Thursday, December 26, 2013

LONG OVERDUE UPDATE

It seems like the weeks are flying by and I've been bad about keeping the blog updated.  I always try to continue to do a better job, so one of my goals this new year, with three months left of the pregnancy, will be to do a weekly update for you all!

We did a lot of paperwork over the last month.  Our wills were officially signed and turned into the agency, and the latest documents that needed my John Hancock were to sign over mine and Ben's "rights" at the hospital.  Those papers gave my IP's "temporary" custody, so the baby will be banded at the hospital with their names and will go home with them, THANK GOD! (wink wink)  We'll have a court hearing ASAP after the birth of the baby for everything to be legal, blah blah blah...and my IPs are working on getting all the documents for the adoption ready to go.  I've hear that that's a lot of work.

OUR NEIGHBORS WITH OUR SIGNED HOSPITAL PAPERS
  Our totally rad neighbors were willing to be our witnesses signing the papers for the hospital.  They've been so supportive of our journey and it's super fun that they get to now have an actual part that they've played in it.  Yay for awesome neighbors! 

SUCKING HIS THUMB
Two weeks ago (at 25 weeks gestation) we had a checkup ultrasound to confirm that the little man looked good.  They didn't get a clear view of his heart at the first ultrasound and he had two little cysts on the back of his head.  They were pretty sure the cysts would go away but they wanted to make sure on a follow-up ultrasound.  The tech looked at his head to start and we were all relieved to learn that the cysts were gone! She also confirmed that the little guy was a dude, and he still looked like a boy five weeks later. 

This ultrasound was more fun than the first.  We were able to watch the whole thing instead of closing our eyes every time she was near his genitals.  The little guy was sucking his thumb each time we saw his profile, it was so neat to see his little jaw moving up and down.  He also had the hiccups during the ultrasound which was pretty awesome.  We could see his little diaphragm spasm and I could see what I was feeling on the inside.  During the ultrasound she was trying to get a good photo of his right foot which was up under my rib cage.

RIGHT FOOT UNDER MY RIBS


I'm still feeling really great!  I'm at the point where I'm not huge but I look and feel pregnant, finally.  Most people are still thinking I'm smaller than they expect at this point.  I think that this is how I've always been with all my pregnancies.  I seem to get pregnant in my back before I do in my belly, oh for the love of muffin tops!  It helps that I think pregnancy is the most beautiful time of a woman's life, maybe that's why I love being pregnant.  I do feel extra beautiful right now!!! It's quite possible that's why our Lydia is overly obsessed with pregnancy, or because EVERY single womb around us is full of baby!

Lydia and Mom with our bellies
I love when people feel the baby moving.  Both my IPs were able to feel their little dude moving at the ultrasound a couple weeks ago.  I also find any open hand that is available to feel my belly when he's moving.  I have a co-worker at an office that I temp at that can't have kids and has never felt a human (she's felt dogs) moving in the womb, until this little guy!  She's been able to feel him several times and gets so excited each time.  It makes me so happy when people get as excited as I do.  Even my in-laws, who only talk about the pregnancy if I bring it up, felt him move over Christmas.  We're making strides in the right direction, yay!  I always make it a point to ask if people are interested in feeling him because it makes me so happy to have others enjoy this wonderful experience.

Speaking of wonderful experience, I feel like the farther along in this journey we get the more I'm surprised at how perfect everything is.  Our match couldn't be more perfect, we're so lucky that I got pregnant the first try, he looks healthy, we've had a tremendous support system, I'm fascinated by the impact it's had on the people around us, we've been loved beyond words by our IPs and their families, our agency has been so wonderful, and it's been overall simply AMAZING!  I had a telephone conversation with IP-A not long ago...I said, "I'm kind of sad that this will be over in 15 weeks.  I feel like I'm on a trip that I've saved for my whole life and it's been everything I hoped it would be, and more, but I'm not ready for it to be over."  (I realize most of you will never understand this feeling and probably think I'm sick, but I'm enjoying every second of this journey!)  What IP-A said to me will stick with me forever, "You can think of this as a lifelong journey that is just beginning!"  It confirms that we'll have an awesome friendship forever.  Two families brought together for one little life, a little life that will do BIG things!  He's one lucky little man!

There couldn't be an update without talking about food, right?!  I've discovered that I can eat soft served vanilla frozen yogurt.  It tastes okay, so I've only eaten a couple bites of the kids.  I was just excited that it didn't taste horrible!  Our youngest, George, is sugar free so I usually enjoy the sugarless foods that I make for him.  I wonder if this will change after delivery?  I did have a pretty strong craving for homemade baked beans that my IPs brought to a BBQ this summer.  I thought it was a secret recipe, but when the surrogate needs those beans it's not hard to crack it.  My sister was craving the same beans so she came over after I made them.  They didn't taste as good as my IPs so I might request them at one of the baby showers that I'll be attending.  I've heard that IP-B's aunt makes the best  :)
  
PREGNANT SISTERS ENJOYING OUR FIRST TASTE OF BAKED BEANS 

 
I have my gestational diabetes test next week Friday, I've never had it before so the only concern I have is that it might be terribly sweet.  After that appointment we're actually on every two week OB appointments already.  It's hard to believe that we're that far along.  My IPs will come up on the 17th for our appointment and then they're going to come and watch Ben and the kids in their Wizard of Oz play.

Believe it our not, Ben and I haven't watched Baby Mama!  We finally rented it and are just sitting down to watch it together.  The cover says, "Would you put your eggs...in this basket?"  It's too late for my IPs.  The deed has been done!  I'll let you know what we think in next weeks blog.  Merry Christmas!
 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Surrogates Unite

I've been lucky to be able to join a surrogate support group with about fifty Midwestern ladies.  It's a group where nothing is off limits and we're allowed to get support from women who completely understand each other.  Saturday, I attended a gathering with six surrogates from Minnesota.  I love being able to connect with these ladies.  Some of these women have/are carrying several times for several different couples.  Most are gestational surrogates and a few have been traditional surrogates.  Some are "retired" and others, like me, are having our first journey.  It's great to be able to listen to each woman's perspective and realize how similar we all are.  I guess we all clearly like being pregnant and have WONDERFUL husbands/partners that are more than supportive of our desire.  I know that this desire of mine is something that I couldn't keep pushing down, for years it would come to the surface with a vengeance...I would have regretted not doing it.  I don't know if you believe in God, The Universe, or some type of Energy source, but this desire is one, of many, of my "callings" in life.  I feel great satisfaction for listening and following through with this calling.        

Each time I meet with a surrogate, I realize that we all have to deal with the reality that there are those people that aren't supportive of our decision.  No matter what life decisions, or sometimes lack there of decision...just the life we were given, there are people who won't be supportive, and that's ok so long as they keep that to themselves.  Some people think that it's ok to share their opinion with us and tell us why it's wrong, or right, and others will just simply ignore the pregnancy and don't want to deal with the fact that we are genuinely happy growing a BEAUTIFUL baby inside our womb.  I've even been told that some people look at surrogacy as some sort of prostitution.  I'M NOT JOKING, I've heard it!  They think we're selling our bodies for money.  I'll just let you stew in that one for only a moment...

With the few negative things we have all heard about surrogacy, there is an overwhelming amount of positive things that we've all heard.  Strangers aren't afraid to wrap their arms around me and give me the greatest hug that anyone could give.  People tear up at the idea of how we could give the greatest gift, life.  Others will share that they had this desire and never lived it out.  More people than I can count have said that they've heard about surrogates on the news but have never met one in real life.  One person even told me that I am now a local celebrity (that made me chuckle)!  The point is, is that I'm just showing people that I'm living who I am and who I was created to be.  These are the people we want to surround ourselves with!  Life in general should be shared with positive people, and those are the people I'm really attracted to.  I enjoy being around happy people and people who enjoy being around me.

