Friday, December 28, 2012

Oh Wait...I'm Pregnant

Before starting this journey, lots of people asked me, and I wondered myself, how would I feel about carrying a baby that wasn't mine?  I'm sure things can and will change as I get farther along, but honestly, there are times that I totally forget I'm even pregnant.

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I couldn't concentrate on anything for days.  I probably spent 7 out of my 8 work hours browsing pregnancy internet chat rooms and baby name websites.  My feelings wavered between elation and terror, amazed that I was going to be responsible for a whole human being in 9 months.  When I found out I was pregnant this time, I smiled, decided it was too early to call my IPs yet, and jumped in the shower to get ready for work.  Other that the necessary tasks that occupy my day, such as coordinating with doctors, labs, and my agency, I really don't think about the pregnancy at all.  This might have something to do with the fact that this is my second as opposed to first pregnancy, but I think it mainly has to do with the fact that once I pop this kid out, I don't have to worry about it anymore.

I often find myself thinking things like:  "Aww, look at that cute pregnant belly on that lady.  She is so lucky.  Oh wait...I'm pregnant too!"  "Why do my boobs hurt?  Oh yeah, I'm pregnant."  "Time for me to carry this huge box of crap to the basement.  Oh wait, I shouldn't do that, I'm pregnant."

It really is totally different this time around.  Last time I spent my time thinking about how my life would change to include a newborn.  Now, while I'm sure my IPs' thoughts are consumed with that sort of stuff, I have my own family to focus on.  I have a toddler who has recently discovered that she has her own opinions which sometimes differ than my opinions, and she is having trouble learning how to deal with her disappointment when things don't go her way.  I have a husband who I don't see for days at a time, and who will be starting school again in January, and I want to make the most of my time with him when I do have him around.  I have my own problems, joys, challenges, and goals, and none of them include a baby.

When I do stop to think about the pregnancy now, it's to worry about whether I am carrying one or two babies.  I agreed to transfer two embryos and carry two babies if they both took.  If that's what happened, I will put on my brave face and protect those little peanuts as well and for as long as I can.  But if I'm being honest, I'm really, really scared of twins and all the added risks that come with them: elevated risks of pregnancy complications, preterm babies, bed rest and c-section.  I scheduled my ultrasound for Wednesday, January 9, and we will find out for sure how many kiddos are cooking in there.  After that, I will know what I'm facing and will be able to move forward!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2nd Beta Results are In!

Oh my gosh, they came the same day!

Second beta, 15dp5dt: 2335!  Holy cow!  That's a doubling time of 38 hours (with 48-72 being the goal for indicating a healthy pregnancy).  My IPs are definitely expecting at least one bundle of joy in the next 8 months or so!

There wasn't much data available on the message board for this particular date, as most people are done with their betas before now.  But here are my numbers for comparison:

15dp5dtSINGLETON: 84, 150, 726, 849, 1224, 1277, 1356, 1574, 1799, 1965, 2088, 2265, 2335, 3314, 4320
TWINS: 786, 919, 1150, 1586, 1685, 2335, 2400, 2616, 2751, 3022, 3088, 3427, 3903, 3930, 4050, 4744, 7874

It's still possible that it is a singleton, but my numbers are climbing to the top of the list, and also moving up toward the middle of the twin list.  So, the signs are starting to point more toward double trouble!

My progesterone level is still great, at 39.  So I'm supposed to stay on all the same meds.

Next step, our first ultrasound!  I am supposed to schedule it for anytime starting next Thursday, Jan. 3, which will be 5 weeks, 6 days pregnant.  I think I am going to schedule it for sometime the second week of January, closer to 6.5-7 weeks so we are sure to see the heartbeat(s).  My IPs will be coming from Chicago to get the first peek at their little one(s), so I want to make sure they get a good show!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

First Beta Results

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate!  I just returned yesterday afternoon from my own travels, which despite the fact that the entire family caught a horrible stomach bug and my husband's suitcase and contents were destroyed on our return flight, was overall a fun time.  That said, I am SOOO glad to be home and finally feeling better.

