CHP - arms with Myer

CHP - arms with Myer

23 December 2012

Thank Heaven...for Diclectin

~ by Kim

I’m now on Diclectin, an anti-nauseant medication specifically for pregnancy, and it has been a lifesaver. The nausea is not 100% gone, but is now manageable enough that I can function, and most importantly, eat again. Just in time too, as another day or two and I would have been pulling out my skinny jeans. I think the girls might have been getting tired of crackers and gingerale for breakfast.
Well, maybe not the gingerale… but definitely the crackers.

I wonder if they’re still accepting nominations for ‘mom of the year.’ 


Not for me. 


Obviously. 


But maybe for my mom, who came over in the morning, made some oatmeal, got the kids dressed and took them to daycare when I was at my worst.


She's got my vote.

17 December 2012

8 weeks and pooped

~ by Kim

We're just over 8 weeks and man, am I tired! The first trimester fatigue has hit me like a freight train! I haven't been sleeping very well at night, waking on my own a few times in addition to our 20 month old deciding that sleeping through the night is no longer for her. It started when she was sick, and we haven't been able to get back on track since. Now we've just fallen into bad habits, even bringing her to our bed in the middle of the night. We have a queen sized bed, and some nights there are 4 of us in it. Seriously considering baby-sleep boot camp soon. Her days, or nights I should say, are numbered.

Each morning, regardless of how early I go to bed, I am dragging myself out of bed only to be ready to crawl back in a couple of hours later. Unfotunately, that's not usually how it works out. I think what makes it harder is that this time around is having two kids to take care of, so catnaps are a lot harder to come by. The countdown is on, as there's only a month left till we hit the second trimester and then this will be but a distant memory. I'll be able to laugh at things like giving the girls a box of crackers for lunch. I might even remember it as being kind of 'cute and funny'. Right now I'm just grateful that Lily helps herself and can supplement these sub-par meals with yogurt, applesauce and cheese sticks.

Another thing that is different this time around, is that I've been sicker than I was with the girls. I never vomited with the girls, and just assumed it would be the same this time too. Not the case. Everyone seems to have a theory about this. Maybe it's genetics or maybe it's gender. I guess time will tell.

So to date, I've gained 15 lbs. Crazy, right? 10 have been from all the hormones and medications before even getting pregnant, and about 5 lbs since. That's just enough that my clothes aren't fitting very well and are all a little snug, but not enough to look pregnant. Instead I just look well fed, and can no longer "suck it in". Too much holiday baking, perhaps? I'll go with that.

Here's a pic of my little bump so far. I'm not sure what I was thinking in the first shot at 5 weeks, lifting my shirt and showing my ponch, but oh well. It's the closest thing to a pre-pregnancy shot.


I feel like I'm getting big fast this time. Some kind-hearted people have told me that this is how it is for the third pregnancy.
Oh how I love those people.


11 December 2012

How many?

~ by Kim

I am beyond excited to let everyone know that there is ONE little bean in my tummy right now!
Our official due date is July 27, 2013!

We got to the clinic in the morning, and I was feeling both nervous and excited at the same time. I had butterflies in my stomach, with my mind racing at what we were about to find out. How many babies was I carrying?

Janelle and I had been in touch last night as well as this morning, and thanks to modern technology we were able to use my phone to Skype so that Janelle was "there" and could see and hear everything that was going on. We got right to business and right away saw the baby on the ultrasound screen. It's still small right now, measuring 12 mm, about the size of a blueberry, which is right on track. Before we knew it, we could hear the sound of baby's heart beating. It really was spectacular...to hear that thumping sound and to see the little blips on the monitor rise and fall to the beat. I was so glad that Janelle was able to be a part of it and see it all as it was happening. There really is something so special about hearing your baby's heart beating for the first time.

For me, this appointment really made things more real. Though I'd been trying to prepare myself for the possibility of two babies and trying not to be scared of carrying twins, I was relieved to hear that there was just one in there. The doctor double checked to make sure there wasn't another one hiding in any of the nooks and crannies of my uterus, and hearing that there was indeed only one baby felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders. One baby...no problem! I've done this before and know what to expect! Right now I just feel like we are so fortunate and have so much to be grateful for.


Here's the start of the appointment, getting Janelle on the line just before the ultrasound.

Hubby was with me for the appointment and tried to take a video of the ultrasound. You can see Janelle on my phone watching the monitor. The quality of the video is not that great and the sound cuts in and out a couple of times, and the video is a bit choppy with some pauses in it, but it's a glimpse of what we got to see.


It's such a busy and exciting time! I go back to the doctor's again next week for another check up and ultrasound, as well as have my first appointment with the midwife. I was given the date when I can stop taking all my meds and hormones, so I have it circled on the calendar and can't wait! (January 10th, for anyone wondering :)

We now have even one more thing to celebrate over the holidays, and don't think we could ask for anything more. 

Except maybe chocolate. We can ask for that.


09 December 2012

Signs

- by Janelle (IM)

Tomorrow is our 7 week ultrasound when we find out if the pregnancy is progressing well, and also get the big question of "How many?" answered. I am so excited for this day! Kim and I caught up this evening using FaceTime in hopes that we can make use of it tomorrow and I can be "in the room" with her :)

I know that Kim, Joel and I have all gone back and forth in our heads as to whether or not we're expecting one or two. My first thoughts were that it was the 14 cell embryo that implanted but then Kim's beta numbers came in so strong and she's been really tired, so I started to think it must be two. There's all these little signs that you try to see and fit together as you're waiting for a day of answers to arrive.

The other morning at work my co-worker came into my office and told me that she dreamt about me. She went on to tell me that in her dream she was at the hospital with Joel and I, and that there was a baby being born out of a balloon-like object, and that it was a baby girl! My writing does not do this story justice because it truly was such a cute story. She said that she pinched Joel's nose to congratulate him for becoming a Dad again :)

My point is that I listened to her story with so much awe and joy because at the time (I spilt the beans afterwards) she did not know that Kim had come into our lives and that we are in fact expecting. So...

Is this a sign? Does it mean one baby? Does it mean a girl?

I love how our minds race off on things like this, especially since Kim has made comments about the baby(ies) being a girl(s). She dreamt the other day that she was carrying twin girls!

