Shots… shots… shots… shots…. shots… shots!

No… not the fun kind.  Again, I haven’t had a drink since July 9th.  Sooo so so sad!  But it will be totally worth it in the end, I’m sure of it.

After my lining check on the 25th I was instructed to continue all the same stuff (Estrace 3 times a day, vit. D, DHA, Aspirin, prenatal vit.) but to add in the nightly progesterone shot.  I swear that I am not a pansy and shots have never bothered me, but this, for some reason, was freaking me out.  Perhaps it is because my husband (ie. not a professional) would be the one giving it to me.

A few things those of you going through IVF (as a surrogate or for yourself) should know:
1) apparently PIO or progesterone in oil is not the only option.  They make it in a more watery option… talk to your clinic.
2) you can ask for a smaller needle.  The one they originally showed my husband and I was fucking HUGE.  Like- 7 inches and a centimeter thick (okay, not really, but it was really big).  When the lady saw my face, she assessed my size (I weight 150) and decided that we could have the smaller gage needle.  Thank heavens.
3) it really isn’t as bad as some of the blogs I read made it out to be.

So… first shot… here… we… go…

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Here’s the needle!
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Jesse looking far too happy about sticking me…
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Our neighbor is a nurse and gave Jesse a crash course.
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They practiced on an orange.
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I didn’t even feel the stick! So much hype for nothing!
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Cycle Start!

June 28th, after the official “cooling off period” that follows the signing of the contract, we FINALLY were contacted by the IVF clinic in CA with a calendar of medication protocols and a transfer date of August 1st- give or take.

So, some back tracking— As soon as we were medically cleared I was put on birth control and instructed to stay on active pills only.  So from April- June I was on a low estrogen pill and every time, right around my normal start date, I would experience breakthrough bleeding.  The clinic kept saying “it is normal” but I was worried.  It wasn’t just spotting- I was essentially on my period (just rather light).  I also worried that things wouldn’t line up for the start of the transfer cycle.

But starting June 28th I started adding a DHA supplement (omega 3 for brain development), baby aspirin, and continued taking the active birth control, my vitamin D supplement, and prenatal vitamins. It’s a handful of pills but that has never bothered me.

On July 5th this package arrived and frankly freaked me out. I knew to expect it, but, like many surrogates have said, this was the moment it felt most real!medications

My cycle calendar and protocol looked like this:

  • July 9th: last birth control pill, continue prenatal, vit. D, DHA, and Aspirin. This was also the last night I am allowed to drink. You can bet your ass that last drink was savored to the VERY LAST DROP!
  • July 10th- baseline ultrasound (my lining was at a 7.25 and I was told this was normal for having been on birth control for so long) I am to continue prenatal, vit. D, DHA, and Aspirin.
  • July 11th-13th- continue prenatal, vit. D, DHA, and Aspirin.  My period started on the 11th and was very light.
  • July 14th-25th- I started taking estrogen 3 x daily and continue prenatal, vit. D, DHA, and Aspirin.
  • July 25th I went in for a blood draw and lining check.  My lining was at an 8.75 and according to the doctor at the satellite clinic here in TX that was “perfect” and “if I were your doctor, you’d be starting progesterone shots so that we could transfer in 6 days.”  I, of course, had to wait to hear that from the CA clinic, but it was a relief to hear.  I was nervous that my uterus wouldn’t cooperate

My calendar only went up to that date so I wasn’t sure what was next!  I anxiously waited all day to hear from someone about the next steps!  Around 5 pm I got the call and the new calendar for continuing medications…

Oh, and the embryo transfer is scheduled for Monday, July 30th, at 11:45!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Holy cow… It’s here!  I don’t even know how to describe the feeling.  I’m a bit freaked out but also just excited!!!!  I can’t believe this is finally happening.ms-uAf2sh

But first… the shots.  eeek…….

Progress… or is it?

We were now able to (illegally) communicate with the IP’s!  Yay!  We had cleared all the major hurdles and were now just waiting for the contract phase.  I, stupidly, thought that this would happen fairly quickly once we were medically cleared.

