Bragging for a minute…

This morning was my BETA draw… and while that is important and this blog has mostly turned into “the adventures of a surrogate” blog, it is still, technically called “Monika’s Musings,” so I am at liberty to talk about whatever is on my mind.  Bare with me… it does come full circle I promise.

I have previously posted about the hectic schedule that runs our family (no I did not grammatically screw that up- the schedule runs us! NOT the other way around). From the second the alarm sounds in the morning my husband and I are in a critical, minute to minute rush to get things done or get people where they need to be and any break from that routine can make things a bit crazy.

For instance, this morning, in order to make it to my appointment at 8:00 I HAVE to leave the house at 7:10 (I chose the clinic closer to the school where I work so that I wouldn’t have to miss work too often).  But my husband and I tag team the morning- he gets breakfast ready while I get kids ready.  We eat together and then help the kids get their belongings and themselves loaded into the car. I drop them off and he manages the two separate pick ups.  We are a fine tuned machine in the morning.  But again, today, due to the circumstances, my husband had to do most of that on his own including both the drop off and the pick ups.  (Though, in my defense, I did still get the kids dressed and into their seats at the table, I just had to peace out immediately after that to get to the appointment).

Jesse not only manages all of that with grace and ease, the dear man also made me a “to go” breakfast so that I wouldn’t be hungry all morning!


I have caught myself one of the best men on the face of the planet.  Seriously!

I often find myself in conversations with other women who are ragging on their husbands for an assortment of different issues.  They don’t help clean the house, they aren’t very helpful with the kids, they don’t seem attentive… the list goes on and on.  And in those situations I just have to sit there quietly and shake my head.  I can’t participate in the man-bashing… my husband is amazing.

I am not saying we don’t ever disagree or miscommunicate- we do.  I think all marriages do/will. But, by and large, I feel luckier by the day to have him in my life.  He is my perfect match.  He is my anchor.  He is my equal.  I love, honor, and respect him more today than the day I married him.

Which, coincidentally, happens to be 5 years ago this Friday.

A little back story.  When we were planning our wedding ceremony we wanted to do something that was a little more unique than the typical blending of the sands or the unity candle (I am not dogging on these BTW, they just weren’t for us). My husband and I opted to do a Wine Box Ceremony (which you can read more about here).  The gist is this: on the eve of your nuptials you write a letter to your spouse telling them all the reasons you love them and appreciate them and then seal it in an envelope.  Then during the ceremony you seal your favorite bottle of wine inside the box along with the two letters.  My dad, who married us, told an amazing anecdote about my grandparents generation- “The Fix It Generation” (when something breaks, they fixed it, they didn’t discard it and buy another) and then explained in the ceremony that if, over the next few years, our marriage seemed to be breaking, or we ended up in a fight so large we were considering the prospect of discarding the union, we were supposed to break open the box, share the bottle of wine, and read the letters we wrote one another and remember why we married one another, why we fell in love, what we value about the other person.  In short, if we felt like we were breaking we are to remember to fix it!

On the happier side, if we made it to five years without a fight of that magnitude, we were celebrate by drinking the wine and reading the letters and then put in a new bottle and replace with new letters along with the first ones.

So- we are at FIVE YEARS and I am proud to say that our box is still sealed and its contents happily stowed inside. The sad thing though, is that we have been looking forward to this anniversary for… well… five years.  We were super excited to break that puppy open, drink our wine and read our love notes now with greater perspective…  BUT I CAN”T DRINK. (Insert all the teary emoji’s ever)

And, as if that weren’t bad enough by itself… the clinic does not want me having an orgasm until after the fetal heartbeat is detected.  Do you know what that means?  Here, let me clarify… not only do I not get to drink the wine I have been so looking forward to but I don’t even get to have sex with my husband on this milestone anniversary!!!  Que the tears:

Now, I totally understand that what I am doing is worth it.  And I am so so so happy to be doing this for these IP’s, I think the world of them and I am so happy to be on this journey with them (as is my husband!). But allow me to be whiny for a second, please.  I mean, you see what I mean.  Right?!?

