News of Next Step

I’ve been quiet here, waiting for the word of where we – well, they – are going from here. And of course, by “they”, I mean the IPs.

I’ve seen several of the surrogates thrown under the bus by fertility clinics – myself included, with the old IPs. My best guesses for this are as follows:

1. The clinics want to keep their success rates up. Therefore, they kind of sweep some of these surrogacy fair transfers under the rug. (completely my conjecture, I have nothing to back this up).
2. From what I’ve heard it costs a few thousand dollars to screen a potential candidate for surrogacy. A few thousand. I’m fairly certain the mark up on this screening is pretty huge – it consists of an ultrasound, a sonohysterogram, about 8 vials of blood, and a psychiatric screening. Now, again I have nothing to back this up – but if you make a couple screen potential surrogates more than once = more money for the clinic??

I know neither one of those makes it seem like I have a very high opinion of fertility clinics … and well, I do and I don’t. Do I think they do amazing work? Absolutely. Do I also think they rob devastated, emotional wrought people absolutely blind? Yep, I sure do. Just sayin’.

Having been thrown under the bus previously, I was half thinking that would happen again. The clinic was unable to meet with my IPs over Skype until mid-November, so we had all been waiting … and waiting.

As it turns out, the doctor thinks with the IPs and me as their surrogate, we have a good chance. I’m choosing to have faith in that declaration!

The new plan is to give IM medication to strengthen her eggs, and to line up our cycles so that we can do a fresh transfer! It’s tentatively planned for January 2015.

I’m so beyond excited to be able to continue on this journey with these amazing IPs. They asked me if I would talk to the doctor and consider continuing with them … and my response was of course I will talk to the doctor, but my answer in regards to continuing with them was YES and I didn’t need to talk with him to know that.

They sent me a reply email which just moved me beyond belief – they told me that “… you give us strength and are one of main reason to continue. Everything is much easier since we have you with us! THANK YOU!”

Now I know that not everyone understands why I feel driven to do this, why I keep on keeping on through a year and a half of interruptions to my own life, crazy medications, emotional ups and downs … and I’ll never be able to give those people a definitive response as to why, but I hope that gives you a little insight. In relation to what they have gone through, in relation to not being able to bear your own children … what I have “gone through” is so very minimal. As with all the life experiences I’ve had, what I’ve experience through this process has offered me opportunities to grow and expand my world view. It’s brought my family closer (did I mention that my 9 and 7 year kids administer my needles?) in a common goal that we all feel a part of – and kids don’t see the potential downside, they always say “WHEN we have a baby for the IPs”. They roll with the ups and downs, always with their eyes on the prize – it’s inspiring, actually.

Right now my family, and I’m sure yours, is in full on holiday mode. All kinds of other stuff falls to the wayside during holiday prep! I’ve had this drafted to the end of the last paragraph since the last week of November and there it sat. My friend, A – you know who you are- texted me and said “You haven’t blogged in an awfully long time … just sayin’.” This one is for you, my friend. I’ve spent all day Christmas baking, but I’ll take a minute and finish this post for you! And on top of that, I’ll let you borrow my kids for crafting in a couple days. You’re welcome.

Hopefully the first week of the New Year will bring me news of protocol and transfer & I will be back to share that with you … in the meantime, enjoy your family, holidays, & however you choose to celebrate the last couple weeks of 2014.

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And Then it Wasn’t

Monday we redid the bloodtests, and the numbers went down. Early miscarriage.

Last weekend, pregnancy symptoms were starting to kick in – that bone deep exhaustion that I always forget about between pregnancies, the queasiness that accompanies the smell of cooking meat, and a bit of the spidey-smell (what I always called my increased sense of smell). It came in late last week, and was fading by Sunday, though still there. They’ve since all gone away, to be replaced by hormone therapy withdrawal symptoms.

It hasn’t been a great week.

I am heartbroken to have come so close and then lost the baby. Tiny and barely-a-baby as it was. I am heartbroken that my IPs got that brief flash of hope, and then had it dashed. And if I am heartbroken, I know it doesn’t even come close to how they are feeling.