So which is it? At least one of these questions will be answered tomorrow - can't wait!



01 December 2012

What it's like so far...

~ by Kim

Saying that this is surreal doesn't seem to fully cover it.

We've had some time to digest the news, and there are times I'm still in awe. There are some moments where this feels like the most normal thing in the world, and others times where I still can't believe it. I'm actually pregnant.

People ask how I am doing, and I sometimes joke by responding "mentally or physically?" There's a lot of truth to that response though, as the answers are very different.

Emotionally, I'm doing great! At least as far as the pregnancy is concerned...haha! I feel excited about where we're at, am feeling positive and looking forward to the future. This really is such a different experience, one that I suppose not too many people get to experience.

I think one of the most common questions or concerns people have regarding surrogacy, is the ability to carry a baby for 9 months and then "give it away." You go into it, knowing right from the onset that this is not your baby. This really could not be truer. I don't have the same attachment as I did with my own pregnancies. I feel more protective instead, wanting to do everything I can to give this baby the best start and ensure that everything goes uneventfully perfect. I find myself doing things like shielding my abdomen when the girls come jumping on the couch, trying to rest when I feel I need it, and eating enough regularly. No more skipping breakfast. I don't have daydreams of the future with another baby, or imagine pushing a newborn in a stroller and choosing a cute tiny outfit to bring home a new baby in. My daydreams with this baby end at delivery, and then seem to skip to the future - with Janelle and Joel coming to visit with two kids instead of just one. Or us going to Calgary and all the kids playing together outside. I've read it described not as "giving a baby away, but giving a baby back." I think this is such a great way to describe it, and really sums up some of the feelings. I think this is healthy.

Physically, the last little while has been just ok. It seems that I soon as I got pregnant, I got sick. Not as in morning sickness, but a cold. And being pregnant, there's nothing I can really take for it. My theory is that my body's energy is now being diverted, and the energy that was being expended fighting off all the bugs is now going towards growing this baby. I read on one of those baby-centre type websites, that said my body is currently undertaking the "Herculean task of forming the placenta." That made me smile. It reminds me of just how much my body is doing right now in these early stages. Along with my cold, I've also had some of the other early pregnancy symptoms, including bloating, cramping, breast tenderness, increased appetite and FATIGUE! Oh the fatigue...the other day I was completely wiped out and ready for bed, but then looked at the clock and it was only 5:38 pm. With a lot of effort I managed to stay up till 8:00 pm, and then passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow. There was also a day at work where I vomited. Gross. I'm hoping it's a good sign that things are going well.

So now we have one more week till the ultrasound. There seems to be a lot of waiting with surrogacy.

And the question everyone is asking me about:   How do I really feel about the idea of twins?

At first, I was scared. I feel silly to write this, as people have twins everyday and it's not a big deal. There are so many unknowns...will they both develop properly, would I need a C-section, would there be bedrest, dealing with premature babies, and then caring for my girls at the same time during a "higher risk pregnancy." It's exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Having had some time to think about it more, I've decided not to worry about it, and I have faith that whatever is meant to be will happen.

Regardless whether it's one or two, I will be thrilled.


23 November 2012

Pinch me!

- by Janelle (IM)

Simply amazing!! I can't believe that Kim is pregnant! I think I'm partially still in shock that Kim has tested positive, even after the five pee sticks and two blood tests :)

I seriously don't know what to do with myself. I've been wanting to write a post for days now but was worried I wouldn't be able to put down in words this feeling, this moment. So I finally decided to just start typing. Who knows how coherent all of this will be...

After the first blood test on Monday that gave us such a solid number we skyped with Kim and Carl, and Carl said - "you might not be able to see it but Kim has a glow". Just thinking about those words and Kim's smile gives me goosebumps. For those near to Kim, please give her lots of hugs for me! Oh and Carl, you good at foot rubs!?

Now my focus is on December 10th. With each stage of this adventure there's a new date drilled into my head as being "the day" and this one is pretty significant. Not only will the ultrasound help confirm proper development and growth, it will answer the question: are there one or two babies in Kim's  belly? My husband has already started doing research on mini vans, haha!

21 November 2012

Betas

~ by Kim

A Beta test is the blood test done to measure the amount of HCG (pregnancy hormone) in the blood. 

With IVF, they do more than one test; first to confirm pregnancy and subsequent tests to make sure that the pregnancy is progressing properly and implantation was successful. I had my first test on Monday morning and that afternoon the clinical co-ordinator of the fertility clinic called to give me my results. She told me that normally for the stage we're at, they like to see the number over 100. Guess what mine was?



Yep, 568! I was completely shocked! She told me that the level was quite high, and that I should start preparing myself of the possibility that there might be more than one baby in there. Even though we obviously knew that this was a possibility, it's so different hearing it from the staff and being told to start preparing myself. I was excited, nervous and scared all at the same time. I thought that one baby is a piece of cake* - have done it twice before so I know what to expect. But the prospect of carrying twins would be a different pregnancy altogether and something that is totally unknown to me. (Though there is something appealing about the idea of "eating for 3!" Haha!)

So this morning was Beta # 2:

1480!!! 

We had met our doubling criteria and then some! We have an ultrasound booked on December 10th, and that's when we'll find out if there will be one or two babies arriving next summer!
Holy cow!


* Having a baby is not really a "piece of cake." Hardly. If I end up having twins though, I may change my mind on this statement later on.


16 November 2012

10dp3dt

~ by Kim

I couldn't help myself.
(10 days post 3 day transfer)
I wonder if seeing the double pink lines will get old.
....I doubt it.

15 November 2012

It's POSITIVE!

~ by Kim
Here is is! First BFP! (Big Fat Positive!) 

I tested at home yesterday morning and this was what I saw! 

My heart started pounding. I took a picture, emailed it to Janelle and sent her a couple of text messages, then jumped into the shower while I waited to hear back. My nerves were all over the place and I showered at lightning speed, not wanting to miss her call, as my mind continued to run amuck. I got out of the shower and just kept staring at the stick in disbelief. Yep, it was still positive. When Carl (my husband) saw the test, he gave me a hug. We were pregnant again - but this time with someone else's baby. I told him that this might be one of the craziest things we've ever done.

