It’s been a bit since I’ve last posted, and unfortunately, the reason for this is because I was actually under house arre – ahem, was being hospitalized at the Biotexcom clinic for about three days! After extraction day on Tuesday, I was back at the hotel, chatting it up and talking to my husband about a variety things, including ranting about how Ukrainian pain meds were absolutely worthless. The days following, though, told a different story – they were actually REALLY good, because I was having all of these text conversations with different people, and I wasn’t even aware that I wasn’t making much sense! I went through my phone and Macbook to see what the damage was, and thankfully, I hadn’t said anything offensive or talked to someone outside of my norm. But it was hilarious that I had been complaining to K about XYZ, and the actual opposite had been true! Our UK friends even went out to get me some additional pain meds because apparently I’d been moaning about it, in addition to buying me an orchid (YAY – I LOVE THEM), and my friend even brought me flowers which were beautiful!
We would have loved to stay at the hotel and enjoy the next week or so as a true vacation that was free from anything to do with a baby. But as usual, the good ole PCOS monster reared his ugly head, and like clockwork, on day two after extraction day, I was feeling unbelievably terrible. My stomach, especially the upper part, was swollen so badly that I looked like I was 6 months pregnant. This has happened to me twice before during my treatments, so nothing new – but I do believe I was pretty bad off at this point, with sleeping all the time, refusing to eat (could this be possible!?), and being in a lot of pain. We both had hoped that the swelling would decline, thinking that using the Lupron trigger would have helped shut down some of the hormones, but as time passed, I was progressively getting worse, and soon I was back at the clinic being examined by our doctor. After taking one look at my ultrasound, she declared that I would have to stay at the clinic for the next three days to get proper treatment so my swelling would go down. Good thing about this was that there wasn’t any extra fluid that needed to be drained, which can happen at times, but that just meant that my ovaries were THAT angry, and about the size of grapefruits. So in went my blood spigot, and my next three days were spent sleeping in a cot below, while getting all sorts of IV’s, intramuscular shots, and suppositories!
Because I went back in to the clinic on Thursday, I was told that I wouldn’t be able to leave until Saturday, which I was bummed about at first. I had dreamed of being a lazy worm with K at the pool eating ice cream and working on my tan, but instead, I was under the watchful eyes of the nurses 24/7, which is actually a great and wonderful thing, as they check up on you all the time and ask if you’re okay. But the stress of being there just amped up my insomnia, and I was up at all hours of the night, eyes bleary from watching an endless stream of Netflix in order to entertain myself.
For food, since they usually don’t serve any at the clinic, they worked out a plan so that a driver would bring me a packaged meal from the hotel – and it was stinking delicious, so I looked forward to this for sure. Although I usually try to avoid heavy starches and carbs, there was one day where I had potatoes something or the other for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – and so I said to heck with it, and I enjoyed every morsel of potato goodness! Mashed potatoes, crispy sliced potatoes, and potatoes au gratin – I was in potato heaven. There’s nothing that goes better with the main entree of feeling sorry for yourself as a nice steaming helping of potatoes, that you were “forced” to eat, since that’s what was given to you. I wondered if at the end of it all, I would be able to tell if that swelling was due to OHSS or potatoes, but it was worth every bite, I’m telling you!
Indeed, as with the silver potato lining that came with the OHSS, there was also another HUGE benefit to being at the hospital that Saturday as well – because my surrogate would be there this morning, getting ready for our embryo transfer! I was told that since I would already be there, that I would get to meet her and talk with her. This got me BEYOND excited – because this whole spiel was finally starting to become reality! My next post will be all about our meeting and what details I could get – so stay tuned :)!
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.
Surrogacy isn’t for the faint of heart, and many have asked what made us decide to pursue it. To be honest, surrogacy wasn’t even on our minds when we first started trying to conceive. Unfortunately, I have a disease called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which in my case, means that I only have periods about 3 or 4 times a year. A regular couple with no issues has a 25% chance of conceiving within the first year, and so you can imagine how difficult it would be for a couple like us to time it right.
We started the journey by seeing a fertility specialist, who started us off on Clomid and Femara, and then moved onto injectible hormones, similar to what they use in IVF. All together, throughout the course of 4 years, we have completed 13 medicated cycles, the last six paired with an IUI. Unfortunately, never once did we see a positive on a pregnancy test, and we knew we’d have to move onto IVF, and hoped that it might be our answer.
When we started IVF in 2016, we were extremely hopeful, especially after my first egg retrieval, when I produced 37 eggs! 10 of those were mature and fertilized normally to day 5, and went to be frozen. Most of them were excellent quality embryos, and we were delighted. Our first cycle, however, ended anti-climatically by resulting in a negative pregnancy test, which was really discouraging. What’s worse is that the next three cycles of IVF that we had all lead to a positive pregnancy test, but would always end in a miscarriage around the 8th week. We lost two sets of twins and a singleton, and it was an extremely dark period in our lives. In addition, because we had three losses in a row, I now had the label of “unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss” to add to my long list of infertility ailments. Our doctor couldn’t find any reason why I was losing them continuously, and suggested surrogacy at our last appointment, which was incredibly disheartening, because I always wanted to have the experience of being pregnant. Everything, from growing a bump to feeling the baby kick, I wanted to have the full experience, but it felt like my dreams of carrying a pregnancy was crushed in a single blow.
For two days after that appointment, we struggled with the idea of surrogacy. We had never really considered it seriously up to this point, because we thought we would get pregnant eventually through IVF. Now, I had to give up the thought of pregnancy, and it broke my heart even more. But compared to the thought of being childless vs. having our own bio kids, we definitely knew that we wanted to keep pursuing the latter, especially since our embryos were always high quality, and it is literally just a womb that we needed to have our embryos be born. Hence, we began our journey into surrogacy, and to Ukraine!
Bye bye Boston! Here we are embarking on our journey to Ukraine. We are both nervous and excited, but haven’t felt this hopeful in a while, so it’s a good feeling. Our total travel time to Kiev, Ukraine is about 14hours, with a flight to Munich, and then to Kiev. We are taking the german airline Lufthansa, because they have flexible policies in case we need to change our dates on return. Tickets to Kiev from Boston ran anywhere from 600 – 1200, with the summer months being the highest, and the price going down in September. Just some tips for you to consider when planning your trip to BioTexCom!