• biotexcom,  ivf,  surrogacy

    The Call

    Everyone has been asking us how our two week wait has gone this time, and I have to be honest, it has been the best two week wait ever! The reasons for this are:

    1. I’m not stressed out about being careful about everything I eat or do
    2. No pressure on my body to do this “right”
    3. No feverish early testing with the typical ups and downs
    4. No stressing about beta levels not doubling
    5. Distracted because we are moving to Indiana at the end of August
    6. Distracted because I am interviewing for jobs in Indiana, which require a presentation
    7. Distracted due to sorting through our mess, packing boxes, and having people constantly over to see our apartment

    As you might imagine, with all of this going on, it’s been easy to be distracted and stressed about other things, and so the time flew by. Because we did our transfer on July 22nd, we also thought that our surrogate would do her pregnancy on August 5th, so we were expecting something by Saturday night or Monday morning at the latest. But to our surprise, Yaryna called us early morning Friday to share that:

    OUR SURROGATE IS PREGNANT, WITH A BETA OF 1116!!!

    So, the thoughts that are running through my head:

    1. Ohmygod, did this really work?!?! This is totally surreal and UNBELIEVABLE
    2. Okay now, don’t get too excited, because we’ve miscarried in weeks 6 – 9, and it’s only week 4…
    3. But then again, the embryos are in a 20 year-old uterus, compared to my ancient 37 year-old hostile womb environment
    4. Wow, the beta for 13dp5dt is right on the mark for twins, according to http://www.betabase.info! Could it be that our dreams are coming true?! INSANE
    5. Okay now, don’t get too excited, because we’ve miscarried in weeks 6 – 9, and it’s only week 4…

    So that’s been pretty much on an endless repeat in my head when I think about it surrogacy, while K, the realist between us, is probably patiently only focused on #2. Obviously, that is the best way to go, to be hesitant to get too happy, because we’ve been there 3 times before, and were absolutely crushed when we lost them. Plus, I’m still pretty stressed about interviewing and moving, so it has been easy to put things on the back burner. The next time we’ll hear from Biotex is on August 29th, because they are closed from the 14th – the 27th. Because of the break, I’m expecting them to have a huge number of people back to do ultrasounds and check-ups and such, so giving them until late Tuesday or early Wednesday to get back to us. Although they usually do the first ultrasound on week 6, because of the break, I’m estimating that our surro will be 7w+4d, which isn’t a bad thing in my mind. The later, the more certain we can feel! Incidentally, August 29th is also the day we are moving and leaving Boston, so things will be a bit crazy! But definitely will keep everyone posted on how things go.

  • biotexcom,  surrogacy

    Meeting our Surrogate

    As I got ready for bed Friday night, it occurred to me that I might have already met our surrogate, as there were a couple of Ukranian women staying the night next door, and the thought of it made me nervous! I knew that this opportunity was precious, as the usual circumstances of meeting our surrogate happens only after the 12th week, and clearance of the first trimester. However, since OHSS landed me there, almost providentially, it seems, I gingerly started to write a short letter that I would have our case manager Anna translate to her once we met in person. As I started to type out my thoughts, I started to tear up uncontrollably, to my surprise – I knew that I would be a mess when I met her in person, but didn’t think I would start the waterworks while writing a letter. Well, you are chock-full of hormones, I thought to myself, and starting having a strange craving for potatoes.

    I tossed and turned as per usual until 6am, even though I had even gotten a shot for my insomnia! I requested it from the nurse on Friday night using my handy Google Translate, and she gave me the shot around 930pm. Then, she checked in on me every hour after that, and each time I was bright awake, nowhere close to sleeping. I mumbled an apology and told her not to worry around 1130pm, because I knew it was just not going to happen. I thought about asking for another shot, but then I didn’t want to be passed out and miss meeting our surrogate, who was supposed to arrive at 930am, and so I just went with it.

    Around 630am, the nurse came in and gave me all of my IV’s and meds and shots, and I hung around to see whether I could catch a glimpse. Feeling like an all-out surrogate stalker, around 9am I went into the other room, which was filled with 6 other girls this morning – and I realized that the two other girls from the previous nights must have been egg donors, not surrogates. My excuse to go into the room was to get my leftovers from the fridge, and as I walked by, one of the girls was signing our surrogate agreement, which had our names on it! DAAAAAAAAAAAAAH I tried not to stare and continued to nonchalantly grab my potatoes and walked back to my room with a short little glimpse at the woman. She was a tiny little thing, with platinum blonde hair, around 5ft and 100lbs tops. At this point, I was so nervous after seeing her, nothing was going to go down this piehole, and I waited nervously on my cot for what seemed like hours. Soon, the hours lost during the night caught me snoozing at 8am, and out of my paranoia, I set an alarm on my phone for 915am, just in case I wouldn’t wake up in time. However, who was I kidding!??! I did doze off, but even in my sleep, I was stressed about meeting the surrogate, and woke myself up to find that only 15 minutes or so had passed.

