Saturday, June 29, 2013

Do IP's Come in Pocket Size?

Did I mention that my guys are awesome?

Like I want to shrink them down and carry them around in my pocket, so they can pop out throughout the day and say nice things to me.

Things like...

"Becca is the best surrogate match EVER."

"We are very thankful for you being just you the way you are."

"You are truly a superhero."

So sweet.

"Hope you are having sweet dreams right now!"

"You make me smile like the sun."

"Hello sweetheart!"

Yes, these are actual quotes. Getting jealous yet?

"I wish I could do all the needles and meds for you, bearing the child is so much as it is."

"I wish you could just take a pill, a sip of water, and then BAM! Super preggo."

"You are such a super mum."

They are confirming my theory that gay men make better husbands.

"You are brilliant and so funny, and your blog is fantastic.
You will be famous and have a TV show, and you should definitely write a book!"

"You and Austin are fantastic and this feels like a dream."

"I wish you could feel like a princess through the whole pregnancy."

See? I need pocket sized IP's. I bet I'm not the only surrogate who feels this way! :)

Surrogacy Update: The clinic called with my monitoring appointment results. She said everything was right where it should be for baseline levels! My uterine lining was 2.5mm and my estrogen levels were less than 20. She said I probably won't even get my period this week like I was technically supposed to because the BCPs worked so well. Effective immediately, I reduce the Lupron from 10 units to 5 units every night, and I start taking Estradiol twice a day! Next monitoring appointment is July 5th.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Too Smart

We have been very honest with our 4 year old daughter about the surrogacy. She knows that families, just like people, all look different but they all have LOVE in common. She has been very excited for Mommy to grow a baby for J&S, and has been demanding for weeks that I get the baby seed in my tummy already.

So you can imagine my surprise when she declares one night that she doesn't want me to grow a baby for J&S. But don't worry, it gets better...and so funny. The kind of funny that only a preschooler can come up with...

Me: "I have to give myself shots to get my tummy ready to grow a baby for J&S."

Madi: "I don't want you to grow a baby for J&S. I want you to grow a baby for US!!!"

Cue stunned silence.

Me: "Ummm....Mommy's not going to grow a baby for us. We wanted two babies, and we have them. You and Sissy. So now it's time for Mommy to help a family who can't grow a baby on their own."

Madi: "Why can't J&S grow a baby on their own?"

I've explained this before, but did a quick explanation again. You know, just the basic "Boys' tummies don't grow babies. Only girls' tummies do."

To which my beautiful, brilliant, sassy 4 year old daughter replied:

"Mommy, don't you know that sometimes daddy seahorses grow the babies for the mommy?!"

Um, yeah. I'm gonna have my hands full with this little genius!

Daddy Seahorse Fun Fact:
The number of babies released by the male seahorse averages 100–1,000 for most species, but may be as high as 2,500. He typically gives birth at night and is ready for the next batch of eggs by morning when his mate returns!

Source: Wikipedia

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Monitoring Appointment #1

Just had my first monitoring appointment at a local fertility clinic since starting my cycle meds. This clinic, selected by our actual IVF clinic in Connecticut, will do my blood work and ultrasounds leading up to our transfer next month. I have an appointment here weekly to see how I'm responding to the cycle medications. I started Lupron on June 18th, and took my last active BCP on June 24th, so at this appointment they are looking for my ovaries to be inactive and my uterine lining to be very thin. If it is, then I will reduce the amount of Lupron I'm on, and start taking the estrogen.

My uterine lining measured 2.5mm, and the ultrasound tech had a very hard time finding my ovaries. She finally found the left one, but had to call for back up to find the right one. That involved several uncomfortable minutes with the weenie wand! I was getting worried (even though I know I have two ovaries!), but they explained that the ovaries are harder to see when they are "so quiet." Eventually they saw both ovaries, and I guess that means I am responding well to the meds so far!

Hopefully I'll hear from our actual IVF clinic with the results later today!

Surro-Sister Weekend

My weekend with Jeni in Colorado was awesome! We managed to see quite a bit considering I was there less than 48 hours! Colorado's landscape is very different from Florida's, so I have a few dozen "mountains in the distance" pictures. I won't torture you with them all!

Flying to Denver alone was pretty new for me too! I flew alone once when I was 16, and you may remember from previous posts, I've not flown much in my lifetime. In fact, with the surrogacy trips to New York/Connecticut, and my visit with Jeni, I will end up flying round trip 3 times in less than 90 days. That's as many times I'd flown in my entire life until now. :) So I'm walking through the Denver airport, feeling like a grown up, and pretty proud of myself for navigating an airport alone and not getting too scared on the flight...then I see this.

Excuse me?

And then I see them everywhere.

Women's Restroom. Tornado Shelter.

