Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Different Kind of Surrogacy Journey!

So I must be addicted to surrogacy, because it's been weeks since I was released by my 2nd agency/2nd RE and I still think about it a lot. I did end up contacting 2 of the 3 agencies that had previously approved me, and they both declined me now based on my lining issues. Expected, but still a bummer.

Then over the last week, an opportunity to become a Surrogate Recruiter with one of these agencies, Family Inceptions International, was offered to me, and today we had our phone call and made it "official!" It's an informal position, no quota to meet or anything like that. My goal is to find QUALITY (not quantity) potential surrogates from the Southeast, mainly Georgia. The agency has intended parents waiting to be matched and begin their amazing journey, and they need awesome surrogates to do so. I'm nervous about it, because I'm not entirely sure how to find these girls to recruit them! But I'm hoping it will also get my foot in the door to become a surrogate coordinator at some point.

It seemed to have lit that spark in me again though, because this afternoon, I found myself emailing my journey story to the 3rd agency that I hadn't contacted again, as well as one that I reached out to back in August but never actually applied with. I just know they won't approve me, but sometimes I feel like I have to keep asking! Ugh!

Side note: If you are in the southeast region of the United States, especially Georgia, and you know of any women who may be interested in pursuing gestational surrogacy, please have them contact me at theirpeainmypod@gmail.com. And make sure to let me know you sent them!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Who Are You?

Wife. Mom. Gestational Surrogate.

That's how I've defined myself since February. Passionate about all three titles. But now, over the last several weeks, I have been questioning whether I get to call myself a surrogate. I feel like I'm stuck between two worlds, like a ghost.

No one except another surrogate truly understands just how much of yourself is invested in the process. And I did what most of the girls consider to be the hardest part. Multiple times. The research, the paperwork, the medical records, the questions from those who accept your journey, the harsh words and judgement from those who don't, the new friends I made, the old friends I lost, the psych testing, the social worker screenings, the travel, the medical screenings, the matching, the contracts, the relationship building, the appointments, the ultrasounds, the medications, the supplements, the injections, the side effects, the pressure, the hurry up and wait, and the disappointment when things don't go as planned.

All part of being a surrogate. So I am a surrogate.

But I never met my IF's in person. I never saw a picture of the perfect little cells. I never had an embryo transfer. I never had bed rest after the transfer. I never had the agonizing two week wait. I never bought the entire shelf of home pregnancy tests at the Dollar Store. I never waited for beta results. I never waited for beta results to double. I never got pregnant. I never saw the heartbeat on the ultrasound. I never got to see the look on my IF's faces when they watched their baby being born. I never got to pump breast milk for my surro-babe. I never said a tearful goodbye to the family I helped create.

All part of being a surrogate. So I am not a surrogate.

It doesn't look like I'll ever get to cross over to the surrogate world, but I certainly can't just go about my business in the non-surrogate world. I don't know for sure what I am. But one thing I know for certain: my life has forever been changed.

Friday, November 22, 2013

When Do I Stop?

I finally heard from my agency on Wednesday that Dr. Doyle reviewed my records from this mock cycle, and will no longer approve me to be a surrogate. The email from the agency was very short, to the point, and to be honest, pretty impersonal. I was surprised after all the friendly emails this whole time. Nothing like, "We know you tried, Becca" or "We were really pulling for you." Just quickly letting me know I wasn't approved and the agency was now releasing me as well.

I can't say I was surprised, but it's hard not to hold out hope. Which brings me to the dilemma I face now: When do I stop? You're not supposed to give up on a dream, right? It's not supposed to be easy, it's supposed to be something you fight for. But what if I am fighting, and my body just isn't cut out for IVF? That's not giving up...that's physically not being able to do it. Which is probably why it bothers me when people say "No one would blame you if you decided to stop now." The decision to stop isn't being made by me...is it? I'm not saying I can't handle the heartache, the injections, the hormones, the time, the emotions. I'm saying doctor after doctor is telling me I just can't do it, and agencies are letting me go...at some point it just seems like I'm just doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. The very definition of insanity.

But that's what makes this so hard. I'm not doing the same thing. The medication protocols have been different, and there are still countless others that I haven't tried. But I'll never be able to try them all. I'm at a point where I've started to really accept that this may not happen for me. I will continue to pursue my dream of working with potential surrogates at an agency, but actually carrying a surro-babe...I may not ever get to do that. Then this tiny voice inside my head says, "But all it takes is one doctor to have the magic cocktail for you. Just one."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I'm Still Here...

I'm sure you can imagine, since it took me two days to blog, that my appointment did not go well on Monday. I needed some time to process what happened, the end of another disappointing road, and whether I wanted to start down a new one. Or if I would even be allowed.

That being said, I do want to thank all of my family, friends, surro-sisters, and blog readers who reached out to me in the last couple of days. From the number of emails, Facebook messages, and website hits, I know many of you were anxiously looking for an update. It still amazes me how many views my blog gets (almost 16,000 since March!), and it feels great to be able to interact with all of you. It was one of my reasons for starting this blog in the first place: To put my journey out there and inspire or help others exploring the world of surrogacy. Thank you all for being the knot in the end of my rope.

Alright. Cue the symphony music, cut my mic, kick me off the stage. I know what you really want to read are the details!

So back to my appointment on Monday. My lining was 6.76mm, when the clinic was looking for something closer to an 8. While I felt bummed because I knew it wasn't good enough, I have to say that I was a little impressed with it too. My lining increased as much in 5 days as it had the ENTIRE cycle. I felt like that had to mean something. The thing is, I don't know what did it. The added Estrace pills? The acupuncture? The additional supplements? The crazy amount of orgasms to increase blood flow? (Seriously, that's all I managed to get done those last few days...it's a hard job, but I'll take one--or several--for the team!) I had a glimmer of hope that maybe they'd extend my cycle again by another week, but I was doubtful.

First, I had a long talk with my dear Jeni, where I was feeling a little done and over all the stress and pressure on myself (mostly by me). Then I talked to my hubby, where I was feeling like I owed my family my full attention again (again, this is coming from my own head). Finally, I talked to my big sister, where I turned into a sad, sappy mess (she's been my "therapist" for a couple of decades now, so she's totally used to it, lol). And after all of that, I decided to email the IVF clinic and put my offer on the table: Give me another week. I will continue the estrogen pills in addition to the injections, I will schedule two more acupuncture sessions (I know, right?!), and I will get another ultrasound done to check my lining. And I will cover all the costs.

Unfortunately, the answer was no.

While I was at my daughter's dance class, I got a call from Dr. Leondires at RMA in Connecticut. This was the first time I'd talked to him directly, so I knew it wasn't favorable news. He was amazingly sweet though. He believes that given the different medicated cycles I've tried without success, I just don't build a lining suitable for IVF. That's not to say that I can't get pregnant on my own or even that an IVF transfer wouldn't be successful. But when you're dealing with Intended Parents, tens of thousands of dollars, and their embryos, they need to have the lining measure what they believe to be optimal for implantation. The sweet part is when he said, "Listen, this is absolutely not your fault. What you are trying to do for these guys is an amazing thing. But I think it's time now to move on from surrogacy and find another way to give back to the world." He said he would be calling B&J to let them know, and he's sure I would be talking to them too. "Actually," I said, "I've never had any direct contact with them. I think we were all sort of waiting to see what happened with this mock cycle." I'm thankful for that now, although once you know names and faces and family details, it doesn't really make another match-break easy. Easier than if we spend months building a relationship, I guess. But still painful. I was a complete mess in the bathroom stall at the dance studio. I hope that B&J have read my blog, so they know I have literally done every single thing possible to try and help make this cycle a success.

