Pregnancy Test Results!

***To watch the two videos of the results scroll to the bottom!***

Sorry to everyone who has been following my blog on this surrogate journey. I should have updated way sooner but I was busy with vlogging it on my YouTube channel. Last Wednesday (3/31) I got a phone call from the IVF office to confirm that I’m pregnant! I was glad that it wasn’t a day later that they called (April Fool’s Day haha). My HCG number was 125 which was lower than what I was expecting but still a good number! Then I had a repeat test yesterday (Monday) and the number soared to 1536! Which is great! That number is supposed to at least double every 48 hours for the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. This number can tell a lot about the early stages of pregnancy.

If that number was to start off low there would be concern that it’s not a viable pregnancy and that the embryo didn’t fully implant into the uterine wall, this is called a chemical pregnancy. Low HCG numbers could also indicate an ectopic pregnancy.

For the number to rise as high as it did in just 5 days is a really good sign, so good that I don’t need to do another blood test, they scheduled my first ultrasound for the 19th of April! Which is two weeks away, it’s going to be a long two weeks. Ever since I started this journey with the parents I am with now I had appointments or blood drawn at least once a week and now two weeks of absolutely nothing is going to feel weird!

My other thought, and two other experienced surrogates brought this to my attention. Is I am wondering since that number jumped so fast in a short amount of time(doubling time was 33 hours) is if the embryo split and resulting with twins. I have to say I would be pretty upset if it was twins because of the jump in statistics of the risk to have twins. I would be rather just have one, which is why I was very glad when they only transferred one embryo. But at this point it is out of my hands, and if it is twins I am in God’s grace and I know that He will take care of me and these girl(s) that I am carrying.

 

Easter Egg Centerpiece

***Scroll down to the bottom for the video on how to do this!***

I had this pin on Pinterest that has been re-pinned over 100 times, it was my most looked at pin. The craft looked easy enough to do, and I noticed that when I clicked on it for more of an explanation the blog post didn’t have the best instructions. So let’s see if I can do better!

You will need:

  • Easter basket
  • Medium Styrofoam ball
  • 2 bags of Easter Grass
  • Skewers
  • Plastic Easter Eggs
  • Ribbon (Optional)
  • Hammer
  • Skinny screwdriver

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To get the skewer through the egg, you will need a skinny screw driver and hammer (I don’t have a hammer, so I had to use my flashlight haha).

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Now place the screwdriver in the middle of the bottom part of the egg(there should be a tiny circle) and take your hammer and with one medium hit it should pop through.

Next take the sharp end of your skewer and push it through the hole that you made.

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Next take the top part of the egg and attach it to the bottom. Now push the skewer all the way in so it’s touching the top part of the egg(this straightens it out).

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(I skipped a step here don’t pay attention to the skewers already in the ball) Place the Styrofoam ball in the middle of the eater basket and fill grass all around it to secure it in its’ place. It should take about one bag to do this.

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Next stick all of your egg skewers into the Styrofoam ball, try to make them all different sizes so it fills up nicely.

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Take your other bag of grass and fill it in in between the skewers.

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I then tied a bow around it to make it look even cuter but that’s it! Now you have a cute centerpiece for Easter! All of the supplies costs me under $15! Happy Easter!

 

Surrogacy: Second Embryo Transfer

***If you want to watch the vlog of this day scroll down to the bottom!***

This past Friday I had my second embryo transfer! I am with a new family, it didn’t work out with another transfer with my previous family so they released me from our contract. I feel this time around is going by so much better and faster! From agreeing to work with another to the transfer was only 6 weeks! That’s very fast considering everything that needs to happen from start to finish.

The day of the transfer my two year old decided to wake up 3 hours earlier than normal and since I knew I would be sleeping pretty much the next 3 days because of the mandatory 72 hour bed rest I let my husband sleep in. I got my little guy and myself ready for the day, equipping ourselves with everything green!

