I am now 36 weeks pregnant, and a lot has happened since my last update. I still get nauseous every once in a while... sometimes I can pinpoint what it is (like eggs, blah!). And at other times I will eat the same thing 2 days in a row and be fine one day and not the next. Haven't been getting headaches anymore! YAY! To be honest, I've been feeling really good.
So far, at all of my appointments, everything has been going great with the baby and me.
At my 26 week appointment, I had bloodwork done to check for gestational diabetes. I've never had it with any other pregnancy and do not have it this time either. :-)
At my 31 week appointment my OB Doctor told me that starting at 36 weeks I would have weekly appointments and at those appointments, they would do an ultrasound in the office to measure the amniotic fluid around the baby and also do a non-stress test. This is standard for women who are 35 years old or older.
The Intended Parents and their 5-year-old daughter are planning to make the drive from New Jersey to Iowa right after Christmas so they will be here before the baby arrives.
I can't wait to see them again and meet their daughter!
Let's talk about COVID19 and pregnancy.
Let me just start out by saying, I take the pandemic very seriously. Sadly, I personally know people who have passed away from it and I know people who have had it and been completely fine. When the vaccine was offered to me in March of 2021, I was in the process of IVF with a potential pregnancy in April. I had reached out to both my OB and my IVF doctor to see if they recommended it for women who were trying to get pregnant or were currently pregnant. Both of these doctors told me that there was not enough research with pregnant women to tell me, either way, to get or not to get the vaccine so it was up to me. Knowing that there was not enough research, I chose to not get vaccinated. To be honest, I don't get many vaccines because I believe that my body is made to fight off illnesses.
Fast forward to October 2021, I had a routine OB appointment and was asked if I wanted to get the COVID19 vaccine. We chatted a while about it and I concluded that I just did not want to get the vaccine at this point. I was 29 weeks pregnant at this time and just felt like I was too far along in my pregnancy. I had been healthy, I don't hang out with many people or large groups of people and I just felt in my heart, I didn't want to get it at this point. Let me say, it was a bit of a battle with the OB doctor but ultimately, this is my decision.
I am not against anyone who has gotten the vaccine or anyone who has chosen to not get vaccinated - it is each individual's choice and I do not judge others because of it.
On November 19th, my son started sniffling and feeling congested. Iowa weather is crazy between fall and winter... there are days it is 20 degrees and days it is 60 degrees and this is the time of year people are getting colds, strep throat, sinus infections, etc. He started with a slight cough a few days later but other than that, he had his normal energy and no fever. On November 22nd, my daughter complained of being hot. This isn't unusual for her. I took her temperature and it was 99.4, so not anything super high. That same day I had a headache but contributed it to the pregnancy, but it later developed into hot flashes.
On November 24th I got a text from another parent who has a child in my daughter's class saying her daughter tested positive for COVID. Her child had basically the same symptoms as my children. Since we would be celebrating Thanksgiving with family, I stopped by the pharmacy and picked up at-home test kits. I took my test in the car and it was negative. I went home and tested both kids and they were both positive. We ended up going to urgent care that night and getting PCR tests on the 3 of us. It was going to take 2-3 days to get our results back but the doctor said since the kids tested positive with the home test and I was having symptoms, to just assume the 3 of us were positive. We were bummed that we would not be getting together with family for Thanksgiving but knew staying home was the responsible thing to do.
On November 26th, we got our PCR test results back and both kids were positive but mine was negative. The Doctor said I may have just tested early so I took our last at-home test and it immediately came up positive.
Over the next few days, we were congested and coughing. I contacted my OB on and she recommended I get an antibody infusion. This was supposed to make sure my symptoms didn't get any worse. I really didn't feel too bad to begin with, just like I had a cold, but I took her recommendation and headed to labor and delivery to get the infusion. Two hours after the infusion I had a horrible headache and horrible sinus pressure. This was the worst I had felt since I found out I had COVID. After 6 hours, I was feeling better but had lost my sense of taste and smell.
On November 30th, my husband tested positive. Besides having chills for 2 days, he had the same symptoms the kids and I had... congestion and a slight cough. We were all doing pretty well and we came out of our quarantine feeling pretty much back to normal.