My agency is still sticking with me though. They immediately requested my medical records from RMA, and they are encouraging me to send them to Dr. Doyle to see if he would still work with me. He agreed to previously, but given the results from this mock cycle, I don't know if he'd feel the same way. However, I'm going to try. Not a day goes by that I don't think about being a surrogate, so I owe it to myself to keep trying for as long as I can--or as long as the doctors will let me. I don't ever want anyone to think I gave up, because no matter how hard all of this is, it will all be worth it if I can find a doctor who has the right protocol for me. So many of my surrogate friends have great things to say about Dr. Doyle, and I was very happy with the communication I'd had with his office staff, as well as Dr. Doyle himself. Since when do you find a doctor who emails you back within an hour?!

So I'm still here. Still hanging on. Anybody know if that cute kitten hanging from the tree branch on the poster ever manages to get himself back up?!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Is There Anything a Surrogate Won't Try?!

Apparently not!

Remember when I said I had a laundry list of home remedies that's everything short of voodoo? Well, I spoke to soon!

Okay, so it wasn't ACTUALLY voodoo. It was acupuncture. But yeah, since I was the "doll," I'm going to say it's close enough.

I've been reading about acupuncture for infertility, and specifically for thin lining, for several weeks now. But I didn't try it for a few reasons.

1. It's expensive. $90 for the first visit, $70 for subsequent ones.
2. They use needles.
3. I hate needles.
4. Needles.

Once I got the news on Wednesday that this next ultrasound would be the "end of the road" if my lining isn't thick enough, I decided I needed to try it. At this point, I've got nothing to lose and everything to gain. I called a few local places who were all booked up and couldn't get me in before my ultrasound tomorrow. And I still kept thinking about the cost...ouch. Then I found a few places that offer "community acupuncture" which means you aren't in a private room, and so the session only costs $30. One of them was having their community session that night, Thursday, so I made my appointment. I was happy to try it, hopeful that one session would help, and a bit disappointed that I wouldn't be able to do more than one session before the ultrasound.

I'm not feeling so disappointed anymore! One session will have to be enough!

First, he put 9 needles in my lower abdomen. These felt okay, and didn't hurt or bother me. I actually started to forget they were there. It was a little weird to see him stick a needle in my stomach and then feel a tingle in my toes. Crazy!

Next, he put two needles in each ankle, on the inside. Those sucked. Big time. It felt like I was hitting a funny bone in my ankle over and over again, which made it impossible to relax while I laid there for an hour. I kept telling myself "If it works, it's worth it. Just get through this one time."

Which became a little harder to keep in mind when he put a needle in the BOTTOM OF EACH FOOT. Right in the arch. Yikes.

So there I am, a human "pokey-pine" (my daughter's quote--I love it!), and the acupuncturist says, "Okay sweetie, you're all set. Just relax for about an hour, find your beach, and I'll be back to check on you."

Wha???? Find my beach?!

Let me tell you about my beach. My beach is the white sand and turquoise waters of Key West, with my husband (and/or Justin Timberlake) next to me handing me pina coladas in a half-coconut with a little paper umbrella. I cannot find my beach in a dark room filled with incense, while needles stick out of my skin and the woman next to me is snoring.

So I did not find my beach. I tried to think about why I was there, again conquering my fear of needles. I was there for fluffy lining. I was there for the smiling faces in the IP profile. I was there for the little embyro who needs a snuggly place to nestle in for 40 weeks.

The hour went by fairly quickly, but since Snoring Lady was there first, the acupuncturist had to take her needles out first. Imagine my surprise when he turns the table lamp on, and Snoring Lady has needles STICKING OUT OF HER NOSE AND FOREHEAD. I tried not to stare, but it was difficult. Especially when she stood up and I got a nice shot of Snoring Lady with no pants on. Somehow we are working on my uterus and I managed to stay covered?! No judgement, Snoring Lady. If Justin Timberlake was on my beach, I would not be wearing pants either.

Finally, it was my turn. And once again, the ankle needles bothered me the most. It's a hard sensation to describe, but I didn't like it. My ankles felt sore, like I'd hit a nerve. Especially the right one. It's now been three days and I can still feel it. Like a sprain. I don't know if that's supposed to happen or not, but if it helps any with my lining, it will all be worth it.

Tomorrow morning is my ultrasound. Send all your fluffy vibes my way, and also send out some positive vibes for Snoring Lady, for whatever ailment required needles in her nose!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sigh....

Well, that appointment didn't go well.

I knew the results right away, but I was waiting to let you all know until after I heard from the IF's clinic.

Every party has a pooper, and that's me today. Thank goodness there was plenty of Halloween candy to munch on, plus my sister-in-law dragged me to McDonald's, then force fed me an ice cream sundae with hot fudge. And caramel. And extra. Of both.

So I'm just going to lay it all out here, because I don't really know what to think at this point. I'm feeling so many things--discouraged, frustrated, sad, apologetic--that I'm not up for blogging with witty comments or funny jokes. No fluff today. (Ha! You got one out of me.)

My lining only measured a 5.35mm. The tech said only a 5, but I saw the measurement on the screen, and I'm keeping the extra 0.35mm. I worked VERY HARD for that. Even if it's not nearly enough. All hope was not completely lost though, as I did have what appeared to be the triple stripe pattern. Which means that although it wasn't a thick lining, it was a healthy one. Some RE's feel the triple stripe is more important than the actual thickness, but let's face it. A  5  5.35 is still not enough.

The nurse from the clinic in Connecticut called me a couple of hours ago. She said they spoke to the guys, and they were willing to cover the cost of an additional estrogen medication as well as one more ultrasound. This makes me love them even more, which makes this even harder if it doesn't work. So I'm supposed to continue with the Delestrogen injections, and also start Smurfing one Estrace pill every evening. I will have one more lining check on Monday, and the nurse said, "If you're not closer to like an 8, that will be the end of the road unfortunately."

They were going to have the prescription shipped to me from the fertility pharmacy in New England, so that the IF's could pay for it. But that seemed like a ridiculous expense for them to pay for overnight shipping on a prescription that's on the $4 generic list at Target. Plus, I wouldn't get it until Friday. So I just asked the nurse to call it in to my local CVS, so I can go pick it up and start it tonight. I don't mind paying for it...it's a small price and if I can save them any little out of pocket costs with everything they're doing for me, I'd like to try.

So that's where I am. Feeling hopeful and crushed at the same time. I've done everything I possibly can and then some, but there seems to be very little comfort in that.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Delestrogen Injection Video!

Tonight was my last Delestrogen injection before my final lining check tomorrow, so I decided I'd record it for my blog readers. A 9 minute video with nervous chatter and butt crack--how lucky are you?!

Think fluffy thoughts for me tomorrow!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Roller Coaster of Emotions

This post was originally written on July 12th. I was in the middle of my first (and only) medicated cycle with J&S, and I was excited about our upcoming embryo transfer. As you know, that transfer was canceled, and soon after, my IF's became my "former IF's" and I was no longer with Circle Surrogacy. I was saving this post to share after our successful embryo transfer, possibly while I was on bed rest. Then my surrogacy journey went haywire and it got lost in the shuffle. Even with everything that changed since this post was written, I think it's important to share it. It still holds true, maybe now more than ever.