It is all superstitious about the green but why not play along? It’s fun! And it gives successful vibes all around, it can’t hurt! We all had green socks on, my little guy and I had green shirts and I had green underwear also. My little guy also had green shorts on but he had a mouth full of peanut butter and started laughing and yup it went all over his green shorts! Here we are all ready to go!

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The office is about an hour and a half drive so we put on Toy Story 3 for our little guy and packed a few snacks for him too. I also made sure to bring a water bottle because I needed to empty my bladder out 20 minutes before arriving at the office and then start to sip on water, they want your bladder to be semi-full.

Since he woke up so early he crashed pretty quickly and slept the whole way there and then I also had our bear lucky safely buckled in. The wonderful lady that I have been working with for her surrogate planners sent me him for good luck!

We got there in good time, about 10 minutes before we were supposed to arrive. They took me in the back while my husband took our son to go play in the halls for the next hour and a half. They had me sit on this heated bed and explained the procedures, signed paperwork, and gave me a Valium to calm my nerves and to also calm my uterus for the transfer. Then they asked me to undress from the waist down, gave me a gown to wear and socks too. After taking the Valium I heard the nurses giggling about how cute my husband was on the other side of the curtain. Then when the nurse came back to see how I was doing the receptionist came in to ask the nurse how long the procedure was going to take because my “boyfriend” was asking, I corrected her and told her he was my husband. The nurse then said to try and get my husband’s phone number so they can text him when I was done. They both giggled and had big smiles on their faces. I wanted to say something but I was already loopy from the medication and I knew that my husband would handle it and he did! He refused to give them him phone number and told them that he knows that I will text him when I am done, love him!

The next time I go into the office I will be filing a complaint on the nurse because of how cold, unprofessional and rude she was. I went in there so excited and she was an absolute buzzkill. After they put me in the OR room for the transfer(they sometimes use an office also but the OR was available) they draped warm blankets across me for comfort, put my legs in stirrups and the embryologist came out to greet me. She said the embryo looks great and that it survived the thawing process(20-25% don’t survive this process) and that it looks great! I asked what the grade is and she said it was a 4BB which means that it’s an expanded blastocyst, cavity larger than the embryo with thinning of the shell and the inner cell mass quality has several cells loosely grouped and the trophectoderm quality has few cells forming a loose epithelium. In English it means that this is a very good embryo and it’s a girl!

The IVF doctor came in then and got me all ready for the transfer the procedure is just like a pap smear. He inserted the catheter into my uterus, an ultrasound machine was also used to make sure the catheter was in the right spot. My “lovely” nurse was using the tranducer and couldn’t find the right area the doctor told her repeatedly it’s not in the right spot so she kept on pressing down harder on my stomach. She was pressing down so hard that I was gripping the edges of the bed and pushing on the stirrups, the doctor saw my discomfort and grabbed the transducer from her and placed it where it needed to be, guess what: no pain. After they found the right spot on the ultrasound he released the embryo into the catheter with a needle. The embryologist then took the needle from the doctor and checked under the microscope to see that it was gone and it was!

Next I lied there for 30 minutes, after the time was up my nurse came in with a wheelchair and wheeled me to my little room to get dressed and then wheeled me downstairs where my husband met me out front.

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I had to go to the bathroom so badly so the first stop was at a McDonald’s nearby.

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I have read that other surrogates eat McDonald’s french fries to help clog things up in there so the embryo sticks. Again, it’s all completely superstitious but I haven’t had McDonald’s in over two years and I wanted to join in on the fun! After we ate we were on the road again and it took 3 hours to get home because it was right in the middle of rush hour. I was so happy when we finally were home. Now I am on bed rest until tomorrow afternoon. I’m catching up on videos and blogs for the most part and enjoying my semi mini vacation. I will find out in 10 days if the transfer was successful or not, but I may or may not test before then haha

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Pasta with Creamy Avocado Sauce

The chicken bowls that I was making for my husband were getting a little old so I asked him to pick me out a recipe so I can craft it to his liking. Of course with him wanting to gain muscle he picked one from bodybuilding.com haha, (original recipe can be found at the bottom)

You can either make it for one meal or make 5 of them for lunch for the week, my husband reported back that it tastes really good even when it has been reheated.