 My family is my greatest blessing in this life.  I have really high expectations of what a great family is, because generation after generation has been lead by an amazing example of how people should be treated when they are part of a family.  Both of my Grandmas did a great job of allowing us to see that when you join a family, you simply become another person to love just as equal as all the others.  When I was blessed with my only living Grandpa (Only by looking at a family tree would you know that he is technically my Step-Grandfather), George, he and my Grandma embraced each other's kids and grandkids like their own.  The joining of 10 kids, in-laws, and 27 grandkids couldn't have had a more beautiful ending, or beginning!!!  We were given more awesome people to love and to love us!  This is much like the joining of a surrogate's family with the intended parents and their family, we're gaining more awesome people to love and to love us!  

Speaking of my amazing family, on Sunday I'm going to be heading to my aunt and uncle's house for a photo shoot where five of eight pregnant cousins will be showing off our beautiful baby bellies.  Can you imagine how excited our Grandparents must feel looking down on all of us grandkids?  This might be the only time when 8 of 27 grandkids are pregnant and due between January 2014 and May 2014.  It's going to be so awesome!     


21 weeks



I'm a little over 21 weeks now and this little man is moving all the time.  Lydia and Jack have been able to feel him and if you watch my belly close you can see the kicks.  He kept me awake two nights ago from 3:30 am to when I got out of bed.  My IPs better watch out, he's going to be a little night owl!  We took the kids to production of Beauty and The Beast on Sunday and he moved the entire show.  I think he's going to be a theatre lover, maybe because he started off by listening to The Wizard of Oz just two days after he was put in my uterus.  He listened to The Sound of Music all summer long because Lydia was in that show.  Jack just finished up with The Little Mermaid, and as of yesterday, the kids and Ben started rehearsals for The Wizard of Oz.  I'm get to work the spotlight and watch all their performances!  I think he'll be one happy baby listening to all of this from the cozy warmth of his womb.  LIFE IS GOOD!! 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

It's a...



This baby will always have a special place in my heart!  I know he'll grow up and do great things.


Yesterday was the big 20 week ultrasound.  Of course my IPs were both able to attend this amazing event.  Just as I hopped in my car the baby started moving like crazy.  I seriously talked out loud to it, telling it that it had to keep moving so it's parents could feel it kicking when I got to the clinic.  After a quick hug to greet my IPs, I laid in the back seat of their vehicle and both of them were able to feel their baby move for the first time!  That was a pretty magical!  I think all three of us were beaming from ear to ear.

The plan for the ultrasound was that none of us would find out the gender of the baby and the next day (today) would be a family reveal party to learn the gender.  They asked the ultrasound tech if she would be able to e-mail or call the bakery to let them know if it was a boy or girl.  Apparently those of us in the medical field would think that HIPPA would allow this to happen, and of course we were wrong.  IP-A and IP-B both decided that I could find out the gender and call the bakery after the appointment.  Before finding out the gender, I told them that my gut feeling was a girl and that I'll continue to call it a she and at the reveal party I'd vote girl, wear a "GIRL" sticker, and not tell a soul no matter what.  That was not an easy task.  It was pretty obvious when the tech got to the right area that it was CLEARLY a boy!  I winked at the tech and kept my word.  I didn't tell anyone! 


It's a BOY!
We were given two CDs with photos of the ultrasound and she included the gender picture, so IP-B decided that I should take their CD with me and bring it to them today so that IP-A wouldn't cheat.  I started getting texts this morning begging me to tell IP-A, but I played along and couldn't ruin the surprise! 

Ben, the kids, and I were we were lucky enough to bring the guest of honor to the gender reveal party that my IPs had with both their families.  It shouldn't have come as a surprise to me that I would be greeted with overwhelming love and gratitude.  I wasn't expecting to hear every single person say "Thank you!"  I've never thought of the impact this child would have outside of my IPs.  To be able to hug the grandparents, aunts, and uncles of this baby gave me a whole new perspective on being a surrogate, much like discovering the the amazing impact it's having on our children and community.  I can't believe that I never thought in depth about how my IPs families must feel.  It was a room filled with so much love for the baby in my womb.  And this is one lucky baby!  I always say how fortunate I feel to be matched with such an amazing couple, but now I feel even more lucky to be matched with these amazing families!  They are truly awesome people.      

As each person came into the party they were to pick a gender and wear a sticker with their guess.  One uncle came in and asked what I thought it was and pulled a Ben, he picked the opposite because he remembered that I've never been right with guessing any of our kids genders.  After we had a lovely pizza lunch it was time for a fun game of "What do the Old Wives Tales tell us about the gender?"  I answered a bunch of old wives tale questions and came to the conclusion that we were split right down the middle on if it's a boy or girl. 

My IPs cut into the cake right after the game.  The cake was to have blueberry filling for a boy or raspberry filling for a girl.  The fruit layer was so thin that it was really difficult to tell if it was raspberry or blueberry.  I let them look hard and waited to see if they could figure it out, I heard them say "I think it's a girl"...then they looked at me and I had to tell them that IT'S A BOY!  They tasted the fruit filling and it was blueberry!  Sometimes things happen for reasons, and it was a good thing that I secretly knew the gender.  Everyone seems to be really excited about this new baby boy  :)      

The Cake
Blueberry Filling = Boy

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Things You Didn't Know

Surrogacy has so many hidden aspects that many people don't think about or simply never knew.  I received a thick envelope from IARC, our agency, a couple weeks ago, and it was filled with more paperwork and a ton of questions for me to fill out for our court hearing after the baby is born. Most of you aren't aware that in the state of Minnesota, I actually have to give up my "parental rights" over the baby and a formal adoption will happen shortly after the birth.  You've gathered it, I end up on the birth certificate for a short time after the birth and have "rights" over a child that doesn't even have an ounce of genetic attachment to me.  This seems silly to me, but we do have to do a bunch of legal paperwork and then go in front of a judge to have everything finalized.  I'm kind of bummed that we need to do this in the cities instead of St. Cloud, because my mom, who's a court reporter, would have asked to be with our judge for the day and she could have recorded the whole court hearing. 

Ben and I recently meet with an attorney to have our wills done.  This is another piece of surrogacy that needs to be completed.  If something were to happen to me during the pregnancy, we've made sure that it's written to keep my body alive and to let the baby grow to full term.  These are very morbid conversations to have but we've known about this since contract time.  It's just something that most people wouldn't think would be a part of this process. 

I can finally feel the baby from the outside!  This is very exciting news because I get to see my IPs tomorrow and hopefully they'll be able to feel their baby kick!!!!!  Our 5 year old son, George, was the first to feel the movement last weekend.  He's not one to sit still very long, however he laid next to me and giggled every time he felt movement for at least 30 minutes.  I had one night where I actually felt a very hard body part slide across my hand.  It's such a neat feeling and this is totally the reason I love being a surrogate, so far!  I'm sure that the actual birth and watching my IPs in the delivery room will be the very best part!!!

I need to brag on our kids for a moment.  Lydia, our 9 year old, and I were having a conversation last week about different things that people do to help others out in this world.  We were specifically discussing Red Cross, volunteer work, and natural disaster clean up.  Lydia told me that helping clean up after a natural disaster is something that she really wouldn't ever be interested in doing, and I agree with her, I don't think it's something that I really would feel like I'm "called" to do either.  So we went on discussing other ways we could help people out and really enjoy it.  Lydia didn't hesitate when she said that our family is doing something great for someone, and she told me that she thinks when she is older that she might be a surrogate herself.  She has such a big heart and loves what our family is doing for our IPs! 