    930am rolled by, with texts from K saying that he was trying to hitch a ride to the clinic but was a bit behind, which was unfortunate for him, as there rolled in Anna with our surrogate, Yuliya! I knew that this meeting would be awkward, but it didn’t help that I immediately started to tear up and had the ugly cry face on, greeting her and giving her a hug, and handing my phone over to Anna to translate. Here is the short letter that I had Anna translate:

    To our lovely surrogate,

    We have been trying to have children for 5 years, and have never been successful through countless infertility treatments and multiple miscarriages. Truly, we were at a loss as to what to do, and felt that our dreams of becoming parents were slipping away from us day by day. But because of you, today we have hope, and words cannot express our gratitude for your willingness to do this for us. Especially for me, as a woman that is unable to carry a full-term pregnancy, the shame has been unbearable – but today, I feel that you have redeemed me! Please do not feel pressure to perform or be afraid of disappointing us – we know anything can happen and it will never be your fault. But regardless, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for trying.

    As Anna started to translate, I started to straight up sob, and soon both Anna and Yuliya’s eyes were all streaming down with tears. I was so embarrassed but not at the same time, the feeling was something else! Yuliya said that she would do her best and that she is happy that she could help me. I asked her why she was doing surrogacy, and she said in addition of helping others, that she wanted to help out her family, as they were struggling. She told me about her five year-old son Atum, whom she loves to death, and I asked her how old she was, as she looked so young – and she told me she is the ripe age of 20 years-old! I was blown away – I couldn’t believe it! I asked her if she wanted to be part of the future child/ren’s life if things went well, and she said she would love it, which was great, because I had hoped for a surrogate who wouldn’t want to be too detached about the whole process. After chatting a bit more, we sat our goodbyes and I wished her luck on the embryo transfer – which would be putting back our three best blastocysts. At this point, we still hadn’t received an embryo grading report, but figured that it would be in their best interest to put in the best three. So our official two week wait has started, and we should find out around August 5ish whether we are pregnant!

    Not soon after, K texted that he was here and I joined him to retell the latest happenings. He was sorry to miss our surrogate, but at the same time, I think he would be more comfortable meeting her once the first trimester is over, which I can understand. I told him that I was thinking that since her uterus has 17 years on mine, that it should be a significant advantage, but wondered if her small frame would be able to carry multiples, as we’re really hoping for boy/girl twins! When Anna joined us a bit later before seeing our doctor for my final checkup, I asked her this, and she confidently reassured me that all would be well, as someone of similar stature had just given birth to twins the night before! She was tiny everywhere, but all belly, Anna shared, and so we felt at peace. Anna also told me that Yuliya had given her contact info to her, so I could send her anything at any time, and she would translate it for me and send it to Yuliya. She sweetly also told me to never give up – that although I am 37 going on 67, that they actually had a 70 year-old woman who just had their embryo transfer done with the surrogate last week. I was like, EXCUSE ME!? So you mean that when the baby is in his twenties, she will be in his 90’s? She nodded her head as K and I stared at each other in disbelief. Anna continued that this woman had a child 5 years ago, but wanted another one, so just went for it. Can you believe that!? So apparently, it’s never too late to hope.

    One last look at the ultrasound showed that my swelling had receded significantly, and I was feeling a lot better, so we got the okay to head back to the hotel. I was overjoyed! I had missed it while I was gone for those 3 days, and it was good to be back. We are leaving next Tuesday, so we decided to just relax that last few days and have fun.

  • biotexcom,  eggretrieval,  ivf,  surrogacy

    Extraction Day

    This post was written by my husband, as I am in recovery mode and making mostly gibberish and absolutely no sense. He’s quite the poet.

    Extract Day: Eggs Galore and Pain in Store
    After all of the drugs, extraction day is here,
    If we make it through this day, then we’ll be in the clear.
    Full of eggs and pain, we stumbled in there,
    The clinic was busy, there was barely a chair.
    Off to the extraction, with the hope of relief,
    But all that we found was striving and grief.
    With the extraction complete, the pain soon unfurled,
    There wasn’t enough pain meds in all of the world.
    Now, what was one day of pain has turned into two,
    And just getting by is all we can do.
    But the extraction is done and there’s good news in the mix,
    We got not one egg or two, but we got twenty six.