I've mentioned before that the idea of injections terrified me in the beginning of this journey. So much so that after submitting my pre-screening application to Circle, and then hearing from them less than 24 hours later that I was accepted to continue to the screening process, I froze. I didn't reply to the email, and I didn't send any of the paperwork Jeni was requesting.

After a day or two, I went to bed thinking non-stop about the injections, which then led into thinking about anything and everything that could possibly go wrong during the surrogacy. From losing all my limbs due to a flesh-eating infection, to the plane crashing with my husband and I on board. I was up half the night, unable to turn off my brain. In the blogs I was reading, the surrogates all seemed so excited and sure of their decisions. They were so ready to fulfill a life long dream, and I felt terrified. I finally decided if I was so scared and worried, maybe I should not become a surrogate. Once I made that decision, I felt so much relief right away, and was finally able to fall asleep for the rest of the night.

The next morning I woke up, remembered my long night and my decision, and immediately started feeling sad. It continued all morning. I just didn't understand how I could now feel so sad if I was making the right decision. I started out this journey feeling excited, then nervous, then scared, then worried, then relief, then sadness. And confusion, definitely confusion after riding that roller coaster! I just didn't know what to do. It took about a week before I finally reached out to Jeni about some of my fears, and she wrote back an awesome, encouraging (but not pushy) email. I had a great conversation with my husband, who seemed so confident and sure of everything. I wanted to move forward in this process. Being a surrogate is something I'd thought of many times, and it was finally the right time.

I'll be honest though and say that the nerves continued. Every time I got an email or a phone call letting me know we were at the next step in the screening process, my stomach would do a huge flip-flop and I'd feel like throwing up. But still ready to keep going.


At some point, it all changed.


I was rushing to the Fed Ex office, in the pouring rain, to make sure my signed final contract was mailed out to Circle just hours after I received it. I was so anxious to get it there, and as I drove away, I said to myself, "I'm so excited!" And then it hit me. I wasn't nervous anymore. The nerves and fear had gone away, and I didn't even notice when that had happened. If I had to guess, I'd say the turning point was the first Skype session with J&S. We fell in love with them, and I wanted so badly to give them the family they deserve. From that point on, things couldn't move fast enough!

It was important to me to write about this roller coaster of emotions, because obviously I was already forgetting how different I felt in the beginning compared to just two months later! But more importantly, I wanted any future surrogates to see that it doesn't have to start out unicorns and rainbows. It's okay to be nervous and it's okay to be scared. What we're doing is kind of a big deal! But it's also okay to push through some of those nerves and to reach out for support. You'll likely find that someone else has felt the same way!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Green Eyed Monster

I'm jealous.

There. I said it.

Over the last several months, since I started down this surrogacy road, I have watched on online forums and message boards as surrogates have applied, been accepted, completed contracts, cycled, transferred, and gotten pregnant. Some are even approaching their due date already.

I am so happy for all of these women and their intended parents. I just thought I'd be one of them by now. I thought I'd be planning my Halloween costume around a pregnant belly. Before our transfer was cancelled in July, I didn't even know that thin lining was a thing. I just thought, "Well, I want to be a surrogate. I want to help. I got pregnant easily, and I had great pregnancies, and I did pretty well at labor and delivery. So that's it. I'll have an embryo transfer, get pregnant, and create a family." Of course, things don't always go as smoothly as we hope, but I thought maybe the tough times would come AFTER a transfer. Maybe it wouldn't stick the first time. Maybe I'd have some of the spotting that's common in IVF. I never thought maybe my lining won't get fluffy.

Just last week, a newbie surro introduced herself on the board I frequent daily. She has been matched, but has not completed her contracts yet. Her RE decided to send her for a mid-cycle lining check just to see how she does without any hormone medications. She was feeling a little anxious about it, because she just had her IUD removed on October 10th, and then started AF a week later. Some of us were sharing her anxiety, because her ultrasound was scheduled on Day 10 of her cycle, several days earlier than what would really be considered "mid-cycle." Not to mention this was her very first cycle since having her IUD removed. She was looking for home remedies just in case, anything she could do that might help. I shared with her my laundry list that's everything short of voodoo.

Turns out, she didn't need to worry. Her ultrasound showed her lining at 11mm.

Lots of girls congratulated her. But I didn't.

There were a lot of exclamation points and happy faces. But not mine.

It's not that I don't want it for her (and all of the other girls). It's just that I want it for me too. I want this mock cycle to work so badly. I had a dream, and I'm pursuing the dream, and it's possible I won't achieve the dream. I have not given up...I don't know if the Delestrogen is working, and I won't until November 6th. But it's hard not to worry, and wonder, and doubt. I just don't understand why my uterus has been so stubborn and uncooperative. Said uterus is likely pissed at me right now for calling her a few names over the last three months. Suck it up, uterus. GO FLUFF YOURSELF!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Like A Boss!!!

I don't mean to toot my own horn, but...

Oh, wait.

YES, I DO!!!

Last night was my first Delestrogen injection, and pardon my Fran├žais, but I totally rocked that bitch. I was terrified, to say the least, and these giant needles almost kept me from attempting surrogacy in the first place. The anticipation is far worse than the actual injection. Of course, I completely realize I may change my tune after doing several of these, and I also realize that they are only twice a week. But for right now, knowing that I managed to give this injection to myself with minimal stalling...well, I'm feeling like a bad ass!

Most surrogates eventually experience the daily PIO shots (progesterone), and the Delestrogen is very similar. Same size needles, same injection location. So for months, I have been reading every blog entry or article I can find on these intramuscular injections, as well as watching YouTube videos. Some were very helpful, some scared the daylights out of me. I tried to pull tidbits of advice from many different areas to create my own regimen, and I paid special attention to the recommendations from surrogates who did the injections themselves (most have their husband do it for them--mine is a certified weenie).

I used the wider 18 gauge needle to draw the Delestrogen into the syringe. For me, the dose is 0.2 mL.



Then I removed the needle and put the syringe in a hot wash cloth until it was a little bit warm. The medicine is mixed with oil, so slightly warming it allows it to become thinner and inject easier. I attached the 22 gauge needle, which is a little thinner but still just as long.



These pictures do not do these needles justice. Also, I have read several stories of surrogates who used the 18 gauge to draw up the medicine AND INJECT IT. They went weeks without realizing they were supposed to draw with one and inject with a different one. OUCH.

I'm borrowing the comparison picture below from my surro sister Alvina. The top needle is the one you use to draw up the meds, the middle needle is the one used to inject, and the bottom needle is the one used for the Lupron shots (which were the only ones I'd done until now).



I spent the most amount of time trying to figure out the right spot to do the actual injection. We all joke about them being "butt shots," but they're actually more like your hip. Doing it in the wrong area can cause a lot of unnecessary pain, which I was determined to avoid. Doing it in your thigh is an option, but I've been told over and over again, by surrogates and nurses, that usually someone will try that once and then never try it again. Not unless you want to drag your leg around for two days.

I kept this image in my mind when I was prepping my skin. Pretty much if you put your hands on your hips, it's where your thumbs hit.



I'd like to Photoshop some cellulite on that butt,
but I'll let her slide since at least her thighs are touching.