Jack, our 7 year old, is a very deep thinker.  He loves to go above and beyond what he needs to do in school and gets really excited to excel at everything he tries.  We recently had parent teacher conferences and one of his assignments at school was to answer a bunch of questions from a story, of his choice, that he had to read.  He asked if he could write a story and then answer the questions, and of course any teacher would say, yes.  He spent three days writing his story, and his teacher said he worked very very hard on it.  She wanted us to read his story right there in front of her during the conference, and she had a HUGE smile on her face the whole time!  Jack's story was about a little girl who lived with just her mother, had no neighbor kids, and she was very lonely.  Eventually she got new neighbors that had a bunch of kids and this made the little girl happy, but she really wanted a sibling terribly bad.  The story ends by the little girl suggesting to her mom that they should get a sperm donor so she could have a brother or sister.  Ben, Jack's teacher, and I were all giggling.  Clearly, our kids are very accepting of any method people use to bear a child.  I feel like they are learning such valuable lessons at such a young age and can only hope that it will continue into adulthood.

Tomorrow is our 20 week ultrasound!  I can't imagine how giddy our IPs feel.  I'm really excited to see baby again and know that everything looks nice and healthy.  They do want to find out the gender of the baby, so I'll be sending a private message to my family after we learn, however I'm going to wait to post anything on here until I get the "go ahead" from our IPs.  I want them to be the ones to share their news with their family and friends and will wait a few days until I know the news has spread.  I can't take that joy of sharing their news away from them!  I'll eventually post photos and let you know if it's a boy or girl.  I still think it's a girl!                   



      

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Quick Update

Baby is clearly growing!

I had an OB appointment last Friday and things are looking great!  Baby's heart rate is in the low 150's/high 140's.  The ultrasound and followup OB appointment are scheduled for November 8th and we'll get to learn the gender on the 9th.  I know my IP's are thrilled, but I think my family might be second excited to find out.  Ben and IP-A think it's a boy, and the rest of us are still thinking girl (have I mentioned that I've never ever been right with any of our kids? heheehe).  We'll just have to wait a couple more weeks.    

There isn't much more to update other than the baby movement is getting stronger each day.  She is very active when I lay down for bed.  George is obsessed with kissing my belly and saying, "Hi baby!"  I still can't eat sweets, but I'm able to eat a variety of foods that I wasn't able to for the first 16 weeks!  yay!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

I Feel A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

What is that?  13 weeks 2 days
-Photo by Lydia (9 years old)

The day after my last post was the last day I took a Zofran.  I finally feel like my normal pregnant self, and this is the reason I signed up to become a surrogate!  I love feeling so good.  I think I needed to get those drugs flushed out of my body, and it's great to feel so wonderful again.  I realize that being in the second trimester makes a world of difference, however I've never experienced a trimester like the first.  Physically and mentally I feel so different and good now that I'm off those drugs.  It makes me really sad for those people that go through a whole pregnancy and don't enjoy any of it.

This pregnancy is making me broaden my food horizon.  I realize that most of these posts I talk about food, but this has been one of the biggest issues during this pregnancy.  I'm still struggling with certain foods, especially sweets, but I can eat so much more now than I could in the first trimester.  My body must be in need of calcium because I can't get enough milk.  I have gone through 8 gallons of milk in just a little over a week.  Last week I started drinking orange juice.  Alfredo sauce has been a particularly new favorite of mine.  Ben in in heaven!  I have made homemade chicken alfredo pizza three times in the last two weeks.  I guess it's not only a hit for me and the baby but everyone in our family.  I keep asking for supper ideas from the kids and all they want is the pizza.  I made some chicken dumpling soup tonight.  I've never made this in my life, but for some reason it sounded appetizing.  Tomorrow will be the taste test.  Sometimes I make things that sound delicious and don't taste as good as they sound.  Jack, our 7 year old, recently told me that he doesn't really like that I'm a surrogate, ONLY because he's sad that I don't like sweets and he wishes I would take him out for ice cream more.  He's such a smart little guy!

The baby is growing and moving a lot more.  I'm 16 weeks and 2 days now.  I'll have to take a new belly photo and post it soon.  We have an OB appointment on Friday so I'll try to post soon after that appointment.  The ultrasound is scheduled for November 8th, but it sounds like there will be some type of surprise gender reveal that we'll have to wait to learn the baby's sex.  I thought maybe my IP's should leave the room after the ultrasound is over and the tech could tell and show me all the body parts so someone could show them what things are!  I guess I'll just be patient and wait until the big reveal!!!  There's a guessing game going on in our house.  Everyone except Ben thinks it's a girl.  My IP's have been referring to her as a girl for months now, so I think it'll be a big shock if it ends up being a boy.  Really, health is all that matters so we'll just hope for a healthy little one.      

Being a surrogate means that you need to have custom maternity clothing.  I bought three awesome shirts that I can't wait to wear, one of which says across the belly...I've got a little Canadian in me!  There will be no secret as to the location of this baby's conception.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Reasons to Celebrate

I can't suck in my belly anymore!
Maybe when I can eat then this baby belly will pop.


There are so many reasons we need to celebrate...

BIGGEST CELEBRATION NEWS- I've been eight days hormone-free and am feeling so much different and better!  Ma and Pa took us out for dinner at Granite City Brewery to celebrate this awesome occasion.  I think there are just a few people that are close to me who really understand how horrible I felt for the first trimester of this pregnancy.  Ben told me I wasn't allowed to even discuss being a surrogate again for a long time.  My poor family has to suffer through the food issues with me on a daily basis, and it's horrible.  It's something that I can't describe to anyone and you wouldn't understand unless you have been there anyway.  I still haven't really gained my apatite back and I dread going to the grocery store, but I'm NOT feeling like I'm going to throw up all day every day and that a relief!  There are a couple of new food items that I've been able to stomach, rice with coconut milk and curry, Alfredo sauce with gluten free noodles, and dairy products: cheese, cottage cheese, and milk.  I'm sure by the end of the week that Ben and the kids will be sick of these things.  
  
Because I'm feeling better, I am taking Zofran one to two times per day now instead of four time a day.  It seems like I need to take it right away in the morning and I'm fine for the rest of the day, usually.  I truly hope that I'll be done with it in just a couple days!  It has been my saving grace and I'm sure that I wouldn't have gotten out of bed without it.  Thank God for Zofran!  :)

I had one day that I was able to eat CHOCOLATE!  I went to the dreaded grocery store late last week and I thought that a chocolate turtle looked tasty, so I bought it and ate it.  I have to admit that it wasn't fantastic.  It was only tolerable, but I was really happy that I didn't spit it out like I had to two days ago.  Coming from a chocolate loving family, I feel really sad that I can't just enjoy a bite of chocolate every single day.  It has to change after the pregnancy, right?  It's almost as bad as not having ice cream for a whole trimester.  I hope that will be fixed soon too so IP-B and I can share in our love for ice cream again!  People should never say, "I wish I had that problem."  This is a bad problem and no one should suffer through the dislike of chocolate and ice cream!

My paths crossed with a leadership development coach and author last week.  IP-B and I have been talking about writing a book (everyone better be nice now because you may be a part of our story *wink* actually, I'm really serious) about our surrogacy journey for several months now.  I have tried to touch base with several authors but this was clearly meant to be.  I'm finished reading his book and listened to an audio program that he lent me.  I hope that he's the one that will help us write a book...well, once we have an ending to the amazing story!

Yesterday our agency, IARC, put on a surrogacy social.  It was an event for our entire family, and our kids were so excited to meet other kids that understand what it's like to have their mom be a surrogate.  It was so cute to listen to these kids talk about the babies that are/were in their mom's tummy, and the kids telling us the best way to describe surrogacy to a kid...which is from a book-  The Kangaroo Pouch.  I enjoyed listening to the stories of the other women who have gone through so many different experiences.  Our journey has been a breeze compared to 99.9% of these other ladies.  I can't believe how many unsuccessful transfer stories I heard, and then couples or surrogates would decided to part ways after failed attempts.  UGH!  I feel like my relationship with my IP's will be a lifelong friendship!  I guess when you go through a heartache it must be different.  Ben and I left feeling overwhelmingly grateful for what we have and how smooth things are going!

