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!
Last night was my first Delestrogen injection, and pardon my Français, 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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
I am a stay at home mommy to two beautiful little girls, and I've been married to my high school sweetheart since 2002. This blog is a place for my IP's, family, and friends to follow along during my first journey as a gestational surrogate. Ask me anything! Send me an email at email@example.com.
February 2013 - Applied and accepted by surrogacy agency.
March 2013 - Medical records, create my surrogate profile, clearance from my OB.
April 2013 - Social worker screening, official acceptance letter from agency, received IP profile, completed MMPI, matched with international IF's, J&S!
May 2013 - Medical screening in Connecticut, signed final contract.
June 2013 - Started Lupron injections and Estradiol pills
July 2013 - Transfer canceled due to my thin uterine lining. :(
August 2013 - J&S have decided to find a new surrogate. Released by agency and RE. But I'm not giving up!
September 2013 - Accepted by a new agency, approved by a new RE, and matched with domestic IF's, B&J!
October 2013 - Mock cycle with Delestrogen injections--this HAS to work!
November 2013 - Mock cycle was not successful. No longer matched with B&J. Released by agency and RE.