Sorry I have not posted lately, but with the living out of a suitcase and spending half my time in the bathroom, I didn't have much time, resources, or energy to post.  Here is what has been going on:

On Saturday, 12/22, I decided to take one last pregnancy test just to make sure the line was getting nice and dark and not fading away.  I figured that way, even if I didn't get my beta test results on time, I wouldn't be worrying about whether I was pregnant.  Does that make it sound like I'm an expect the worst, glass half empty type of person?  Well considering that 2 out of 3 of my stat requests so far have not made it until over 24 hours after they were supposed to, I like to be prepared.  Anyway, this is what I got:

Yep, the pregnant line is darker than the control line.  I knew I was very, very pregnant!

On Monday morning, I went to get my blood drawn for my beta hcg (pregnancy hormone) and progesterone (what I have been injecting into my butt and sticking up my hoo ha) levels.  I dragged my sick butt up early on Christmas Eve and got there at 7:45 am since my clinic told me to get there early enough to get the results same day.  I asked the guy as he was drawing my blood what the turnaround time was - 4 hours.  So they should have the results to my clinic by noon.  At 12:30 the clinic called to confirm that I did in fact get my bloodwork done.  They never received results from the lab, and when they called to follow up the lab had closed at noon for the holiday.  So they said that since I had a positive pregnancy test, to just go ahead and continue meds as before and they would follow up this morning.

Who is shocked by this?  No one?  Me neither.  We are now 3/4 on people dropping the ball on my stat med requests.  The fact that we managed to get knocked up with the assistance of the most inept collection of medical and legal professionals on the planet amazes me.  Just goes to show how much my IPs deserve to be parents!  (Just wanted to add a note, I do NOT include the actual IVF doctor in this group - I haven't seen much of him but he has been wonderful and obviously knows what he is doing.)

So this morning rolls around and I wait anxiously for a phone call with my results.  Nothing ever comes.  Finally morning turns into afternoon, and it's my lunch break.  First I call the clinic to find out if they have my results - nope.  Then I call the lab to complain - I'm getting very good at this.  They claim they sent the results out on Monday morning as asked, but agreed to fax them over again right away.  About 20 minutes later, I FINALLY got the call.

Beta #1 results, 12dp5dt:  650!!

That is high.  Really high.  They consider anything over 25 pregnant.  Of course the first thing I did was hop on the surrogacy forum where I am a member, and compare my results to the master beta list comprised of past beta scores of other members to find out if I'm more likely to have one or two little buns baking in there:

SINGLETON: 46, 58, 72, 89, 97, 104, 113.6, 126, 126, 161, 212, 223, 226, 252, 277.57, 298, 300, 325, 340, 342, 351, 376, 381, 416, 423, 430, 503, 505, 526, 566, 580, 634, 650, 657, 699, 709, 857, 1193, 1257
TWINS: 389, 408, 428, 451, 518.6, 609, 650, 653, 688, 688, 741, 746, 774, 766, 824, 969, 971, 1021, 1045, 1108, 1149, 1155, 1250, 1480, 1507, 1554, 1663, 1709, 1685, 2065, 2408, 2456, 2783, 2976, 3833

As you can see, my number is on the high end for a singleton and on the low end for twins.  So we will just have to wait and see!  My agency rep, IPs, and husband have all predicted twins.  So I'm going to say a singleton just to be different.  Seriously though, I have decided to mentally prepare myself for the idea of twins and be pleasantly surprised if I find out it's only one.

I go back for a second blood test tomorrow.  In a healthy pregnancy, the hcg levels will double at least every 48-72 hours.  Since I will be having my test done about 72 hours after the first one, we are shooting for a number over 1300 - hopefully higher so it's closer to a 48 hour doubling time.  The second beta result can be a better indicator than the first of how many you have.  If it doubles in 48 hours, it's probably a singleton.  If it quadruples, it's probably twins.  So we shall see tomorrow (or perhaps next week...sigh).

