Saturday, March 16, 2019

Update on Progress

Things are progressing and that's good but there are still a lot of complicated feelings around all of this.

On the one hand when people ask me or when I tell them about what's going on, I'm generally very positive: "Our sister-in-law has offered to carry for us, it's truly incredible, she's is in process and we're hopeful for a summer transfer."

In reality, it also dregs up all my anxiety and uncertainty and waiting around this whole process.

Yes, I'm hopeful about the future. I couldn't do this if I wasn't, but I'm also anxious at each milestone and wondering if it will really work. Why did it work with L and not with N? Will it work with K?

So I'm still using anxiety meds to help me sleep and I'm still on depression medication, both of which I wish I didn't need and both of which I'm grateful for. (Less the fact that I'm having a lot of digestive issues as a result, which is a whole other thing and am getting a colonoscopy to make sure it isn't anything else).

And, as I've been working on with my therapist, I'm still grieving that I'm not going to get this experience with N. She was the closest thing I had to a sister and was really looking forward to that closeness.

We did take our trip to Cartagena and had a great time, the way we used to and in a new way. We also talked about this some. She even brought up if it's really worth it for me to keep going given all the anxiety and depression. (I honestly told her I've questioned it as well but deep down I really, really want this and see my state as temporary and that I'm managing it as best I can with medication and therapy, and that I appreciated her bringing it up).

She also posted the sweetest thing about me a few days later on fb, which is really the bow on this whole process that I was hoping that trip would do for us.

So we enjoyed time in the sun, walking around the old city and just talking and catching up, which was all great.

And things are progressing with K which is good. I'm not as close to her so I've been wondering how we will be with this and what our relationship will turn into (I know it will be better). And I think I'm also a little hesitant to jump in and be all rah-rah because of all my uncertainty right now so I feel a bit bad that I haven't been connecting with her in that way though I have been letting her know how appreciative I've been at each step.

She did her MMPI yesterday, she and her husband are doing their joint session in a couple of weeks, and our clinic allowed us to go ahead and schedule the medical screening and counseling which will be on April 29 so all good progress!

She and I had some nice texts last night which was really nice. She even sent me a pic of her surrogacy binder and journal on her progress which really touched me on how organized and how serious she's taking all of this (both L and N were not nearly as organized 😊). I got a bit teary eyed seeing all she's one so far and how seriously she's taken it from the very beginning including the first entry being 'Call B & C...". Wow.

So, fingers crossed that all continues to move forward and that a new close relationship can develop from this. 💗

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Sibling Journey - My Sister-in-Law Offers to Carry for Us!

It's pretty incredible.

I got back on Mon, Jan 14 from spending the weekend with N, as we grieved the loss of the miscarriage and the experience we were going to have together. We also spent an amazing time as a family - with her daughter, who turned 19 that weekend, with her other 3 kids and her parents, and with friends of mine who were visiting.

It was an interesting coincidence that the 19 year old was celebrating her birthday in Miami, my friends were visiting there, so we decided to all meet there and that I'd go with N and her daughter to Naples where the rest of the kids are, the 3 of us would go back to Sarasota, where they live and then my 19 year old "niece" took me to Tampa where I flew out and had lunch with her beforehand.

So in that respect it was a great time.

Oh, and I got to fall asleep by a pool in the sun and have the best ceviche ever. Yay.

But coming back, I think B and I were a bit heavy on starting next steps. I was realizing that he hadn't even started and I think he was having trouble moving on as well. We were going to contact our agency to get to next steps to find someone new and hadn't yet.

And then that Friday evening, B's brother and his wife called us wanting to talk and we thought it could either be one of two things - they are pregnant or they are offering to be pregnant for us... and it was the latter.

We were floored. What an offer.

To have had 3 people we know now offer is amazing (we actually had two others offer but it didn't go very far). How incredible.

B was teary the whole time we were talking with them, and I was emotional too.

