Their Lovin, My Oven

My Journey as a Gestational Surrogate

V.I.B. Very Important Bambino(s)! May 29, 2011

Yep – You’re reading that title correctly… BAMBINOS. As in 2 (two) babies! LOL.

Let me back track just a little. If you remember, on April 13th, we transferred one very healthy embryo and hoped and prayed that a nice, uneventful 9 month pregnancy would follow. Michele & Esteban were SO excited when we got positive HPTs and wonderful beta numbers. They can’t wait to welcome Gabriel into the world. At my ultrasound appointment on May 11th, we all got amazing news. There was definitely a healthy growing Gabriel snuggled up in my “baby oven.” What we weren’t expecting was to find out that….. Gabriel isn’t alone! LOL. That one little embryo that we implanted had about a 2% (yep, only 2%) chance of splitting into identical twins – AND IT DID!

I’m not going to lie – Hearing that news freaked me out. I can’t even imagine how Esteban & Michele were feeling… Being pregnant with one baby, I can do. I’m good at it. I’ve got two beautiful  little girls as living proof. Being pregnant with twins? I’m totally clueless. Completely out of my element. I know zip, zilch, nada about what to expect. Thank goodness I’ve got an amazing support system of family, friends, coworkers (who really are more like friends,) and fellow surrogates through an online forum. Once the shock wore off, everyone got very excited. Identical twins are so rare, and such a huge blessing. Esteban & Michele are overjoyed and I’m so excited for them!

Gabriel & Davide (aren’t those the cutest names EVER) will be making their grand entrance sometime in November or December of this year. Their due date is December 30th, but, with twins the goal is going to be 36 weeks vs the traditional 40. At a repeat ultrasound on May 20th, we were able to see that the embryo split early enough that both twins have their own amniotic sac. They will share a chorionic sac (they are called monochorionic/diamniotic twins – Google it LOL) and a placenta, but them having their own amniotic sacs brings the number of risks down SO much. It was wonderful to hear that news.

As of today, the twins are 9 weeks, 2 days and both very healthy! I have another ultrasound appointment in a few days, on Tuesday the 31st! Let me tell you, Esteban, Michele and I definitely don’t get tired of getting to see their precious babies so often! LOL.

Here is a picture of the twins, one on top and one on the bottom, at 8 weeks along. Enjoy!

Gabriel & Davide @ 8 weeks gestation

On a non-surrogacy related note, this week has been big for our family! On Wednesday, our “baby” girl turned 4! I still remember finding out I was pregnant like it was yesterday. She has turned into such a beautiful and smart young lady. We’re so proud of her every single day. Happy Birthday Baby! Mommy Loves You! On Thursday, my best friends daughters also reached milestones in their lives – One daughter graduated 8th grade and her other daughter graduated high school! We are so lucky to have been part of their special day and I couldn’t be more proud of all they have accomplished. On Friday, MY little brother who used to pee on me when I changed his diapers, graduated high school! It was an amazing ceremony (over 700 graduates!) It’s hard to believe that he is old enough to be graduating high school and moving on to the next chapter of his life. The world is at your fingertips, never stop dreaming!

 
I promise not to be a horrible blogger and keep everyone waiting so long for an update next time LOL. I hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day weekend and remembering why we celebrate this special day. I want to thank all our service men and women past, present and future for all the sacrifices they have made for our freedoms. I especially want to thank my Hubby for his years of service to our country with the USMC.
 
Until next time…. 🙂
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The Good, The Bad, The Honest Truth May 8, 2011

Filed under: Gestational Surrogacy — Danielle @ 11:51 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

First things first – Let me give a huge shout out to all the amazing Mama’s that I know! Our job is by far the most difficult, but  most rewarding job in the world. It’s such a privelege for me to be a Mommy to my two princesses, even when they’re driving me crazy. Happy Mother’s Day, ladies! 🙂

Now back to business… I started this blog months ago for a few reasons… To chronicle the in’s and out’s of my surrogacy journey as a record for myself, IPs, my children and their future children…. To document everything for fellow surros… To be completely honest and in doing so, hoping to educate people on surrogacy and my journey in particular. So, here goes. Here’s the good, the bad, the honest truth (so far.)

Let’s start with a little Q & A. I’ve been getting more and more questions about my surrogacy journey lately and thought that  I would take the time to answer a few of the major ones here for my faithful readers, whoever you may be 🙂

1. Why do you want to be a surrogate? To know the answer to this question, one only needs to spend 5 minutes in my house. Even when they’re being complete and total brats, talking back, testing their limits and trying my patience, I absolutely love and adore our two daughters ANGELS more than words can say. Even at it’s toughest moments, being a Mommy is a dream come true. I simply cannot imagine life without my daughters. I can’t imagine struggling with infertility for years, or being told that because of who you fell in love with that you can’t have a family. Family is everything. Bottom line. If I can help create a family, and see someone experience the joy that I do on a regular basis – That’s pretty darn amazing.