I iced first for just a couple of minutes, stood on my left leg so my right side was relaxed, made sure the hole in the tip of the needle was facing up, and then took SEVERAL deep breaths before finally doing it. It seriously went right in, no pain at all. Again, I hate when people say this, but I didn't even feel anything (I'm sure I'll be eating my words eventually). I pulled back on the syringe to make sure there was no blood (if there was, it meant I hit a vein and needed to start over), and then slowly injected the medication. Fortunately, with Delestrogen, there's not much to inject! I conquered a major fear of mine, and I am still super proud of myself!

Also, I had my first monitoring appointment on Monday. Everything looked great, ovaries were quiet and lining was a 2.8. Now it just needs to get fluffy before my ultrasound on November 6th!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pharmacy Oops

My mock cycle meds were supposed to arrive this morning, but they still aren't here. I just called the fertility pharmacy, and a mistake had been made and they still haven't shipped! I need these by Tuesday--good thing I didn't wait to call!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I'm Being Mocked

Things have been really busy around here this last week (something about having a husband and two small children will do that to you), so I haven't been able to give you an update until now!

The guys agreed to the short term contract drafted by the legal department at the surrogacy agency, and they got it all finished in time to catch the cycle I was about to start! So I officially began the mock cycle on Saturday!

For now, it's rather uneventful, just a birth control pill every day. But once I take the last BCP this Friday, the mock cycle will be in full swing!

All of my monitoring appointments have been scheduled, and my first one is on Monday. They will do blood work and an ultrasound to check for suppression of my ovaries and a thin lining--the only time we actually WANT to see that! The next day, Tuesday the 22nd, I will begin my twice a week Delestrogen intramuscular injections.

YIKES.

Getting really nervous about these, and I know my nerves now are nothing compared to what they will be Tuesday night. Most surrogates have their husband give them the shot, but since mine nearly passed out from just looking at the tiny Lupron needle, I think I'm on my own with this one. The box of meds is supposed to arrive from the pharmacy tomorrow. I have to admit, a part of me is excited to get started on the injections again, because I feel like an official surrogate when I'm cycling. But this cycle does not involve tiny needles in belly fat, and it does not result in an adorable little embryo being transferred at the end. However, I am so glad that the guys have been willing to take a chance on me and allow me to do this mock cycle in order to be their surrogate!

There's a voice in my head that is worried this still won't be enough, but I'm trying to shut her up. Final mock cycle ultrasound won't be until early November. Until then, I'm continuing with all the home remedies I've mentioned before, and I'm drinking water like it's going out of style.

THIS HAS TO WORK.

It just has to.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Moving Forward!

I heard back from my agency that the IF's want to do a medicated mock cycle at their expense! They understand (and so do I) that this is out of the typical order of things, and would normally have contracts in place before this step, but we won't this time. More than one agency has told me that they've had cases where the surrogate has to pay for the entire mock cycle and monitoring herself because of her lining, before they will even consider matching her. So, given that this is not costing me anything out of pocket, I'm doing it. I am so grateful to these IF's for being willing to take a chance on me. I hope my uterus doesn't let them down!
All this being said, I did request that the agency have their legal department draft a document stating that the IF's are responsible for all medications, monitoring, and complications associated with the mock cycle. The IF's will sign it, and I feel comfortable with this. Ideally, I would have preferred to have contracts done first, but thinking about growing a relationship with them over months and then finding out that they can't use me as a surrogate because my lining won't respond...well, I already went through that heartache once, and if I can avoid it again, then that sounds good to me. I even said just a few weeks ago that I wish I could do a medicated mock cycle so the RE would approve me. Here's my chance!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Yes Means Yes, No Means No

And so no answer means.....maybe?

Still no official word from the potential IF's fertility clinic yet on whether they will approve me to proceed with surrogacy. They asked a lot of questions about my previous cycles and protocol on Monday, but still have not said yes or no. My agency said that the IF's love, love, love my profile and feel I would be the perfect match for them. But the fertility clinic needs to discuss my lining difficulties and determine if a medicated mock cycle before we are officially matched would be an option.

So until then, I am patiently waiting for the clinic to talk to the guys. Or not patiently, whatever. I check my phone 57,000 times a day, groaning every time I see the one new email is just another Living Social deal.

Waiting, waiting, waiting....

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock....


Friday, September 27, 2013

What To Do???

The agency just emailed me to let me know the clinic asked for another ultrasound on Tuesday and estradiol. She said she told them I am paying out of pocket and already out $500. She told them they had the report showing the lining of 7.4 and that should be sufficient. She is trying to fight for me to be with these IF's, but it may not be enough.

I don't know if the clinic is aware that I did estradiol with the 7.4 cycle. If they are, I don't know why they're asking me to do the same thing again. And it seems a little late to start estradiol this cycle. I don't even have any and it requires a prescription. What good can it do for only a day or two, and already midway through a cycle?!

This sucks.

Here We Go Again...AGAIN

Ultrasound was this morning. And I measured a whopping 4.04 mm.

Is it possible to be mad at a uterus? Because I am.

Believe me when I say I was a hot mess on the way home from that appointment.

I really don't know what to make of all this. I'm on day 12 of my cycle, and the last two months I've ovulated on day 13. But the nurse said my ovaries looked very quiet and it did not look like I was going to ovulate any time soon. However, there's no blood work being done to confirm whether or not I'm ovulating, and she said something like the average woman under the age of 30 doesn't ovulate two months out of the year, and that it's possibly even more frequent for someone over 30 (I'm 32). So am I just not ovulating this month? Because if I'm not, or it's too early in my cycle, than this ultrasound pretty much doesn't tell us anything.

All I know is that I REALLY like these potential IF's. I think we could be an amazing match, and I really hate to lose them because their clinic won't approve me. I'm still really hoping the clinic will take into consideration the fact that I got up to a 7.4 mm last cycle on estrogen meds. I hate that I can't do real medicated mock cycles without being matched and under contract. I just want to be given a chance to do the larger dose of estrogen, or try a different method like patches or injections. Time and time again, surrogates have told me that the oral estrogen tablets didn't work for them. They only responded to another method, and I haven't been given a chance to even TRY another method. The nurse today even told me their clinic doesn't even use oral estrogen, because it just doesn't work well.

It'd be different if I had difficulty with fertility in my own life, but I didn't. At all. No miscarriages and no difficulty conceiving. I got pregnant on the first try with both of my girls. We joke that if my husband bumped in to me in the hallway, I'd get pregnant.

Last month's ultrasound proved that on the right dose of medications, my lining does respond. Using another method might work even better. I hope their RE can see that. I wish so bad that these IF's were with Dr. Doyle, since he's already approved me and is ready to work with me. I just don't know what else I can do. This is all so upsetting and frustrating.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bisexual Pride Day

Did you know today is the 15th annual International Celebrate Bisexuality Day? I had no idea! There's even a beautiful (and clever) flag! Who knew?! I asked my favorite bisexual about it, and she had no idea either, so that made me feel better. :)



According to Wikipedia, Celebrate Bisexuality Day activist Gigi Raven Wilbur of Texas explained, "Ever since the Stonewall rebellion, the gay and lesbian community has grown in strength and visibility. The bisexual community also has grown in strength but in many ways we are still invisible. I too have been conditioned by society to automatically label a couple walking hand in hand as either straight or gay, depending upon the perceived gender of each person."