Unrelated to surrogacy and because this is the celebration entry... CONGRATULATIONS to IP-B's sister who was married this weekend!  I was able to see a couple photos of the wedding and you make one beautiful bride.  I wish you many many years of happiness and joy!  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's Alive...We Heard The Heart Beating!

Yesterday we had our first "official" OB appointment.  IP-B has a new job and was unable to attend the appointment, however IP-A was able to make it!  We met with an RN, Joan, to begin the appointment.  She was so nice and full of great information.  We went through my pregnancy and medical history.  Some questions were directed toward me while others were directed toward IP-A.  I did the typical urine sample and initial blood work (everyone on this green earth will know that I don't have HIV or an STD, because I've been tested more times in the last year than most of you have ever been in your life).  The nurse was so accepting and nice when dealing with our unique pregnancy.  I honestly think we're given more time than the average Joe, or Josie, because people are so fascinated by us.  I'm the first surrogate that our doctor has seen, so this little nugget will be the first surro baby delivered by her!  It's kind of cool. 

Our OB is just the nicest there is.  She had just gotten back from the hospital after delivering a baby and we could tell she was still a little giddy.  It makes me really excited to know that she still clearly loves what she does.  She asked us if we had any questions and told us what our appointment for the day would look like.  We started by listening to the baby's heartbeat.  It took a little while to locate the baby, but finally we heard the 166bpm.  IP-A videotaped this part of the appointment so IP-B would be able to hear the little heartbeat for the first time.  I still vote it's a girl!  The smile that IP-A had definitely lit up the room.  Moments like that make this whole journey worthwhile!   

I finished up the appointment alone with the doctor.  She had to do the annual physical, etc.  I think she also wanted a little time alone with just me to see how I was doing.  It really makes me feel like she is extra thoughtful to know that she had prepared the appointment to spend time with just the two of us.  I tell my IP's everything, but I appreciate the fact that she felt the need to make sure I was doing ok. I was able to explain that I do have a bond with the baby, but it's sooooooooooooooo very different than the bond I had with our babies. I think I can liken it to the bond I have with my nieces when they were in utero.  It's a connection and love but different than our kids.  It must be the feeling that a typical surrogate has.

IP-A and I had lunch at Noodles and Company following the appointment.  It's my new pregnancy obsession.  When I say obsession, I mean I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF IT!  The Pad Thai noodle bowl is gluten free and has been in my stomach for the last three days in a row.  I'm still struggling with food issues, so it's nice to have something that I can eat and enjoy.  I honestly can't stop thinking about eating it.  I still can't eat anything sweet.  The smell of bubblegum was pleasant the other day, so I bought myself some chewing bubblegum this morning.  I didn't get more than three chew in and I spit it out.  It was waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy too sweet for me.  The only other thing that sounds appetizing is seafood.  I'm not a fish eater at all, but I really want seafood.  I learned that I'm allowed one serving a week, so I think I'll be adding that to my weekly intake. 

The heightened sense of smell is getting the best of me.  Our kitchen is torn apart, we had some water leakage while we were in Canada and we couldn't get rid of the stink.  Sometimes I would walk into the house and head straight for the toilet to barf because the smell was pretty bad.  Ben tore up the floor and when he pulled out the dishwasher he discovered the stink.  The smell was/is so rancid.  After he opened the cabinet next to the dishwasher up, I held the barf in until we made it out of Menard's and I had dry heaves in the parking lot.  There was a car full of spectators watching.  Oops.  We had an insurance adjuster come out today, so we'll see where that leads us.  Ben is so amazing and has completed the demo work and is installing new flooring as I type.  The smell is much better but not gone.  The other smell that has made me gag and almost loose my stomach is fast food restaurants.  They are everywhere and they stink up the whole freaking town.  If you see me driving my mini van with my shirt over my nose, please wave!  It's a stinky situation. 

I'm winding down my medications!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I gave myself my last HcG injection tonight and I have two final days left of the rest.  I think by this time next week I'll feel like my normal pregnant self.

There is something inside me that keeps moving.  It's fun to feel the little bubbles everyday.  One night I thought she was using my uterine wall as a trampoline and just jumped for a solid five minutes.  I love feeling the movement.  I can't wait until it's really strong and my IP's can feel it.  Lydia might be almost as excited as my IP's are.  When I giggle and tell her that I feel the baby moving, she jumps up and tries to feel it.  She tells everyone that her mom is pregnant and how excited she is that we're helping a couple have a baby.  I think our kids are going to gain more out of this experience than I had originally thought.

Our next OB appointment is scheduled in six weeks!                    

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Not So Hot Right Now

Lydia took this to show my IP's what I look like after puking my guts out.
I haven't been feeling the greatest during these last couple months.  We're a little over 10 weeks now and I have less than two weeks of medications that I have to take.  I think once I'm off the meds I'll feel better.  A couple weeks ago I was feeling so miserable that I called the OB to see if there was anything else I could do to help with the nausea and help me eat more.  She suggested that I take Zofran every four hours instead of every eight.  That made a HUGE difference in my life!  The only problem is...


May Cause Constipation? The warning should read:
WILL CAUSE CONSTIPATION

I haven't taken a dump in weeks.  There isn't one person who I've talked to about Zofran who hasn't gone through severe constipation.  It's way better than being nauseous all day long, so I'll take it.  I labored some poo this weekend during a 30 minute car ride home, only to proudly push out four little rabbit turds.  I'm on a stool softener to help ease the pain, clearly it's not really helping that much.  I'm confident that I'll be off the Zofran within the next few weeks and will have a happy and clean bowel soon after. 
 
As of today, I've lost 13lbs since the transfer.  I even threw up again from some stupid person leaving a cigarette butt still lit in the ash tray.  Why do people think that's acceptable?  I'm still only able to eat really bland food like homemade mac n cheese, soup, plain rice checks cereal, fake Velveeta cheese, fake cheese in a can on plain crackers, and my favorite is boxed mashed potatoes from Bonanza with their fake cheese on top. This weekend I pounded a bag of Funyuns.  I'm pretty sure I haven't consumed most of these foods since high school.  They sound so gross and taste so good.  The smell of wine is delicious.  I'm one of those crazy people who, on a normal basis, thinks coffee smells as bad as cigarette smoke, but this pregnancy has totally changed my mind.  I almost want to try a cup of decaf just to see if it'll taste as good as it smells.

My IP's came up for a visit a week ago.  We were able to take our first "Blow up the Belly" photo that we'll continue to document throughout the pregnancy.  Ben was our photographer and we had a bunch of people on a nearby balcony who were probably completely confused as to what we were doing.  After our photo we were able to hang out by the beach and chat the afternoon away.  It's such a comfortable relationship that we all have.  The time just flies when we're together.  We ended at Bonanza to fulfill my craving for those mashed potatoes and cheese sauce. 

I've been keeping track of people's reactions to the news when they find out I'm a surrogate.  The most common response is in the form of a question, "Is it for someone you know?"  I don't have a solid answer that I give when I hear this question.  We've become AMAZING friends, so I instantly want to say...Yes!  Sometimes I do say yes and sometimes I tell people how we met through an agency.  I've had arms swing around me with a giant hug, from people I don't know, and they tell me the nicest things.  One lady asked me a million questions and just cried, happy tears, through our whole conversation.  Our community is becoming aware of our gift and I have people in the grocery store asking me how I'm feeling.  We are blessed beyond belief from the support that is being poured out to our family!  I love that other people are as proud of us as we are for what we're doing.  We thank each and every one of you for your love and support!  This gift doesn't come easy and most people wouldn't be able to go through a journey like we are.  I'm so happy I'm one of the lucky people that was given this as a true desire in my heart.  Without a doubt and as sick as I am, this is something that I was put on this earth to do. 