When Janelle called back, she had already checked her email and had seen the picture of the positive test I had sent. Obviously, we were both over the moon with excitement and I think both our heads were spinning. We were pregnant!?! Wow! It was hard to believe and was so surreal. I had to go to work, but when I got there my head was just not there, and I found it hard to stay on task for most of the day. I think I was still in shock and awe. 

We know that it's super early and premature to start celebrating, but it's hard not to get excited. Now we just need to hope that this is a sticky one and that it continues to grow into a healthy pregnancy. We will know more when we have our first beta test on Monday, which is the blood test to determine the HcG (pregnancy hormone) levels. We're hoping for a good strong number, which will "officially" confirm the pregnancy. We will then have to go back to have the blood levels checked every few days, and if all goes well, the numbers should double every 24 hours or so.

We are all cautiously optimistic; I think our husbands a little more so, (cautious, I mean), and we're taking things one step at a time. I don't know if Janelle and I are quite as grounded as the boys are - as it's so much more fun to dream of a little baby and what next summer will bring if everything continues to go well. According to BabyCenter, our due date would be July 30, 2013. Wow.

I took another pregnancy test this morning, just to confirm things as well as compare the lines and see if it had gotten darker from the first test. Here's what I got:


8dp3dt = 8 days post 3 day transfer 

So now we just wait for Monday to get our results, where we hope to become "officially" pregnant.

Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark.  
- Anonymous

12 November 2012

One more week 'til we test

- by Janelle (IM)

I find myself forgetting what day of the week it is quite often these days. I think it's my coping method with the wait time we have until the day of the pregnancy blood test. The thought of doing a countdown of sorts only increases my anxiousness, so instead I only glance at the calendar. Before I know it, test day will be around the corner, right!?

I tried thinking of some fun ways of doing a countdown, like creating a 13-day chocolate advent calendar of sorts. This would be quite easy since we still have a bowl full of Halloween candy. Then my anxiousness can be paired with a sugar high!! Haha, not sure that'll do me any good...

Truthfully I'm more excited than anything. I've been feeling really positive about this transfer and I know I'm not the only one. I hope the energy in the world is speaking to us with accuracy ;)

07 November 2012

Transfer #2 - Here we go again!

~ by Kim

It's done!

Yesterday, we transferred two 3-day embryos.

Some Embryo 101:   (skip this paragraph if you like)

An embryo transfer is usually done on either day 3 or day 5. I didn't really know what this meant (apart from the obvious) until fairly recently, so I'll try to explain it as best I can, and hopefully I don't muddle it too much. After the eggs are fertilized, they are cultivated in the lab where they will continue to split and divide, and by the third day the embryos will have 6-8 cells. From Day 3 to Day 5, the embryo undergoes massive changes and becomes a blastocyst, where it can then have around 250 cells. Big jump! Apparently transferring a day 5 embryo allows for a better selection of embryos that are more likely to result in a successful pregnancy. Typically there is a lower chance of multiples with day 5 transfers, as fewer embryos are transferred at one time, and I think there might be a higher implantation rate. So why don't we wait till day 5? That's what I wondered. Turns out that a lab is not the ideal environment for the embryos to cultivate, so many of them will not survive to make it to day 5. If there are not a lot of embryos to start with, it is risky trying to get them to day 5 because the embryos may not survive that long, where they would've still been viable at day 3. I think it's something that each couple has to weigh the pros and cons of, depending on what their own situation is. For us, having only 4 embryos to work with meant we go with day 3'ers. 

Back to the transfer...

I got to the clinic in the morning, but this time around I had paced myself with my water consumption, so it was not as uncomfortable as the last time. Since Janelle couldn't make it out and my hubby was working, my cousin Rachel came with me. She's just finished nursing school so she was fascinated with it all from the medical point of view.

We got in right away and started the process. The embryologist came to talk to us as we got to see the two little embryos on the screen. The embryos are scored on a scale out of 20, and the ones that they had scored 18 and 19. They had been pulled out of the deep freeze the day before to start thawing, and overnight one of them continued to grow and divide. Now, instead of putting in two 7-cell embryos, we were putting in one 7-cell and one 14-cell!
I think we have an overachiever already.

Here's a pic of the two embryos. The one on the left is the one that continued to divide and was now at 14 cells. The other is still at 7 cells. 

The procedure itself went well. This time I knew more what to expect, and what to look for on the ultrasound screen. Rachel took some pictures so I could email them to Janelle and Joel and of course share them here too! :)

Here's a few more from the morning:

Almost time!

The big black mass at the top of the screen is my very full bladder. Underneath, you can see a small white dot, which is the air pocket that the embryos are in.
Here it is close up. Can you see them? I think it's one boy and one girl. (Kidding, of course!) 
All done! Piece of cake...I'm "locked and loaded!" Literally. Haha!

After the procedure the doctor did some acupuncture, and then we were ready to go. We got take-out on the way home and had a completely lazy and relaxing afternoon. We made a pot of tea, crawled into bed and watched movies. Grown up movies. No Tinkerbell, no Rapunzel. My mom came by later with one of my favourite dinners, so I got to continue taking it easy the rest of the day without having to worry about supper. Bliss. If only every day was transfer day... I could sure get used to days like this. 

Now comes the two week wait, while we wait to have the blood test to see if I'm pregnant. 
Sometimes I think that this is the hardest part.

I dream of the day where I can throw all these pills out the window, and go back to my natural lunatic state, rather than this hormone induced one. If I get pregnant, I will stay on these until I'm 12 weeks along in the pregnancy, and then my body will be able to take over on its own.

...How could I not dream of that day?

It would mean only 28 weeks left, until Janelle and Joel would complete their family.


 Hormones, anyone? I got lots!





05 November 2012

Forgot to mention

- by Janelle (IM)

The other day when out for dinner with family I cracked open a fortune cookie at the restaurant and got this...


Wow do I ever hope it's true! :)

Good luck tomorrow Kim. We're thinking of you lots and sending our love your way as you go for transfer attempt #2 - woohoo!

04 November 2012

Gearing up

- by Janelle (IM)

I feel like this past week has been a blur. I've been sick which automatically puts me in a funk, Asher is sick, so is Joel, and my Mom who came and surprised me for my birthday has now also succumbed to the germs. Every time I'm sick I feel like its a quick kick-in-the-butt reminder of what it really means to be healthy...definitely something to appreciate!

