Friday, July 26, 2013


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 :)


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.!/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*   

Friday, July 5, 2013

So what's next?

What a whirlwind of a week it has been.  I did my last Luporn shot on Saturday night while at a girls weekend gathering.  My sister-in-law watched and that one actually hurt and bled.  I'm still bruised...I guess I have stage fright! 

The egg donor left on Sunday for Canada.  She began a week of monitoring and drug alterations to get her eggs ready for the retrieval.  We heard all week that things were looking good! 

My IP's landed in Toronto on Tuesday to begin their adventure, do some sight seeing, and find all the cool places to show us when we arrive tomorrow.  I can't remember if I wrote previously that the transfer happens in Canada?  I've been told that it's a lot less expensive to have the transfer done up there, so that's why we are all traveling for the procedure.   

I had a telephone call on Wednesday during lunch with Kim, from IARC, to discuss all the travel information that I needed to know.  We were going to get an update that evening on exact dates for the egg retrieval and transfer.  Between lunch and 4:00 there was a lot of information exchanged from our doctor to Kim.  I'm guessing that it was a very stressful time for Kim. She was told that it was going to be a couple days until the "Trigger Shot" (to release the eggs in 36 hours) which was originally planned for that night.  This would throw off all of our travel dates, but by the end of the day they said it looked like she would be ready to be triggered the next day.  So, as of Wednesday we were thinking that the transfer would be July 11th instead of the 10th.  That might extend my trip an extra day.

Yesterday we got news that the donor would be triggered that night and that the transfer date was scheduled for the 9th.  I'm not exactly sure why we are doing a 3 day transfer instead of a 5 day transfer, but my IP's sent me a message that they are "over the moon!"  I think everyone is just ready for this to really start.

I walked through a rainbow on the way out of my appointment and it made me really happy, so I had to take a picture of my happy uterus!

I had an early morning appointment today to have my uterine lining measured.  There is nothing worse a 6' 3" gigantic creepy man to call your name when you are heading in for a trans vaginal ultrasound!  Seriously, he would be the last person that I want looking up my pikachu.  I'm really surprised that they even allow creepy men to work in those delicate areas!  Anyway, I had to make small talk with the guy to make it less uncomfortable.  It all turned out fine, other than the fact that he was really creepy.  I was told I needed to measure at a 7 or above, and the lining inside my uterus is at an 11, baby!  My body is really ready for this ;)

I spoke with Anne Marie from the clinic in Toronto this afternoon. She told me that I'll begin my progesterone vaginal suppositories on Sunday morning.  I'll have to insert one in the morning and one in the evening until confirmation of pregnancy (except not the morning of the transfer), and then I'll be told what to do at that point for meds.  She'll be sending me all the information on Monday with regards to the transfer instructions, times, etc.  The transfer is TUESDAY!

This is the room where the transfer will happen
My IP's just sent this photo to me!

My IP's had an appointment with our doctor today.  They learned that everything looks optimal- semen, egg development, and uterine thickness.  Looks like we are going to be having a sticky situation very soon!

Tomorrow is a HUGE day.  The egg retrieval is scheduled, fertilization will happen, and babies will start to grow!  Also, Ben and I fly out early in the morning.  We decided that we'd get up to Canada to do some sight seeing and hang out with our IP's for a couple of days before the transfer.  We're even going to have an excursion to Niagara Falls for a day!  

It's crazy the emotions that we're all going through right now.  Yesterday I was feeling very nauseous and nervous.  I think that reality was sinking in as we dropped off our kids.  Today I'm a little giddy and excited.  I'm thinking that these are all good emotions.  My Dad told Ben and I, as we said good-bye, how proud of us he was.  I'm so thankful to be surrounded by awesome support!  This is more than helping a couple have a child.  This is about creating a family! One day my IP's will be telling their kids how proud of them they are, and that's what this is about!  Pay it forward...