I got a phone call from my IP's this weekend.  They heard from a friend that her dad had a Josie working at his dental office who is a surrogate.  She said that there can't be that many Josie's in the St. Cloud area that are surrogates, and she was wondering if I was the one who worked for her dad.  I guess it shows how small this big world is.  I'm actually going to be at her dad's office tomorrow.  I hope you're following this blog and maybe sometime we'll get to meet in person. 

There is a definite bonding that's happening with the baby and me.  I love her so much already, however, it's so very very different than the bond I had with our kids.  I don't really know how to explain it, but people often think that "giving up the baby" will be the hardest part of this journey.  I don't see it as "giving up" anyone, it's not mine to begin with.  There must be some great subconscious work going on because I'm not worried about that at all.  This little person will always hold a special place in my heart! 

This weekend I started feeling little bubbles.  Most people would say it's probably gas, but I think it's movement that I'm starting to feel.  Each day I'm feeling a little movement, just a couple times each day.  I think that it'll be awesome when there is movement that my IP's can actually see and feel!

We have our first official OB appointment on September 10th.  We'll meet with the nurse first and then see the OB afterwards.  I hope we'll get to hear the heartbeat!    

     

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Uno

3D Ultrasound of 7 week 3 day Baby


One Baby!
We played a game of hide-and-seek and found one tiny little heartbeat that nearly took all of our breath away.  My uterus was searched from side to side and up and down to make sure that there wasn't another little nugget hiding somewhere.  Here she is (I've just decided that I think it's a girl and will call her a she from now until we know for sure).  She's got a strong heart rate of 159 beats per minute, and we're already able to see arm buds.  We even got to see a 3D ultrasound!  The tech was thrilled with the photo she got, she said it was the best one she's taken ever of a babe this young (see top photo).  She was actually showing it off to her co-workers before giving it to us.

The ultrasound appointment went by in a blink of an eye.  I think we all wanted to stare at the screen forever, or at least another hour.  I don't understand how we wait for all of these BIG appointment only to find out that they take just a minute or two.  It sometimes feels like we have waited forever for these moments to arrive and I just want to hold my breath and let it last for a little while.

I can't speak for my IP's, but I'm pretty sure that I was the only one who shed a silent tear during the ultrasound.  Learning that I'm going to be carrying a singleton pregnancy was a huge sense of relief for me.  I woke up at 3:30 the morning of the appointment scared out of my mind that there were two babies in there.  The goal was to get one healthy baby out of this journey, and it looks like we're on a path to success!

Most of you are aware that my IP's want two kids.  They would have loved to have gotten a BOGO, but they said they didn't feel a sense of loss and that there is a little bit of relief on their part.  It would have been fun to have twins, but this way they'll get to experience everything twice.  It sounds like they especially would have wanted twins if I wouldn't do this again for them.  So long as I stay healthy and can carry again, Ben agrees, I get Zofran from the start, and we transfer only one embryo (wink wink), then I'll probably do a sibling project.  The connection a surrogate has with her IP's is pretty much indescribable!  I want nothing more than to see their little family complete.  Plus, we all think that if they have another surrogate it would feel like the were cheating on me.  Ben's first comment after meeting our couple was, "If you do this twice...I hope it's for them!"  I sure do have the best husband!!!

After the ultrasound I meet my IP's in the waiting room and we all just sat there for at least a half an hour.  We all sent text messages to our loved ones.  I loved being a part of this magical moment with my IP's.  Watching them stare at the ultrasound pictures and listening to their conversation about their baby was a moment I'll never forget.  This was the moment that it all became real for them.  We all wondered when it would sink in (for my IP's...I've been vomiting and feeling how real it is for many weeks), and we discovered that was moment it would become "real".  I've been getting messages from both my IP's that they can't concentrate at work and they stare at the photos for fifteen minutes at a time.  That makes me smile  :)   

My IP's arrived a couple hours earlier than the ultrasound to have an appointment with an OB.  I've been really sick and having a hard time eating anything.  I've decided that I'm not going to be weighing myself during the pregnancy, other than at the doctor and I cheated today, only because I'm loosing weight.  When I got to the doctor on Tuesday I was down seven pounds and I'm down by ten today.  It's not the ideal way or time to loose weight.  I have been feeling terrible up until this week when I was finally able to get on Zofran.  I had a couple days this week where I was able to eat a normal portion of food and not throw up.  The Zofran has helped tremendously with the nausea, but I'm struggling with this food issue.  It seems like when I think about eating I want to throw up.  Things that I was craving the last couple weeks make me want vomit if I think about them.  Bland foods seem to do the trick, and I still can't eat anything that's sweet!

Speaking of Zofran, I've decided that the founders of the drug should win a Nobel Peace Prize.  Seriously, they have touched so many lives and made the world a much more peaceful place.  I think that anyone who has used this medication would totally agree!  I actually feel like I'm a human again.

During my pregnancies with our kids I craved normal things like: pickles, ice cream, pizza, s'mores, and beer...ok, maybe not normal?!?!  This week has been the week of cheese.  I can only seem to eat grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade mac n' cheese.  I'm lucky if I can get a child's size portion in me at once.  I seem to be able to take a few bites and hand the food off to our hungry little kids.  Tonight I made homemade pizza and could only eat once bite.  George was happy to gobble up the rest of the pizza to fill up his tummy.  I'll just keep trying...
 
I was going to say peace out, but maybe I'll say...
 
ZOFRAN OUT!



   

Sunday, August 4, 2013

It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Throws Up

When my sister was pregnant with my sweet little niece, Molly, she had hyperemesis.  I've never experienced someone so sick during pregnancy.  Our mom had the same thing during her pregnancies but there was not name for it.  At one point Megan was hooked up to an IV that she carried with her and she had a Zofran Pump that she used for most of her pregnancy.  Megs would often call me crying from the grocery store and tell me that nothing looks or sounds good to eat.  She would ask almost every night what we were having for supper to see if that would sound like something she would want to eat, more often than not it didn't sound appetizing to her.  I never understood or had sympathy for this problem of hers until now.  I owe you a huge apology, Megs!  I'm sorry for not giving you sympathy when you needed it the most from your best friend.  I just thought you should suck it up and eat something.  Now I understand the problem and I'm very sorry for not being a better sister!  Please forgive me. 

I started to experience low hunger within the first week of starting the progesterone.  I simply wasn't hungry and nothing sounded appetizing.  A week or two ago the hunger came back but this issue of nothing sounding, smelling, looking, or tasting good started.  Shortly after this, hot dogs became my craving of choice and then one day I really wanted stir fry.  I purchased all the fixing for stir fry the next day, but by the time I was going to make it for supper the thought of it made me want to throw up!  I also had a small craving for ice cream one day and I told the kids we should go and get some, but by the time we reached the store the thought of ice cream made me sick.  We didn't end up getting ice cream and the kids were so sad.  I've realized I have about a fifteen minute window to consume my craving before the thought of it makes me sick.  I've never experienced something like this in my pregnancies.  Ben keeps saying that's what I get for getting pregnant with someone else's kid, and I should be more careful next time!  hahahaha!!

The last couple days have been very rough on me as far as nausea goes.  I've really only been able to eat very small quantities of rotisserie chicken, dill pickle chips, chocolate milk, hot dogs, Ginger Ale, and Grandma Boom's famous beans.  When I woke up this morning I knew it was going to be the first day I would vomit.  I was sick before getting out of bed and could only eat four bites of my toast.  I tried to eat more rotisserie chicken but after two bites I gave up.  I thought I'd try something different.

