Yes, I am HUGE. Thank you for pointing that out.

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30 weeks
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Left: 33.5 weeks with my second Right: 31 weeks with the twins

Today I am 31 weeks, 6 days pregnant, but I look like I’m way past due and everyone, including strangers, friends, and family, has made a point of reminding me just how big I’m getting. It’s now to the point that most people see me and just say, “aww” or “oooooh”  combined with “you must be about ready to pop” or “you poor thing.” I let them know I have about 6 weeks left and just keep smiling. I am not a “poor thing” as I am extremely happy these babies are growing they way they are because it means they are happy and healthy in there. I am waddling with pride and excitement these days, and it is nice to have someone say “you look great” and leave it at that. I see myself in the mirror several times a day. Trust me, I know how HUGE I’m getting. So, thank you to those of you who are choosing your words wisely. 😉

Today, Tuesday September 22, I had another doctor’s appointment and these babies really are doing AMAZING! The ultrasound tech told me I have a “cervix of steel” and the doctor told me I couldn’t make it look any easier on paper! WOOT! The babies were both measuring exactly a week ahead, little boy was estimated at 4lbs 13oz, and little girl was estimated at 4lbs 8oz. (That is over 9lbs of babies already with 6 weeks or so left to go.) I have gained 30 pounds to this point. I really doubt I will make it all the way to November 4th, the 38 week point that my doctor will not make me go past, but there is no way to predict when these babies will decide to enter the real world. I’m predicting mid-October and my doc said she was fine with that. We want to try to make it to at least 36 weeks which is October 21. As long as they are healthy, I will survive until they are ready.

I am having Braxton Hicks contractions almost every night, and my doctor told me to start counting them. If I have 6 or more in an hour for 3 or more hours, I should give her a call. I’m not worried yet as they have not lasted more than an hour. It just means my body is prepping and will be ready to have these babies soon.

Both babies are head down and are unlikely to flip again at this point as there really isn’t much room in there. It is certainly possible, but I’m staying very positive and looking forward to a vaginal delivery. I had such incredible and easy deliveries with both of my own girls that I’m confident these two will allow for the same. I am trying to mentally prepare, just in case, for a c-section, but I will be doing everything in my power to prevent it from happening. I am not sure why it scares me so much, but I really am nervous about having a c-section. I had a nightmare that my doctor wasn’t on call so another doctor had to deliver me, but told the anesthesiologist to put me under and did a c-section, despite both babies being head down, because he had a tee time to make.

I think I’m most nervous about not being able to see my IPs reaction to seeing the babies for the first time. As surrogates, that moment is the reason we do this and to miss out would be really disappointing to me. I have already had to come to terms with delivering in the OR, whether or not I have a c-section, because the labor and delivery rooms are not equipped for twins at the hospital I have chosen. This was disappointing as I have arranged for a photographer to be there and she will now not be able to capture that special moment because she won’t be allowed in the OR. I know she will still get some incredible photos from before and after delivery, but now it’s even more important for me to be able to witness them seeing their babies for the first time. I’m just staying positive about everything and I know it will all work out how it is supposed to.

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Apollo snuggling the babies
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28 weeks 5 days. Taking a rest at the dog park.

As far as symptoms go, I am still having some pretty intense pain in my left leg and pelvis. It’s obvious that they are both head down and that both babies are getting bigger because my pain is getting more intense. My husband now has to help me get dressed because I can’t lift my left leg without getting a shooting pain. He has also taken over responsibility for tying my shoes and shaving my legs as I can’t bend over far enough. I get tired more easily each day, but am trying to still walk as much as I can handle. We still take our dog to the dog park we just have to take the shorter trail now. Our dog, Apollo, does great though. He’s really good about waiting up for me and is very protective. He now also loves to snuggle up to my tummy. I have trouble getting comfortable, especially at night, and have to change positions a lot, but who didn’t see that coming? I knew it was going to be rough at the end with twins, but I signed up anyway. Every ache and pain is SO worth the end result.

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Framed Beauty and the Beast puzzle by Thomas Kinkade

Being home is challenging. I went from working full time and being in school full time while managing the schedule of my two girls to nothing. I get stir crazy very quickly and can tell I’m getting a little grumpy these days. I am bored and frustrated because I get tired so easily which makes it hard for me to get out and do much. I am still reading (I like the crime dramas), and I play a lot of video games (Destiny just came out with a new expansion that is super fun). I have also started working on some Thomas Kinkade Disney puzzles that I have framed and will be hanging in my girls’ bedroom. I do love the fact that I have time to help my girls study (my oldest is memorizing sight words for Kindergarten) and I get to read to them more. We will be starting the Lemony Snicket series soon. My husby is great about making sure I’m not doing too much and he’s being very patient with me. I’m so lucky to have his support. We are just taking it one day at a time and trying to enjoy it all because we know it will be over soon. We make it a point to have the nanny watch the girls one day a week so we can have a date day and I can get out of the house.

PS….we got maternity photos done and they turned out INCREDIBLE! I can not wait to get them back and share!

Hello 3rd trimester!

