Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Just good news, finally

We were very grateful Stanford could get us in the following Friday. We made the trek out there and met Chris and Keith. I often feel like we need name tags, bouncing around to so many providers. "I'm a surrogate, these are the Babies' daddies, Chris and Keith, and this is my husband, Tony."

After a short wait, we got in for our ultrasound. We were all thrilled to see Baby A and B continuing to look wonderful, growing on track with strong, healthy heartbeats. I may have been holding my breath a bit until we saw Baby B's heart beating. It was a beautiful thing. The tech confirmed that Baby C stopped growing sometime before 8 weeks. Then the doctor came in and gave us the first bit of solidly good news we'd had in a while. While our situation is certainly unique, based on the timing of the loss of Baby C, and the way Baby B was looking and growing, she could see no reason why we shouldn't expect to continue on with a normal, healthy twin pregnancy. Yay! She'd had a patient with a similar situation before who delivered healthy twins, so she knows what she's talking about, and not apparently making things up like the perinatologist. :-D It was an overwhelmingly positive visit and we jumped at the chance to return for a follow-up and our NT ultrasound 3.5 weeks from then.

While the term "vanishing twin" isn't uncommon, I believe our situation is so unique because most commonly that occurs with fraternal twins, and we lost an identical. And from what I have gathered, it is unusual to lose just one identical. Early losses are most often the result of one of two things: genetic abnormalities or trauma, and either of those issues would have equally affected both identical twins, so the loss of Baby C is a tragic mystery, and the survival of Baby B a bit of a miracle.

Anyway, I'll jump ahead at this point, because things soon get blissfully boring, the way healthy pregnancies can get. Last week we returned to Stanford at 13 weeks 1 day for our NT ultrasound. I'll admit, the dire pronouncement of my nurse still weighed heavy on my mind, and I was so anxious to see two healthy babies, officially out of the first trimester and out of the woods in my mind. And see them, we did. Two lovely, squirmy little babies, all their parts measuring great, with strong, healthy heartbeats, seemingly waving to us from up there on the screen. It was such a wonderful relief. I feel like I can more or less relax from here on in. And as the first trimester draws to a close, we are now Facebook official. :-D Pregnant with twins, due early May!

And then there were two

After a ridiculous amount of back and forth with the ultrasound place, my RE, the perinatologist and my OB (literally took me the better part of an afternoon), I was able to secure a follow-up appointment with the perinatologist to get some more information about what we were facing. Our appointment was about a week after our first ultrasound.

Chris and Keith met us there, and we started with another ultrasound. This was performed by a far more competent tech. So, as sad as it was to hear, we trusted her when she said that Baby C had no heartbeat. :-( It appeared that Baby C had stopped growing shortly after our last ultrasound (was measuring around 7.5 weeks). That sad news was tempered with healthy reports on Baby A and B, both measuring on track with strong, healthy heartbeats.

And then came the sucker punch. The doctor met with us shortly afterwards, and, with little preamble, informed us that since Baby B shared a placenta with Baby C, the loss of Baby C could have consequences for Baby B. He said there was a 15% chance of Baby B having neurological issues, ranging from learning disabilities to blindness or cerebral palsy. =-O That's quite a range. And there would be no way to know if any of this occurred until birth. So, again, the option of reduction was broached. At this point, to me, it seemed a little ridiculous. Reduce because a baby might be blind, but might just having a learning disability, but most likely is totally fine, but there's no way to tell? :-\ On the brightside, this discussion came with a referral to Stanford, to get an expert opinion. And that referral was very welcome. It seemed clear that our situation was mostly uncharted territory for this doctor, and we were all anxious to see somebody who could hopefully give us more information. Our Stanford appointment was eventually scheduled for the following week.

The double-edged sword that was our visit to the perinatologist cast a pall that made for a rather depressed weekend. Come Monday morning, I decided I needed to turn my attitude around, as much for the twins I was carrying as for myself when I got knocked down again. My nurse from my RE's office had gotten the report from the perinatologist, and thought it would be helpful, I guess, to let me know that it is common for these types of twins not to survive. When I wrote back to clarify, she confirmed that she meant exactly what I thought she did: that we should fully expect to lose Baby B as well, and that that had always happened in her experience. Every time. But she added it was worth getting an expert opinion. :-\ Here we thought we were facing cerebral palsy, at the worst, and now my nurse was practically guaranteeing another demise.