I can't complain to Ben at all about this pregnancy, after all, it's not his kid and this is a desire of mine that he's happy to support, therefore, my IP's are going to hear all about it when I'm not feeling well! :)  I thought I'd try an Epsom Salt bath to see if that would help me a bit.  That was the beginning of the end of my yucky day.  When I got out of the tub I knew it was coming up...Yep, I totally blew chunks!  It's amazing how much better one feels after throwing up.  I don't like barfing but my stomach feels so much better now.  I'd be happy if that was it for the throwing up stage.  

I text both of my IP's to let them know what happened throughout the day, and I got the cutest response back from IP-A..."I wonder if we should check with Dr. Virro to see if that's normal or if they need to moderate it [the progesterone] some?"  Knowing this is normal, I could reassure them that this is a typical part of pregnancy and all was well.  This is the reply, "Can you just imagine this...Our kids are going to be in the docs office every other day with a sneeze, cough, or sniffle.  We'll have to call the nurse Josie line before we haul them off to the doctor."  Oh IP's, you're going to be typical first time parents and do what we all did as newbies!  You'll be amazing!!!             

Passion

Have you ever been stripped or robbed from a passion?  I have experienced this several times in my life where I have looked up to someone as a good example and found they were the worst leader, and from that I have lost interest in certain passions.  It makes me wonder if they were real passions in the first place when I haven't chosen to pursue them again.  Surrogacy, for example, was one passion that someone tried to strip from  my life.  It is obvious that it's a true passion since I chose to pursue it even though someone (remember that therapist from my first post) may not agreed with my decision.  I don't think you can hide a genuine passion!   

Most recently, I was stripped from my dental hygiene passion.  Before moving back to Minnesota I worked at the most incredible dental office.  I was given an example by three amazing dentists that it is possible to love going to work.  My co-workers were an extension of my family and I love them to this day!  I'm positive that I would have stayed at this office until I retired if we wouldn't have moved back home.  The choice to move back to Minnesota wasn't very hard, because we knew that raising our kids around our family was the right thing to do.  Changing of offices was very difficult.  I thought I had picked a great office to work at, but boy was I fooled big time.  Don't get me wrong, I had wonderful co-workers, but the stress of going to work was doing more to my body than I even realized.  In the three years I had worked there I saw a 100% turnover in their employees.    

I went into work on my day off to tell my boss, in full detail, what I was doing with this surrogacy journey.  I brought in pictures of the transfer and I had more excitement than anyone could imagine.  I've been working on getting to this point for eleven months and I couldn't wait to fill them in on a piece of my personal life.  My boss didn't give me a minute of her time to share my news and asked me to come in early the next morning.  I guess she had a different agenda. 

I showed up the next morning with much less excitement than the day before.  Ben and I decided that I shouldn't even share that this was a surrogacy pregnancy and to just tell them that I'm pregnant.  She started the meeting off by telling me that she's cutting my hours from 22 per week to just 10 hours because they didn't want to loose the gal who was job-sharing with me, so they gave her a full time position and were cutting my hours.  Then she asked my exciting news.  I just said I was pregnant.  Later that day she wanted me to sign a piece of paper stating that they were cutting my hours.  I was very uncomfortable signing this form, so I asked if I could take it home and go over it with Ben.

After I finished the next day she asked if I signed the form.  Ben and I hadn't had a chance to sit down the night before, so I stated just that and we would be happy to sit down and look at it over the weekend.  She proceeded to tell me how it was a simple form and any normal person would just sign it.  She said if I wouldn't sign the form right now then she'd have to let me go.  I shook her hand and thanked her for the last three years and told her how much she has taught me.  I finished all my charts, my end of the day paperwork, gathered all my personal items, and went home to find myself able to sleep a full night though.  The stress of the working environment took way more out of me than I knew.

I'm starting to temp around town.  I'll be able to set my own schedule and work as much or as little as our family needs.  I actually have my first day tomorrow, and I'm really looking forward to seeing a light at the end of this black hole that I've been stuck in for a few years.  It is a passion that I was robbed from and I'm looking forward to lighting that fire in me again.  I feel really happy about where life is going at this point! 

We've been teaching our kids about choices, and how you are the only person that can make a choice in your life.  There are people who guide us and help us to make decisions in life, but there is only one person who can actually choose...That person is you!  What's your passion?  Have you been stripped of a passion that you would like to choose to regain?  It's your life...make the choice!  Life is GOOD!              

Friday, July 26, 2013

Blindsided

I was told right before the transfer that Dr. Virro is the only fertility doc that uses an hCG injection, so I have to do one injection every third day for the next seven-ish weeks.  Not terrible, but injections aren't fun and neither are taking drugs.  hCG is a natural hormone that a pregnant woman has in her body.  It's fine but not enjoyable.  I was told to start tonight.

I only had one craving up until today...Hot Dogs!  Who wakes up and wants to grill a freaking hot dog for breakfast?  ME!  I think I could eat a hot dog for three meals a day and all my snacks.  No worries, I'm only eating the nitrate free ones and I have only given into that craving a few times.  Today was a day sent from heaven, I needed to eat ice cream!  I'm not sure if this is a craving or I'm actually feeling back to my normal self after NOT being hungry since starting the progesterone.  I'm just thrilled that I wanted ice cream!  I told myself that I must go for a run in order to eat the ice cream, and so the running saga began...

It took me two attempts to get my three mile run in today, so I actually ended up running a total of four miles.  Just a little over a half a mile into the first run, George's pedal on his bike fell off.  I'm not sure how it fell off but I couldn't put it back on without using a wrench.  Lydia and Jack were biking along with us so we all turned back.  I ended up running with George while pushing the bike.  We made it home and it was an easy fix.  I had promised the kids I'd feed them lunch when we got home, so I ended up making lunch and having my scheduled power nap. 

The second attempt, after nap time, was successful, however George complained two of the three miles!  I told him that he could have a Lara Bar treat when he got home if he didn't stop or complain the last mile...success!  When we got home there was a package waiting for me...

Seriously, this is what I get when I return home from a run?

 


AHHHHH!  More Meds.
Photo taken by: The Amazing Lydia


My second large box of meds arrived and I needed to start the hCG tonight.  It took a little while to figure out how to mix the meds and I learned a good lesson.  I have to mix a sterile water with the freeze dried powder.  Now that I've done it once, I think I should be fine when I have to mix it again.  I used the same needle to try to inject myself after mixing the med. Note to self...that needle is dull and won't poke through the skin even if you try four different sites.  Changing the needle made a world of difference!  First hCG injection=DONE
 
I just finished that bowl of ice cream that I'd been thinking about all day long.  I mixed a dark chocolate with black cherry and it was delicious!  I'm pretty sure it will be calling my name when I wake up tomorrow.
 
2 1/2 weeks until the ultrasound.  I can't wait!  
   

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I Think I Can Call Myself a Surrogate Now

Saturday morning I woke up and put in my progesterone suppository.  The applicator came out with bright red blood on it and my vag hurt soooooooo bad!  I went back to bed and told Ben I thought something bad was happening.  The nurses told me if I saw bright red blood then it probably was a bad sign.  I didn't have a large amount of bleeding, but I decided I'd run to the store to pick up a few pregnancy tests to make sure that it was still coming up as positive.  I was a nervous wreck!

I called Charity on my way to the store, and she told me that it's possible to have bleeding from that applicator and if the suppository is too close to the cervix.  Thank God for Charity!  I told her how I was hurting pretty bad on the inside from that progesterone, so she suggested that I stop with the applicator and just put it in the old fashion way.  I haven't had one issue since I stopped using the applicator.  I shall make it well known in the surrogacy world that no one should rip up their vag like me, and I'll worn them before using that stupid applicator!  The pregnancy test was fine and my vag is healed...Thank God.  (sorry if that was too graphic) 

My IP's came over on Sunday for a BBQ and games.  It's amazing that we can spend an afternoon and evening together and feel like we're such great friends already (I guess that's good since we've really integrated our lives)!  Ben and I have had a really hard time meeting couples that we both like, so it's refreshing that we're both happy with this match.  It's fun that we have so many things in common, and it's like we've know each other for years!  They're such great people. 
 