2. How can you give away your baby? Won’t you be attached?  Let me be very clear – I am a gestational surrogate. This baby has no genetic relation to myself or my husband whatsoever. He was conceived with his Daddies genetic material and that of a wonderful egg donor. Therefore, I am not giving away my baby. I am carrying him, acting as the “baby oven” until he is old enough to go home with his Daddies. As for the second part, I will be attached, but not in the way that I was attached to my daughters during my pregnancies. I will love Gabriel as I love my best friends son. I will care for him until his is old enough to go home to his Daddies, but, have no desire to “keep” him. Our family is complete as is. Now, I’m helping to complete Esteban and Michele’s family.

3. How much are you getting paid? I’ve addressed this question before, in a previous blog, but will do so again since it’s a common theme of what I get asked. My answer? None of your business. I don’t ask you what your annual salary is. And I’m pretty sure if I did, you’d have some not so kind words for me. My compensation for this journey is between six people. Myself, my husband, Esteban, Michele and our respective legal representation. If you aren’t one of those six people, butt out.  Just because I’m a surrogate doesn’t instantly make any of that your business or give you the right to pry where you wouldn’t otherwise dream of prying. I’m not doing this for the money. End of discussion.

4. Don’t you feel wrong doing this for a gay couple? Don’t you feel wrong asking me such a stupid question? Esteban and Michele love each other. I love them for loving each other. I love them for wanting to have a family of their own. I love them for trusting me to carry their child. If you don’t love them, you’re missing out. Your loss. “It’s surprising how many persons go through life without ever recognizing that their feelings toward other people are largely determined by their feelings toward themselves. And if you’re not comfortable with yourself, you can’t be comfortable with others.”

Should you have any other questions at any time, please don’t ask them of others. Talk to me, ask me. I will be nothing but honest with people about this journey, and anything that it involves. It is only through educating people that we can ask that they understand.

As I come up on 6 weeks pregnant with Esteban & Michele’s little angel, I will soon be “talking” more about how I’m feeling, what I’m experiencing, etc. It might not always be pretty, so, I’ll give you guys a warning if you’re going to venture into “personal” territory. Yes, this is the world wide web, and yes, I will be putting myself on “blast” but I feel that’s important. When I was researching surrogacy and turned to blogs of surrogates who had “been there, done that” I didn’t want some sugar coated version of their journies. I wanted the truth so that I could make an educated decision about what I was going to embark on. If I’m not honest, there’s no point in having this blog.

First things first. Injections. Delestrogen and PIO (Progesterone in Oil.) I have to have daily injections (that my husband lovingly administers) of synthetic versions of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. The injections are needed because your body is normally triggered to start producing them when you ovulate and the egg becomes fertilized and implanted. Since I did not ovulate, this is not my egg, and fertilization occured in a petri dish rather than inside my uterus, my body does not know to produce these hormones. Progesterone is especially important – It is what sustains the embryo until the placenta takes over at appoximately 10 weeks of pregnancy. Until we reach that point, Hubby gives me one injection of 2cc’s of progesterone every day, and .25cc’s of estrogen every Wednesday and Saturday. The injections suck. I can’t lie. There isn’t a part of my upper tush that isn’t bruised or sore. I have lumps where the oil hasn’t spread out because it’s so thick. Please do not take this to mean that they are not worth it. I would do 1,000 injections if that’s what I needed to do to keep Gabriel safe for his Daddies. While not fun, they are a necessary evil. I know that each shot gets me one day closer to handing Gabriel to his Daddies for the first time and knowing that their family is now complete. Totally worth every shot.

I get asked on a daily basis how I’m feeling. As of right now, 5 weeks 4 days in, I feel pretty darn good. I’m tired, but that’s to be expected. I only get rare bouts of nausea when a smell doesn’t agree with me, such as too much perfume. I am back to craving spicy foods (I can only eat spicy foods when I’m pregnant, I know, I’m weird) and that’s about it.

We have an ultrasound scheduled for this coming Wednesday! I simply cannot wait for Esteban & Michele to get to see their precious Gabriel! I will be exactly 6 weeks pregnant so, fingers crossed that we get to see  (or hear) Gabriel’s strong little heartbeat.

*****Warning: Content not approved for those who are sensitive to TMI (too much information***** <—- I’ve decided I’ll give a “Warning: TMI Content” message before anything “personal.” If you don’t want to read the nitty gritty details about things, stop reading here. If you continue, I can’t be held responsible for what you read LOL. Like I said before, I want to be as honest as possible with this blog. I’ll try to keep the TMI info at the bottom of the blog so that if you stop reading now, you won’t be missing anything.

