Moving- we arrived!

So moving with kids presents a whole different realm of stress. But priority number ONE is to make sure the kids are settled and okay.

Tucker has known for a long time that we were moving and we did a decent job (if I do say so myself) of making sure he understood what it means to live on a boat. I believe what really sold the idea to him is that he gets his own room (forget adventure and sailing and being on the water…).

Sage, on the other hand, is only two so I’m not quite sure how she feels or what exactly she understands about the situation. BUT she was thrilled to get to spend the night in her big girl bed in her own room! She’s been in her crib until she broke free yesterday (she did great BTW).

Both kids got to pick what toys they want to bring and helped me line them up at the house: (in case you’re wondering, NO this will not all fit. At least I’m pretty sure it won’t! We will see)

Then, the morning we left, I had them pick which lovies they want to bring and they lined them up nicely:

Then, we loaded it all into the car (along with all the rest of our junk that will NOT all fit) and hit the road:

When we arrived, kids went to the pool with Jesse and I unloaded their clothes, toiletries, and lovies so we could complete a successful first night on the boat. Here are their rooms:

After their bedtime, some friends joined us for champagne and decompression time:

I didn’t take pictures of the friends but I swear they are here. I just didn’t want to be all, “hi, I just met you in person for the first time and I’d like to put you in my blog, is that okay?”

Anyway- success (for now)…

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Moving… in stages.

We got rid of damn near ALL our worldly possessions two years ago…

BUT WE STILL HAVE TOO MUCH SHIT!

Our “strategy” for moving now is: get it there and then decide what fits and what is a necessity. Donate, sell, trash what’s left.

Jesse leaves tomorrow since the boat must be moved into new slip by July 1st. He’s taking a load with him of kitchen/bathroom stuffs. He’s also taking his clothes and shoes.

Saturday I will bring the babies, Ellie (our blue heeler), and myself along with all our clothes and what toys will fit (stroller, bike, in addition to room toys).

I am STRESSED. SO UBER STRESSED. (Side note- I have successfully UNDONE all the relaxing that was had on our week long sailing trip in the BVI’s that we JUST returned from.)

Moving sucks. Moving onto very few livable square feet is… it’s a whole new level of suck. Arguably one of Dante’s levels of hell.

Me currently

HCG- 6 weeks post D&C

This post contains crazy TMI female cycle info. Feel free to skip. I only provide it because my google searches were fruitless and annoying!

A couple of reminders and info in case this is the first thing you’re reading: We were 11 weeks pregnant in our surrogate journey (I was the gestational carrier) when the baby’s heart stopped and we all decided to do a D&C.

Here are my dates on the decline of HCG (again, without betas, I am guessing here based on tracking on pee sticks).

Dec. 5 2017 Dr. declared miscarriage.  We were probably just at the peak/height of HCG.

Dec. 7 2017 D&C

Dec. 8-19 NO bleeding. Not even a spot after the procedure.

Dec. 19-22 spotting (brown discharge like the end of a period)

Dec. 23 “I think I’m dying” blood clots then nada (bleeding stops). Earlier in the day I peed on a test and it was faint but very much still there.

Dec. 26- I would swear a trillion times over that I ovulated from my left ovary?!! But who knows. Pee stick 3 days before was blazing positive still (though not as strong as the control line) which means HCG was probably in the 100 mil range. Give or take. Sources are NOT reliable on whether or not it’s possible to ovulate when HCG is still in your system. So who actually knows?!?

Jan. 4th- HCG still registering on pregnancy test. But ever so very faint. I am 4 weeks exactly from the D&C.

Jan. 5th- I start my period. If I DID ovulate when I thought I did, that would mean my Luteal phase was only 10 days. 🤔 no worries. I’m definitely not trying to be pregnant.

Jan. 5-12th- heavier period than normal and much longer than normal. The last few days were more than spotting but very brown.

Tonight- 2 days shy of 6 weeks post D&C and my pee stick looks like this:

To the untrained eye- this would look negative. But zoom in on that sucker a little and you can see the faintest little hint of a line. So- I would bet, if I were a gambling woman, on two things:

  1. My HCG is probably in the teens right now.
  2. Next week, on Thursday, if I were to get a beta drawn, I bet it would be under 5 (which means NOT pregnant) OR, since I won’t get a beta, my pee test will be 100% not registering. 🤞🏻🤞🏻

So- there all that is.

Patience has never been my strong suit. Perhaps that’s the lesson here- I’m being tested by the universe right now and until I can just “let go” I’m going to keep getting really shitty and tough situations thrown at me?

I get it.

I give! I give!

The never ending HCG… grrrr

I’m frustrated.  Surprise surprise, I know.