But, again, focusing on this negative stuff doesn’t do me any good at all, so now that it is off my chest, lets focus on the positive (literally) for a minute:

8dpt round 2

Lets hope that this strong line means that I will have a good BETA number and things will work out this go round!  We’ve been on this merry-go-round before though and it didn’t quite work out the way we had hoped, so cross some fingers, toes, what have you for us, will ya?

I will update later today with the actual BETA numbers (mostly for historical purposes but also for the people that might care about all that jazz).

 

PS- for those of you that are allowed to drink and have sex, please consider making a donation to your body of both of those in strong quantities on my behalf, please. Okay?  Great.  Thanks.

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8dpt Round 2

I’m quietly giddy.  I am all too aware that this happened before; we’ve been here before… but also- I’m excited.  I can’t help it.

As of this minute, right now, in this present moment- I AM PREGNANT.   There is no denying this:

7dpt Round 2

And, if things go as I know WE ALL desperately want them to, next summer I will deliver a healthy baby boy BACK into the longing arms of his parents!!!  That’s so cool!  Science is awesome.

I think a lot of this happiness that I swore I would reign in after the first failure is prompted by the fact that a few of the other surrogates I follow got to show their IP’s the baby(ies) heartbeats over the last couple of days and I CAN’T WAIT to experience that and all the other milestones that will hopefully follow. I’m pumped!

7dp5dt Round 2

So today, around 2:00 this afternoon, We are officially a week past the transfer. 

Again, obsessive about pee sticks- here’s the evidence of my addiction:


These are the ones I took at night. The first one was 2dp5dt as well, but it was like right at the 48 hour mark 😜 and I was trying to be all stealthy because I knew my husband would get on to me for “wasting money” so early.  It’s kind of crazy- all the tests except that very first one- dried with the tiniest hint of a line. I know that there is a strong chance that they are evaporation lines, but why doesn’t the first one have one? 

Anyway- here are all the tests I took in the evenings:


Again- there are lines on all of them! Much more visible after drying. 

Anyway- I’m really happy that we, IP’s included, are pregnant. I just really really really hope this little one decides to hang out for the long haul. 

I wonder if I can talk to the CA clinic about doing an additional Beta test to make sure things are progressing ok? I should also, maybe be careful with those requests. I have NO CLUE how much that costs the IP’s… 🤔 

It’s such a scary deal- I want to be excited and happy but there’s a little spot in the back of my brain that keeps those emotions in check, just in case this pregnancy ends like the first. And oh my goodness… I’m worried that my IP’s will lose faith in me. Hell, I think I’d lose faith in me! 

But- there’s certainly no good in letting those thoughts run things… I’ll just focus on the good for now. We are pregnant! 3 weeks and 5 days pregnant. (My “pretend” ovulation day being calculated as Sept. 20th.)

6dp5dt Round 2

My feelings after today’s pee stick:


But, again, we’ve been here before so I’m not too overly confident and probably won’t feel that way until after we hear the precious heartbeat around 6 weeks. Crossing all the things that can cross!

Here’s today’s test. It was taken this morning so it’s technically still 5dp5dt by timing standards:


It’s there and pink! Yay!!! 

And here’s the one from last night (also just past 5dpt):


I have a few more tests and my BETA is Wednesday. I’m hoping for a good strong number for these IP’s!!!

🤞🏻🍀🤞🏻🍀🤞🏻🍀🤞🏻🍀

Technically still 4dp5dt…

Since the transfer was around noon in CA and I live in TX at 2 today I will be 5 days past the transfer. 

But, since I am an addict and since the POAS lurker community saw it too, I figured that first morning urine (the most concentrated) would produce a legitimate line.

Problem was that I woke up at 4:30 and needed to pee. In my tired stupor I decided not to pee on the test because then I’d wake all the way up and if the line wasn’t completely visible I’d sit there in the pitch black staring at the damn test and my rest would be ruined! So I relieved myself and got back into my snuggly bed until I was rudely awakened by my kids. 

At 6:45 I actually needed to pee again so I broke out the First Response Early Result test:


I know I know I know. At first glance you might miss it. It is uber faint. 

But here:


You can see that? Right? 