**Warning: TMI Content**

The only other pregnancy symptom I have thus far is sore breasts. Even if Hubby and I were cleared to… ya know… I wouldn’t want to. I’ve invested in uber supportive sports bras. *Note to other potential surros… No “horizontal mambo” with Hubby once you start injectables until you’re cleared by the RE. Make sure your Hubby is amazing and totally supportive of your surrogacy journey (as mine is) since this affects him in a major way.*

**End of TMI Content**

That’s about it for now… I’ll update again Wednesday after the ultrasound 🙂

 

HPTs, Betas and More! May 3, 2011

So sorry that it’s been a while since my last update. Things have been sort of crazy in my world and I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write a blog worthy of being read by anyone LOL.

When I last “left” everyone, we had just had the embryo transfer on April 13th. The RE transferred one beautiful looking embryo (by beautiful I mean that the embryo was developing perfectly at the stage it should be) and kept our fingers crossed for a positive outlook.

According to my incredibly wise surro friends on All About Surrogacy (AAS – an amazing forum for surrogates/IPs) you can start taking HPTs (home pregnancy tests) as soon as 5dp5dt (5 days past a 5 day transfer.) So, that’s what we of course did!

The results? I know your dying to know. Well, the very first test showed an incredibly faint positive. I’m talking hold it up to the light, turn your head slightly to the left, squint your right eye approximately 1/3rd of the way closed and you’ll for sure see it, positive! However faint it might have been, false positives are very rare! Hubby and I immediately shared the news with E & M who were very excited, but cautiously optimistic. Our blood beta draw was scheduled for Saturday the 23rd (10dp5dt) so we would all wait to see what those results are. In the mean time, I kept the POAS (pee on a stick) party going and took a pregnancy test at least once (and sometimes twice) each day. Progressively, the positive result lines became darker! I went ahead and sprung for an expensive digital test – You know, the ones that just flat out tell you “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant.” They’re the least sensitive tests on the market, so, if we could get a positive result with that, we were in good shape. Low and behold, in the dead of night when I got home from work, the EPT Digital test told us that E & M are PREGNANT! YAY! They were absolutely elated and I was of course beaming with excitement for them! We all couldn’t wait to hear the results of the blood test on Saturday.

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early (6:00 am LOL) to leave at 7:00 am and make the drive down to Dr. Kumar’s office for the blood test. I was lucky enough to have my wonderful surro friend go with me. She’s with the same agency, also has IFs and is on the same exact schedule as I am! Her transfer was the same day which meant she got to have her beta draw the same day as I did :)We both couldn’t wait to find out results! She had gotten positive HPTs too so we were in the same boat.

We had our blood drawn and then anxiously drove home waiting for the results. They took a little longer than expected, but, the call finally came through! The REs office wanted to see a beta (hormone) level of at least 70 to consider it positive. My results was 153! We rocked that beta draw! E & M have such a healthy little baby bean in my Hotel Bambino! 🙂 🙂

They repeated the beta draw two days later to make sure it was going up… And it did. 153 to 354. Repeated it another two days later and it went up to 761. All of that is a huge indicator that there is a healthy little baby growing in my belly! I can’t wait for E & M to hold their bundle of joy! The official due date will be January 4th, so I’m coming up on 5 weeks pregnant as of tomorrow! The first ultrasound is next week on May 11th. I’m so excited for E & M to see their bambino for the first time! We are going to see if the REs office has wireless internet…. If they do, we will take the laptop and Skype with E & M during the ultrasound. If they do not, I will snag my brothers video camera and video record the entire thing for them 🙂

 On the day of the transfer, the embryologist was able to tell Hubby and I whether or not the embryo they were transferring was a boy or a girl. There had been extra genetic testing done that allowed them to find out that information while they looked for other things. Hubby and I were the only ones that knew (besides the doctor of course) and E & M wanted to wait to have us give them the news until after the positive beta draw. Once we got that positive result, it was SO exciting to share with them that in January, they will be welcoming their precious…………….. SON Gabriel to their lives! They are so ecstatic!

 I’ve been feeling pretty good so far. I’m very curious to see if my pregnancy and symptoms will be different this time around. I’ve only ever gotten pregnant naturally (vs this time being IVF) and I’ve only ever carried girls. Hopefully I’ll manage just this once to avoid the horrible all day sickness I got with both our girls. Only time will tell. I haven’t had too many symptoms yet. I’m very tired, and I don’t know whether I can chalk that up to the bambino I’m carrying or just being a working Mommy of 2. I have gotten nauseous on occasion, usually as a result of a strong smell that just doesn’t agree with me. Thus far, I’ve managed not to throw up at all. Keep your fingers crossed that it stays that way, will you? Thanks! LOL.

 I promise I’ll be better at keeping everyone updated! The next report will probably be after the big U/S (ultrasound) and as long as I have E & Ms permission, I’ll post pictures of their precious Gabriel 🙂

Until next time… Gabriel and I hope you have a great day! Xoxo