So today, on Celebrate Bisexuality Day, we celebrate the "invisible majority!" Be proud of who you are!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Here We Go Again!

The agency has given me some info on a a set of IF's that are anxiously awaiting becoming first time Daddies! They sound great, and really sweet, but because they are using a different fertility clinic from the one that already approved me (which was Dr. Doyle at CFA), I have to wait for their RE to approve my records. Which is proving to be a little difficult.

After reviewing my records, he wanted to see the ultrasound results that showed I got up to a 7.4mm. So we sent them. Then he requested that I get ANOTHER ultrasound done, between CD10-14 of this next cycle and performed at an RE's office. I agreed to do it, even though I'm paying for it and these home remedies are not cheap, but I like these guys and I want to do whatever I can to fulfill both their dream and mine. But I am feeling a little discouraged, because it seems like maybe this doctor doesn't trust my uterus. And I'm not as confident this time because I'm not taking any cycling medications.

The agency said the RE would be looking for my lining to be above 7mm AND have a triple stripe (some doctors believe that a triple stripe is more indicative of a healthy lining than the number measurement alone). I've known about the triple stripe, but have never had one. I don't think. I'm wondering about the ultrasound I just had done...I thought I saw the center bright white line when she was measuring my lining, and I'd never seen it on my ultrasounds before. It definitely stood out to me. I should have asked if it was the elusive triple stripe, but I didn't. Kicking myself now.

Since I was already on CD2, I made an emergency run to the grocery store to replenish my stock of pomegranate juice, and also pick up things that are supposed to help thicken your lining that I didn't do last time. From now until my ultrasound next Friday, my daily regimen includes...

8 oz. of pomegranate juice
1,000 mg of red raspberry leaves
600 IU of Vitamin E
3,000 mg of l-arginine
4-5 Brazil nuts
Warm compresses
Fertility massage
Lots of water
Orgasms (this article quotes a sexologist...that's a thing?! I do not recall seeing that as an option when I chose my elementary education major...I missed out!)

Whew. That's a long list. But it doesn't take a whole lot of effort to do it, and if it works, well, it's all absolutely worth it. I'm still searching to see if there's anything else I can do. I'm hoping that every cycle I get further away from having an IUD, being on the pill, or being on Lupron will help my lining thicken too. It's so frustrating and I never saw this coming when I decided to start the surrogacy process!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

This is Why.

Frequently asked questions I've heard since sharing the news that I'm going to be a gestational carrier....

"Why would you want to be a surrogate?"

"You're doing it for someone you don't even know?"

"Are you doing it for the money?"

If you've wondered the same the things, I invite you to head on over to my fellow surro-blogger Mandy's most recent post, who just found out that she is pregnant with one (or two!) babies for her international intended fathers.

Look at their faces. Read their words. And then you'll know...this is why.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hey Girl....Nice Uterus!!!

Whose uterus has proven her loveliness?!?!?!?!

This girl, right here!!!


My ultrasound measured my uterine lining at 7.4 mm!!! That's the highest it's ever been and would have been high enough by my former RE's standards to do an embryo transfer!

The office was playing the typical elevator music, and I swear this is all I wanted to do as I walked past the nurses....



In addition to the home remedies, I also used the Estrace prescribed for my previous medicated cycle. Instead of using it twice a day, I did it three times a day (which is what the prescription label said anyway). This just goes to show that with a tweak in my meds, we could have gotten where we needed to be to transfer.

As excited as I am right now, it's a little bittersweet too. We could have still been on track for an early October embryo transfer, like we planned. Instead, I am signing on with a new agency and hoping to be rematched soon, and J&S are (I'm assuming) being rematched and will then be going through the entire surrogate screening process (MMPI psych exam, medical screening in CT, etc.) again. But everything happens for a reason, and I will be matched with amazing IF's soon, I know it! I have had weeks of sleepless nights since my match was "broken" and I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep tonight! I am so glad that I didn't give up on my dream of being a surrogate!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Awesome OB and Home Remedies

I saw my regular OB yesterday, who is so supportive of my surrogacy journey (when I first asked him if he'd be comfortable with me doing surrogacy for gay men, his response was so heartfelt--see that post here). I told him what happened with my lining issues, and that I wanted to monitor my own cycle and get an ultrasound done next week to check my lining. He was all for it, told me to stop saying my lining has "issues" since you can't really make that assumption off of one unsuccessful medicated cycle, and that he would be happy to send me for an ultrasound on Monday so my "lovely uterus can prove herself!"

This is probably completely unnecessary since an RE accepted me anyway and the overwhelming majority of the agencies see no problem with me being a surrogate, but I'm really curious just to see. I have to admit, as excited as I am to be taking all these big steps forward, I'm nervous that it will STILL show thin lining on Monday...which means this disgusting crap I've been doing every night didn't work.



                                     

That stuff has some pucker power, let me tell ya. I only have to drink a tiny cup, but I can't get through four or five gulps without stopping because it's so tart! I mentioned this to my OB, who said, "Hmm, I had it with a mimosa yesterday and it was fine!" Damn it! That's what I should have been doing--mimosas!!

So here's my daily/nightly home remedy routine (in no particular order):

8 oz of 100% pomegranate juice
1000 mg of red raspberry leaves (I opted for the capsules instead of the tea)
Plenty of water
Yoga
Warm rice pack

Seems there was something else...what was it....oh yes.


Orgasms.

Every day.

Yep.


You know, to increase blood flow. Yeah, that's why. Really it is.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Where Have I Been???

I am super swamped planning a fast-approaching fundraiser for my older daughter with special needs, and cleaning up puke and poop from the younger daughter with a stomach virus. Ahhh, the glamorous life of a Mommy!

So, here are my updates, before my rugrats realize I sneaked away for a few moments to myself....

1. My conversation with Dr. Lavy: He said when my lining didn't thicken the first time around, we had several options we could try: Increase the meds, add additional meds, try a different type of estrogen, or try a natural cycle. He chose natural (which, I'm sorry, out of all the options, that one seems like choosing to do nothing), and the results were almost the same. From that, he concluded I am not a candidate for IVF. When I pointed out that we could have tried another cycle with the other options, he said, "You shouldn't have to go through extremes with a surrogate's cycle. It should just all be smooth sailing and work perfectly." Well then. I understand what he's trying to say, but clearly we have a difference of opinion on what is considered extreme. He did apologize for the treatment I received, or lack there of. When I told him I had all these questions and no one could answer them, he said, "You were asking people who shouldn't have to answer those questions. I am the one you should be asking, and I am always available to answer questions. I offered to talk to you that same day." This was all news to me, so I let him know that I tried. That I left a message and email that same day that everything fell apart, and I didn't hear from anyone for two days, and only then it was to set up a phone call for the next week. So by the time he and I spoke, I'd gone a week without any explanations. That's when he apologized, so at least he acknowledged that. But the whole conversation was maybe 5 minutes, and then it was over. I didn't expect much else really, but now I can close that chapter and move on.

2. My application with Simple Surrogacy: Rejected because of my thin lining "issues." Rejected three times, actually. I got 3 separate emails over a span of a few days with the subject line "Rejected for Surrogacy." I guess they wanted to make it very clear to me that I was rejected! Rejected! REJECTED! I got it the first time, thanks!

