May 31, 2011

Day of pregnancy test

I have really fought off the urge to take a home pregnancy test. Good thing I didn't have an EPT lying around otherwise my curiosity may have gotten the best of me. On some levels, I feel like I would have jinxed things, though. The IVF office frowns upon taking home pregnancy tests because they aren't always truthful.

Here I am waiting for my results. My blood draw was this morning at 8:30 (it's now noon). IVF will be calling us with the results today sometime. I am 2 hours behind CA time. The guys are 10 hours behind CA time. I will have to keep my mind busy today in order to stay sane.

I have been talking with Roy via text message this morning. I know they are very anxious for the results, too. How could they not be, right? I understand the disappointment they will feel if this doesn't work. I will feel very disappointed in myself. Now, I know things like this are out of my control.

I have a very good feeling that all is well and the results will prove positive. I feel like my body is giving me signals of a pregnancy. But it's too early for symptoms. So could it be that my mind is playing tricks on me? Hope not.

I waited all morning and some of the afternoon to hear.....

"You are definitely pregnant. And it's probably twins". Holy smokes!!! ACKKK!

This is the news we wanted to hear. It's a good day!

The transfer

One year ago, I had a brand new baby of my own. I hadn't been thinking much about being a surrogate. Last fall, when I started researching it again, I never thought things would happen so fast. Here we are a year later and starting the actual process. This amazes me! While we are moving forward fast, I feel comfortable and anxious for each new step.

In early April, I headed to California for a consultation at the IVF office where the embryo transfer would be taking place. I recall sitting in the waiting room and feeling a rush of emotions... all good. This smallish office I was sitting in has made dreams of parenthood possible for so many people. The walls and the tables are filled with pictures of simply adorable babies!

At the appointment, I was given a schedule of medications. But most importantly, I was given an approximate transfer date of May 14/15. Seeing everything coming together was so exciting. This dream I have of helping someone achieve their dream was becoming reality! It's a pretty great feeling.

I was already taking a prenatal vitamin daily but I started adding baby aspirin daily soon after the consultation. The following week, I started my first injection. It was a daily shot in the stomach. I was nervous about giving myself shots (actually my darling husband gave the shots). The needle wasn't huge but I am not a fan of shots in a doctor's office so to be given a shot by someone inexperienced wasn't leaving me with fun thoughts. The time came for the shot and it was completely harmless, I felt a little silly for being so nervous.

Every Monday, I had a blood draw and an ultrasound to be sure my "oven" was reacting properly to the medications. After a few weeks, I added another injection. This one was not as friendly looking. The needle was about 5 times the size of the first injection needle, not kidding. If I was nervous about the teeny tiny needle, imagine this new injection. I was given advice to ice the injection area prior. This one was done in the tush, I recall waiting for my husband to do it and feeling a panic attack approaching. I have never had a panic attack but it's what I imagine the beginning of one would feel like. I give my husband a lot of credit for his shot giving ability. Again, I barely felt it.

There were no major side effects from the medications, maybe a little more emotional than usual.

The transfer date was fast approaching. The guys (intended parents) were in the States visiting family and doing their part for the transfer. Unfortunately, the egg donor was not quite ready. The transfer date was pushed back about 4 days. The transfer being pushed back wasn't a big deal but the guys were scheduled to leave a day before the new transfer date. This worried me as I thought we may not meet. It was important for me to meet them and get to know them in person. After all, I am going to be carrying a special part of them with me for 9 months.

It was arranged for me to arrive in CA a few days prior to the transfer. This allowed plenty of time for us to get better acquainted. My best friend came with me. Carrie and I left for CA on May 14. When we landed in San Diego, I was extremely anxious to get off the plane and head to baggage claim. Roy and Avner were waiting for us. This was going to be our first face to face encounter. I wanted to make a good first impression and was nervous I may try to over impress. I wanted to be myself but I wasn't sure my mind would cooperate.

It was a short walk to baggage claim. As I turned the corner, I saw them immediately. We approached each other and hugged. I felt at ease right away. We chattered away while we waited for our bags. The guys drove us to our hotel. We checked in, the guys left and Carrie and I settled into what would be our home for the next 7 days. The hotel was nice and only 2 blocks from the beach!

The next few days were terrific! We went to the beach, the zoo and ate very well. I really enjoyed my time with Roy and Avner. It was very nice having my best friend to share this time with, too.

The transfer was set for May 17. The guys were able to push their travel plans back one day in order to be there for the transfer appointment. It was a rainy day. The guys picked us up and drove us to the appointment. I was feeling good and ready for it. My mind was heavy in thoughts, though. I can't really tell you what the thoughts were... not because I don't want to but because I don't remember. It was just a lot of random thoughts.