Also, just as a note, my progesterone level was 29.  Anything over 10 is considered good, so the injections and suppositories I have been taking are giving me plenty of the hormone for my body to maintain the pregnancy...always a good thing!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Time to Spill the Beans!

It looks like a lot of people have been stopping by my blog in the last couple of days.  I wonder why? guys were hoping to find out whether I was pregnant?

I started testing Sunday.  Just four days after transfer.  Because I am a nut job.  Here is what I got:

Yes, it's negative, technically.  But I swore that if I held it in just the right light at exactly the right angle, I could see the ghost of a shadow of a line.  I made my husband look.  At first he told me I was a nut, it was negative.  Then, I think to get me to stop bothering him, he agreed that he could kind of see a line.

I swear I will never test this early again.  It made me crazy all day long.  Was it an almost line?  Would it be darker tomorrow?  Or did all negative tests look like that?  What if I wasn't pregnant and my crazy mind was giving me false hope?

Monday, I tested again, at 5 days post 5 day transfer (5dp5dt) or the equivalent of 10 days past ovulation (10dpo).  Here is what I got:

Yep, that's right, a positive!  Still faint, but definitely pink and definitely there.  Woo hoo, I couldn't wait to tell my IPs.  I waited until a slightly more reasonable hour and tried calling both of them before I left for work.  No answer - they are late sleepers.  (My IM was aghast at the fact that I have to wake up at 6:00 to leave for work.  Boy are they in for a rude awakening in about 9 months, literally!)  Then once I got to work I tried calling them one more time before I went in, still no answer.  So I left IM a voicemail with the good news.  Never heard back.  Finally at about 11:00 I emailed IF to see if they had gotten my voicemail.  They hadn't even looked at her phone yet!  Needless to say, once I finally was able to give them the news, they were over the moon excited, crying, etc.

I decided I would keep testing every couple of days just to make sure the lines are getting darker and not fading away (signalling an early miscarriage).

Here is what I got this morning:

I am so thrilled for my IPs that after all these years of trying and waiting, we were able to get pregnant on the very first try!  They so deserve it, and they are going to be great parents!  We are keeping our fingers crossed this little one (or ones!) decides to stick around for the next 9 months.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Killing Time in the Two Week Wait

I am home now, and on my last day of doctor mandated rest.  Luckily, my clinic does not require complete bed rest, but they do require me to be a couch potato for the day of transfer and the two following days.  My instructions were no cooking, cleaning, exercising, or going to work...just sitting as much as possible.  At first I was thinking, "um, can I have an embryo transfer every week?"  Now at the tail end of my restriction, my butt is SORE from being sat upon, and I would love to get up and do some dishes just to get some blood flowing to it.  Oh well, tomorrow I will be up and about all day long to make up for it.

Since the embryo transfer was last Friday, I am 7 days into my two week wait (the time between when a woman ovulates and her missed period).  Most women are able to see a positive on home pregnancy tests at least a couple days before that, so I will be testing at some point next week.  My IPs are trying to have the attitude of "what will be, will be" so they don't want to tell me if and when to test.  My official blood pregnancy test (Beta hCG) will be on Christmas Eve.  The results of that test will show me for sure if I am pregnant, and if so, if it's a healthy pregnancy or if I am likely to miscarry.  Based on how high the number is, I can also be a predictor (although not definite indicator) of how many babies are baking.  We won't know for sure about that until the first ultrasound, which will likely be sometime in the first half of January.  So every step in this process requires patience and waiting!

As far as symptoms go, I am not "feeling" pregnant yet.  Other than the tiredness, my other pregnancy symptoms I was having because of the progesterone seem to have gone away as I've gotten used to the drug.  Not feeling any symptoms doesn't really mean anything at this point though, because I never felt any symptoms with my daughter until several days after I got a positive pregnancy test.