Once the clinic had the bloodtest results, and they knew it was over, they told me to stop the medication (estrogen & progesterone). What I didn’t know, and no one mentioned, was quitting hormones cold turkey comes with withdrawal symptoms. So when I started waking in the middle of the night and being unable to get back to sleep, I didn’t associate the two. A couple days later, I started getting this crazy tightness in my chest – like it was in vise, making it hard to breathe, I thought I was losing my mind. It was reminiscent of the feeling of quitting smoking, which gave me the clue that maybe this was a reaction to going off the hormones. Oh, Mr. Google? Ah, yes – insomnia and anxiety? Hormone therapy withdrawal symptoms. The last couple days, headaches have also joined the party.

Did I mention it has been a long week. My lovely IPs have sent me a couple very sweet emails, making sure that I am doing okay and asking me for some patience as they think through what they would like to do.

And so, we wait. (And I wait gladly for these IPs. I hope they have it in them to go through the process again.)

Emotional Rollercoaster

Technology, innovation, and advancements can all be wonderful things … this very process is an example of that. Sometimes though, it gets you just enough to drive you crazy.

For instance – did you know (at least where I am) that you can get signed up on a website that allows you to get your lab results online, when you get bloodwork and such done? Which is great, and as my lab technician yesterday was saying that it is a great tool for people becoming more invested and educated in their own health care. For us, it came in handy because of needing the results to go out of province – I was able to email them to the clinic myself. The downside is having the results in my hands and not understanding them quite enough.

My best understanding is as follows: beta testing checks the levels of Hcg in your blood. At certain points, that number should double every 48 hours or so. My tests went up by 63% in 48 hours. So I am pregnant, but baby isn’t growing at the rate that they like.

The fertility clinic in charge of my care is three hours ahead of my time zone, so by the time we got the results on Friday, they were almost closed & I didn’t hear back from them. I don’t know if there is hope or if there isn’t. They may ask me to re-test, or they may ask me to go off medications, which will result in the pregnancy terminating.

Again, here is another place where technology can be a blessing and a curse (side note: “blessing” just autocorrected to “bless insane” which actually seems kind of fitting). On one hand, with the Internet, you have access to infinite amounts of information on any topic imaginable. On the other hand, you have access to infinite amounts of information on any topic imaginable. So… yeah. It’s easy to find things to give you hope (false hope, perhaps?) and also to dash any hope you may have.

The past couple days (well, weeks) have been an emotional rollercoaster. I’m blessed to have chosen such wonderful IPs, who have been nothing but supportive and loving, and are just as concerned for my feelings as I am for theirs. I’m holding on to a shred of hope, waiting for word from the clinic – and holding onto the fact that I am doing this for wonderful people, and I am surrounded by a loving support network.

Positive That Positive Is Coming!

IMG_2049.JPG

This is my ClearBlue test from this morning!

I believe I have mentioned that my surro sisters are Queens of All Things Pregnancy Test Related. The red dye ones are better than blue dye, etc etc.

My first double line appeared on a FRED (First Response Early Detection) test last Friday, slow and faint … Saturday was my last remaining FRED, and it was still fairly slow and faint. Slightly darker than Friday, at least.

Then I took to the dollar store tests. Now, some of the surro sisters swear by these tests. Some never have luck. Apparently I am falling into the 2nd category, I took about 4 of them and the lines were just never impressive. It was getting in my head.

This morning, Tuesday- I took a different dollar store test. You know the saying “you get what you pay for?” … I’m pretty sure that applies to dollar store pregnancy tests. I posted the pictures in the support group and they encouraged (badgered, pleaded, coerced) me to take a ClearBlue test.

I was in major, paranoid avoidance of blue dye tests!! And now I had already peed & everyone knows the first pee of the day is the best for testing!

With great trepidation, I cracked open a ClearBlue … and was shocked to get a fast, clear positive sign!

It’s not for sure yet – so I count no chickens til beta results – but I’m feeling wayyy more confident about my blood test tomorrow.

