The longest 9 days

Patience is a virtue….right? Unless you’re waiting the LONG 9 days between transfer and a blood test to find out if the transfer took and you are pregnant, then it’s Mount Everest and you’re standing at the bottom with two broken legs. There is a LOT of waiting in surrogacy, it’s kind of a theme.

I knew I wanted to take a home pregnancy test (hpt) because I am NOT a patient person. I asked my IM if she wanted to know and she said no, and then to let her think about it and she would let me know… she never let me know, so I assumed she didn’t want to know.

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I took 4 pregnancy tests! (Impatient, I told you!) I started Monday, 5 days after transfer. I knew it was early, but I did it anyway because I was curious and I had been so exhausted. It was positive, a very faint positive, but nonetheless positive! We call it a “squinter.” I was ecstatic! I wanted to tell my IM so so so badly, but I resisted and tried to respect her wishes. It was difficult! I am not good with secrets.

I waited 2 days to retest and again got a very faint positive. I was, honestly, a little disappointed. I was hoping the results would be a little more obvious like they were in my first journey, but I had to remind myself that I had two babies in there the first time, and that EVERY JOURNEY IS DIFFERENT!

I think we forget that very important fact as surrogates. We forget that each of our own pregnancies were different. We forget that these are IVF babies and our bodies had to be prepared with a magic concoction of hormones provided by the fertility clinics. We forget how much time and effort goes into making us the best little baby growing machines out there. We forge

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t that in normal life most of us wouldn’t have a clue we were pregnant yet. We get so excited for ourselves to be pregnant again and for our IPs to become parents. Mostly, it’s just hard to have no control.

I was discouraged and impatient, but it was there, I was pregnant, according to my pee on a stick. I had used up the box (only bought a two pack because I was in complete denial of my impatience). I thought I would be able to wait 2 more days until Beta with no problems, but I was WRONG!

The next day my husby and I were driving around and I decided I wanted more pregnancy tests. Some of the other surrogates had mentioned pink dye tests showing up a little darker and I wanted to test that idea! We went to the dollar store and I bought

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two more tests. (I mean they were only a dollar!)

I retested again on Thursday, twice, and still got faint positives. I decided that was enough and I would wait one more day until Beta. It was still so difficult not to tell my IM!

Friday morning I went in around 8:30. My IM had texted that she was with me in spirit and I know she was more nervous than me because she didn’t know about the pregnancy tests! We didn’t have to wait long for results and before noon we knew we were pregnant with a Beta of 120.3! My IM was so thrilled, as was I. The nurse let me know my hormone levels, as well, and asked me to come in on Sunday for my second beta to make sure my hcg levels were rising. I get to increase my PIO to one full unit and my suppositories to 3x a day. I Am obviously thrilled about those. I confessed my impatience to my IM and she confessed her mom had been stalking my blog for hints, we

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agreed to chat again on Sunday after results.

Sunday morning I again went in around 8:30 and had another blood draw. We again got the results quickly. They were hoping for a rise of at least 53%, my second beta was 279.5 which is 132% increase! I got to call and tell my IM the good news! She was, again, thrilled and told me congratulations and I told her congratulations back!

We received the official pregnancy letter from CCRM with an expected due date of July 14, my youngest daughter’s birthday, and the next steps. I will have my first ultrasound November 22 at 6.5 weeks pregnant  and another December 6 at 8.5 weeks pregnant.

Now we wait for my pregnancy symptoms to get worse, or better depending on how you look at it. I’ve definitely been exhausted lately, but I work graveyards so I’m always tired. I also have morning sickness, increased sense of smell, breast tenderness, and more exhaustion to look forward to, but I can honestly say I am looking forward to every single one of those symptoms.

Transfer

I worked overnight October 25 until 6am October 26. I went home and was able to get about 30 minutes of sleep before my husby dropped me off for breakfast with my IM. She had flown in the night before and was planning to leave right after transfer.

We met for breakfast at 8am, talked and talked and talked, she’s amazing by the way, and got to know each other a little better. She then drove me to CCRM for 9:30 check in. Our ConceiveAbilities  case manager met us there as well. She offered hugs, warm wishes, and sticky thoughts.

After a quick blood draw and some signatures from my IM we were taken upstairs to prepare for transfer. We were both excited and nervous and ready! The nurse came in to have me change and make me take my giant Valium. I was able to chat a little more with my IM before they came in to do my acupuncture. I  was exhausted and so relaxed that I fell asleep. I am discovering I really enjoy acupuncture.