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Here’s what you need for the chicken:

  • 4 large chicken breasts
  • 3 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • Bolthouse Avocado Cilantro Dressing

Pasta:

  • Quinoa or wheat pasta

Creamy Avocado Dressing:

  • 1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Tsp Minced Garlic
  • 2 Large Avocados
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Chopped Basil
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Salt & Pepper

Optional Toppings:

  • Grape tomatoes cut in half
  • Mozzarella Cheese

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First start with the chicken since it takes the longest to cook, leave the pasta for last. Pour the 3 Tbsp. of olive oil in a pan, if you have one use a char-grill pan if you want those grill lines on the chicken.

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Dice the chicken or cut it however you would like and place in the pan.

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Pour about half a bottle of the Bolthouse Cilantro Avocado dressing all over the chicken, I also added some minced garlic. My husband is Italian and he loooooves his garlic.

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Put the heat on high until the pan is hot and then turn it down to medium high. Once the chicken was thoroughly cooked there was a lot of liquid in the pan still and I was going to get those grill lines so I drained the chicken in a strainer and turned the heat down even lower, watching it carefully to make sure it didn’t burn now that there isn’t much liquid in the pan.

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This is how the chicken should look when it’s done!

As the chicken is cooking get started on the pasta, just follow the directions on the package.

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For the creamy avocado sauce you will need a blender, cut 2 large avocados in half and remove the pit. Then cut into little squares while it’s in the skin and then scoop it out into the blender.

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Take the fresh basil and chop it up and place in blender.

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Measure out a half cup of Greek yogurt and place in blender.

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Cut one lemon in half and squeeze all the juice out into the blender.

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Measure out 1 tsp of minced garlic or just eyeball it for however much.

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Lastly for the sauce add Mrs. Salt & Mr. Pepper to the blender according to your preference of how much of each.

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Pulse the blender at first, it takes a while to get the texture to be creamy, but it should turn out like this.

*Make sure to have the sauce ready before the pasta is done, it’s much easier to mix in the sauce with the paste when the pasta is hot/warm.

Now it’s ready to be put together! Once the pasta and sauce is blended together place that as the base on the plate or if you are using this recipe for meal prep, place it is the base in the Tupperware. Next add the chicken on top.

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The mozzarella cheese is optional but I placed that next on top.

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Then I cut grape tomatoes in half and placed those on top as well. And you’re done!

You can either enjoy right away or store away in the fridge for lunch for the next five days!

Original recipe: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/epic-muscle-building-meal-creamy-avocado-chicken-pasta.html#one

Surrogacy: Last Uterine Lining Check

***I also vlogged about all of this, scroll down to the bottom to watch!***

I had my last uterine lining check done and everything looks great! It was very satisfying to see how happy the doctor looked with how my body is progressing with the medications. Especially because this doctor intimidates me haha, he is very nice but his bed side manner is just very strict, maybe because he just has so many things going on in his mind; but, he is one of the best if not the best in the business so as long as everything works out he can treat me however he wishes. He said that my lining is beautiful and is at a 15mm. They like for it to be at least an 8mm, I asked the nurse if it helps more for a successful transfer and she said that yes it does, to what extent I’m not sure but I think it makes sense that a thicker wall is more likely to keep the embryo inside. The doctor also told me that the thickest it can get is 20mm I still have 8 days left and I’m hoping for a 20 before the embryo transfer! I’m doing so well on the medications that he even lowered the medication that I am taking to help thicken the lining. I won’t know for sure how thick the lining will be before transfer because this was the last ultrasound.

After the quick ultrasound I met him in his office and he went over the medication protocol for that day and up to the day of transfer. After the transfer he will give me new instructions for protocol of medications. The medications from Sunday to the day of the transfer which will be Friday goes crazy. I will be on 7 different types of medications both muscular injections and oral tablets.

