Family, Post Partum Depression, Surrogacy

Guy’s First Birthday Letter…..

Guy, for you on your birthday I wanted to let you know first, how much you are loved. Love is what brought you into this world and love surrounds you from places you may not know. I met your daddies in a very unconventional way, but nonetheless, it was meant to be. I read through endless profiles of people trying to explain how important it was in their life to have a son or daughter or even both. I flipped through pages and pages of people always feeling so disappointed in the end. Prior to working with your daddies I had the honor of working with people that had tried to have a child for over 20 years! At that time, it was more than half of my life. It’s amazing to see how strong their relationship grew through the pain and disappointment of receiving the news that they were not yet having a child of their own.

I chose your daddies profile because the agency that we were both working with indicated it was far more difficult for two daddies to be chosen for the process, than it was for a mommy and a daddy. This made me so mad! I wanted to be able to help anyone have a baby regardless of who they were. It didn’t matter to me that they lived so far away or that I didn’t know everything about them. I don’t know if they have told you or not, but our first conversation together was spent with far more laughing than asking questions. It was like they were part of my family that I hadn’t yet met. We met face to face on June 17, the day they got married. How crazy is that? We spent such a magical time together in Toronto. I knew after that trip that your daddies would be in my life forever.

I had a few struggles along the way, and ended up needing a year off. Your daddies were so patient and kind to me during this time. They were always more concerned about how I was feeling than I was. They never wanted to hear my apologies for not being able to have a child for them. They only wanted to make sure that everything with me was the way I needed it to be. I’m sure you already know it, but your daddies are so amazing. They are loving, considerate, honest, goofy, patient and sincere. It’s not a common combination when it comes to daddies; you are so lucky, so fortunate.

A lot happened while I was pregnant with you. Most of it was pretty boring; I went to work, I came home from work and napped because you made me so tired. My taste in food changed so much because there were only a few things that you really enjoyed me eating. Most of those things, I ate while in Israel spending time with your daddies. The food in North Dakota seemed to anger you and you made sure that I threw up everything you didn’t like. After I went to Dr. Doyle’s office to get pregnant, I spent a few days lying in bed talking to you. I told you how happy you would make your daddies even if you were a girl. I told you that I wanted you just as much as they wanted you. I pleaded with you to just hang on long enough to be born safely. I was nearly to the bargaining point to where I was going to be willing to give up anything other than Jayde just to have you.

When I flew home from the appointment with Dr. Doyle, I’m pretty sure that Bijou knew you were growing every day. She just knew something was different with me. We don’t have her anymore due to some other issues I had after you were born, but you will probably hear a lot about her. She kept me company while I napped and while I spent endless hours lying on the bathroom floor because I was overcome with morning sickness. She protected you from everything surrounding me. She wouldn’t let people come close to my stomach or lay next to me in bed. She would take her paws and hug my stomach. As you grew, she also believed that she was pregnant. It’s crazy that this can happen with dogs. The vet let me know that she would be fine and not to worry about how oddly she was acting with everything involving you. She would often times put her ear on my stomach and just listen to you moving. You loved to kick her face whenever she did this. I’m guessing you really weren’t sure if you should be sharing your space with a dog that was a bit over protective.

The time I spent in Israel with your daddies was yet another reminder for me just how amazing they were. They introduced me to friends and family and never made me feel out of place. They gave up their bedroom to me so that I was more comfortable. They even had your grandpa come over to fix the bathroom door so that it would close properly. I never closed the door though. It was something that I was never able to do at home because of Bijou. She always got really stressed out if I shut the door at home so it became a habit of mine to never close the bathroom door. I learned so much about your daddy Gadi in the ten days while visiting. I was always so close to your daddy Ronen; we tend to chat quite often because we have the same bizarre sense of humor and can always make each other laugh. Gadi showed me who he really was. He referred to me as his “pregnant wife” and rubbed my stomach and talked to you. Although he didn’t think I was eating enough to keep you happy. We spent a day together doing the typical tourist things. It was really something I needed to learn more about how he was the “outgoing” person as listed in the profile through the agency. Apparently your daddy Ronen is shy and quiet, but I’ve not yet seen that side of him.

During my trip to Israel, I let your daddies know that you were going to be a boy. There were tears and laughter because I kept them thinking they were having a girl. I know they would have been delighted regardless of if you were a girl or a boy, but they really wanted you just the way you are. They knew, just as I knew, that you would be absolutely perfect. I never wanted to leave Israel and return to North Dakota. I loved every second spent in your home, even when I was napping.