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One perfect little embryo

After about 20 mins, they were ready for transfer. My husby showed up just in time, however he had received a call from school they my eldest daughter had thrown up and needed to be picked up. He was able to stay for transfer and my IM offered to give me a ride home.

They rolled the little embryo in on an incubator and allowed my IM to take a few pictures. They did an ultrasound to check how full my bladder was, but it was a little low despite me sipping water since breakfast. This only meant she had to push pretty hard to get a good picture of my uterus for transfer.

Transfer is not the most comfortable thing in the world, it’s very similar to getting a PAP done, speculum and all. They use a little tiny needle that looks like a straw to pick up the embryo and put it gently in your uterus. There is a tiny air bubble that can be seen on the ultrasound to show things have been moved. They double check to make sure the embryo is no longer in the needle and that’s it. We transferred one perfect little embryo in what felt like 10 seconds.

My nurse came in to discuss my daughter being sick. She wanted us separated completely and was hoping I had somewhere else to stay or someone who could take my daughter while I was on bedrest, but unfortunately that was not the case. The main concern was fever because if I develop a fever, my body would reject the embryo completely and that was the last thing I wanted.

During my second round of acupuncture, in which I fell asleep again, my IM and nurse discussed our situation a little more.  We decided it was best for me to stay in a hotel while on bedrest. I have to admit I was a little bummed because my husby had taken the time off in hopes we would get some time together because we work opposite night shifts and have little to no time awake together.It was especially hard because they didn’t want him to even come visit me just in case.

My IM’s mom had frantically been calling around to try to get us a room, my IM was staying too, and had changed her flight to the next afternoon. She was able to find us a hotel close to my house so my husby could bring me a change of clothes, a toothbrush, and all my meds. He even brought me dinner for the evening.

I mostly just slept the next two days away. My IM flew out the next morning so a friend and another amazing employee of ConceiveAbilities brought me some snacks and dinner to get me by. I also watched a few movies and some junk tv. Ithe was tough, especially because they want you mostly horizontal and not sitting up more than 45° except to use the bathroom.

I was bored, and lonely, and bummed because it was not how I had planned, but I understood and everytime my IM apologized I simply reminded her I was here for her. This little embryo will hopefully make itself at home and soon be her little baby. She has every right to want to give it the best shot possible!

The past few days I have been exhausted. All  I want to do is sleep. I am staying hopeful, but also trying to prepare myself just in case . First Beta is Friday and we will know if this little one decided to camp out or not!

 

Giant Needles

Due to my underwhelming lining at my first monitoring appointment, I had another appointment Monday the 17th. Thankfully, the little blue pills were helping! My lining was up to 9.2mm (needed to be >6) and my estradiol was at 206 (needed to be >200.)

I had another monitoring appointment Thursday the 20th. Things were perfect in preparation for transfer! Lining was at 10mm (needed to be 8-12), estradiol was at 2106 (anything >300 is good with no max), and progesterone was 0.22 (needed to be <1). We got an email from the nurse titled “Ready, Set, Transfer”. It was also my last Lupron injection!

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These are all my fun pills. The little blue and the GIANT white are both vaginal suppositories

October 21 I had the pleasure of starting Endometrin (vaginal suppositories), Medrol, Doxycycline, and PIO (the butt shots!) The needle is HUGE and it’s intramuscular, ouch! This time around, my husband has a little practice under his belt so they don’t hurt quite as much. (Like a DART!) I’m not using the ice pack before the shot and it seems to be helping because I’m not getting lumps anymore.

I had one final blood draw yesterday, but everything still looked perfect! We are set for transfer at 11am on Wednesday the 26th!

My IM is ecstatic, and so am I. She is flying out Tuesday night and will fly back home after transfer. I’m kind of bummed we won’t get to spend more

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time together, but we’re already planning to meet for breakfast (assuming I can figure out child care), she will be there with me for transfer, and we are going to be wearing lucky Chucks!

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Progesterone in Oil (PIO)

Now we just wait these last two days, continue all my meds, and hope everything still looks perfect on Wednesday!

The other little blue pill

I had my first monitoring appointment yesterday, and things didn’t go exactly as I had hoped. My lining was a little thin, only 3.5mm, but did have a triple pattern, and my estradiol was 39 but should be around 50.

This was expected, sort of, because Mother Nature took her sweet time in getting Aunt Flo to arrive, but was still a little disappointing. As surrogates we are always shocked and upset when something happens or doesn’t go as planned because, for most of us, we haven’t had any problems in the past. We sometimes forget that life happens and we really have very limited control over this whole process. My IM is still amazing, of course, and doesn’t seem concerned if the transfer has to get pushed back a few days. She is so laid back and positive and supportive. We are very lucky to have her!

