Thursday, May 26, 2016

This is dangerous...

But I think I'm going to do it anyway.

One of the things that happens after an embryo transfer for surrogates is that (many of us) become women with super duper in tuned senses and practically X ray vision. We begin to pay very close attention to our bodies and examine every single twinge that we feel.

I usually keep these things under wraps because:

  • A- I don't want to get myself worked up- or down- based on things that are 100% NOT based in scientific reality. 
  • B- I don't want my intended parents to see the blog and have the same reactions- positive or negative- to what I report feeling or not feeling. 

But.... my IPs this time have told me they're specifically avoiding the blog for that very reason. They'll come read it all later. When things are certain.

And... I'm a writer, and getting it all out feels good. So... It's dangerous to publish this in case it's all just a farce, but I think I'm going to do it anyway.

None of what I'm about to share means anything. Not at all. It has less chance of being accurate than old wive's tales about gender selection. No matter what I think, feel, or notice... chances of pregnancy are still 50%. I either will be, or I won't be.

Day of Transfer
We transferred two embryos. 1 boy, 1 girl. As you all know, In my life I've delivered 3 beautiful girls... and transferred 3 boys into my uterus. None of them felt like sticking around. I've jokingly said that my body only accepts girls. The girl that we implanted on Tuesday was hatching just a little bit at 9 am when her photo was taken. By our transfer around noon though, she was almost completely out. The embryologist and IVF doctor both commented on what an aggressive change that was in such a short period of time. That gave me a lot of hope.

A couple hours after transfer I had a few wipes of light pink blood after I would pee. No big deal, totally normal. The catheter that transfers the embryos into the uterus can cause some very minor damage to the medically thickened uterine lining, and some blood is about as common as tears when you cry. It stopped after an hour or so.

Wednesday afternoon I started to notice a bit of pink discharge again. I told myself it could still be from the transfer cath and tried to ignore it. I was not worried in the slightest, and was trying to keep myself from getting excited over the potential that this new pink discharge could possibly represent implantation bleeding- bleeding caused by an embryo burying itself into the uterine lining where it will begin to grow. Given how aggressively our little girl embryo was developing yesterday, I knew this was a possibility, but I really wanted to keep my excitement down and expectations in check. I told myself it must be cath blood still, and went on with my day.

Later that evening I started to notice cramping. Usually, at this stage of the game, this is a very good sign- not a bad one. It often represents the embryos implanting into the uterus. Wednesday night I noticed cramping in two very distinct places. One in the center rear of my uterus, and one in the extreme lower left. Could this be implantation cramping? Perhaps of both embryos? Or, more likely, is it just Mandy trying very hard to look for a sign, any sign, that this transfer worked.

Thursday morning came with a healthy dose of bright pink spotting. I'm still trying to tell myself it could be from the catheter... but... really, it's been 48 hours. If the pink spotting was from that the blood would now be brown, not at all pink. It has to be implantation. And there was a fair amount of it over several bathroom trips. I'm feeling like this has to be a very good sign.

What else am I feeling? Sick. Very sick. I tried to tell myself that it was because I had a cup of coffee on an empty stomach, as sometimes that can happen to me. But then I ate a whole balanced breakfast... and felt heartburn, and weak limbs, and nausea. I can tell you that I am *not* imagining this bought of nausea or fatigue- but I can concede that they may be in no way related to a potential pregnancy.

Later in the day the sick feeling did eventually go away, but was promptly replaced with sore breasts and an overwhelming feeling of simply being full.

If I were a betting gal, and I'm not, I'd tell you it's twins for sure. I've had my second bought of implantation bleeding. So this marks three distinct "pink on the paper" occurrences. Each one marked with a distinct period of no pink discharge between them. For me, my 100% no fail sign of pregnancy has ALWAYS been implantation bleeding. So yeah... I must be pregnant. And it must be twins.

...10 days until we know for sure. 240 hours to go.

I'm going to kill the next several of those hours napping.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Cravings at 2 WEEKS PREGNANT?

So, if you've been following along, you know that surrogates are technically pregnant before IVF transfer. If you haven't been following along, here's a link to a nice little article that explains it.

Also, I'm on all the hormones that a body produces while pregnant. This is also part of the IVF process. Surrogates inject ourselves with, or take orally, hormones way before the embryo transfer in hopes of faking our bodies into thinking they are already with child. This is done in hopes that, when we do transfer the embryo, it takes and grows seamlessly. Here's a link to an article about THAT.

So as I sit here and type, even though the embryo that will eventually be my belly buddy is still frozen in a tank, I am technically 2 weeks pregnant.

As I learned with the last cycle, these hormones indeed do fake pregnancy. That explains why, despite my negative pregnancy test, I had pregnancy symptoms last time. Sore breasts, insane aversion to the smell of BBQ sauce, and even nausea.

Maybe, just maybe, that explains last night's unquenchable desire for deep fried pita and garlic roasted humus from George's Greek in West Hollywood. Chris and I had it delivered last time we were in California, and you'd better believe it's on my to do list for next week, too.

So apart from the cravings, what's new with me?

I look pregnant. No kidding. Wish I was.

Sometimes I gain weight with the medical protocol, sometimes I don't. I gained a few pounds in the last (failed) cycle, and I was unable to shed them in the six weeks between cycles. Med weight is always stubborn. I've gained a few pounds in this medical cycle, too. The end result is... I feel massively huge.

I recently had a tank made that says, "Worth the Weight" as I believe surrogacy is. Even if the weight happens before there is ever a baby.

So, I'm craving carbs, have a growing belly, and have noticed my patience with the blondesters is a bit... abbreviated... Yup, I MUST be pregnant.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Next Steps

The days following the news of a failed transfer seem painfully slow. Will the intended parents throw in the towel, or will they want to try again? If they do want to try another transfer, how long will there be between now and then? What can I do differently this time to make sure it works?  
Generally following a failed transfer you can expect to receive a phone call from your case specialist, and maybe even Dr. Kim, as well as from your nurse. All of the support is meant to help you realize one thing; you didn’t do anything wrong, things like this happen, and the big one, we will (or will not) be trying this again.
My case specialist and intended parents let me know pretty much straight away that we would be trying again as soon as possible. We did have to wait to the doctor to sign off on another transfer, so that pushed us out a bit.  Of course he wanted more tests, this time to see if my body is host to one of two very rare genetic diseases that would case my body to attack and kill embryos. It seemed nonsense, since I've given birth to 3 babies complication free and had no miscarriages, but I complied. And we waited. After about a month, I got a new calendar. The outline for our next try.
So now we get to start all over. I’ve just started medications today, and it’s time to begin gearing up for round two. I’ll be honest, having never had a failed transfer, I hadn’t given a lot of forethought to writing about the emotions surrounding a second try. I find myself feeling very guarded. More tentative than before, cautious about every step of the process.
I'm scared, too. If THIS transfer fails, I feel anxiety that the doctor or my IPs might decide to move on from me. In short: the pressure is on.
I find myself reminding my heart of what I know to be true, surrogacy is worth it. Whatever “it” is, surrogacy is worth it. Every needle, every tear, every pound, and every cheer. Surrogacy is worth it all. So, here we are. Back at square one and determined to make it work this time.