I can, but again, I have years of practice staring at tests that women who “just can’t wait” peed on to see if maybe, just maybe, their dreams are coming true. So I’m a professional, obviously. 

So- at what is the equivalent of 9 days past ovulation (4dp5dt) I can say with reserve that my IP’s are pregnant! 

It’s funny- my husband (WHO SAW THE LINE 😳) said, “yep! It’s there.” And then later said, “wait?! I’m confused. Should I have been more excited? I don’t know what to do here?!”

It’s kind of strange. Yes, his wife is pregnant BUT it isn’t ours so should excitement be the proper reaction? And, technically we were pregnant before, after the first transfer, and that obviously didn’t work out- so?!! 

We are quietly excited FOR THE IP’s, for sure. But, we are also more reserved this go round since there is still a chance this isn’t going to work. Though I quietly send my wishes into the universe that this is it and they will get their 2nd take home little boy in late June or, knowing my body, early July! 

Still 4dpt5dt Round 2

If you are unaware- there is an entire underworld on the interwebs that is dedicated solely to the POAS addiction, y’all.

I’d list the websites but for anyone that has been trying to have a baby (the majority of my audience I suspect) it is probably not necessary because you are already aware. And for those of you that aren’t, I don’t want to expose you to that world because- kind of like in the Matrix, Morpheus states that once you swallow that pill “there is no turning back” and it’ll show you just “how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” (Don’t you judge me… I used to teach it in conjunction to teaching 1984)

Anyway- I found these websites back when I first started learning about my body and ovulation and all things conception and uterus and I can now say that I know too much. I blame my Type A personality. 

I know that for many women they just decide one day, “hummm? I think I want a baby” and so they just have sex and BOOM it happens. And that’s awesome for them. 

But then there are many women that try that and keep trying and then start worrying. And reading. That was me. I didn’t get pregnant right away (though I did not truly have to struggle like so many women I know) and in my panic I decided to arm myself with knowledge. 

And, while it is awesome to know my body so well, it also sucked the fun out of the baby making process AND I fell into the aforementioned rabbit-hole. 

All THAT to say that my seedy POAS addict friends on the interwebs who are professional pee stick analyzers say that there is something on this damn test: 


Don’t worry if you don’t see it. The untrained (i.e. Not crazy person) eye might not. For instance, my husband looked at it and said, “no. Nope, not even a speck.” (He has a penis- what the hell does he know about pregnancy!?! Nothing!) 

But- if I’m crazy at least I know I’m not alone. 

4dp5dt Round 2

So- it has happened again. I’m going off the deep end. 

And I think it’s worse that I recognize it happening but instead of turning away from the ledge, I embrace it and just jump right off that fucker anyway. 🙄

So, this go round I swore I was going to wait until Thirsday night (3.5 days past transfer) before I peed on a home pregnancy test (hpt). 

I made it to Wednesday night (2 days) 😬. 


Yeah, there’s nothing there. I’m aware. But I got it out of my system. 

Then, because the more expensive tests were on sale and just sitting around tempting me to pee on them, Thursday morning I decided that I should maybe try one that’s more sensitive because WHY NOT?!? So not even 3 days past transfer I wasted another test. 🤷‍♀️


And because after that dried I thought maybe I saw something and I was now officially 3 FULL days… 

yep, I peed on another one. (At least it was only $.88)


Seeing anything yet?!?

Yeah- me neither. 😕

But- new day- new sticks to pee on. 

So this morning I did this one:


And there STILL isn’t anything. Not even the slightest, squintiest, “maybe something’s there” line. So, I can tell myself it’s still early- and I KNOW it’s still early. But damnit. Let this one work— PLEASE UNIVERSE?!? Please please please?!?

So tonight, 4 and a half days past the transfer, I decided that I would just pee on a test every time I needed to go and just embrace my addiction full on (swan dive, if you will, into the deep end).

So around 5 I had to pee:


Yes- that is zoomed in SUPER CLOSE.

Yes- I totally edited the color of the photo in attempt to darken the imaginary line I thought maybe I was seeing. 

So, Yes- I created the line you may (or may not) see. 