Men's Restroom. Tornado Shelter.

Baggage Claim. Tornado Shelter.

I felt for a minute like they were swirling around me, "Tornado Shelter" signs every where I looked. We rarely have tornadoes in Florida, and in my 31 now 32 years here, I have never seen a tornado or been involved in one. We mainly get hurricanes here. Slow, rainy hurricanes with plenty of warning. Like 4 days warning, and we all go to the store to buy canned food and bottled water, but instead come home with tequila and margarita mix for hurricane parties. I am not tornado kind of girl. But I took the picture of the sign (getting weird looks from women walking into the bathroom), and moved on. Good thing I didn't see this news article, published just TWO DAYS before I landed in the same airport! Yikes!

Jeni and I find each other in the airport, hugged and squealed, and then started talking. And pretty much didn't stop until she dropped me off at the airport on Sunday. I was even starting to lose my voice by the time we went to bed late Friday night! We talked about family, friends, and of course, surrogacy. Jeni had twins for two amazing daddies in New York just 19 months ago. If you can prepare yourself for cuteness overload, you really should head over to Jeni's blog to see the pictures of the family she helped create!

We went into Downtown Denver for dinner Friday night, and the city was really pretty. When we were leaving, we turned on to this street decorated with beautiful lights all the way across. According to Jeni, she had the city do that specifically for my birthday. ;)

We headed back to Jeni's condo, where her daughters were sweet enough to let me use their room for the weekend. My bedside table even had fancy chocolate truffles waiting for me. "Jeez, Mom, it looks like a hotel in here," the girls said. I'm not complaining!

Saturday we drove to Red Rock Park. It was gorgeous! I couldn't get over how high we were, and Jeni kept reminding me that we were only in the foothills. My ears kept popping on the drive up. I could see so far! Of course, pictures never do these kind of views justice, but it was amazing. The rocks look tiny in this picture, but that little gray line next to them is a road. That gives you some sort of idea of how big they were!

At the top, there was a beautiful amphitheater where crews were setting up for a concert later in the evening. Jeni said the rocks create amazing natural acoustics! There were so many people running/climbing the amphitheater steps for exercise. It looked like a ton of work! We stood there for a while and watched all the hot guys people working out.

My husband's response to the above photo: "WTF?!
That's a big ass rock and there's a bar in it! Sweet!"

We drove around for a little while, through a few mountain towns that were adorable, and then headed for lunch. There were so many places to eat outside, and the mountain view with the sunny weather (no humidity frizzing my hair!) made for a gorgeous weekend. 

I missed my family terribly (it was the longest I've ever been away from Austin in 15 1/2 years together!) and I was a teary mess when they were waiting for me at the airport with a bouquet of flowers! It felt so good to be home with my loves, but it was an awesome weekend with an awesome friend! The surrogacy world, and my agency Circle, is lucky to have her!

My little lovie was so happy with her souvenir rocks,
she dumped them right out in baggage claim. :)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Weekend with Jeni!

In a few hours, I will be on a plane to Colorado to spend my birthday weekend with Jeni!

Jeni and I "met" back in February when I applied to be a surrogate with Circle Surrogacy. She helped me get through the pre-screening process, and I quickly began to realize we may have been separated at birth. We both majored in elementary education. We both have two daughters. We both are Janet Jackson fans. We both think organized binders with dividers are gorgeous.

So, fast forward to April, when Jeni starts trying to convince me to fly to Colorado for a weekend before I get knocked up with J&S's adorable baby (The little pea will be adorable--trust me!). Although meeting Jeni in person for a girl's weekend sounded amazing, I was still a little nervous about flying and/or fiery plane crashes into the side of the Rocky Mountains. So I didn't immediately jump at the suggestion. But after twisting my arm for all of, I don't know, four or five text messages, I was online searching for plane tickets. And within a day, I was clicking "Confirm Purchase" on Southwest's website! Squealing and happy dancing ensued in Florida and Colorado, along with strange looks and head shakes from my half-asleep husband (and I imagine some confused looks from Jeni's neighbors too).

A mere 58 days later (not like we were counting).....

Here I come, Jeni! WOO HOP!!!!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

We Are Officially Cycling!

Last night I started the first of my cycle medications, the Lupron injections!

Wait, did I actually just end that sentence with an exclamation point?

I've been so excited to get these cycle meds started, I stopped being anxious about the injections a while ago. That is, until yesterday afternoon. As the day went on, and my errands and mommy chores began to wrap up, I started getting really nervous. And mean and bitchy. I was folding laundry in the bedroom (away from my family in an effort to spare them from my bitchiness), and I texted Jeni to let her know I was starting to freak out. The idea of poking a needle through my skin and injecting a medication seemed like a ridiculous concept.

Clearly, I would not make a very good drug addict.

