Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Half baked.

20 weeks! We are half way there! 

I'm so amazed that the time has gone by so quickly. I feel like just yesterday we were in Arizona for the transfer. Now, I'm already half way through the pregnancy. Where have the past 5 months gone?

The pregnancy has gone so smoothly. I'm feeling great. I'm finally starting to really show. I'm feeling the baby moving all the time. In fact, 4am seems to be the favorite time of day for a dance party. My husband has also just started to be able to feel the baby from the outside. Ali hasn't gotten to yet, but it's so hit and miss when you can feel it, it might just be another week or so. I can still sleep on my stomach (sort of). Everything is great.

Tonight however, was fabulous. Tonight, Ali, Brian and I went to get a 3d/4d ultrasound together. Brian has to work tomorrow and will miss the anatomy scan, so friends and family all got together to fund this ultrasound for them, so Brian wouldn't have to miss out. Thankfully, the baby was very cooperative and was not afraid to show his goods! In fact, he was far from shy and made it to where we are 100% confident that he is in fact a boy. He has some mile long legs...he was pretty much folded in half with his feet up over his head. His femur was measuring 6 days ahead of schedule. Thankfully for me, his head is measuring right on! I'll take long legs over a big head any day!

Here are his precious pictures!

Tomorrow Ali and I are lucky enough that we get to see him again tomorrow. 
We can't wait!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

18 weeks.

Today, I am officially 18 weeks through the pregnancy...only 22 more to go. That sure seems like a lot, but I can't believe we are already half way done. It has literally flown by! I'm feeling the little baby moving more and more all the time, and I love it. It has to be the best part of being pregnant. I can't wait until the movements are strong enough to be felt from the outside...I want Ali, and my kiddos, to be able to feel it! I'm sure Ali is dieing to feel it too. My kids are loving seeing the belly grow. Olyvia will notice it and say, "your belly is just popping out mom, it's so cute!" She always makes this statement complete with huge arm movements and jumping!

The most exciting this about being this far along is that the time for the gender ultrasound is almost here! On November 20th at 8:45 in the morning, we will get to have another peak at the baby...hopefully, the baby will cooperate and we can finally know if there is a boy, or a girl growing in there! I'm voting boy. Just a feeling that I have!

So far, the pregnancy is going great. Aside from being a little extra tired, I feel perfectly fine. I was having some issues with restless leg syndrome, but those seem to have subsided for now. The belly is growing, and being in maternity clothes has been a huge relief. They are SO comfortable. I don't remember being this comfy with my own kids. I also don't remember having such cute clothes. Hopefully, things will continue to go smoothly from here on out.

Here is a picture from 16 weeks, since I haven't posted it yet and haven't taken a new picture yet today:

Now, to veer off topic a tiny bit, but not much...this whole journey has been incredible. It definitely is not something I every thought I would have been involved it, but I am so happy to have stepped out of my comfort zone and done something so amazing. While it isn't everyone's cup of tea, there are SO many Intended Parents out there looking to be matched with their very own surrogate. Right now, Extraordinary Conceptions has far more parents out there than they do surrogates. These parents have been struggling with infertility and loss, most likely for years, and are ready to move forward and complete their family. This is not something to jump into lightly, but if it something you have felt tugging on your heart, let me know and I can connect you with the agency...there is even a signing bonus once a surrogate is matched with Intended Parents!

Friday, September 13, 2013


One perfect little baby. One healthy beating heart.

Ali and I made the trip out to Arizona one last time on August 28th. This was the big day. The day we finally found out just how many of those embryos decided to hold on. It was a long trip, and for the first time ever, we were actually late! They were ready for us though, and I think they were just as anxious as we were.
Head is to the right in all ultrasound pics!

Right away, we could see it. One little "gummy bear" as they called it. They showed us all the parts, the head, arms, legs, and the beating heart. It had a nice strong heart beat and was beating a 178 times per minute, high but perfect. They allowed us SO much time to look at everything and really enjoy seeing the baby. Then, Gina got serious. She wanted to find baby number two as she was certain that there had to be a second one. She searched around for quite a while, but there was only one. One is all they needed!