I am still drinking my pomegranate juice which I truly believes helps significantly. I remember last transfer I believe my lining was at a 12mm before transfer and now it sounds like it’s going to be at a 20mm. I started drinking it the day I started the Delestrogen, which is the inject able medication that helps thicken the lining, at 8 ounces a day. I have also been in communication with other surrogates and they too confirm that the POM juice helped them with their lining. Today was the last day of my estrogen patch and also for taking Lupron. I have blood work two days before the transfer and that’s about it until T-Day!

I am getting so anxious and very hopeful, the last transfer I had back in August went very smooth but this one is going even better. My body responded well last time to medications but this time my body is doing even better this time around. It is very discouraging when i hear about other surrogates who have had embryo transfers just recently and their results come back negative or that their blood is showing the pregnancy hormone but that the embryo just didn’t make it and then worse yet is when there is a strong pregnancy hormone and the levels are great but then at the ultrasound the technician cannot find a heartbeat. Hearing all of this really makes you hope that it’s not going to happen to you but it also gets your mind to accept that that might happen. I had a hard time in the weeks leading up to this one with just a lot of doubt and especially because I had a failed transfer before. I have been praying for peace and God has provided that, this week I have been feeling very hopeful and more at ease.I have a good community of surrogates and others who have been through this process, who are supporting me with their words of encouragement.

This time around I feel more educated about the process and exactly what the medications are doing to my body. I also know the realty and chances of the success of an embryo transfer. With knowing everything that is going to happen I feel much more at ease so my body is also a lot less stressed. The last transfer I was so bitter towards having to have a shot and sometimes two shots a day(twice a week) in my butt for all of this, I thought carrying the child was enough of a sacrifice but then to also add shots into the mix I really didn’t have the right attitude. When I found out that the transfer wasn’t successful I actually missed the shots because the shots represented that there was a baby. This time around I don’t mind the shots at all, I can honestly barely feel them, I think what helps is that my body is so relaxed. I’m also a lot less stressed because I know everything that happens during the transfer and what has to happen afterwards. At the last transfer I didn’t have much sense of what was to happen and I didn’t find out that I was supposed to be on further restrictions after the transfer(3 days bed rest) and then I can’t lift anything heavier than 5 pounds and I cannot walk for more than an hour at a time. I found all of that out the day of the transfer. I was annoyed with the agency for not telling me all of this and I really think they need to tell the surrogate absolutely everything that they will need to be doing; but, I also understand that the agency has only a certain amount of women on their staff and there are many surrogates that they are communicating with. Maybe make a huge packet of everything that is to happen?

All in all I feel much better and much more confident this time around, please send a prayer for me!

St. Patrick’s Day Crafts For Toddlers!

**To view the video of us making these scroll all the way down!***

I have been wanting to blog about all of the crafts that I do and want to do with my little man. Crafts alone are fun but the little ones make it so much more interesting. I found two doable crafts for toddlers on Pinterest this past week and this morning my son and I were busy trying them out while recording it all. I chose to do these two crafts:

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I went to Hobby Lobby yesterday to pick up the materials and it was very inexpensive, here’s what you need!

  • Elmer’s stick glue ($1.99)
  • Medium sized white poster board (5 for $2.99)
  • Non toxic green washable kids paint ($3.27)
  • Bowl for the paint to be finger dipped from
  • Print out of a clover
  • 4 Scrapbook pages design of your choice
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Toddler

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First print out a large clover, I found mine doing a Google search, make sure it fills up the while paper. Then cut along the edges.

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Apply tape on the edges so the paint won’t sneak in to where you don’t want it

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Place it in the center of a medium sized poster board paper

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Squirt the green paint in a bowl

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Dip your finger in, or your child’s finger in-I had to show my little man how to do it and then he would copy what I was doing. This was after he stuck it in his mouth because he thought it was a condiment haha, good thing it’s non toxic!

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And then however you want to paint or dot the outside of the printout, it’s okay to get paint on the printout because you will be pulling it off and discarding it

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Once you’re done slowly peel off the printout, I suggest doing this after you wash all the pain off of your hands so you don’t get paint anywhere you don’t want it to be

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Ta Da!