So once Jeni was done laughing at me, she realized it was already 5:30 in the evening and started trying to convince me to just get it over with now. That made my nerves go from "My tummy has crazy butterflies" to "I'm about to puke and may also shit my pants simultaneously." Finally, I agreed it was time to just do it! I gathered all of the supplies together, and Austin and I locked ourselves in the bathroom.

Lupron, syringe, alcohol swabs, and of course,
chocolate to reward my awesomeness!

Austin sat on the edge of the tub, while I cleaned the top of the bottle with an alcohol swab. I took the cap off the syringe, and held it up to look at the tiny needle. "It's so tiny and thin, you have to really focus on it in order to even see it," I said. I glanced over at Austin, saw his face, and immediately said, "GET OUT!"

Now it was my turn to laugh. He was already looking pale and clammy, and all I'd done was take off the cap.

"I wanna be here to support you," he insisted.

"I'm way better than you are right now. Get out. GET OUT!" I laughed.

He didn't need any more insistence. He scurried out calling over his shoulder, "I'll sit right outside the door!"

Jeni called me on FaceTime (like Skype for iPhone) and I propped the phone up so she could watch. I'm so glad she did that, because I knew she couldn't sit on the phone with me forever, so I couldn't stall for several minutes (or hours). I dosed the medication into the syringe, and then I cleaned my skin with the alcohol swab, fanning it (for a looooong while) to make sure it was good and dry. With Jeni on my phone telling me how brave I was, and Austin in the hallway shouting "You can do it babe!" through the closed bathroom door (seriously, lmao), I pinched my skin on my stomach, hesitated for maybe a minute, and then....

 I DID IT!!!!

It was so easy! I didn't even feel it! Trust me, I absolutely hated it when people kept telling me you don't feel it, but I really didn't feel anything. I pushed the needle in slowly, and it just sinks right through the skin with very little effort. I was shocked at how easy it was, and super proud of myself.

Beep Beep!

(That's me tooting my own horn.)

I rewarded myself with a piece of chocolate, plus one four more for conquering a fear that almost caused me to back out of my dream of being a surrogate. I've already done my injection tonight, and I didn't even wait until Austin got home from work (because really, what good would that do?!). Everything went awesome again tonight, and I may or may not have said out loud "I totally rocked that bitch!"

I didn't get any pictures last night because I was so focused on just getting it done, so these are from tonight.

The tiny needle with the Lupron in the syringe!

And here is a picture of me, the girl who is scared of needles, 
sticking a needle into my stomach! Woot woot!

Hahahaha....Austin just walked in while this picture was up on the monitor, and he made some kind of unintelligible noise and walked right back out. I guess it's a good thing for BOTH of us I don't have to do the PIO shots!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

I just wanted to wish a very Happy Father's Day to my own sweet husband! He's been so supportive of me through this surrogacy journey, and the girls and I are so lucky to have him.

And of course, I have to send my love to J&S today, even though its not Father's Day in Sweden. :) They are great daddies to their son already and I'm so excited they chose me to help them expand their beautiful family! The only thing better than having one awesome daddy that loves you is two awesome daddies!

All you surrogates out there also deserve a little pat on the back today for helping make Father's Day a reality for so many families!

Monday, June 10, 2013

My Cycle Calendar!

I received my cycle calendar from the IVF clinic this afternoon! I am so excited to be taking this huge step, and the guys are super excited too! They were Skyping and calling their family to tell them the updates! All the dates are technically tentative, but here's what my current cycle looks like:

June 18th: Start 10 units of Lupron injections every evening.

June 24th: My birthday! Take the last active birth control pill. Call IVF clinic with the first day of my period after stopping the BCP.

June 27th: Appointment at a local monitoring IVF clinic for blood work and an ultrasound. Anxiously await results (I'm adding that to the calendar, because I already know it will happen).

June 28th or 29th: Possibly start taking Estrace three times a day. Cut Lupron back to 5 units every evening.

July 5th: Appointment at local monitoring clinic for blood work and ultrasound.

July 12th: Appointment at local monitoring clinic for blood work and ultrasound.

July 15th or 16th: This is dependent on the egg donor's stimulation, but I will most likely begin the Crinone the day before the egg donor's retrieval. Start Crinone twice a day, once in the AM and once in the PM. Remain on the Estrace three times a day. Discontinue Lupron injections.

July 20th: Final blood work and ultrasound at our actual IVF clinic in Stamford, Connecticut.

July 20th, 21st, or 22nd: TRANSFER OF ONE FRESH EMBRYO!!! I will be on bed rest the day of the transfer and for one full day after.

One week after the transfer: I will have blood work done to check my estrogen and progesterone levels.

Two weeks after the transfer: I will have blood work done to check my beta levels and see if I am pregnant!