3. My applications with the other agencies: After applying with Simple, I went ahead and applied with three other agencies to get the ball rolling in case Simple didn't work out--which it didn't, in case you missed the fact that I was REJECTED! :) I really appreciate all of the surrogates that have contacted me over the last couple of weeks to share their opinions (good or bad) on various agencies. One suggested that I get in touch with a well-known RE in Connecticut, Dr. Doyle, who pre-screens your medical records if you're interested in surrogacy. Sort of like working backwards....get the doctor's approval, and THEN find an agency, which should make it easier to apply having already gotten a doctor's approval. He works frequently with one of the agencies I was interested in. This has also been the agency that's been the friendliest, and the most on top of replying to my emails or application. I usually hear from them within a few hours, which is what I liked when I was with Circle. These other agencies are taking 5 days, 7 days, even longer in some cases, to reply. That's a bit of a red flag to me! So I just found out today that Dr. Doyle approved (Approved! APPROVED!) me for surrogacy, and thinks I would have done just fine on a higher dose of estradiol. So I'm 99.9% sure I have found a new agency, and they seem ready to match me right away!

4. My current cycle: I decided at the beginning of this cycle that I would do the home remedies I wanted to try with my previous cycles, and would have if I'd known it was my last chance. So, I have an appointment with my regular OB tomorrow in hopes that he will let me get an ultrasound to check my uterine lining this month. I am paying for all of this out of my pocket, but I thought if my lining was good, it might help me in my quest to be accepted by a new agency. Even though it doesn't look like it's necessary now, I think I'm still going to do it just for curiosity's sake!

Crap! The rugrats found me! I'll have to save my home remedies post for another time!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Starting Fresh!

I have just officially completed my application for Simple Surrogacy. It was very in depth, and had a lot of open ended questions, which I liked. When I answered my pre-screening questionnaire with Circle back in February, I didn't realize my responses to some of those questions would be used in the profile sent to potential IP's. So some of them I answered very simple and to the point without elaborating or putting any personality into the answer. This time, I knew better and answered each question assuming the IP's were going to read it.

The hardest part of the application was the "Letter to Intended Parents." I didn't do anything like that before, although I did receive a "Letter to Surrogate" when I got the profile for J&S. I have struggled with what to write for the last few days. I must have started typing and then deleted everything about 15 times. Finally, I wrote a short, silly one to take off some of the pressure before I wrote the long, serious one. I hope it was the right choice, but I decided to leave the short, silly one in there as well. Might as well throw it out there from the start that I have a sense of humor and need IP's with one too. :)

          Dear Intended Parents,

          1. Knock me up.
          2. I'll be awesome.
          3. Your kid will be adorable.
          4. My husband will get to tell his friends two men got his wife pregnant while he watched.

          The End.

See? Simple and to the point! Much easier to write than the long one.

So that's done, and now I wait to hear something, hopefully soon. Tomorrow I have a phone call scheduled with Dr. Lavy. I don't have much to say at this point, but I'm still curious (and nervous) to see what comes of this conversation.

I've also been in touch with Dr. Doyle at CT Fertility to get his thoughts on my journey so far. He said his initial gut feeling is that I would do better on more estrogen, maybe for a longer period of time, or even through a different method (patches, injections, etc.). We'll see where that road leads.

Many of you have asked what my relationship with J&S is now. Sadly, it appears to be over. I have not heard from them at all since last week. I had a small pile of gifts here for them and their son for our first meeting, things I put a lot of thought in to, but I never got a chance to meet them in person. I considered sending them everything anyway, but to be honest, I just don't really feel like it. I feel like I was treated like just a uterus instead of part of their team.

And uteruses (uterii?!) do not know how to ship things to Sweden.

This uterus has a more important job to get to!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Homework Break

I am still very hurt and frustrated by my IP's and their doctor being so quick to give up on me. I'm sure it will be something that never completely heals. I'd invested a lot of trust and love into a friendship with complete strangers in another country. I didn't realize awesome surrogates were so plentiful that you could dump one so soon into a journey when things weren't perfect. My heart is definitely aching. I was 100% committed and in this for the long haul, but they gave up on me without trying all we could. But I am not giving up on my dream of being a surrogate. Giving up on my dream would mean somewhere out there, a couple doesn't get the baby they so desperately long for. So I won't go down without a fight.

I'm pretty scrappy. It's a side effect of being short.

I have spent yesterday and today researching surrogacy agencies to find a new one. I love Circle but they are unable to rematch me thanks to the doctor. So I have to find a new one, and it's hard to even know where to start! I chose Circle because the only surrogate I actually know personally used them for both of her journeys. I never even looked at other agencies. So now here I am, relying on the advice of online surrogacy forums. I have been looking for positive and negative feedback, and I just found a forum thread where people were saying who they would NOT use for surrogacy. I was reading it very intently and making notes...so intently that I wrote down one person's warning of "Do not use Amy Poehler" before I realized it was a joke.

I think it's time for a homework break!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shock.

My IF's just Skyped me to let me know that Dr. Lavy advised them to find another surrogate. He doesn't think I'd have a very good chance at a successful transfer with my thin lining. It doesn't mean I can't get pregnant successfully on my own, he just doesn't consider me an ideal candidate for IVF. 



So that's it. My match is "broken" after Skyping every Sunday for 4 months. I feel blacklisted by the RE and my agency won't rematch me because I no longer have the approval of the RE they work with (they only work with 2, and apparently the other one is much stricter).



I am feeling so many things right now, but mainly, I am pissed. I got ONE chance at a medicated cycle, where they made NO changes to my protocol (other than have me insert the estradiol vaginally when I was already half way through the cycle). It seems like we could have, at the very least, tried a medicated cycle again, with a more agressive estrogen amount from the very beginning.



I can't believe this is happening right now. I want J&S to have the family they dream of, and if that's not with me as their surrogate, that's okay. But I finally decided to become a surrogate, and I never even made it to a transfer. I did not see this coming after getting pregnant with both of my girls on the first try. It feels like something I HAVE to do. And I'm being told I can't, when I feel like I wasn't given a real fighting chance.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stupid Fluffy Bunny.

Well, the bunny I previously posted didn't have any fluffy magical powers.

I just had the ultrasound to check the thickness of my lining for our mock cycle (natural, no meds). It only measured 4.87 mm. Pretty much the same as it was when I was taking estradiol before our canceled transfer last month. So now tomorrow I have to go to my OB for an endometrial biopsy.

I am so disappointed in my body, scared of tomorrow's procedure and what it will say, and confused as to why is this happening. What if I can't be a surrogate because of this? I'm sure Dr. Lavy knows what he's doing, but I want to know why other surros are on several estrogen pills a day plus patches plus vaginal supps plus baby aspirin...some even on delestrogen injections. Why did I only have two estradiol pills a day during my medicated cycle?

This sucks. :(

P.S. I do not recommend Google imaging "shaved bunny." Unless you're in the mood for a little internet porn. Then by all means, Google away, my friend!

UPDATE: The RE's office called to say they'd prefer I have the biopsy done on Friday, since that will be 10 days after ovulation, which is consistent with the implantation date in a natural cycle. Fortunately, my OB's office was very accommodating and rescheduled my appointment for Friday morning. Unfortunately, that gives me two extra days to worry about it! I just want to get it over with!

Ultrasound is Today!

