Saturday, December 29, 2012

Stick around for a while, little embies!

We've just gotten home from a whirlwind of an amazing journey. We left home Christmas Day evening to go to Tony's mom's house for Third Christmas, and then the next day to Tony's dad's for Fourth Christmas. It was wonderful spending time with so much family (First and Second Christmas happened with my family), even if our time wasn't as long as we would have liked.

And then, on Thursday, we dropped the kids off with Tony's mom and headed off to SFO. We ended up almost missing our flight because the first two long-term parking lots we tried were full. The kiosk wouldn't let us check in because it was too close to take-off time, and the attendent tried brushing us off, saying that we could just get on another flight. We still had a half hour to get there, and just carry-ons, so Tony talked her into printing our boarding passes, and we hustled off to our gate, with just enough time to pee before boarding.

We made it to LA and our very nice hotel with no incident but an amazing view of the moonrise. After our yummy dinner with W, we headed back to the hotel to rest up for the big day.

I enjoyed a breakfast of pineapple and leftover fajitas and W drove us over to the clinic. They did my blood draw real fast, and we had to wait another 10 minutes or so before we headed back to our room. I did the typical undress from the waist down and then we waited patiently for the real stars of the show, the embryos. There was a brief period of miscommunication while a nurse was explaining the status of the embryos to W and J (on the phone) and they thought that none of the embryos that were thawed were viable, which, of course, was very upsetting. Fortunately, that was not the case. Of the 14 that were thawed, 3 were looking ready to go. Unfortunately, they weren't looking quite as nice as they were hoping, so we had to have an important discussion. The original plan was to implant 1 or 2 great looking little embies, but the 3 they had weren't looking great. They might have looked great if given a little more time, but the embryologist thought the embryos would stand a better chance in my nice, cozy womb. So I got to decide whether we implanted 2 or 3. Nobody is particularly keen on triplets, but I spoke with the nurse, and she said that, with the way these 3 embryos were looking, the likelihood of any pregnancy is approximately 50%, and the chances of a triplet pregnancy are 2% or less. I don't remember the exact number on twins, but Tony thought it was 20%.

So, being the vessel for these little cuties, they allowed me to choose. And I chose 3. I was comfortable with the minute chance of triplets, and I want to give W & J the best chance we can for a successful pregnancy. They've had a long road to hoe on the way to get here, and I'm hoping we can make the rest of it as smooth as possible.

They brought in a regular, baby-sized incubator that housed the embryos, and we all got to take a look at the tiny little embies (one or two were on their way to being blastocysts, if I understood correctly) before the doctor loaded me up. :) He inserted a small catheter into my cervix and delivered the three little pre-babies directly unto the comfy lining of my uterus, where hopefully one of them will get cozy and want to stay a while. :-D

After putting my feet up for about a half hour, they released us back to the hotel. I got my relax on while Tony and W headed down to the local grocery store and stocked up on some of my favorite snacks, including a huge salad with all my favorite toppings. And some Life cereal. :)  Tony and I ate our lunch in bed while catching up on some Battlestar Galactica, and W headed out to the gym and for a massage. He came back to hang out later in the afternoon, and we had a great time talking and getting to know each other some more.

I really enjoyed just hanging out, and catching up on our grown up shows, eating some of my favorite foods, but it was a little tough mentally doing nothing all day. I felt so darn lazy, and felt a little bad Tony and W had to get things for me, but I understand I'm working on growing a baby or two in there, so my efforts were not wasted. :)

This morning W took us to a really gorgeous place for lunch, and then was nice enough to take us to the airport as well. All-in-all, it was a fantastic experience, and we really enjoyed spending time with W (missed J and their son, though), but I really hope it's not one we have to repeat with them. :)

Now we're back to the really hard part: waiting. Our beta, the blood test that will confirm pregnancy is a week from Monday, on the 7th (relatively early, I think), but W & J have given me the go ahead to do home pregnancy tests, and I'm hoping to exercise enough self-control such that I can wait until at least Tuesday, although I won't be surprised if we don't get a positive until Thursday at the very earliest. Oh, this is so exciting!!! :-D

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The big day has arrived!

Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow! I can't believe it's really, finally happening. Around 10:30 tomorrow morning we'll be transferring 2 little totsicles into my nice, comfy uterus where at least one of them will get comfortable and take up residence for the next 9ish months. Then we'll head back to the hotel for a day of rest and relaxation.

We had a very nice dinner with B this evening. I enjoyed my last diet coke and Margarita for a good long while. :-)  Tony and I were both very sad that C couldn't join us. They were also going to bring their son, but both him and C got sick and they didn't want to risk exposing me to anything, so B came solo. It was so nice to spend some time with him, and we're looking forward to more of it tomorrow.

So, I've got my lucky transfer panties, and my lucky socks ready, eating my pineapple and hoping to get my hands on some Life cereal for breakfast tomorrow. Please feel free to perform any personal rituals you observe to wish us a successful transfer. :-)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Progesterone is a cruel mistress

I don't know if this is something I selectively minimized during my extensive blog reading, or if it's something other surros tend to gloss over a bit, or if I'm just having a particularly acute experience, but progesterone hurts like a bitch. The actual shot isn't a big deal, but the next day I wake up, and it hurts to sit down. To the point where I gasp sometimes. Tonight is my third night, and my left butt cheek isn't properly healed from the first night, but we have to stick it anyway. To make matters worse, today is an estrogen day, so we also have to give a shot in the side that's still super sore.

I wasn't expecting it to be pleasant, by any means. I had read that it can burn when injected, and that you have to massage and heat the area well afterwards, and that knots and soreness aren't uncommon after a while. But I was expecting the soreness would come in time, not after the first day, and that soreness would be an understatement. And it may sound weird, but I'm also bothered by the idea of it: that my body is so uncomfortable with what's being introduced into. If it was pain at the injection site, that would be different. Of course my skin doesn't like sharp objects piercing it. Hasn't stopped me before. But I do wish my gluts were more receptive to the hormone.

On the very bright side, we had a wonderful, very blessed Christmas, as per usual, and transfer is in just over 2 days! Oh my goodness, cannot believe it! We're at my in-laws for the next 2 nights, so I had to pack today for my transfer, and girls in my surro group are always talking about lucky transfer panties (and other fun, silly stuff) and I was inspired to bring the panties I wore on my first date with my husband. Which is not to say anyone got lucky that night, but that date was the beginning of pretty much the best that ever happened to me, so they've got that going for 'em. ;-)

When I was going through all the other steps, and all the waiting, it seemed like all of the other girls in my surro groups would get pregnant before me, but I'm really excited to have a great group of girls all transferring within 3 weeks of me. At least 5 others, I think, 3 of whom are pregnant already. I love having preggo buddies. :-D

Only approximately 54 days of progesterone to go, give or take a week or two. :-)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Triple stripe!

I can hardly believe the ultrasound was yesterday morning; yesterday was such a busy day it felt like 2 days. But, the most important happened just about fist thing. We drove out to San Ramon for our appointment, and encountered very little traffic on our way there (and back), and there was no waiting in the actual office. I zipped right through my blood draw and then into the ultrasound. During which the tech informed us my uterus is sporting the coveted triple stripe. Whoo-hoo! That means my lining is very nice and thick for the little totsicle(s) who will be making its home there next week. Measuring, on average, 11mm, which is great. I didn't ask exactly what our doctor was looking for but I've heard anything over 6-8 is good, so my uterus totally kicked ass here. :-D

I believe I may have mentioned, once or twice, that I was nervous that my body wouldn't respond properly to the meds, and this would be the end of my story. It wasn't a strong fear, but it was there, so this was a great relief to me. This was the final hurdle for my body, as far as I'm concerned. That was new territory. The rest, getting and staying pregnant? That we know. We're good at that. I feel confident we're going to wholly rock this transfer and this pregnancy. I'm on board, my uterus is on board, let's do this! :-)

After the appointment, it was my job to inform everybody as to what was going on. The travel agent for my agency and my IFs had yet to book travel; that was all contingent on that appointment. And while I could tell them my interpretation, I needed our nurse's confirmation before I felt comfortable telling everyone to buy plane tickets. Five hours, two phone calls and two emails later I finally heard back. Turns out she was in a smilar boat: she was 99.9% sure we were good to go, but she was waiting for the doctor for the go-ahead. As a matter of fact, I believe the term she used was "textbook perfect." If my uterus could get any larger, it would have swollen with pride. ;-) She felt confident enough to say we could book travel, and followed it up with an official email about 1.5 hours later, assuming after Dr. R gave us his stamp of approval.

