Monthly Archives: March 2012

two!

Yes, as I suspected, there are two tiny pre-babies in there!  After spending the last two weeks analyzing the hCG numbers and over-thinking every slight symptom, I would have been more surprised by a singleton.  But it is still so amazing and exciting to think that there are two (2) little buns in my cozy EasyBake Oven.  Here is the heart-melting text I got from Urs this morning after I shared the news with him and Ingmar:

“Thanks, Thanks,Thanks so much …….. My heartbeat is so High.  What a wonderfull news !!!! Two babies , i have dream It and now Its reality  . You are wonderfull, let me send you some Kisses.  Its difficult to work now . Ouahhhhhhh !!”

I get pretty verklempt reading that.  I kinda want it immortalized in cross stitch.  I love these guys, and I feel so lucky and honored to be a part of this process.  What a beautiful day this is.

Anyway, a few more details:  the babies are measuring right on schedule (6 weeks 2 days) and both had measurable heartbeats (121 and 132).  Everything is perfect so far.  We’ll check on them with another ultrasound in a couple of weeks.  In the mean time, we’ll be visiting my parents out West for Easter.  After telling my Mom about the twins this morning, I’m more excited than ever about visiting.  She sounded way more excited and supportive than I expected.  Dare I hope that she’s getting behind the surrogacy idea?

Another quick beta post

In a few minutes I’ve got some ladyfriends coming over to watch Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken– a movie I loved intensely for a short period of time.  In 2nd or 3rd grade, when we had to draw a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up, I drew myself riding a horse off a high platform into a deep pool.  Everyone laughed!  I haven’t seen the movie since, and I’m so excited to revisit it.

So, quickly…. I had my third and last HCG blood test yesterday.  At 20 days after my 3-day-embryo transfer (or 20dp3dt in IVFForumSpeak) my number was a whopping 11,521.  Of course, I’ve been obsessively checking IVF and Surrogate forums to compare my numbers with other twin and singleton pregnancies.  11,521 is high.  Really high.  Even for a twin pregnancy.

One of the Gestational Carriers on a forum I use is 26 weeks along with twins, and she’s just been placed on hospital bedrest.  She could be waiting it out in the hospital for a LONG time- the babies aren’t due until June.  Reading about her experience and seeing that number yesterday… it really started to hit home that that could be me in a few months.  I’ve started to get a little panicky.  Carrying twins would change my experience a LOT.  In the last week I’ve gone from being 100% excited about the idea to being about 30% excited.

This next Friday, the 30th, I’ll have an ultrasound to confirm that there is at least one heart beating in there.  If it’s a singleton I’m going to be pretty relieved and surprised.  I’m afraid Urs and Ingmar will be disappointed, though; they haven’t been pushy or anything but I know they want twins most of all.  When we were together I asked them whether they were hoping for a boy or a girl and they said, in unison, “both.”  Oh boy.  This is going to be a long week.  Once I know where I stand I think I’ll be able to deal with whatever the news is.  I just can’t handle this waiting!

Beta numero dos

Quick update!  My second beta was today:

695!

Hooray!  HCG levels are expected to double every 48 hours at this stage, and mine doubled in only 33 hours. (Thank you, handy beta doubling calculator.)  So that’s great news, and I took my last PIO today.  w00t!

I’ll have a third and final beta one week from today, and an ultrasound to confirm heartbeat(s) one week after that.

BETA

So, remember that last post when I mentioned that I thought I might be having a reaction to the PIO?  Well, I was right.  The rash wasn’t making me miserable, but it was spreading.  So I called the clinic.  They pushed my beta hCG test up a day!  (quick definition for you: Beta hCG test: A blood test used to detect human Chorionic Gonadotropin, a hormone produced in pregnant women.)  The thinking was that if I’m pregnant, I’ll need a medication change.  If I’m not pregnant, I’ll be stopping PIO anyway.  So rather than having the blood test on Thursday, I had it TODAY!

That’s right, just this morning I went in and got my blood tested for baby-makin’ hormones and this afternoon the clinic called me back with the results. GUESS WHAT!  I have 249 units of hCG in each milliliter of my blood.  That is a nice STRONG positive.  The average hCG for a singleton pregnancy at this point is about 100 units.  So we are looking at a pretty high likelihood of twins!  I’ll go back for another beta on Friday, and then another a week after that.  If the numbers grow exponentially each time, I’ll have an ultrasound at the beginning of April.  It’s pretty amazing to think that at this moment, I am four weeks pregnant.  And there is definitely at least one baby growing in there.  Amazing!! 