It has been awhile since my last post, and things are going great! I am happy to report that my IM is recovering fantastically well from both her surgeries that were done in early August. They were unable to detect any new cancer and it seems the chemo did a wonderful job and she is well on her way to being past this monster! She is currently finishing up her treatment with several weeks of radiation, but we are all hopeful that this will be the end of her battle and she will be healthy and ready for these babies to come in the next few months!

I had my 28 week appointment on Tuesday August 25 and I had to drink the awful glucose mixture which tasted like orange soda that had been WAY over-sweetened. It made me a little nauseated and gave me a headache, but I was happy that I was able to keep it down. We now wait for the results to make sure I don’t have gestational diabetes.

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Two heads, side by side

My IM was able to make it to the appointment and was able to see how big the babies have gotten. They were both head down at my appointment so I’m staying very hopeful that the little girl (which is the presenting twin) will remain head down so I can have a vaginal delivery. She has a very limited number of weeks left until she will be unable to flip over so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that she is comfortable and just stays put. (Although my bladder would disagree!)

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Little girl

Both babies are still measuring slightly ahead, one was measuring 28w1d, and the other was 28w3d, when I was actually only 27w6d. They also weighed in at 2lbs 8oz and 2lb 11oz meaning I already have over 5 pounds of baby in me and I can definitely feel the added pressure on my bladder and my spine. I am so happy that they are growing at such a healthy rate!

I have been having some pretty intense nerve pain in my left leg and the front of my pelvis. The doctor said they are most likely positioned on my sciatic nerve, causing the pain down my back, bottom, and the back of my thigh, and they are obviously on another nerve that is causing shooting/burning pain on the front side of my pelvis every time I move my left leg. It wasn’t so bad at first, but it’s getting increasingly more difficult to get dressed or walk as I get the shooting pain whenever I raise my left leg, and it is especially difficult for me to rollover in bed which means I am tired ALL THE TIME. I think I need to be more adamant about taking naps.

Due to the pain I have been having, and my inability to perform all my necessary responsibilities at work, my doctor and I decided it is best for me to not work for the rest of my pregnancy. Standing for prolonged periods of time causes my pain to get worse and my leg went completely numb at work the other night. With me being by myself for my entire shift, it’s not possible for me to sit down or change positions to try to alleviate the pain, and some duties, such as unloading shipments and climbing ladders, are not safe for me to do at all. So, I will not be working for the remainder of my pregnancy. The good news, is that the doctor will not let me go past 38 weeks, so we know these babies will be here by November 4th at the latest. The official countdown can begin and I can just focus on staying active and keeping them head down and prepped for delivery.

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26 weeks, 4 days. Swimming at Chatfield Reservoir (I could definitely use a little more sun!)
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27 weeks, 4 days. Hiking at Garden of the Gods

I am a little concerned about not working and not being as active so I’m trying to do lots of walking and I’ve been riding a stationary bike (which is still really difficult when you bump a belly every time you lift up on the peddle). My husby is super supportive and we’ve been trying to find different places to walk around indoors so that I’m not hot and we don’t get bored with the same places. We also try to still do (EASY) hikes and go swimming around town. The nights that he is not working, we can go for walks when it starts to cool down in the evening. My doctor has also recommended a chiropractor as well as more swimming and massage to help reduce the strain on my back and to alleviate some of the pain.

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28 weeks

Today is day 4 of not working and I can already tell I’m going to be a little bored. I have been reading, walking, playing video games, and hanging out with my girls to try to keep myself entertained, but I tire easily so I’m be very careful not to overdo anything. I also watch a lot of Netflix after the girls go to bed. So please, feel free to drop me a line or swing by or send me an activity to do or recommend a movie to watch to help keep me entertained! At least I’m finding time to relax and finally get the haircut I’ve been needing for six months!

This weekend we have plans to get some maternity photos done with my IPs and we will be attending a family reunion together so I’ll get to meet all my husby and IM’s extended family. It’s fun being related and meeting so many people who know all about our unique and wonderful situation. It has definitely brought our families closer together.

Her Story…

Here is the story from my IM’s point of view:

Joy, Pain, Gratitude and Life!

As most of you have been following this journey, you probably know a little bit about me already.  My life has been filled with so many blessings; an amazing family, a wonderful husband, a successful career, and a son I love more than I could have ever imagined.  But through all of these blessings there have been some setbacks as well.  The day my son was born was a bittersweet day.  Unexpectedly, we had a really difficult delivery.  My placenta had grown into the side of my uterus and after Camden was delivered via a C-section the doctors had to perform an emergency hysterectomy that required me to accept 8 liters of transfused blood to save my life. 

After recovering, we realized how blessed we were that nothing worse had happened.  The doctors told me my uterus was paper-thin and could have burst at any moment, which would have been a terrible disaster for the both of us.  54127-41We knew God was looking out for us that day and were feeling so fortunate to have a healthy baby boy.  But in the back of our minds was the looming fact that we’d likely not be able to grow our family beyond the three of us.  My doctor came in and sat on the hospital bed and told me not to feel discouraged.  There were options out there and since my ovaries had been spared, surrogacy was a very viable and realistic option.

After Camden was older we started pursuing the idea.  We started working with Conceivabilities and it took 18 months for us to be matched with a potential surrogate.  Leslie and Anton were the first couple we met and we literally fell in love with them after only talking with them for a few hours.  We certainly wanted to work with them, but would they want to work with us?  We found out quickly that they did and we were thrilled to have been matched with a couple that seemed so down to earth, caring, and just all around good people. 