I became so sad when I returned home. I just kept dreaming of being someplace so much warmer than it was here. I kept talking to you and playing you the music I loved so much. I was trying to keep things light, but you seemed to be the happiest when listen to Bach! Mozart played a close second, but you were definitely a Bach man. I would turn on the music and you would start to dance. My entire stomach would shift from side to side and to me, you seemed happy. I also learned that you really disliked when I was at work. You would play soccer with my insides until my ribs were sore. Maybe that should have been a lesson to me that you were trying to let me know I should be working somewhere else. That you could hear how unappreciated I was through co-workers insults and bribes. You did love when people would bribe me with ice cream though, just not chocolate! That was another one of those foods that you absolutely hated. Your daddy Ronen and I used to joke that you were definitely your daddy Gadi’s son. He is just as picky about what he eats as you were making me.

A few months before you were born, I started to feel a lot of pain in my hips. The doctors originally thought it was because of your size, or because of the chair I was sitting in at work or how I was trying to sleep at night. In the end, they found that the bones in my hips weren’t doing so well and that I would need to have them fixed after you were born.

I started working from home at that time because the doctors felt it was best that I stayed in bed as much as possible so that you could continue to grow, and you did such a great job at that. You were born on one of the coldest days in 2014. It was a Wednesday and so cold that no one wanted to even leave home. It’s hard to explain how cold it really was, so I will show you one day. I will bring you back to where you were born and let you experience how cold, cold really is.

The doctor that delivered you was so amazing, because of her, I didn’t need to have a c-section. She believed, when the hip doctor didn’t. There were so many people in the room with us when you were born. Both daddies took care of me. I even wore my good luck socks to ensure everything went perfectly. They were the same socks I wore when Dr. Doyle got me pregnant. I’ve not worn them since the day you were born. They are special to me and I need to make sure they don’t get worn out from wearing them. If there is ever a day where I need everything to be perfect for me or for you, I will wear them again. Phil and Jen were also in the room with us. Phil played candy crush and other video games a large part of the day and Jen was there to ensure I was able to voice my concern if we had a nurse or doctor that wasn’t listening to what I was trying to say. Everyone was so anxious but yet at the same time I think we were all calm knowing that this was the day you were making your entrance. At 6:19 pm, you decided it was time to meet your daddies. I can’t tell you who got to hold you first, but I think it was me. I got to give you to your daddies and that’s what was most important.

Every single person that came to visit you said the exact same things as I did. Everyone knew just by looking at you, that you were perfect. You were alert and not crying, you slept well and I think you knew that you were surrounded by so much love. My parents came to see you but didn’t stay very long. They really just didn’t know what to say or what to do so they just sat beside me awkwardly. Jayde held you and was so in love. She reminds me from time to time how the top of your head smelled. Even typing that last sentence, I can remember. It was something that I wish I could bottle and have whenever anyone asks how perfect you are/were. Yes, it was that good! Jen left shortly after you were born, and I’ve not seen her since. It’s been so hard on me because she had been the only person that’s been with me through all of the disappointment and all of the hurt that surrogacy brings. Teresa and Jason came to see you and it made them want a baby so much more than they already wanted one. They even asked if they could use me as a surrogate because of how perfect you were.

I didn’t sleep for the first two days after you were born, because I didn’t want to miss anything at all. I knew at some point that you would be leaving the snowy tundra of North Dakota to go to New York for a while, and then back home to Israel. I told you every secret I’ve ever kept. I told you my greatest fears and my proudest moments. I cried while you just looked at me and listened. I reminded you how special you were and that you were so lucky. You were chosen; your daddies wanted you for so much longer than I could ever try to explain. I reminded you of how many people loved you even before you were born and how many more people would love you now. I reminded you to keep the easygoing perfect nature that you had while I was pregnant and that sometimes you just need to go the direction least expected when it’s something that really matters. I let you know that you didn’t need to be just like everyone else in the world because you are you. I let you know that not everyone has a family as special as yours and not to take any of them for granted. Life is cruel sometimes and you may get hurt far more than you think you can recover from, but then something so amazing happens and you remember how fortunate you are.