I am SO excited and relieved, though not too surprised; by last night I had taken five (!!) pregnancy tests, all of them positive.  I got a very sweet, ecstatic email from Urs this afternoon (the clinic actually called him before they called me) as he was on his way to share the news with Ingmar.  He was overjoyed, and I can’t stop smiling!  What a beautiful day!

One more added bonus, thanks to my apparent allergy:  I’ll be switching medications.  As of Friday I’ll be off the PIO and taking the progesterone orally and vaginally.  Yeah… kinda weirded out by the latter.  But I’m very happy to be near the end of the injections.  You should see my poor tuchus.  No you shouldn’t.  But really, it’s gross.

Till Friday!

 

p.s. – I just spent way too much time trying to find a good image for this post, and I didn’t come up with anything.  Do yourself a favor and DO NOT do a google search for anything involving the word “fetus.” 

A good whine

I should be writing my review of The Book of Mormon Girl, which I adored, but I’m too cranky to write a glowing review so I’m coming to this space to complain instead.

Yesterday morning I took another home pregnancy test and got a much darker line.  Then this morning I took my last test, expecting the line to be darker still.  I wanted to line up all three tests and take a photo to record the line’s devopment: faint, darker, darkest.  Yes, this sounds like a strange idea, but within fertility and surrogacy circles it is actually pretty normal behavior.

So here’s what I got:

The line didn’t get much darker between yesterday and today.  I’ve been stressing about it all day because there’s an unfortunate phenomenon called Chemical Pregnancy.  It’s something I hear about a lot on surrogacy forums:  you get a positive result, then a weaker positive, then an even weaker one, and finally a negative blood test.  I don’t feel as pregnant today as I did yesterday; I’m not as tired or hungry, and never the slightest bit nauseated, even when my stomach is empty.  I wish I could take another test tomorrow morning to reassure myself that I’m still pregnant, but I’m fresh out.

I’m also stressing about Elspeth’s preschool situation.  For the last two years she’s been so happy at our local Jewish day school, Ben Israel.  Dean is there this year, too, and he loves it just as much as she does.  But it’s absurdly expensive- we pay more for our kids to attend this preschool than my parents pay for my brother to attend BYU-I.  So tonight Elspeth and I attended an open house for a montessori magnet school that has a PreK/K program.  The school is a little closer to our house, FAR more socio-economically diverse (at Ben Israel WE are the diversity because we’re not Jewish and we don’t have hired help) and I think Elspeth would thrive on the Montessori method.

But having grown up in an air force family, I’m resistant to making my kid change schools if it isn’t absolutely necessary.  When we talked about leaving Ben Israel, Elspeth really gets upset.  I hate the idea of her having to leave the safe, welcoming class family she has there when she could technically stay one more year (from Kindergarten on, the school is closed to non-Jewish children).  Even if the Montessori school is excellent, the resources of a public school can’t compare to Ben Israel.  The class would be bigger, and it would be pretty overwhelming for her to be there with a bunch of strangers for the first week or so.  But then, I’m probably not giving her enough credit in the social department.  The girl is FAR more outgoing and adaptable than I have ever been.  And she was excited when she saw the beautiful Montessori classroom; we both were.  I don’t know.  Choosing between this school and Ben Israel… it’s really choosing between two good things.  I don’t know why I’m whining about it so much.

I’m also concerned about what the PIO is doing to my poor rump.  I have some pretty scary-looking bruising and enough knots under the skin that it’s difficult to find a smooth injection site each day.  Most worrisome is the rash I’ve developed.  Something like hives, maybe?  I think I might be having an allergic reaction to the oil, the needle, or the progesterone itself.  It’s pretty annoying, having an itchy/lumpy/sore booty, and I’m supposed to continue PIO for another couple of months still.

One more thing to whine about!  I sent emails/texts to my family to let them know about the positive pregnancy test on Saturday.  A couple of people responded happily (the people I expected) but several others didn’t respond at all.  My own parents haven’t even called to ask how I’m feeling.  I know they don’t love the idea of my having a baby (or babies) for a gay couple, but I expected them to be a little more supportive than this.  The last few days have been bittersweet.  I’m so excited, but also worried that it’s not real.  I want to tell everyone I see, but I know most of them will not be as enthusiastic as I want them to.  It’s so different from a “normal” pregnancy.