So, it's officially official, ladies and gentlemen. Progesterone starts tomorrow (lucky me, I get suppositories and shots) and we transfer on December 28!
I believe that makes me 2 weeks pregnant tomorrow. ;-)

The guys said last night that they would toast to my uterus and the Mayans. :-D

Thursday, December 20, 2012

1 Week, 5 Days Pregnant

Okay, so the title is a little (lot) misleading. I'm not technically pregnant yet. But I realized, based on a successful transfer of a 5-day embryo on December 28, and the silly way we track pregnancy (based on last menstrual period instead conception), I'm currently 1 week, 5 days pregnant. ;-) And let me tell you, I feel it. The estrogen is definitely having an effect on me; since Tuesday my uterus has been feeling very heavy and tender. So I'm taking that as a good sign. I've been paranoid that my body wouldn't respond to the meds and my career as a surro would be over before it really started (but the pre-season sure was extended). So, I have some evidence that we're really on our way to Babyville here, but tomorrow will be the official test. We're heading out to the Bay Area for our one and only monitoring ultrasound to determine how well my uterus is thickening up. After we receive the good news, I've got to notify the travel agent so that she can book our travel for the transfer next week. Which is to say, there's a lot riding on this ultrasound, so think thick thoughts for us!

And rather than let this stupid app eat the rest of my post for a third time, I'll just post this and rest up for our 90 minute drive first thing tomorrow. :-/

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I am awesomesauce :)

This is totally ridiculous, but I feel like a rockstar. Last night was my first shot, delestrogen, and it was nothing! I know it's not progesterone yet, but it's not lupron, either, and I rocked that shot. ;) Seriously, though, it was barely a pinch. I could hardly believe that Tony had actually done it. The build up was the worst part, and even that wasn't that bad, thanks to my HypnoBabies training. It was mostly excitement at getting started and a tiny bit of anxiety regarding not knowing what to expect. And now that I know, pshaw, bring 'em on! My blood draw in the morning was, like, 50 times worse, and even that wasn't that bad. I was able to talk with Teagun throughout, as opposed to my previous posture, which included biting my hand and trying not to pass out.

I'm actually a little disappointed I don't do a shot tonight. I know that's super crazy, but it's so wonderful to feel like I'm doing something after so much inaction. It really makes me feel like a surrogate. I feel like I've been working for so long to get here; reaching the meds stage really feels like an accomplishment. I am now actively preparing my body to be ready for B & C's baby.

I'm so lucky that I have Tony to do my shots for me. I think having an experienced hand really helped with the extreme ease of the process. I think that heating the very thick solution in my cleavage for 45 minutes beforehand helped as well. Even though I wasn't in any pain, I was sure to heat and massage afterwards, because I know knots can become a problem after a while.

We'll do another delestrogen shot on Thursday, and blood test on Friday to check my levels to see if/how much we need to increase my delestrogen for my Sunday dose. I'm still not sure when I start my progesterone, but I will have another blood draw on the 21st, as well as an ultrasound to check the progression of my uterine lining. That appointment is the next real opportunity for me to be anxious. The transfer depends on the thickness of my lining. So we'll be thinking real thick that day. :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Three needles poking

Yesterday was a very important day in my journey as a surrogate. My meds arrived! I almost feel like I can call myself a surrogate now. As per instructions, I went through all of the package immediately to confirm that everything that was accounted for. The contents matched the packing slip, and I was familiar with the whats and whys of about 90% of it. There were a few things I wasn't expecting and am not exactly sure what they are for, but I feel confident somebody will let me know, eventually. :) I was surprised that I received progesterone suppositories, which I didn't think were part of my doctor's protocol. I'd be thrilled to do the suppositories instead of the shots, but, alas, it looks like I've got both. And then, of course, after taking inventory, I had to organize them all pretty-like. :-D