We had a great plan for finding out the sex if both embryos had taken. We were going to have them write it in an envelope and seal it. Then, Ali and Brian were going to decide how and when they really wanted to find out. Since there's only one, we asked them to tell us if they put in one of each, or both the same, without giving it away. I guess God's plan is for Ali and Brian to get to experience a little bit of a normal pregnancy. They put in one of each, so now we all have to wait...just like every other pregnant person out there!!

At first, I was slightly disappointed that they hadn't both taken. I had been imagining how exciting it would be to carry twins. I've carried one baby before, two babies would have been a whole new experience and so exciting. But, the more I thought about it, the more relief I felt. While tons of twins are born these days, perfectly healthy, and with perfectly healthy pregnancies, they still present a lot of risks. Twin pregnancies typically experience more morning sickness, greater chance at periods of bedrest, greater chance of c-section, and just a greater chance of getting huge! I'm not a very big person and like Lisa (one of our favorite nurses at the clinic) said, if it had been two, I probably would have been sticking out almost as far as I am tall. That would not be good for my little body.

Gina was kind enough to print tons of pictures for Ali and Brian, and she even allowed us to record the entire ultrasound. So, even though Brian wasn't able to be there, he was able to see the baby move and watch the fluttering of the baby's heart. One our way out, Dr. Nemiro happened to walk out to the front desk. Ali and I were both so happy to be able to see him one last time, and to thank him. He looked over all the pictures and was thrilled with the results. They made their predictions on girl or boy, and reminded us that we have to send them pictures when we find out and when the baby arrives! We said our goodbyes and left the office for the last time. It was actually a little sad. We have come to know so many of them over the past year and a half.

The drive home seemed SO long. Mainly because we both wanted to be home. Ali wanted to be able to talk to Brian and her family, and I was just ready to be home and in bed. We talked about all sorts of exciting things, how we felt since both hadn't taken, etc. I will let Ali share those feelings herself, when she's ready or when she wants to.

I'm currently 10 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Next week, we have our first OB appointment here and will get another ultrasound. My goal now is to try to stay healthy this pregnancy. I am finally feeling much better, so I'm working on getting back to eating well. I kind of let myself have whatever I wanted the past few weeks just to keep the nausea under control. Ali and I are walking three miles on the days I don't work. I drop off the kids at school, and then we go...up hills, down hills, all around. It's a great route and a reasonable workout.

So many people have asked me over the past year and a half how I could carry someone else's baby. I will tell you this, I have read many stories from surrogates stating that it just felt different from the beginning, and it really does. I don't know how to explain it, but it's not the same as when I was pregnant with my own children. I'm beyond thrilled for Ali and Brian. I'm incredibly happy to be able to give this gift to them. I love knowing that in a few months I'll be able to feel that little baby moving around. I love knowing what body parts are being formed this week, but there is a disconnect somewhere in there. I know I will always have a special bond with this baby, but I also know it isn't mine and seeing Ali and Brian hold their baby for the first time is going to be the most amazing thing ever. I just can't wait!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

7 weeks

Now, you can ask me if I feel pregnant. You know why? Because I am, and I do feel pregnant! I am officially 7 weeks pregnant today!

Eight days after the transfer, I woke up and I was spotting. I panicked and emailed the clinic right away. I was so scared that something terrible was happening. I took a shower, relaxed a little, and started looking things up online. (Something I always tell my patients not to do.) Upon doing some research, I discovered that this actually might be a good thing, it might be implantation bleeding. When I realized this, I let Ali know what was happening. She gave me permission to to get a pregnancy test, and to find out the initial HCG results when I heard back from the clinic. After dropping off the kids, I stopped at the dollar store to get some tests. Then, I heard from the clinic. They ran off a list of a million things that could be happening, and what to do if it got worse. They also asked if I wanted to know the results from the blood test. Of course, I said yes, and 4 days after the transfer, my HCG was 16! They would have been happy with anything over 2 and I was a 16!!! This was fabulous news, so I called Ali right away and told her. After 2 days, I no longer had any spotting. That Friday, I was scheduled for my "official" HCG.

