U/S Update! 8 weeks 2 days!

Baby is doing just great!  I got the IP’s on the phone and they got to hear all the stuff the doctor said as well as see the little one on the screen.  TECHNOLOGY IS JUST SO COOL!

Baby is measuring right on schedule, 8w2d.  Heart rate the first go round was 187 and the second time was 174.  The doctor showed us the arm buds, the head, and the bottom.  It’s such a miraculous thing! He told the parents that the heart was “very robust” and that there is “absolutely nothing to worry about as of right now.”  Yay!

PS- I was freaking nervous.  I can’t explain it.  My heart was racing the whole time in the waiting room and I couldn’t keep my foot still- the nervous energy needed out!  But, as soon as the doc came in and got things situated, he said, YEP… there it is!  I was able to take a deep breath.  Whew.  Hopefully I will get a call from the CA Clinic today that releases me to my OB/midwife team. fingers crossed!

 

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Filling in the Past Two Weeks

I am a high school English teacher.  This year I am teaching seniors AP Literature and Composition.  That second word there… lord help me.  They write.  All. The. Time.  They have to.  It’s part of the class title.  PLUS, they need all the friggin’ practice they can get.

Some of you may not realize this, but most teachers who have a full work load teach any where from 5-7 classes with 25-30 kids in each one.  I have 6 classes.  Which means that I have 175 students.  That means, that on essay day, I have 175 essays to grade.  Early on in the year, I spend about 5 minutes per essay.  I don’t do math, but my handy dandy calculator tells me that is approximately 14 and a half hours of grading for ONE essay.  Call me a glutton for punishment, but I make my students write at least 2 analysis papers (these are completed in class and are graded like a rough draft) and then one polished paper where they get to spend time on them and edit them (even though many of them choose not to *eyeroll*) every 6 weeks.  Again, I am no mathematician, but that’s 525 papers to grade IN ADDITION to all the practice stuff we do in class or the other assignments I dole out.  That’s about 44 hours of grading EVERY SIX WEEKS.

Man- I think I was better off not know that.  Yuck. 

So- the last couple of weeks that’s what I spend my free time (if it can really be called that) doing.  And, as mentioned in a previous post, I don’t really have all that much free time to begin with.  I have to use my planning period and often my lunch in addition to the time at home carefully to get these damn things graded, with feedback, and handed back to the kids in a timely fashion.  I also try desperately not to let it hinder my family time too much.  But inevitably it does occasionally.

ALL THAT to say that finding the extra time to blog has been a challenge.

But, for any one out there interested, or any future surrogate/IP, I figure I should share some of the challenges we’ve faced so that you can be “fully informed” of potential issues that could arise on your journey.

For instance, now that we are finally pregnant (YAY!!!), we are officially in uncharted territory.  My husband and I have never done this before and must rely on the wording in the contract on how to proceed.

The contract, of course, dictates what I can and can not eat (no alcohol, no deli meat unless heated, etc.) which is all normal pregnancy stuff and is NOT a problem for me.

It also states that I shouldn’t carry or lift anything over 15-20 lbs.  THAT is tough because my daughter (who is not quite 2) weighs over 25 lbs (SHE’S HUGE Y’all!) and my son is almost 4 so he’s well over that restriction.  NOT holding my kids is tough. Really tough.  I love them and the time of being able to toss them in the air and give them piggy back rides, or just scoop them up and squeeze them is nearing an end.  It’s precious time that I am losing and that makes me want to tear up a little just writing (perhaps I am having symptoms of pregnancy after all???).

Another thing that recently occurred that was a bit tough for me is the travel restrictions.  Our contract states that after a certain week (somewhere around 25 weeks or 28… I can’t recall specifically right this second) we will not be allowed to leave TX.  That of course is much later in pregnancy.  EARLY pregnancy it just states that, once there is a confirmation of heartbeat, we must ask for approval to leave the state from the IP’s, the RE’s office, and the agency.  When we first went over the contract, that didn’t seem that daunting, in fact, I was thankful my husband re-read the contract or I would have completely forgotten.

So, Thanksgiving is next week.  Also, my husband had a work opportunity in FL and we thought it would be nice to drop the kids off with Grandma, hop a plane, and then enjoy a weekend kid free!  Then, return to Oklahoma and spend the rest of the break with family there, eating all the turkey.

So we had a plan.  We contacted the IP’s first (I mean, they are the most important ones!) and let them know what we were thinking.  IM’s most immediate concern was ZIKA but we had done our research and WOULD have NEVER even risked it if that was a threat (even a small one). So she and her husband gave their nod of approval.  That was a Friday.

Then, the following Monday, I sent the email that stated our plans for travel seeking approval from the agency and the CA RE’s Clinic.  I copied the mom on the email just so everyone was in the loop.  Agency said OKAY! with the stipulation that the clinic had to give the nod before we should officially buy tickets, rent car, etc.