I'll admit, I still harbor a fair bit of animosity towards her for those emails. I can acknowledge the idea that she thought it was good to prepare me for the worst, but I feel like, as a surrogate especially, we know that the first trimester is a tenuous time. Seemingly healthy babies are lost all the time during that initial 3 months. All her pronouncement did was add an incredible amount of stress during an already stressful time. If her information had been somewhat helpful, if there was something I could do to lessen the chance of Baby B's seemingly inevitable demise, I would have welcomed her input. But there was nothing I could do but worry at that point.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Now what?

The next few days were a crazy mix of emotions. I felt like I was in a Lifetime movie or something. Besides the general shock of TRIPLETS, I didn't know what the plan was, and therefore I didn't really know what to prepare for. You know, back at our match meeting, when we were discussing this thing that was never going to happen, all I remembered saying about *if* the impossible (in my mind) happened, I would be okay with whatever decision Chris and Keith made. But I couldn't remember if they had made a decision clear at that time or not. Because, ya know, it didn't matter, since it was never going to happen. :-\

The decision I'm referring to is whether or not to selectively reduce, an option made clear to us by all the professionals we were interacting with (RE, counselor, OB, perinatologist). Because, while modern medicine has certainly made carrying and birthing triplets a lot more viable, it's not nearly as easy as it may seem these days, with higher order multiples all over our media. A triplet pregnancy is a significantly riskier pregnancy, for the woman and even more so for the babies. Triplets are almost always born before 36 weeks, and sometimes significantly earlier, increasing the likelihood of a whole host of problems, ranging from NICU time and possible future learning issues to severe disabilities. And we knew that the identicals shared a placenta, which also opened them up to even further problems. On my end, my risk for gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and other issues was way up, and bed rest was pretty much a guarantee. A surro I know lost her uterus after a triplet pregnancy, so I was aware this would be no walk in the park.

Regardless, I knew that I would prefer not reducing, but I did my best not to put too much emphasis on that thought, because I knew it wasn't my decision to make. I had agreed that it would be up to the guys, and I knew that, like all parents, that if that was what they chose, they wouldn't do so lightly and would need my full support.

I gave Chris and Keith as long as I could to process and sort out their feelings, as much as possible at that point. I tried to make it a full week, but I think I made it 4 or 5 days before asking them if they had decided whether or not to reduce. The answer was a resounding no to reduction, and we were officially Team Triplets!

I went to the library and checked out all they had on triplet pregnancies. I knew it was going to be a tough road, but I have an incredible amount of support, both practically and emotionally, and while I was undeniably nervous about the obstacles that faced us, I was admittedly a little excited to be facing such a unique challenge. Bring it on, Babies!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

There are how many in there?!

It seemed like an extra long wait until our first ultrasound at 7.5 weeks. We were so excited to see how many babies we were baking in there. High beta numbers suggest twins, but there's certainly not a direct correlation. Chris and Keith assured me they would be thrilled with one healthy baby, and twins would just be icing. And I was definitely feeling worse than I had in previous pregnancies (throwing up at Target is not as glamorous as it sounds), and I honestly kind of wanted to have something to show for it (and not just feel like a whiner). I found a place halfway between us, and Chris and Keith met Tony and I there.

The tech called me back alone first, and I promised not to look at the screen until everyone was allowed in. This ended up meaning I stared at the ceiling for about an hour. It was the longest ultrasound I have ever had. Finally she calls all the guys back. And because of the placement of the screen, I could hardly see anything, so I settled for glances while watching everyone's faces and listening to the tech's narration.

I watched the joy as she showed them their baby. Yay! And watched the joy multiply as she showed them their other baby. Double yay! And then the joy transformed into a bit of shock as she introduced Baby #3. Wait, what?! Let me remind you we transferred two embryos. Two. So three babies meant that not only did both embryos implant successfully, but one overachieving split into identical twins.

