Fluffy and Ready to Go

Last week brought the lining check, to ensure that my uterus was ready for the transfer. They like to see the lining at anything over 9 mm, I believe. Mine has been 12 mm each time I’ve had one of these procedures, and this time was no exception.

As we call it in the surro support group “nice and fluffy”.

IMG_3054.PNG

And it means I am ready for transfer … and boy, am I ready.

I don’t say anything like “Finally!!” to the IPs. I’m well aware that my waiting has in no way compared to theirs! However, I think it was one of the many things I was very naive about when I signed up for this. I thought that the initial 3 months I needed to be off my methotrexate prior to transferring was ages! But then I would transfer, be pregnant, and the whole thing would be wrapped neatly up with a bow in like 12 months, right? Start to finish. Ha! (Did I mention … hahaha!)

Back in reality-land, though — my flight is booked for next Tuesday! Hip hip hooray!! My IM is booked for her egg retrieval tomorrow, and I start my progesterone. I’m hopeful.

Transfer is booked for Wednesday, April 1st. And if I don’t post before then, please send any and all positive thoughts you can spare that we get some good quality eggs, and “sticky thoughts” for the embryo(s) to stick!

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.

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 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)!

Ready & rah-ah-ahhhring to go

Okay that title probably only makes sense in my head! It’s being said in Martin Short’s voice from Father of the Bride (in particular, FOTB II where he is talking about the sleeping pills!).

At any rate, I am ready and raring to go! Or at least, my uterus is. I still have to pack. I had my lining check this past Wednesday, and my lining was at 12 mm – ready to go for transfer!

Which kicks of the usual last minute flight and hotel bookings, as the transfer depends on the lining check going well.

Flights are booked, and hotel is booked – for myself and my IPs, who are flying from their home country to meet me in Toronto!! I’m super excited for the chance to meet them in person.

On top of that, I have a three hour layover in my brother, sister-in-law, nephew & niece’s hometown on the way through, so they are coming to visit me at the airport *insert happy dance here*.

And finally, I am getting to meet up a surro sister with whom I’ve become friends online, through our agency. She’s been a friend and a sounding board, and I can’t wait to have a chance to chat with her face to face!

It’s shaping up to be a great trip. Please send me your sticky thoughts (for the embryo transfer)!

Don’t Travel with a Bullet in Your Purse.

I finished out my time in Ontario – not too much else noteworthy, except either they have traffic issues, or I am bad juju for their streets! Every time we went to go somewhere, it seemed that all hell broke loose the moment my butt settled in the car. It was much like that period in my life that every time I spoke on the phone with someone on a computer, their system would freeze up. But that’s a story for another day!

I did get a chance to see a very dear friend who lives out that way, so that was a total highlight to my trip!

On Wednesday, the IP’s and I said our goodbyes and off I went, with all their hopes nestled in my … well, my uterus.

One thing I hadn’t thought through, or maybe just couldn’t have seen from outside the process, was what it felt like to have all of someone’s hopes pinned on you. In reality, there’s very little you can or can’t do to make a transfer a success. But I still felt like I was responsible in a way. And it was weighing on me more than I had anticipated.

But moving on to the trip home. I don’t want to throw my hometown’s airport security under the bus… but I passed through security there without a second glance from anyone. Bigger cities were obviously more tuned in to my criminal potential!

Naturally, they send me off to the “super security” lineup in the Toronto airport. Where they do the extra thorough checks or something? I’m not entirely sure what the implication is, however everyone in front of me is taking of their shoes, first of all. So I ask the guy in front of me “Do we have to take off our shoes?” my mind going to the dubious fashion choice of tall, pink, cupcake festooned socks that I was wearing under my boots. “No”, he replies “but if they set off the scanner, that’s the only chance you get.” Looks down at my feet “You’re wearing boots.” Me “Yes…?” Him “Well I wouldn’t risk it …”. And so off came the boots.

I tend to be a people watcher, so I saw the quick glance between the two security guys. It’s not the look you want to see, and I knew something was up. And then my purse got sucked back into the scanner, and I got that same feeling I get whenever I see a police car while driving. That sinking, clutching feeling in the pit of my stomach. The same one that makes me slow down while driving, even when I am already driving the speed limit (which, if you’re reading this Dad, I totally always am…).

So I’m standing there, on my own, in a strange airport… wracking my brain to figure out what I could have in my purse that was causing these people concern. I heard one of them say “There’s only one…” and still, I was drawing a blank.

The second security officer brings my purse to the end and says “I’m sorry ma’am, but I have to search your purse”. At least he was polite, and apologized numerous times for making a mess of my stuff … there’s something to be said for them not choosing to be rude about it.

He was pulling things out, one by one, into a bin … making me shamefully aware of the sheer amount of crap I haul around on a daily basis. I mean, how much Chapstick do I plan to use in a day? Hair barrettes for my daughter, gum, small toys, receipts, medication, and on and on it went.