I had my first surgery two short days after you were born. It was scary but your daddies kept coming to see me and sometimes they even brought you with. We had made so many plans of what we were going to do with my time off of work, but I needed to cancel all of those plans due to some medical issues. I had planned on spending Passover in New York with your family. I had also planned on another trip to Israel to spend the most time possible with you. In the end, I spent months in bed healing. I’ve tried to plan many more trips back to see you, but none have worked out. We continued to share pictures of how things were changing and we had our Skype dates. The best Skype dates for me were when you seemed to recognize my voice. I loved it even more when you would try and kiss the screen. These Skype dates will forever be ingrained in my mind. I can close my eyes and see your slobbery kisses, your smiles, your excitement and how perfect you still stayed. I love your daddies so much for sharing your time with me. You were helping me to heal.

As your first birthday approached, I was sure that the doctors would allow me to come see you. I was reminded again that due to additional issues or additional surgeries that it wouldn’t be safe for me to fly that far in my condition. This was so difficult for me. I wanted to hold you so much. I just needed to see you again. I felt like something was missing in my life and the more I thought about it, I understood that it was you I was missing so much. I researched the process of surrogacy for nearly 10 years before I signed the original paperwork, I figured I knew all there was to know about being a surrogate, including how to feel after the birth.

I realized shortly after you were born that there was so much I never knew. I know our story is so different than anyone else’s story. Not everyone has health issues following pregnancy or during pregnancy, not everyone is required to be on “bed rest” even after the delivery. Not everyone has Murphy’s Law and has everything continually go poorly. I need to remind you again, like I did on those first two days of me sharing everything with you, that none of this is your fault. You didn’t cause any of my issues. You made me a better person. You taught me so much while I was pregnant and have taught me so much since you were born. I now understand something that I never thought possible, that there is another emotion other than laughing everything off, or being stressed out all the time. I have feelings again and understand I don’t need to continually push everyone away. It’s good to allow people to help me when I need it and that I need to learn when it’s time to ask for that help. Thank you again for helping me grow over the past year. I will forever be indebted to you.

I’m thinking this is plenty for your first year of life. It’s a lot to take in and a lot to read. If there is anything I can ask of you, please remember how much you are loved and that you have family in more places than you know. I hope by your second birthday that I’m able to hold you and kiss you. I’m going to wait patiently and listen to the doctors so that I’m able to be on a plane for that long. Keep smiling and laughing and try not to break too many remotes. Keep going to the park and swinging so that everyone in the park can hear your perfect little laugh.

With all of my love,

Christina.

Yes, I know this is seriously over due. I find it very difficult to get anything done, when the only thing I need to do is “heal”.

Family, Surrogacy

Starting Over……

Just a little over a year ago I was able to complete the long, complicated journey as a surrogate. I gave birth to Guy on March, 5, 2014. I really felt that it was the beginning of what was to come, rather than the end of my journey.

I struggled with surrogacy for a number of years. No matter what we tried, we ended up with negative responses. Chemical pregnancy, miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, negative pregnancy tests. It really felt that there would never be a light at the end of the tunnel. What R&G didn’t really know was that the more I am told I can’t do something or the more negative responses I receive, the more it pushes me to complete the task. To end up with a positive result. After seven years, I heard the heart beat more than one time!

It’s terrifying to be pregnant and be totally on edge thinking something is going to go wrong. I was totally stressed out with wondering if I took estrogen a few minutes early or if it was late. I worried with every progesterone injection that it wasn’t exactly the proper amount or I didn’t rub the injection site long enough to disperse the progesterone oil.

Getting passed that first trimester lifted a huge weight off my shoulders and allowed me to breathe a little. I was able to stop the injections and pills and just focus on keeping my body healthy for that little guy growing inside. If anyone is wondering, a pregnancy as a surrogate is definitely NOT the same as your own pregnancy. There are so many other components involved with surrogacy than a natural birth that it becomes a job rather than just being pregnant.

The second trimester was supposed to be the super easy part of the pregnancy. The entire second trimester was spent with all day sickness. It got to the point that the dog wouldn’t even remain in the bathroom with me while I was vomiting everything I had eaten or anything I had drunk because of how violent the projectile vomit was. My previous pregnancy was so easy; I never had any morning sickness or any real issues. I was losing weight as Guy was gaining. I was taking naps as he felt the need to try out for soccer or kickboxing or hip-hop dancing. It was insane that at the size he was, I could totally see my stomach moving because of the strength he had. I was still napping daily! Yep, daily. When I wasn’t napping I was working and when I wasn’t doing either of those I was on the bathroom floor. My life was totally consumed with these few items.