Gluten Free/Sugar Free Tort made by IP-A


Monday was the Beta hCG blood test at the doctors office.  It's hard to answer questions that people have about this pregnancy.  I sat down and the Phlebotomist asked me how many kids I have and their ages, and then proceeded to tell me how far apart the kids will be.  It sure makes me think about things that I have said to people in the past, and how I'll watch myself closer now to not just assume things.  I had my test at 9:30am and then played the "hurry up and wait" game.  IP-A called me mid-nap to let me know that my results were in...still half sleeping I heard the number 77, my heart sank and I think I almost threw up, then I asked IP-A to repeat the number and that's when I heard it...677!!!  There's no question about it, I'M PREGNANT! 

Of course we all want to read into the numbers, but ladies and gents, we'll just have to wait until August 13th at 11:10 to find out if there are one or two little hearts beating in there.  I've heard of people in the 400's carry twins and I've heard people in the 900's carry a singleton.  My IP's are planning on coming to the ultrasound on the 13th.  I'm pretty sure that will be an emotional day for all of us.  I'm thinking I might look at my IP's while they look at the ultrasound before taking a glance at how many are there.  I just want to see their reaction when they see their child for the first time. This whole process makes me so happy, it's more than obvious that I'm truly meant to do this.  It's a modern day miracle!

I've been feeling really well.  The pregnancy fatigue is in full swing, but I'm making sure to get about a half hour power nap each afternoon to help with the loss of energy.  I think it's working really well to have a scheduled power nap.  I was even able to have my first run since the transfer tonight.  The boys biked along side during the two mile run, and I felt great!  Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to get three miles in :) 

-Insert Jeopardy theme song...
    
It's going to be a long three weeks!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Anxious for and Update?

I've been anxious for an update, too! 

The first day home from our trip the kids started rubbing my belly and talking to it.  They are obsessed, especially Lydia.  It's really fun to see the excitement they have for a new wombmate :) 

I started taking at-home tests five days after the transfer, and I managed to go through eight of them within just a few days.  I wouldn't have gone through nearly as many if IP-A didn't tell me that I should pee on a stick every time I went to the bathroom, and that it's like being a kid on Christmas looking at presents under the tree and not opening them up!  Thanks IP-A!  It's normal for my body not to recognize the hormone in my urine for a long time, longer than the normal woman, so I didn't find it surprising that I kept on getting negatives.  I clued in my IP's that this was very normal for me and that they shouldn't worry about getting negative tests.  I actually wasn't even supposed to take these test, per the agency, and I was definitely not supposed to be telling my IP's.  OOPS, Josie broke the rules again.  Sorry Keely and Kim!  We still are going to win the prize of best match ever.  

My body starting feeling changes almost right away.  The progesterone had already given me tender breasts, but I started getting very crampy shortly after the transfer.  I actually was a bit worried how crampy I was, so I asked Charity if this was normal or if I should be worried.  Charity can calm my nerves even by text message.  She assured me that it was a very good sign and that we should stay positive!  By Saturday my sciatic nerve started hurting and I started walking funny.  This has happened with every viable pregnancy that I've had, and I find it to be a very reassuring sign that things are looking good.  My father in law was actually making fun of my walk...I didn't realize it how funny I looked!  I also am very bloated, which someone else told me happened to her after she went through IVF.  She had healthy twins, so I though that sounded like another good thing (not the twins...just the bloating sign).   

Yesterday morning I did my ritual morning pee test (with my 9th and final test I had) and it came back with a quick negative.  I really thought it was the morning for a positive test.  I feel pregnant and I'm sure this will work the first try.  I always get pregnant when I want!  I jumped in the shower and after I got out I thought I should take a peek and see if there were any changes on the test.  I reached in the garbage and there were two freaking lines on the test!  I didn't cry, I sobbed like a little kid with big crocodile tears!!  I couldn't get to the phone to call my IP's fast enough.  Neither of them answered my phone call.  Seriously, I was calling to give them the news of their life and no one was there to answer.  I called Ben.  He was so happy and immediately asked, "Does that test tell you how many are in there?"  Just a few minutes later my IP's called back, thinking that either I got a positive test or I started to bleed.  I told them to start jumping up and down right now, because I got a positive test!!!!!!!!!  They screamed with excitement!  What an amazing way to start the day :)

POSITIVELY PREGNANT


Later, I realized that I didn't give the other tests very much time before giving up and thinking they were negative.  I had all the tests in the boxes in the bathroom garbage can, so decided I would see if any of the others had changed after I threw them away.  By the time I got to the fourth positive test I stopped looking to see if they were all positive.  I could only laugh that I had taken all of these positive tests and we would have known days ago!  I told Ben and my IP's and everyone thought it was hilarious.  My IP's sent me a message last night reminding us that Carla, from the TV show Scrubs, had the same thing happen to her.  I always thought my life could be a funny TV show. 

Monday is our blood test to confirm the pregnancy.  I need to get a number over 100 and then we'll have an ultrasound about three weeks after.  Following the ultrasound we're released to my regular OB, which I don't have.  I guess it's time to start looking!    

Thursday, July 11, 2013

That's a Wrap

Yesterday at 10:30am marked my 24 hours of bed rest.  I'm not sure I could have been more excited to get up and take a shower.  Ben, my IP's, and I decided that we'd just meet up for brunch instead of heading out early for breakfast, which was a really bad move.  I'm taking progesterone suppositories to make my body think it's pregnant, and one of the side effects is nausea.  I totally thought I was going to vomit before leaving to get food.  I think being hungry plus progesterone made me feel pretty sick.  I had a moment where I felt like my sister when she was pregnant with her first baby, I wanted to eat but NOTHING sounded good.  Finally, I thought toast sounded like it would settle my stomach.  That might sound easy to the normal person, but when you are in search of Gluten Free toast in another country it's not so.  We wondered over to the grocery store and found some GF bread and I ate a piece and felt much better.  I'll never skip out on breakfast again! 

Our last night here was AMAZING!  We started at a nice steakhouse and finished up by going to The Wizard of Oz production at a local Theatre.  It may have been one of the best shows I have ever seen.  The music, singing, acting, and set was all top notch.  My IP's are going to watch Wicked in October, so it was extra fun for them to see The Wizard of Oz before going to see Wicked.  I love that we all have the same interests and get a long so well.  Plus, as an extra, I found my birthing socks at the play.  I thought it would only be fitting to wear some ruby red slippers while giving birth to this amazing couple's baby!

My body doesn't feel much different.  I'm a little crampy but it's not too bad at all, my breasts are a tiny bit tender, and my sense of smell is definitely heightened, ok maybe I do feel different.  IP-A sent me a cool list of things that should be happening in the next several days with the embryos.  My pregnancy test is scheduled for July 22nd at 9:30.

