Hello everyone! We just received the 9-10 week update, and the salient bits are that the babies seem to be catching up to each other! Before, there was a bit of a size difference, but now they are pretty even. Here are the stats below:
And, of course, the latest photo update – please excuse the blurriness!
It’s been a busy two weeks since our last post, filled with packing, cleaning (yechh), and lots of last meals and goodbyes! Before we knew it, it was the morning of August 29th, and our day had already started with loading up the last batch of our stuff before hitting the road. Moving and tying up some loose ends has served as a wonderful distraction on the surrogacy process, but both K and I were more than aware of that we should be hearing another update from Biotex with the 7-8 week scan. And sure enough, an email awaited us in our inbox with the message that we are having TWINS, as you can see below!
If all goes well, they should be arriving around March 18th, 2018! The minute both of us got the news, we immediately started tearing up, because it just seems like it is too good to be true! K is still maintaining a hardcore stance on not getting too hopeful before the first trimester is over, which is a wise way to approach it, although I have completely abandoned that idea, haha! The news also came attached with a report:
At first, I had no idea what any of these numbers meant – but Dr. Google was more than happy to explain. The American term for middle inner diameter (MID) is gestational sac diameter (GSD), which is always measured along with the crown rump length (CRL). According to this report and the scans, baby A has about a 9mm headstart when it comes to the gestational sac, but we’ll have to see if this continues on or they even out towards the end! I looked up a chart and it was right on the mark as far as the numbers go – 21 to 32mm GSD, and 14mm CRL, which right around 7 – 8 weeks gestation. We didn’t get to hear heartbeats with this one, but we are more than happy with the news that we did receive!
Our next scan will be the 12th week scan – which will be a marker that we’ve never made before in our attempts in the past. In so many ways, we can’t believe that this time will be rolling around at the end of September! K and I couldn’t believe how fast everything was going, because before, reaching the 12 week mark felt like an eternity and a half! I plan to write her a letter soon to check in with her. In the meanwhile, more posts to come, but we’ll be trucking on our way to IN, so this one will have to be short and sweet. 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.
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!
This morning was quite a rush! We were told by Yaryna that we would be coming back to the clinic today for our third scan, but we didn’t know which time, and figured that someone would get us when the time came. Unfortunately, this particular morning, we had gotten up a bit late, so much so that Kyle went to grab some breakfast and bring some back to the room for me, as I could not get up for the life of me. As I was munching on the scrambled eggs and veggies, we got a knock on our door, and the receptionist said our driver had been waiting 10 minutes, eeek! I scrambled to put on some clothes and off we went. We basically decided that pretty much anytime we are going back to the clinic, we should be ready to go at 945 – 1015, so we won’t have anymore surprises!
So we went again to meet our doctor, and I got back onto the crazy ultrasound machine that kind of looks like a torture device, which you can see below. It is not like any other ultrasound machines I’ve ever been on – the seat is super high, and what can be uncomfortable is that when you put your feet in the stirrups, you’re basically just sitting there wide open to the world, and they don’t give you a courtesy sheet or anything, which can be awkward! By now, I am used to it, but I remember the first time, I felt really strange. What makes it more uncomfortable is that there is a desk with a computer for one of the nurses right in viewsight, so I thought to myself, please don’t look up! Hahaha I was told that in Europe, a lot of the clinics are not like the ones in the US, where they give you a ton more privacy, so not to be too shocked with being exposed more than usual.
The picture above illustrates what type of image the doctor is looking at – basically each round circle is a follicle, and they measure how big they are. Note that this is not my actual ultrasound picture – they do not distribute them. Usually, they like to see each follicle grow to around 16 – 18mm before they give you an HCG trigger, shot, which ripens the eggs for release. Again, K stood in the background while the doctor was taking a look – and she murmured with approval, and even pointed out to K that the follicles were growing well. She measured some of the larger ones, and it looked like they were at 12mm, which she was satisfied with. The doctor told us that we are going to keep the same protocol, and that we should return on Thursday for our final scan. I am to fast that morning as well, so they can run some blood tests for the anesthesiologist to view for our possible egg retrieval date for next Tuesday.
This is all very exciting, because stim cycles in the past have been soooo long! But the doctor did listen to my request to start with high medications, and I think this why our progress has been pretty good so far. Our next update will be when we go for final scan this Thursday, so stay tuned!
Today we came in for our second scan at the clinic, and I was a bit nervous to see whether my follicles were developing. I have already been feeling the heaviness that comes with the stimulation, but since it had only been 4 days of stimming, it wasn’t too bad. We met with our doctor, and she took a look and told me that she could see a ton of little follicles, but since we’re so early in our cycle, that she wanted to see me again the following Tuesday. Before she took a look, I made sure to have K stand next to the ultrasound machine and look at the screen, because the more information, the better! He said he could see a bunch of them, but they were still tiny. I’m guessing in American standards, they were all less than 10mm.
The doctor decided to up my stims so that I’m now taking 200 Gonal-F and 150 Merional, and since I had already had my shots that day, had me go downstairs in the clinic to get the additional 75 Merional from the nurse. In general, our trip was really quick, although the clinic was very busy, and full of surrogates and clients waiting for appointments. I’m realizing more and more that the long wait in the clinic that I’ve read about from other reviews are solely dependent on which package you choose.
After meeting some other nice folks in our hotel, I’ve also come to realize that there is some confusion about the room size at the Venice hotel. Apparently, on the website, the pictures that they have are of bigger rooms, which is not like the rooms that most of us stay in at the hotel. Also, all the rooms are a little bit different in the fact that the bathroom might have a completely different decorating scheme.
One of my personal goals while being here is to lose the weight that I gained while doing fertility treatments in the past 5 years. I would say that I’ve gained about 40 pounds from start to finish, so I have been focusing on eating low carb and doing some sort of exercise everyday. Ever since the pool opened up, I told myself that I would do 10 laps every day, but on some days, it has been too cold to go in the water, so I try to walk instead. Also, since we’re on the 4th floor and the elevator is currently not working, we get some built-in cardio every time we leave our room to go anywhere :)!