Just got off the phone with the monitoring clinic. They opened at 8am, I called at 8:03. :) they were able to honor my request for a 10am ultrasound, so yay! That means I can finish here at the GI office for Emily, take each of them to school, and then go to the ultrasound with no noisy children beautiful angels in tow. And I'll be done in time to pick the little one up from pre-K and take her to swimming lessons. Whew.

Now think fluffy, think fluffy, think fluffy......

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Big O

Ovulation, that is. Shame on you, you filthy minded person. Who thinks just like me. :)

Last week I was pee stick crazy, checking every morning to see if I was ovulating yet. I'd gotten a very light line on CD13, and then a darkish line on CD14. However, the darkish line still wasn't quite as dark as the control line, so it was technically considered a negative. I texted J&S a picture of my "almost positive" and said I was sure that the next day would be a nice dark line.

So imagine my surprise when I POAS the next morning and the line is barely even visible. Apparently, I wasn't pee stick crazy enough.

Cue surrogate panic mode.





I start emailing and calling my IVF clinic to tell them that I think I missed my ovulation by only testing in the morning (following directions!), and I suspect it was actually the evening of CD13, the night before the darkish line appeared. They wrote back with a "Great! We'll call you this afternoon." Clearly, the multitude of exclamation points and capital letters did not convey that I was freaking out over here!

Finally Dr. Lavy's office called and said they were going to send me for blood work ONLY (no ultrasound) since I never had a definite positive. I went the next morning, Friday, first thing in the morning so they could get the results back right away. Turns out I DID ovulate! Now I have to get in for an ultrasound and possibly a biopsy, no later than this Wednesday. They prefer tomorrow.

Which is where things started to get crazy.

Turns out my monitoring clinic won't perform the biopsy. I don't know why, but I'm assuming it's because I'm just there for monitoring, and not an actual patient. I gave the RE the name and number of another fertility clinic here. Same response. I left a message for my regular OB, Dr. B, (who is already aware of my surrogacy) hoping he would agree to do it. But a few hours went by, and I hadn't heard back.

Cue surrogate panic mode. Again.

If everyone was saying no, what was I going to do? We don't have time to waste. This has to be done at a certain point in my cycle. I even called the OB who delivered my first daughter. Big fat no. I was about to call the gyno I saw when I was a teenager. But he's apparently no longer practicing. Did I mention all this was going on during the first day of school for my kids? And swimming lessons? And ballet? I imagined I looked pretty crazy standing in the corner of the dance studio on my cell phone, explaining about surrogacy and transvaginal ultrasounds and endometrial biopsies.

Right when I was ready to start calling random OB's in the area, I heard back from Dr. B's office. He agreed to do the biopsy (if necessary) Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, I still don't have an ultrasound scheduled. Orders were faxed to my monitoring clinic, but they were already closed. So my RE wants me to go tomorrow morning, but the clinic won't even get the orders until then. Tomorrow is also school (different drop off and pick up times for my daughters), swimming lessons, and a GI appointment for my oldest daughter. Oy vey.

Deep breath. Fluffy thoughts. I can do this.



That's a bunny. I think.
Anyway, it's super fluffy.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gotta Love Him

How do you know your husband's right by your side during your surrogacy journey?

When he comes home from a 12 hour day of work, gives you a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and then without so much as a hello, asks "Did you ovulate yet?"

He gets another awesome husband point for trying not to look grossed out when I explained that I hadn't gotten a positive test yet, but I knew I would soon because I'd had EWCM all day.

Google it if you must. And try not to look grossed out. :)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

New Cycle, New Plan

Sorry for being MIA this week! I needed to share some information with J&S, and I wanted to make sure they didn't find out through my blog. I was waiting to post until everything had been figured out. 

So for a long list of reasons, I am unable to attempt an embryo transfer in August or September. We are now waiting until October, which I feel really bad about, but I have to take care of my family too. There was a very long list of obligations, commitments, and special events scheduled during the week of the possible August transfer, and a huge fundraising event that my husband and I put on for our special needs daughter during the week of the September one. Since the RE wants to do a natural cycle with me this time, there was no changing the transfer dates. So, we are now waiting until October. Although I am sad to have to put it off, I am excited to have a fresh start for the surrogacy, with nothing else weighing on my shoulders!

My IF's were very understanding, and they told the RE they would like to take this opportunity to do ultrasounds and blood work anyway, to see if my lining looks the way it's supposed to. I think this is a great idea, it only makes sense since we are waiting to transfer anyway! The RE agreed, so I'm supposed to start the ovulation prediction kit on cycle day 10, then I will go for blood work and ultrasound about a week after a positive OPK. I started the OPK this morning (it was negative), and I will continue to test every morning until I get a positive result.


At the ultrasound, if my lining measures 6mm or less, they will schedule an endometrial biopsy. The doctor will insert a long tube and use suction to take a small piece of my uterine lining. This will allow them to see if the lining of my uterus is at the right stage for the time in the menstrual cycle when the biopsy was done. This does not sound fun, so we are going to think fluffy thoughts!!! I'm hoping that by continuing to stay off the birth control pills, my lining will start to look better. I pretty much don't get a period on the pill, so I suspect that may have been the problem last time. So fingers crossed, fluffy thoughts, and I will let you know when I get a positive OPK!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Numbers. And more waiting.

Well, I have finished all the prescribed medications.


So after...


35 days...
70 prenatal vitamins...
50 Estradiol pills...
28 Lupron injections...
7 Provera pills...
7 birth control pills...
4 transvaginal ultrasounds...
and 4 blood draws...


...my canceled cycle is officially completed. 

Now we just wait for my period to arrive. Also known as Aunt Flo--or AF--in Surrogacy/IVF lingo. Once AF starts, I will let the doctor know and we can begin to plan our new cycle. I guess J&S talked to our IVF doctor, and he wants to try a natural cycle with me this time. Basically this means we'll let my body do what it's supposed to do on its own, as opposed to attempting to control it with medications. This wasn't an option before because we were trying to sync my cycle with the egg donor's so we could do a fresh transfer.

The guys said the egg donor did not have an awesome number of eggs retrieved. Average is 15, and she had 9, with 5 of those being good quality. Fortunately, ALL FIVE eggs became embryos, so that's great news, especially since we are only transferring one embryo! The embryos have now been frozen, and the doctor said the success rate of a frozen transfer vs. a fresh is the same. So now we wait!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Transfer Canceled

As you can tell from the title of this post, this morning’s monitoring appointment did not go well. My lining was actually THINNER than it was on Friday, just 4.4 mm, down from 5.6 mm. I had an agonizing day waiting to hear from the RE’s office. My surro-sisters and IF’s had to listen to a teary, worried mess of a girl all day. I’m so thankful to have such supportive friends, and I’ve said it before—I’m a lucky girl to have J&S.

So I just finally heard from the RE that they are canceling this cycle. No transfer for me this weekend because my uterus was being a bitch and decided not to get fluffy in time. Strange thing is that my hormone levels were all exactly where they should have been, so my body was absorbing the estrogen properly. For some reason though, there was some disconnect with my lining increasing. Stupid uterus.

Anyway, so my instructions are:

1. Stop Lupron effective immediately (easy to do since I'm out of syringes).

2. Continue taking one Estradiol twice a day (by mouth now instead) for 7 days. It's going to be a little weird putting these pills in my mouth again after where they've been going for 2 weeks!