Friday morning, I went in to the lab first thing in the morning. The phlebotomist told me that stat results take about 45 minutes to be reported. She lied. It was tragic. It took 4 hours to get our results, but when we finally did, it was fabulous. My HCG was 964, again much higher than they even expected it to bed! Ali was thrilled! I was SO happy that it finally worked, I was pregnant!!

High numbers aren't always indicative of twins, but the clinic is relatively confident that both embryos took. They stated that in an IVF situation, when two perfect embryos are placed, and then high numbers are found later, it usually does mean that both embryos took. I'm scared and excited that I'm possibly carrying twins right now. It was be fantastic for Ali and Brian. This is probably the only child/children they will get to have, so if they can get a two-fer, that would be awesome! On the 28th, we make our last trip to Arizona for our first ultrasound. Then, we will finally get to know if it's one or two!! The very next day, I have my first OB appointment at the Naval Hospital!

Exciting things are happening here! I will do my best to keep this updated!! Pray for healthy babies!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Seven Days.

It has been seven days since the transfer and I feel like I'm going to go crazy during this 2 week wait (2ww). Luckily for us, it really isn't a complete 2ww, we only have to wait until Friday...so, 4 more days.

The transfer went as expected. Two beautiful, perfect 3 day old blastocysts appeared on the screen for us to see for just a second. Both were hatching already. They both were graded as perfect in all areas by the embryologist. They were then placed inside of me, and we got to hang out there for just over an hour, with me laying completely flat. Again, new found empathy towards my heart cath patients that have to lay flat for at least 6 hours. It is horrible. After our time was up, we headed back to the hotel. (Sorry no cute pics of me in the gown, booties and shower cap, Ali took one, but I don't have it)!

We stayed in Scottsdale until Thursday morning. The clinic doesn't require any bed rest, but we have met many people who have done this, and they were all on required 3 days of bed rest, so this is what we did. From Monday afternoon until Thursday morning, all I did was sit in bed, watch tv, watch movies, play games, read books and be bored. This was torture for me. I don't sit and do nothing. Ever. I'm always up cleaning, trying to organize things, or just doing something. Not sitting. The only times I got up were for food, water, to go to the bathroom, and I think I showered twice. I didn't even nap. All that laying around doing nothing made me not feel sleepy at all.

When we got home Thursday, I continued with much of the same. The kids were still at my moms having a blast, learning how to swim without floaties, and getting spoiled! I laid around, watched more movies, and rested. Finally on Friday, I was a bit more active and hit up the commissary, did a little laundry, and even went out to dinner and a movie with my husband that night. Everyday since has been about the same, I've done as little as possible and I'm trying not to think about it all as much as possible.

The injections are going well this time around. I initially had some pain, but now they really aren't bothering me, aside from a little itchiness at some of the injection sites.

Please don't ask me if I "feel" pregnant. Assuming the transfer was successful, I'm currently 3 weeks, 5 days pregnant. I'm pretty sure that with both of my kids, I had no idea I was pregnant at this point. So, how would I know if I'm "feeling" pregnant. I'm dizzy, I'm tired, I have nearly constant mild "period-like" cramping. Guess what, those are all side-effects of the progesterone as well. I know people mean well when they ask this, but it just stresses me out. I wish I knew.

I'm excited. I'm hopeful. I'm scared. I'm praying like crazy.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

good news.

We received great news at my last appointment on the 18th. My uterine lining was nice and fluffy at 13mm, thicker than it has to be, and 1mm thinner that before the last transfer. Ali and I were both so very relieved that the medications worked. It definitely made it all worth it.

I started the progesterone injections Thursday afternoon. So far, they are going well. Both hips are sore, but I'm hardly in any pain at all, compared to last time around. I also started the progesterone lozenges Thursday. I'm still using the viagra suppositories until tomorrow night. I will be adding antibiotics and steroids to my medication regiment tomorrow.

The embryo transfer is scheduled for Monday, July 22nd at 1:30pm. They will be placing two embryos. Both embryos are graded out "perfect" according to Dr. Nemiro. Ali and I will leave tomorrow to head back to Phoenix. We are planning to stay there until Thursday. My kiddos are staying at my mom's house for the week. I miss them already, but they are having a blast swimming the days away!