Yes- I know I’m nuts but frankly, I don’t give a damn. 


Anyway- stay tuned. 

And, if you would, cross some fingers and toes, and eyes and… well… anything else that will cross- cross that too. Please. 

Cause I NEED this to work. We all do. 

Blind Corners and More Waiting…

I hate not knowing how things work and how to plan for them.  My type A personality doesn’t deal well with not being in control.  So I find myself googling things like, “how long will it take to start bleeding during a miscarriage?” or “When will my BETA numbers be back down to zero after miscarriage?”  or “How long before I can do another FET after miscarriage?”

The consensus… everyone is different and really there is no telling.  *eyeroll*

So, I am waiting.  Ugh.  The sadness still lingers.  I am okay mostly, until I realize that now I have to start back at ground zero and the parents do too. Or until I realize that moving next summer, instead of being recovering from labor and delivery, I might be giant pregnant and miserable in the Texas heat.  Or until I realize that my current teaching schedule is NOT conducive to morning blood draws and early morning U/S visits (which is how the monitoring clinic here likes to schedule things). Or until I think of how glorious my schedule would have worked out perfectly for afternoon visits with my OBGYN. There are a ton of tiny little moments like this that I have to shake off throughout the day.

So, after a weekend of googling previously mentioned miscarriage questions and attempting to get some sort of contact from the CA Clinic to find out what will happen when and roughly how long it could be before we move forward with another try to make these IP’s a baby, I succumbed to just trying to breathe and find silver linings. I attempted to just “be okay with whatever” and “live in the now.” I do know that it will all be okay. I know that. I’d just like to know when.

On another note- today was my first day back with students. My teaching schedule is brutal.  I have 6 perios total and I teach the first 5 BACK TO BACK.  Which means I don’t really even have time to go to the bathroom between 8:30-1:30!  And, without processing time between classes, it’s hard to perfect my “spiel” and figure out which ways are most effective. AND I lose track of which classes I’ve said what to?!? Whew. It’s intense. To top it off, right in the middle of 4th period I become STARVING because I’ve been awake since 5:30 and my delicious breakfast that hubby made is no longer holding me over.

Its certainly going to take some time to adjust.  But I’ll find my groove. I always do.

This morning, since this whole taking the kids to school in addition to getting myself ready is still new, I forgot to take my “just in case I start bleeding” provisions with me in my bag. I figured it was the Murphy’s Law of Miscarriage:  If you aren’t ready for it (with pads or tampons etc.) it will surely come full on.  Right?!?  Maybe I could have taken this a step farther and tempted fate by wearing white?! Anyway, I was ill prepared but since it didn’t seem to be starting I figured it was alright to push my luck. Plus I teach on a hallway with women, surely one could help me out in my hour of need (if that hour should ever come?!?). And, there’s a nurse.

But, as it’s looking now, over halfway through my day, I won’t need anyone to rescue me and Murphy’s Law of Miscarriage is not a real thing. Boo. More waiting. 🙄

I did hear from the CA clinic today and will go in to the clinic here in TX on Thursday to have a blood draw and make sure BETA numbers are going down. So there’s progress. I’m curious; since my numbers were already so low, is there any chance they’ll be at zero by the time I go in for that draw?! I sure hope so.

************

PS- at 3:30 today as I was doing a quick re-read of this blog before publishing, I felt that all too familar gush. The dull back pain I had been experiencing early afternoon was not, in fact, due to standing all day in front of my classes but instead cramping. So perhaps Murphy’s Law of Miscarriage does work.

I feel it’s important to note that I am, by no means, making light of this situation. I am very devastated and rocked by this. To the point where my husband was worried that maybe being a surrogate is not a good idea. So, while this may seem as though it is not in good taste, please know that I do not mean to offend anyone who has ever gone through this or something much worse/more tragic. Again, my desire to be a surrogate is motivated by my desire to help ease the pain and suffering women who have struggled with this sort of thing and I am hugely humbled by now having experienced it myself. 

Day After Bad News

Today is better. I feel a bit more in control of my emotions and while I am still sad and disappointed, I have only cried once when discussing how long it will take before we can try again. That seems so far away, but, on the bright sides, it just gives me time to get back in shape. 

