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.

 

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!

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 cozy  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!

Surrogacy: Unsuccessful Transfer

I had my first embryo transfer at the end of this past August, I found out only 12 days later that the transfer was not successful. I was in complete shock at first when I heard my doctor’s voice on the phone sharing the news. I told him that I didn’t believe him that I was having pregnancy symptoms that were identical to when I was pregnant with my son. Since I went into a nearby clinic for my blood to be drawn for the first pregnancy test, he wanted to make sure and asked for me to drive to his office so his phlebotomist can do the blood withdraw. I showed up as soon as the office opened the next day and received another phone call that afternoon with the same results. For the next week I went through a lot of emotions starting with self blame, I was mad at my own body for not making this pregnancy happen.

I came to the conclusion though that it just wasn’t meant to be, I did everything I was supposed to with the self injections, medications, vitamins, diet and restrictions. It just amazed me that the transfer wasn’t successful because I know I am fertile, healthy and it only took one try for our son to be conceived. Also, every ultrasound visit I had with the IVF doctor was flawless, everything that needed to happen happened and the doctor would tell me how well my body was doing with all of that was being put into it. So why didn’t it work?

On the phone with the doctor with the second results of the pregnancy test, I asked him what the grade of the embryo was(they are graded on an ABC scale, with A being the best), and he said it was grade A. With everything going as smooth as it did from all aspects, it really was just not supposed to happen. I then was given some closure when the phlebotomist told me that each embryo transferred has a 50/50 chance. That’s why a lot of times surrogates end up pregnant with twins because the IVF doctor likes to transfer at least 2 embryos to have a better success rate. But there was only one A grade male embryo from the retrievals and the intended parents had their hearts set on having a boy.

After receiving the news of the failed transfer, I immediately emailed my intended parents to share my condolences. That I wish there was more that I could do or could have done but honestly I did all that I could have.

I wanted to make something for my intended parents, something they could hold on to, to remember this baby by. After brainstorming I collected all that I had during this surrogate process and printed out a poem and arranged it all in a shadow box:

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I was very happy with how it turned out, I received an email from them as soon as they received it and they were very thankful and touched by my gift. After a couple of weeks I emailed them sharing that if they were willing that I was more than happy to go through with another transfer. They thanked me for my willingness and wrote that they are still deciding if they want to do another transfer or not. It’s been 3 months since then and I finally received word from them mid last week that they are still deciding but that it doesn’t look hopeful. The donor they were using isn’t so inclined to do another transfer and they don’t want to use anyone else. There are female embryos available but they really wanted to even the boys and girls in their household. They have until March for there to be a viable pregnancy, if that doesn’t happen then the contract expires unless all parties agree to extend the contract. It takes about 1 month preparation for everything before the transfer and then about 1 month after for a confirmation of pregnancy, so I should know for sure by January if we’re going to try again. I really hope they do decide for another transfer, the parents were wonderful and we get along very well. In my surrogate support groups I would hear other surrogates’ stories of how their intended parents are international and do not speak English so all of the pre-natal checkups are awkward, especially if there isn’t an interpreter. I also heard another horror story of an intended mother living in a different country and when the baby was born she left the United States with the baby without completing the rest of the payments for the surrogate, thankfully she did pay the remaining balance on the last day though. Hearing all of the stories that I had made me very thankful for who I was matched with.

I have yet to decide, though, if these current parents decline another transfer if I want to open my contract up to new parents or not. I didn’t realize how connected I would feel with the parents when I started this journey. It really is an emotional roller coaster, the anticipation starts when the inject able medication starts because then there is a count down to transfer day. Then each check up appointment to check on the uterine lining and hormone levels also adds to that anticipation because you see your body progressing and getting ready to accept their baby. The day of the transfer is just filled with jitters and excitement, it’s a good thing they give you Valium for your body to calm down before. The following days after the transfer are a slow torture wondering if it was successful or not. Then the day comes for the results and you can either receive the most beautiful news that soon there will be a baby or the most tragic news that there won’t be.

For now I am enjoying the holidays, praying about my decision and waiting for the intended parents to get back to me, I really hope that they choose the female embryos; I think that they are meant to raise more beautiful women to be in this world. I will keep you all updated for what happens next, stay tuned and thank you for reading! 🙂

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