About an hour later, the clinic also gave the go ahead!  Yipee!!!  A weekend getaway!  I was getting excited.

Monday night we booked everything.

Then, Tuesday morning, a string of messages flooded our phones.  The IM had asked around and had done some reading and since I had miscarried the previous embryo what she was reading made her nervous.  UGH… I was deflated.  And frankly a bit angry.  I wanted the get away.  I wanted that trip and now it wasn’t going to happen.

I was also afraid that it would prevent ALL our travel for the Holiday and missing Jesse’s mom’s turkey and table settings and family visiting was enough to make me start crying in rage.

Jesse, my loving, gentle, respectful husband, promptly responded to her concerned messages with grace and ease.  He would cancel everything (EVEN though we had all the approval we needed) and didn’t want them to worry.  He handled it like a pro.  I sure do love him.

I, however, needed a bit more time.  Which, again, he tactfully understood.  He let me vent for a bit and then, when he felt the time was right, helped me put things into perspective.

These people are putting ALL their trust in us.
These people have NO real control of what we do with their baby.
These people rely on us to prevent any threat (real or perceived) to their child.
These people have spent a lot of money to make sure this happens, and heaven forbid something go wrong… we would feel terrible!

Ultimately, he’s right and I kind of hate him for it.  But, if the tables were turned, and someone was carrying my child for me, I would hope that they would listen and respect my wishes and politely do as I ask them/her to.

So, all’s well that ends well.  I am over it and, frankly, feel childish and selfish for ever even being upset about it.  I am reminded again of the awesomeness that is this pregnancy, the trust these people are forced to have in me/us, and the amazing people my IP’s are.  I can respect their wishes and do as they ask me to.

I contemplated not even posting this little hiccup, but feel it’s important to be fully honest about the struggles for other’s who may be going through something similar… OR those individuals in the future who are contemplating being a surrogate or potential IP’s  who require surrogates.

So, to sum it up, I think it’s important to have a good, trusting, respectful relationship with your IP’s (or if the tables are turned and you are an IP- pick someone you trust and respect). It’s that relationship that you are developing and working on and it is so crucial to a healthy end goal!

PS- we are still driving to OK to spend the holiday with family- it was just the flying that made IM nervous. So bring on the Turkey!

8 Weeks 2 days… Pre-Ultrasound

We are, today, 8 weeks and 2 days pregnant.  It is the morning of our, hopefully, last U/S for the RE monitoring clinic and I’m nervous.  I’ve been nervous for a couple of days.

It’s so strange.  In both of my keeper pregnancies, I peed on a few sticks, was pretty confident I was pregnant, and somehow passed the time until I was 12 weeks along.  Then, I was finally able to visit with my midwife to fully verify that there was a little human growing in there.  And, even then, it was done only with a doppler.  It wasn’t until the 20 week anatomy scan that we actually got to see the baby in there!  What a trip that was!

With this pregnancy, there’s been so much attention!  I got to see the little guy tucked in on transfer day.  Then again 4 weeks after that for the heartbeat verification U/S.  And now two weeks later we will hopefully see him again.  So much attention!

But, as I mentioned, I’m nervous.  And it’s disquieting because I was NEVER really nervous before any of my appointments with my two babes.  I think I am just hyper aware of all the things that could go wrong.  And it isn’t just me that would feel the devastation, or my husband, but the IP’s and their family would also feel that sadness and heartache and it’s that pressure that makes me ever so anxious to know that all is well in there.

Tag onto all this that I have ZERO symptoms.  I may be more hungry than normal… but that is really about it and could easily be shrugged off.  I had a couple of days where I felt a bit a nauseous but maybe that was some sort of stomach bug because it has gone away completely.  I did feel like eating all the pickles in the fridge a few days ago but that isn’t all that abnormal for me, pregnant or not.

I am also on a surrogacy board with about 150 women who are in some stage of their surrogate journey and they live all over!  It’s pretty amazing to hear their tales, their success stories, and their complaints.  But, in addition to this, I also hear about their heartbreaks.  Obviously ranging in levels of tragedy, but most recently, a surrogate went in for the same U/S visit I am about to head out for, only to find out that the heart had stopped beating around 7 weeks.  Que tears.

Then, another lady who’s blog I follow had the exact same thing happen.  So, even though the change of miscarriage drops to like .01% once heartbeat is confirmed, it does still happen and that freaks me out.  I hate that for them and I hate that I am aware- so very very very aware- that it could, in fact, happen to us.

I wish there was some way to go back to being blissfully ignorant (yes, I am aware of the painful irony that statement carries coming from an educator).

Anyway, wish us all luck.  My appt. is 9:45 TX time so if you read this and have a second, send some positivity out into the world for my IP’s and also a little for me.

The Appointment…

So the office at the monitoring clinic was PACKED!  We ended up having to wait a bit longer than normal which was agonizing.

But, once they took vitals and had me use the bathroom (empty bladder for vaginal ultrasound), it was all really quick!