Leading up to our second transfer attempt Joel and I debated for about 4 days as to whether or not we should transfer 1 or 2 embryos. Our doctor recommended 2 but we had our concerns. Raising twins was not what held us back from jumping on board right away, rather we wanted to make sure it was worth setting ourselves up for the potential of Kim having a high risk pregnancy & birth, as well as increased risk to the health of the babies. In some ways we were jumping the gun, because our concerns are still preceded by the big IF we (Kim) gets pregnant.

In the end after extended chats with the dr, Kim and ourselves (with some online research mixed in), we are going for it. Simply have to try our best at this stage in the journey!

Now it's time to hope that the pee dance isn't so bad on the day of the transfer for Kim :) Last time we had to wait an hour longer than scheduled and it would seem that Kim's kidneys were keen on her having a full bladder immediately upon drinking the required 32oz of water.

I'm sad that I won't be with Kim this go around. Considering my sniffles and watery eyes right now, it's probably a good thing. It certainly will be hard to concentrate while at work on the day of transfer #2.

Sending lots of love to Victoria....xox


02 November 2012

Round 2 and feeling the hormones

~ by Kim

Just got off the phone with Janelle, and we will be transferring 2 little embryos on Tuesday!

I'm both excited and nervous at the same time. I had been hoping that they would decide to go with two, but was prepared either way. I'm pretty excited about the final decision though. It's not that I'm hoping for twins, but it's more like feeling that we're really giving it all we've got to try to make this work. I think the stats for twins after transferring 2 embryos are around 25%. When talking with the doctor, he said that putting in two definitely increases the chance of pregnancy, and that not every embryo makes it to a baby.

So here we go again for round 2! Yay!

My first hormone confessional:

Sometimes I think the hormones are catching up with me. I start the increased hormones tomorrow, adding progesterone and antibiotics to my medication routine in preparation for the transfer. It's bittersweet, as I love that it means we're moving forward, but hate what the medications do to me. After starting these medications last month, I asked hubby what the side effects of the progesterone were, and if rage, variations in mood might be one of them. Turns out that mood swings and irritability are right up there on the list. That, paired with my heightened emotional state from all the estrogen, don't always make me a ray of sunshine. Lily and I recently watched the new Tinkerbell movie, and I found myself getting emotional when poor Tinkerbell broke a wing. Seriously? Yes. I blame the meds. I wonder if other surrogates experience the same thing, or something similar. I was talking to one of the doctors about it at work, and we both agreed it was indeed the meds. She suggested I go on a huge shopping spree, and buy myself lots of great things.

She said we can blame the meds.

She's my new favourite. I wish she was my doctor.


29 October 2012

Acupuncture and lining check

~ by Kim

It's no secret that I've had trouble building a thick uterine lining. Our first transfer had to be cancelled due to the lining being too thin, and even with the increased doses of estrogen we never made it beyond 4.7 mm. In our second cycle, my baseline ultrasound started off at 4 mm, and then after the 10 or so days on Estrace, it was still only measuring at 4 mm. We eventually managed to get the lining up to 6 mm, which was where it was at when we did the embryo transfer. Ideally, they usually like to see the lining measuring at least 8 mm before doing a transfer, but because the appearance of the uterus was otherwise so good, we went ahead and did the transfer anyway. The staff at the clinic said that even though this was not your typically ideal lining, it was still worth going ahead and that they had still seen lots of babies that started in a 6 mm lining. We crossed our fingers, and transferred one 3-day embryo, which unfortunately did not result in a pregnancy.

We're now trying again, and this morning I had another appointment at the clinic where I had another ultrasound to measure the thickness of the lining as well as check my hormone levels again. This will be my third time starting the Estrace and working on trying to build up a nice fluffy lining for a little embryo to nestle into. For this cycle, we decided to try some acupuncture as well. The acupuncture is supposed to work in conjunction with the medications and my own body, to increase chances of achieving and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Apparently they've done studies showing great success with acupuncture and IVF and found the two work really well together. Today was my first appointment since starting the acupuncture, and my lining measured at a whoppin' 6.8 mm! This was huge for me, and the thickest that my uterine lining has ever been. For comparison, at this same appointment in the last cycle I was only measuring at 4 mm at this stage, so I'm feeling pretty excited about where we're at right now - as it should only get thicker from here. Whether or not this is from the acupuncture or not, I'm not sure, but I'll happily take it!

The other big thing that will be happening later on today, is that Janelle and Joel have an appointment with the doctor where they will decide on how many embryos we will be transferring. There are 3 frozen, and they will be deciding whether we will be transferring one or two? Transferring two does have a higher chance of pregnancy, but then there is the added risk of multiples. The doctor and I talked about it briefly this morning, so now we'll just wait and see what the verdict is later today. It's pretty exciting, and I'm fine with whatever they decide to do.

On a totally different note; this past weekend we decided to take advantage of being in between cycles (not pregnant), and we shipped both the kids out with the grandparents for a night out and enjoyed some Halloween festivities.

Here's us all done up.
I'm dressed as "Jem," but only us kids from the 80's really know who she is. You can't see the earrings I had, for "Showtime Synergy," but they're there. 
Truly outrageous. 


26 October 2012

October Snowfall

~ by Janelle (IM)

It feels like we went from it being officially Fall to BAM! - Winter in a matter of minutes. Of course this is Calgary so you never know what you're in for. For the past week it's been snowing and averaging -9C while next week it's suppose to be high of 12C on Halloween. I'm happy about that for all the kids and parents who walk around the neighborhoods in tow :)

So Kim and I have lost our transfer virginity and now we're looking ahead to the next attempt. I have to say that I was in awe of it all; the procedure was simple (no need for pain killers, stitches, etc.) and seeing an extremely magnified image of the embryo was the best part - so amazing!

Now we're gearing up for attempt #2 in about a week. I won't be making it out to Victoria this time around. That stuff they call jet fuel isn't cheap ;) I was saying to Kim that we'll coordinate watching movies on our respective couches. Hopefully I can convince my husband that this is a good idea and he'll be up for entertaining Asher solo.

Speaking of snow...




