Monday, September 30, 2013

It Could Have Been Me

I have a few friends in the surrogacy world who are sincerely struggling to become pregnant. It's so hard to watch them and to read their journeys. They all say similar things, "I'm so fertile! It was never hard for me to get pregnant on my own!"

I said the same things.

Truth is, personal fertility has nothing to do with IVF fertility. If you've been a long time reader of this blog, you'll know that I have a severely tilted uterus. My OB was concerned I'd not be able to find an RE willing to work with such a slump. He even said, "It looks like a deflated balloon, Mandy."

I was afraid I'd fail med screening. But HRC and Dr. Kolb said, "no problem."
For your mental imagination

Then, at transfer, Dr. Kolb said, "WOW! Your uterus is severely tilted!"

Duh.

I was actually a bit afraid he'd cancel my transfer on the table. In front of M, T, B, the film crew and everyone.  But the eggs went in, and one stuck.

But, my story could have gone the completely other direction. Just like my surrosisters who are struggling... I could have been struggling. It could have just as easily been me.

But it wasn't. It's not. I'm pregnant. I'm making dreams come true.

I was once told that only 67% of first transfers take. So really, this transfer taking (while no surprise to me) is great news. Lucky news. Fortunate news.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Well, snot.

I'm pretty proud of my 3 year old. We've been working with her for months on the surrogacy concept. She's got it pretty well down. She knows the baby in mommy belly is M&T's. She knows we aren't keeping it. She knows it's going to Australia.

Mom pats herself on the back.

Until this afternoon when she told me that she was born out of M&T's bellies and then she came from Australia to live with me.

Touche, 3 year old touche.

Friday, September 27, 2013

It's been a minute!

Hello, blog world!
I have internet and a laptop at the new home!!! Even if I am hijacking my neighbors unsecured wifi... I'm still online.

So, the brief updates have told the tale. We are most certainly pregnant with one little blip. I must admit that I am a bit dissapointed that we didn't get two. I've wanted to carry twins with each pregnancy, and each time I've been told no. Maybe my body just isn't up to the challenge. Either way, I know that we are incredibly lucky to have had any egg stick and stay on a first transfer. So, I'll take it.

The heart rate was 126 bpm. Given my experience carrying two girls, I'm going on record early in calling that the boys will be having a SON.

Both my girls had heart rates closer to 160 at this age. I also craved sweets with the girls, which was odd considering I don't have much of a sweet tooth to start with. This time my already diminished sweet tooth is even further gone. I'm craving anything salty.Which, to be fair, is probably not the best thing for me considering I'm a sodium-aholic in my regular life. The good thing is, pickles only have 5 calories each. And Olives are filling. And salt is calorie free. Thankfully I have really low blood pressure and I can handle the extra sodium intake. Mmmmm Olives.

The tech did note a black spot on the reading that could either be pooled blood or an empty sac. That's my guess. And the nurses guess. Bittersweet really, because that's what happened with Emmy too. :( But dear God... two Emmys.... I can hardly wrangle the one!

Anyway, I go back Friday for the next screen to make sure that little blip clears up on it's own.

Next step? Med release. My hiney can hardly wait.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The results are in!!!!

Read it and weep, thats one healthy baby joey!!

Here. Checked in.

And nervous as hell!!! Worse than the transfer. One, two, two, one?!?!?!?!

My country for a laptop

Its so hard to have such a big day and so many thoughts but no laptop on which to blog.

First world problem.

Anyhow, its a big day and im so excited. A bit nervous, but mostly excited.  Updates to follow.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sneak peek

Sorry ive been out of touch as of late. We are moving and I am without a laptop.

Heres a quick update from my phone. .

Ultrasound Thursday!
Third beta was 8500 something... my doubling time remains consistent,  but im starting to think maybe its just one strong baby in there as opposed to two. Well shall know soon!

I just got to view the first 12 minutes of the documentary I am working on. I had chills people!!! Its going to be amazing.

Friday, September 20, 2013

25,000


It came and went without much notice, but we've passed 25,000 page views!!!!

So, that means that each of my followers have accessed this site 1,000 times. Cool!!

In all seriousness, thank you for your continued readership. It motivates me to write more.

So what's next?


6 sleeps. That's all we have left till the big scan when we know if this is one joey or a pair. Everyone is pulling and suspecting two. Any one of you want to wager a guess???

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

So, How Far Along ARE you??

Yup, that's what a lady asked me yesterday. 


Not, "Are you pregnant?" 
Or, 
"Did you just have a large and delicious lunch?" 

But rather, "How far along are you? 3, 4 months?" 

I thought: Months? MONTHS? Lady, we're still counting in weeks, occasionally days here!
I said: Oh, just over two.

Which, by the way, is a complete and total lie. We're 6 weeks tomorrow.