K and I had had conversations like this before. She had wanted to offer the first time around but they weren't sure they were done having kids and then she was going to offer when N offered first so I think they thought "we've got to let them know ASAP before we lose the opportunity again". So, I had gotten teary with her in the past over this.

We sent them some info over the weekend and then had some conversations that Monday about some of the tougher aspects of being a surrogate and by Monday night they were completely on board and K already had her OBGYN appt on Jan 25.

So it's moving forward and we are hopeful we can do an embryo transfer with them this summer. Yay!

And while I'm hopeful and optimistic, I realize I'm still grieving the loss of the experience with N. She's the closest thing I have to a sister and I really wanted that delivery room experience with her and being able to be completely intimate with her growing belly. So my therapist helped me work through that... and N and I decided we needed a reset and planned a trip. We're going to Cartagena at the end of Feb!

Friday, January 11, 2019

No Go for FET #2 with Surrogacy #2 And Break-throughs

What a bummer... we were cautiously optimistic. She had positive home pregnancy tests at 9dpt, hcg was 1187 on 14dpt and 5686 on 19dpt, rising as it should. She started feeling symptoms (nausea) earlier this week...

And just when I was wondering if she was spotting or something, she texted and called yesterday morning saying she's having severe cramping and light bleeding and had to leave work. I was in meetings so missed it for about 2 hours and when I called her, she was in tears, feeling so badly. Of course, I just wanted her to be ok, so I called her OB and got her an appt that afternoon.

It turns out it was a failed pregnancy. That's what they called it.

Pretty bummy.

I'm still numb and processing it. I'm ok for now but I know this will hit and I'm worried about how hard it will hit.

This is my cousin. This was supposed to extra special. And this is is. We signed up for 2 transfers with her. We have 3 embryos left and our plan all along was to find someone else if this didn't work. And to find someone younger, though I'm not sure that was the issue. N is 42 and L was 36... donor egg is supposed to work on women in their 40s but with someone new we want to do whatever we can to increase our chances.

I'm bummed about the timing too. I really wanted kids 2 years apart and we've spent a year doing this with her now, and me being back on medications because I was so anxious, which just means my being on meds is likely going to be prolonged (and yes I'm glad I'm better on the meds but really don't like what it does to my weight).

I just wanted that specialness with me and my cousin.

I told her that in our minds, we are forever grateful for everything she has done. We feel like she has done it for us... she said 'without the end result'. Yes... but to have gone this far even means the world to us and always will. She and I have become even closer than we already were and I hope this whole experience means we just keep building on it.

We had the 6 week ultrasound scheduled for this Monday and I had planned to go to FL this weekend ahead of it. We cancelled the appt on Monday and I'm still going this weekend. I think it will be good for us to spend that time together.

And then B and I will regroup and move on...

The good thing that happpened this week is that I had a breakthrough in therapy. I've been thinking a lot about how we won't have 3 kids and how I've been starting to grieve that and how I don't want that to be linked with the expectant joy of baby #2. I want to be present and happy about baby #2 without mourning the fact that we won't have 3, at least not biological children...

And my therapist asked me what it was about 3, so I told her that I grew up watching my best friend's family of 3 be amazing and then my college roommate's family of 3 seemed ideal to me; I just loved their interactions and how they were as a family. My therapist then says "I wonder if..." and right then, before she even said it, I had a light bulb moment... Ohhhhhh, I don't need to have 3 kids to have that dynamic in my family. I can just take those elements and apply it to mine. Make sure I'm encouraging and supporting my kids, naming their gifts, letting their light shine, being interested in what they are interested in, etc.

So hopefully I can carry that through this loss right now.

I came home last night and just wanted to play and cuddle with my little 1 1/2 year old who just seems like such a miracle given these two recent losses.

And we still don't understand why. And I thank God that we had D before these failed attempts. These pregnancies were exactly how mine went - losses at around 5 1/2 weeks, no heartbeat. If that had happened as our first surrogacy, I would be so despondent and don't think I'd think it was worth it for us to continue on.

