Their Lovin, My Oven

My Journey as a Gestational Surrogate

Things that make you go Hmmm July 22, 2011

It’s time for another post, so I thought I would make it a good one with a lot of thought provoking crap important stuff! LOL. First and foremost an update on the bambinos! I’m now 17 weeks along carrying E & Ms little miracles. The babies are officially about 9 inches from head to toe (that’s 18 total inches of baby, people! That’s equivalent to some shorty newborns!) and weigh just over 5oz each. They are becoming sensitive to light, starting to develop FAT (Oh good, I’m not alone anymore) and recycling amniotic fluid to make those lovely first meconium poops for their Daddies. I’m feeling rather large these days but I have some friends who love me dearly and do their best to convince me that I’m small for carrying twins. I’ll post pics some other day LOL.

I have a LOT of people ask me if I notice a ton of differences between carrying twins vs a “singleton” pregnancy like with my girls so I thought I would list out the differences that I’ve noticed thus far. Keep in mind I’m still not quite to the halfway point so I’m sure this post will be edited to add more as things progress. The biggest difference I notice is how tired exhausted I am. Hubby swears I was this tired when preggo with “K” but I am pretty sure he doesn’t know what he is talking about. No matter how much sleep I get at night, or if I’m able to take a nap, I still feel tired. I’ve decided that the 2nd trimester energy boost is nonexistent when you’re carrying multiples. The second thing probably doesn’t have a lot to do with carrying twins, but more to do with the fact that D & G are BOYS and thus far I’ve only carried girls. I’m carrying SO much lower this pregnancy than with my girls and I feel it. My tummy feels very heavy already and I know that’s only going to increase as time goes on. Other than that, I don’t notice too many differences just yet. Give me time LOL.

Hubby and I surprised E & M by renting an at home doppler to listen to the babies heartbeats whenever we want. After a little while of trying to figure out just where in my Bambino Hotel they were both located, we’ve been able to listen to their beautiful heartbeats several times. We surprised them on Skype and let them hear their boys. They are both such wiggle worms (enjoy it now D & G, I know you’re running out of room in there LOL) so it’s hard to keep the sound isolated for more than a few seconds, but those few seconds are just beautiful. E & M were so overwhelmed and thankful for every little thing that we have done. It means the world to me to see the joy on their faces – That’s what this is all about. Seeing them so happy makes me tear up. They truly are the perfect IFs and I know without a shadow of a doubt that they are going to be the world’s best Daddies (besides DH of course.)

I’ve been starting to feel the boys moving more, still not regularly but when it happens I know it’s them and not gas. And yes, I’ve been pregnant and had enough gas in my life that I can tell the difference! LOL. Having the doppler at home and hearing their heartbeats while feeling their movements at the same time brought about a realization that I hadn’t had to deal with just yet. People used to (and sometimes still do) ask me if I was going to get attached to the babies. I imagined that in some ways I would, I mean how can you not? You’re caring for, nurturing and putting everything you have into growing these tiny babies for their parents for 9 months. I wasn’t sure though how that attachment would differ from that to my own girls when I was pregnant with them. My realization? It’s drastically different, but, in a good way. I went into this surrogacy knowing that the child(ren) I was going to carry for whomever would not be mine. Not my egg, not my baby. These precious little boys have belonged to their Daddies long before they were ever implanted in my “oven.” Their Daddies have been planning, dreaming, hoping, wishing for years and now it’s finally real to them. I am always amazed every time I feel a movement from either boy, and listening to their heartbeats never gets old. I absolutely love and adore Davide & Gabriel and always will. BUT, it’s different. My joy, my love, my excitement all stems back to Esteban & Michele. Every movement that I love to feel reminds me how big and strong the boys are growing and how we are each day getting a little bit closer to being able to hand them to their Daddies. Every time I listen to their heartbeats, I think of Esteban & Michele and the smiles that I can see or hear in their voices every time they hear the same sound. This is all for them. I will love and protect D & G with every fiber of my being, just like I did and do with my own children, but I do it out of a greater love for their Daddies. I love them like I love my best friends son. I would do anything to protect them from harm, but would never think of keeping them from their parents. The attachment is totally different but it’s amazing. I am so blessed to have such wonderful IFs who I know would never take these boys away from me. I don’t have to worry about losing contact or not being able to see the boys grow up. We’re all family now and I honestly couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s a dream come true for my first surrogacy. I know that not every surrogate has the same experience and my heart breaks for them. Words cannot describe how thankful I am that God brought E & M and my family together for this amazing journey.