So, now, I believe I head in for bloodwork tomorrow morning to check estrogen levels, and hope for the go ahead to start meds tomorrow evening based on those results. I'm only not 100% sure that's the precise plan because that plan was based on me starting my period yesterday, and, instead it started late today (that was actually a calculation error on my part :-/). I've got an email into my nurse, and I expect to hear back from her by the time I wake up tomorrow morning, so we'll get it figured out. If not tomorrow, I believe we'd just go ahead and do it Tuesday instead. I don't know that that would impact the transfer date at all.

So, one hurdle down. Period showed up, on time, just not exactly when I thought it should. :) Next hurdle for my body: estrogen levels. I'm not sure what they should be at, but let's hope for a good number so that I can start poking! :-D Or, my accurately, my RN husband can start poking. And, actually, there will be some poking, regardless, because I gotta get the blood drawn. And, now that I'm over my cold, I should get a flu shot tomorrow. I'm really gonna be putting my recent bravery regarding needles to the test tomorrow. :)

T-minus 19 days until we get me knocked up! :-D

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Is this for real?

All of a sudden, after months and months of nothing happening, everything is happening, all at once. I can hardly believe it. Today we got our meds calendar, and the pharmacy called to confirm delivery of my meds (Saturday!). Calendar says blood test Monday morning for estrogen levels, and provided I can find a local lab that can turn around my test results same day, I should start my shots Monday evening. Since we're doing a frozen embryo transfer, we don't have to worry about syncing my cycle with an egg donor, I'll be starting with Delestrogen shots, every 3 days. Good, because we're avoiding one drug entirely, Lupron. "Bad," because that's the one that comes with the small needle. The estrogen and progestrone needles are a wee bit bigger. :-)

This same calendar confirms the tentative (provided everything goes according to plan) transfer date of December 28. Which, of course, means I had to look up a possible due date for this potential little baby. We're looking at B & C having their baby around September 15! I'm gonna go ahead and round that up to September 17, my mom's birthday. :-) That means a hot summer, fat with child. ;-)

I'm so excited about this all, but I can hardly believe it's really happening for real yet. In just over 3 weeks, we'll be pregnant, and all the true unknowns about the process, all the waiting on someone else for each step, that will be over. The rest, I know how to do. I know how that part goes. Everything will follow in a timely manner because Baby says so. :-)

Now that everything seems to be flowing so swiftly on the other end, I'm now getting anxious about my performance. What if my labs on Monday are all wonky? What if my body doesn't respond to the meds? What if a house falls out of the sky and crushes me like a bug? What if, what if, what if? What if I can't help B & C grow a baby, for whatever reason? What if something is my fault? So, in about a month or so we can relax, mostly, on that front. :-) In the meantime, I'll just follow directions and do the best I can. First stop, starting my period, tomorrowish. Let's go menses! :-D

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Holy crap, things are happening!

Remember when I was all like, "Wah! Things are taking too long!" And then I was all like, "I'm just going to relax and let things happen as they may." Today's post is "Holy crap, things are happening!" :-D

I was under the impression legal clearance got sent out yesterday, but that actually didn't happen until today, which is no biggie, because I was being patient. :) But I did speak with the nurse about whether or not to keep taking my pill, and she asked go ahead and keep taking them while she figures out what day in December we can do this. And I was all, "What?! December?! That's, like, now!" I figured, with the holidays and everything, that even January 10 might be a little too soon. So I told her I had been looking at January 10, and then she asked if I could come in for monitoring on the 3rd, since I'll be down in LA anyway, and that was the last I heard from her.