When I finished my application to become a surrogate at the end of January 2017 I was very sure that I would be working towards growing another couples family before the end of the school year.  Yes, I know that online research says it will take longer.  Yes, I read ALL the things about surrogacy and timing and the steps before I signed up.  Yes, I know that thinking that was crazy.  But, in my defense, the CEO of the agency said that the longest part was getting matched and we were matched less than a week after my basic background check cleared!  Also in my defense, the surrogate that I met with said her process sign up to transfer was 3 months.  Even my case manager led me to believe that things would be moving quickly and that I needed to be prompt in responding to emails and completing required tasks.  So, when school wrapped up and I wasn’t with child… I was bummed and frustrated.

We were halfway through June before were were contacted by our lawyer ready to go over the legal contract (50+ pages- woah!).   Needless to say, my husband and I put everything on pause and immediately read the contract (separately and took notes on questions we had so we could compare later).  We both had questions about a few items, but it was pretty straight forward and made sense.  About four days after we received it to look over, we were able to get on the phone with the lawyer who walked us through step by step (this will be a separate post).  We only had ONE thing we wanted to add: since I have never given birth in a hospital, we requested that my midwife be able to act as doula during the labor.

The lawyer added that in and sent it back to the IP’s lawyer for approval.  About a week later, we were ready to sign.  Finally!!!!  The last hurdle!

Bring on the embryo!  I was super excited and thought surely we’d be transferring so so so soon.  umm… not how that works.  Silly me.

I immediately emailed the clinic in CA (where the IP”s embryo’s are stored) all excited about getting my meds going and moving things forward only to be given this exasperating piece of info. In Texas (and probably other states as well), the medical stuff can’t start for two weeks once contracts are in place and the medical process is 6-8 weeks before the transfer.  Ugh… more friggin’ waiting.  Grrrrr………

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Hey, I just met you. And this is crazy. But… here’s my number. Call me, maybe?!

May 2017- I can’t recall the exact date and I am far too lazy to go seek that information out (I blame it on the Texas heat and the chasing of two babies ALL day and the swimming and cleaning and meal making and the deck building and the lesson planning- Ah, summer at its finest).  BUT, the point is that the meeting with the IF was amazing.

I mentioned before that it was rather hectic trying to get organized (date, time, location, etc.) using a 3rd party, but we made it work.

We were going to the hotel that the IF was staying in.  He was between trips and made sure to have an evening in TX just to meet with us.  The restaurant was FANCY- like, scraping crumbs from the table between courses fancy.  I was happy Jesse and I decided on a last minute wardrobe change as I would have felt severely under dressed if I hadn’t worn the business attire I decided on.

Anyway, after searching for a parking spot and making our way through the zombies and walking dead clientele that had taken over the hotel (there was a huge convention in town) we made our way up to the Mai’tre D who officially introduced us to IF who was already waiting at the table (So so so Fancy).

The dialogue started immediately; there was no time for uncomfortable silences, which I feared would pervade the evening. He asked questions that naturally got the conversation flowing and it stayed that way for four hours.  Considering he had to fly to the east coast for a college reunion and my husband and I both had to work- we were exhausted when we finally made it home around 11:30.

My take away: this man is probably one of the most brilliant people I have ever talked to. Not in the, “he’s so smart but can’t converse with the peons” type person, he’s very approachable and charismatic.  I teach English and this man has read all the stuff I teach in addition to many of the books I love (all the way down to Harry Potter!) in addition to his knowledge of cellular biology and, of course, business and technology.  He knows everything about everything- I really am not exaggerating that much at all.  I was stunned.

We got to Facetime with his wife, IM (intended mother), for a short time as well.  It was nice to see her again and I absolutely LOVED hearing their back story- how they met and fell in love which, eventually, led into the troubles they had conceiving.  Then, the heartbreaking loss.  It took quite a bit not to cry at the table.

Towards the end of the evening, we discussed sharing our contact information even though it was against the agency’s policy.  We all decided to keep it our little secret and the conversation has continued ever since.  I love getting pictures of their little boy (they used a surrogate before) and hearing about his developments as well as getting to kow IF and IM better.

Before we left, IF gave us two gifts, one for Tucker and one for Sage.  It was so very thoughtful of them to do that and while Tucker and Sage will not meet them for a very long time, IF and IM have already made a pretty awesome impression on them.

We ended the evening with a hug goodbye and, at least for me, a certainty that I am doing the right thing for the right people.  I am so excited for ALL that is to come.