As always, thank you for those that take the time to read my blog. It means a lot to me that people that I’ve never met, and my family and friends care enough to stay updated on how things are going. Until next time, lots of love from Danielle and the bambinos. 🙂

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Being Thankful… July 12, 2011

I’m going to warn everyone that this post is going to be incredibly one sided, opinionated, and perhaps just plain bitchy. I’m not trying to offend anyone, and I won’t call anyone out by name. If you think this post is about you, you are more than welcome to email me. At the end of the day this is my blog so I do what I want. 😉

I feel like lately I’ve been surrounded by people who just aren’t thankful for the things/blessings that they have and instead spend more time complaining about what they want. And quite frankly, that pisses me off. In the beginning of this surrogacy, the REs office let slip that another surro lived in the same town as me and joked that we should be carpooling (I live about 80 miles one way from the REs office.) I didn’t really think anything of it and let it go. Fast forward a month or two down the road when we got closer to transfer time. My IFs went to the REs office to be with their ED during her retrieval. While they were there, they met another couple who was using the same agency and whose ED was having her retrieval that day as well. They sort of bonded over the events that were happening then and there, and what was to come in the future. After my IFs told me about that meeting, I decided to reach out to my agency coordinator to see if she could approach their surro and perhaps we could become friends. I have an amazing support system in my family, friends, and online communities, but I thought how cool would it be to have someone on the EXACT same timeline as me, that could meet for a quick coffee or lunch, etc. My coordinator emailed her with the proposition of us meeting and gave her my email address. I was so excited when we started emailing. It quickly turned into text messaging daily and we struck up a friendship. We had our transfers on the same day and since I “went first” I waited at the REs office specifically to see how things went. Our NC at the REs office would purposely schedule our appts one after the other so that we could go to everything together. We compared signs and symptoms after the transfers. We started doing HPTs on the same day. We obsessed over how dark the lines were, both got digis, and anxiously awaited the day of our betas. We drove to the beta appt together and text messaged constantly wondering when in the heck we would get the phone call with the results. Within 10 minutes of hearing results, we were excitedly texting that we were both preggo. We had our first ultrasounds on the same day and both couldn’t have been more excited for our IFs. I thought that I would have a surro sister to support me (and who I could support) throughout this entire journey. But things didn’t turn out that way.

Esteban & Michele had a desire to avoid high order multiples – As did I. A pregnancy with multiples is risky not only for me as a surro, but for the babies. Because of this, we all agreed that as long as the embryo we transferred was of strong quality, and the RE was confident, we would transfer just ONE embryo. Transferring more embryos does not necessarily increase your odds of success with IVF. I mean, it only takes one egg to make a baby, right? So, that’s what we did. The embryo was amazing quality and the RE was confident that we would be successful. The other surros IFs really wanted twins. They’re embryos weren’t of as great of quality so they ended up transferring 4 embryos. Everyone can hope that things will turn out the way that they have planned, but, from the beginning I went into this thinking that no matter what, a healthy baby was what was important. Regardless of whether it was one baby, two babies, or more – Having a child is a miracle, especially in this process.

The other surros beta #s were pretty much double what mine were. My #s were not indicative of a multiple pregnancy. Now, beta #s are obviously not an exact science but I was pretty confident that we had one little healthy bambino snuggled in and that the other surro would have at least two embies stick based on our numbers. When it came time for the ultrasound, her appt was before mine. I anxiously awaited them coming out of the room to hear the news of how many embies had stuck, but, the nurse put me in my room before I could talk to her. Our agency founder was there that day for both appts. She was in with the other surro during her ultrasound and then came in the room to be with DH and I for ours. I remember her asking how many embryos we transferred as she looked at the screen with this odd look on her face. I reassured her it was just one. The RE quickly found a strong heartbeat and Esteban, Michele (via phone,) DH and I were all over the moon. As we all know, he went on to find a second strong heartbeat. E & Ms precious little embie had decided to be one of the 2% that split – They were going to have identical twin boys. Moral of the story here? Though they had maybe planned to avoid multiples in the first place, E & M are over the moon excited to be having twin boys. They are so adorably giddy every time that I talk to them and tell them how the twins are doing. Did things go “as planned?” No. Did that make any of us any less excited about the miracle taking place? No. Clearly God intends for E & M to parent twins – We all believe that He knows what he’s doing here.

The other surro was waiting for me in the waiting room – She had heard the news about the embryo splitting. As for her? Only one embryo “stuck.” Still – That one embryo was an incredibly healthy little baby. Her IFs came out shortly after when they were done speaking with the RE. I can’t lie. They didn’t look like people who had just found out they were going to have a baby. Yeah, only one embryo “stuck” and they wanted twins BUT this was everyone’s first try at this. I really felt like we should all be celebrating that her IFs and mine were going to be parents.