I do not want to downplay that being pregnant and having COVID can be a very serious thing but wanted to share my experience as a gestational carrier. As of today, I am barely congested, still coughing a little, don't fully have my smell back, and can barely taste anything. But, if that is all, I'd say I am doing well! :-)
This past weekend I started having Braxton Hicks contractions. I am hoping this little girl stays in a little longer, at least until New Year! And I can't wait for the big day where her parents and sister get to meet her.
I will keep you all posted!
I can't believe it has been 2 months since I have updated this blog! I am almost 26 weeks now! Some days I feel like this is flying but most days it doesn't feel that way and so even though I have not been feeling the best (lots of headaches and back to throwing up occasionally) I am still trying to enjoy every day because I really enjoy being pregnant and I don't take being able to do this for granted.
My routine OB appointment at 18 weeks showed everything was looking perfect. I was finally starting to feel better and not be so nauseous and had VERY few puking episodes.
I had my 20-week ultrasound in Iowa City near the end of August and was finally able to see in person (and HUG) the intended parents!! I have to say... the drive to Iowa City I started getting so nervous to meet them. I kept thinking... what if I'm not what they expected, what if it just feels awkward, what if we have nothing to talk about... I picked them up from their hotel in Iowa City and we shared a huge hug and all my nervousness went away.
Our appointment went great. Baby girl is doing awesome and is looking fantastic. She has some nice long legs and the ultrasound tech did confirm for me that baby is indeed a girl. Something new that I've never had before was that the Doctor who looked at the ultrasound said that I have an anterior placenta (meaning the placenta is in the front- this happens in about 1/3 of pregnancies). This isn't a huge concern and although the doctor said I may not feel baby kicking/moving as much because of it, I sure do feel her! Also, since I am having a C-section, the OB will need to be extra careful while doing surgery as to not cut into the placenta.
After the appointment, we took a walk and got a late lunch, and were able to just sit and chat in person. I dropped them back off at their hotel and probably won't see them face to face again until Christmas time. I am thankful that we text almost daily so we keep up to date on baby and just life, in general, that way.
At the beginning of September, I had a 22-week routine OB appointment and talked to the Dr about my headaches. I let her know that Tylenol wasn't cutting it and most of the time neither was the Excedrin tension that I was told I could take. She told me to check my blood pressure once a week and also prescribed me something for the headaches but to only take if absolutely necessary.
I have to say, this has been my hardest pregnancy, and although it has been a little rough, I am really trying to enjoy each day because I really do love being pregnant.
My next OB appointment is next week and then a couple of weeks after that I will have my appointment to check for gestational diabetes.
UNTIL NEXT TIME. . . . . . .
Hi Everyone! It's a NEW MONTH! I am currently 15 weeks and 4 days pregnant!
I AM FINALLY FINISHED WITH DAILY INJECTIONS and extra medications to help keep this pregnancy viable! My body has now taken over naturally and everything is going great! (Except for daily nausea and vomiting) 70 injections... DONE!
Since my last post, I've had an appointment with a nurse practitioner at my OB office. We talked about my past pregnancies, health, and blood work to check for any issues. I was able to have the Intended Mother on a video call with me so she was able to get any questions answered and just chat with the nurse practitioner. Since the parents live in New Jersey, it is nice that they can at least be a video call away! Technology is WONDERFUL!
The first appointment includes a TON of blood work. Most of it is just routine things that are checked but we also decided to do the Prequel Blood Test. This blood test is a non-invasive prenatal screen that uses cell-free DNA (cfDNA) to determine if a pregnancy is at an increased risk for common chromosome abnormalities, such as Down syndrome. It also can tell you the gender if you're interested in knowing that already!
The parents definitely wanted to know the gender, and since I've been saying I'm SURE it's a boy, we were all curious. Typically it takes 10 days to get your results back, but to my surprise, 4 days later in the morning, I got a call from the OB office letting me know they already had the results! The baby is fine and healthy (as determined by blood testing), and they asked if I wanted to know the gender and of course, I said YES! They told me and I knew I wanted to do something special for the parents to reveal to them whether the baby was BOY or GIRL!
My kids and I decided to load a box full of balloons and then video chat the parents to let them know. I wasn't able to get the balloons until the next day and it was SO hard not to just tell them that I already knew. I text the Mom and asked her if we could video chat the next evening. The next day I raced home from work with a car full of balloons and the kids and I got them packed in a box for the big reveal. We got on the call, chatted for a minute, and then.........
To say I was surprised is an understatement! I almost 100% thought I was carrying a boy! I had the same symptoms and cravings as I did with my own son so I just assumed it was a boy. The parents (& their daughter!) are so happy and I am glad we were able to do this video call with them.
We have scheduled our 20-week ultrasound for mid-August and the family is planning to come to that appointment. I cannot wait to FINALLY meet them face to face and give them a big hug!
Hello to everyone who has been following me on this journey and to all the new people who are just joining me!
It has been a whole month since I have done an update and everything is going fairly well.
As I had said in my last post, I have been very nauseous and throwing up multiple times a day. I have currently lost 10 pounds!
On May 25th, I was struggling to keep anything down, even Gatorade. The next day I had left a message for my OB and they recommended I come in to get some IV fluids. I didn't realize how dehydrated I was until it was difficult for the nurse to find a vein to put the IV in. They gave me 2 bags of fluids and some Zofran to help with nausea and 3 hours later I was feeling better and back at work.
They called in a prescription of Zofran and ever since then I have been taking it every 4 hours to try to help. I am still throwing up but now it is only 1-3 times a day rather than 5-6 times a day and still keeping fluids down, thankfully!
On June 9th I had a follow-up ultrasound just to make sure the baby was still looking great. The ultrasound tech said that baby is an overachiever and was measuring 5 days ahead! They did notice a small sub chorionic hemorrhage but said it should just resolve on its own.
For now, I am just trying to eat small, frequent meals of whatever sounds good that day and continue to take my medication regularly.
I will be 12 weeks pregnant tomorrow (June 25th) and that means I am DONE doing daily injections and wearing patches - I can't explain how happy I am to be done with these shots!
My husband and kids have been SO supportive. I am not much of a complainer but I know I have complained every. single. day. to my husband and he just listens to me. My kids, especially my 11-year-old daughter, are always asking if I'm ok and letting me take naps when I need them. I could not do this without such an amazing support system.
I will start seeing my regular OB in July and have my regular appointments with them until we deliver this baby!
Hello Everyone! It has been a while since I updated and that is because I wanted to make sure that everything was going smoothly first.
On April 21st, I had the embryo transfer, and soon after I already started having symptoms- sore chest, nauseous and tired. I was hoping these were pregnancy symptoms and not just side effects of the medications and injections I was taking.
It was a LONG 12-day wait before I was able to get bloodwork done to confirm pregnancy and that the tiny embryo had indeed gotten all snuggled into my uterus. To confirm pregnancy through blood, your HCG levels are checked. Typically you want that first number to be at least 50- mine was 756! Then you go back in 48 hours to get bloodwork done again and you want that number to double to make sure that this is a healthy pregnancy. I went back about 45 hours later and my number had almost quadrupled at 2,735. To say I was shocked is an understatement. I have been on this journey before and it wasn't as easy. It took 3 embryo transfers before we had a healthy, viable pregnancy and in between that time, there were many ups and downs. I was already in the mindset that this could possibly not work on the first try.
I AM SO HAPPY!!
Next, it was time to schedule an ultrasound just to make sure the baby has a nice strong heartbeat and is where it should be. I'm not going to lie, we only transferred ONE embryo but with how soon and severe my symptoms were and how high my HCG levels were, I was a bit nervous there maybe were 2 babies. Well, I had an ultrasound on May 24th (with the parents on a video call) and there is ONE strong, healthy baby growing just where it should. I am currently 7 weeks 3 days pregnant with a due date of January 7th, 2022.
I am staying positive that this will continue to be a healthy baby and pregnancy.
I have been having pretty bad all-day sickness- throwing up multiple times a day, extra tired, this weird taste on my tongue that I cannot get rid of no matter what, and a very tender chest- but this all just reminds me that I am pregnant!
Next, I will move on to regular appointments with my OB.
We have parents, we have embryos and we have a gestational carrier! Let the journey begin!
With Covid still lingering around, it has definitely crossed my mind that I may not meet this deserving couple until I give birth and that makes this process feel... disconnected. Thankfully, we have been texting, sending photos, and had an occasional phone call so we are getting to know each other that way and I am so grateful for that.