We had to go through a few more steps before we could speak with them again and months went by before I received a phone call at work from our caseworker at Coneivabilities.  She sounded so concerned… it turns out that image1Anton is a second or third cousin of mine and would that be a problem for me?  I was shocked more than anything that I didn’t know how I was related to Anton.  After we found out the relation, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t recognized him.  In fact, my aunt Beth sent me a photo from a party 11 years ago and apparently Anton and I had known each other quite well back then! This wasn’t a problem for me at all, and in fact, makes this journey even more special for us.  Ty and I feel like we’d be really fortunate to have a long-term relationship with Anton and Leslie and this experience might actually bring our families closer together. 

It was so great to finally get to talk to Leslie and before we knew it we were being whisked away by a multitude of doctor appointments. During the surrogacy process they will sync Leslie and I’s cycles before they transfer the embryos and we were off and going with a ‘mock cycle’ in January.  Earlier that month, I had felt a suspicious lump in my breast and had talked to my gynecologist about it.  She felt it was likely a cyst but sent me to get a mammogram just in case.  At the end of January, I got the mammogram and knew something wasn’t right when I saw the radiologists reaction.  We did a biopsy the next week and one day after my 35th birthday I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  My first question was if I’d be able to continue the surrogacy process.  I had to get answers quick, as we were just 3 weeks away from our transfer date.  I spoke with my oncologist and surgeon and they both felt like I had caught this early and the type of cancer I have (her2 positive) has very effective treatments.  We also visited our doctor at CCRM (the fertility clinic) and all 3 doctors agreed that if I was up for it, we should continue the process.

There were so many difficult emotions to deal with.  I had been dreaming of a second child for so long.  I was scared to death about the cancer but I think even more terrified that this would put an end to our surrogacy journey.  I just wasn’t sure how Leslie would feel about going through this with someone who was battling cancer.  I was so relieved to find out she wanted to continue.  With everyone on board and the doctors feeling very positive about a treatment plan for the cancer, we went ahead with the embryo transfer in the beginning of March.  It was a day I will never forget.  It was absolutely magical how so many stars could align to make Ty and I’s dreams of extending our family come true. 

Two days later my doctor called and told me the cancer had spread to my liver.  They had done a routine PET scan and weren’t expecting to find anything but saw a 2.5 cm tumor on my liver.  It was biopsied and confirmed to be breast cancer that had spread.  I can’t even tell you how hard that news was to hear.  I can’t even describe the emotional pain I have gone through in the last few months.  But like all things, you have to face the challenges that come your way and a positive and hopeful attitude can make a huge difference. 

After breast cancer has spread, it is extremely hard for doctors to understand your prognosis.  The good news is there are incredible drugs to fight the type of cancer I have and since it is a limited spread the doctors are treating me aggressively with curative intent.  I have gone through six rounds of aggressive chemotherapy, will have liver and breast surgery done over the next month and finish all this out with radiation in September just in time for our precious babies to arrive.

Life is so full of ups and downs.  It is so hard to understand why some of these things happen to us.  But we trust that God has a plan for us and despite these hurdles we have so many wonderful blessings to celebrate.  Leslie and Anton, as youimage2 all know, are incredible people.  We are so lucky to have them in our lives.  Gratitude doesn’t even begin to describe our feelings and in fact it’s hard to really explain in words how grateful we truly are.

Every day I think about the arrival of these two babies.  I think about the amazing way they are being brought into this world.  I think about how fortunate we are to have this opportunity and how much love is going to surround these children.  It brings me so much joy… our family will finally be complete.

aka Basketball Smuggler

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Baby Boy
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Baby Girl

I had my 20 week appointment Tuesday and boy are these babies growing!! Both babies were measuring 15oz and the boy was measuring 21 weeks 2 days (3 days ahaead) and the little girl was measuring 21 weeks (1 day ahead). They are both growing like a singleton would and are both super healthy! We got to see individual organs and bones on each baby. We saw their brains, spines, leg and arm bones, stomachs (complete with fluid to indicate they are both practicing swallowing), 4 chamber hearts, and bladders (also complete with fluid to indicate their kidneys are functioning properly and they are peeing…yay…and gross!) My IM got to be there, along with my husby, and it’s so exciting to see her excited and talking about getting the nursery ready and trying to pick names.

It’s really strange knowing we are now officially over the halfway point and we only have around 16 weeks left until meeting these adorable little bundles of joy. (Assuming I make it to 37 weeks since it’s twins, but also hoping I don’t have to go all the way to 40 weeks!). I’m working on accepting the fact that these babies will come when and how they please, especially since they are no longer head down…but there is plenty of time to correct that. It’s a really bittersweet feeling as I am so excited for my IPs and I’m really looking forward to seeing them meet the babies for the first time, but it’s also a little sad knowing my journey is coming to an end. I feel like it was yesterday that we had the embryo transfer.

I will now say I am officially over my morning sickness and have regained my appetite. I am constantly eating although it’s mostly small snacks instead of large meals as my stomach seems to be getting smaller by the day. It’s slightly frustrating to be STARVING because you have two humans growing in your belly but you eat half a sandwich and feel like you will pop because you are so full. I’m just glad I can now go back to eating like a normal person without so many food aversions.

I have put on 16 pounds so far, which I think is excellent. I’m staying really aware of my weight gain as I am trying to reduce the number of stretch marks I will get, although I know it’s really a lost cause as they are mostly genetic and I got them with both my girls so they will only be worse with twins.

I still need to invest in some compression stockings as my varicose veins are getting worse from standing at work. I did buy one pair, but I put a run in them just trying to put them on. It was a waste of $20. My veins will usually lessen when I prop my feet up but with two little ones running around and a house to keep clean I don’t get to relax as much as I would like.

As for the rest of life, we have discovered my husby has a pretty severe case of Sleep Apnea and will need to wear a breathing machine at night. He went and picked up the machine this afternoon and it’s actually really quiet and discreet. Nothing like the horrors I was picturing. The doctor kept telling him that he will feel like a completely different person after getting better quality sleep. I will also probably get better sleep as his snoring won’t keep me up at night. (There is actually a diagnosable condition for spouses/partners of those who snore called Spousal Arousal Syndrome. Look it up.)

I’m really looking forward to better sleep as my husby is now working 4 nights a week and sleeping during the day which means I’m having to do more with taking care of the girls and keeping the house looking livable. I become exhausted very quickly and my feet have started to swell (along with my worsening varicose veins) when I stand too long, especially if I have been at work or out in the heat. I keep reminding him it’s only going to get worse as I get bigger and I will soon require a lift to get up the stairs to our condo. I am so winded by the time I reach the top that I can hardly speak for a moment. (WE REALLY NEED AN ELEVATOR!) He is dealing with my emotions like a champ, though, and is helping whenever and however he can. He is even learning to deal with my hormonal breakdowns really well, although I’m trying to maintain my goofy attitude about it all.

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21 weeks

I am now 21 weeks 1 day and consider myself an official basketball smuggler. My tummy is exceptionally round this time. I am getting bigger everyday with these babies growing at such a healthy rate. Getting comfortable at night is increasingly more difficult and my poor husby may soon be sleeping on the floor because the pillows I’m using for comfort and support will soon overtake the entire bed. I tend to wake up on my back which is causing some lower back pain in the mornings but my doctor suggested using a wedge pillow so that I won’t be able to roll over. I am now on the hunt for a comfortable and manageable wedge pillow. I’m trying to stay somewhat active and get some exercise to help with sleep as well, so we’ve been going on short hikes to keep me moving. I just have to take little breaks and drink LOTS of water, which makes me have to get up to pee during the night which is totally counter-productive!

I’ve been really surprised by how my journey has effected so many. My husby is so invested and nearly as excited as I am. He LOVES rubbing my tummy and has been able to feel the babies kicking a few times. My girls love talking to my tummy and will tell the babies good morning and good night. My regular customers love checking in on me and asking LOTS of questions about how everything is going. I love that I can help educate people.

I have gotten some of the most incredible Facebook messages and texts from people about their own struggles and how thankful they are that there are people willing to become surrogates. It’s really humbling. It still feels odd to have people tell me what a great thing I’m doing because I think it’s great that my IPs are allowing me to do this for them. I can’t imagine the amount of fear and thought they had to put into deciding to use a surrogate and trust someone with the most precious thing on the planet. I am so grateful to be able to share this journey with such amazing people. I am also so grateful that I get to share my story, so, thank you to all of you who have reached out. I LOVE hearing from those of you following my journey and how my story is helping others.

Finally, I have to say how AMAZING my IM is. She has finished her chemo treatments, like a boss, and is now prepping for two surgeries. One she will have at the end of July and one will be mid August. She has stayed so positive and been such a champion for herself throughout the entire process. I am so proud of her for staying strong and being such an inspiration. We are all really hopeful that her surgeries will go smoothly and she will be healed and ready for these babies to come!! We are trying to make dinner plans in the coming weeks to celebrate her accomplishments!

Gender REVEAL!

It has been quite awhile since my last update, but in this chaotic journey, no news is GOOD NEWS! I have finished the semester of school and despite having missed nearly 6 weeks due to complications and exhaustion, I still managed to get a B and B-, I got to spend Mother’s day with my husby and girls relaxing and buying much needed maternity clothes, and I am trying to find ways to occupy my free time as I am on continued work restriction, and will be for the remainder of the pregnancy.

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13 weeks, Twin B
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13 weeks, Twin A

May 13, I had another ultrasound and my IM was able to make it. She got to hear the heartbeats for the first time and see the babies moving all over the place!! They did all the measurements for Down Syndrome and the ultrasound tech said both babies looked great and healthy! They also did some blood work for more genetic testing and that was it. It was a quick and easy appointment and we didn’t see the doctor as she was out of town.

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14 weeks, 1 day
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15 weeks, 2 days
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16 weeks

Over the past few weeks, I have “popped” more or less. There is definitely no mistaking my pregnancy and my belly is growing at an exponential rate! I now get a lot of questions about when my baby is due so I have kindly started replying “THEY are due in November, and I am a surrogate, so they are for another family.” I have had a lot of positive response and no unexpected questions…yet. I’m sure there will be that person who will catch me off guard, but I’ll tackle that hurdle when it arrives. I mostly get the comments about how big I am which, while expected, are seriously annoying. (Folks, I’m only going to get WAY, WAY bigger). I will be dedicating a post to PROPER PREGNANCY ETIQUETTE in the very near future. Obviously, people need to be educated.

I have also begun to experience pregnancy symptoms I was not expecting as I did not have them with my girls. I am developing varicose veins, I am HOT ALL THE TIME to the point where I sweat more than usual, and I had heartburn for the first time in my life! I knew I would have different symptoms this time as each pregnancy is different, I’m a surrogate, and I’m having twins this go around. In order to combat these symptoms I will be investing in a few good pairs of support pantyhose, I keep all the fans running in my house and try to wear light and loose fitting clothing, I have purchased a special pillowcase that is supposed to keep my pillow cooler (I’ll let you know if it works!), and I now have a healthy supply of Tums in my medicine cabinet.

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16 weeks, 6 days. Twin A measured 17 weeks, 2 days
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16 weeks, 6 days. Twin B measured 17 weeks.

Today, we had another appointment. I am 16 weeks, 6 days. I had an ultrasound this morning and both IPs were able to make it. It was really nice to get to catch up with both of them as my IM has had a few more treatments since I last saw her, she looks AMAZING by the way, and I haven’t seen the IF since my last appointment with CCRM. My IM has been responding exceptionally well to her treatments and her tumor has gotten significantly smaller, which is fantastic news! I’m still hoping she will do a guest blog as soon as she is feeling up to it.

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Two heads, side by side
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A foot from each baby, side by side

Both babies looked fantastic and are growing so quickly. They are both head down and laying parallel to one another so their heads and feet are right next to each other, which explains why I’ve mostly been feeling movement on one side. They were quite active for the ultrasound as well. Then, the big reveal happened and we were able to find out the genders of both babies.

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Twin A is a BOY
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Twin B is a GIRL

Ladies and gentlemen, we are expecting a BOY…and a GIRL!!! My IPs were thrilled as that is exactly what they were hoping for! (Remember, my IM had a dream that she was holding a boy and a girl. She was right!) I will admit, after finding out Twin A was a boy, my heart skipped a little because I knew they wanted a little girl and I was so relieved and excited when Twin B was announced as a girl!! I teared up seeing them so excited and celebrating. The emotions are so much different when helping someone else grow their family. It’s truly an incredible experience.

I returned in the afternoon to meet with the doctor. She said the babies looked beautiful and healthy. She recommended the support hose, reaffirmed I will be staying on work restriction throughout the pregnancy, and explained that my hot flashes, exhaustion, inability to get comfortable at night, and nipple tenderness are all part of a normal pregnancy and hormones. Every single second is still so worth it and I consider myself so lucky to get to experience it all.

NO MORE BUTT SHOTS!

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My 12 week baby bump

I am now 12 weeks pregnant and I am FINALLY starting to feel like a (somewhat) normal pregnant woman. I have had a very busy and exciting past few weeks. Finals are approaching, my mom is in town for two weeks visiting, I got great news from the doctor that my bleed has nearly healed, I’ve been able to see my brother and his fiance several times, my husby got a promotion he’d been hoping for, and I got to celebrate Star Wars day with friends, movies and some awesome cupcakes I made!

Since hitting 10 weeks, I have been slowly weaned off the medications from the fertility clinic as the placentas have formed and are able to take over hormone production. I did such a giant happy dance after doing my last injection! Having been doing them daily for several weeks, I had HUGE knots and bruises on my hips at my injection sites. Icing before hand did help me not to feel the needle going in, but the cold irritated my bruises and gave me a strange burning sensation. Needless to say, I will NOT miss the butt shots. I would do it again in a heartbeat, but I’m really glad to be over that hurdle.

It is an exciting and strange feeling to be released from the clinic. I’m so excited to be moving forward and feeling confident that things are going well and I’m able to move on to my regular OB, but at the same time I’m a little sad because the nurses at the fertility clinic were amazing and knowing they won’t be there for the end of our journey is a little disappointing. They invested so much time and energy into making this pregnancy a success and I wish they were able to share in the joy at the end, but I know they are keeping busy helping lots of other families start/grow their family.

So, I was able to transfer to my OB and met with a nurse practitioner on April 22. It was basically a repeat of my final appointment with the fertility clinic as she just went over basics and gave me a list of medications I was able to take. She also talked about foods to avoid, etc. I have two children of my own, so it was mostly stuff I had heard in my previous pregnancies. She wasn’t the nicest person I have ever met and I was a little nervous that I would want to change doctors because she made me feel extremely guilty for asking for something for my morning sickness. I thought puking 5 times a day was getting to be a little excessive and wanted some relief as I’m still in school and working. She gave me a sample to try, but she made sure to mention (several times) that she would prefer I just tough it out. I got the point, but took the samples anyway. The appointment was mostly informational and my IM made it just in time for the very end.

I took the samples home and took one that night before bed. They definitely helped with my nausea, but I was so sleepy the next day I was scared to drive and spent most of the day napping. I knew they were not going to work for me.

Monday, April 27th, I had my first appointment with my new OB. I LOVED HER! She came in and introduced herself and wanted to know what questions I had before we even started the appointment. I asked about work restriction and she told me there was no way she would allow me to work more than 4 hour shifts for the remainder of the pregnancy as twins are a little higher risk and we don’t want to encourage preterm labor. I was a little bummed as I’m a store manager and it’s hard to get all my work done in short shifts, but I’m looking forward to having more time to spend with my girls and relax for the summer. She also wrote me a prescription for my morning sickness! I wanted to jump up and hug her. I know it’s going to (hopefully) alleviate itself in the next few weeks, but I’m so happy to know I will be able to get through finals without puking on a professor.

Then, we got to do an ultrasound and I got to hear the heartbeats for the first time! Unfortunately my IM wasn’t able to 20150506_132545make it the appointment because she was really sick from her last chemo treatment, but I know she was there in spirit! My bleed was almost completely healed and was just a little sliver on the ultrasound. The babies were both measuring right on track and were wiggling all over the place. The doctor even had a hard time getting the heartbeat of baby B because it was moving around so much! I couldn’t believe how much you could see on an ultrasound at 10 weeks and how much they were moving around. They looked like little gummy bears dancing around. I can’t believe it’s only a few short weeks until I’ll be able to feel them moving!

I am also really looking forward to the next coming weeks. I have finals next week and will finally be able to relax a little. Mother’s Day is this weekend and I will get to spend the entire day with my husby and girls. I have another doctor’s appointment next week and my IPs will get to see/hear the babies and we might even get to find out the sex from the new blood testing! I will start getting some of my energy back in the 2nd trimester, just in time for summer fun, and I will hopefully be over all this morning sickness nonsense.

In the words of my visiting mother, “tata for now.”

Puking and peeing and crying, OH MY…

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Morning sickness is a ridiculous name for it. It does not occur only in the morning. In fact, sometimes it occurs every time except the morning. Really it should be called “anytime, anywhere, it will find you sickness.” There is no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes it hits you when you’re hungry, sometimes when you’ve had too much to eat. Sometimes it’s a smell that will send you over the edge. Sometimes it is because you’ve eaten something that didn’t sound too appetizing but you were just so hungry, and sometimes it is because you’ve eaten something you’ve been craving and it was the most delicious thing you’ve ever tasted.

I have been battling morning sickness for the past few weeks. I’ve been struggling to keep much down besides cheese and crackers. Some days I feel so defeated because I haven’t kept anything down all day but I’m so hungry (because I haven’t kept anything down all day!) I know if I don’t eat I will get too hungry which will make me gag and throw up nothing, however I know if I eat I’m just going to actually throw up. My tastes change daily so there is really no way to know what is a safe bet, but it’s kind of fun to experiment and try different combinations of food throughout the day.

In all honesty, the puking isn’t horrible. I try to drink TONS of water so it’s not quite so painful if I do wind up bent over the toilet and I usually get a little bit of relief after ralphing, albeit temporarily. The other side effect, that I would gladly pass up, that comes along with the consistent vomiting is the lack of bladder control. When I’m bent over puking, my body tenses so much each time I wretch that I pee. It’s like being kicked when you’re down.

It doesn’t happen every time I puke, but when it does…oh boy. So then, I’m puking, and peeing, and then I start crying because….because….hormones, dammit. Because sometimes you just want to throw your hands up and say “seriously?” But really, by the end of the whole fiasco, I’m usually laughing because really what is more funny than seeing a pregnant woman puke and pee herself at the same time and then start crying? Exactly.

I’m usually laughing because one, or both, of my girls will come in and watch and ask me what’s wrong. My youngest will ask, “mommy, why are you throwing up and why did you pee your pants?” Sometimes I respond, “well baby, mommy was bored and just wanted to add a little excitement to her day!” Other times I’ll say, “mommy was trying to give herself a reason to do some laundry.” What else are you supposed to say to a three year old? I’m 9w6d. 14 weeks is second trimester and I’m hoping for some relief.

Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT complaining. Even after all of this, I would absolutely go through it all again to help my IPs grow their family. Getting to see the joy and excitement on their faces at each ultrasound makes everything worth it.

And if you can’t laugh at yourself when you’ve peed your pants, you aren’t really living!

Bed Rest

The past two weeks have been a blur.

Since the first ultrasound, I was feeling much better, at least emotionally. It was comforting to see the babies doing well and see their little tiny hearts beating.

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7 weeks, 2 days

I had another ultrasound on April 3. I went alone as my IPs had an appointment with another doctor because my IM had her second chemo treatment. I hadn’t had any further bleeding but I was still exhausted and having daily battles with morning sickness. The ultrasound went fantastic. Both babies looked amazing and were both growing right on schedule with one measuring exactly 7w2d and the other a day ahead at 7w3d. My bleed looked about the same, but all that matters is that the babies were doing fabulous!

The next day, Saturday, I had to leave work early as I was starting to have cramps again and they got to the point where is was too painful to work so I called in some help and went home to rest. I got to rest all day Sunday and most of Monday before going in to work Monday afternoon for a closing shift. It had been very busy before I got there so there was a quite a lot of work for me to do which was great because I thought it would keep me distracted and help the time go by quickly.

I did stay very busy, but shortly after 7pm, I started bleeding again. I was again having mild cramps but the bleeding was nearly as bad as the previous time so I just made it through the night and went home to relax and study for a calc test I had the following morning.

I made it to campus and emailed my nurse to let her know about the bleeding because I figured I wouldn’t hear back until after my exam anyway. I made it through the test, but was in a bit of pain so I went home to lay down and wait for the nurse to call. She called around 2pm and we discussed everything going on and my concern that being on my feet for 8+ hours each day for work with no sitting was complicating my bleed. I even made a joke about being ready for them to take me off suppositories whenever they would like! She called me back a little while later, after a discussion with the doctor,  and told me to be careful what I wished for as they were taking me off suppositories and instead increasing my butt shots to every night with double the dosage. They also decided to restrict me to light duty at work which meant taking it extremely easy and working no longer than 4 hours each shift. I am a store manager, so taking it easy is really difficult at my job. We work single coverage 90% of the time with no sitting and constant walking/standing. I stay very busy. My staff has been amazing and so supportive about everything going on and I am so thankful they have all stepped up to help me.

By Wednesday morning, the bleeding had stopped and I took the day off as I was waiting to get doctor’s notes and work release forms to my work before they would let me return to work at all. Thursday I didn’t go to class and only worked a 4 hour closing shift at work but again it was so busy and there was so much to do that I didn’t get a chance to sit or relax. I felt ok and there was no further bleeding so I was relieved and hopeful that I would be able to work on restricted duty until the bleed heals.

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8 weeks, 2 days

Friday, April 10, we had another ultrasound and a meeting with the Nurse Practitioner as I will be switching to my own OB in just a few weeks. My IPs and my husband all got to be there for the ultrasound. The babies still looked perfect with one measuring exact at 8w2d and the other still a day ahead at 8w3d, and both had really strong heart beats. We even got to see one of the babies wiggling around already!

All my tests came back normal, my hormones looked great after switching my meds around, my urine test came back normal, and both babies were doing great! My bleed, however, was still about the same size. It did appear to be thinning out on one side so the NP decided to put me on full and restrictive bed rest for the next 4 days when I will return for another ultrasound on Tuesday, April 14.

I am currently in my second full day of bed rest and I can’t even begin to tell you how bored I am. I absolutely want to do everything in my power to keep these babies cooking as long as possible, but there is only so much lying around you can do before getting bored. I have been doing everything possible to avoid doing homework which includes lots of video games and movies, but I am ready to be healed and back to normal. I have only 4 short weeks of school left and considering I have missed the past two weeks, I would like to return in order to maintain my grades through finals. However, that being said, these babies are my number one priority and I will do anything and everything my nurses and doctors are telling me. These classes will be there next spring when I return to school!

So, as far as typical pregnancy symptoms go, I still vomit almost daily because apparently even the foods that sound delicious will come back up with no rhyme or reason to any of it, and it’s times two with twins. I have been craving fruits and smoothies a lot. So, if you’re coming for a visit, you better have some sort of delicious fruit smoothie in hand (I like them with strawberries, bananas, and watermelon). I can’t eat anything related to junk food. No sweets, no chips, no taco bell. I can’t say I miss junk food (although I was a HUGE fan of chocolate before becoming pregnant) but not being able to eat any junk food does make it very hard for me to find anything that will stay down besides crackers with cheese or peanut butter. I’m really hoping my food aversions level out so I can return to eating like an adult in my second trimester.

The first ultrasound

This week was, yet again, filled with ups and downs. I am finding that this journey is exceptionally good at testing my emotional strengths and revealing my emotional weaknesses, some of which I didn’t even realize I had. I have cried more in the past few months than I have the past few years. (Luckily for me, I can blame most of my emotional breaks on the hormones, and I will continue to do so throughout this pregnancy.)

Thursday my husband and I had left the kids with grandma and gone up to Blackhawk, CO for the evening. I was on spring break and was looking forward to having time for myself, catching up on sleep, relaxing, and maybe winning some money while I was at it. I had sat down at a Blackjack table (my favorite) and started having really severe lower back pain, but attributed it to the chair and my horrible posture. After about 30 minutes, the pain was getting worse and I was starting to have some cramps. I went to the restroom a short while later and I was bleeding.

My first thought was of my IM. She is doing incredibly well after her first chemo treatment and I didn’t want to have to give her more bad news. I have had two miscarriages of my own, and when you are pregnant and see blood it’s impossible not to panic. I was terrified. I immediately called my nurse and explained what was going on to her and she kept telling me to stay calm and not panic because with IVF there could be a million reasons for bleeding. She asked me if I could come in the following morning for an ultrasound so they could investigate the source of the bleed. I asked her to call the IPs because I knew I would cry and wouldn’t be able to explain any of the possibilities she had just explained to me.

I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I was still having pretty severe back pain and mild cramping. I couldn’t get comfortable. I was hot. I was restless. I couldn’t settle my mind. The bleeding got much lighter through the night and by morning it had stopped but I still had some cramping. I tried my best to stay positive and focus on the fact that the bleeding had stopped because with a miscarriage it most likely would not stop and would instead get much worse.

