Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Heartbeat for Embryo Transfer #3!!!

Oh man... so I didn't write about the last 2 weeks and how anxiety-producing they were...

Her beta was on Mon, Dec 9 and she was at 439 at 13 dpt then at 918 on Wed, Dec 11. They wanted her to re-test again on Friday since the doubling was right around 100% (which I didn't understand bc I always thought they looked for at least 60%). The nurse told me that our doctor thought 100% doubling is on the low side...

So she tested again on Fri, Dec 13 and it was 1968, still doubling but she basically told us that it's a slow rise and they are concerned about ectopic pregnancy or a smaller than expected pregnancy or "best case scenario everything is normal".

So, that was unsettling to say the least. I fully expected her to bleed by 5-5 1/2 weeks as N had and as I had, so the next week (last week) was SUPER anxiety-filled. I think I took am.bien every night and took higher dosing of my anti-anxiety meds.

I bought my flight on Tues to be there for the ultrasound on 12/23 (yesterday) which the nurse again said 'we'd see where the placement of the pregnancy was' not 'the heartbeat', so.... I was preparing for bad news.

And it didn't help that B and I didn't really get a chance to talk that whole weekend of the 13th-15th because we had a house guest (a friend that was super fun) and a wedding we went to with other people (which was also super fun).

I am glad I had a lot of good distractions... BUT we did get into a fight/two fights on that Sun when getting ready for a holiday party. Yes, we were worn out, and stressed, an emotional, and it wasn't good. Thankfully we were able to quickly recover but I still feel really bad about how much I yelled that day.

I went down to NC on Sat evening. K picked me up from the airport and it was good to get time with her in the car. I got to hug my niece and nephew before bedtime and then K and R stayed up for about an hour chatting which was also good.

R is a pastor and we stayed for 2 services on Sunday morning and his sermon was JUST what I needed to hear. It was truly beautiful and turns out he didn't even change any of it based on our convo Sat evening. How amazing is that!

I had a great time with the kids. It was nice to be with them without the whole family. The boy loves to cuddle and I just love playing with my niece's hair and her personality and I just think she's the cutest!

K and I took naps and had a lazy Sunday afternoon, then went out as a family for a fun dinner and some unexpected fun shopping.

I DID NOT sleep well AT ALL on Sun night. Our appt was Monday morning at 9am. Thank goodness it was that early and we didn't need to wait longer.

When we got called back, we told the technician that we were expecting bad news for her to not feel badly delivering it. And if it was to be good news to be gentle about it bc we didn't think we could take a big hoopla.

And holy moly if I didn't see that heartbeat right before she said it. And I already started to cry and then super uncontrollably in my hands. I really couldn't believe it. My little A was in there. (At least I'm hoping we can call it little A). Man. Man oh man. No words can explain this.

K was crying too. It took me awhile to pull myself together.

The tech said that it was a strong heartbeat - 142 beats per min. They look for over 80 and anything over 100 is good.

Yay! Maybe this little one will stick!

And you know, all that stuff about getting over that it wasn't a girl? It was amazing to me how much I kept saying, my little boy is in there. He made it! He's measuring 6w2d now. :)

Now, let's just keep our fingers and toes crossed. I want to believe in this so so badly.

(And I also know I'll be ok if it doesn't work).

But both B and I feel more confident now. We hadn't made it past this point since L and we hope that means it's a really good sign.

Best Christmas present ever!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Embryo Transfer #3 Positive (So Far)

Yes! We had our 3rd embryo-transfer with our sister-in-law, K, last week, on Nov 27th, which would've been B's parents' 50th wedding anniversary (his father passed away 30 years ago), so we were hoping this date would bring us some good luck.

I was really nervous. I didn't want to make too big a deal about it.

I had been to counseling lots pre-grieving the loss of this last attempt, this last embryo, so I was very weary.

And K and I had a nice ride to the clinic talking about all of that. I'm glad it's so easy for she and I to talk about it and understand and be on the same page.

But I did get her special socks (and wrote her a special card) and I got the socks to match mine which were a gift from an infertility warrior friend. Cute, huh?

We had a nice Thanksgiving together and on the day she left she said, watch this one be the one that works because I don't feel anything... ok.

By Sunday and Monday nights, I wasn't sleeping well. My anxiety was much higher than normal. And then luckily, she texted me this on Tues morning:

Whoa is right! I wasn't even expecting her to test until Wed, which is early. Tues was Day 7!!!