20161014_203413My situation is not the end of the world. I just have to add another medication, I mean I’m already taking so many, what is one more?? This one, however, is a little blue pill that can be taken orally or vaginally called Estrace. I am SO LUCKY because I get to take it vaginally, YAY! (can you sense my sarcasm?) It’s really not so bad compared to the other suppositories which are HUGE. I will have to do a side by side comparison once I start taking the others.

Anyway, this should help to correct both issues from my monitoring appointment and will hopefully get things on track to maintain a transfer date of October 26. They have scheduled another appointment for Monday October 17 to see if the pill is helping and we will just go from there. CCRM is pretty amazing and they obviously know what they’re doing, so I believe this will help.  Only 12 more days to transfer!

 

Shots, shots, and more shots. (And not the alcoholic kind)

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The wonderful med kit

I started my Lupron shots last week so things are really starting to move forward. These shots are a piece of cake or 💉=🍰 as my IM put it in emoji form. We are getting excited and counting down the days until transfer. Less than 3 weeks left! My IM insisted I could call to yell at her anytime I gave myself a shot and it hurt. I have yet to yell.

Surrogacy is the ONLY time anyone ever gets excited for their Aunt Flo to show up. It’s also when she decides to be extremely LATE to the party! I was supposed to start on Tuesday and not even a hint that she was on her way by Thursday. I knew it would be a little off because I was on birth control for two weeks then off for a (sort of) period and then back on for two weeks and now off again to get things moving. She most likely just got confused and lost. Anyone know how to get her a GPS?

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Lupron needle on the left, PIO (butt shots) on the right

I emailed my nurse because I was a little concerned that my period was so late. They decided to bring me in for an ultrasound and labs the following day, Friday, just to see what was going on. I was so nervous because I was terrified something was wrong or it would completely throw off the calendar. They told me my lining was thin…ish. It wasn’t so thin that they could just say skip it and go straight to the next meds, but it also wasn’t thick enough to say just give it a few days. She needed to wait for my labs to come back and talk to the doctor to know anything for sure. This was not the greatest news ever. I mean it wasn’t the worst, but I was still in limbo until my labs came back. At this point I still hadn’t said anything to my IM because there is no point telling her “hey, I have no idea what’s going on.” My AMAZING nurse said she would send an email to all of us, myself, my IM, and my case manager, as soon as she knew what the new plan was.

I got an email from my nurse at 4:47pm. My lining was 4.6mm (medium), estradiol was 89 (good), progesterone 6.1 (high), and LH was 1.3 (going back down after surge). Which meant my stupid, and fashionably late, Aunt Flo was on her way so we just had to wait it out, which meant transfer could possibly be delayed.

I was devastated and frustrated and confused and emotional. Knowing it was coming did provide a little relief because I was FREAKING OUT! My cycle is very regular and I had been on the patch for months prior and I could almost time it to the hour of starting. I don’t know if it was just the chaos of going on and off birth control or if it was stress related or what, but I was unprepared for this little speed bump. Your first thought is always of your IPs. I felt terrible that I may be delaying this process any further. My IM has waited a long time for this and I’m sure being so close is agonizing. I felt like I was disappointing her a little bit, but she is INCREDIBLE. She sent me a text message “…just a quick text to say will go with the flow! Or let the flow go with you.” HAHAHA. It put a smile on my face and helped me relax a little.

Today I had my monthly support group and talked about my current issues and how excited I had been to transfer on the twins 1st birthday, but apparently that was the kick start mother nature needed. (I guess she doesn’t like people talking bad about her behind her back!) So I immediately sent a, very relieved, email to my IM and nurse and we got EXCELLENT news, we will be able to keep the same transfer date! They changed my med schedule up just a bit and it will all still depend on my lining checks, but I am cautiously optimistic.

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A small fraction of the total number of needles I will use

Anyway. Now that my least favorite relative has decided to show her ugly face I will begin the new meds. I am not looking forward to the vaginal suppositories because, frankly, they are disgusting. I will take the butt shots over the suppositories any day. The only downside to the butt shots is the GIANT needle, but I think my husby has finally figured out the proper technique so they will be far less painful this go around. The patches are also not the greatest because they leave this terrible sticky residue on your skin that is nearly impossible to get off. BUT, it is all still worth it. Every single pokey, sticky, disgusting second is worth it.

Legal Clearance

Yesterday we received official legal clearance and are good to set a transfer date. We can now begin the countdown and my IM can start to get genuinely excited! The twins will turn 1 on October 26, and I will be starting a second journey.

Legal took a bit longer than expected, but there was a bit of a delay only because my attorney is very busy and we had to book a consultation a few weeks out. Once we reviewed our contract and had a few questions answered the rest went extremely quickly.

After we received “official” legal clearance, our case manager sent out a congratulatory email to all of us which included our contact info so we can FINALLY communicate directly. We had sent a few emails back and forth through our case manager, but it’s always a relief to be able to ask your IPs a question and just check in with them from time to time, especially when you’re waiting for something to happen.

Shortly after we were cleared, we received a very sweet email from my IM about how excited she is. We are, of course, just as excited. She shared how she’s not normally a “crier” but we may have to bear through some tears with her. I, on the other hand, am most definitely a crier, and will happily share any and all tears with her. We know this is an emotional rollercoaster and expect her to have lots of mixed emotions and questions.

I’m excited for a completely different second journey. I will get to share all the “firsts” with my IM. First ultrasound, first heartbeat, first gender reveal, and the first time she will get to hold her new baby and be a mommy. I’m looking forward to having a whole new experience because it will make this journey just as special as my first surrogacy.

Now we are just hoping the next six weeks fly by. We will be anxiously awaiting my meds (the only time I will EVER be excited about receiving a bunch of needles) and hoping things go smoothly in preparation for transfer!

Six weeks and counting….

 

Medical Workup

Last Friday I had my medical workup for round two! It was much more timely and a much shorter day than I remember from the last time. From start to finish was only about 3 hours this go around.

I had an ultrasound and Doppler first where they checked to make sure my uterus, ovaries, and blood-flow looked normal. I was told everything looked “beautiful”. It’s hard to accept any compliments centered around your uterus, so having a “beautiful” uterus is….good? Um, thanks? Every ultrasound I had during my last surrogacy the techs told me the same thing. I mean, it’s a little awkward, right? Is that just the choice word these ladies use to help make us surrogates feel more comfortable? You’re up there on the table, your butt hanging off the edge, your feet up in stirrups, and the ultrasound tech all up in your business with the internal wand and they tell you “your uterus looks beautiful.” Hey, a compliment’s a compliment and I will gladly accept and say thanks, but maybe next time buy me a drink first? (Non-alcoholic, of course!)

Next, both husby and I had to leave a urine sample and get some blood drawn, although I had to have like 10 millions viles drawn and he only had to do 3. We shared some wonderful “that’s what she said” jokes with the phlebotomist who was quite a good sport. We then sat down and had a condensed consultation with the nurse in charge of my case. She basically just updated us on changes since we have done this before. I was happy to learn there are less suppositories now and a lower does of PIO to begin with!!

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All the wonderful tools and objects that will be used for my exam

We then went right to the hysteroscopy. This, ladies and gentlemen, is AWKWARD in every way you could imagine. We walk in to a cold, sterile room and on the counter on the far side of the room is a tray full of wonderful objects they are going to use during my examination, not to mention the giant scope that is going to go places no scope should go.

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“The Scope”

This time I have to get completely naked and put on the most interesting paper gown you will ever see. It looks like one of those crazy outfits you would see in a fashion show that no one would actually EVER wear in public, except it’s bright pink and made of tissue paper. I was definitely the most sexy person in the room, just sayin’.

The doc came in and introduced himself and got right to work. I had a breast exam, while my husby was present, a PAP, which my husby DID NOT watch, and then the ever wonderful hysteroscopy. He warned me it would make strange bubbling noises and assured me it was the machine, but oh man, I was unprepared for my ridiculous, uncontrollable, and immature giggling that would accompany the noise. Seriously….I was like a teenage boy laughing at a fart joke. It was ridiculous and embarrassing, but at least it kept me distracted. After I got redressed, we had a short chat with the doctor, basically the same as the nurse, where he reminded us of all the risks and made sure we didn’t have any new questions.

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Still smiling, despite knowing what is about to happen.

Next was a meeting with a psychologist to make sure we really wanted to do this again and to make sure there are no red flags, like serious financial or marital problems, and that there is no risk of us developing an attachment or having trouble giving the baby/babies back at the end of the journey. We have been through this all before, so we were not worried. I took one last PAI test, and that was it.

I received a DELICIOUS box of toffee from my IM as a thank you for medical workup. She is far too kind, and after 3 days with no caffeine (including chocolate!) it was hard not to consume the entire box in one sitting! We are now back in the waiting game and are just awaiting test results, but like I said, we’ve done this before and nothing has changed so we are not worried. We are, however, excited to be moving forward and are beginning to count down the days until transfer!

Round 2

Anton and I knew we wanted to go through another surrogacy before we had even left the hospital after delivering the twins. (They are almost 8 months old now, FYI!!!) Seeing my IPs turn into Ps made it that much more easy of a decision. Seeing them hold their twins for the first time, seeing the look of love on their faces, and hearing my IM repeatedly thank me in the delivery room made it all worth it. There is something overwhelmingly addictive about helping others, but helping someone start or grow their family is something I could never adequately put into words. It is truly an indescribable feeling.

That being said, we are happy to announce that we are well on our way to our second journey. I reapplied in November, lol. Right after having the twins. It was not a hard decision for me. I had all my records sent off from my OB, had her sign a release, and got to work with ConceiveAbilities for Round 2!

I had to complete another phone screen in March, which was basically just an update to my profile to include my last surrogacy and update addresses and stuff since we had moved into our new house. I passed, wooohoo!

We then got set up for a match meeting for the end of April. I’m not going to lie, I was way more nervous this time around! I had such an amazing first journey that I was a little nervous about going through the process again. And seriously, match meeting is the absolute worst kind of blind date ever. You are meeting these IPs and wanting them to allow you to carry their child/children for them after only an hour of conversation. And that conversation is mostly horrifyingly personal information that you may not have told your best friend.

Would I find IPs that were just as incredible as my first set? Would the pregnancy be just as easy this time around? Would there be complications? Will my IPs want to be involved or will they be distant? Will they be long lost relatives? (haha!)

I did have one very specific request going into my second journey….no family! LOL!!! Finding out we were related after being matched to my last IPs was amazing! I loved that everyone was involved and it meant so much to know I was really helping my own family grow, but I wanted something different the second time around. Part of me does want the same journey again, because minus a few hiccups in the beginning, it was nearly perfect, but I also want a very different second journey. I requested to be matched with someone who did not have children of their own yet, who were not related to me (we even joked about doing a genealogy tree just in case), and someone local. Obviously I wouldn’t rule anyone out without meeting them, but I just wanted a different second journey because I knew I would have different experiences which can only help me grow as a person.

We have been matched with an amazing woman! She is single, a little older than myself and my last IPs, she is super down to earth and smart, she lives out of state, and she is unable to carry a baby to term safely. She was able to go through an egg retrieval with CCRM, and has 5 embryos plus 1 other embryo she was able to retrieve from a fertility clinic near her. She only wants one baby so I believe her plan is to only transfer one embryo at a time, but she would keep twins if the embryo split.

We are THRILLED! I am a little sad that with transferring only one embryo there is a less likely chance for twins as I would LOVE to carry twins again (….maybe surrogacy round 3…?) and I’m a little bummed she is out of state as she won’t get to come to every appointment, but I know she is planning to fly out for as many as she can, and she will be in the delivery room! Plus, she’s pretty incredible so I am so excited to see her become a mommy!!

We now just play the waiting game. Since my IM is with CCRM , the same fertility clinic used by my last IPs, they require one year between delivery and transfer. The great thing is, I already know the staff, who are all wonderful, and I already know the drill and their requirements. The twins were born October 26, 2015, so we are planning for a transfer around that same time this year. I am currently waiting for my medical workup to get medically cleared again. We did have it scheduled for the end of June, but we have pushed it back to the end of July, just in case the first transfer doesn’t take. That way we have until the end of December before I would have to repeat any tests. Once the medical clearance is complete, we go to legal, and then we will just be waiting for October to arrive.

The countdown for my second journey has officially begun! The waiting is tough, especially because we aren’t able to talk to my IM until after legal is complete, BUT October is only 4 months away. Knowing how fast my last journey went, October will be here before we know it!

The Big Day

This has been, by far, the hardest post to write. I have revised and edited so many times I’ve lost count. I have really struggled to find the right words to accurately describe how incredible the delivery day was. But, here is my best attempt.

We had a crazy weekend leading up to delivery. My husby and I were so busy getting our condo ready to list. We had to finish cleaning, finish organizing, and take a bunch of stuff to storage, but we got it all done without any more contractions.