But look:

This is the test I took this morning.

And here is a comparison:

The top test is last week’s and the bottom one is this week’s.  WHAT THE HELL?!?  There’s STILL HCG in my fricking system.

I seriously thought, last week when I took the home pregnancy test, that this week’s test would be blatantly negative.  BUT IT ISN’T and that’s annoying.  I thought that after my period started things would be getting back to normal (which started the day after my last post), but THEY AREN’T.  Grrrrrrrr.  This is totally TMI but I’ve just finished a for-real, heavier than normal, period that lasted 6 days. When is this stuff going to be gone?!?!

I have read that it can take anywhere from 5-7 weeks for the hormone to leave your blood stream and since we were nearing the point in pregnancy where the number reaches it’s max (we were 11 weeks along), I am sure this is somewhat normal and “to be expected.”  But good heavens!!!  And, this is certainly not scientific, but it looks darker than last weeks?!?! When looking up what could cause that- I’m now learning about molar pregnancies. For fuck’s sake. 😩 (there is a strong chance that the urine sample was just more concentrated than last weeks… so I’m not calling the doctor yet… but good gracious!)

The crap I have learned after these couple of rounds of IVF and hormone injections and now losses… yuck.  Ignorance sure was bliss (I’m sorry, again, for those who read that are struggling to grow their families.  I am not trying to be insensitive.  I guess I’m just a little bitter about how this all played out).

Anyway, that’s all for this bitch session.  I promise to focus on more positive things soon.  Just not today.

Days after loss- A surrogate’s side

It’s been about 5 days.  The flowers the IP’s bought me are prettier than ever.  The blooms are amazing.

Most of the time, the distraction of my family helps keep my mind off the heartache… the guilt… the sense of failure I am feeling.

On Friday, the day after the D&C, my kids went to school as normal so I had the morning to myself.  Laying around didn’t seem like a great idea.  So I cleaned.  The house is practically spotless… as spotless as it can be when you have two kids and three dogs anyway.

I think, much like the first time, this will just linger.  The tear producing waves are much further apart than they were on day one and I assume they will gradually grow far enough apart that I will not cry at all, one day.

I was talking to another surrogate about the loss she and her IP’s experienced.  We’ve decided that this particular situation is VERY difficult.  I certainly do not want to say it is any worse than any other woman experiencing a miscarriage- that is not it at all.  There’s just a level of complication added to this that makes it so strange and hard to navigate.  If it were just miscarriage, sadly, I know many women that I can talk to about that; I have people I could commiserate with.  But the complication of losing someone else’s baby… there aren’t many women that can share that story.  There is no guide book.  There is no one to really provide any direction.

It’s also difficult for my husband.  He mentioned the toll it’s taking on him.  This is not our child, but, from what I have read, many men “recover” faster than the woman.  She was the one that experienced constant reminders of what amazing thing her body was doing (or supposed to be doing) and when the pregnancy ends, she’s the one that both physically and emotionally must recover- there are hormones that must be contended with, and emotional scars, and a feeling of failure.  I have all of those things, but I also have the concern and well-being of the IP’s that I must process.  How are they?  What can I do for them?  How might I show them that I am thinking of them without re-opening a wound they are trying to keep clean and covered?  What do I do in this terrible situation?  It’s constantly there in the back of mind, ALL of this.  And my husband just wants his happy wife and the mother of his children back.

He mentioned the other day that there have only been two times in our marriage that I have cried so hard he was worried about me.  And, both of those times were when the surrogacy pregnancies failed. I do not want to call this pain a burden, but I do think that my husband might view it that way.  And I do understand that- our family is complete, these worries amazingly didn’t plague our family… when we wanted kids, we luckily got them without ANY complications.  And now we are taking on someone else’s struggle- which we knew.  I, so naively, didn’t think any of this would happen.  I thought that I would have a transfer, get pregnant, have a pretty uneventful pregnancy, and give this family a baby.  I was so terribly, terribly, wrong.

I don’t know where this journey goes now.  And I don’t even know if I will have a part in it.  I deeply hope that I will. The desire to help a couple grow their family is still, very much, a part of my dream and my passion.  But it isn’t up to just me (there are the IP’s, my husband, my family that must also be considered).

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!

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!

TRANSFER DAY round 2 part I

So, yesterday morning I was a bit of a mess. Nervous to say the least. I never sleep well the night before travel, the “what ifs” get to me (what if I forget this, what if I don’t hear my alarm, what if I misplace my ID, etc.). But Saturday night there were a lot more what ifs to keep my poor tired mind racing. 

Anyway- as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I slept like shit. So, first, I was tired. 

