June 12, 2011

Beta not looking great

Our first beta draw was on Monday, June 6th.  I was so nervous and went into the lab very early to get it over with.  By 9am I decided to call to check the results....

131!!!  This is a nice strong number for 10dp5dt (10 days past 5 day transfer), however the important number is the second beta.  In a healthy pregnancy the beta should double every 48-72 hours. 

So Wednesday morning came and I went in almost exactly 48 hours later.  I called around 8:30am to get the results:  205.  Not wonderful.  This made the doubling time right around that 72 hour mark.  It's not terrible, but we would have liked it higher.  Our RE didn't seem to concerned but I requested another beta for Friday.  We were really hoping for a number close to 400 this time. 

Friday morning I went, had the draw and went home.  Called again around 9 and the results were very discouraging.  267.  :( 

We are trying to remain optimistic but also realistic.  Statistically speaking, it doesn't look good.  But stranger things have happened and I refuse to give up on this bean.  I'm hoping he/she is just a slow grower.

I'm going in again tomorrow for a 4th beta.  It will have been 3 days since the previous draw so I think we would probably want to see a number closer to 600 but that's just my Dr. Google educated guess.

I'm not a very religious person.  I am still trying to figure out what I believe in, but any and all thoughts and prayers are more than appreciated!!!  We're prepared for the worst but hopeful for a miracle.

We're pregnant!

I've been so hesitant to update as I'm just a nervous wreck this time!

We did a frozen embryo transfer (FET) on May 27th.  My IF's had frozen embryos left from the last transfer in November.  We transferred one of each IF's embryos on Friday.  I felt nauseous Saturday morning.  I know everyone says it's impossible to feel pregnancy symptoms so soon after and physiologically speaking, they're right.  However, with both transfer's I felt nauseous the day after the transfer.  I don't think it's necessarily pregnancy symptoms but related to the transfer/implantation, etc.  So when I felt nauseous Saturday morning I had a GREAT feeling about this transfer!  I just knew it was going to be perfect.

Fast forward to Tuesday, June 1st.  I, being a POASaholic, tested everyday from 5dpt (5 days past transfer) and got a very, very faint line the first day.  I was ecstatic and wanted to tell my IF's immediately but I wanted to be sure so I waited until I got a positive result on a digital test.  On Thursday I tested with a digital and it didn't take long for to it show up: "Pregnant".  I was soooooooo happy!  My IF's first wedding anniversary was that weekend so I thought "what a wonderful 1st anniversary gift!"  I took a picture of the test and did a little bit of graphic design to it.  I had it printed and put it in a 5x7 frame.  I shipped it out that day and had paid extra to have it guaranteed to be there by Friday at noon.  My IF's and I had planned to skype on Friday night and have me tell them the results.  They got the packaged and opened it just moments before we skyped.  They were both overcome with joy and so happy to be expecting again. 

I've never felt so proud of my body. 

May 16, 2011

Why I blog

I have always loved writing.  I enjoy putting my fingers on the keys and just seeing what pops up.  I don't pre-think of things to say.  I usually just start typing and see what comes out.

When I started this journey I wanted to have a way to go back through and re-live it.  Pictures are a great way to remember important events in our lives, but with this journey pictures aren't exactly going to work. (not yet anyways).  So I wanted a sort of outlet to express myself freely and without filter.  In the beginning I was nervous about sharing too much.  I didn't really tell anyone about my blog (few people in-real-life know about it, still) because I wanted it to be my outlet.  I didn't share it with my IP's because I wanted to have a place to vent any and all frustrations without making them feel bad.  I didn't want to worry about filtering my words.  As surrogates, we go through things that are can be difficult, physically and emotionally.  And I think it's important to be able to share those feelings without fear of judgment.

