Amazing News!!!

I have a quick confession.  I am terrible at remembering things!  I mean, my husband’s birthday was yesterday and I damn near forgot to order his present (thank the heavens for Amazon Prime!!!).   Anyway, I knew my medications, both my injection of progesterone and my suppository, were running low, but I thought, “I’ve got time.” But then the day gets away from me (I blame Othello, the book I am teaching my seniors currently) and I kept forgetting to order more.

This morning, I realized as I was placing my suppository that I only had two more.  I needed my script refilled ASAP or I would miss a dose.  I would have called RIGHT THEN, but 7:00 my time is 5:00 CA time and no one would answer.  I put a reminder in my phone to call as soon as they opened.

It was right in the middle of class and I was pressed for time and put on hold.  Ugh.

I had a student take attendance for me and stepped into the hall.  Once I finally got to a person and gave her all my identifying info, she informed me that I didn’t have any more refills and the doctor would need call in another script.  WELL SHIT!?!?!

I got my students reading the play and then emailed the doctor’s office in a panic.  I was under the impression that I was to continue medications until instructed otherwise.  No one had told me to stop so CRAP!!!!  I was going to miss a dose.

Luckily, the nurse at the CA clinic immediately responded and gave me the BEST news I think I have heard all year:

MY LAST PILL, LAST INJECTION, LAST SUPPOSITORY WAS YESTERDAY!!!! 

I am free and clear to just be a normal pregnant person!

The timing of this… following those two SUPER painful injections that still have my backside throbbing… is just… well… just PERFECT.

I promptly ran across the hall to my friend, who is also a surrogate (pregnant with twins for two dads), to share the news.  She hates me now.  hahaha… She still has 3 days of shots to go and is a week and a half ahead of me!  Ha!

I would do a cartwheel if I thought I could!  Man… I’m stoked!

Advertisements

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!

 

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!

16dp5dt- BETA

So Wednesday I made a quick trip to the monitoring clinic for a blood draw. It’s been 7 days since the last one, and just FYI I DO NOT do math so I can’t do the figuring on the doubling ratio or any of that. 😂

9dp5dt- 124

11dp5dt-505 (more than double! Yay)

16dp5dt- 4,410 😳


It’s on the high end of the chart! Yay! I think these IP’s have an over achieving little guy in here!

My excitement is returning- I’m really hopeful that the U/S next week is some awesome news for these parents!!! Cross your fingers.

BETA numbers…

On Wednesday, 9dp5dt, my Beta was 146. This is a good solid number but last time it was 197 or something like that. So it was lower. Which doesn’t mean jack, and I am totally aware of this… but it didn’t calm my nerves. I, having peed on all the sticks in the state of TX, knew I was pregnant but I had really hoped that there would be something that would make me say, “whew, okay. There’s nothing to worry about.” 

But I am beginning to think that I won’t have that moment until there’s a heartbeat for the IP’s to hear. 

Though, after I got news of the second Beta, I did feel a little pressure lift. My numbers more than doubled!!! The second draw on Friday, 11dp5dt, was at 505!! The first time they didn’t quite double. 

This chart is used pretty regularly on one of the surrogate boards I participate in and helps women who are worried. 

So- beta numbers are good and the IP’s (I sure love them for listening and being on bored with my concerns) ordered two additional blood draws. So I will go again on Wednesday and then again a week after that. Then two days later the 6 week U/S!!! It seems a lot sooner this go round!

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 to 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.