21 October 2012

Back on the juice

- by Kim

It's been 3 days since my last fix of Estrogen. Went cold turkey. Has been a tough few days. Withdrawal was starting up and I was starting to get the jitters. I'm sure there was some extra hair starting to grow just above my lip, maybe even on my chin too. I almost became a rational thinking person, but thankfully one of the contestants on "Survivor" got sick and left the show, so I cried with her as she left. Phewf...there was still hope - I wasn't all gone yet and maybe there was still some residual effects left from my last fix.

It's only been 3 days, and I've fallen off the wagon again. I'm back to my pill popping once more. Feeling better already. I have a feeling I might be on these for awhile. Thankfully, I have a great support system, filled with some pretty wonderful people who help support my habit.


18 October 2012

Try, try again

 ~ by Kim

I've been meaning to write sooner, but the past couple days have been so busy for me, and it's been hard to find the time to be able to write more than just a "yes/no". Yesterday we had several things on the go, which made for a hectic day, and I had to work an overnight shift, so the free time that I did have was spent trying to get some sleep before going to work. 

As you can tell by the title of this post, we didn’t get the result we were hoping for. We are “officially” not pregnant.

This wasn’t a big surprise for us, as I had done a few tests and each time it was negative. I hoped like crazy, but I never really “felt” pregnant. So many people say that when they’re pregnant, they just “know”, and I never had that feeling; though not for lack of wanting. By Sunday, I called Janelle and told her that I was pretty certain that it hadn’t stuck, and told her about the tests I had done and the results. In a way, it was nice because it gave both of a chance to process the information so it wasn’t such a shock to get negative test results yesterday; and if we were wrong it would be a really amazing surprise. Even though I was expecting the negative results, there was still a part of me that was hopeful, thinking that home pregnancy tests are not always accurate and that there must be a reason why we had to wait till that specific day for the test. That maybe Sunday (3 days earlier than our scheduled bloodwork and when I was pretty sure of the results) was still too early for detection. Sort of wishful thinking on my part, but it’s easy to hold on to what you want to believe.

The feelings since finding out have been varied. Of course we are all disappointed, and initially I felt a little bummed out.  Since having some time to let it all sink in, I’m now feeling optimistic and ready to jump in again for round two. I still have moments where I feel a little sad, but I try to keep those to a minimum and look forward instead. There's so much in this journey that you just can't prepare for, so it has definitely been a great lesson in patience and perseverance. I've read other blogs where it didn't happen on the first try and found a lot of comfort and reassurance from those, especially seeing the amazing positive outcomes that have resulted. It reminds me that it's not always us who get to call the shots. 

Janelle and I had a good talk yesterday, and we’re both looking forward to moving ahead. We’re down, but definitely not out! We still have 3 embryos frozen, and maybe it was just one of those little ones that was meant to be. 

I spoke with the co-ordinator of the clinic yesterday, and our new plan is:
  1. Stop all meds.                      - Hooray!
  2. Wait for period                    - meh....
  3. Restart the process              - Here we go again...ready to bring it on! :)
The good news is, she said that my period should be starting within a few days rather than a full 4 or more weeks, so the waiting time won't be as long. We were definitely excited about that!

After all the news and events yesterday I felt a little preoccupied, thinking of everything we've done and the road still ahead. Unfortunately sleep did not come easy as I tried to get ready for my night. Sometimes it's hard to quiet your mind and I only managed about a 20 minute nap before work, (mid-day) and then just lied there the rest of the time awake. My shift is from 7 pm till 7 am and by 9 pm I felt ready for bed. I took advantage of not being pregnant, and guzzled copious amounts of coffee and then finished off my shift off with a flu shot. 

And now it's time for round 2...

Let's get knocked up!
                   

13 October 2012

Confessions from the 2 week wait

- by Kim

It's been 8 days since we did the embryo transfer.

Most of the time I feel pretty good, both emotionally and physically, but I do have my moments where my thoughts run amuck and I feel like I'm all over the place. One moment, I'm cool as a cuke, and the next I feel disappointed thinking that it may not have worked. I think I overanalyze each little thing as I try to compare how I'm feeling to what I remember from my previous pregnancies. Were my breasts more tender, did I have cramping, was there more fatigue... I'm my own worst enemy, and even though I know it's completely different circumstances, I find it hard not to do it. I try to remind myself that it's still really so early, and not to jump the gun and get too ahead of myself. My mind jumps all over the place, from one minute thinking that the embryo was perfect (will stick) and then the next feeling insecure and wondering about my uterine lining only measuring 6mm (may not stick). 

Ever since we did the transfer, I've tried to think of it as a 50/50 chance of it taking. I think it's because if I think of the stats as being any higher than that, I might get too excited or confident that it will take. (i.e. 60/40....majority rules, right?!?) I'm afraid to let myself think like that, and that the disappointment if it doesn't stick would then be that much harder. 

I remember when we were still in the early stages of this whole process, reading other blogs and seeing so many things on the internet where surrogates would write about how much they wanted it to work and how disappointed they felt after a failed transfer or when things didn't quite go as planned. At the time, I didn't understand it and found it surprising that they would take it so hard. I remember thinking, it's not like it's their baby, why are they so worked up? (I'm sure anyone who's been through the surrogacy process is scoffing right now reading that.) But now I get it. Now I'm in that boat, and I'm just like them. It's a new understanding and it's funny because you don't really know what it's like until you're here. 

There are times that I feel more anxious in this waiting period than I did with my own kids. When we were trying for ours, it was more like: try, cross our fingers and hope; but if it didn't happen on the first try, it wasn't the end of the world as we could just try again next month. It would be a little disappointing if it didn't happen, but not really a biggie. (We were really fortunate that both our girls were conceived within the first two months of trying.) There's so much we've all gone through in this journey just to get to this point. I think of all the energy, effort and cost, as well as the emotional ups and downs to do all of this, and how it's so much more than just counting days on the calendar. It gives me a whole new appreciation for babies conceived with IVF and surrogacy.


And now the big question everyone has been asking me....

Have I peed on a stick?