I had to wait for my period to come before we could get started with medications. As soon as it came, I sent an email to my nurse at the IVF Clinic and immediately started birth control, vitamin D, baby aspirin, and a prenatal vitamin.
I am not one who takes many medications so seeing a calendar FULL of what I have to take/inject daily is a little daunting.
Mid-April I will head back to the IVF Clinic and have an ultrasound to check that my uterus is doing what it is supposed to and to get some bloodwork done. If everything goes smoothly, at the end of April we will be doing the embryo transfer!
I feel like some people just think you get selected to do this, get pregnant, have a baby, and go about your life. There is WAY more to it.
CLINIC DAY! Since the intended parents agreed to have their frozen embryos sent to the IVF Clinic in Iowa I wouldn't have to travel to New Jersey (where they live). The clinic is almost in Des Moines so it was a little over 3 hours away from one way for me to drive and because of COVID, no one was allowed to come with me.
Now that we all agreed this would be a good fit, we needed to start working on a contract to not only protect everyone legally but to get everything in writing. I reached out to my previous attorney and she was willing to help me again. The contract is an important part of this process. The contract guides the entire surrogacy journey, clearly outlining each party's rights, roles, and responsibilities before, during, and after the pregnancy. We finished up the contract at the beginning of January and then the parents needed to get their embryos to Iowa. Because of the snow and bad weather in the Midwest, this was delayed a couple of times but by the end of February, they had arrived
Since I have already completed a surrogacy journey and trust the agency, I wanted to work with the same agency for my second one - The Surrogacy Experience.
I reached out to Tina, the Managing Principal, and told her after several years and chats with my previous intended mother, I knew I was ready to help another couple with their family. We got down to business right away and I collected my medical records and filled out all the required paperwork/applications. There is a background check, a drug screening, and a phone call with a psychologist.
Next, I was able to create a new profile that the intended parents would receive. In this you can add photos of yourself and your family, along with a bio describing your personality, hobbies, interests, your community and what a typical week looks like for my family and I.
Due to the fact that I had 2 failed embryo transfers and 1 cancelled cycle- some IVF Clinics did not want to accept me as their patient. In this case, we were able to find a clinic in IOWA that would accept me and then we would need to see if the intended parents would be willing to move their frozen embryos to Iowa.
Tina already had a couple in mind and she presented me their profile. They were lovely, so we set up a Skype introduction call.
Since I had such an amazing experience and a great relationship with my first couple, I was a little skeptical that anyone could be as wonderful as them, but I tried not to let that cloud my brain while on the call.
The couple already has a child via gestational carrier, so they've been through this process already as well. We chatted awhile and when we got off our call, I felt confident that the mom and I would get along just fine, and we all agreed to match. We are all so excited for our adventure together!
At the end of the year in 2014, I started researching surrogacy. I had seen a woman I know start a blog and share her experience and I knew after reading it that it was something my heart wanted. I simply typed into Google: What is surrogacy? and How do you become a surrogate?
As I am sure many people are unaware, there are many different qualifications in order to be a surrogate. Requirements can include: living in the USA, between the ages of 21-40, has given birth to and are raising a child of their own, no more than 2 previous C-sections, a maximum of 5 deliveries, BMI limits, financially stable, has a support system...
There are also 2 types of surrogacy: TRADITIONAL and GESTATIONAL. With TRADITIONAL surrogacy, the carrier uses her own egg and with GESTATIONAL surrogacy the parents create embryos using their own egg and sperm or donated egg and sperm.
I knew gestational surrogacy was the route I wanted to go. I filled out the initial online application with the same agency as the woman I knew and they reached out to me! I met all the pre-requirements and so I needed to get the agency all of my medical records for them to review, do a background check, a psychological evaluation, a drug screening and a home visit. After the home visit, I was shown a profile for a few different couples and chose which one... felt right. We had our lawyers draw up a legal contract and we were ready to start trying to have a baby!
Fast forward to April 2017 (& after 2 failed embryo transfers, a miscarriage and emergency surgery to have one of my fallopian tubes removed) I delivered a healthy baby to an amazing couple!
3 1/2 years later and I have decided to embark on this journey again, and I can't wait to share the details.
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