Q & A: You asked, I’m Answering

Over the months I have received a lot of curious questions from friends and family, which is only natural, and I fully encourage. Several of the questions have been pretty similar so I thought it would be a good idea to anonymously list some of those questions with my answers. If I missed any, please submit them to me and I’ll add them to this post.

Q: I don’t think I could ever do it, how are you able to keep from becoming attached? Won’t it be hard to give away a baby that you’ve carried and birthed?

A: I am a fairly strong willed person, and once I set my mind to a task or a goal I am fully committed. Not to compare humans to animals, but I have fostered in the past. Going into each experience knowing that I was only there to improve the animal and ultimately find them the best forever home I could, helped me keep from becoming emotionally attached. Yes there was some emotion when I handed them over to their new family but I had the added comfort that they were in wonderful hands. This line of thinking is where I mentally put myself when I began the surrogacy process. Granted, I did have eight months to prepare before the embryo transfer took place which only solidified my mindset further. But I did also go through psychological testing and clearance and continue to have monthly phone appointments with a psychologist. I am happy to have the opportunity to help a family grow and live vicariously through their happiness and excitement but I am clear that this is for them, not for me. Seeing their joy upon holding their baby for the first time will be my ultimate reward.

Q: How has the surrogacy affected your marriage so far, if at all?

A: We entered into this journey as a team and it hasn’t affected our marriage. But we’ve also been married for over 10 years so that may be a big contributing factor.

Q: What are you telling your children? How are you explaining the surrogacy to them? Do they understand?

A: I have a post about some wonderful books here. The books really helped us open dialog with our children on their level about what is happening and what to expect. The younger of our two doesn’t really understand what is happening, but she just turned two. Our older daughter is three and a half and has a better grasp on things. When I ask her about the surro baby this is what she says, “You’re growing a baby for the people because the mommy’s tummy is broken.” I think that is a great answer for her age.

Q: Congratulations on the pregnancy! Are you excited/happy?

A: This question caught me a little off guard. I am happy for the IP’s but there was no jumping up and down excitement on my part upon finding out the tests all came back positive, or even when the heartbeat confirmation happened. There was, however, an overwhelming sense of relief that all was well and progressing.

Q: How does this pregnancy compare to your two biological ones? 

A: This pregnancy’s first trimester was much more trying than my two biological ones with extreme exhaustion and nausea. But I think the attributing factor on those was the added hormones I was taking leading up to the transfer and through 10 weeks pregnant. Otherwise the rest of it seems like pretty familiar territory.

Q: How did you first learn about surrogacy? What made you want to become a gestational surrogate?

A: When I was 16 and taking a college course at my local community college the conversation of family came up with a classmate during a break. I learned that she was a two time surrogate in addition to her three biological children. It was the first time I had ever met a surrogate and it blew my mind. I wanted to learn more about it and made the goal of someday becoming an egg donor and/or surrogate. Fast forward several years and I made friends with another surrogate who joined an agency once she was done with surrogacy as a carrier. She confirmed that I would be an ideal surrogate and encouraged me to submit an application when I was ready to do so.

Q: You have/had to do injections how long?! Who gave them to you? Does it hurt?

A: I started Pregesterone in Oil (PIO) intramuscular injections on the day of the embryo transfer and continued through 10 weeks gestation. My cousin who traveled with me for the transfer administered my first two injections and my husband administered the majority of the rest. I did give myself a few injections. It was a little tricky to twist around and get to the right spot but overall not too bad. One injection I tried in my thigh and that was pretty rough so I kept it in the upper outer quadrant of my gluts.

Q: Do you know the parents / IP’s?

A: Because this surrogacy was through an agency I first met the IP’s via a Skype session when we were interviewing each other to see if we were a good match. We do talk weekly through a chat app but I don’t personally know them.

Q: How is your husband handling you carrying somebody else’s child?

A: I am a gestational surrogate which means the baby doesn’t have my DNA. He is extremely supportive but doesn’t act the same way he did when we were expecting our children because we aren’t planning for the future of our expanding family.

Q: Would you have done anything differently?

A: I have certainly learned a lot through this process and would encourage more communication through each phase. But other than waiting there haven’t been any severely negative situations or experiences.

Q: What are some of the memorable things you’ve heard so far? 

A: One of my favorites came from a young neighbor. “If you don’t find a home for the baby boy, can you give it to our family? I’d really like another brother.” I think this young one was under the impression that we would find a family after achieving pregnancy.

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10 Weeks and Last Monitoring Appointment

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In the image above: head is toward the left, arm in the middle, and legs on the right.

10 weeks + 2 days ultrasound showed a healthy and growing right on track surro baby with a heart rate of 174 beats per minute. As Dr. Propst said, everything looks wonderful! Today was also my last appointment at Texas Fertility Center as my outside monitoring facility. It was a little bittersweet for me because I have really enjoyed TFC and Dr. Propst. He took an interest in my case and made it a point to get me on his schedule each week. Overall a wonderful facility and staff, couldn’t recommend them higher to anyone in the central Texas area in need of fertility assistance.

I received the official email today from a wonderful nurse at Life IVF Center that said I am Done With Medication and graduated to my OB/GYN for regular prenatal appointments. I repeat, put down the needles! There should be a little celebration but I’m too tired, ha. This evening I also received a phone call from Dr. Yelian from Life IVF to congratulate me on the major milestones, personally check on how I was feeling, and see if I had any questions for him. The personal touch really speaks volumes to me. Today was a very good day (medically).

