Sunday, November 30, 2014

Still Preheating...

Sorry to leave you guys out of the loop for so long, but a week ago last Thursday (the 20th), I had to take my husband to the ER. He was running a 103 fever. Since he had his spleen removed four years ago, fevers are scary when he gets them. They ended up admitting him because his white count was also sky high (23 when 11 is high). We spent 6 nerve wracking days in the hospital, including a cancer scare, before he was released. He had a very bad infection in his colon and was close to going septic. He's been in the hospital a couple of times in the last four years but this was definitely the scariest time. But we've been home since last Tuesday and while he's not 100% (not even 75% really), he's definitely on the mend.

As for me, preheating the oven is percolating right along. I had my ultrasound lining check on Monday the 24th. And lining was a 4, which the doctor seemed happy with. I know they want it thin so they can build it up. However, she did find a cyst on my one ovary. She said if they are less than 20cm they don't really worry about them. Larger than that she likes to just do a quick needle aspiration in the office to get rid of it. My cyst measured 23.5cm but was located in an area she could not safely access. So we just left it alone. Since my estrogen count was low, it's not producing estrogen so shouldn't interfere with anything. I didn't even know it was there, so it's not one of the more painful ones like the one that took over my right ovary before it was removed. For now, she's just going to keep on eye on it.

So I started the estradiol shots last Tuesday. I watched the video on the clinic website and while it didn't seem like rocket science, I decided it might be way too much stress trying to give it to myself. So Mike watched the video, I loaded the syringe, and he did the shot. This allowed me to lay on the bed and completely relax my muscles. I hardly felt a thing. Luckily, he has nice steady hands. I had another shot Friday and once again he did the injection. Very little pain. I was so relieved. Although I'm told it's the pio (progesterone in oil) shots that are painful. I think I start those sometime after this next lining check.

I go back on the 8th of December for a lining check (fingers crossed it's getting fluffy in there), and the intralipid infusion to combat my natural killer cells. Meanwhile, I'm doing the estradiol shots, Lupron shots, taking vitamins, folic acid, and the steroids. I've noticed in the surrogacy group that some people are on baby aspirin as well. I'm wondering how that helps and why our clinic doesn't use it? But then, it seems every clinic does the meds different.

Also, they moved our transfer date from December 17th to the 20th. The egg bank my IPs are buying their donor eggs from has a certain "thawing" protocol they want followed and they send one of their specialists to oversee the process the first time a clinic does it. I gather that when the embryologist saw all this she freaked out a bit and moved the thaw date from the 12th to the 15th, so transfer had to move as well. I don't really mind, it gives me three more days to get things done. Although I was hoping to pee on a stick and be able to send a pic of a positive pregnancy test to my IPs on Christmas morning. Now it will be too early for that. But I should have my first Beta test on New Year's Eve, so hopefully (fingers crossed) we can all start the new year on a joyous note!

I ordered a fertility bracelet to wear from transfer on. I know that seems superstitious to some, but a little luck can't hurt. I never had trouble conceiving, but since this seems more about science, I wanted to bring some nature in somehow. And this bracelet called to me.

I'm feeling fine. No side effects from the meds other than some sappiness. Lol. Apparently estrogen increases my sentimentality. I wrote my sister a note about how she was my best friend. She is, but telling her isn't something I might normally do. Also, so many things make me tear up. But I'd rather have that than hot flashes, headaches, or feeling ragey. Also, I'm hungry a lot. But that's probably from the steroids. Luckily, even though I'm eating, I haven't gained any weight. I lost five since starting the Lupron and it seems to be staying off. Woot woot! Of course some of it could be the fact that I'm drinking so much water. I started drinking it to combat the headaches that seem to come from dehydration, but it seems to be combating the "meds bloat" that a lot of other surrogates complain about. Although, again, progesterone seems to be the main culprit. I'm really not looking forward to adding that shot.

In other news, Mo's pregnancy is still going well. She did have a horrible headache and some nausea earlier in the week and I urged her to get it checked out. She's so horrible about taking care of herself. I don't think she ever went in and got it looked at, but it seems to have passed. She's fifteen weeks along today.

I'm already half done with Christmas shopping which is highly unusual for me. I'm always a last minute shopper. And I'm planning on putting up the tree today. We usually wait until my birthday on the 15th, but I'm feeling really Christmas-y this year. (Estrogen again?) And I want to get everything done before the transfer on the 20th so that I don't have to stress. Just keep the house straight and maybe bake some cookies and wrap presents. My folks and sister's family are arriving on Christmas Eve this year instead of Christmas because my sister wants to help me cook. I'm really looking forward to spending time with all of them. But I want most of the prep work out of the way.

So that's what's going on around here! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is going into the holiday season in good spirits. To all the other surrogates who transfer this month--good luck!! I'm sending "sticky" thoughts to you all.

Still preheating!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Let's get this party started!

The contracts are done! It took going to the lawyer's office everyday for four days, but at last, the contracts are signed. And what a huge relief that is. Not only because we satisfied the state's requirements, but that everything is worked out ahead of time, just in case something does go awry. It did make for some pretty stressful days and nights though. I'm so relieved to have this stage behind us. Our lawyer was wonderful though and really looked out for my interests.