I finally made it to the third trimester and it was much like the first and second. I was continually taking Zofran so that I could keep a little bit of anything down. There were still so many days that the Zofran wasn’t nearly enough and I was still spending time laying on the bathroom floor so that I didn’t need a bucket next to the bed. The dog would lay with me on the floor until I got up to vomit, then she would run and hide under the bed and cry! At the beginning of January, I knew that some things weren’t quite right. The pain I was having in my hips and legs was something totally unexplainable. I saw a number of different doctors, had PT for a few weeks and had an MRI completed. The physical therapy really wasn’t the right decision. I was being stretched, massaged, had ultra sound on my hips, back and legs. The stretching the therapist was doing was making things so much worse. So much so that I went from being able to sort of walk a little on my own as long as it was really slow and I convinced my legs to just let me go a few more feet before resting yet again, to not being able to move my legs to walk. I was unable to bear weight without collapsing. I was unable to get my legs from the side of the bed, to being in bed. I was unable to move my legs under the weight of the sheet on the bed. I’m not really sure what a king size flat sheet weighs, but I’m not thinking it’s more than a pound or two. That sheet may as well have been a cement sheet based on my ability to move with it covering me. The MRI was able to determine what the real issue was and I was told on January 18th that I needed to omit any additional movements in hopes that I could save my hips. They were broken and had multiple fissures. They were moving in and out of the socket as I was “trying” to walk. The diagnosis from multiple doctors was AVN in both hips. Who knew this was even possible?

A few months of lying in bed and endless hours of terrible television brought the day that Guy was born. He really wasn’t in a hurry to be born early; he took his time after I was induced. We were all hoping for a speedy delivery since Jayde was born in 25 minutes. I showed up at the hospital on Saturday, August 9, 1997 at 11:00 am, and Jayde was born at 11:25 am. My water hadn’t broken and I didn’t feel that I was in active labor, but Jayde knew that it was time to come out! My due date with her was July 27, so she was definitely cramped in the small space she was hanging out in. The delivery was so fast that there wasn’t time for an IV, there wasn’t time for me to do anything other than getting my pants off. Back to Guy though…..we had numerous monitors hooked up to ensure he wasn’t in any distress based on my condition. There was an internal monitor stuck to his scalp after my water was manually broken. I also had multiple external monitors for him. I was required to have an epidural since the doctor was going to be required to move my legs and we didn’t think that the pain I would be in would necessarily be safe for him.

The epidural took just under three hours to be properly inserted. Seven different people “tried” to get it hooked up. I was poked and prodded 26 different times. The final attempt ended up working, but it felt like it feels when you hit your funny bone. My spine, neck and both arms were tingling the entire time the epidural was “working”. I was told that someone would be able to get the epidural inserted in the first or second try, and not to worry even after I had voiced numerous concerns from previous spinal taps that didn’t necessarily work so well. I shouldn’t complain though, it was a small price to pay to have a happy, healthy little Guy.Perfect little GuyPerfect little Guy

I was visited by friends and family shortly after Guy was born. People that I never expected to bond with him were ogling over how perfect he was. It’s crazy what happens when someone holds a baby.

I was visited by the hip surgeon just as he had explained he would the day following delivery. The x-rays that were done the day he was born were inconclusive so he needed to move me in a totally different position to be able to get the best possible images. Those x-rays were far worse than anything experienced during the pregnancy or quite possibly my entire life! I had always heard that the bones in your pelvis or in your hips sort of hold you all together, to say I totally came apart during those x-rays was a total understatement. I was asking the radiologist to chop my legs off. I had asked, rather demanded that they stop because I was vomiting from the pain and was covered completely in sweat. I generally don’t raise my voice or use choice language but the position the tech insisted I needed to be in totally pushed me over the edge. This position was to hold one leg about six inches off the table so that the side angle would show both hip joints (think a really low leg lift from lying on your back). I think about it now and it seems crazy that this small difference from one leg to the other caused so many issues. There was even someone standing next to me holding the weight of my leg because I was unable.

The only good part was that I was allowed to take a bath in a tub that was long enough for me and was jetted. It had been so long since I was able to take a bath since I was unable to lift my legs over the side of my tub at home. The tub at the hospital was about half the height and my baby belly was near gone. Phil still needed to lift me over the side and to lower me in the tub because I couldn’t hold my own weight yet. About five minutes into what I thought was the best feeling bath in my entire life, I was told the hip surgeon was in my room needing to talk to me. I thought that odd because it was close to 10 pm. Apparently the x-rays showed far more damage than the surgeon thought possible. The reason I knew this was he insisted on talking to me immediately. Even though I had just gotten in the bath, I knew it was important to discuss the issues with the surgeon personally. He joined me in the bathing room at the hospital to have the conversation with me that surgery was scheduled for 5 am the following morning. I figured there were a ton of people who were in the room for the delivery and it wasn’t like he was just standing there staring at me. He had his back turned to me, which I thought was an acceptable compromise.