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My last pregnant picture. 36 weeks, 5 days

Knowing it was my last day pregnant, Sunday, October 25, we went to breakfast, came home and relaxed a little while my husby napped since he had worked the night before, then finished getting everything to storage. Sunday evening, my husby’s mom came to pick up our girls and keep them for a few days while I’d be in the hospital. My husby and I then went to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory in the hopes I would still go into labor on my own. I had started having contractions with both my girls while eating there, but it didn’t work out this time. We had talked about going to a movie, but I was exhausted after dinner and knew I’d need to be rested for the next day so we headed home and snuggled on the couch watching The Walking Dead instead.

I didn’t really sleep much that night. I was so nervous about being induced because I had read that it was longer, more painful, and could lead to a c-section. I had been trying to mentally prepare myself for weeks because I knew I would ultimately do whatever was best for the babies, but a c-section was the one thing I had been dreading since finding out we were expecting twins.

The morning of delivery, October 26, I think I went through every possible emotion. I was nervous, excited, scared, overjoyed, and a little sad to know my journey was coming to an end. The last few weeks had been pretty tough and uncomfortable, but I still couldn’t believe it had gone so quickly. I talked to the babies and told them what an exciting day we had planned, and reminded little boy to be cooperative. I rubbed my tummy a few extra times and said my farewells. I knew I would miss feeling them moving around.

My IPs picked me up about 10am because my husband was staying behind to meet a photographer to take pictures of our condo for the brochures and would meet us at the hospital later. We drove to the doctor’s appointment where I got to meet my IF’s parents for the first time because they were picking up my IP’s son. They were so incredibly sweet and his mom told me she loved me already and gave me a hug. The outpouring of gratitude from my IP’s families has been overwhelming. Starting this journey, you think of how you are helping your IPs, but you really have no idea how many people are truly involved.

Our appointment was at 10:30. The doctor did a quick ultrasound to check the position of the babies and they were both head down! We were thrilled! She also did a physical exam and I was dilated to 4cm! We were officially ready for delivery. We were walked over to labor and delivery and escorted to a room. I was then hooked up to monitors and IVs and the waiting game began. I was still not having any contractions.

The nurses were struggling to keep little boys heartbeat on the monitor so they did another ultrasound to find the best position for the heart rate monitor and he had flipped! He was breech again! We were all in shock because he was head down less than an hour before and I hadn’t felt him flip over. I knew my doctor would still deliver him breech, but I was still really nervous about the potential for a c-section.

We settled into our room and I began the awesome texting game to let everyone know what was going on. My husby and the photographer arrived and we all waited…and waited…and waited. I was still not having any contractions. Finally, we decided to start pitocin to get things moving and it worked, but it was slow and my contractions were not regulating. The doctor decided to break my water, but we had discussed how quickly my girls came after my water breaking (45mins with my first and 30mins with my second….but I was already in active labor with both) so we decided to do an epidural first.

The doctor came back and broke my water at about 3pm. They also increased my pitocin. My contractions started to get stronger and more regular and by 6:30, I was definitely feeling lots of pressure. The doctor came back in to check on me and I was at 8cm but she decided to go ahead and have me transferred to the OR because 7pm is shift change and she wanted to make sure I was set up and ready. My IM and husby put on some really sexy scrubs, booties, and hair nets and followed as I was wheeled to the OR.

The OR was chaos. I was wheeled in and had to lift myself onto the table in the middle of the room. There were so many doctors and nurses in the room I could hardly keep track and on top of that it was shift change for the nurses so all the nurses who introduced themselves and got me set up would leave and new nurses would come in and introduce themselves. I can not remember the name of a single nurse in that room. I was hooked up to more monitors, my IV was adjusted, I still had an epidural going, I was put on oxygen and a blood pressure monitor all while trying to focus on not pushing yet. My doctor wanted me to wait until I was fully 10cm to push because she wanted to be able to deliver little boy breech and knew it would be easier if I was fully dilated.

My doctor was INCREDIBLE. With all the chaos going on in the room, she was still able to maintain control, inform everyone of the plan to deliver baby girl and then reach in and grab baby boy to pull him out breech, all while staring straight at me and watching me react to each contraction. She kept telling me she was just waiting for me to tell her I was ready to push.

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Baby boy

I’m not sure exactly what time I was ready, but I was ready. I think I only pushed through three, maybe four, contractions and baby girl was out and lying on my chest. She was born at 7:26pm. I tried to relax for a minute and catch my breath. I couldn’t see my IM or my husby because they were up behind my head, but I could hear them talking and taking pictures. It was only a second and my doctor was telling them to take baby girl away, hold baby boy in place and she was breaking his water.

The rest was really uncomfortable and indescribable because the doctor literally reached inside of me, grabbed baby boy’s legs and pulled him out. I only had to push to get his head out. It was awkward and painful…and AMAZING. He was born at 7:28pm.