So I felt super joyous all morning long and texted my closest people about it!

And then by afternoon, the PTSD was back. The 'be cautious, we've been here before... will she start bleeding at 5 1/2 weeks like the other ones... let's not get too ahead of ourselves...'

But it's really a rollercoaster because then the joyous feelings come back, and then PTSD again and so on.

One evening this week, I even allowed ourselves to talk about names. And I let myself say out loud "I wonder if he'll look like D or if he'll look completely different..."

And it was kinda fun.

And I decided to let myself because really, when I thought about it, if this doesn't work, it's not like it's going to hurt more if I let myself feel the joyous parts of it. 

Counseling helped this week too. She told me I was doing a good job. And that felt good to hear because I think I am too. 

I knew this would be extra stressful with the holidays and I also knew I didn't want the stress of the holidays get to me, especially with this in the background/foreground, and I wanted to actually enjoy the fun parts about the holidays so this is what I've done/am doing:
  • I got all our major Christmas gift shopping done AND wrapped by Nov 30. So much so that when my best friend, J, gave me an idea for her son on Dec 2, I said, nope, I'm done! Give that idea to someone else. ;)
  • I decided which of the events really mattered to me and decided to prioritize them (my friend's open house even though it's 45 mins away and J's holiday party)
  • I decided to have a good attitude about the 'musts' - family bdays squeezed in there, both office holiday parties, and a wedding (!!!)
  • I decided to do no sugar/no processed foods so I don't feel gross (though at the first event of the month last night, I decided to have dessert at the end of the night; I had gotten my period that day and there were no healthy options out and I decided I could make an exception and not be that hard on myself!)
  • I'm also enjoying time with D. The other night, we were behind schedule for dinner and bedtime because we decided to work on the puzzle box and had so much fun playing puzzles that I let ourselves indulge in that.
  • And I'm enjoying and very energizing by the work stuff going on right now
So, I feel like I'm focusing on all the right things and controlling what I can and being gentle on the things I can't.

Beta is Monday and heartbeat would be on Mon, Dec 23! Next counseling appt is the week of Dec 16.

And now I must get ready for one of the fun holiday events today!

Keeping fingers, toes and everything else crossed. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Last Embryo Transfer Next Week

This is it.

Our last embryo... the transfer is one week from today.

It's been a whirlwind of complicated feelings, a lot of processing the 'what if' and a lot of thinking through what's next if it doesn't work.

I had a big cry Monday night after seeing my psychiatrist and I see my psychologist tomorrow. Scheduled that one on purpose. I knew a week out I'd likely be super anxious.

I just really can't believe that we are here.

Three years ago, no FOUR years ago, I produced 6 viable embryos. And then D happened. And thank goodness. I don't think I would've been able to make it this far if he hadn't worked early on. And I thank God that it worked on the first try to spare me anymore (in)suffrable pain.

And I kept wondering what I'd ever do with leftover embryos. How hard that would be...

I feel like the universe is either doing me a favor by not letting me experience that or it's a cruel joke.

I just never thought that after it worked so well with D that it wouldn't work so quickly again the next time or two we tried. I thought we had cracked the nut on the 10 years of why it wasn't working with me.

And to think that N had two miscarriages and that K had two negative results so far... it just doesn't seem possible with D right next to us, happy and healthy.

So, this is it. In less than 3 weeks we'll know whether D will have a biological sibling or not.

And if it's not, then we'll need to figure out what's next. And I've been all over the place on it:

  • Adoption - at first I was all gung-ho on this. I needed a Plan B (or is it Plan E? F? G?) and it made me feel better to think about keeping on going. To feel hopeful about something else.
  • Donor Egg - then I thought, well, if I could be open to adoption, why couldn't I be open to donor egg (something that I was adamantly against a few years ago, so much so that we moved to surrogacy). But suddenly I was open to it and even got access to the donor bank on our clinic's website and started imagining this becoming a reality for us. 
  • Family of 3 - and then I thought, I don't know if I have the energy to continue on with this and maybe there is some relief in sight with just being done and being happy for what we have, which is a lot.
I also think that if this next one doesn't work, it will feel like such a blow, such a crushing ending to my dreams that I will need some time and space to process and grieve it before deciding anything else.