BUT!  I just got off the phone with my incredible, supportive, cheerful sister-in-law.  And now I’m feeling a little perkier.  Tomorrow I’m going to buy some more pregnancy tests, turn in Elspeth’s application to the Montessori school, call my doctor about the PIO reaction, and prepare myself for whatever news Thursday’s blood test brings.

Until then, I’m going to eat some ice cream and read a book.

How many lines do you see?

 

It’s hard to see in the photo, but there really are two of them! I’m SO SO SO tired (see? pregnant.) so I’m not doing a real post tonight. But I couldn’t resist sharing the joy of a positive pregnancy test.
So happy! So excited! So tired!

I may be pregnant right now.

Image

This past weekend was one of the happiest of my life.  Knox and I spent 3 days in and around a city we love, we spent one of those days with Urs and Ingmar, and we even got to meet Delia, the egg donor.  And, of course, there was the actual embryo transfer.  It was incredibly fast and painless, though a little awkward and considerably less fun than traditional procreation.  Afterward I got to spend almost an entire day relaxing in a quiet hotel room with Knox, a good book, and a terribly addicting game.

Right after arriving in the city, Knox and I headed over to the offices of the surrogacy agency to get a little tour and meet some of the people I’ve been emailing back and forth with these last few months.  We even happened to meet the company’s founder and president, a really cool guy whose own child was born through surrogacy nearly twenty years ago.  While waiting for Urs and Ingmar to arrive, we got to spend about an hour getting to know my journey coordinator, the person I’m in contact with most at the agency.  She was very smart and friendly (as she had been on the phone and in emails) and it was so great to chat with her.

Knox, the guys, and I met at the agency and then went out for lunch at a cute little Italian place.  We exchanged small gifts; they gave me a beautiful coffee table book about traditional homes where they live, and I gave them a brie baker and a children’s book about the state we live in.  From there we headed to a museum, and later we met up with Delia for bowling and dinner.

I got to talk to her a little about how she decided to become an egg donor and how she knew she wanted to work with Urs and Ingmar.  Delia has worked in health services and seen couples deal with the terrible struggle of infertility.  She wanted to ease that struggle for someone.  And she knew she wanted her contribution to go to loving people.  That was her primary requirement: that they be loving.  She said she could tell immediately that Urs and Ingmar were the right Intended Parents for her eggs.  I totally agree with her.  It’s not every day you meet a couple who not only adore each other, but exude love and kindness toward everyone around them.  Urs and Ingmar are so genuine, enthusiastic, and good.  After spending some time with them I am more proud than ever to be helping them start a family.

And it’s no mystery why they chose Delia from the pool of egg donors.  I’m not exaggerating Delia’s beauty when I say that she looks like Iman.  Yeah, she’s that gorgeous.  And if the previous paragraph doesn’t convince you of her kindness, I don’t know what could.  She’s also smart and articulate; I liked her a lot.  According to my journey coordinator, it’s extremely unusual for the Intended Parents, Egg Donor, and Gestational Carrier to all spend time together.  Usually the egg donor is anonymous and/or has very little contact with the parents; our case was the first she’d ever heard of an egg donor and carrier actually meeting each other.  I’m so glad we all had the opportunity to get to know each other as a group.  We all have the same goal in mind: the birth of at least one healthy baby.

Speaking of babies, I maybe be growing one or two right this very minute!  The earliest I can take a home pregnancy test is this weekend.  There is some risk of a false negative, though, and the results won’t be official until my blood test next week.  And then, if the test is positive, it will be another couple of weeks before I have the initial ultrasound to find out whether we’ve got one or two babies in there.  Urs and Ingmar made it clear that the most ideal outcome for them would be boy/girl twins.  I said I’d do my best to accommodate!  At the transfer the doctor who performed the procedure told me a little about the embryos.  3 days after insemination, they were both grade three.  One had 6 cells, and one had 7.  Knox asked the probability of twins, and she said given the age of the egg donor (29) she’d guess at a 40-50% chance that both embryos will implant.

Anyway, I’ll be over the moon if there’s one pre-baby growing in there, and doubly amazed if there are two!