Pee on All The Sticks!!!

Okay, I believe I may have said that I was planning on waiting until the blood tests on the 15th … and I wasn’t planning on taking home pregnancy tests.

I lied.

Or, more accurately – I folded like a cheap suit to the combination of peer pressure from my surro sisters, and the transfer package I received in the mail from my agency … full of lovely pregnancy tests!! (And pickles, ginger ale, prenatal meds, chocolates and all kinds of awesome treats).

I took the first test last Wednesday, and it was a “BFN”, or Big Fat Negative. It was 7 days past the transfer. So I waited a couple more days.

Which brought us to yesterday, Friday & 9 days past transfer. Peed on a stick, got in the shower & got out to a very faint line!

Took several pictures and posted them for immediate analysis by the group – you’ve never seen such stick peeing knowledge as these ladies have. They can tweak out the faintest of lines – if there is something there, the girls will find it.

The line was somewhat slow and faint … so I’m not doing a happy dance yet … but remaining cautiously optimistic. The line was still faint and slow this morning, just slightly darker.

I’m super excited for the blood tests this week to put me out of my two week wait misery! (And if it’s making me this anxious, I can imagine my anxiety level doesn’t even touch the Intended Parents!!)

I so very much want to be able to give them good news. Hang in there, Nemo!!

Transfer & the Two Week Wait

And so it begins. The two week wait (insert appropriate mood music here).

The transfer went well, as much as that ever tells anyone about the outcome. We transferred one 5-day embryo, it thawed out nicely apparently, so that’s always a good thing. I can’t imagine being hormoned up, prepped and waiting … and then to hear that the embryo didn’t survive the thaw.

Intended Father (IF) remained in the waiting room, and Intended Mother (IM) and I went to get gowned, capped, paper-shoed, and the like. Then we waited. And waited. For an hour longer than anticipated. It was one of those moments in life where it stretches out to an eternity – and you don’t know if you are actually waiting longer than you anticipated, or if the feeling is being created and moulded by the circumstances. If the nerves stretched taut, tears welling close to the surface, sheer emotion of the moment is distorting time.

IM and I spoke, in our little curtained room. About family, food (we both love to cook), learning English, about nothing too serious … just the general feeling out of new acquaintances. She speaks English well, better than she thinks. But gets frustrated at herself when she can’t come up with the word she wants.

We kept it pretty light, no “what ifs”, no planning of how the next visit will be. If this transfer takes, they will come to my hometown for the 20 week ultrasound. If not, I don’t know if they will make it for the next transfer.

When they moved us to the transfer room, she was overcome with emotion and said “no serious talk!!” The first thing I thought to ask was “What is your favourite colour?”, and so we discussed all the things that were blue in her house. And then in mine.

The transfer itself is over and done with in about 10 minutes. We held hands, held breath.

And now, we wait. IM doesn’t want any home pregnancy tests done before the two week blood test. IF says if I decide to do one, I could email him the results, and he promises not to tell her. And I, well I waffle between the two stances. Time will tell.

Transfer Day!!!

Good morning, world!

Transfer Day has arrived! Thankfully, so have the Intended Parents. It was dicey there for a bit, as they got caught up in the fallout from the Air France strike. They ended up being delayed by a day and a half, but arrived yesterday afternoon.

They are absolutely just as lovely in person as their emails indicated.

I’ve eaten my pineapple, I’m dressed and ready to go, and since the TV selection here leaves a lot to be desired, I am posting here instead.

Pineapple, you ask? Is there a reason for that? Why, yes there is! The surro sisters in the support group swear that there is something about pineapple that makes embryo transfers stick. So I had cut up an entire pineapple while still at home (because of course it had to be the fruit that is the hardest to cut up!) and carried it here in my carry on and I’ve been snacking on it for the past couple days. It can’t hurt, right?

We should be heading off shortly here, our contract is ready, but not signed, and it needs to be in place before they will perform the transfer. What’s that saying about if it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done?

As we say in the group, think sticky thoughts for me (as in embryo sticking)!

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