09 October 2012

Lucky Charms

- by Janelle (IM)

For some reason waiting at this stage in the game has so far seemed easier than when we were working on getting my ovaries producing and Kim's uterus plumping. Maybe it's because I'm still in awe of the transfer, seeing the close-up of the embryo and being amazed by the simplicity and complexity of the whole process at once. It may also have something to do with the lucky charms Kim gave me (she has a matching set):


We will see what the days bring with one week and a few hours to go. Maybe I'll be singing a new tune by this weekend. Speaking of tunes, I listen to "I Will Wait" at least once a day. That and thinking sticky thoughts keeps me smiling and more excited than anxious. I know October 17th will be at our doorstep soon :)


08 October 2012

Thanksgiving

 ~ by Kim



It seems fitting that we transferred on Thanksgiving weekend.  I feel like we have so much to be grateful this year, and hope to be writing the same next year...with one more seat added to the dinner table. :)


05 October 2012

Transfer complete!

- by Kim

It's done! One little embryo has been transferred into my uterus!

For the detailed oriented: it was a 3-day, 8 cell embryo. And beautiful, I might add.

Janelle flew in last night, which was great. We got to stay up late, catch up and have a couple glasses of wine as we contemplated the future and what the following day might bring.

We got to the clinic for 10:00 the next morning and got ready to go. The clinic was really busy, so we had to wait close to an hour before they were ready for us. I was glad that we were both there, as the time went by quickly, and it stopped me from getting overly anxious. The worse part was my excessively full bladder, and it was getting increasingly difficult to maintain, with them running late. After a couple of ultrasounds to check the fullness of my bladder, I was able to 'let a little out' a few times, which is harder than it sounds. Over the course of that hour, I was able to let out five cups before we started the procedure and still have the full bladder required for the ultrasound. Apparently my bladder is an over achiever.

The procedure itself was quite easy, with only minor discomfort and was comparable to a pap smear, just a little longer in duration. The whole thing was pretty amazing. We got to see the embryo on the screen, which the embryologist described as "beautiful." We got to watch it all happen on the ultrasound screen, from the catheter being inserted, to the embryo being released.

When it was all done, we headed off to the recovery room with instructions to relax, and no talking while the doctor did some acupuncture. Very nice.

Here's some pics from our day:


 
      Chugging water on the way to the clinic.

    Our view on the way, with hula girl dancing all the way there.

    Looking good in the blue booties.

    Excited and nervous at the same time.

   Almost time...

   Their perfect little embryo.

    Me with Embie on the screen in the background. 

    The bright white strip at the bottom is the catheter going in, and dropping off the embryo.

    First pic! 

    Janelle and first pic of their embryo in utero! 

    Hopeful future mama! 

    Acupuncture afterwards, with a heat lamp over my feet. 
    Wish I had one of these at home! :)

We came back home and had a pretty lazy day, which was heaven. Even got a much overdue nap in! I'm on doctor's orders not to do anything today or tomorrow, and then back to regular life on Sunday. Our official pregnancy test is on October 17th, so now comes the waiting. Not too sure yet if I might accidentally pee on a "stick" before that time. We'll see. 

Thanks everyone for the well wishes and prayers! We're hopeful, and want to stay cautiously optimistic while taking nothing for granted. 

Everything that can be crossed is. Fingers, toes, and sometimes even eyes.  :)




02 October 2012

Transfer booked!

- by Kim

Well, it has been a busy few days!

This past weekend, I worked at the Vancouver Island Baby Fair, which was really amazing. I've been there many times as a patron, but this was the first time that I got to go as an "exhibitor". My cousin Jen has a company that makes organic baby linens and toys, and thanks to a last minute sick call from one of her staff, I got to help her run her booth at the fair. Check out her site, they have some really beautiful things!

Dress Me Up Organic

Talk about full submersion into the world of babies! I think just about every woman there was either pregnant or with a baby. My cousin and I joked that our uterus' were thumping! How could it not when you're jacked up on estrogen!? They had so many cool exhibits to look at, with literally everything you could possibly need for this stage of life. It was really fun to be a part of, and I even found some interesting exhibits for what we're going through.

This weekend, it was also the 2nd birthday of Janelle and Joel's son. Hard to believe how the time has passed. It's been 2 years since the miracle of his birth, and the loss with her hysterectomy. It makes me feel so grateful of where we are today.

Lily also had her first day of soccer, which she loved, so we were pretty happy about that. Her U5 team is called the "L'il Kickers" and they're pretty cute out there on the field. 




And then the big news:

I had another appointment at the fertility clinic on Saturday for another lining check. According to the doctor, my uterus looked "a hell of a lot better!" The ultrasound picture was even better than last time, and he even printed off a copy that I could put on my fridge. My uterine lining was now at 6mm, which was not yet where we'd like it to be, but making good progress. They usually like to see it at 8 mm before transferring. It was enough to keep us in the running to potentially transfer this cycle, and we're now able to see the 'triple stripe' that we need to have before transferring any embryos. It was pretty exciting, and I left feeling hopeful that we might be able to move forward this time. My hormone levels were good, so my estrogen was increased again to see if it would help my lining to get even thicker. We left it with the plan that I would continue on the increased dose, and that if didn't get my lining to where we wanted it to be, and thought it could be even better still, we would wait and try again next cycle. In that regard, it's nice not to have the pressure of time restraints. Now I just had to wait until Tuesday for my next lining check.

Here's the ultrasound picture from the weekend. Even though it's "looking good," really...it's still not all that exciting to look at. It's not like there's a baby in there or anything....YET!  :)



This morning I went to the clinic again for another monitoring appointment, and our transfer date has been set!!! 

                                                               PARTY TIME!
                                               When:    October 5, 2012 - 10:15 a.m
                                               Where:   My Uterus
                                               Who:      By invitation only; for a select embryo or two

My uterine lining is still measuring at 6 mm, but the appearance of it was so good that they want to move forward anyway. They told me that the number itself is not everything, and appearance is a big factor as well. Being that I've never had any problems with fertility, and was lucky enough to get pregnant quite easily with both my girls, they said that this measurement might just be my norm, and not to get too hung up on the number. It would be a different story if I had struggled with infertility myself, then they might attribute it to a thin lining, but that it's obviously not the case for us. They said that for all they know, this may very well have been where I was at when our own girls were conceived. The technician told me afterwards, that they've had a lot of 6 mm babies, and we wouldn't be moving forward if they didn't think it was worth it. That the doctor would not risk their embryos if they didn't have a good shot at sticking.

