transfer we go!!!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Ovaries off, estrogen on!

My ovaries are officially turned off for the remainder of this cycle. My ultrasound last week confirmed that the Lupron is doing its job: my ovaries are suppressed! The side effects have been minimal, thankfully. Only a few hot flashes and headaches to lament over and of course the always-occurring-with-Lupron night sweats. I was able to begin the Estradiol patches as planned on March 9. The re-introduction of the estrogen into my system has all but eliminated the side effects from Lupron, so I'm thankful for that.

This is my first experience with the Estradiol patches. I've read that some women do not get as thick with the transdermal patches, so hopefully I will respond similarly as to avoid lining up too thick as in the past! I began the patches on March 9, placing 2 on my lower abdomen. They are small and I don't really feel them much. They do leave quite a lot of sticky residue on my skin when I have to remove them. A quick rub with baby oil removes that! I will remove the patches every other day and replace with 2 new ones for about a week, then I will remove and add 3 new ones for about 5 days. The day before my lining check - March 20 - I will remove the 3 patches and add 4. I may be running out of room as I am continuing the Lupron injections in my belly as well!

Estradiol Patches!
I'm a bit nervous about the check in light of all the lining troubles I had with my last 2 failed cycles. However I am hopeful that this new estrogen delivery system - the patches - will yield better results. We will find out in a week! 

I have a lot to keep me busy while we wait. Flag football season began last week. My husband and I direct the league, so we have been very busy holding evaluations, organizing teams, and communicating with parents. He is a head coach for our youngest son's team. I am assist coaching alongside him this season. This is a new experience for me but one I am already having so much fun doing! 

I'll check in next week, friends, hopefully with a transfer date!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Shuttin 'em down!

Hi, friends! I'm back with a we-have-the-ball-rolling update!

IM (short for intended mother if I haven't posted that in a bit) received the results from the PGD testing recently. Of the 16 that went for testing, 5 passed the test and are considered healthy and viable. The geneticist graded all embryos as BB, which according to their grading system is one step below an A; these results are completely normal for IM's advanced maternal age and the doc is pleased. And so are we!

The fertility doc has suggested that we prepare for a single embryo transfer, as opposed to a double. He wants to mitigate the risk of multiples for my health as well as the health of the babies. I agree. On we march!

My medications arrived yesterday:

Typical Surro Loot!
These meds are pretty standard and mirror my previous protocols, with one exception. I will be receiving estrogen through a transdermal (through the skin) patch rather than through an oral tablet. Doc believes my body may respond better to this method so that we can avoid overstimulating the lining. I'm curious to see how the results from this protocol.

I began Lupron this morning with the familiar belly stick:

Shutting off the ovaries!
The Lupron shots are administered daily for 2 weeks for the purpose of preventing my ovaries from ovulating. Basically, we are turning off my ovaries, throwing me into a temporary menopausal state. This results in some pretty decent side effects for me: nausea, hot flashes, migraines (these almost kill me!), mild irritability (ha!), and increased sugar cravings. I'll have an ultrasound to confirm ovary suppression on March 7. If I am suppressed, I will begin the estrogen patches to prepare the uterine lining. Right now, we have a proposed transfer of March 27. That's about one month, you guys!! We're ready!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Contracts, Meds, Embies

Wow! It has been nearly a month since I updated! I wish I would have had stuff to update you on, but I have not up until now. I literally have just been waiting for something to happen! Well, something did happen while I was waiting: nearly my whole family got hit with the FLU! My husband brought the germs and apparently we all saw fit to take our share. 4 out of 5 us were taken out! It has been a long 2 weeks but we are finally all well enough to return to school and work. I don't evah want to deal with that nasty mess again! It was brutal!

But now, after all this patient waiting, we are finally able to feel like we are moving forward.

We have finalized contracts as of last week - so if you're following, that's nearly 4 weeks to complete the contract phase. And that's actually quicker than my past contracts!

The clinic had me begin birth control pills (boo!) last week as well in preparation for my medications to begin, which we hope will be in about a week and a half. Of course, this is dependent on when IM receives the PGD results. Her retrieval was about a week ago; she responded to the medications very well and we are waiting on results from 16 embryos! The clinic is very impressed with how well she did and how well the embryos grew, so we are very positive about our chances for success. We are hoping for PGD results in about a 7-10 days. Then, I will begin Lupron for ovary suppression and then on to estrogen to begin building the lining. We don't have a transfer date but I assume we will receive that when I actually begin medications.

It feels good to finally get things rolling with this surrogacy!

I should be checking in a bit more often providing no other illnesses attack our family. Talk to you soon, friends!


Monday, January 16, 2017

Almost there

We are many steps closer to beginning the "fun" part of this process!

In the last 4 weeks, I have completed a psych eval to include a 567 question MMPI test - wow! I passed, so I'm not as crazy as my family thinks I am. ;) I also received a clean report from the fertility clinic for my hydrosonogram, meaning there are no signs of uterine polyps (yay!) or scarring from the D&C or previous pregnancies, or any other uterine abnormalities. I am clear to go! Additionally, the husband and I also attended a fertility counseling session together, and then another session with the IPs.

I have also been reviewing the initial contract draft with my attorney and we should have a final draft to send to the IPs for their approval this week. We'll see if the process moves faster than in previous journeys.

In the meantime, IM is waiting to start her retrieval meds; she hopes to undergo egg retrieval by the end of January. If the retrieval and fertilization is successful, the embryos will under PGD testing. I will be able to begin my medications after the embryos have been graded and frozen. Our hope is for me to begin in Feb or March, giving us a March or April transfer.

During this time, we traveled for Christmas to see my family. On Christmas Day, we surprised our children with a family trip to Gatlinburg as their Christmas present. We had a wonderful time there and the weather was perfectly unseasonably warm!

I hope to keep this page updated much more regularly as soon as things start to progress and I actually have something to report! Keep on keeping up with me, friends!