And then, the look. He had found what he was looking for. He slowly pulled it out, held it up … and there it was. A bullet. Comprehension dawned in me. He levelled his gaze at me “Is there a reason you are carrying this?”

And I blurted “Because I’m a Mom!” He looked confused.

“I have three kids!!” He didn’t look enlightened.

“Okay, let me explain!!” He gave me a look, one that said “Yes… that would be good.”

“So, I have three kids! And we were out somewhere a couple months ago (I don’t even remember where), and my oldest came up to me with that (point to bullet) in his hand. He had found it lying on the ground and brought it to me. I thanked him and looked around for a garbage can, but didn’t see one, so I threw it into my purse and (it fell to the bottom of the abyss where I promptly) forgot about it!” and in case he doubted my sincerity “I’m really sorry! Please just throw it away! I don’t need it!!”

But of course, there is protocol to be followed in such situations. One of them went off to consult with a manager, while the one that had torn my purse apart actually offered to put it back together. He was explaining to me that he had seen a similar situation previously … which (I gather) hadn’t ended well … but that they took the person into account. All of this was said very soothingly, which I took to mean “It’s OK! You are by all appearances a suburban housewife/ soccer Mom– it’ll be alright.”

And so it was. With an attempt at a stern lecture about cleaning out my purse prior to travelling (I swear he was trying not to laugh), I was sent on my way. Sans bullet, natch.

I figured that I had hit my fill of airport shenanigans for the trip, but of course there was my layover in Calgary to consider.

High point of the layover was that my brother and sister-in-law came to the airport to see me, and brought my darlings to see me — aka my nephew and niece! We got to squeeze in a quick visit, a bite to eat, and hugs! Happy me.

Then back through security, where I was randomly selected for a full body scan! Yay!! They ask you to choose between the scanner thingy you step into, and a pat down. Now, not being much of a traveller these days, I have no idea what the pros and cons are to each of these choices! (Please feel free to clue me in). But as I was unwilling to take off my sweater, I got the pat down.

The upside to all of this – aside from not actually being criminally inclined, and therefore giving them no real reason to detain me – was that it sure cut down on all my waiting time! By the time I was through security in both cities, I was able to walk right into the check in lines.

And the last hour and a bit home from Calgary was totally uneventful.

Transfer Day

We got up really early on Monday morning, to make the drive into the city for the transfer.

Shortly after leaving the house, my IM checked the radio and found out that the main thoroughfare into Toronto was closed down, due to a cube truck catching on fire. We were able to turn around and take an alternate route, while listening to the whole saga on the radio on our drive. Can you imagine two & a half hours worth of morning rush hour traffic back up in a city that size? And then, to top it off, they had to put the fire out, right? Which naturally meant the whole road then became covered in ice, after hosing down the fire in minus-whatever type weather. Then they had to hunt down a salt truck, and on and on it went!

Our drive in was much less dramatic, though still somewhat anxious because we had to take the long way, and we had an appointment to make.

It was just IM and I, IF having decided that this part of it was a “girl thing”. We arrived at the clinic and after filling out the forms, I was ushered into a back room for the acupuncture treatment that IM had arranged. For the record, I adore acupuncture, and have had a lot of success with it for other treatments. Not least of which, I credit it with turning my daughter around (my third pregnancy) when she was sitting breech very close to her due date.

I got to lay like a pincushion for about half an hour, while listening to a guided meditation on headphones. It was very relaxing and I moved into the transfer room feeling quite calm and centred.

I don’t know about you other ladies, but inevitably (for me) at my “lady doctor” appointments, the doctor always has to tell me to scoot closer to the end of the table. Natural reluctance, I suppose! So as per usual, I got the old “scoot your bum forward… a little more … just a little more”. Until I had that feeling like I was about to fall off the table, at which point I asked if I was close enough? And the doctor replied “Haven’t you heard? You can never be too rich, too thin or too close to your gynaecologist!” Fantastic ice breaker, all things considered.

The embryos had thawed out beautifully, there were two of them, both three day embryos. Embryos are either 3-dayers or 5-dayers, they will let them develop in the Petri dish (at least I assume it’s a Petri dish!) until 3 days, at which point, if they aren’t doing as well as hoped, they freeze them. If they are doing well, they let them continue to 5 days. Naturally, 5-dayers give you a better chance to have a successful transfer. But our 3-dayers were grade 1 (meaning minimal fissures occurred while thawing out), 9 cell embryos. They need to be between 6 and 10 cells to be viable, so we were doing pretty well!

The transfer itself was uneventful, though you do get to watch it via ultrasound which was kind of nice! There’s this flash when they transfer them, like a little spot of light, which somehow feels hopeful. Then the doctor whipped up my gown and talked to my stomach (making me somewhat self conscious, and simultaneously happy that IF had decided to skip the procedure) and sang “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

Back to the other room, and another half hour of acupuncture/ guided meditation. At which point, I was so relaxed I was practically a puddle.

And with the advice from the doctor – for instance: no lifting, rest for the remainder of the day, pee like a lady not a racehorse… off we went.

20140403-113656.jpg

Previous Older Entries