Somewhere before the beta test, I should probably add
"Try to resist the urge to pee on a stick 57 times."

I love that J said he got two sentences in to this calendar, and got completely lost. I've been reading about other surrogate's journeys for so long now, I think I had my cycle calendar memorized before I even saw it. :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

My Meds Arrived!!!

I never thought I would be so excited to see a big box on my doorstep (which was clearly labeled "leave in carport"--super job, FedEx guy), knowing that the box contains a bunch of sharp needles and vaginal suppositories! Receiving the box of medications is a huge step in the surrogacy process, and it means we are one step closer to creating a family for J&S!

Of course, I had to take everything out of the box to see it all...

There are 5 boxes of Crinone (progesterone suppositories), one bottle of Estrace (oral estrogen), one vial of Lupron for sub-cutaneous injections, 28 syringes with tiny needles (but plenty big enough for me), alcohol swabs, and a sharps container for discarding syringes. I'm not starting the meds just yet, since we are waiting on the egg donor to start her cycle. Based on estimates right now, it look like I may start the Lupron injections around June 17th, then the Estrace on June 28th. I'll start the Crinone just a couple of days before the embryo transfer, which looks like it will take place the week of July 15th! I have been told to stay on active birth control pills from now on! We are all so excited!

If you're wondering, here is a little about what each of these medications does in the surrogacy process:

Birth Control Pills (BCP): BCPs keep me from getting pregnant with my own child right now (obviously), but they are also used to synchronize my cycle with the egg donor's. Because I've now been told to stay only on active pills, I will immediately start a new pack once I reach the placebo pills. This will hold off my period, allowing me to then sync my cycle with the ED.

Lupron:  Lupron is a daily subcutaneous (just under the skin) injection used to shut down my body's normal hormone production so the doctors can control my cycle and be sure my uterus is ready to receive the embryos at the exact time for the best chance of success.

Estrace: Estrace is an oral estrogen pill (can also be a patch, cream, or injections) taken 3 times a day. It is used to cause the lining of my uterus to become thick to prepare for the upcoming implantation of the embryo. The little emby needs a soft, fluffy place to nestle in!

Crinone: Crinone is a progesterone gel, inserted vaginally (I feel the need to clarify, for my husband's sake. If you missed that post, it's right here) twice a day. Progesterone is used to help the embryo to implant, and then continued to simulate a natural pregnancy. It is usually started the day of the egg donor's retrieval, and is continued through the 12th week of pregnancy. Often, surrogates use progesterone in oil (PIO), which is injected intra-muscularly in your butt. With a needle that absolutely terrified me and almost caused me to back out of the surrogacy process in the very beginning. But I decided I wanted to do this more than I was scared of the needles, so I put on my big girl panties and decided to just deal with it. Turns out my IVF clinic tends to use the gel as opposed to the injections. :)

Sources: Information on Surrogacy, Surrogate Mothers Online, Love Makes a Family

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Milestone - 5,000 views!

I started this surrogacy blog on March 12, 2013.  

In less than 90 days, my lil' old blog has been viewed 5,137 times!

My blog has had visitors from the United States, Russia, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, South Korea, Norway, Indonesia, Poland, Italy, France, Ireland, India, and the United Arab Emirates.  

That is inconceivable to me. I know that there are probably blogs out there that get 5,000 views in an hour, or maybe even five minutes. But this has definitely exceeded my expectations. I didn't expect much from my blog...I was just looking for some place to write about my journey and to be able to share information with my IP's and our families. I'm glad it's doing so well. :)

My blog wouldn't exist without the inspiration of my fellow surrogate bloggers. In the weeks before my blog's debut, I stayed up until all hours of the night reading other surrogacy blogs. I started at the very beginning, sometimes blog entries from years ago, so that I could read about the surrogate's journey from start to finish. I was looking for any information about surrogacy I could find, and I figured reading real stories from real women was the best place to get the information I was looking for!

The first blog I came across was Kelli's, called I'm not the Mom, I'm just the Stork! Kelli (and her uterus) has been through 3 surrogacy journeys, and while reading about her second one, I realized she happened to be the surrogate for my favorite celebrity couple, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka (love them!). Then I started reading Jesse's blog, An International Surrogacy Journey. Reading Jesse's blog, I discovered that she was also a Circle surrogate, and had become good friends with Jeni. Jeni was the first person I spoke to at Circle, and she and I had also connected and become friends. I was also reading her blog, Love Makes a Family. Seeing all of these now "familiar" women commenting on each other's blogs, I realized how small the surrogacy community can really be. It's a pretty awesome group of women, and the blogs are a wonderful way for a first timer like me to learn what's ahead!

We're only at the beginning steps of this journey, but I've already made some lifelong friendships! And that will always mean more than the number of pageviews. :)