Speaking of. I went for a run today with my husband while my dad watched the kids. I really shouldn’t call it a run. It was more of a jog with quite a few walking breaks. It’s crazy how out of shape I’ve gotten in just the few weeks that I haven’t been able to exercise. Yeowch. It’ll get better quickly, I’m sure. 

There is a nice bottle of wine chilling in the fridge for dinner tonight, so that’s another plus!

On the details (for anyone that might be reading in similar situation) I have not started bleeding. I do have a wicked headache… not sure why it’s so persistent. 

I haven’t heard from anyone at the CA clinic, which is kind of disappointing. The only person I talked to at all was the on-call doctor. I’ve reached out to the nurse that is in charge of surrogates but she hasn’t called or emailed me back. I feel a bit overlooked but I also know nothing about the IVF world and clinic procedures so I have to assume they will reach out. Maybe? 

Anyway- things are on the up and up. For the most part. 

The official report

At 5:00 I called the CA clinic (3 their time) because I was done waiting. The IP’s were still holding out a small glimmer of hope that it was just too early and I wanted to be able to hope with them, but was struggling. 

After waiting on hold for a while I finally got connected with someone who put me on with the doctor that I spoke with last night when I was panicking.  She was also the same one I spoke with this morning when I was crying stupid hard. She was so very kind and even her gentle voice on the phone felt like she’d be hugging me if I was there in her office receiving the news. 

The pregnancy did not develop as normal. Just like the doc in the TX clinic told me during the ultrasound. (😢 here they come again) According to the pictures they received in the CA clinic, “there was nothing in the uterus” and “due to my low beta numbers, the situtuation looks like it will resolve on its own.” This means the pregnancy has already ended and I will eventually start to miscarry. 

I’m pretty devastated. I think it might be more deveststing than if it were just mine. But this wasn’t mine. I was trusted to hold and care for something ever so precious by two very thoughtful and loving people and I fucked it up. I know that I did all I could and followed all the rules I was given exactly, but something still went wrong and it’s hard not to question what I could have done differently. 

So, super nice doctor instructed me to stop all meds. She told me that my beta numbers were in the mid 200 range (my last beta two weeks ago which had doubled was at 389 or something) so they are already dropping. I will have to go in weekly until the number is back down to zero. I should start bleeding soon and she advised that it should be much like a regular period. I do still have to make sure and go to the hospital if there are any sharp pains (sign of ectopic pregnancy) or if I soak through more than one pad an hour (hemmoraging). 

When I asked what this means for trying again, she said that she couldn’t really advise me since she isn’t the doctor on my case, but the normal protocol is to wait until the start of my next cycle. So bleed/miscarry, wait until my hormones do what they are supposed to do naturally (decrease, rise, ovulate, decrease, period), then hopefully start bleeding again. After that we can begin a new cycle. Depending on my body it could be anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks before we can even start BC and such again. Which means it is highly likely that it will be November. Ugh. Waiting is miserable. And again, it isn’t just me. There are two other people who are waiting. And they only have one more little girl embryo left. 😢😭😭 (if I stop drinking water will the crying stop?! Anyone know?!)

This all sucks. 

So- in an effort to halt the tears I’m going to try to find some silver linings:

  • Wine- I can officially drink again until my next cycle starts. (But really, once I had stopped, I don’t really even miss it that much. 😕)
  • Sex- I was so very much looking forward to getting some tonight. But I’ll be honest. I have a head ache from crying all day and crying during sex is pretty much a turn off. (And I’m eventually going to start bleeding and that makes things messy. Ugh, even this is not really quite the pick me up I was hoping for)
  • Running- again, not feeling like it right now, but maybe tomorrow a good long run will feel nice. To sweat and get my heart thumping hard in my chest and to feel out of breath and tired. (I’ll be honest again, two weeks of yoga first thing in the morning might have converted me. It’s so much easier on the body and is kind of a nice way to start the day.)

This list didn’t help. I’ll cut myself some slack; it’s still too soon. I would happily give all this stuff back for the sound of a heartbeat… 

well, maybe not the sex. 😉