I’m sort of happy that he didn’t provide me a long time to think about whether or not the following day was the perfect day for surgery, because I would have probably postponed due to being terrified of what my life was going to be like after that particular day.

Family, Surrogacy

First Trimester……

I remember when I was pregnant with Jayde and how things weren’t any different from when I wasn’t pregnant. Well 16 years and a totally different pregnancy bring a totally different set of issues! There are days when I still find it hard to believe that this FINALLY worked. I have said since the beginning that things happen when they are meant to and that it will work when it was meant to work.

When I saw the first ultrasound and saw the heart beating, I was just dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe it had finally worked. I asked the ultrasound tech if they were really sure what we were seeing was a strong steady heart beat. I still can’t believe that I asked that question. I knew the answer but it was still so hard to believe it had worked.

I’ve heard stories of other people being so sick and I couldn’t really relate because my pregnancy with Jayde was super easy. This pregnancy; however, is totally different. I figured that I was pregnant when I couldn’t stay awake for more than a few hours at a time but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. When it was confirmed that the pregnancy was real I was still extra cautious because I wanted to ensure I did everything to protect this baby for Ronen and Gadi.

A month went by and I was still needing multiple naps each day and I was going to bed right after dinner each night. Then to top it off EVERYTHING was making me sick. Smells, movement, eating, the thought of eating or moving. EVERYTHING! Since I didn’t have any sickness with Jayde, I feel that I was just being over-dramatic and whiny. I was able to find foods that I could eat safely (pasta and vegetables) and was able to find the foods to avoid (everything but pasta and vegetables) and was working on getting through the first trimester.

Fast forward two months and here I am, still pregnant! Did you read that? Still pregnant. This baby knows the time is right and that Ronen and Gadi need this baby. I still have the same issues with continuous nausea and still have the issues with all of the same foods I had previously. I’m still taking daily naps but manage to only need one nap per day. Maybe it’s my age or maybe it’s because I’ve not been successfully pregnant in over 16 years that make this pregnancy so different. The only thing that is the same is that you really can’t tell that I’m pregnant yet. I’m currently one pound under my pre implant weight and I am still able to wear the jeans I was wearing prior to getting implanted.

We have done all the necessary testing and found out that this baby is perfectly healthy. Excessively active, but perfectly healthy. The Nuchal Translucency test indicated that the chances of Down’s Syndrome are 1 in over 10,000 and the same chances for Trisomy.  I’ve also found out the gender but I can’t indicate on here because Ronen and Gadi don’t know yet.

I will be traveling to Israel to visit them at the end of October for ten days and I will let them in on the little secret then. It’s harder not using gender specific indicators when I’m the only one that knows the gender than I thought it was going to be. When I am there, they will have a cake cutting party so that everyone finds out the gender at the same time.

Next week will mark week 16. It’s still crazy to think I’m nearly half way there. I really can’t wait until Ronen and Gadi have this baby to take home with them. I think they will make such amazing parents and this baby will never have a lack of love in his/her life.

Uncategorized

Third time’s a….um….not so charming!

Back in January Jayde and I went back to Toronto for my third implant. The flight was flawless, ride from the airport to the hotel was wonderful and check in to the hotel went without a hitch. Jayde and I had quite some time prior to my implant so we planned a few fun things. We went to an outdoor ice rink and attempted to skate. Jayde is only used to skating with her skates so the rental skates really weren’t working for her. We “skated” for about 15 minutes before she said she was done! We spent a large amount of time at the Easton mall in which Jayde wanted just about everything. She got a necklace she wanted and a few other little things. I must say shopping in Toronto SUCKS! It’s highly over priced.

Jayde got to experience Ruth Chris‘s without being a vegetarian for that particular day. The last time Jayde was in Toronto with me she decided she was going to be a vegetarian for the week and ate a salad while I ate a steak served sizzling in butter. Nearly every day since we’ve been in Toronto, Jayde has asked if we can go back so she can eat another steak sizzling in butter. I sort of feel the same. I wish we had one closer to where we live; but then again I’d want to go there constantly and we’d never have money for anything else.