10 Weeks:
Crown to Rump Length (CRL) 32.7 mm / 1.29 inches
Gestational Sac (GS) 42×32 mm

This week several sites had three different fruits to compare to for the baby size, a fig, prune, and kumquat. Since kumquat was the easiest one for me to draw that is the one I am going with this week. Not the most scientific approach by any means but it worked for me. His body length will almost double in the next three weeks.

  • Baby has working arm joints, and his cartilage and bones are forming.
  • His vital organs are fully developed and they’re starting to function.
  • His fingernails and hair are starting to appear, too.
  • Plus, he’s swallowing and kicking in there. (I got to see the kicking during last week’s ultrasound)

Pregnancy Symptoms

    • You may have aches and pains in your abdomen, as baby’s putting a pressure on your organs, veins, muscles and ligaments.
    • You’re probably still feeling nauseated and emotional. (thankful for Diclegis!)
    • Tired! Not only is your body working really hard to grow baby, but your sleep might be distrupted by some pretty weird dreams. (SO TRUE! I didn’t remember to crazy dreams starting so early. My husband gets a kick out of hearing them)
    • An increase in vaginal discharge (ew!)
    • Bigger belly and boobs — this is around the time you probably can start to see some real changes in your body. (See pictures below. I can definitely feel the difference and am starting to hunt down some stretchy pants.)
    • Visible veins — those blue streaks are carrying a ton of extra blood to baby. (It looks like I have super veins!)

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Left to right: Before transfer, 8 weeks, and 10 weeks

http://www.thebump.com/pregnancy-week-by-week/10-weeks-pregnant

Heart Beat Confirmation (7 weeks + 2 days)

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Friday morning has turned into my weekly routine of blood work and a drive to Texas Fertility Center for an ultrasound. This last Friday I was 7 weeks and 2 days. Baby boy was measuring right on track and we were able to officially record his heart beat! I recorded the ultrasound monitor with my cell phone and messaged the video to the IP’s as soon as the appointment was over. They were over the moon! It was so sweet to get their words of thanks and excitement. That is what I look forward to the most is their reactions to seeing their baby or getting an update. How amazing is it that I can post a video from my cell phone into an international group chat that instantly uploads for them to see on the other side of the world? I just love it!

One thing that I did ask the Doctor at the appointment was to look to see if I/we have been doing my PIO injection in the right areas because I was worried about fluctuating P4 levels. He said that we were in the right area but if it would be easier for me I could use the thigh, but also not to be too worried about levels because my body is creating progesterone at the same time. The doctors at Texas Fertility Center have all been amazing, and I think I’ve seen all except one. I would highly recommend them to anybody requiring fertility assistance in the central Texas area.

This week’s post was a little delayed because my partner in crime (aka husband) was out of town on business which meant as soon as my girls were in bed I was very soon to follow. Thankfully there was a day time nap today for the first time in over a week and I am feeling alert and up to the task of doing a little writing. My track record definitely includes extreme fatigue in the first trimester but thankfully I can look forward to an energy boost once that second trimester starts to settle in. Only 5-7 weeks until second trimester energy boost. Commence count down, Ha! No, but the energy boost will be greatly appreciated when it does roll around.

7 Weeks
Baby is the size of a Blueberry, 10.3 mm/ .41 inch
I have had more bouts of nausea that have led to a few reluctantly skipped meals. The doctor recommended that if it keeps up to request some anti nausea medication so that it doesn’t interfere with nutrition. And as aforementioned, fatigue.

Now to finish lapping up my little hot fudge sundae!

Intramuscular Injections

In the middle of my time in the holding area, one of the Life IVF nurses emailed me my P4 results and a new treatment plan. The treatment plan has me beginning intramuscular injections daily until further notice. There will be additional P4 level blood tests to determine when I should stop the injections. The next blood draw will be on April 2nd.

Test Results

Below is the result from your appt today:

Hormone Levels:

P4: 18.49

Ultrasound Results:

Endometrial Lining: 12.2 mm

Doctor’s recommended plan is as follows:

1) Discontinue Oral Progesterone.

2) Continue Estrace 2mg, 2 tablets by mouth-twice a day daily.

3) Continue Endometrin 100mg, 1 vaginal supp-three times a day daily.

4) Start Progesterone in oil injection of 1ml- intramusculary once daily, starting 3/30 and continue. Please inject the first dosage asap!

5) Okay to proceed with embryo transfer as scheduled.

As I didn’t have Progesterone in oil in my arsenal of medicine nor did I bring any needles or syringes, the nurses at Life IVF sent me home with the vial along and just enough supplies for 2 days of injections. My cousin and I watched a couple of wonderful YouTube videos (links below) before she administered my injections on both days. She was a champ! I, on the other hand, was a little freaked out by the straw like gauge on the needle. Once I had myself all worked up that I was near an anxiety attack it made the actual inject seem like a walk in the park! Hopefully they remain park status until I am done with them and my upper buttocks don’t end up looking and feeling like a battered and bruised pin cushion.

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IVF Medication Injections – Progesterone in Oil

IVF Medication Injections – Intramu scular Injection