After the miscarriage (or during, rather) I wanted my IP's to "see" my side.  When I was in the hospital, there was nothing they could do but sit at their home and "wait" with me for it to be over.  I know it killed them to not be here for me, but I know they care for me and thought of me for hours and days.  I wanted to give them my perspective on the journey at the time so I shared my blog with them.  I think it was the right thing to do and I think they appreciated my willingness to open up with them.

I was worried about continuing to blog.  I still have a bit of fear about "saying" the wrong thing and having someone take it a different way than which it was intended.  BUT, my desire to share outweighs that small fear.  I'm learning that this journey is not my journey alone.  I have amazing IP's who are the REASON I'm on it.  And I want them to be as involved in my side of the journey as they can.  I'm sure it's not easy to hear that your surrogate hates her injections, is nervous about another loss, is constantly puking, or the many other "ailments" that come along with cycling and pregnancy.  However, it is still THEIR journey and they deserve to be there for as much of it as they want to be.  (R & C--This is not an invitation for you to come live with me! though I'm sure the boys wouldn't mind having you around, haha!) 

So all of this to basically say that I do plan to share more on this blog.  Stay tuned!

April 5, 2011

I have a secret....

.....and I can't really tell anyone.  Well, I can, but don't really WANT to tell anyone in real life yet.  But I just wanted to say here that my journey might not be over yet!  Please, if you know me "in real life", don't say anything about what I'm about to write.  It's a very sensitive situation for me so please know that I'm not ready to discuss it with anyone who knows me.  Not just yet.

I've grown very close to my IP's, more so since the miscarriage.  This is a journey we started together so it is very hard to have it come to a halt.  I thought I was done.  And my husband was definitely done.  After a lot of discussion we decided to tell R and C that we would not be continuing the journey.  It was so hard for me.  I just love them so much and I want this for them more than anything in the world.  And I was sad that it wouldn't be me that was carrying their child.  The thought of someone else as their surrogate made me a little sick to my stomach, to be honest.  Not that I don't think anyone else would be able to, but I've created such a wonderful relationship with them that it feels very incomplete to just stop here.  I know that if we do another journey, I will feel great about it.  I'm optimistic about the future for us (them, really). 

So after more consideration, hours of talking, weighing pros and cons, etc, Josh and I decided to give it one more try.  R and C were so thrilled with this.  It will be a frozen transfer instead of fresh so the med cycle is a bit less extensive so that should be good.  The other nice thing about a frozen transfer is that we can pick an exact date to do the transfer.  We are looking at a transfer date toward the end of May.  I've not shared this with anyone yet (besides my husband, my mom, and my oh-so-supportive internet ladies, and obviously the IP's and our coordinator!)  Okay, so when you put it like that, a lot of people know.  But I am not willing to talk about it yet.  So, if you read this and try to approach me about it, I will probably brush you off.  Please don't be offended.  I am just not ready to discuss it with very many people.  I'm in a very vulnerable state and will be cautious about announcing anything for a long time.  Please respect this.

Lastly, to all of you who support me, thank you so much!!!  I could not do this without the endless support from my friends and family.  I love you all more than you could know.

And remember......Sshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

February 24, 2011

Misoprostol to induce miscarriage

**REMINDER**  It's not pretty.  It's rather graphic and I don't hold anything back.**

There is not a lot of information out there about inductions of miscarriage in the second trimester.  I wanted to put some information out there about MY experience with misoprostol (generic for Cytotec).  Obviously every person's experience is different, but I wanted to share what happened for me when taking this drug to induce labor for a miscarriage.

I was exactly 16 weeks when I went in to be induced.  I found out just 2 days prior that the baby I was carrying didn't have a heartbeat.  My Dr. suggested we induce with with a medication called misoprostol.  It's a pill that they insert vaginally that is meant to thin the cervix.  A plus to this is that it also causes contractions.