So while I'm sitting with option #3 right now, as much as I want a sibling for D for him to have now, growing up, and for him to not be alone later on, and for us to experience having more than one child in our family, I also recognize that raising a child/children is a lot of work and that being able to fill our own cups takes time and putting energy into our marriage also takes time and that adding to our family will make all of that all the more challenging (and something we've known and would be ok with) but that putting an end to all of this, which has been 12 years now, feels like it could be the best decision. Relief in sight feels right at the moment.

Of course we are keeping everything crossed, praying and putting the most positive vibes out there. There is nothing I want more than for this to work. And hopefully it will. And if it doesn't, I need to know that I can peacefully move on and focus on being happy without balancing happiness and hope anymore. It's been exhausting. It's been 'worth it' and I'd also like to just be at peace.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Transfer #2 to Surrogate #3 - Dreams Shattered

...or this one can be called my son worked on the first try and then we've had 4 in a row failures.

The last two resulted in BFNs with K and we just can't understand why. Why is it that our son worked on the very first try with our first surrogate and then we had two miscarriages/biochemicals with surrogate #2 and two BFNs with surrogate #3?

And the thing that is the most painful for me right now that only my husband and I shared because we wanted it to be special... is that those were ALL girls.

My dream of having a biological girl isn't going to come true.

And that's super hard to sit with.

Especially when I thought that for sure it would work after D was born and we learned we had FOUR girl embryos - AND that they were the highest quality embryos.


I even went so far as to think up a ludicrous dream - that I'd get my 3 kids that I'd been dreaming of since I was 19, since I realized I loved the dynamics of my best friend's family and my college roommate's family that had three.

I thought, maybe, just maybe, the embryo will split and then we'd have healthy twin girls and then the names we'd picked out, named after our grandmothers and that are so, so meaningful to us, well, we wouldn't have to choose. It would be perfect.

Leela Lucille
Adrienne Frances

Man, it hurts to even write that out. We kept calling "her" LLB (B is my husband's last name). And now LLB won't be. :(

I'm sad and I'm angry.

And I want to do something with those names but I'm not sure what. Maybe paint their names (or initials) on flat rocks and put them in our garden, or bury them in our yard, or put them in our nearby creek... or make wall hangings with their names to commemorate them somehow, I don't know. (And maybe I need to move past this immediate pain before I can figure that out, or maybe doing something will help me move through that pain...).

As soon as the third day of home tests were negative, I knew I just needed to cry. And I know my mom just can't be there for me in that way. She means well but I get a lot of platitudes from her, from most people, which is why I often can't share bad news with most people until a few days later because I don't want to hear that stuff. It's too hard. It invalidates my feelings.

Of course I know how lucky I am to have D and of course I'm hoping the next one will work and of course I know there are other ways to have babies and I know gender doesn't/shouldn't matter and I know EVERYTHING else is going well in my life right now. And I don't take ANY of it for granted. But PLEASE can I just have this one feeling? This ONE feeling of extreme disappointment of a dream not coming true??? We had 2 boys and 4 girls - surely ONE of those girls was going to work????

So I texted my best friend and I told her I needed time with her that day to just cry on her shoulder. I needed her to be my mom. And she showed up. She showed up in a big way. I came home early from work, we went up to my room. She sat on my bed. I laid in her lap and just bawled it out. I told her about the girls. And about all my hurt and disappointment. She stroked my hair, she listened, she repeated what I was saying, was empathetic and prayed with and for me. It was beautiful and exactly what I needed. I hadn't balled that much in a really long time. That deep, deep, uncontrollable despairing, ugly bawl.

I felt a big relief after that and then the next day at therapy, she picked up on my anger which I didn't realize was in there. So that was helpful too.

And then Sat night when my husband and I could steal an hour, I cried and cried in his arms too.

It just sucks. It sucks so badly.

And here's the stupid picture that we have gotten countless times that I'm so dubious of. "Good luck with the cycle!" they say enthusiastically. Yeah, do you have any idea how many times this hasn't worked for us??? SO MANY. TOO MANY.

I swear I've kept thinking that maybe the universe just didn't want me to be a girl mom. That I wasn't capable. That I'd repeat mom/daughter cycles. That it would be sparing me that other down the line pain.