I did have some minor uterine cramping on and off all morning and into the early afternoon yesterday.  This could be either irritation from the catheter during the transfer, or...implantation!  Hopefully one of those perfect little embies picked out its favorite piece of real estate and dug its way in for a nine month stay.

Since I don't have any pee stick pictures to show just yet, I figured I would show off my progesterone needle.  This is the one that goes into my butt once every three days.  I am so lucky I have a pro at home to keep the pain to a minimum:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Transfer Complete!

We got to the clinic at 7:40 this morning.  I got called back first and changed into my lovely gown.  I waited by myself for about half an hour while my IPs met with the embryologist to go over how their embryos were doing and decide which ones to transfer.  Then IM got changed into scrubs to join me for the transfer.  IF was too nervous so he stayed in the waiting room.  I had been drinking water so my bladder would be full at the time of transfer (I think a full bladder makes it easier for them to see what they are doing).  I also took my Valium and shortly thereafter we were brought to the transfer room.

Once we got there, IM got to take a look at her embabies though a microscope while they set me up in stirrups.  We got to watch on the big screen while they pulled the embryos into a catheter and then shot them up into my uterus.  Then they stood me up and we were out the door.  The whole thing literally took 2 minutes.  By the time I was getting dressed, the Valium really started to kick in.  IM actually ended up walking me back to my hotel room so I didn't get lost.  Then I collapsed in bed and slept like a rock for a couple hours.  IM came by to bring me lunch and then later for dinner, and we chatted and watched tv for a while.

My IPs ended up with several really great embryos.  We transferred 2 grade A embryos, which is the highest grade they can get.  They should have several to freeze for later use as well.  The embryologist was very optimistic about our odds of success.  It's amazing that I now have two babies on board!  I feel like I should feel different somehow, but I don't.

My official blood pregnancy test is 12/24, but most people are able to test positive with home pregnancy tests.  My IPs didn't have a preference for when I test, so I will probably do it sometime next week.  Since the embryos are already 5 days old, I am already considered 5 days pregnant!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Two Days 'Til Transfer

In case any of you have been waiting with bated breath to find out whether I was going to have a 3 or 5 day transfer, I apologize for keeping you hanging.  I got the call at 3:30 yesterday that we will indeed be having a five day transfer.  So I quickly switched my flight and hotel room for a Tuesday-Thursday trip.  I will be flying in tomorrow night, then my IPs will be picking me up at the airport and taking me out for dinner before dropping me off at my hotel.  Since I will pretty much only be allowed to sit after transfer, it will be nice to see them beforehand.  I haven't seen them since July!

In other news, I stopped my lupron and started taking the progesterone injections/suppositories on Wednesday.  I have to do the suppositories 3 times a day, and I find that I end up getting stomach cramps shortly after each one.  I am not sure if this is a normal symptom, I will ask someone at transfer.

As for the PIO injection, I mentioned previously that my husband is a medical professional who gives shots on a daily basis.  Despite this, I found it very difficult to do the first shot on Saturday night.  Even though I wasn't the slightest bit squeamish about giving myself the lupron injections, I found I didn't like the idea of being stuck from behind when I couldn't see what was going on.  So first I wanted to lie down on the bed.  Then I didn't like that, so I wanted to stand up.  Then I decided I'd rather lie down again.  Then I started giggling, which started my husband giggling.  Then I got scared that he would shake too much and hurt I started crying.  After we both finally calmed down, our conversation went something like this:

Him:  "Ok, ready, go."
Me: "...Are you doing it?"
Him:  "Yes, I'm injecting the meds now."
Me:  "Oh.  I thought it would be worse than that."