***FYI- Misoprostol (cytotec) is NOT approved by the FDA to be used on pregnant women.  My Dr. made me very aware of this but assured me that it is the drug of choice to induce miscarriage and the risks of other procedures outweighed the risks TO ME of cytotec.  For the record, I am very much AGAINST the use of cytotec to induce labor in full term pregnancies for healthy, living babies.  It can be dangerous to the mother and baby and there are other, more natural alternatives that can be used before trying such a strong drug.***

I arrived at Labor and Delivery (yes, I was in the same place as mothers in labor and those who had just given birth to their babies) at 3am.  I was told to come in very early so that I could be home by that evening.  My Dr. assured me it shouldn't take more than 2 doses.  The first dose was inserted at 4am.  I had a bit of cramping about an hour later but nothing bad.  About 4 hours later or so, I started spotting.  Again, nothing bad.  Just a little bit.  4pm rolled around and nothing had changed.  My cervix was still closed and long.  So they inserted another dose.  (The protocol stated that they could do 200mg every 12 hours until "labor" started.)  This dose gave some more cramping but again, nothing to write home about.  I had amazing nurses who checked on me often.  Josh was there with my for most of the day but since our boys had spent the prior night at grandma's as well as the entire day, we didn't want them to stay there another night.  We both felt better about Josh going home that night to be with the boys. 

I was able to get some sleep that night but not much.  I was too "worried" and anticipating something happening.  But nothing did.  At 4am, I was given ANOTHER dose of 200mg.  At this point I was frustrated that nothing was happening.  There was a definite rhythm.  For approximately 3 hours following each dose, I would have consistent contractions that were about 8-10 minutes apart; however after those 3 hours were up, everything stopped and I felt normal again.  Clearly my body was not ready to give up on this pregnancy.  By 9am I was so discouraged and in tears.  I was done.  I didn't want to do this anymore and I just wanted this part to be over.  I begged my Dr. to just do a D&C (dilation and curettage).  This is a surgery that is performed, usually with first trimester miscarriages, that physically opens the cervix and scrapes the "contents" (I HATE that word!!  It's a baby!!!!) from the uterus.  I'm not sure, but I believe it's about an hour procedure.  Even through all of my tears, I was told that it would be a much riskier procedure in the 2nd trimester as it could cause trauma and damage to my cervix and uterus.  But that wasn't all.  Not only was it a riskier procedure, but there were NO obstetrician's at our hospital that were skilled enough to perform a 2nd trimester D&C.  So if that was the choice I made, I would need to be transferred to another hospital (the closest is 30 minutes away).  I was very frustrated about this my my Dr. said that after he did some more research and talked with another OB, they thought it would be more effective to double the dose of misoprostol and give it every 6 hours instead of every 12.  Obviously I agreed to this as I didn't really feel like I had any other options.  So at 10am they inserted 4 pills (400mg).  This dose definitely caused some discomfort and contractions, but again, they didn't last.  After about 5 hours, they died down and stopped.  So again, at 4pm, another dose was inserted.  This was the dose that finally worked.  I instantly felt consistent contractions.  What my nurses and Dr. did NOT tell me, was that I would bleed.  A LOT!  I figured I would bleed some, but holy hell!  I felt like I lost half of my blood supply.  Everytime I moved, coughed, sneezed, I felt gushes just flowing out of me!  That's the weirdest, grossest feeling in the world.  I really wanted just sit on the toilet the entire time but the nurse wanted to "see" how much I was bleeding to make sure it wasn't too much.  So I just got to sit in bed.  And bleed.  FUN!

At about 6:30 the contractions were really strong and painful.  Mind you, I have given birth TWICE to full term babies with ZERO pain medication.  This time, I really didn't care and I wanted some relief.  My Dr. had fentanyl on order if I needed it.  So at about 8, I asked the nurse for some pain relief.  She gave me the fentanyl and 'my-oh-my' it was lovely.  I wanted to bottle that stuff and take it home with me!  By about 8:30 it had worn off and I could feel everything again.  I continued to bleed and I could feel some pains and pressure in my cervix.  The nurse checked me and said I was definitely dilated and could feel the bag of waters bulging.  At 8:45 my water broke.  I was still bleeding a lot.  At 9:05 the baby was delivered.  I didn't have to push, he was so small that he just came out.