It’s crazy how nervous I was getting!  Heart was racing, thoughts were swirling, and apparently it was obvious because my husband kept telling me to take deep breaths.

Then the Doc came in and raised the chair to a ridiculous height (I felt soooo exposed)! Wand was inserted and immediately I could see what wasn’t there last time!  RELIEF!

There was a little black circle in a haze of gray there on the screen and, as the doctor got the wand focused in, you could see a little blob inside that circle.

There’s a yoke sake…

There’s a bit more than a fetal pole…

There was this beautiful pulsing, flashing, heart…

We are ALL thrilled!

The doc said that little baby is measuring a bit ahead of schedule 6 weeks 5 days (we are only 6 weeks and 2 days).  And while he is not THE doctor, it was nice to hear that “all looks well in there.”

He was awesome to let us video and facetime, he printed pictures, and he allowed us to record the sound of the tiny, 120-beats-per-minute heartbeat.  After a bit of conversation with my ever so smart husband, we’ve decided that I shouldn’t post any of the pictures or videos since this is not our little guy in here… but just know that it is a beautiful sound.

Whew!  What a load off.  Hopefully later today I will hear from the CA Doc and get the “offical word” and be released to… ahem… enjoy… um… some of the things I’ve been missing (PS- I am NOT referring to alcohol! And, strangely, don’t really miss it that much). 

Thanks for the positive thoughts and vibes sent our way!  We, as I mentioned, are all THRILLED!
PS- as of 5:30, I’ve been officially released from all super careful precautions and am allowed to act like a normal pregnant lady (no straining, ridiculous lifting, moderate exercise, low impact, careful with abdominal stuff, etc). And, cleared to resume normal marital relations 😉😉!

Scared and Nervous

Sitting in the waiting room is like torture. 

Sitting still is hard. 

I’m thankful I went to school this morning as my students provided a much needed distraction from fears and anxiousness. 

I really really really hope to give the IP’s good news today! Please let it be good news. 

Please

Please

PLEASE!

Last BETA… U/S tomorrow

Okay, I finally got a call this afternoon about the last beta. 

6 weeks pregnant on the nose (23dp5dt) my beta level was 11,387. I was a bit concerned and hoped/thought/wondered if I hadn’t heard her properly but I asked her to email me to verify and that was, in fact, the number. 

I should point out, again, that I know jack about beta’s or IVF or FET’s or anything infertility based (and I need to say that I am aware of how lucky that makes me!). But it seems like if we were hoping, early on, for numbers to double every 48 hours- the 4,410 number I had a week ago should have skyrocketed. So when she said 11,387 I immediately worried. 

BUT- the first few things I read in my frantic google search were pretty reassuring. Here’s one that lays out pretty clearly what HGC levels do in pregnancy: 
If this source is correct- 11,387 is a great number and hopefully, tomorrow, my IP’s will get to see their baby’s heartbeat! 

Please cross some things and send some positivity this way! 

🎃 Halloween 🎃 

Tucker was a bat: 


And Sage was a lady bug:


We had other outfits planned and purchased, but then the weather promptly decided it should act more like fall and be in the 50’s and rainy. 

So the short-sleeved, tutu, ladybug outfit for Sage morphed into a sweater ladybug outfit that had a hood attached. She still had to be tucked under a blanket to stay warm enough. And Tucker’s outfit morphed into the bat costume that went over long pants and long sleeves- layers! Yay! 

Tucker rode his bike and did an amazing job this year. 

Last year was his first time to trick or treat and we made it to about 5 houses before bedtime hit. I have to give two year old Tucker credit though, all the houses in this neighborhood are on acre lots so there was quite a few tiny steps to get to each of the doors. And he was enthralled with each item going into his bag which caused even more distraction and delay. 

This year though- a champ! We got half the circle block covered! He sang songs for the lady that would only give out her treat if they performed a trick. He was unfazed by the zombies that stood in the way of the candy at one house. Was THRILLED by the chainsaw that scared the living shit it of me (and might give me nightmares)! Rang all the doorbells, said “thank you,” and listened carefully when we were on the street! It’s these moments that I am reassured that we are doing our job as parents properly. 

Sage also did a good job, but she’s still shy and too bashful to sing. She needed me to hold her near the zombies (to be honest, I used her tiny red polka dotted body as my shield 😬). And she was not a fan of the chainsaw- I totally understand. She also stopped getting out of the stroller once we let her eat the Cheetos she earned at the previous house- which made things go quite a bit faster. 

Once home, the sugar rush and the tiredness kicked in and wrangling kids into PJ’s tested my parenting patience. But they are tucked in tight dreaming of all the candy they will beg us for all day tomorrow! 

Anyway- it was a great Halloween and though I’m exhausted, I’m ready for tomorrow. Last blood draw 💉 and then ultrasound on Friday. Crossing my fingers for amazing news for IP’s!!

Here’s a photo dump of my pumpkins with their pumpkins: