Thursday, March 29, 2012

We are... Preggers!!

Well, it's official!! We are PREGNANT!! I can speak for Lori and I (and the husbands) and say we are more than thrilled! We are still unsure of the "official" due date of baby #2, but it seems to be in the early part of December. So another December baby, yay!! Our second beta hCG levels came back yesterday at 154! Which is around 3x what we expected - it needed to at least double, but it almost quadrupled. So thankful! God really has been teaching us to be more patient and reliant on Him. Can I take a minute and just thank Him - Thanks God! We always knew something amazing was going to happen with Lori (family) & I. We are having a baby!!! Our last beta hCG levels will be drawn tomorrow morning, then we will have to wait until April 4 for our first ultrasound. We were originally planning on having it April 13, since that was the soonest Lori could have a day off to take it, but since Ryan has the 4th off and Lori's son is on spring break, we convinced our nurse to let us come in on the 4th instead of having one later on the 13th. We are praying we will be able to see something, our baby (ies!) at this appointment. We think we will be 5 weeks, 3 days. If we don't see much, we will do it again on the 13th. We also will have the big ultrasound room as Joe and Ryan cannot miss out on seeing this. We had to sacrifice at the transfer, no way will that happen at this ultrasound. We are praying that both embryos are snug in the penthouse suite. The idea of twins is a tiny bit nerve wrecking, but if God gives it to us, I know we will be able to handle it and handle it amazingly!! <3  Whenever we talk to Clark about whether he wants a brother or sister or if he wants one baby or two, he always says three! One or three according to him. I think when he told Lori he wanted three babies her face went pale ;-) (haha just kidding.) God has provided so much for us already, that I have full faith that whatever He gives us, will be a huge blessing! 6 days and counting until we get a sneak peek at our little baby (ies!)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2nd Beta!!-double???

Yes it did!!! Well technically it almost quadrupled!!!! So excited!!!! My number went from 42 to 154!!! One more beta on Friday. Then an ultrasound in April!!!

12 days post transfer

Decided to take a test this morning before I go in for my 2nd beta test to see if our pink line got darker. It did!!!!!! Yay!!! Praying for double numbers today!!!!

11 days past transfer

Even the cheap dollar store tests are showing a positive!!!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

9 days post transfer-getting pinker!!

I didn't post these pics before the blood test yesterday but they are still pretty cool and blog worthy! To show the pink line getting darker and darker. I will take another one before the 2nd beta tomorrow morning! Hope it is even darker!

Monday, March 26, 2012

1st Beta-Now we know!!!!!

Today we went to have my first beta levels drawn. It tests for HCG in your blood the hpt(home pregnancy test) tests for HCG in your urine This is a big moment because it tells you if you are pregnant or not. It isn't the only test but it is so important. Neg would be the worst possible outcome. So we were hoping for any sort of positive number. I am pretty confident that we will get a positive result because of the positive hpts we have gotten in the past couple of days.

We had to wait from 10am blood draw until 2:30 to get results. There was a mixup with fax info but to make the long story short we were got our results around 230. POSITIVE!!!!!!!!!! My number is 42. The number itself doesn't mean much. What is more important is the increase from today's number to wed number. It needs to double. So we will be praying for a 84+!!!!!! So excited I can hardly stand it!!!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

8 days post transfer-pink dye still a line there!!!

There is definitely a pink line there. Faint but there!!!! Nice to have more positivity!!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A little vent..

Just need to vent on my feelings I've been experiencing today. Last night, it was brought to my attention that blue dye tests are not always accurate. You may see a positive result and in fact not be pregnant. I was super excited and felt this was such a clear sign we are pregnant! So then I'm told it could be a false positive. Ugh. Talk about a Debbie Downer.. Obv it could be, but why rain on my tiny rainbow?? Lori looked at the test right away and saw the positive result. So the theory is if you wait a while before looking, the blue dye can just evap and show positive even if it's not. So is that true or not?? Can't we just have some good news!?
Then Well, this morning Lori took a regular pregnancy test (not an early response one) and it was negative. We promised each other we wouldn't feel discouraged. When she told me it was negative, a tiny piece of me cringed. I wish I would have more patience and waited to test until we were maybe another day. I trust fully in God and know that whatever His will is, is what will happen, and on His timing no less. But now I'm a little worried. And I don't know how to figure my emotions out. This whole process is so stressful and I think I will feel one way, but then I end up feeling another. I just pray I could be satisfied with the small steps. Pray for us that we can stay strong and positive and not lose sight of the big picture. We are 6 days past a 6 dayer. It's obviously early still, but being on different blogs and boards makes me go nuts and calms me at the same time :-/ ugh! Just needed to vent. Thanks. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

5 days post transfer-omgoodness I think there is a blue line there!!!!!

I took a pic of this test with a not taken test just to make sure this line wasn't just there on the test always. Took 1 pic with a flash and 1 without just to get a good pic Getting sooooooo excited now!!! Can't wait til the morning to try again!!!!!!!

5 days post transfer----getting intense!!!!!!

Ok so I took this test. Since we are still early it doesn't look like much at first glance. But if you look close there is a very faint blue line. I am trying again later to see.......

5 days post transfer

I really need to work on patience!! Pray for me!!

4 days 19 hours post transfer

Digital. Never used these before. Seems crazy that the normal ones would be too hard for someone to figure out! I mean it is pretty simple. Just sayin.

Still neg!

We may try again tonight!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

3 days post transfer

This test was more complicated than the poas kind. But same results. Negative

( 3 days, 9 hours past 6 day transfer )

Sunday, March 18, 2012

2 days post transfer

We decided to test early. Just for fun. It will not be positive for awhile, so don't look for positives until around 10 days post transfer. But here is our first attempt!

( 2 days past 6 day transfer - 2dp6dt)

Friday, March 16, 2012

God is Amazing - Transfer Day

What an amazing gift God has given us. Meet the babies. This is their first picture :-)

God is amazing. Our day started out nice and early. We met up with Lori, Ryan and their kids at my mother in laws house. She and my sister in law, Ab, were going to be watching Lori's kids, my son, and Ab's 2 girls for the day. We were all sporting our green attire, looking adorable and lucky. After a quick breakfast, we (Lori & Ryan, Joe & I) were on our way downtown Chicago for the transfer. We made pretty good time; we needed to be checked in at River North clinic at 10:20 am. We arrived, signed in, and waited. Waited, and some more waiting. They finally checked us in to our room at 11:20 or so, when our original transfer time was at 11:20. So an hour behind schedule. That's what the surrogacy life is all about - hurry up and wait. The 4 of us were in the room, when the embryologist came in. Both our embryos survived the thaw (yay!) and were both 6 day grade AB embryos. Then a nurse came in, checked Lori in and had her get undressed for the transfer. Then, because it wouldn't be normal not to have a little drama thrown into the mix, some random nurse came in to start up trouble and stated that only ONE person would be allowed to stay in the room during the transfer. Well, that wasn't what we were expecting, especially because during previous phone conversations with the IVF head nurse, she had specifically asked that both my husband and I be there as well as Lori's husband. So I'm not quite sure what the issue was now that they were only allowing only one person in the room. To say the least, we were all pretty bummed. It was such an amazing gift to watch the whole transfer. I had been in the room last time when they implanted Clark, and Joe wasn't allowed to be in the room due to the previous gestational carrier's request. So I knew I wanted him to be in there to see it this time. I also wanted Ryan in there because, for one, he's Lori's husband, and secondly, because what an amazing gift from God to watch this happen. I tried speaking with several different people, including the doctor, without success. They actually suggested Joe to not be in the room - why? - I'm not sure. Finally, we had a wonderful nurse who said as long as Joe kind of hid behind door, it would be okay. So the only sadness was that Ryan left the room. I was willing to have him and Joe in the room, but he was willing to sacrifice being there as they are Joe and my babies. God bless him. What an awesome man Ryan is. So he left to go sit in the waiting room. The ultrasound tech came in and started to prep everything. She was amazing. I couldn't have asked for a sweeter, bubbly tech. She showed us everything and told us all about Lori's uterus, etc. I'm fairly certain she was the ultrasound tech who was there for Clark's implantation. Love her. Lori's uterus looked (according to her) awesome, a perfect home for our babies. They were (are) in the best room in the place, the penthouse, with strawberries and champagne enjoying the sweet life for the next 9 months! <3 After that, it was show time. The doctor came in and we were ready. They showed us our babies on the big screen tv. They looked sweet. The doctor commented on how one of the embryos looked as though it was never frozen, so that is a good sign (fingers crossed). I think they both looked great. They then put them in a catheter and brought them into the room. Within a few minutes, we watched them be carefully placed into Lori's uterus, and their home for the next nine months until they are ready to join us on the outside. The ultrasound tech took a keepsake picture of the twins for us to stare at for the rest of day :-) The time stamp on the picture was 11:11:04. What an awesome, lucky number. She hadn't changed the time on the machine yet, so in reality it was 12:11:04 which 12/11 is my son's birthday! So even more awesome double numbers. And with that, we were done. Lori and I stayed in the room for about 20 minutes just beaming and dreaming of the future of these new babies. I am so thankful to have gone through that with her and with Ryan. Everytime I think of them, I know God is smiling down on us. He made this possible. He brought us together to be a perfect match together. I thank God for Lori all the time. She is just so special to me. I cannot imagine my life without her and her wonderful family. She is going to be (and already is!) such an awesome protector of the God's precious gifts to Joe, Clark & I. 
The rest of the day was just as perfect. We got home and the kids had a wonderful time together. What a cute bunch! Here's a few pictures of the group. 
 Big brother ??

 How cute is she!?

 Morning of transfer

 Time to swim!

 Mr. Popular

And now we wait to start poas and seeing some BIG FAT POSITIVES!!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lori & Family!

Lori & Family are en route to Chicago!!!! Whoop whoop! I think I have to leave in about a half hour to give me plenty of time to figure out where I'm going. Luckily this time around, the weather is warm enough that if I am lost, they won't freeze their tushes off outside. 
I know Lori and I say this quite often to each other, but I cannot believe that this day is finally here!! We met December 10, 2011, and here we are, March 15, 2012. That is 96 days later. It really seems like it was yesterday that we met. And today seemed sooo far off. We went through some tough hurdles, but God lead us through to this point, proving to us that we need to leave it up to Him, on His timing. He is always faithful, all knowing. It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that He already has a plan for me and a clear path chosen. He knows my moves before I do. He is constantly guiding me, but it's up to me to really open my eyes to see where it is He wants me to go. And I truly believe there is no mistakes, no accidents in life. It was a huge "mistake" that our agency didn't check for insurance, but hey without it, Lori and I would never have met. So, the night before our big transfer, rather than nerves, I have prayers running through my head. I cannot wait to see what God has planned for Lori and I and the baby (ies) the rest of this year. I am just so excited to see His plan finally be revealed to us. He is amazing. And I am going to close my eyes for 20 minutes, before I head out. Until next time (tomorrow after transfer!) Pray for our two embryos, our doctor, and most importantly, Lori herself. :-) 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Med Changes

On Sunday was my first day of my new medication regimen.  The lupron shots are finally finished so that is a blessing.  Now I am on to the next stage.  On one hand I am so excited, because this means we are getting close, but on the other hand I am afraid of the progesterone shots.  I have read some terrible things about how painful it is going to be.  I am continuing on the estrace tablets vaginally.  I am starting progesterone vaginally and as an IM (inter muscular).

The first shot was schedule for Sunday evening.  I tried not to think about it during the day, because I was  slightly nervous.  Ryan gave me the shot and I was shocked.  I barely felt it at all!  I can't believe how much people complain about it.  It really was nothing.  I had some of the Lupron inj actually hurt worse than this.  This is such relief.  This was the last hurdle that I was afraid of.  Now we are so close to the transfer I can hardly stand it.  Tomorrow we get on a train and head to Chicago!

So so so so excited!!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

3/9-Follow-up final

Had my last appointment for lining check and blood-work today. I have to admit the worst part is all the needles. I know I have more in my future but I am excited for that part to be done.

They said the fluid was almost completely gone now. It was a quick appointment. I was in and out. Now we just wait for the call from the clinic.

I got the call around 3. They said everything looks perfect and we are good to go for march 16 transfer date!!!!!!!!!!!! Exclamation point just doesn't seem strong enough.

New medications start on Sunday. Progesterone injections and suppositories and a zpak. The lupron injections stop though so that is a plus. I will keep you updated on how that goes.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

3/6-Follow-up extra appt

Today I had my added appointment to check on the fluid in my uterus. I wasn't sure what to pray for so I was just praying for God's will. I went to the appointment hoping it would be gone and we could move on, but part of me was afraid it would still be there.

I had a different ultrasound technician this time and she had a doctor with her. The doctor was there learning about the ultrasound machine. I noticed a pocked of fluid immediately on the screen. My heart dropped. The technician didn't say anything for what felt like an hour. Then she said "there is much less fluid this time so that is good". Both her and the doctor agreed that there was a significant decrease. They said there was less than 1mm of fluid ( compared to 5mm previously). I was hoping for none so seeing fluid was discouraging, but they both assured me this was really good.

I left and called Lisa. Immediately she made me feel better. (She usually does). We decided it was good and now we just had to wait for the phone call telling us what to do next.

We were right. Things are good the nurse said from the clinic. "Continue the same medications and your final appointment will be Friday and then we will call you with your transfer time for 3/16".

Holy crow!!!! Things are fine!!!! We are moving forward!! Holy crow again....transfer is in 10 days!!!! All that worrying for nothing. Uhg...duh Lori!! Worrying is a lack of faith. Should have just given it to God in the first place and saved all the trouble.

Now I am really excited. Have I mentioned HOLY CROW!!!

It's almost here...

The month is finally here! I cannot believe that a few short months ago, we were starting out on our contracts, then Lori started Lupron and Estrace patches, and of course, who could forget a few bumps along the way. Now, today Lori goes for her last ultrasound appointment to check her lining one last time before the *BIG TRANSFER* day!  I can speak for both of us that we are so thankful to be so close to a new starting line, that we can taste it. What an ordeal that contract phase was. I do not miss speaking with my lawyer in the tiniest bit. I ended up dubbing my lawyer as Debbie, as in Debbie Downer, because she always seemed to bring me terrible news every time I talk to her. 
Just recently, I've been struggling with whether or not my husband and I should purchase a "back up" insurance policy in the event that Lori's insurance decides not to cover the expenses for the pregnancy. Little bit of a back story: Lori's husband's insurance had a clear cut surrogacy exclusion that was somehow missed by the agency when they were going over Lori's information. We did not find this out until my lawyer was drafting our contract. It was a HUGE blessing in disguise. At the moment, it seemed like a catastrophic error on the agency's part, but if they had found out about the exclusion, Lori & I would never had met and we wouldn't be SIX days away from transfer. So Lori found out that her work had open enrollment coming up April 1st. Another blessing from God. He really works in awesome ways. So our insurance problems were answered. My lawyer, however, just was not comfortable with the wording Lori's upcoming insurance policy had. The agency, Lori, and I all felt the wording was pretty straight forward. Debbie said she would feel more comfortable getting written clarity from the insurance. Well, that is a pretty difficult task. What insurance company is going to agree to something in advance? Well, by the grace of God we got not only written confirmation, but verbal confirmation also. Was that good enough to make Debbie feel comfortable proceeding? UH, no. Yeah, very frustrating and ridiculous. I know she is just doing her job and watching our for Joe and my best interests, but this was too much for me. I just have faith that God will remain faithful to us. He, after all, brought Lori and I together. If He could do that, He can do anything. 
I am struggling with the potential unknown, what-if the insurance decides not to cover anything. Even though they don't have any flat out clear exclusions of surrogate pregnancy, that doesn't mean that they can't change their mind and force us to pay out of pocket. The back up plan policy is a reasonable upfront fee that needs to be put into place before transfer. So that means I have 6 more days to make a decision. Have I mentioned I am just awful with making decisions? Well I really am. The back up plan protects us in the case that the insurance, at any time during or within 18 months after delivery, decides not to cover any maternity bills. If that turns out to be the case, we'd have to pay a substantial amount of money then so we'd have insurance coverage. My dilemma. Why spend the money when we have a fairly confident chance that Lori's new insurance will cover the pregnancy. But then the little voice in my head saying 'but what if...?" So that's where I am at right now. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

3/02-The Follow-up

Today I had my appointment to check my lining thickness and blood levels. I was expecting the cold women again and I was right. "here are your papers go there.". "get undresses I will be in for your ultrasound in a minute". That was about all I got from anyone.

I knew that I was hoping for my lining to be around 6.5-7. I asked the tech. She said they hoped for 8. As soon as the image came up on the screen the tech said "what is going on with you?". She said that I had fluid in my uterus. She asked me if I was spotting at all and I told her no. She said she wasn't sure why the fluid was there then. She measured me at 9mm but said they would have to subtract the measurement of fluid. That was about 5mm. That didn't sound good.

When I left I called Lisa to let her know what was going on. We both started looking for information online. It sounded pretty common. Most people said it went away. Some said their doctor drained the fluid. Most people said it wasn't a big deal, but on the Internet there is always that 1 site that gets you all flipped out. I found information about decreased chances of success because of fluid. Talk about scary. I thought the clinic was going to call and cancel everything. It took forever to get the call.

When the clinic called they said the fluid was there but they acted like it wasn't a concern. They said two doctors saw the ultrasound and neither of them were concerned. WHEW!! What a relief. At this point I was praying alot. I have been praying throughout this whole process,but honestly I have just been praying for it to work on march 16. I forgot to pray about the little stuff along the way. Believe me I am praying about everything now! They decided to add the estrogen tablets to help the fluid dissolve. They scheduled another appointment for 3/6 to see if the fluid was decreasing. Praying it goes away!!!!

2/24-The Baseline Appointment


I think it is a requirement to work at this fertility clinic to be cold. Every woman I spoke to in this office was short and cold. I had my blood drawn then went in for the ultrasound. These women seriously barely spoke. Even the lady taking my blood, she just stuck me and handed me papers and pointed down the hall. I assume things were good with the ultrasound, there was no way to know because the technician barely spoke either. The Chicago clinic called me later to let me know that my blood levels were good as well as my ultrasound So far so good....

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Appointments

3 Fridays in a row I have appointments scheduled in St. Louis. This is my fertility clinic that will be following me until I am released to my O.B. The first is 2/24 for a baseline uterine lining check and hormone level check. On 3/02 I go back to make sure the estrogen is working to thicken my lining and more bloodwork. If my lining is not thick enough then i will have to start the estrogen tablets to help it along. Then on 3/9 I go back to have the final check to make sure things are still looking good. Then finally the embryo transfer date is set for 3/16. Yippee!!

The Meds

I got the call on Friday from the pharmacy, that they would be mailing me my meds. I had them sent to work since I would have to sign for them. They came that Tuesday morning. Which is good because I started them on Wed evening. I was shocked at the size of the box!!

Inside I had my Lupron injections, estrogen patches, estrogen tablets just in case, progesterone suppositories and progesterone injections. Oh and an antibiotic. I had a friend teach me how to give the Lupron injections to myself. They really aren't too bad. They are given with an insulin needle. It is tiny and barely hurts at all. Good thing since I have to do these injections for the next few weeks everyday.

I strutted the estrogen patches and they are fine. No side effects or anything so that is good. I had my first lining check today so we will see if I have to start the tablets or not. The progesterone I do not start until the week before transfer. So I will continue the med section a little later to let you know how that is going.