My Dr. showed up about 2 minutes after he was out.  They looked him over (and I looked for a bit) and told me he was a boy (my IP's really wanted to know the sex so I was happy they could tell).  And then they worked on getting the placenta out.  This was a challenge.  My nurse was pushing my my belly to try to get my uterus to contract.  After about 45 minutes nothing was coming out of me except gushes of blood.  I was feeling pretty dizzy and weak.  They hooked me up to pitocin and iv fluids to try to get my uterus to contract enough to expel the placenta.  After nothing was happening my Dr. was concerned so he decided to take action.  He literally shoved his hand up me and got my placenta.  HOLY SHIT!  That was probably one of the most painful things I've ever felt in my life.  After 3 or 4 "sweeps" he was pretty sure he got all of it.  (Since it was early, my placenta didn't want to detach and come out so it came out in pieces.)  After everything was out, I was still bleeding a lot.  The Dr and Nurse were discussing how much blood I had lost.  They estimated that I lost about 900 cc's of blood.  Honestly, I didn't know what that meant.  Good?  Bad?  Normal?  They seemed somewhat concerned but not a lot.  I was originally told that I would be able to leave 3 hours after delivery, however my Dr. said I needed to stay the night and be monitored since I had lost so much blood.  I reluctantly consented. 

At midnight I really had to pee.  I was told by my nurse to let her know if I needed to get up to use the restroom because they would help me.  (I still had the pitocin drip so I was attached to an IV pole).  I called a nurse in to help me to the bathroom.  She came in and helped and then waited outside the door while I peed.  Afterward I passed an ENORMOUS blood clot.  It was about the size of a softball, I think.  I stood up and instantly felt faint.  I went to wash my hands and couldn't stand up so I quickly opened the door and told the nurse.  The next thing I remember I was laying in my bed with an oxygen mask on and 4 nurses around me checking my vital signs.  It didn't take long for me to come to and my vitals were pretty normal.  BP was low but my pulse was normal.  They said between the blood loss, me not eating for 2 days (I think I had a bagel and cream cheese that day, but that's all), and not drinking much water or any juice, my body had just had enough.  I spent the next hour chugging some orange juice and eating graham crackers.  I was able to get some good sleep that night and was home by 10am the next morning.

This was not experience that I enjoyed (I think that's obvious) and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  It was truly heart-wrenching and physically painful as well as exhausting.  My hope is that reading this will give other women who might have endured something similar comfort in knowing you aren't alone.  While my situation was somewhat different since I was a surrogate, the physical experience might have been the same.  Big love and hugs to any woman who has had to experience anything like this.  My heart goes out to you all.

February 21, 2011


 10-25% of all recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage.  That number is actually low.  Many miscarriages occur before a woman even knows she is pregnant which would bring that number to more than 30%. 
It is a heartbreaking reality that happens all too often.  So why is it not talked about?  Why do we not acknowledge the very real existence of pregnancy loss?  It’s taboo to talk openly about miscarriage.  It makes people uncomfortable; especially those who have never experienced it.  But the reality is, NOT talking about it makes the women who HAVE experienced miscarriage feel ashamed and embarrassed.  As if they did something wrong.  NOT talking about it makes us diminish the life growing inside of us.  Life and death are realities that we all encounter throughout our existence.  Miscarriage happens to be about both life and death as well.  And it doesn’t just happen to women.  Yes, physically.  But emotionally, it happens to men too.

On February 11th, 2011, at 16 weeks pregnant, I delivered my surrogate baby.  A sleeping baby boy.  It was not something I or his parents ever thought would happen so early.  As someone who has just been through this devastating reality, I urge you to reach out to those who have been through a miscarriage.  Offer an ear to listen, a hand to hold or a shoulder to cry on.  It takes time to heal, but eventually, we will want to talk about it.