Since that ultrasound appointment, I hardly ever talk to my fellow surro. I text message her every now and then, but, I usually don’t get any response at all and if I do it’s a one word answer that never goes any further. I miss her. I miss having someone who knows exactly what I’m going through right at that very moment because we were on the same exact schedule. And her IFs don’t talk to Esteban & Michele anymore either. I feel like I’m being punished because our embryo split and E & M are getting twins when her IFs are not. I can’t help but wonder if they asked her not to speak with me. And I can’t help but be pissed off that they really are not acting happier at the fact that the IVF transfer was successful on the first try, and that this December they will get to realize their dreams of being parents. I feel like their attitudes that day, at the big ultrasound appt, sucked. We don’t always get what we want, but, we should be thankful for what we have. Even more so in a situation like this. There are IPs out there who have gone through several failed cycles with their surros, but pick back up and move on to the next with hopes that this time will be different, that this time will be “the one.”

I don’t really know that there’s some universal big “point” to this blog. I just needed to express my frustration and ultimate sadness that at the end of the day, I lost a surro friend and still don’t really know why.

 

Yes, actually, there are 2 babies in there! July 8, 2011

Sheesh!

I know people are usually well meaning, BUT, I’m too sensitive right now to handle that crap. Yesterday I was in line at Panda Express to get lunch and had a very short exchange with a woman standing behind me that left me feeling like I’m huge. Giant. Ginormous. FAT. And not Fat With Life. Just FAT.

Woman: “Awwww how far along are you?”

Me: “Almost 4 months”

Woman: “WOWWWWWWW. Are they sure there’s only one baby in there?!?!?!”

Me: “Actually, there are two babies in there. Anything else you want to talk about?”

Sure, I might have been a little snippety, but COME ON PEOPLE. First of all, what if I wasn’t pregnant? Second of all, what if I really was only carrying one baby? Don’t people know not to mess with pregnant hormonal people? SHEESH!

AND THEN today a coworker, who I see every single day Monday-Friday, decides to say “Hey, you’re pregnant!” And I said “Yes, have been for a while” and he had NO response. So basically I just look fatter today than normal? LOL.

I know I’m just being uber sensitive but man. If people think I’m huge now, just WAIT. I plan to get GIGANTIC and keep these babies in until at least 36 weeks. Bring on the comments people, I’m ready for you!

E & Ms precious twinkies are now 15 weeks! We’re so close to the halfway point! The boys’ legs have grown longer than the arms and the body is now longer than the head. The bone and marrow that makes up their skeletal system is continuing to develop this week. The bones and muscles are continuing to grow.  Their ears are nearly in position, and the three tiny bones in their middle ears have begun to harden. By the end of the week, the roof of their mouths will be completely formed. They have an adults taste buds and may be able to savor meals. Their crown to rump length by this week of pregnancy is 4 to 4.5 inches and they weigh about 2.5 ounces. The twins are close to the size of a SOFTBALL.

Note to E & M. I’ve got some things to add to the list of foods/drinks that your boys do not seem to be fond of LOL. #1 is iced tea. No iced tea for these boys. Guess I’ll have to wait to try out McDonalds “famous” Sweet Tea until I deliver. #2 is my hubby’s homemade chili. I’m actually really upset about this one so I might have to make them try it again later on. #3 is Chinese food. I may never, ever, ever touch Chinese food again after last night. Just some fair warning 😉

Until next time… Lots of love from me and the twin softballs that are expanding my middle 🙂

 

Get in my Belly!!!!! July 7, 2011

Yep, the “belly” has officially made it’s appearance!!! I think HOPE that I finally look Pregnant and not just F-A-T. Haha. I’ll let you be the judge 😉

14 Weeks with E & Ms precious boys ❤
I’m still pretty nauseous… Unfortunately I throw up at least once every morning (sometimes 2-3 times) and every once in a while I will toss my cookies after lunch or dinner. I would MUCH rather throw up in the am when I have nothing in my stomach. As a side note to E & M, your boys do NOT, I repeat, do NOT like iced tea. LOL. They were definitely not subtle in letting me know after I drank a HUGE glass of it the other night. I hope you two aren’t fans either. Frankly, after that night, I’m not such a fan anymore.
 
I’ve tried negotiating with the twins. I’ve promised them lasagna (you know, since their Daddies live in Italy LOL) or anything else they will tell me they want, but it hasn’t helped. Hopefully they will soon realize that we are in the second trimester and “morning” sickness is supposed to be gone by now!
 
I will see the perinatologist again at the end of July and then will start my prenatal visits with her being every 2 weeks.
 
Until next time… 🙂