I am up 6 pounds. And I am happy about that, considering the day after transfer (and the entire following week) I was up 10-11 pounds. Even so, I do NOT think I look 12-16 weeks pregnant.

Here is what I know:


  • You show earlier with each pregnancy.  With Adelia I was 19 weeks... Emmy it was 14 weeks..
  • You show earlier with twins. So if this is... and I do show earlier than with Emmy.... 
  • Popular opinion says you show earlier if conceived through IVF. 
  • I was wearing low rise jeans (because of tender injection sites still)
  • I wasn't wearing a cami under my fitted shirt. 
  • I had just eaten pizza. 
  • I was sitting in an awkward position. 


But more than all of that, I know this. 

This baby(ies) is the size of a sesame seed. It aint showing.

There exists a rule in the universe about this sort of thing. It goes a little something like this, "Don't ask a woman if she's pregnant. Ever. Never, ever ask that. Even if she's wearing a Tshirt that says 'I am 45 weeks pregnant with quintuplets.' Don't ask if she's pregnant. It could be an old shirt."

Why don't people ever follow the rules? 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Written By The DADS to Be!

Here's the lowdown, friends. We got our first positive home test 4 days after transfer. Some gals have to wait for 9 days. Here's a rainbow of our tests... minus day 4 (which got very rotten looking...) and our digi (which went blank after 48 hours). 

Even the ones that look negative have a light line

Here's reaction as written by the DADS to be!!

The Call

Someone is very excited!

Undergoing surrogacy from the other side of the globe means that we often wake up with news but today we briefly spoke to Mandy at 3.30am and were glad to hear her appointment went well, but when our morning alarm went off, we had no results.

It had been two weeks since transfer.  That’s 14 days.  336 hours. 20,160 minutes. Or, in the minds of two expectant dads, an ETERNITY.

We have of course been following the progress of the 24 (!) home pregnancy tests Mandy has taken since transfer, which have been gradually getting darker and darker since the first positive on day 4. But for two weeks, the cautious words of our Growing Generations case manager have been in the back of our minds, warning us not to get too excited about home pregnancy tests as they can be misleading if the birth mother is undergoing hormone therapy. But with Mandy’s reports of morning sickness, pickle cravings and gas, it’s fair to say we were optimistic.

After an email to our nurse (“we’re awake – ready to speak when you are!”), the phone rang from a US number.  This was THE CALL.  And after exchanging a few pleasantries, we heard the one word we have been waiting to hear for what seems like forever.

“Congratulations”

Reaction to the news!
Hormone levels at 741.9 (we’re aiming for 50 plus), Estrogen levels at 800 something (400 something is normal...) and progesterone levels at 28. Or to quote the nurse, “Mandy is very, very pregnant”.

After a call to both grandmas (tearjerker central), texts to siblings and a few close friends, and a flurry of excited messages with Mandy, we tried to get on with our day. Walking the dog, getting coffee and trying to get to work. 

But we’re doing so with grins on our faces looking like the two happiest (and luckiest) guys on the planet. See below for proof of just how crazy we look today.

So dear readers, it is with pleasure, excitement and BIG FAT GRINS that we sign off our first guest post as “M & T, dads to be”

Update coming soon

The news is.. WE ARE PREGNANT.

the dads have written a guest blog, which has more details. Ill post it once my hpuseguests surrender my laptop back to me.

Beta Day, Beta Day

Goody Goody Hip Hooray!

It's been two long weeks since the twins were slid up into me.

Today we find out for sure if one, two, or neither of them have survived. I'm pretty excited.

So, what IS beta? 

Here's the WebMD definition. Basically, I'll have blood drawn again, but this time it measure how much, if any, HCG (Human growth hormone) is in my blood.

Predictions?

We're going to set HPT test results to the side in a bucket, because they can provide false negatives and false positives. So without revealing those results... I still feel great about today's number. The nausea alone suggests a positive outcome. Nevermind the cravings and gas. Although, how much of each of those could be blamed directly on my hormone injections, I have no clue.

So what numbers do we NEED to see? 

In truth, I have no idea. Beta numbers mean about as much as a promise from a politician. Everyone's numbers rise at different levels, and what could mean one baby for some means two babies for others. Even so, the control freak in me has done a bit of Googling.

Seems like a normal, healthy pregnancy would mean a number in the 200s today. I think to suggest twins we'd need to see a number very close to or above 1000 today.
Not sure WHEN I'll be allowed to post results today. I should have them by 5pm, PST... but I want to give the guys a little time with the news on their own. Be it good OR bad, to share with their families before I blast it to the world. But the news is coming friends... soon.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Don't Punch Me In the Face

If this blog makes you stand up and cheer that's great.
If it makes you want to punch me in the face, well... please don't. But that's great too.