I can not tell you the overwhelming feeling of relief and happiness I felt in that moment. I was so glad I had made it through delivery and I didn’t have to have a c-section. The doctor and the nurses were telling me great job, I could hear my IM in the background almost in tears and thanking me, I could hear the babies crying, and my husby came up, also a little teary, and held my hand and told me he was proud of me. It was such a magical moment. (And I’m totally crying while typing this.)

20151026_193439While we waited for the placentas to deliver, they weighed both babies, baby girl weighed 5lbs 13oz and baby boy weighed 6lbs 7oz, checked all their vitals, got them cleaned up, and wrapped them in blankets. My husby was busy snapping pictures while my IM got to cut the umbilical 20151026_195126cords and meet the babies. She picked them up20151026_200427 and brought them over to me to meet.

Then, just like that, my husby, IM, and the babies were taken back to the labor and delivery room while I was transferred back on to a bed.

The rest of the evening is kind of a blur. I was exhausted. Back in our room, the photographer got some pictures of the babies and my IPs and my husby and I. Some of my IPs family was there and there were tears. We got moved up to the mommy and baby floor and my IPs got a room directly across the hall from us.

20151026_195055I was so tired so I tried to get some much needed rest. My nurse was so incredible and made sure I stayed comfortable and would wake me every time the babies were feeding in the other room so I knew to pump.

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Baby girl on the left and baby boy on the right. They really like being beside each other.
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Holding baby girl shortly after delivery

My two days in the hospital were great. I felt really good besides the expected pain from delivery and my epidural sight was a little sore. I got to see the babies a bunch and cuddle them and spend a lot of time with my IPs and the various family members coming in and out to see the babies. I even got to Skype my mom and dad so they could see the babies. It was nice to just get to spend time relaxing and enjoying all the happiness. My husby’s mom brought my girls by Tuesday afternoon and they both got to hold the babies and see what mommy had worked so hard for. My oldest just kept saying how cute they were.

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Saying goodbye to the babies before heading home from the hospital

Myself, my IPs, and the babies all got to go home Wednesday, October 28, morning. It was so nice to get to relax in my own bed again. Since then, we have been running around doing a million different things and staying so incredibly busy. We listed our condo on Friday and accepted the second offer on Saturday so we are officially under contract. I have met with my IPs on three occasions to give them breast milk as I am now a milk making machine and pumping away. I have invested in Mother’s Milk tea and made a batch of lactation cookies which seem to be helping me keep up my supply. I was so glad my milk came in because I know how beneficial it is to the babies and myself. It’s also so nice to be able to help just a little bit longer.

People keep asking me how I’m doing and I keep telling them how great I am. I had very little pain after delivery and was up walking within an hour of giving birth. Emotionally I am also doing really great. I thought I would be a little more sad to see the babies go, but seeing how happy my IPs are makes it nearly impossible for me to be upset. I do miss being pregnant though. Despite how uncomfortable I was at the end, I still absolutely love being pregnant and think it’s one of the most special things I’ve been able to experience.

Looking back over the past 18 months, I feel like a princess in a fairytale. Despite the chaos and the fear at the beginning of our journey, both with my IM’s diagnosis and the SCH scare, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect ending to this journey. This is why we do this. There was so much love and joy in those hospital rooms the two days following delivery that my heart will be forever full. I have definitely been changed for the better and have learned so much about myself.

I couldn’t have done it all without the amazing support from my family and friends, my IPs, my ABSOLUTELY AMAZING HUSBY, and the hardworking team at ConceiveAbilites. I am so grateful to have been a part of something so wonderful and I will remember this journey always. Thank you to everyone involved!

This has been an incredible year for my husby and I, and we are so thankful for all the good happening in our lives right now. We are really looking forward to the next year and new adventures.

Let the Countdown Begin

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35 weeks Still managing to walk around at the dog park

The past two weeks have flown by. At my 35 week appointment, Thursday October 15, babies were doing great but little boy was back to being breech and I was a little sad, but knew my doc would deliver him that way as long as little girl stayed head down. She has been comfy that way the entire pregnancy! He was estimated at 6lbs 3oz and she was at 5lbs 9oz, although that’s probably low because it was hard to get a measurement with as low as she is. She also informed me that I was dilated to 3cm! WOOT! She was certain I would go into labor that weekend.