I had the over-the-phone appointment with my nurse and she sent me the clinic's agreements to sign, notarize, and send back (necessitating that last trip to the lawyer's). And a med chart and lab orders of course. My IM just happened to be in St. Louis that day so she picked up all of my meds and brought them to me. And except for having to get a different antibiotic as I was allergic to the one they ordered, everything went fine.

I'm going to admit that the sight of all those syringes and needles is definitely a little off putting. And I was scared to death to give myself my first shot. But I did it and I survived. The first Lupron shot didn't hurt at all, but today's was a little rougher. I definitely felt the needle going in this time and the meds burned a little. I'm wondering if it's because I refrigerated it. Some of the surrogates in my support group do, and some don't. I left it out tonight, it's pretty cold so I'm sure it will stay below the necessary temp. I'll see if room temp goes in better. The only side effect so far is that the shot makes me a little sleepy and the oral steroids give me heartburn. But nothing major.

I'm more worried about starting the shots that are intramuscular. They seem a little more intense and harder to do, with more room for ouchiness. (Yes, I do know that's not a real word.) But I have until the 24th before I start them. I have an ultrasound that day to check my baseline uterine lining and a blood test as well. Another very early morning trip to St. Louis.

Now that we've finally started the business of getting pregnant, I'm anxious to reach transfer day. Unfortunately they couldn't make it on my birthday (December 15th), so it will be two days after. But that still gives me time to have a positive pregnancy test by Christmas morning, which is what I'm hoping for. What better present could I give my friends??

I've joined two surrogacy groups on Facebook and I'm learning a lot and making new friends. I've also met several surrogates close to my age (and a couple older) which is making me feel a lot calmer about things. If they can do it, I can too, right? And one of them didn't have to have a C-section. Fingers crossed I can deliver naturally too. Really the C-section is one of my biggest fears. I hate surgery.

On a non related surrogacy note, I turned in my novella to the editor this week. It felt scary, but fantastic. I've had plenty of stories published, but this will be the first thing of any length, and I'm super happy to be sharing pages with three other fabulous female authors. Grimm Mistresses will be out in February next year, in time to celebrate Women in Horror month. It feels fantastic to be on the other side of the business for a change.

Also, Molly (my daughter) reports she's feeling fine and that most of her morning sickness is gone. She's thirteen weeks along now and anxious to know if it's a boy or girl. We'll all love another boy, but I think everyone is pulling for a girl this time. I sent her a snapchat of my needle and vial and such before my shot and sent one back of my grandson saying, "Mimi's crazy!"

So the gist of this post is: the preheating of the oven has begun!


Friday, November 7, 2014

The one where I start to freak out...

So when I left you last, we'd really just begun the process for the surrogacy. Initial exams were done, things seemed to be on course. Only they weren't. After two cycles of follicle stimulation and egg harvesting, fertilizing, and testing it became clear things weren't going to go as planned.  I won't go into details, but the need for donor eggs became apparent. So my friend went back to researching. And my uterus got put on ice. (Not literally, that would be silly.) We slipped into a holding pattern while she searched for a solution. But she found donor eggs and we're back on track. Sort of.

We're in a time crunch to get the contract finished and signed before next Wednesday. The fertility clinic has to have the signed contract before they'll go any farther with me, and I have an appointment Wednesday. I'm on track to start the hormones on the 19th of this month (pre-heating the oven), and neither of us wants to delay it another month.

So their lawyer is finishing up the contract, they're reviewing it tonight, and we have a meeting with our lawyer on Monday. So, to prepare, I looked up the Illinois statute on surrogacy. Surprisingly, we're pretty progressive on a few things. We come in second only to California on the ease of surrogacy laws. And the ones we do have make perfect sense. (Illinois laws making sense? What? I know, right? Color me surprised) And I started perusing sample contracts online so I'd be up to speed and have questions ready when I got to the lawyer's.

That was my mistake. Holy hell! People still die from childbirth, y'all! How did this not cross my mind? There are provisions for all sorts of scary things: hysterectomy (okay, at my age, that kind of sounds like a bonus), ectopic pregnancy, stroke, heart attacks, death. No, no, and no. Generally, I'm not a "worst case scenario" kind of girl. I'm a "silver lining" girl. But there is no silver lining to having a stroke and being paralyzed and unable to talk. Or write. None.

This whole time I've been thinking about possible harm for the baby/babies from my age. Not myself. I nearly scared myself into a panic attack before I shut down that line of thinking. I think the only reason I got so worked up was because for the last week people have been telling me I'm too old to do this. And fat. But mostly old. However, it did make me realize there are a few things I might want to be sure are in the contract for my protection. I don't think the intended parents will have a problem with that. From the beginning their concerns have been for me.

So hopefully, the waiting is coming to an end and we're going to get this party started. I'm ready to rumble.

Also, did I mention my daughter is 11 weeks pregnant with her third child? This should be interesting...