Playing on the floor and hearing little D laugh last night was so good. And so will going to FL. And so will our family's future.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

FET #2 for #2 Child

The FET was a go on Dec 19 and all went well! And on Dec 27, a home test revealed it's positive!

I had her retake the test on Dec 28 since it was a faint line the first day and it's darker but I'd like to see it get darker still. I've had plenty of these faint lines not work out for us in the past so I'm still a bit weary. That said, her first FET for us was dark lines and high hcg levels and she miscarried at 5 weeks...


So what's next? Jan 2 is her hcg bloodwork and then Jan 14 will be the heartbeat ultrasound which I'm sure I will be super nervous for.

I've been taking am.bien to go to sleep and will probably need to continue to until Jan 14.

I also have a new psychiatrist appt on Jan 8 so want to hear what I should do there. I've been taking 2.5 mg of Ce.lexa and want to make sure it's enough. I've been thinking about increasing it because I really haven't felt like making plans with people and feel like I'm always tired. I know it's a busy time in my life with a toddler but don't want to function constantly as drained. :)

Overall, for the FET, N and I had a great day together. Very relaxing to have time to catch up and have quality time together which I really appreciated. When else would you get to spend that kind of time with one of your favorite people in the middle of the busiest season of the year? :)

I'm grateful for now... and anxious for a couple of weeks from now.

Hope 2019 will be a good one!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Attempt #2 for #2 Approaching

I'm starting to feel pretty anxious... our second embryo transfer with our surrogate is on Dec 19 (that's if everything checks out tomorrow at her last appt). I've not been sleeping well and in fact, I'm writing this at 4:30am after having been awake since 2:45am.

It's so complicated, this surro-coaster.

On the one hand, I want to be calm, I want to say, it's ok if this one doesn't work out, we'll just find another surrogate and we (luckily) will have 3 embryos left and surely it's got to work among one of these 4 embryos... it's ok, we'll take the long game on this one. I'm sure it'll work out, we just don't know how or when.

And I do feel all of that.

But I also feel: what if this one doesn't work out? What will that mean? How will we cope? How will I even cope with the two week wait? How am I even coping with this next week ahead?

I'd say I'm coping medium. On the surface it's all good. I feel like I'm calm. I'm super distracted by holiday events and with work being super busy (can it actually be a little less busy please) and with enjoying my adorable son and my amazing husband. And I'm in therapy. And I'm making time for exercise. And I'm probably coping with ice cream and chips...

But I am waking up A LOT in the middle of the night and having a HUGELY hard time falling back asleep. I'm VERY anxious.

We had a date night this past weekend and talked about what it will mean if this doesn't work.

  • It WILL be a huge bummer and we'll need to acknowledge that. 
  • This is my cousin, the closest person I have to a sister, and we both want to experience this so badly. 
  • We've put a year into making this happen, from her telling us last Aug/Sept that she was in, to getting her insurance in Nov, getting psych evals done in Feb, testing done in April, mock cycle in May, legal in July, attempt #1 in Sept (resulting in a miscarriage); we've done A LOT for this
  • B said we'd need to acknowledge that it will be hard, that we'll need to mark it and make space in our lives to deal with it, maybe even set something specific to grieve it.
  • It'll mean our kids won't be two years apart, which isn't the end of the world of course, but I really wanted them close in age.
  • It means we'll have to start all over again finding someone and spending 6 months getting them through the process with all those anxiety build up phases
  • It'll mean likely working with a new agency
  • It will mean re-writing a "dear surrogate" letter (please, please, please pick us)
  • It'll mean mustering energy to be hopeful again after having been jaded
Please, please, please let this one work.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Feeling Jaded

As though 9 years of trying to conceive wouldn't get you out of feeling jaded...