3-Day Transfer

Days Past
Transfer (DPT)
Embryo Development
OneThe embryo continues to grow and develop, turning from a 6-8 cell embryo into a morula
TwoThe cells of the morula continue to divide, developing into a blastocyst
ThreeThe blastocyst begins to hatch out of its shell
FourThe blastocyst continues to hatch out of its shell and begins to attach itself to the uterus
FiveThe blastocyst attaches deeper into the uterine lining, beginning implantation
SixImplantation continues
SevenImplantation is complete, cells that will eventually become the placenta and fetus have begun to develop
EightHuman chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) starts to enter the blood stream
NineFetal development continues and hCG continues to be secreted
TenFetal development continues and hCG continues to be secreted
ElevenLevels of hCG are now high enough to detect a pregnancy

We're finally heading home today!  I'm so excited to get my arms around my little Babes.  I miss them terribly, and I'm sooooooooo thankful for the people who have helped us out!  It makes it a nice way to be a part of this whole experience.  I couldn't have done it without your help!  I got a phone call from Lydia on Tuesday and she said she had been crying the night before because she missed me.  That's so sweet and sad all at the same time.  The kids are really excited to know that the embryos are finally in Mommy's tummy.  We have been waiting and preparing for this for a long time.  It's been almost a full year of constant ups and downs.  Hopefully it's all up hill from here.  Homeward bound :)    

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"You Realize You're a Sitting Duck for Twins, Right?" -Dr. Virro

 Toronto had record rainfall last night that caused quick flooding and quite the commotion around town.  We were in our hotel room as we watched the clouds roll in and had a long discussion that it was a lot of rain for quite a lengthy amount of time.  We had 74 mm (we only had to ask about five people to convert that for us...almost 3 inches) in one hour.  Normally we see the torrential downpour that lasts just a minute or two, but this rain didn't let up.  We waited to head out for supper until the rain had slowed down.  One of the mall employees told us that the subways were closed due to flooding and that this weather was abnormal, because we had no idea that this wasn't a typical rainfall here. 
 
When we watched the news that evening we saw a Go Train that left 1,400 people stranded for several hours.  They had to bring boats in and had the Marine Guard rescuing people.  The sewer exploded and there was raw sewage covering roads and even ended up in peoples cars that were on those roads.  There was a Porsche that was under water that had about an inch of the roof out of the water.  It was interesting being here during this record breaking event.
 
I was emailed instructions for the transfer yesterday.  The transfer was scheduled for 10:30 am, I needed to be there by 10:00.  I needed to empty my bladder 1.5 hours before the transfer, and I had to have 1 liter of fluid by 9:30. IP-A was telling IP-B at the same time as I was telling Ben that I had to drink 1 liter, which meant that I had to drink half of a 2 liter.  I'm pretty sure that we'll never live this one down.  Oh Canada and it's conversions!   

This morning we decided that it would be wise to head to Markham, which is about 45 minutes away from Toronto, really early to make sure that there wasn't a chance of being late.  We left at 7:30 and figured we'd have breakfast close to the hospital.  After breakfast and emptying and filling my bladder we headed to the hospital. 

We met Sue first, she was this overweight friendly short lady that stunk like smoke.  She went over all of my post ops, when I will take a pregnancy test (July 22nd), if a positive pregnancy test how long until we do an ultrasound (3 weeks after confirmation of pregnancy), etc.  She was very nice and informative and should definitely quit smoking!

Next we we talked to Patricia, who basically calmed my nerves down by being the sweetest lady ever.  She told us about the procedure and answered all of our questions.  She was a talker and the front office lady put a kibosh on our conversation, which would have lasted longer than any of us would have wanted it to, and told her that the doctor was ready to go.  She literally ran to get the chart off to the right hands. 

Dr. Virro is the most unprofessionally, funny, dry doctor I've ever come across.  Don't get me wrong, he is really amazing at what he does, but he's very direct and to the point.  He shook my hand and called me Josephine.  I told him that I went by Josie, so we sat down and he starts the conversation off..."How old are you, Josephine?"  He's a little intimidating and he was about to put embryos into my uterus, so I just went with it!  He asked a series of questions and never made eye contact, except after taking about putting the two best embryos, which are both 8 cell Grade 2, in...He looked me square in the face and said, "You do realize you're a sitting duck for twins, right?!"  Well, what could I say...My positive thoughts are going to make sure only ones sticks?!?!  Seriously, the contract has been signed, I've flown up to Canada, my IP's are standing right behind me...Come on dude, of course I understand that this is a possibility!  Then he proceeds to tell me how great my lining looks.  GULP, DEEP BREATH, POSITIVE THOUGHTS!  After going through a few other questions the stands up and says, "Let's put these embryos in!" 

As we walked down the hall in a line, Dr. Virro asked if I was ok with everyone in the room during the procedure.  I would have been sad if everyone wouldn't be able to watch and experience this together.  IP-B and Ben took video of the procedure and IP-A took photos.  We all discussed that we woudn't ask and just do, this would be our best chance of getting video footage.  Kirby was the ultrasound tech that described everything that was happening during the procedure.  It took only a minute and a half for him to put the embryos in.  The only uncomforabable part was the ultrasound stick that was being pushed really hard on my bladder.  I didn't even feel the catheter at all but we could watch it on the ultrasounds.  After he was done I had to lay down for about 15-20 minutes.

https://www.facebook.com/brandon.breault.9?ref=ts&fref=ts#!/photo.php?v=10152084915168266&set=vb.568468265&type=2&theater


It was a relief to go to the bathroom, literally!  I'm sure most of you have watched Austin Powers and understands that his urination after being cryogenically frozen was a couple minutes long.  I seriously have never peed so much in my life.  I started laughing and knew it was total Austin Powers style.  I'm sure it was at least one and a half minutes!  That's it, we were done at the hospital. 

I was directed to be on bed rest for the next 24 hours.  I thought being forced to stay in bed would be a day in heaven...It's not!  I really just want to get up and run!  We all hung out in our room today and played some card games.  Ben and my IP's went out to get lunch and supper, I think they liked to get out a bit!  We're so lucky that we all get along so well.  I'm still thinking that we're going to win a "Best Match" award!   

Now, to let the little embryo burrow in and make itself at home...remember those positive thoughts on uno. 

IVF in full swing

Awesome photo of Dr. Virro taken by IP-A

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Canada Bound

Ben and I arrived in Toronto yesterday afternoon and my IP's picked us up and took us back to the hotel.  We're at a nice place downtown Toronto just a couple miles away from Lake Ontario.  We walked down to the lake and took a fairy out to an island where we spent the evening putzing around, taking in the view of the lake, and enjoying the city lights from the island.  Of course we ended with ice cream.  It was a great start to our adventure here.

The egg retrieval was done yesterday morning and they were able to get 20 eggs!  Around the same time the genetic information deposit was given and the eggs were fertilized.  We'd have to wait until today to hear how many eggs were actually fertilized...(drum roll please)...16 embryos are growing in the lab!  It was fun to be with my IP's when they got the news about their little ones :)  The doctor will pick the best two embryos on Tuesday morning and use IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) to get them into my womb.  Of course my IP's hope that they have twins, as the carrier, I'm sending my positive thoughts to having just one stick (this is the only thing that we haven't agreed on)! 

The morning after the egg retrieval is when the progesterone vaginal suppositories start.  That means today was the day.  How does that work you wonder?!  I thought the same.  There is a little one inch pill shaped waxy material that is placed in a handy little applicator, similar to a tampon applicator, and it's inserted the same way as a tampon.  I was warned that I'd have to wear a liner because there would be some leakage, and they were totally right.  I'm really excited that I'll have to do this twice a day for what might seem like eternity.  The progesterone fools my body into thinking that it's pregnant and more likely to accept the embryos.  Yippee!     

We thought that it would be fun to head to Niagara Falls to celebrate Ben's 31st Birthday, so we took off this morning for our excursion.  We took a 54 second elevator ride to the top of a giant tower to look at the falls from way up high.  It was a breathtaking view!  We headed down for a close up look and even took a behind the falls tour.  We were given yellow ponchos to wear and looked like a bunch of little ducks.  We had lots of photo ops and definitely stopped for each one.  I especially like the photo we got after supper, of our Somerset native, next to the "Duke of Somerset" restaurant sign.  We ended the day on the 27th floor overlooking the lake with a chocolate Gluten Free cake and relaxation in the hot tub.  I guess everyone was in the hot tub except for me, but my feet enjoyed it! 

We'll learn all the information and instrucions about the transfer tomorrow via email.  We're really close!

*photos to follow*