So, now I'm pretty excited and nervous too at the same time. Janelle and I have been on the phone, trying to organize things and make plans for the weekend, and I need to sort out some scheduling with work. I'm booked to work all weekend so that's one thing I need to change. 

My head is still spinning as I process it all. I can't believe it's so close! 

This is my new medication protocol until Friday now. Hard to keep track of them all. 

- Estrace (estrogen) 4mg orally twice a day
- Estrace 2 mg intravaginally at bedtime
- Prometrium (progesterone) 200 mg (2 tabs) intravaginally three times a day
- Prometrium 100 mg orally twice a day
- Doxycycline 100 mg orally twice a day
- Aspirin 81 mg every day
- Prenatal vitamin, along with Vitamin D, E and C once a day

It's amazing at how far we've come, despite how far we still have to go, and it really seems so surreal. 

I think tonight will be a "wine night," as those days are now numbered. 
And I couldn't be happier about it. 


27 September 2012

I will wait for you

- by Janelle (IM)

I find that music can say a lot; as we all know it can touch upon our emotions, experiences and desires. So the other day, after Kim's appointment, when I heard this song on CBC Radio 2 I ended up with a smile on my face and chuckled a bit because for me it speaks to what we're experiencing. The chorus says it all: "I will wait for you!"

Have a listen: MUMFORD & SONS - I Will Wait

What I love about this song right now is that (1) it's simply great, (2) it talks about waiting with passion and (3) I find it upbeat and energizing :)

The excitement and anticipation of this journey can really get to you, especially when results aren't what you're hoping for. I find that I'm doing a dance quite often of trying to balance practical thinking; to not get too ahead of myself and each step along the way, along with optimism; sending all the positive vibes I can out into the universe.

For some reason this song is soothing to me right now and it has made me a good dancer ;)

I agree with Kim that it is comforting to know that the mirena IUD can have an extended impact on a woman's uterus after it has been removed. To me this solidifies the fact that we've got time on our side. Kim hit it on the nose when she wrote: what's meant to be will happen when it's meant to.

One last thing to share...

When I updated my Mom on what's going on I finished my note to her with "Kim is in "early days" and will be back in to check progress in the next few days. Still waiting :)" and she wrote back "We will wait with her". Again, this made me smile. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but in this case it's taking a village to make a baby, haha! I love this village and all the people in it!

26 September 2012

Recovering from Mirena

- by Kim

I got to the fertility clinic yesterday morning, nice and early around 7:30 a.m, which was cutting it a little close for me to get to work on time for 8:00. I was a bundle of nerves waiting for my turn, in anticipation of what the news would be. Janelle and I texted till it was time for me to go in, which was so nice, because even though I was sitting there on my own amongst all these other couples, I felt that I had my support there too.

First was the ultrasound, where for the first time, I'm pretty sure I was able to make out where my uterus was, among all the other black and grey smudges on the screen. I thought, this must be an improvement since last time.  Before I said anything, the doctor quickly remarked that the "appearance" of my uterus is much better. Uterus overheard, and bashfully replied: "thanks...I've been working out."

heh-hmmm....

He said that my ovaries are "quiet", which is just what they want to see, but my lining was still only at 4 mm. It was day 12 of my cycle, so ideally the lining should be thickening up in preparation to support an embryo. I felt like it was deja-vu; as this is how it started in August when we cancelled the cycle.

We're not totally out yet though, as the doctor said that we are still in the "early" days, so there's still some time to play around with the hormone dosage to see if we can get up to where we need to be. My bloodwork came back fine, and so as of last night they have doubled my estrogen, and I'm now taking 4 mg of Estrace twice a day. I go back on Saturday morning to see if this will make any difference in the lining.

Initially, when I first left the clinic I was feeling a little bummed and disappointed, and wondered what the heck was going on with my body. The doctor mentioned that he thought that my uterus might just need a little bit more time to heal from having had the IUD. I didn't really understand what exactly that meant, but thanks to a quiet day at work and some Google time, I found out a ton of information that made me feel quite a bit better.

I had an Mirena IUD, which is different than the traditional ones in that it releases hormones into your body to help prevent pregnancy. What I didn't realize is that one of the hormones released is specifically designed to keep the uterine lining thin, so that if fertilization were to happen, the embryo would not be able to implant; hence birth control. I found so many different sites/blogs/forums where all these women wrote about their experiences and difficulties with conception and IVF post Mirena removal, and it looks like it's quite common for it to take 3-6 months for everything to get back on track. Not to say that this is what happens with everyone. Everyone is different. I went to the actual Mirena website, and they claim is that normal cycles and fertility will return within 12 months of removal. Ahhhh........relief. Finally there may be a reason for what's been going on.

It's amazing how instantly I felt better seeing this information. I found it so reassuring, and was suddenly more forgiving of the uterus that I had previously been cursing. It gave me a new sense of calm, in that I realized if it's not a go this time, that's ok. We'll get there when we're ready, and if it takes a little longer than we'd initially hoped, it will be alright.

So now we'll just see what happens Saturday. At the moment I'm trying not to worry too much about it. We're doing all we can, and we'll just see if now is our right time. What's meant to be will happen when it's meant to.

24 September 2012

Lining check jitters

- by Kim

Right now I’m taking estrogen twice a day and apart from looking like I should be in the “before” shot of a Proactiv commercial, it’s been pretty good. I still get a few headaches, but nothing at all like our previous protocol from the summer, in both frequency and intensity.

I go to the clinic again tomorrow morning for another ultrasound and more bloodwork. They’ll be checking to see how I’ve progressed in the last 10 days, my hormone levels and the thickness of my uterine lining.

I’m actually pretty nervous about the appointment. We’ve been here before and it didn’t go as we’d hoped, when we found out that my body was not responding to the medications, and the lining of my uterus was not thick enough for a transfer. I went into that initial appointment, feeling pretty excited, and it was such a blow to find out that we would need to postpone the transfer and that their embryos would need to be frozen. Going in this time, I have a bit more knowledge as to what to expect and what the results of the tests tomorrow will mean. This will determine if we’re about to move forward.