Implant day came and I went to CReATE while Jayde stayed at the hotel. At CReATe everything was the same as previous trips. It’s busy with women desperately trying to have a child. My turn came and I went to the procedure room, laid on the table and started to wait. Dr. Librach came in the room and while I was laying on the table with my legs up, he said “Oh my, Christina! Your uterus looks amazing! Good job thickening it!” I thought that was a bit awkward but who am I to question what my uterus really looks like? I let Ronen know what the doctor had said and he thought I should walk around with a sign that says “Dr L thinks my uterus is amazing!” Unfortunately I couldn’t convince Jayde to carry the sign.

I waited the standard two weeks prior to the pregnancy test. Anyone that’s gone through the two-week waiting period can attest to the fact it’s the longest two weeks ever! The test unfortunately was zero which means yet again I’m not pregnant. It’s so frustrating to try so hard for something and for it to end up negative time after time. I always feel that I’ve done something wrong, that I didn’t give myself a shot at exactly the right time, that I took the other meds without an appropriate amount of food or at the wrong time. I sit and analyze this hour after hour, day after day once I hear the results are sent back as negative.

So now I sit and wait to determine whether or not I will go back for an additional implant. Lucky for me Ronen and Gadi still have a large number of embryo’s frozen.

Surrogacy

Off To Surgery…..

I showed up at the Emergency Room at about 3AM in more pain than I could ever remember but yet somehow I had managed to convince myself that there was nothing wrong. So much so that I hadn’t even let anyone know I had left for the ER. I didn’t bother to wake Jayde, call Jen or notify my parents; all because I had convinced myself that this was all a normal process of being implanted and the pain would subside once the doctor pushed on my stomach a few times.

After getting pain medication via IV every hour on the hour and not a minute late for five hours without the pain subsiding, the doctor did an ultrasound and knew he needed to discuss what he had found with the on call OB Surgeon as well as Dr. Liberach from CReATe. My left fallopian tube was massive and the ultrasound indicated there wasn’t a viable pregnancy in my uterus. The ER doctor was baffled since I had been implanted, IVF, he sort of figured there was no way I could have an ectopic pregnancy since the embryos were “implanted.” His reasoning were they were placed where they needed to be and that should be where they stayed! Guess even doctors learn something new every day.

The surgeon came in and informed me that I was going to be taken into surgery for a salpingectomy to have my left fallopian tube removed because I had an ectopic pregnancy. This would be done via laprascope and I’d have three small incisions. There would be a very small chance that I’d need to be cut open but this would be a “small” chance. I told the doctor that while she was in there, go ahead and take both tubes because there was no way I was going to have any more children of my own. apparently people say things when they are in pain and no matter how many times I insisted that she seriously take BOTH, she would only take one. Now there is only 1-2% of 1-2% that I will ever have an ectopic pregnancy via IVF for surrogacy again. If it should happen on the right side on my next implant, I think I need to buy some lottery tickets!

Surgery went flawlessly. I woke up in pain but the nurse was there feeding me ice-chips. What is the purpose of that anyway? Hello! I’m in pain and you think a few pieces of frozen water are going to help? Awe it really wasn’t all that bad. I was uncomfortable, but only when I would breathe. I know a bad habit; in and out, over and over again, every day! After about an hour I was taken back to my room where my dad was waiting for me. I found out from a friend that he said it was really hard to see me in pain, laying in a hospital bed. Once the doctor came in and gave me pain meds, I was all giggly and dad was able to breathe a sigh of relief again.

Dad stayed with me for a few hours until I fell asleep. I woke up and it was time to go home.  I think it’s crazy how they cut you open, expect you to get up and move around and then send you on your way with a bottle of narcotics. Specific instructions to come back if things aren’t “normal.” How are you supposed to know what is normal or not when you’ve never had a procedure such as this? I guess I will find out……

Surrogacy

Another Two Week Wait…..

For any of you that have had IVF or that are Surrogates or Gestational Carriers know that the two-week wait is by far the longest two weeks you’ve ever experienced! This time around was no different for me. I had ordered pregnancy tests off the internet because let’s face it, at $9.99 a pop buying them at the store is just far too much. So I got 30 pregnancy tests for right around $20 (including shipping). Now I understand why they were so cheap!