We arrived at the IVF and I was called back. I was given a Valium to help relax my uterus. I haven't explained much in regards to the embryos. We agreed that 2 embryos would be transferred, one from each guy. As I mentioned briefly, I did not supply the eggs. The 2 best embryos were selected, the guys were called back to the room and we were ready to make magic. They sat at my side. I was very glad to have them there. The process took less than 10 minutes maybe closer to 5 minutes but I could't tell you for sure. We watched the process on the ultrasound screen. It was very silent in the room as we watched the screen very closely. Those few minutes were very special to me and I would think for the guys, too. I had to stay in a very reclined position for the next 30 + minutes. The guys were concerned about how I was feeling... they are 2 very sweet people.

Here is a picture of the little buggers prior to transfer:

Here is a picture of the actual transfer:
If you look closely you will notice 2 small dots on the left side. That would be the embryos surrounded by fluid.

After the transfer, we picked up lunch and went back to the hotel. For the next 3 days, I was on strict bed rest. I got up to use the restroom and that was it. I am thankful Carrie was there to help me for those days. She walked to get our meals, helped me with my shots and was very good company.

We will find out 2 weeks from the transfer date if the embryos implanted.

Please keep following me on this journey!

May 30, 2011

I've been matched!

After much paperwork and testing, the agency sent me a profile. The couple is from overseas and truly, by all accounts, could not have children themselves. The reason I stress that is because they are a same sex couple. I opened the picture first and did an "awww, they're cute". After reading their profile, I was very interested in speaking with them.

We set up a telephone interview. The interview was hosted by the agency coordinator and me one end and the guys on the other. Let me tell you... I was NERVOUS! Almost sick to my stomach nervous. I am not always good with my words... sometimes when I am nervous I become a blubbering mess or I say things that may not make sense once the words are out (it makes sense in my head but comes out all wrong). I wasn't sure what to expect out of this conversation. The call came and butterflies were fluttering all over in my stomach. I listened to both guys talk about themselves, their lives together, jobs, etc and then it was my turn. The call lasted close to 2 hours. In the end, I thought it went well. I was "sold" on this couple. I did take that evening and the next day to think it over though. I emailed the coordinator with my answer and waited to hear what the guys thought. If I recall, it was over a weekend so it seemed like a forever wait. The wait was worth it... they wanted to go through this experience with me.

Now that those important decisions were made it was time to move on to the contract phase of this journey. For the most part, it went smoothly but it did take almost 3 months. During this time, the intended parents and I were not able to have contact. I was anxious to get to know them better. When we were finally able to communicate we did so via email. We exchanged many emails and a slow bond was forming.

May 24, 2011

Why (and how) I decided to become a surrogate

Even before I knew the correct word for it, I had a strong yearning of becoming a surrogate. As a teen, I remember wishing I could somehow help family members as their attempts of having children failed time after time.
During my teenage years, I decided I didn't want to have children of my own. It was after my daughter was born that I knew in my heart I was destined to be a mother. At the age of 21, I was no where near being ready to have a child. I was very young and had a lot of growing up to do, which I eventually did... whew! To this day, 13 1/2 years later, I can still remember setting my eyes on her for the first time. I gasped and cried at the sight of her... I had never in my life seen anything more beautiful than her. I loved her instantly!

With all that being said, I couldn't imagine my life without my children. It's a feeling I share with most parents. I am a lucky one, though. I am able to conceive and carry babies to term. I don't take this for granted. I will never know the pain of not being able to have my own children, I can imagine it but I can't actually know it.

I have met many women going through infertility issues but one is a very dear friend of mine. Kids are drawn to her, they absolutely adore her. I adore her, too. She endured many years of physical and emotional pain while trying to add to her family. I am sad to say that her attempts were unsuccessful. Understanding she had a longing for another child, I offered to carry a baby for her and her husband. She respectively declined my offer. I never asked why. My assumption is they were ready to begin healing their broken heart and move forward on the path chosen for them.

I hadn't met a surrogate or anyone that had had a baby via a surrogate. It was a whole new world and I pretty much felt alone. I felt like this may be a dream to big to accomplish. I didn't know where to start other then googling "surrogacy". I am naturally a trusting a person but I usually listen to my instincts very closely. During my previous search efforts, I came across different website but none that "spoke" to me.  I took a break from my surrogacy dream. In 2010, my husband and I had our last child. Soon after, surrogacy thoughts began floating through my head again. It's never something I have doubted, it's always felt so right and like something I was meant to do. Fall 2010, I began searching the web for information and stumbled upon a local reproduction center. I had a wonderful feeling from my first interaction with the program coordinator but I was still apprehensive. Thankfully, my best friend happens to be an attorney. She made some calls and found out that my instincts were spot on and this agency was very reputable.

So there it is, the how and why of my becoming a surrogate. Please feel free to follow me on this journey.