Here's why:

As a writer, the best compliment you can give me is an emotional response to my words. I don't care if it's joy or rage. If I am able to incite an emotional response from you using nothing but my words... that's pretty darn impressive.

The next best compliments I can receive are:
Your continued readership
&
Your word of mouth - thanks for the free publicity, don't forget to mention the page address... 

I was told today that one opinion of this blog is that, "Mandy always thinks her opinion is the right one."

To this I say, well duh. 

That's not because I'm arrogant. It's because I'm honest. Show me one person who says, "This is what I believe... but I know I'm wrong." We all hold our beliefs to be true. Just because I'm a bit more passionate about my beliefs doesn't make me any different from you.

So love me or hate me... makes no difference. So long as I don't bore you, I'm doing a job that I'll stand behind with pride.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Personal Massager

Yeah, not what I expected either.

I give! I'm trying to order one of those stress massage things to work on the knots in my backside. So I go to Amazon and type in "personal massager."

No, I'm not that naive, I knew I'd get a few of THOSE kind of personal massagers... But wow Amazon.com-ers... you nasty.

Monday, September 2, 2013

I want to remember this

How bad is PIO? 

Is PIO really that bad? 

How I can make the pain of PIO less? 


These questions swam through my head like water forcing it's way through a narrow straight for months. I ultimately decided I could handle it, a positive attitude was key, and that no, it couldn't really be THAT bad.

I was wrong. 

Two days in and I was singing a different tune. I had baseball sized knots, every step I took hurt and I couldn't sleep at night without waking up in writhing pain every time I tried to move. It was hell.

At transfer I asked the nurse if this much pain was normal, and she told me we'd been injecting about an inch too low and were likely hitting bone with each injection. I was SO excited to try a new injection site. And guess what, IT DIDN'T MAKE ME WANT TO SWALLOW RUSTY RAZOR BLADES!!!

Until the next day. 

Arriving home after that plane ride... I remember feeling emotionally high, but in so much pain that my self discipline and resolve waned greatly. I stood in a hot shower and cried.

For a long time. 
A really long time. 
Then I sat on my bed and cried for even longer. 


I could be pregnant, and how on EARTH could I bring myself to endure those daily injections for the next 12 weeks? Was I mentally and physically strong enough to put myself through it? Would I be able to force myself to endure it for another 84 injections? I honestly did not know. I was very low. I thank two surrosisters, and they know who they are, for talking me down from that ledge.

Something amazing  happened in the next 5 days.

And I want to remember this. 


The injections have gotten better.

I won't say it doesn't hurt, that'd be a lie. 
I won't say I don't hate it, that'd be a lie also. 


But now instead of feeling like I've had major surgery and hurting to even breathe, it feels more like two bruises in the final stages of healing. It's more itchy than ouchy. In exchange for the manageable pain I have two massive swollen spots on my hiney. They aren't really hard knots, and they don't really hurt, but from behind I bet I look like I have two tumors. Sexxxxxxy. IVF Ass I'll call it. 

The only real pain is that I think I'm stuck in sundresses and yoga pants for the foreseeable future (even if this transfer fails, we'll go right back at it for round two). The elastic or button up waistbands of jeans, athletic shorts and like like all put restraint and pressure right at my injection sites. And it's nearly unbearable. So, regular clothes are out. Already. Damn.

So why do I want to remember this so desperately? 


Because I've known since day one that I don't intend to be a one time surrogate. If fortune is good on me and I'm blessed enough to do this again, I know I want to. At least a second time, perhaps even more. So, I want to remember that the pain (at least for me) passes. I can do it. much like natural childbirth, you can endure this.

That said, it's time for my nightly injection. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Playing With My Pee

In the surrogacy and IVF world, it is common to POAS (Pee on a stick... home pregnancy test) about 5 days after your transfer. This is just about as early as humanly possible to get a positive at home pregnancy test. Even a positive at this phase is a ghost line... barely visible to the naked eye.

So since I'm 6 days past transfer now, lots of you have asked me, "So Mandy, are you pregnant?" I'm sure even more of you are wondering if I've played with my pee just yet.

So, have I done it?
Yes. 
Will I share the results?
No. 



Not yet is probably a better answer. I am taking pictures of each day's stick (no matter the read) and will eventually post a collage of urine sticks. Boy, if that's not sexy I'm not quite sure what is....

So why the secrecy?

Of my two daddies to be, one wants daily urine updates (boy, if that's not sexy....) while the other prefers to wait until the beta (blood draw pregnancy test to confirm pregnancy hormone levels) to know the results of the transfer.

So, while daddy #1 and I will be paying very close attention to my urine samples over the next 8 days, daddy #2 needs to be kept blissfully in the dark. So I can't post any results here be they positive OR negative.

Patience my friends, patience.