When I was in the hospital there was a card on my door with a leaf cradling a teardrop.  It signifies loss and suffering.  I recently found a poem that explains its meaning and I want to share it:

A growing leaf, green in color, has fallen prematurely. It has separated from the tree of life and landed in a pool of water, of many tears. It is a dark moment. A human tear lingers on the freshly fallen leaf... before it turns brown.
Drifting aimlessly
on a sea of grief and pain
the leaf cradles a teardrop.
Offers refuge.
Embodies hope.
Just as winter awakens to spring,
our deepest sorrow harbors the seed of hope renewed.
Hope renewed.

by Susan Ring.

"Why are YOU sad?"

For some reason I feel guilty about being sad.  Like I'm not allowed to be sad because I was "just a surrogate".  I find myself crying at the drop of a hat and then turn around and tell myself that it's not okay to be so sad about the loss.  It wasn't my loss, after all.  It was R and C's loss.  I keep hearing that it's normal and totally okay to be sad, but there is little support/people out there who have been in my exact situation.  I feel like if I try to "relate" to someone else who has had a miscarriage, they are thinking that I have no idea what they are going through.  And maybe I don't.  I've always been sure that it would be a million times harder if I had lost my own baby, but that doesn't mean it's not still hard, right?

It is so hard to explain to my friends and family why I feel so empty.  In a matter of hours, my body went from pregnant, to un-pregnant, and I can't imagine my hormones knew how to deal with that.  So for now, I keep chalking it up to hormones.  And while I believe in my heart that I'm truly sad about the loss, their loss, my loss, whatever you call it, I'll continue to blame in on hormones for those who just can't seem to understand my heartache.

February 13, 2011

More to come

I just wanted to update to say that I plan to continue to write about my experience.  The last few days have been a whirlwind of events and I truly believe they are too fresh to write about yet.  I need some time to process everything that has happened, but I will be back.  I have a lot to say and a big audience to address it to.

February 8, 2011

My journey has come to an end

This is not the type of update I wanted to make today.  It's all very surreal.

I went in for my regular 16 week prenatal visit today and came out a completely different person.  After 15 minutes of the Dr. using the doppler to find a heartbeat, he was puzzled as to why we couldn't hear anything.  He sent me to another OB's office (just one floor up) to use the ultrasound to find the heartbeat.  He started the ultrasound and I knew right away.  I could clearly see that the heart wasn't beating and there was no fetal movement.  I am beyond devastated but not for myself; for R and C.  They wanted this baby so much and they DESERVED this baby.  It is so hard to deliver such sad news to such wonderful parents.  And they are parents.  They had a child.  They lost a child.  It may be "just a miscarriage" to some, but it's a loss.  I truly cannot even begin to imagine the heartache they are experiencing.

I am so happy to have had the pleasure of meeting such wonderful people and building such a strong friendship with them.  I don't know what lies ahead for all of us.  To be completely honest, I don't know if I can do this again.  I want sooo much for these guys to be daddies; more than anything in the world.  But I HAVE to think about myself here, too.  And this was a really tough journey for me.  With the bleeding and loss at 6 weeks, and now, just 10 weeks later, another loss.  My mind and heart are definitely not in sync.  Obviously it will take some time to heal, physically and emotionally, and perhaps after a little time, I'll know whether or not I want to do another journey.  And whether or not THEY want to do another journey with me.  I know they want to be parents.  It's their dream.  And they will be AMAZING parents one day.  But I don't know if I'm the right person to make that dream come true for them.  I'm doubting myself and my abilities to carry another baby for them.  It will take some time and a lot of thinking, so I don't want to count myself totally out.  But it's something we'll need to discuss at a later date.  And if I do decide to do it again, I would like to wait at LEAST 6 months.  I'm not sure they'll want to wait that long and honestly, I wouldn't blame them.  I am and will be completely happy with whatever they decide, but for me, I need time. 