But I had. My little miracle, D, is here through surrogacy. It happened on our first embryo transfer and he's 15 months now and amazing. I got my first unprompted hug from him on Sunday and unprompted kiss from him on Monday. What could be better!

And here we were going for baby #2.

And I had worked so hard in these last months as the anxiety started to grow again with putting up a wall between what happened to me and what happened with us with surrogacy.

Big wall.

And it worked. I felt hopeful. I even felt naive!

When N sent us the pic of her positive pregnancy test, I thought, wow, this really does work! We're going to be parents again! I got lost in the innocence of how "normal" people experience a pregnancy. With utter joy and no/little thoughts of the what if's.

It felt so good too. To just feel pure joy. Without all the baggage.

But a week later the baggage was back... with N bleeding at 5 weeks and then the doctor's telling her there was still hope and then no heartbeat at 6 weeks.

So, I'm feeling jaded. I'm having a hard time gearing up for cycle #2 to be a hopeful one. And I'm already a little ahead of myself thinking that if it doesn't work, do I have it in me to find another surrogate and go through all of this again? (And not just this part "it" but the whole vetting process "it" that takes 6ish months and so, so many steps).

B and I have had many conversations about this last cycle. I've gone back to therapy about this last cycle.

My innocence has been stripped and that's just the way it is. Yes, I'll be more jaded going into this next cycle. And I'll have to detach from it a bit. And that's ok. It's about self-protection. I wish it didn't have to be this way.

Onwards with my shield of armor... and lots of love inside for a new little one.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Highs and Lows of Sibling Journey #2

Oh man... so:
  • Transfer date was Sept 4
  • By 9dpt I was getting anxious and thinking I'd ask her to take a home test. My therapist and I talked about it and decided that there was no point in making me more anxious than I needed to be for the next 5 days
  • On Sept 13 in the morning I asked her to take a test, and sent me this:

  • I cried and cried happy tears. I couldn't believe it. What luck! This really works. We're going to have a sibling and it was as easy as that. Wow.
  • She sent this after to both B and I:

  • On Sept 17, her hcg was 853. Great number!
  • On Sept 18, it was 2133. Awesome!!
So we are so happy thinking this is easy, we got this, making plans for around a May 23 birth, etc, etc.

  • On Sept 25, she texted me at 5:45am asking "are you awake?" Not good, I thought... (and yes, I was awake). She called me saying there's been a lot of bleeding that morning. Luckily, I had gotten her into an OB for the 6 week appt so we were able to get her in that day for an ultrasound. The doctor said if she were to miscarry it would likely happen in the next 24-48 hours. So we set out to wait.
  • A few days later, by the weekend, no bleeding, so we were feeling hopeful though cautious.
  • On Oct 2, I went to FL for the 6 week ultrasound appt which they wanted us to keep.
    • I had planned my 25th high school reunion that weekend before, then had an all day meeting and dinner that Monday and the early flight on Tues so I didn't have a lot of time to process any of this which was probably for the best.
    • When I landed in FL, I got all kinds of hearts and sweet texts from friends and I just about lost it there. Had to go sit down after we deplaned and just cried. (I was kinda surprised no one came up to me to ask if I was ok but I was also ok enough to not need that).
    • N and I decided we'd go spend the afternoon on the beach while we anxiously waited for the 3:45pm appt time. It was as relaxing as it could be. Hardly anybody at the beach. We got food from Wh.ole Fo.ods and just enjoyed being outside and catching up, went for a walk down the beach and then felt badly that we'd be showing up to an appt all sandy.
    • We went into the office feeling all hopeful with the nurse who had seen N last time. N had to go pee in a cup and I sat in the ultrasound room and looked up at the monitor with her name on it and then started crying again. The not knowing is so, so hard. These anticipated feelings that you don't know what to do with.
    • The nurse started her ultrasound, was very quiet and I just knew. She started measurements without saying anything and I knew that she should've been saying "there's the heartbeat!" But no. Just quiet measurements until she said "I'm just taking measurements for the doctor to talk to you". Ugh. Not good. But I didn't know what I was looking for either. The quietness was the worst. Why couldn't she have said "there's no heartbeat" to not keep us guessing.
    • Then she brought us into another room to wait for him. It felt like that took forever and I could only think, what if N had been here by herself? How awful to wait that long.
    • He came in and said something like no heartbeat, can't be 100% sure, but 99% sure. We'll do two hcg level checks to be sure. There is a sac but it's just debris and blood. That should all come out naturally. Then he kept talking. Too much.
    • We then left and called/texted people in the parking lot. That was a bummer. We were so bummed out, disappointed and sad.
    • We were trying to figure out what to do next. We had decided earlier that we'd go for ice cream after the appt that way we could either celebrate or drown our sorrows. We didn't feel like it but thought it would be better than going home.
    • I have to say, walking into the ice cream place and saying "what the biggest size you've got" was so fun. The guy said the biggest container fit 3 scoops and I said "that's not enough" so we bargained for 5 kiddie scoops instead. Being unencumbered by how many flavors you can get it so amazing! It's very empowering especially after having no control over this other situation.
    • We sat outside and had our ice creams and really only got halfway but it was so fun to have all these flavors in our cups. 