When I’ve told people about the upcoming appointment and that I’m feeling nervous about it, they’ve been quick to sympathize, misunderstanding though, and thinking that I’m nervous about moving forward with the surrogacy. In fact, it's the opposite that’s true, in that I think the nervousness comes from the thought of not moving forward. Funny enough, right now I don’t have any worries or fears about another pregnancy, or the fact that I'm planning on carrying someone else’s baby. That part seems a piece of cake. It's the not knowing and waiting that feels like the hardest part!

It’s funny what time will do, and how easily it can change your perspective.

I think I'll ask Lily to help me pick out a "lucky" outfit for tomorrow.  





One more day of waiting

- by Janelle (IM)

It's Monday morning and by tomorrow noon we should know what day our first transfer attempt will be! I'm nervous and so is Kim. It just seems that when you walk into the clinic you just don't know what kind of news you'll get and we've had so many ups and downs. This said, I have a lot of faith in the fact that this time around they've let Kim's body do some of the work, so instead of completely shutting down her ovaries, her protocol is to have some estrogen that is meant to enhance her body's natural functions.

I know that it's not a matter of yes/no, but more a matter of when? When will be the big day for us?!!! :)

As I write this it's now my excitement level that's rising and with it I find myself having to reign in my anxiousness and put patience into practice...can't wait for tomorrow!

15 September 2012

Pros and cons of a 40 day cycle

- by Kim

Pro: When not in the baby-making stage of life, you get 40 days without a period.

Con: Family planning and fertility issues seem to take that much longer. Waiting for things like ovulation, can feel like an eternity.

My natural cycle has finally resumed. This is what we've been waiting for, to find out what the next steps for us will be since our initial plans for transfer got postponed.

This morning I had my first appointment at the fertility clinic since August, just before we had the egg retrieval. I had an ultrasound and bloodwork to check my hormone levels. Since I'm no longer on any medications, we're now working with my body's natural hormones as there's no longer the time limitations to have my uterus ready in time for a fresh embryo transfer. Janelle and Joel's little totsicles are nice and frozen, and just waiting for my uterus to extend the invitation that it's time for the party to start.

Currently, my uterine lining is at 4 mm, and I have 8 follicles growing, 4 in each ovary, with the largest measuring at 6 mm. We're at a great starting point! What happens now, is that my body will naturally make the hormones needed for these follicles to continue to develop, which will in turn thicken my uterine lining to prepare for implantation. I'll be starting to take some supplementary hormones, to help my body along, and the hope is that if all goes well and my uterus does what it needs to, we could be transferring an embryo at my next ovulation! I go back in 10 days, at which time they'll check on the development and start close monitoring to see when the day might be, providing that my lining check is good. I think the potential transfer would be closer to 3 weeks, as opposed to the typical 2, as my cycles have always been long, but who knows. I guess we'll just wait and see.

So now we'll just give it some time, and wait for my uterine lining get nice and plump.

...I wonder if poutine might help my uterus to get fat.
Worth a shot.




03 September 2012

Canadian stats and fashion don'ts

- By Kim

Intervention...or not?


Lily is now 4. Maybe to other 4 year-olds she looks great. Myself, I'm considering nominating her for "What not to wear" or some other makeover show. I think she may appreciate it when she's older.  

She will be going to a new school next week, and I'm wondering if I should intervene with her choice of attire on school days. This is her most recent "ensemble", how she graced the other patrons at Costco on the weekend. This picture doesn't really show off the purple sequinned belt, or do justice to the pants that are also covered in sequins, and pulled up to the knee to be "short pants" for summer. Now that's thinking practically. (As opposed to practically thinking - though almost interchangeable is this particular circumstance)




Here are a few other creations that she has come up with:

Love the socks at different heights and her pink leopard print shoes.

 Accessories not to miss: butterfly purse, bracelets, baton, rosary around her neck and oversized sunglasses with neon green arms.

No comment needed.


In surrogacy news: it's been just over a week since I've written and I'm still waiting for my period. Until that happens, I don't really think there will be too much to report as far as progress. After the past couple of months being so busy with appointments, schedules, medications and visits, not having anything on the go makes it almost easy to forget what we're in the middle of. At times it seems like it was so long ago that Janelle and Joel were here, and not knowing when we might be able to attempt a transfer makes that seem far off too. Almost like in the middle of nothing. 

When I've had quiet time, I've been doing some surfing on the internet, and it's really been an eye opener for me. I've learned so much about the struggles people have with infertility, and the different options (obviously including surrogacy) that people will explore to complete their families. It's made me realize how much I have taken for granted, and how blessed I am with my own children and the ease at which we were able to have them. When I say ease, this is not to be confused with labour and delivery. Just to be clear. :)

Anyways, I just thought I'd share some of the things that I found.

From Surrogacy.ca:

SURROGACY IN CANADA



Surrogacy is legal in Canada, however, compensated or commercial (for fee/profit) surrogacy is now prohibited. Under the Assisted Human Reproduction Act passed in 2004, a surrogate mother may only be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses. Although compensated or commercial surrogacy is common throughout the US, a surrogate mother in Canada cannot receive any sort of wage or fee for carrying a child. 
It is estimated that there have been 50-100+ surrogacy arrangments in Canada, but the exact number is unknown.
CANADIAN SURROGATE BIRTHS REGISTRY
To date, there are 72 babies recorded (including multiples)                    For the whole country???
50 recorded cases since 2000
7of those in BC

I didn't even know that there was a surrogate birth registry. The first paragraph would explain why the numbers in Canada are so much lower, but I would never have thought that they would be this low. I find it really hard to believe that there have only been 7 cases in BC in the past 12 years? Our province isn't that small. It makes me wonder how up to date this is, just because I find these stats so hard to believe. I keep thinking that this can't be accurate. Can it? I searched online some more, and could find nothing to either prove or disprove this.

So much of the information out there is from the US, so I found it interesting to see how much we differ from the States. I had no idea that there are several countries where surrogacy is illegal, hence people will use an international surrogate, often in the US. I read that Canada is often thought of initially to potentially find surrogates, mainly due to our health care where there is no cost for prenatal care, hospitalization for birth and/or postpartum care. Though actually finding a surrogate here, can be a different matter all together. I don't think it's quite the same as in the States. 

All this can make your head swim. 

I think I'll go back to worrying about what Lily plans on wearing the first day of school instead :)