And I'd consoled myself earlier on that if this didn't work and the boy did, well, at least I could revisit all of D's cute clothes that I've stored away. And yes, of course, that would be great. But it's also not consoling me right now. It will... IF we are lucky enough to have the next cycle work, but right now it's not.

And speaking of the next cycle, that's part of what is so hard with this... after two failed cycles, how do you even get hopeful about a third?? How do you not think maybe we won't be able to have a biological sibling for our child after all?

And then if I still feel this tugging away at me, how do I convince my husband to move to adoption when we are in debt, major debt with what will be 5 tries with 2 surrogates for D's sibling???

I really wanted that girl...

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Transfer #1 with Surrogate #3

We did it! Transfer got delayed till today and it's all done!

There's her beautiful uterus with our day 5 embryo in there, hopefully nestling in for the next 8.5 months!

The transfer got rescheduled last Thurs so we knew it would be today though last night's travel was kinda crazy.

I've been on vacation in South Carolina and flew home from Charleston and she flew from Greenville. Kinda crazy too that we were only a 3 hour drive apart and flying to the same place. My flight got delayed an hour and hers many hours. She didn't get in till after midnight and we didn't get home till 1am. I popped an ambien and was asleep by 1:50 and woke up on my own at 7am which was nice to have a leisurely breakfast in bed.

We also ended up ubering everywhere which I know was expensive but after waiting 15 mins for the shuttle last night, I was too tire to think of driving from Dulles so didn't.

We had to leave home at 8:30am this morning. It was super easy being together. We've always gotten along great but never has it just been the two of us.

Everything went smoothly. It was cute to see how excited she was.

Me... I'm feeling cautiously hopeful but also staying grounded on this one. B and I were talking that this will likely work. (With a 12mm uterine lining, who wouldn't want to burrow in there?!) :)

We went and had an early lunch out when we got home, went by the pharmacy to pick up home pregnancy tests, took naps and then headed back to the airport.

And now we are both sitting on our own planes on the tarmac. :(

I'm soooo tired. And I'm also relieved that by around this time next week we'll be able to know something from her home test.

Here's to fingers and toes crossed, sticky vibes, prayers and all the positive thoughts around!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Another (Small) Curveball

Why can't this be easier?

We now need to change the transfer date... which wouldn't be that big of a deal but we had timed it so that the transfer would happen a day before our vacation and before K goes back to teaching.

Her lining was 6.4mm at her check-in on Thurs (and it needs to be at least 8mm). We were really surprised because during the mock cycle, at this point, her lining was 11mm. But when we went back and calculated, our nurse put her on different meds for this round and it was 4 days shy of how long she had been on meds compared to this cycle for this last check-in. Not sure how the nurse didn't figure that out and I'm a bit annoyed about that but our nurse is only out on leave, and it's neither here nor there at this point.

She'll go in for a lining check again on Thurs, July 25, the day we leave for vacation (to a beach near Charleston, SC).

So... we're trying to figure out if I just fly home for 24 hours from the beach to meet K halfway through the week the following week (July 31) or whether we cut our vacation short by a day and we come home together and do the transfer on Aug 2.

I hate having to roll with the punches and uncertainty with all of this. My anxiety is heightened enough without it having to work harder at balance. But we know that this is all part of the surro-coaster, and in the end, it's not the biggest deal.

Here's to hoping it just works.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

We Have a Transfer Date!

Whoa. Lots to get to this point. But we did it, in 6 months. (Can't believe how long this process takes even with a known surrogate!).

So, July 24th it is! My sister-in-law is scheduled for the embryo transfer then and I'm more hopeful than I thought I'd be.

I think I'm also super proud of us getting to this point. B and I felt such elation and relief on Tuesday when we got legal clearance. That was HUGE!

When I checked 'schedule transfer date' off my list, I felt like I should've been checking 10 checks or having rainbows and confetti fall from my screen!



And July 24 is in 3 weeks!!! Which is soon. 

(And I calculated that if this works, that means an April birth which also feels... soon, which is an odd feeling given that I thought this next baby would be in our lives by about now).

I'm feeling grateful that I've got my meds figured out and that I've resolved my digestive issues (who knew that fiber supplements could work wonders!), it's been incredibly easy working with K - she's on top of everything, I'm enjoying my job tremendously right now and really relishing in my little boy who will be 2 this weekend!

Life is good and I am hopeful. Yay!

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.