    • Her husband was going to cook for us so we went and got fun foods like wine and cheese and filet mignons. I had been eating chocolate chip cookies and tob.lerone all day so we still had that.
    • We got home and got in the hot tub and pool which was fun (hey, this is FL!) and then had a super delicious breakfast. And slept well.
    • The next day, I went with her to get her bloodwork and then went to the airport.
  • Oct 3, I came home and my son and his nanny-share friend were just waking up and it was the best to spend time with them. So cute and just what I needed, plus a nap. That evening, D came over to cuddle with me in the living room, laying himself in my lap and it was just so, so perfect and again, just what I needed.
  • We checked in with each other that week
  • Fri, Oct 5, my doctor called after he had reviewed everything and said that even with a PGD tested embryo, there's still a 10-15% chance that it doesn't work. Blah. Seriously? Why us? After everything we've been through?? Why do we generally have to fit into these low chances of things happening??? 
    • (And after I had posted on my surrogacy group that we were originally pregnant and told my friend IRL, she responded with muted enthusiasm and I know that she felt I hadn't "earned" my surrogacy badge because both times it happened right away for us whereas for her, she struggled a lot, which I sort of understood but still felt crummy about... well, when we lost the pregnancy, and I posted, she had a similar message along with everyone else's and didn't reach out personally which hurt which made me feel like she almost was glad that I had to "earn" this... yucky feelings and I'm trying to work that out)
    • Anyway, my doctor was encouraged for us to try again with N, we just have to let nature take its course and have us figure out when that might be, probably 2-3 months from now.
    • And I felt badly because I know N had really wanted to have her summer with her kids and now she won't really get to (or at least they won't be able to go anywhere outside of FL which she had wanted to do), and she and her new husband had planned a honeymoon in Sept which I wish they hadn't because now I'm feeling badly that it may not be before July or August that she could potentially give birth and I know she's maybe wishing that we could wait a few months to try but I really don't want to; we already waited a few months because they got married in June so I'd rather not keep waiting since if it doesn't work with her, we'll have to find someone new and all of that takes a lot of time... and this is the sucky part about all of this - you can't plan anything because you may have to try again.
Overall, I know these flukes happen but I just thought I could have different feelings about surrogacy and now I think I'm having/going to have a hard time feeling hopeful about the next transfer. I'm trying to stay hopeful knowing that these things happen. But this also still feels so raw right now. I couldn't even talk to friends about it yet. Nothing anyone says to me other than "this sucks" is helping. It all feels like platitudes to me right now.

Ahhhhh... this sucks. And I will be hopeful again but right now, this sucks.