One week post transfer, I began taking a test every morning and every morning only one line appeared. And I really wasn’t feeling “pregnant” either. I wasn’t excessively tired, I wasn’t experiencing food aversion or morning sickness and my bra still fit. The day prior to my blood test, I told Ronen that I really just wasn’t feeling it, and that all the home tests had shown negative. I didn’t want him to be caught off guard when we got the negative blood results back.

Well….I was wrong! The first hCG was 33. The doctor here reminded me that anything over 5 was considered “pregnant.” I need to have an additional hCG in two days to ensure I’m actual pregnant. I stopped at Target on my way home from work and purchased an actual pregnancy test, you know the $9.99 kind that digitally read “pregnant” or “not pregnant.” Sure enough, it read “pregnant.” Now I’m wondering why the tests purchased online were indicating negative? I did another home test the following morning (the one’s I purchased online) and it said negative again.

Second blood test went from 33 to 73 and since the blood test was on a Saturday, I was told I wasn’t going to get the results until Monday. That just didn’t work for me. I started calling the lab pestering them about what my numbers were and they weren’t willing to release the information to me in any way. I called Dr. Liberach’s office in Toronto and wouldn’t you know it, I missed the nurses that worked on Saturday by about fifteen minutes. How could I get the results before Monday? I would most definitely not sleep the entire weekend if I didn’t know if they had increased, decreased or stayed the same.  I was having lunch with a good friend and she suggested we call the lab and she be a “nurse” for the day. Brilliant! So there we were, sitting in her car nervously dialing the local number for the lab. The nurse at the lab indicated she had faxed the information to Toronto and Minneapolis and that since she had, she had fulfilled her job. Well my friend, lets call her “Audrey Nelson” said without hesitation “I’m the on call nurse and I’m required to get a verbal read.” There was a moment of silence on the other end of the line and then the nurse said 73. Why didn’t i think of calling and saying I was my nurse? Nurse Nelson, you are a genius!

Now to wait until Monday for my third blood test. Monday’s results were much the same, they went from 73 to 112. Since there wasn’t a clear double in numbers, I’d need to be poked again on Wednesday. I was already at the hospital with my dad on Monday so I didn’t need to travel far to get the blood drawn. Dad had a heart attack on Thursday but didn’t tell me anything about it until Saturday. He had too much stuff to do to go see a doctor. On Saturday afternoon I talked to my mom and she told me that dad still didn’t feel well and I should do something about it. I got in my car without hesitation, made the drive to their house 40 miles away and demanded he go to the doctor. I believe I even said to him that I needed him to go because I didn’t want him dead. Now I didn’t know for certain if he really had a heart attack in the previous days but from the symptoms he was explaining, I was pretty sure it was more than just “being tired.” Hours after sitting in a private room in the emergency room, dad was taken to the Cardiac ICU because his heart enzymes indicated he really did have a heart attack. Dad kept telling the doctor “I don’t think I had a heart attack” and the doctor reminded him again that the only way his enzymes could be elevated was if he had a heart attack. Dad still wasn’t hearing it. Call it selective hearing or dead batteries in his hearing aid, but he wasn’t having any of what the doctor was telling him!  A few days later, dad was able to go home with the understanding he needed to attend cardiac rehab and do a stress test in about a month. No surgery planned “yet” but there is still the possibility, we will know at the end of September.

Wednesday finally rolled around and I had yet another painful poke. The phlebotomist commented on me looking like a domestic violence victim which I thought was pretty funny. I get stabbed with the smallest of needles and it leaves a massive bruise. The bruises don’t hurt, they just look awful! hCG went from 112 to 294, ultrasound is on August 30th!!!!

Surrogacy

Second Implant….

Late in July, I flew back to Toronto and let me tell you from the moment I stepped into the airport it was a mess! The initial flight was delayed by about two hours. Not a big deal, I would just read a magazine at the airport. I was sort of trapped there since I had my dad drop me off and he was now heading back home (40 miles from the airport) and everyone else I knew was working since it was 11am on a Thursday. The two-hour delay quickly turned into a five-hour delay and then the flight was canceled.

We were all herded like cattle down the stairs back to the counter to “see” if they could get us on the next flight or if it would be the following day. After standing in line for nearly an hour and a half, I got up to the counter and was told that they could get me on a 4:45pm flight through Minneapolis that would get me to Toronto at about 1am. I did a little sweet talking and told the agent why I was going to Toronto in the first place and she told me to move to the end of the counter on the left and a different airline would get me on a flight through Chicago in 30 minutes and I would be in Toronto at about 10pm. I’m so glad I can be nice when necessary!

