Their Lovin, My Oven

My Journey as a Gestational Surrogate

“Little Tot” Onboard September 17, 2012

Transfer of one of M&Ts sweet little totsicles went AMAZING on Saturday 9/15/12 at approx 2pm. I promise to update more soon but it’s been a super long day of travel and Little Tot and I just want to crawl into bed right now. I hope everyone had a great weekend!

 

We’re PUPO – Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise!!! I promise a full transfer post ASAP <3<3

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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.

 

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

 

The Big Day! April 17, 2011

Yay for transfer day!

The embryo transfer was on Wednesday 4/13. Lucky # 13 anyone? 😉  Our awesome friends and my Mom babysat the girls so that Jake and I could head down to Thousand Oaks. Fellow surros had told me that green and yellow were good luck colors for the IVF transfer, so, pretty much everyone we knew was decked out in at least one of those colors 🙂

We got to Fertility and Surgical Associates of CA at 12:45pm for our 1:30pm transfer appointment. My case manager from Fertility Miracles, Elena, met us there for support. 🙂

All decked out in green when we first arrived 🙂

Hubby & I in the waiting room. His shirt says "You Removed my WHAT?!" LOL

 
Very shortly after we arrived, we were called back into the procedure room. The nurse went over what I could expect, my discharge instructions, and lab slips to take to my local lab for blood work this coming week. Once we were finished speaking, I got “dressed” in my transfer gear. I still got to wear my green shirt, and I put on my lucky rainbow socks (that of course had green and yellow) 🙂
 

My "styling" hospital gown and AWESOME socks 🙂

 
Once I had taken my valium (a muscle relaxer to make sure all the poking and prodding didn’t upset my uterus) the embryologist came in and showed us the photos of Esteban & Michele’s little bambino! They had fertilized 5 and chose the best one to be implanted. Had the quality not been the best, the doctor would have implanted more than one embryo, but, the quality was the best it possibly could be! 🙂 The transfer only took a few minutes. Once it was done, we got to see a beautiful picture of E & Ms baby. It took everything I had not to cry. It’s just such a wonderful miracle happening and I’m so excited for E & M.
 
And now? Now we wait. I have a blood test scheduled for Saturday the 23rd. It will be the official pregnancy test. Other surros on All About Surrogacy (an amazing website forum for surrogates and IPs) have said they’ve gotten positive home pregnancy tests (HPTs) as early as 5 days past a 5 day transfer (5dp5dt.) I’m going to take a test tomorrow morning and we’ll see what it says. If it’s negative, I’m convinced it’s just too early. But, with all the prayers and good thoughts that we have not only from the USA, but from Italy as well, I just know that E & Ms bambino is completely snuggled up in Hotel Bambino for the next 9 months.
 
If everyone can keep up their prayers, we would really appreciate it! I’ll leave you with a wonderful picture of the bambino. The bright white spot is the amazing little angel that we’ll all get to meet in January 2012! 🙂
 

E & Ms bambino. The bright white spot in the middle of the black circle 🙂

 
 
 
 
 

A Long Overdue Update… & PICS! April 16, 2011

It’s been just over a week since my last update and I’m sorry for the delay. We were super busy having the time of our lives with Esteban & Michele! I guess that I’ll start from the beginning since it’s been an exciting and eventful 10 days!

On Sunday (the day after they arrived in CA) we went to the LA Zoo together. The girls immediately “took” to the guys. Our youngest daughter “K” is usually very shy around people she doesn’t know. When we got out of the car, she immediately walked right up to Esteban and let him carry her the whole time we were in line. It’s true what they say – Babies and children are extremely good judges of character and both girls could immediately tell what wonderful people Esteban and Michele are. We had such a blast at the zoo! Our mission of the day was to find the elephants. Considering their size, one would not have expected that to be such a huge project LOL. The elephants enclosure is gigantic and by the time we made it around to one side of their “home” they had moved back to the other side. We were close enough to get zoomed in pictures though, so our older daughter “C” was happy. Here are some pictures from our adventure 🙂

Esteban and "K"

 

Esteban & Michele

 

"C", Jake (Hubby), Esteban & Michele

 
On Wednesday 4/6 I had another check up with Dr. Kumar. Esteban & Michele met me there and it was wonderful to have them at the appointment. Dr. Kumar was measuring my uterine lining to make sure the injections were doing their job and preparing a nice thick and comfy uterine lining for the bambino to snuggle in to. He was looking for anything above 9mm and my lining was at 14! Yeah, I’m a little bit of an over achiever haha. 🙂 After the doctors appointment, we went for coffee and I was able to hear the full story of their journey to surrogacy. It further reinforced what wonderful and amazing people they are and what awesome parents they are going to be!
 