Prayers are appreciated for the procedure to go well and for these perfect embryos to attach and grow!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

5 days....

That's right, 5. It should be 1 day, but instead it is now 5.

Last Friday, Ali and I made the drive out to Arizona for another ultrasound to check my uterine lining. At this point in the cycle, they want to see it at 8-10mm. Mine was only 7-8mm. Not good. We want these embryos to have the best environment possible for them to attach to, so the transfer had to be pushed back. Unfortunately, this meant many changes.

First of all, I was started on a new medication to help boost my lining. It is fabulous not fun. It is Viagra. Yep, that's right, Viagra. You want to know the best part, I don't just get to pop another pill, they are suppositories...vaginal suppositories! Yay! Please note the heavy sarcasm. Plus, I get to use them 4 times a day! Double yay! Despite how much I'm disliking this medication, research shows that within 24-48 hours of starting Viagra suppositories, a notable change is seen in the uterine lining. So, whatever works will be worth it.

Second change, more lab draws. The transfer was initially scheduled for July 22nd, then we realized that the FDA required labs expired on July 19th, so they bumped it all up a few days. Yesterday, I got the pleasure of donating more blood to Quest labs. I believe they took 6 large vials. At least they only had to stick me once this time!

Third change, planning for an additional 1 day trip to Arizona for a follow up ultrasound on the 18th, and rearranging all of our childcare plans for the week of the transfer. Thankfully, my mom's job is super flexible, so she was easily able to take off the days I need her. We are still working on figuring out someone to watch the kids Thursday morning, but I know it will all workout.

While we were out there last Friday, it was incredibly stressful finding out about all these changes at the very last minute. Prior to the appointment, I had exactly the amount of Lupron I needed to get me to the transfer date. Pushing it back meant I needed more, and I needed it immediately. Since it is a compounded medication, it isn't available immediately, it takes 24-48 hours for the pharmacy to make it. Thankfully, the clinic had a spare bottle with just enough to get us through to the new transfer date. Then, there was the Viagra suppositories. This too is a compounded medication that is rarely used. Neither of the pharmacies that the clinic works with had any in stock and I needed to start that one by Saturday. Get this, we found out no one had them at 5:15 on a Friday, after the clinic closed and 15 minutes before all the pharmacies closed. Ali had to leave me at the pharmacy while she drove back to the clinic to get help. Thankfully, the clinic was able to find a compounding pharmacy in Beverly Hills that had the medication on hand and was willing to ship it out right then. By the grace of God, it arrived on Ali's doorstep by 9am the next morning...the earliest the other pharmacies would be able to get it to us would have been today!!

Each little setback seems so frustrating sometimes. However, each time something comes up, doors open up all around us and we are able to move forward. Thursday will be an important day. Prayers for a nice full, fluffy uterine lining are greatly appreciated!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

16 Days

I can't believe we are only 16 days away from the 2nd transfer. It feels like it has taken so long to get to this point, but the past few weeks have flown by.

I've been terrible about updating here, but a lot of progress has been made these past few months. Ali's eggs were retrieved mid-June. We have to great embryos frozen, and waiting for the transfer. I have made 2 trips to Arizona since the transfer. The first was for my SHG. That's the test that checks my uterus to make sure it's in prime shape. It's also the test in which they found the polyp last time around. Luckily, all was clear this time. They thought there was a potential polyp again, but it turned out to just be a bit of retained tissue. The test was just as uncomfortable as I remembered it being the first time around. Luckily, I had a great friend their with me, and we were able to squeeze some shopping in before heading back home. The second trip was for an ultrasound to verify that my uterine line was thinning, as it should be while on Lupron. Everything looked great. Ali made the trip with me that time and it was a great, quick trip. Boy is it hot out there this time of year though!

Our next trip out is scheduled for July 12th, 6 days before the transfer. At that appointment, I will have another ultrasound, and Ali and I will sign all of our consents for the procedure. This ultrasound will be to verify that my uterine lining is full and "fluffy," the perfect environment for those precious embryos to implant themselves in.