It was then that she informed me that the hospital I am planning to deliver at is no longer in-network with my insurance. This began a very chaotic afternoon of phone calls, faxes, and another trip back to her office. My IM and I were frantically trying to figure out how to get everything sorted out with the hospital I want to deliver at as there was no way to change hospitals with me so close to delivery. We had done the hospital tour, filed the surrogacy and parentage paperwork with the hospital, and they already have our birthplan on file. With me about to deliver, switching hospitals would be a complete nightmare. My doc does have rights at another hospital, but I know nothing about that hospital and whether or not it is surrogate friendly. Not to mention it’s 45 minutes from my house! So, finally, after about 3 hours of frantically calling insurance and the hospital and the doctor, we were able to file a Continuity of Care form and I received pre-approval to still deliver at my chosen hospital. (After all the chaos, we learned it wasn’t even necessary as I had been approved to deliver there in June, while the hospital was still in network.) Ugh. Whatever. At least we all knew that when I go into labor I have a place to go.

Luckily, despite all the contractions I had that weekend, I did NOT go into labor.

Then, Tuesday comes and I get a phone call from insurance. She informs me they received my Continuity of Care form, but since my doc has rights at another hospital I would most likely need to deliver there, but either way it takes up to 15 days for approval. I was like WTF?? I tried to explain our situation about being a surrogacy and not having any of the paperwork (which took weeks to get filed at the other hospital) filed with the new hospital, plus the drive time from my house. She informed me that according to her maps, it was only a 13 minute drive to the other hospital. I wanted to punch her in the face. I’m pretty sure I know where I live and how long it will take me to get to the hospital and that’s if my husband is home. If he is at work and has to drive home to take me to the hospital that adds an additional 30 minutes to the time. What if it was an emergency and I needed to get there quick? I couldn’t call an ambulance because they would take me to the hospital that is no longer in network (because it’s 10 minutes from my house!) So I asked what happened if I went into labor that night and went to the original hospital. She just said it may not be approved and then we’d be responsible for the bill. She told me she would try to rush the form since we were so close to delivery, but I should plan on going to the other hospital until I had approval. I hung up and instantly started sobbing. I was in shock. I didn’t even know what to do or how to proceed or anything. How can they tell someone who is 36 weeks pregnant to pick a different hospital??

I was trying to catch my breath and calm down to call my case manager when insurance calls me back. She was like oops, just kidding. I read your file and see that it was actually pre-approved back in June. I was so mad hanging up. I knew this was what had happened Thursday as well. If the first person I had called (because I talked to 6 different people between all my calls, not to mention the calls made by my case manager) had just read my file and seen the approval, all the stress could’ve been avoided. I’m lucky all that chaos didn’t put me in labor!

So, the lesson from all of this? DO YOUR RESEARCH! Especially if you are in some sort of customer outreach position. Read the customer’s file. Make sure you know ALL the information BEFORE you call the customer who is 36 weeks pregnant with twins.

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36 weeks

I had another appointment yesterday, October 22. I was 36 weeks 1 day. My doc was surprised I was still pregnant. I was like “you and me both, sister.” I have been waiting and waiting for labor to start as I have been miserable this week. I am so beyond uncomfortable with how low the babies are sitting and I have had a head cold all week. They didn’t do any measurements on the babies, but we did see that little boy is back to being head down with his sister, she really just wanted to check my cervix. It was still at 3cm. I was disappointed. If I get to 4cm, she sends me to the hospital to have babies! I thought for sure it would be at least a 4 because I have been having contractions almost every night but those darn things just won’t get regular. She tried to stretch my cervix a little while doing my physical exam (it’s not a comfortable feeling) but she wasn’t very aggressive with it. She started to tell me that if I made it to my next appointment she could be more aggressive to see if that would help labor, but I must have made a face at her because she immediately revoked her question. She asked “how does Monday sound for a birthday?” My IM and I both agreed it would be perfect. So, if I don’t go into labor on my own this weekend, I will go in for a physical exam on Monday morning and I’ll either be at 4cm and get sent to the hospital or I won’t be 4cm and she will induce me. I am so ready to have these babies though. I have my hospital bag packed (and know which hospital I can go to), I ordered a portable breast pump through insurance, and rented a hospital grade breast pump to keep at home.

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My awesome husby shaving my legs because I can no longer reach

On top of all the pregnancy chaos, we are trying to prep our condo to get listed next week because our new house may be done a little earlier and we need to make sure the condo is sold before we can close on the new house. All the cleaning and organizing we have to get done this weekend may be just the ticket to put me into labor. I’m trying not to think too much about it because we now have an official end date in sight, although I would much prefer to go into labor on my own, but I haven’t had any contractions since my last appointment. T-minus 4 days!