The worst thing about the shot is that since the progesterone is suspended in oil, it is very thick and takes a long time to inject all of the medicine into the muscle.  Then when he was finished with the shot and was putting pressure on the site to stop the bleeding and trying to massage the oil into the muscle, I found that rather painful (like pushing on a bruise).  So we decided from now on he will stick and I will rub.  Hopefully it won't be a 20 minute ordeal like it was the first time.  Afterwards I had a small bruise at the injection site and what feels like a sore bum muscle.  Luckily, since I only have to do a shot once every three days, so it worked out that I will not have to try to figure out how to give myself one while I am in Chicago for transfer.

Since I've now been on progesterone for a few days, my body seems to think it's pregnant already.  I have had waves of nausea and have been more tired than normal.  In addition, pregnancy brain seems to have already struck.  This morning when I was shampooing my hair, I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get the suds going.  So I added some more, and still couldn't get any bubbles.  Then I realized I was using my conditioner instead of my shampoo.  After my shower, I proceeded to spend 5 minutes looking for my wedding ring, only to discover it was already on my  hand.  Let the pregnancy fun begin!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fertilization Report

We found out today that out of 27 eggs retrieved, 17 have successfully fertilized.  We will find out for sure tomorrow whether they will be doing a 3 day or 5 day transfer.

Grow embies grow!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Retrieval Report

27 eggs!  Yahoo!  Yippee!

Hopefully with this many eggs to start from, we will end up with several great embryos to choose from.  I think the next time we will hear their progress is Sunday afternoon, where we will find out how many of the eggs successfully fertilized and started growing.  With a number like 27 we will almost certainly have enough good ones to grow them out to day five, but you just never know.

Right now I'm thinking positive and keeping my fingers crossed for a great fertilization report!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's Official...One Week Until Transfer!

Ok, so it's not totally official, but it sounded better than Official(ish) so I went with it.  The donor is triggering tonight and her retrieval will be Friday morning.  We will find out on Sunday afternoon how the embryos are doing and what day transfer will be - either Monday or Wednesday.  Since there are so many follicles at this point, it will most likely be a 5 day transfer but you just never know.

So I will have my bags packed and my Sunday evening cleared in case I need to make a flight out on Sunday night for a Monday transfer.  Once I get the call that it's a 5 day transfer, I will push my flight back to Tuesday night.

12/12/12 transfer...almost there!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Still Waiting for a Transfer Date

My appointment today went great.  My lining is up to 10mm, and is a triple stripe.  Normally the ultrasound techs don't comment on my lining or tell me their results (I don't think they are supposed to), but the tech today was excited to tell me how beautiful my lining looked.  Also, she was already faxing the results to the clinic in Chicago before I finished getting dressed.  I guess they don't want to have to deal with another fiasco like last week!  Later this afternoon I got a call confirming that my uterus is a go for transfer.  Unfortunately, she couldn't provide me with my med schedule from here on out because...

The donor went in for her appointment today and she is still not ready for retrieval.  She is going to go back tomorrow morning, and will probably end up triggering tomorrow night, making her retrieval Friday.  There is a small chance she still won't be ready, in which case it would get pushed back another day.  So, my transfer is probably going to be next Wednesday, 12/12/12...there has to be something lucky about that date, doesn't there?

On the bright side, even though the donor is stimming slower than expected, it looks like she's going to have lots and lots of eggs to retrieve...they counted 31 follicles at her appointment today!

We are supposed to get the final word on when retrieval will be tomorrow, so I will update then.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Egg Donor Update

I found out this morning that when the egg donor went in for her appointment yesterday, they decided she wasn't quite ready yet, meaning her eggs are not big and mature enough yet to be ready for fertilization.  So they are giving her a couple more days to stim and she goes back for an appointment tomorrow.  The retrieval should be sometime between this Thursday and Saturday, pushing my transfer back a bit to next Tuesday-Thursday.

I go in for my last lining check tomorrow, and otherwise I just continue on the med protocol I have been given until I get word that the egg donor triggers (gives herself a shot to force her body to ovulate).