Following the last appointment, we received results from some of my labs. As of right now, my thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels are higher than the clinic would like to see. I'm at a 3.7 and they want it between 1 and 2. So, this week, I started taking Synthroid. According to the nurses at the clinic, I should only be on the medication through the first trimester. I'm hoping that holds true. At this point, taking one more pill a day doesn't make all that much of a difference when you look at all that I'm taking! Plus, I am more than willing to do whatever it will take to make this work!!

Emotions are crazy right now. I truly feel both Ali and I have tried very, very hard to keep things under wraps this time around. We are scared. We are optimistic and hopeful that things are going to work this time around, but after how things turned out last time, we can't help but be a little fearful. All we can do now is pray and put our faith in God. No matter what we do, He has already decided the outcome. Hopefully, His plan and Ali's plan align and by the end of this month, we'll be announcing a pregnancy!

Friday, April 12, 2013

And so, it begins...again!

It is official. The second attempt at making Ali and Brian parents is officially underway!

Ali started her medications this week. I had a baseline ultrasound this afternoon, and I start my medications tomorrow morning. Yay for menopause!

All of my meds!

I feel as though Ali and I are both much more calm this time around. That's definitely not to say we aren't all excited, it is just different. We are amazed everyday at how quickly we forgot how all of this worked before. It really wasn't that long ago, but we just can't remember some of the details. Maybe we blocked them out in order to block out our feelings after how that round turned out?

If everything goes as it is currently schedule, the egg retrieval will be at the beginning of May and the transfer will be on June 3rd! I'm so glad my husband is such a trooper...June 3rd is our 7th wedding anniversary, and I won't be in any condition to celebrate. I guess we should plan ahead and celebrate early!

Ali and I have made a decision to be more strict on the bed rest after transfer than what the fertility doctor requires. We will most likely stay in Arizona longer after the transfer, and then I will also remain on bed rest for a few days once we get home. The doctor doesn't feel that it is necessary to do this, to insure that the baby(ies) stick, but it will give us all some peace of mind.

You want to know the best part of all of this?? There is a pretty darn good chance Brian will actually be able to be present for the big day!! I'm really hoping that he is. It will be so nice for them to be together as they grow their family!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Since it's been over a month, I suppose it is time to give everyone an update.

We are moving forward with a second round. Yes, I know, I already told you that a while back. But, in all honesty, I really didn't think that it was going to happen due to the financials involved in int. Thankfully, for Ali and Brian, it is.

Ali and I will hopefully be starting medications with our next cycles.

I am excited. I am scared. I am anxious.

I'm so excited to be trying again. I want to be able to help Ali and Brian fulfill their dream of having children so badly, and hopefully we will be successful this time around.

Injections seem so scary to me right now. Now, the lupron, just the progesterone. I had such a hard time with those at first, and I'm petrified that I will wind up going through a painful phase again. Hopefully, Carlos and I will remember what we did and save me a bit of misery.

I am anxious about the possibilities. What if we run into road blocks? What if it doesn't work? I don't want to be negative, but the results of the first round make it very difficult for me to not have a little anxiety about the situation.

I have definitely taken a big step back this time around, as evidenced by my lack of blogging. It's a defense mechanism I suppose, protecting myself from being so devastated again. I am putting it all in God's hands. His will is what will be done, and I just pray that His will and Ali's dreams are in alignment! I also pray that He give us all the strength, patience and courage to make it through!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

moving forward.

This update is long, long overdue. As I'm sure most of you already know, the second pregnancy test came back negative. It was expected, and much easier to accept that time around. About a week after we received the results, I got a phone call from Ali asking if I'd be willing to try again. Of course, I said yes. The second rounding is pending, it all depends upon finances. The first round cost close to $40K and the second will be a little cheaper, but still very, very expensive.

The first thing that was decided was to try to get as much covered by their insurance as possible. When a medication that is needed for egg retrieval was approved, we were so excited and filled with hope. This provided the needed encouragement to push for move coverage. If they will cover the medication, you would expect that they'll cover the procedure as well, right?

Tomorrow, we should find out. We are praying that they will be kind and cover this for Ali and Brian, it will save them SO much money and would make such a huge difference in the possibility of the second round happening. Prayers are much appreciated that we will get the news we want!