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.
As time pressed onward, so did the pregnancy. Each week brought new excitement for us all. We spent the remainder of our summer weeks enjoying the outdoors, traveling, and allowing our hearts to grow along side our IF's precious baby girl!
Wait, what? Yes, a girl! I have now been pregnant 4 times, and each time it has been a darling, yet strong, little girl! Can you believe it? Me either! My jaw dropped when our dads told us transfer day that they chose a girl embryo!!!! I was so positive they were going to choose boy, (I also had thoughts my second daughter was a boy LOL), but here we are, girl number 4! Finish strong with GIRL POWER!
As the weeks went on, my belly stayed little, but she did not. She was growing just fine! With an incredibly strong heartbeat. Our dads were still holding their breath at this point though. With a late miscarriage happening for them the last time they were trying for baby #2, they were optimistic with caution. While I did everything I could to protect their precious darling, and build up their spirits, it was just going to need to be a successful pregnancy past their worry week. Almost there, and she is still holding strong for all of us. I'm fairly certain my daddy was watching over us, helping us all stay strong, and viable so there were no more heartaches. This sweet girl will be the new life given from my father's life taken. She will help me to fill that void. Providing her daddies with such joy and happiness in their hearts, will provide me with comfort, joy, and love for them to pursue their lives as a completed family.
Close to halfway through a second journey, and my final pregnancy, feelings of bittersweetness begin. I love having babies. I love, LOVE helping others fulfill their dreams of having a child. I also love that I was able to do it with The Surrogacy Experience backing me and my IPs. As I come closer to closing another chapter in my life, I reflect back on all the positive things that have come along for so many. This journey has been tough, emotionally, but has been a rewarding one none the less. I couldn't be happier knowing this precious angel will complete a family, and I was lucky enough to help ❤
Until next time readers. Stay tuned, as a new blog will come sooner rather than later.
Hello fantastic followers. I hope this holiday season is greeting you well and that the time will be well spent with family and friends. As we embark on the next part of our journey, some sadness ensues, and I want to put out a trigger warning at the beginning of this post. I never want any of you to not read a blog post about our amazing journey, but I know sometimes things can evoke an emotion for others, and this blog post will have some sadness. I hope you continue to read, because there is a happy ending.
We are so lucky! Lucky to have carried two beautiful girls for our own family, and now two beautiful babies for two more families. Lucky to be in contact with our first set of IPs still (2.5years post birth of their gorgeous daughter), and lucky to have such compassionate, caring, and loving IFs this go round. Lucky to have made it this far in this fourth pregnancy, to be released from fertility clinic care, and move on to being cared for by my local OB. Lucky enough to feel fantastic, with no problems, no pregnancy related symptoms, and not a worry in the world about this baby and the sweet family who will be on the receiving end. I mean, come on, how lucky can a person be?
And then BAM, you're struck with loss. (Don't panic too much, the baby is completely fine. We DID NOT lose the baby.) In July of 2016 my little family moved from Colorado to South Carolina to live closer to my parents. Two years earlier my brother unexpectedly passed away so it was always our intent to move to SC. My girls were so excited to be closer to my parents and equally to start our family's new adventure. My dad spent the last year and a half demolishing the existing home that was on our property, and helping my husband and I build our dream home (which happens to be next door to my parents). It was the truly the dream home I always imagined and it was built with love! On July 4, 2017, our family lost one, hard loving, hard working, dedicated, man in our lives; my dad. He passed away unexpectedly that afternoon due to a heart attack. His beautiful, giving, loving, heart stopped. It was broken, for good.
I cannot explain the hurt, the sorrow, the pain I was feeling inside due to this loss and sadness. It was all so hard to deal with. However, knowing I had so many people to lean on, talk to, express sadness to, be there for me, and hold me, provided the strength to help me get through. Also, knowing a life was growing inside of me, and how proud I knew my dad was of me for being able to give this gift to others…. kept me going. Don't get me wrong, I have days of sadness still. Moments that get me without any warning. But the angel, the new life I was growing for a set of astonishing and loving IFs, is what helps me get through.
The next few weeks were busy, and emotional, and a serious adjustment (life is still a major adjustment without him). The love and support from TSE, my family, my friends, the transferring fertility clinic, our neighbors, our community, our IFs, and SO many more, has been very uplifting and provides our family with the little bit of solace it needs to get us by each day without my dad, my mom's husband, and my girl's PawPaw.
Holding on so dearly to each other, and growing a new little person for a very deserving couple, fills a place in my heart I never knew was empty. Moving forward, making it through another first trimester of pregnancy, shines a light on an otherwise dark part of life. The first trimester flew by quickly. Our dads are still in shock and crossing their fingers, hoping this pregnancy stays strong and the growing anticipation of holding their child. Wow, just wow! The time is going to go so quickly. Before we know it, this baby is going to be Earth side; spreading love and joy to so many people.
Thank you for your patience as I know posting a blog was set aside for a while as I took care of my family and focused on them. I appreciate everyone’s support and hope to send more updates throughout my journey.
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