The flight to Chicago was pretty much the same as any flight I’ve been on, there is someone next to me that doesn’t smell like me (Jayde says I have a smell that only she would recognize and others ask the perfume I’m wearing because they would like some and since I never wear any, it must mean that I smell good), there isn’t enough leg room and it’s either too hot or too cold. We landed in Chicago on time and I now had an hour and a half to waste. I guess it was time to find something to eat that wasn’t the typical overpriced airport food. After I ate, I found my way back to the gate that I was “supposed” to be and only to find out there was a gate change. Walking halfway across the airport to the new gate, I found out the flight had been delayed…..AGAIN! I now would be in Toronto at about 11pm.

Once on the plane, I tried to turn my phone off and all that happened is that it zoomed into a small section of the middle of the screen. Anyone with an iPhone knows you can’t do anything from the middle of the screen. I was able to scroll one pixel at a time from top to bottom so I thought once I made it to the top of the screen, I’d be able to scroll one pixel at a time from left to right to turn the phone off. Nope! The left to right scrolling on the overzoomed screen didn’t work at all. So now the flight was delayed again because I couldn’t turn my phone off. I sat there and laughed and the people around me looked at me in disgust. The flight attendant initially said we couldn’t leave until the phone was turned off but after trying over and over again herself, told me just to put it in my pocket. I wonder what the TWA would think about that?

When I went to put the phone in my pocket, it happened, the worst thing that could possibly happen that day. I spilled Cran-Grape juice on my pillow! This may sound trivial but this action nearly brought me to tears. Those who know me well, know that I’m a bit of a sheet snob and that I spend more on my sheets than I do on my car insurance…..for the entire year! I sat there staring at the purple stain on my pillow in disbelief. My favorite set of perfectly colored sage green pillow cases now had a purple stain that was going to dry and be impossible to get out. Those of you who know me even better know that I’ve got a feather pillow that travels everywhere with me. Yes everywhere! And those of you who have taken the time to listen about my 20 pound pillow will know it’s a very special pillow, that I’ve had it nearly all my life and it was made for me by a member of my family that is no longer with us. She stripped the stem from thousands of feathers giving me a pillow that weighs more than a sack of flour. Jayde has indicated it is the one item of mine that she REALLY wants. Everything else, she can buy on her own.

After I FINALLY made it to Toronto, I breezed through customs because there were no other flights arriving at 11pm. Got a cab and dreaded the 30 minute ride to the hotel. The cab driver was one of those drivers that insisted on talking to me the entire time so I pretended to be completely involved in something on my computer in hopes that me ignoring “why are you in Toronto” types of questions wasn’t too upsetting to him.

I checked into the hotel in hopes of finding some restaurant that would still be open at 11:30 and other than a few bars, I found nothing. Who would think that in Fargo, I could drive a few blocks and find any number of places to eat but in a city the size of Toronto, and being in downtown Toronto, I wasn’t able to find anything? That’s just messed up! At least my implant wasn’t going to be until 11:20 the following morning so I would be able to sleep a bit later and find somewhere for breakfast.

Bring on the water……I drank the required amount of water AFTER I got to CReATe this time, knowing that I could drink it rather quickly and that most likely the doctor would be late. The “required” amount of water, seemed like an entire bathtub full once it’s in my bladder. I didn’t have Ronen or Gadi with me this time to distract me from time passing far too slowly so I listened to an audiobook on my phone. Chapter 1, sit and wait. Chapter 27, still waiting. Chapter 34, I get up to ask how much longer it’s going to be because I REALLY needed to pee! I was told it would be “soon”. Chapter 51 (2 1/2 hours after my implant time was supposed to be) it’s my turn to get on the table. My stomach is ultrasounded and I was told I was “too full” and that I needed to go pee about three cups. How is someone to accurately gauge three cups when they have 40 gallons of pee that needs to come out?

I was shown these two beauties and three minutes later I was back in my chair to finish my audio book before heading back to the hotel for some much-needed food and to stay in bed. On my previous implant, by the time I made it back to the room, I took a few hour nap, this time all I could think was how much I wanted a steak! At 6, I called Ruth Chris‘s steak house to see if there was availability for a lonely party of one (yes I said that). Yes, they could get me a table at 7:15. By the time I hung up the phone, my mouth was watering, stomach growling and I was already counting the seconds until I could head over to get one of what I believe to be the most perfect steaks ever cooked for me. This is my splurge every time I’m in Toronto because personally I think it’s insane to pay close to $100 for ONE meal!