On the first leg of the trip I figured I might help myself get my mind off the hamster wheel if I read. And it worked. No more “what ifs” bouncing around in the ole cranium and I was able to dive into teacher mode. I decided to teach my AP seniors Cather In the Rye this year but I needed to brush up since it’s been over a decade since I had read it last. 

After the first flight I was halfway and my funk had morphed from anxiousness to straight up sadness. Poor Holden. 😢

But, I appreciated the change. I can handle sad. Anxiousness over a bunch of shit I am literally in no control over is stupid.  So I could say I felt better. I talked to Jesse (since he’s also read it) as we walked through the airport and it was nice to be focusing our conversation on something besides surrogacy for a bit. 

But then, on the second flight, I finished the book. And good heavens the sadness was overwhelming. I did not remember it being such a heavy story when I read it back in the day. I mean I knew it approached some tough subjects, but I just forgot how some of those subjects manifested themselves in the storyline. Anyway, I figured it was best not to break down sobbing sandwiched inbetween my husband and a complete stranger because the cry I felt boiling up was NOT going to be a pretty one. 

I held myself together mostly well. I had one stray tear I was not able to blink away but covered it up with a yawn- important to note, I needed to NOT alert my ever so observant husband because one look of concern, or one squeeze, or one “are you okay?” would have unleashed all the stress, anxiousness, and sadness that was damed up behind the wall I had carefully constructed to protect the stranger lady sitting far to close to my left on the damn plane. 

Instead, mentally, I needed to change the subject. So I grabbed the only other reading material on the plane and started reading whatever the Southwest plane magazine is titled. Guys. I didn’t see it coming! 

That fucking magazine. 

Inside, after you get past the 549 ads, but before you get to the articles (which were happy dog stories BTW), they have a bunch of customer satisfaction blurbs. Always positive stories about how someone was just “so pleased” with Southwest’s service or flight attendants, etc. I just got blind sided. 

The first blurb was about a guy who was moving his elderly mother to come live with him. She had dementia and when it came time to deplane, she had an episode and couldn’t figure out what to do. The guy panicked but this male flight attendant stepped right up and asked the mother is she would like to dance. From there he was able to get her out of her seat, down the aisle, and into the jetway where he waltzed her up the gate. 😢 so beautiful and sweet and friggin sad. So one of those pesky tears started creeping back up and I quickly wiped it away before my eagle eyed husband saw me. 

I kept reading. 

The next story was about a lady who’s daughter had married a marine but he was out of the country serving so the mom was “her person” when it came time for the delivery of the baby. The daughter went into early labor so this first time grandma was rushing to make it there in time. A flight attendant had heard her story so when they landed, she made an announcement and requested all the passenengers stay seated so this lady could rush off the plane and make it to her grand baby’s birth.  Everyone accommodated and as this soon-to-be grandmother rushed off, she was applauded. 

Yep- THAT’s the story that did me in. First one tear- again quickly wiped away. But then another stared falling from the other eye. Again, I quickly wiped it away too but now I was running the risk of alerting my husband who would inevitably ask me that stupid question that WILL break the damn and I’ll be a sniveling idiot who will probably somehow slobber on the poor lady next to me and then Southwest will have to deal with her complaint instead of her “I love this airline” story. 

As I sat trying to mentally get control, the tears- one by one kept welling up. All the pressure behind the dam was too much and finally saw a chance for escape. And as I kept trying to nonchalantly wipe those little fuckers away, my husband turned. Damn it. 

His forehead wrinkled, the look of concern grew stronger, and then he did it. He put his arm around my shoulder and drew me in for a hug all while asking me if I was okay. 

No. No im not okay. I just read a really sad book about teenage trials and then read the sappiest of stories, AND I’M TRYING TO HELP A FAMILY HAVE A BABY AND I SCREWED IT UP LAST TIME AND IM WORRIED I’LL DO IT AGAIN AND THE PRESSURE OF ALL THAT POTENTIAL DISAPOINTMENT IS RUINING MY MENTAL STRENGTH. 

But instead, I melted into my husband and tried to stifle the sobs into his shoulder so the lady next to me wouldn’t be as startled by the craziness she accidentally sat next to. 

Eventually the sobs eased and I sat back (with my now mascara stained face) and shrugged to my completely understanding husband, who, thankfully, knows that sometimes I just need to let it out. I always feel better afterwards. There’s no need to talk about anything and nothing is technically wrong… I just needed to cry. 

I did warn you guys about that a few days ago… I knew it was coming! 

We deplaned in CA, hopped in the rental, and had a beautifully relaxing afternoon following ZERO schedule and soaking up the ever so rare ability to be spontaneous.