IFs called just before 5, when I was just giving up hearing from the nurse again, and it turns out they had been talking to her, and wanted to know if December 28 works for us! Turns out, there's a very good chance it will! That's right in the middle of Tony's 5 days off and HOLY CRAP 3.5 WEEKS FROM NOW! I literally just had that realization. I could be knocked up in 3.5 weeks. Holy wow. /breathing That must mean I would have meds before the week is out. Wow. Please see title above. Eek, getting all good shivery now. Okay, breathing again and trying to catch that speeding train of thought. So, um, yeah, wow. :) It sounds like we will decide tomorrow morning (whose morning? The one downside of East Coast IFs. ;) ) whether we'll be sticking some totsicles in my womb in 3.5 WEEKS. :-D So, that's super exciting.

The only 2 negatives about this is that we'll be leaving the kiddos shortly after Christmas, either the day after or the following day, so that's a little bit of a bummer. And the other downside has nothing to do with the timing, but I just learned that with frozen embryos, your transfer date is your transfer date, and they won't push it back 2 days giving us free time in LA. But, on the bright side, I just learned that the show I was hoping to see should that happen isn't even in LA anymore. It's in San Francisco. And sold out. :-/ But they do do a lottery before every show, so there's a chance we could still catch it, but with all the time we're spending away from the kids this month anyway, we probably won't (heading to Reno for a quick getaway next week. Kids may or may not be joining us.). Oh, and we'll probably head back home on the 29th, and then we have to drive back to LA on January 2nd.  :-D That's life 'round here.

Okay, now off to channel my excitement into something productive, like laundry or eating cookie dough. :) Oh, and happy East Coast Birthday to me. :-D

Monday, December 3, 2012

Psych! But only a little...

So, it turns out I jumped the gun a little on the whole contract thing. Turns out the contract I received was not *the* contract, but was a draft. I had to go over the draft with a lawyer (my lawyer, apparently), approve it, and then they send out the final draft for signatures.

There were a few little things in the contract I did want to clarify with the lawyer, since I had to talk to her anyway. But I wanted to discuss them with my IFs first, so I text B (just because he had been the one I was talking to most recently). But my texts to him were getting out of order and confusing, so they just called me, and we got everything cleared up. Even though there are somethings they prefer to do differently than the way I would prefer, they took extra care to be overwhelmingly respectful and open-minded regarding my opinions, and I really appreciated it. I'm happy to do things their way (to a reasonable extent, of course) because is going to be their baby, and I can tell already that they will take great care to balance my well-being with that of their child. So, I got off of the phone with them feeling better than every about our blossoming relationship and the adventure we are embarking on.

I went right from talking to them to talking with the lawyer, who summarized the important parts of the contract for me, and, since I didn't have big questions (I felt I cleared up everything with B & C beforehand), the conversation took maybe 15 minutes, not the 45+ minutes I as told it might take. It was nice talking to the lawyer, and I did feel that she was invested in my well-being as well.

Not 3 hours later, I received the final draft of the contract, which I was instructed to print, initial, sign and scan or fax back. All 30 pages. Unfortunately, the document was password protected, or else we could have signed it all with our fingers on my phone. Instead, we printed it out Saturday evening. And my printer ran out of ink on page 14. So, Sunday we headed to my mom's and printed the rest. Initialed every page, signed, scanned (on a flat-bed scanner, so I had to individually scan each page), and I'm just getting ready to email it when I realized we had initialed the wrong corner. Doh! So we go through it all again, and finally email it in. IFs told me they sent theirs' Saturday, so we started off this business week with legal FINALIZED! I kinda got the chills writing that. This is really happening, really, for reals. Finally. So excited.

So, the lawyers should have sent word to IVF office that we are good to go, and we should be getting calendars real soon, I think. As a matter of fact, as soon as I hit "Publish" here, I'll be emailing the nurse over there to see what I should be doing with regards to my birth control pill. I know they don't have the calendars ready yet (and I'm okay with that; check out my mad patience skillz, yo!), but I'm coming to the end of an active packet, and I don't want to stop for the next 5-7 days if that's going to mess up the timing one they do have a calendar, because I don't want anyone to have to wait on me, because we are on our way! Next post *should* have dates in it! And then I get my meds and get to start getting poked regularly! :-D