The tech briefly showed us all three heartbeats. At that point we were all definitely in shock, and I barely got a glimpse of the babies. Chris wanted to take a picture of the screen, but the tech told us that wasn't allowed, and implied she'd print us some pictures. And then she didn't. Because apparently her machine didn't have a printer. Which would have been good information to have back when she implied she'd print some for us. :-\

After the tech wrapped up the ultrasound, we all met back in front of the office, and, considering the surprise we'd just had, we had very little to say. I don't know if you recall me mentioning this possibility in my post about our match meeting, but the odds of triplets happening were too low for me to even consider it a possible likelihood. We're talking something like 0.1% chance. I had even been annoyed our counselor had spent so much time on the subject. And then, there we were. Speechless, practically. The general consensus seemed to be we all needed to process this unbelievable news, and we headed back to our respective homes (although I'll admit I was a little nervous whether Keith would be able to drive at that point). At least I had a real good excuse for puking at Target.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

And we're back!

Like many parents, Chris and Keith preferred to keep things on the down low for the first trimester, but now the end of the first trimester brings an end to our radio silence.

The past few months have been quite the roller coaster, and I'm going to break it up into a couple of posts, give you all the full experience. ;-)

So, last you heard from me was right after transfer, when we transferred two great looking embryos. Chris and Keith said they were down with me testing at home, and I was all ready with about half a dozen tests. They said they didn't want to know until Tony could see the line (surros have super eyes, I assure you).

I started testing 3 days after transfer, just for practice, with no expectation it would be positive so early. And, of course, it wasn't. Except...a couple of hours later I noticed the faintest line. I decided not to get excited because Dollar Store tests are infamous for "evaporation" lines if you read them outside the recommended time. Still, it was enough to convince me to test again in the morning (3.5 days), instead of waiting until I was 4 days proper (it's an obsession, I know). My super surro eyes saw faint lines at 3.5 and 4 days, and Tony thought maybe he could see it on the 4 day test. I knew that Wednesday morning would be the test I could share with Chris and Keith, the official positive they would be able to see.

But good thing they wake up before me, because I woke up to a message from them Wednesday morning saying they decided they didn't want to hear the results of any home tests and wanted to wait until the official blood test on Friday. But I was welcome to test. Since I'd already started, I figured no use stopping now. But if I hadn't started testing yet, I wouldn't have, because the next two and a half days keeping the positive news from them was torture. I didn't want to tell them about my sudden pregnancy symptom (heartburn, I only get it when pregnant, although never so early), and was so careful with what I said.

But I made it to, and through, Friday. I got my blood drawn in the morning, and it took almost until the end of business to get our results back. I got to call the guys with the fantastic news of a beta of 178 at 7dp5dt (7 days past a 5 day transfer), a very strong number. They were, of course, overjoyed. And both Chris and I took to Google, which said that our beta strongly indicated twins. :-o But we wouldn't know how many we were growing for another three weeks, at our first ultrasound.

But first, a second and a third beta, 1074 at 11dp5dt and 2603 at 13dp5dt. Definitely pregnant, that's for sure.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Off to elsewhere for a while. Come along!

I feel like I want to write more, less often, about my surrogacy journey, but I don't want to post it here. If you're interested in following my posts elsewhere, comment here or message me, and I'll make sure you're included.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Yesterday we transferred two "beautiful embryos" into a "perfect placement" in my uterus (doctor's words. In the picture you can see three little air bubbles that accompanied the embryos), and I am considering myself "PUPO" (Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise :-D). We'll have the official word in about a week or so.

The transfer went fantastically. Daddies got pictures of their beautiful embryos I'll have to ask for copies of, so I can share. I was so excited both embryos made it through the thaw looking great.

The only awkward moment was when the hunky embryologist comes in (with the embryos in his catheter), and pretty much introduces himself to my vagina, which is totally on display, hands off the embryos and walks out. Good thing I'm not modest. :-P

We all had a yummy sushi lunch (don't worry, I only had California Rolls), then nap and rest, and then Cheesecake Factory for dinner. I couldn't pass it up with one so close. It was so nice for us to spend time with Chris and Keith. It was so much fun to just hang out with them and get to know them as people a little more. The more I get to know them the more I like them, and I'm so happy we're all in this together. This was really Tony's first time hanging out with them since our match meeting, and he couldn't stop talking about how fond of them he was. I was only bummed we didn't have more time together. We'll have to arrange something soon. I love that they're so close! :-D

Tony and I are getting our relax on for the rest of the day with a Doctor Who marathon, popcorn and some leftover cheesecake. Can't wait to share some good news around here. :-D