February 3, 2011

15 weeks!!

Well, I'm officially 15 weeks!  I feel like this pregnancy is going by so fast compared to my past pregnancies.  I'm finally feeling good; great actually!  I've had a few braxton hicks contractions but nothing alarming.  Each week I send a new picture of my belly to R and C.  They really enjoy seeing the bump grow and knowing it's their little baby inside getting bigger and bigger.  I haven't felt any movement but I'm not surprised as I didn't feel anything with the boys until after 18 weeks.  I also have an anterior placenta this time and with the boys it was posterior.  Apparently the anterior placenta makes it so you don't feel movement as much or as distinctly.  Just a waiting game now :)

January 5, 2011

I miss my mom

So, I live in the same town I have lived in for my entire life.  I love it here and I don't ever plan on leaving.  My parents on the other hand, well they moved out of the cold midwest to sunny Arizona a little over 2 years ago.  To be completely honest, I fully expected this to be no problem.  I love my parents, but my mom and I definitely butted heads on more than one occasion and many topics related to parenting, etc.  There was a time after my first son was born that she was so upset with me, she didn't speak to me for over a month!!  We eventually talked and realized that we had very different views on many different things.  We agreed to disagree.

So when we later learned they would be moving to be closer to my grandparents in Arizona,  I wasn't surprised, but I was sad.  I knew I would miss her but I also knew this distance would be good for us.  Well, if it was meant to completely tear out my heart, I'd call it a job well done.  I've never missed anyone as much as I miss my mom.  I don't know if it's the pregnancy hormones, but I do know that my heart really hurts knowing I only get to see her and my dad once a year at the MOST.  It's been hard.  It's hard telling the boys about grandma and grandpa in Arizona when the only grandparents they really know live just down the street from us (Josh's parents).  They don't understand and it makes me really sad. 

My mom is probably the most supportive about this surrogacy.  When I first told her, she was THRILLED!  It's just not the same reaction I got from other family member's when I shared the news.  My grandmother thought I would be giving away my own baby (she didn't understand the difference between gestational and traditional surrogacy) and my grandfather was okay with it until he found out it was for a gay couple.  Then all of the sudden it wasn't right.  But my mom.  She's been SOO supportive 100% of the time.  And I love her for that. 

Well I decided that I cannot wait longer to see my parents, so we are taking the boys and flying out in February!  We are staying with them for 1 week and it's been a long time coming.  I'm ready for warm weather, fresh produce, and most importantly, time with the people who are my life.

11 weeks!

Well we've made it to 11 weeks and I am finally starting to feel like a normal person again.  I had some pretty crazy morning (all day) sickness for awhile there and there were days when I really didn't want to even get out of bed.  I never had many symptoms with my own pregnancies so this has thrown me for a loop.  I was starting to get used to puking multiple times a day.  Not that I liked it (I actually LOATHE throwing up) but the more I did it, the easier it became.  Almost like second nature.  Yuck.  I was a pretty terrible house wife and mom for a few weeks there.  My kids were helping themselves to food (they're 3 and 1) and watching Sesame Street while I lay on the couch all day long.  I felt really horrible about this of course.  My poor husband would get up with our kids at 5:30am (they're early risers), get them dressed, fed, etc. and then off to work he'd go.  He'd come home, make dinner, clean the house and give the boys baths and get them ready for bed.  I was useless.  I could tell he was getting frustrated but he never said a word about it. 

I love that man.

But things have started to get better.  I stopped my meds last Thursday and since Friday, I haven't puked!!  It's like a record!  I am starting to actually cook meals again and my house doesn't look like the toy and dust bunny fairies threw up all over.

I can only hope that the rest of the pregnancy goes more smoothly!