3. Tonight, begin taking one Provera (progesterone) pill every night by mouth for 7 days.

4. Once these meds are finished, I should start a "good, cleansing" period shortly after that. Then we'll start cycling again.


The ED is still going through with her retrieval on Friday, and then they will freeze the embryos. New estimated transfer date, depending on when AF shows up, will be August 16th. It will now be a frozen embryo transfer, instead of fresh. If AF takes too long to show her face, transfer won't be until the middle of September (since the clinic's lab is closed for the last 2 weeks of August).


Wait, you say.


Didn’t you have some major fundraiser for your disabled daughter on September 14th?


Yes, in fact we do. So keep your fingers crossed that the transfer date will fall AFTER the 14th if we have to do it in September.

My IF's are so supportive and worried about me, and of course I feel bad for them. They thought they were getting pregnant this weekend. I thought we were getting pregnant this weekend. The ED was already in Connecticut, and so is S!! He flew here all the way from Sweden for this!! I can't help but feel like I failed them before we even got started. I'd obviously prefer a canceled cycle over a failed transfer, but this sucks.


End Rant.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Monitoring Appointment #3

So today was my third monitoring appointment, and what I thought would be my last one before our trip to New York/Connecticut for the transfer next weekend. (Side note: I still do the Connect-I-Cut spelling trick I learned in elementary school). Apparently, I will go back at least one more time, on Tuesday, for another lining check. The egg donor has her last monitoring appointment on Monday, and then we should finally know exact travel dates. Planning around a fresh embryo transfer is not easy!

The blood draw was much better at this appointment, and the ultrasound was fine too. My uterine lining measured 5.60 mm, up from 4.05 mm last week. I was really surprised, because a 1.5 mm increase was all I'd had the week before. That was why I started Smurfing the estradiol (yep, I said it) instead of taking it orally (ha...I'm leaving the rest of that sentence alone). The nurse seemed to think my lining wasn't very thick either, although she didn't tell me where she thought it should be. So I left there all worried that the transfer might get cancelled or postponed, and I was frustrated because I've followed all of the doctor's instructions perfectly. I know it's not easy for J&S to fly all the way here from Sweden, even when only one of them is coming. I hated that it might all be messed up because my uterus wasn't getting plumpy enough.

Thankfully, our actual IVF clinic called me very soon after the appointment. (This may or may not have had something to do with the pretending-I'm-calm-but-sounding-like-a-wreck message I left them before I even pulled out of the monitoring clinic's parking lot). I was completely surprised when the nurse said to continue everything exactly the same! She didn't sound worried at all, and said I only need to be at 7 mm in order to do the transfer. So that's good news, but I was still feeling a little worried. It's hard not to when you want something to work so badly! Plus I read all these surrogacy blogs and IVF sites, and hear all about the "triple stripe" every surrogate hopes for. The triple stripe is when the two uterine walls are so thick that they touch in the middle, creating an image on the ultrasound that looks like three stripes. It happens around 12 to 13 mm, and it's supposedly the perfect lining measurement.


I was a straight A student...I expect no less of my uterus!


Speaking of being the teacher's pet,
I heard that there are ways you can naturally increase your uterine lining.


Lots of water...and orgasms.


I am off to do my homework like a good little student.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Monitoring Appointment #2

This appointment was last Friday, but I am just getting around to posting about it! So appointment #3 is tomorrow already, but I still wanted to update you on the other one.

So last week's appointment went well and was over with pretty quickly! The blood draw wasn't a whole lot of fun, I think she took the needle out a little too quickly, and on an angle instead of straight out. It hurt and I had a feeling I was going to wind up with a bruise. Sure enough, my right arm STILL has a big gross bruise on it. So I guess tomorrow's blood draw will have to be done in the other arm!

The ultrasound was way better this time than last time. No problem finding my ovaries, and my uterine lining measured 4.05 mm, up from 2.5 mm last week. The IVF clinic called later in the day to tell me that all of my hormone levels were perfect but that my uterine lining was a "teensy weensy bit thinner" than what they would have liked to see after a week on estrogen. She said it was no big deal at all, and that I was the third woman she's spoken to that day who needed a change in her estrogen meds for this reason.


 I thought the change was going to be "Take it three times a day" instead of two.


Silly me.


Instead of taking the pills orally, I'm now supposed to insert them vaginally. Yep. These tiny blue pills that I've been putting in my mouth for the last week, now have to go.....elsewhere. I shared this info with a surrogate friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) and she said, "Is it the blue ones? It's going to look like you did a Smurf."


She was totally right. I've had quite a colorful week. :)



Monday, July 8, 2013

Just a Thought

So....

If a pregnancy actually starts 2 weeks before conception, and our embryo transfer is in two weeks, that means we're technically pregnant....right now. :D

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

All Aboard the Hot Mess Express

That's me right now.


Full speed ahead on the Hot Mess Express.


Whiny, bitchy, constantly on the verge of tears.


You've been warned. Proceed with caution.




Rant #1: My husband started a new job last week. The TV repair shop he worked at previously is struggling to stay relative in an age where it usually makes more sense to replace electronics rather than repair them. So after three years of hanging in there while his hours continued to be cut, he finally had to look for something else. Supporting a family of four on 28 hours a week was just not going to work. So we were thrilled when this new job came along. It promised better pay, benefits, and more job security. The hours can vary day to day, but we figured that was a small sacrifice in order to finally get his first pay increase in 10 years. Small sacrifice...ha! I pretty much have not seen my husband since Sunday. We are all asleep when he leaves in the morning and the girls are asleep when he gets home. I am eating Ramen soup alone for dinner, since I'm not cooking a meal for just me. He is getting home and skipping dinner, because he can barely make it to our bed before falling asleep. This is not what we signed up for. This is not worth any amount of money. I enjoy my husband's company and the girls love their daddy to pieces...this is killing us. I am trying to be tough and think positive, but I continue to find myself crying instead. A lot. It's not pretty at times.

Rant #2: After filing bankruptcy 9 years ago, we cannot stand having credit card debt. It makes us nervous. We have one credit card, and the first thing we do with our tax return every year is pay off the credit card debt. We did that this year. And then Austin's hours were cut. And then they were cut again. So now here we are just a few months after being credit card debt free, and the credit card is about 75% maxed out. I am beyond frustrated. You would think that being worried about Rant #2 would make me not so upset about Rant #1. Apparently it doesn't work that way.

Rant #3: I am pumped full of hormones. I am still doing daily Lupron injections, which were REALLY starting to hurt. I know any surrogates doing PIO shots want to punch me in the head right now, but it started feeling as if I was injecting into sore, bruised areas each time. I was switching sides on my stomach, and making sure to insert the needle at a 90 degree angle, but it didn't matter. After about 4 days of that, I decided to try icing the area first. It's totally working! I just hold the girls' Dora the Explorer ice pack on my stomach for a couple of minutes while I'm getting everything else prepped.




Muchas gracias, Dora.


Continuation of Rant #3: (Haha, did you think I was done?!) So, I don't think I've been having any side effects from the Lupron, but you'd have to ask my husband. And he's never here now. :P  The estrogen pills, however, are allowing me to feel menopausal symptoms at the ripe old age of 32. I am having hot flashes and night sweats, and perhaps it's why I am crying so much about Austin being gone? I don't mind it, because it's all for a wonderful cause, but it's certainly contributing to me being a total hot mess right now.


Get it? Hot mess? Hot flashes?


I'm here all week, folks.