Our IPs were able to meet up at CCRM for the ultrasound and there was definitely a little tension and fear in the air. The ultrasound tech was so nice and explained everything she was measuring and seeing and really helped to calm me down. She found a subchorionic hematoma (SCH) which was causing my bleeding. They can’t really be sure what causes it and I’m under strict instructions not to Google it as it can be quite scary. My bleed is fairly large, but they are hopeful it will clear up on its own by the end of the first trimester. She told us they are very common and not a huge cause for concern. They reiterated all my restrictions (no exercise, no lifting, no sex, no strenuous anything. Just lots of rest.) They are going to monitor me weekly to make sure the bleed is clotting and getting smaller, but everything else looks great.

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You can see two dark gestational sacs with a little tiny baby in each. The upper left blob is the bleed in my uterus.

After all the scary stuff, we got to see two heartbeats! We are expecting TWINS! I am over the moon excited for my IPs as my IM had told me she’d had a dream about holding twins, a boy and a girl. I could tell the IF was a little shocked, but still so excited as well. I can’t even begin to tell you how good it felt to see those two heartbeats on the monitor. The babies are measuring great and both had really strong heartbeats.

I can admit I’m a little nervous to carry twins. I know it’s going to be a little more challenging physically, however I am so so excited for the new experience. I know I’m going to continue to learn so much about myself.

Despite all the ups and downs thus far, I can honestly say that this journey is changing me for the better. I am learning to look for the positive in situations and give myself something happy to focus on rather than the more difficult aspects. I am learning, very quickly, that I have absolutely no control over what happens and that, to me, is terrifying as I am quite a control freak in my normal life. I think it’s good and bad that I have no control because I’m learning to let go a little and just take what I can from each twist and turn and it’s also teaching me to better handle my fear. I’m having to face the fact that anything can (and will) happen. Que sera, sera.

When it rains…

…it pours. This past week has been quite an emotional roller coaster. When I began this journey I had no idea how much it was going to test my emotional strength, especially right out of the gate.

I had texted my IM with my first set of Beta numbers on Wednesday and was so excited that I was officially pregnant. She had responded saying they were also so excited and that she’d love to talk on the phone later. I told her I would call her after work. I left a voice mail but I didn’t really hear much else from her which had me a little concerned as the last time I didn’t hear much it was because she had found out she had breast cancer. I tried not to think too much of it as I knew she had a crazy week because she was starting chemo and we would talk again soon after my second beta on Friday, March 13.

Thursday night I got a phone call from her while I was at work. I stepped into the back room to answer as I had been anxiously awaiting her call! We talked about how excited we both were and I congratulated them. I told her I was exhausted, but so so excited to have had such great beta numbers and that I was looking forward to bigger numbers on Friday. We both laughed about the fact that she kept saying “babies” and that all my friends are secretly hoping it’s twins as well. We also laughed that our case manager has repeatedly mentioned that our story is unfolding like a movie.

Then came the bad news. My IM had found out, two days after transfer, that her cancer has spread to her liver. I was speechless. I was so angry as my IPs were finally getting such wonderful news that we were expecting, only to turn around and have life throw them yet another curve ball. I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock. She explained that she had started chemo that morning and treatment would be the same as before. She will be doing chemo for about 4 months and will have surgery in July. The prognosis is just not as good as before. There is a higher likelihood that her cancer will return throughout her life and she may have to endure treatments again. She had told her doctor about the surrogacy and that she was expecting and the doctor told her “then you WILL be fine.”

I am a very strong believer in the amazing power of our minds, especially when it comes to healing. I think this baby (or these babies) will be a strong motivator for her to get through her treatments and to get herself healthy so she can love on them as much as possible, and I will be there for her every step of the way. But, I can’t help feeling so frustrated and helpless. They are such wonderful people and they have been through so much to get here, they don’t deserve anymore bad news.

I hung up the phone feeling heartbroken, distraught, exhausted, frustrated, helpless, confused, and just all around emotional. I am so grateful to be able to help such wonderful people and it’s so hard for me knowing there’s not more I can do. I just have to focus on keeping myself healthy and giving this baby (or babies) the best pregnancy ever.

I am also so grateful to have such an amazing and supportive staff at work. They were waiting for me to get off the phone and just gave me this huge hug and said they were there for us no matter what. I’m very thankful for all the amazing support I’m getting from those close to me. And I’m so thankful to have my IPs to share this journey with. I’m so glad that my IM and I can support each other through the next several months.

This is nothing like I thought it would be. Early on in this process they tell you to try not to expect anything because you really never know what’s going to happen. Boy does that hit home for my journey. I had no clue things could wind up the way they are. I had no clue my journey would be quite as emotional as it’s turning out to be. I had no clue I could be so incredibly happy and so scared at the same time.

I do know that I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am so incredibly grateful to be on this journey with such amazing and deserving people. I am learning so much about myself and it’s still so early. I know this is going to be tough for all of us, but we are so lucky to have each other and it’s going to make the end result so much more special to us all.

FINALLY, some good news: Friday morning I went and had more blood work done and went to work like normal. I found it much harder to keep myself distracted this time as I had so much going on in my mind. IT WAS A LONG DAY! The nurse didn’t call me until after 5pm, but she had great news! My beta had more than doubled in two days and had gone from 300 on Wednesday to 616 by Friday morning! I have MORE blood work scheduled for March 23rd to check hormones, and my first ultrasound will be March 30th to see how many babies are hanging out in there! Let the countdown begin.