  • biotexcom,  embryo grading report,  ivf,  surrogacy

    Here’s the Big Day!

    And today is the big day! As you can tell, I have not been able to sleep a wink, because i’m so excied and nervous. For most folks this is just a standard proecured with little downtime, but because I am a high responder and carry so many eggs, the pain levels can easily go thtough the roof, along with naseau and vomiting, my two favorite things! I hope that all thins will go smoothly, and will definilty be back to document the whole process for those of you who were thinking about something pursuing parenthood the same way. Stay tuned in the meantime 🙂

  • surrogacy

    Final Scan

    I hope you enjoyed the picture of this very pregnant guinea pig, because that is the best way I can describe my current mood. Today’s last and final scan (thank God!) began with the doctor checking out the follicle count and size. Again, I winced as she scanned my orange-sized ovaries to see our progress, and apparently, I have approximately 34 follices ranging from 12 – 19mm, so I am more than ready for the egg retrieval! In fact, I’m a bit nervous because in the US, we would usually stop the stimming after a follicle reached 16 – 18mm, but I am still going to be doing another round of injectibles tomorrow, followed by a Lupron trigger at 1130pm. Part of me is afraid of how much pain I will be come Tuesday morning, when the follicles could have possibly expanded by 2 – 6mm, but it’s all about taking it day by day. I’m scheduled to go in at 1030am for the egg retrieval, which involves going under general anesthesia for the procedure. Usually, I wake up and have a lot of pain and nausea, which in the US, they would give me some good meds for, so I have been busy trying to learn some Russian and plan to ask my case manager to make sure that I get some Zofran mixed in with whatever pain drugs they usually give thereafter. The doctor also prescribed some suppositories to reduce the inflammation, so hopefully that will give me some relief when I start on them tomorrow.

    Usually when I hit the stage of few days before egg retrieval, I’m in a wonderful combo of abdominal pain, nausea, and unrelenting hot flashes, and so I’ve decided to impose upon myself some good old-fashioned bedrest until next Tuesday. When driving to the clinic, K and I sat in the third row of the van, and after a few minutes, I frantically asked K to have the driver turn on the air conditioning. I had to mentally zen myself out so that I wouldn’t throw up or bash out the side window, and decided that I would sit in the front seat of any vehicle that I rode in from this point on. Also, our hotel room is on the fourth floor, and the elevator (or “lift”, as the sign says) is broken, so we’ve had some built-in cardio for most of our time here. I honestly didn’t mind it very much until today, when I was huffing and puffing my way up the 76 stairs, and made the decision that this was going to be the last time I was going to be walking up these stairs until Tuesday, haha! Overall, though, I have to say that medically speaking, I feel like I haven’t responded to well and quickly on the injectibles in the US as I have here, so we are happy with our progress, and hope that we will have a lot of the follicles make it to day 5, so that we have a good number of embryos as a back-ups!

  • surrogacy

    Fourth Scan

    Today was our fourth scan, and man, did it hurt! When she started the ultrasound today, I winced in pain because I could feel that my ovaries were swollen from the follicles that are growing inside. I might’ve also been just hangry because I had to fast this morning so they could run some blood tests and a urine analysis for the anesthesiologist. By the time we got to the clinic by 1030am, I was pretty ravenous and asked Anna if I could get the blood and urine work done pronto so I could eat something, and she helped set it up right away.

    Then we got called in for the doctor, and K stood by as she started measuring, and the largest one is 15.8mm, which is great! In the past cycles, I would usually trigger around 16 – 18mm, and wondered if this would speed up my egg retrieval, but instead she changed my protocol to decrease Gonal-f to 150, and upped the Merional to 225. She also started to put me on Cetrotide so that I wouldn’t ovulate early, which is what I was concerned about.

    Next scan is this Saturday, but in the meantime, I’m hoping my ovaries will behave and relax so that the next ultrasound won’t be super painful. I am starting to look like a bloated fish, so I know the time is pretty near. She is still estimating next Tuesday, which seems far and close at the same time, haha.

    We also asked if they would do ICSI, and they said they would. I also asked how long it would delay the embryo transfer to do PGD on all of the embryos. She recommended that we should do a fresh transfer with the first 3 blasts without PGD first, and if that failed, we could do PGD on the rest of the embryos that they would freeze on day 3. The doctor said that she wants to attempt doing a fresh cycle at least once before moving onto the frozen embryos. In this clinic, they really are big believers in fresh over frozen, and since we’ve never had a fresh embryo transfer because I always had OHSS, we thought this plan was a good idea.