I took off Thursday and Friday from work so that we could spend more time with the guys before they had to leave on Saturday. On Thursday we decided that we should all go to……. THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH!!! That’s right everyone, we went to DISNEYLAND!! It was Jake’s first time, Esteban & Michele’s first time and our daughters’ first time! I haven’t been in at least 10 years so it was a whole new experience for me as well! To say that we had an amazing time would be the understatement of the century! We couldn’t possibly have dreamed up a better day! Here are some pics 🙂
 

"C" SO excited when we told her where we were!

 
 

The Fam with Goofy

The Guys with Goofy
All of us (minus our sleeping baby) with Winnie the Pooh
C with her new BFF Tigger
Boys will be Boys
Our Family ❤
Our New Italian Family ❤

 

On Friday the guys came to our home for dinner. Hubby made delicious bbq ribs, corn bread, and bbq beans. Everything was delicious and it was truly wonderful to spend more time with the guys before their iminent departure. It was a great night, but, also very sad knowing it would be the last time we would see them before they flew back to Italy. We ate, talked, and enjoyed each others company. I managed to hold back the tears when they left (much to my surprise.) After spending so much time with them, this has become an even more amazing journey than it already has. I’m not just “baking a baby” and giving him/her back to E & M. I’m adding two (and eventually three) truly wonderful people to our family. Even if I had dreamed up the “perfect” set of IPs for our journey, I never could have dreamed up anyone better than Esteban and Michele. We are so blessed to have met them and been matched to take this amazing journey together. I can’t for everything to unfold.

We’ve been so fortunate to be able to Skype with them on a daily basis since they went back home. It’s not the same as having them here and seeing them in person every day, but, it’s a great substitute until they come back in August for another visit.
 
This past Wednesday, we had a very exciting day! We arrived at Dr. Kumar’s office (Fertility and Surgical Associates of CA) at 12:45p for the EMBRYO TRANSFER! The doctor transferred one beautiful little embie and things couldn’t have gone any better. For the past 3 days since then I have been on bed rest and taking it extremely easy. I just want the little bambino to snuggle in for the next 9 months. I am feeling pretty good. Tired, a little nauseous and having some cramping but overall good. I welcome nausea, cramping, etc as positive signs that E & Ms bambino is getting nice and comfy inside my Baby Hotel 🙂 I have pictures from the transfer date, and will post them very soon. For now, it’s nap time! XoXo
 

Let’s Make a Bambino!!! March 17, 2011

Filed under: Gestational Surrogacy — Danielle @ 1:16 am
Tags: , ,

You’re probably thinking: “Another post?! The ink on the one you just wrote isn’t even dry!” LOL. And you’re right, it’s not. However, I felt that this news needed it’s own post. No controversy, no sad bad news bears, instead – Pure Joy.

Hubby and I signed the final draft of our contract this morning!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We’re all done with screenings, meetings, legal mumbo jumbo, etc!

I have an appt way too early Friday morning with the RE (Reproductive Endocronologist aka Fertility Doctor) for a repeat ultrasound and more blood work. Because the contracts are all done, I’ll also get all my meds and a schedule for each of them. As long as all goes well, we are set to do our first embryo transfer on

    APRIL 11th or 12th

!!!!!! Less than one month away!

If that transfer is successful (and it will be! Stay positive with me here) E & M will be spending their New Years 2012 welcoming a bundle of joy into the world and into their hearts!

I couldn’t be more happy for them and cannot wait to get to spend time with them in April.

Put all your reservations about surrogacy aside for just a moment and do a Happy Dance with me, will ya? Thanks! You rock! LOL.