Next Clover project!

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Take the scrapbook pages you have and cut them evenly into columns and then take the strips and cut them into little squares, also take that printout that you used fr the previous craft and trace around it on another piece of poster board to get the above clover

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I put all my little squares into my little man’s spider man bucket

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Then you take one square put glue on the back and place it wherever you want on the clover, I would glue it and hand it to my little guy until….

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He wanted it to do it all by himself…

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Testing it out I let him and yup he was able to do it all by himself, such a big boy!

Once you have covered the whole clover you can be done with that but if you really want it to look sharp flip it over and cut the excess scrapbook paper squares off, and that’s it! You can frame either one to really make it snazzy or hang them on the fridge like I did. Good luck!

Β To view the video of my son and I making these click below!

 

 

Surrogacy: Uterine Lining Check

If you read my last post I briefly went over why I have been absent from my blog for so long and part of the reason is because my surrogate journey lately has been on expedite. To do a quick catch up of what has been going on: I was released from my 8 month contract with my last intended parents at the end of January. The contract wasn’t supposed to end until March but the IPs(intended parents) knew that there wasn’t going to be another transfer before then or if ever, they didn’t want to keep me waiting anymore. I had been so frustrated since I found out about the unsuccessful transfer because we had not a close bond but at least some sort of bond but after the sad news there was no communication for 3 months. I finally received news the day before Thanksgiving where my IPs were in the thought process of another transfer and nothing had changed, they really wanted a boy and at the last retrieval there was only one boy embryo available. There are girl embryos still available that have been frozen but their hearts are set on a boy, which is totally fine! I just would have liked to be in the loop a bit more, like once a month even just a one sentence email stating that they haven’t reached a decision to either go with the girl embryos or are trying to get the egg donor(they only wanted to work with the one egg donor, it was someone that they knew) to donate again to try for a boy again. I had to wait 5 months to finally be released so I was sad because I really got along with the IPs but also glad so I can move on to help another family.

I was matched almost immediately with another set of IPs, they don’t have any children right now and have been looking for a while. They also want this baby born this year so they have put a rush on everything. There is one frozen girl embryo good to go, contracts have been signed; all we are waiting for is for my body to respond to the medications for the embryo transfer! Which is scheduled for March 18th, 16 more days!

Today was the first ultrasound since I started Delestrogen which is used to thicken the uterine lining, creating a nice cozyΒ  home for the embryo to stick. My nurse told me that the thicker the lining the better the chances are for there to be a successful transfer.

I am also taking a prenatal, baby aspirin (to have more blood flow to the uterus), and Lupron which is to shut down my ovaries temporarily.

I woke up this morning at 4:30am to leave at 5am to beat traffic, and I did! My appointment wasn’t until 8:15am..that’s how bad traffic is, I had to leave 3 hours early to get to my appointment on time. I had another ultrasound just 6 days ago and I left 2 hours before the appointment and I was 40 minutes late…I made sure that that wasn’t going to happen again. After I got my Starbucks and banana nut bread I turned on the Blackmill station on Pandora(yes I am white and yes I love techno), and headed south for the hour and a half drive.

The doctor was very pleased with how my body is responding to the medications, the lining needs to be at least 8 mm thick to attempt an embryo transfer and mine was already between 11-12mm. The last cycle I had at this appointment I believe my lining was at an 8. My secret is pomegranate juice! I didn’t do this last time but this juice is known to thicken lining and help with fertility, I have been drinking 8 ounces a day since the last day of my period and it’s working! It could be that my body is just responding better to the medications this time but I’m giving credit to the POM!

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One tube of blood was taken to test my hormone level and the doctor gave me this next week’s medication protocol which is similar to last week’s. Then he told me that he wants to see me in one week. The appointments are so short lasting only about 10 minutes. As of right now we are right on track for the embryo transfer!

I also vlogged today with everything to do with my appointment, check it out below!