Archive for October, 2008

25 October – Pause for thought

October 25, 2008

To all my valued readers :), sorry I went a bit quiet for a couple of days…I’ve just been busy sorting out what my next step should be.  Thank you for all the comments on my last proper post – I appreciate the thoughts and advice.

I do realise that having a thyroid issue is pretty common and really not a big deal to some, but it’s something that caught me offguard and reasonable or not it’s a pretty Big Deal to me.  Being the good girl that I am I’ve been doing my homework (Google is my friend, lol), and have learnt a few things.

1. I am prone to thyroid problems because my dad is diabetic AND because my dad is hypothyroid.

2. I could be suffering from Postpartum Hypothyroidism, in which case there is a very good chance it’ll disappear on it’s own.

3. However due to 1 & 2 above I am very likely to suffer from Hypothyroidism again in the near future, especially if I have another pregnancy.

Now again, I know many people will think it’s not a big deal.  But to me, having to take synthetic hormones in tablet form for the rest of my life, is a pretty big deal.  I’m a fit(ish), healthy 28 year old.  How can one of my organs just not be efficient enough anymore? At 28??? Gak!

Firstly, the facts.  My TSH levels are fairly high.  TSH is measured by a simple blood test, and “normal” would be a result of 0.3 – 4.2.  My level was 8.7!  There is some controversy over when to start treating but many doctors seem to prefer treating only once levels rise above 10, so I think that’s why I haven’t had treatment shoved down my throat yet.  If left untreated it can obviously start impacting other areas, yet if you treat to soon it can make the thyroid even MORE underactive (because the synthetic hormone (pills) do all the work for you and essentially make the thyroid ‘lazy’.)

I’ve spoken to the agency and they are being really great, and so supportive.  They immediately confirmed with the doctors that yes, it’s common and treatable, and will definitely NOT exclude me from being a surrogate, should I still want to!  So a big YAY for that 🙂 🙂  They do have a couple in mind for me and are obviously quite keen to keep things moving so offered to start seeing to meds for me – but I politely declined. For now.

As I said at the beginning – I’ve done my research.  There are natural ways to improve TSH levels. Firstly I’ve started going for Vitamin B shots again. I’m also taking a multivitamin supplement, plus Omega 3&6 supplements.  I’m drinking rooibos and green tea, and cutting down on coffee.  I’m also trying to have at least a little iodated salt a day.  If after 6 weeks – 2 months my TSH levels are either the same or higher, then I guess I’ll have to start meds…in which case I can then proceed with surrogacy with a ‘clear conscience’, knowing I have tried everything to get my body sorted naturally.

If after my next bloods my levels are significantly lower or even (please, please, please!) back within the normal range…well then my dilemma begins.  Each pregnancy brings a 5-10% risk of developing Hypothyroidism.  Significantly higher if you’ve suffered from it before.  Of those that develop it 25% will have it for life…

BUT I’m getting ahead of myself.  For now I’m really excited that my ‘condition’ won’t exclude me from the surrogacy program, it’s great to know that the choice will be mine.  Now I have a few weeks to just focus on kicking my thyroid back into gear.  And in a few weeks I’ll go for another blood test!

Wish me luck!!! 🙂

22 October – (almost) Wordless Wednesday…

October 22, 2008

3 Puzzles, between 1000 and 1500 pieces EACH, all mixed up and scattered over my lounge.

This is what he got up to in the 2 minutes while I was clearing up the bathroom.  4000 puzzles pieces from 3 different puzzles, scattered all around my lounge. *sigh*

This is what he got up to in the 2 minutes while I was clearing up the bathroom. 4000 puzzles pieces from 3 different puzzles, scattered all around my lounge. *sigh*

20 October – Stumbling block??

October 20, 2008

So I went to the gynae on Friday – the idea was to just go for a pap smear and then to chat to him about me doing a surrogacy, given my history etc etc.

Everything went pretty smoothly and while he was examining me he mentioned that my thyroid looks slightly enlarged, and duly did a blood test to check it out.

He phoned me this afternoon.

Now the news isn’t earth-shatteringly awful..but it isn’t great either.

The good news is that my pap is all clear!!!  The not-so-great news is that my thyroid is showing signs of being underactive.  My bloods (showing thyroid hormone) were still in the ‘normal’ realm so the doc isn’t entirely sure what’s happening – I need to go back for more bloods in a couple of months to see where I’m at.

My issue now is that I always maintained I would LOVE to do surrogacy, but my own family must come first.  Apparently if you’re prone to thyroid conditions then every pregnancy poses a significant risk for more thyroid problems..it’s not unlikely that I may end up on meds for the rest of my life.

That, especially to someone like me that’s not particularly enamoured by synthetic medicines and hormones etc, is scary.  And I wonder what the longterm effect will be on my family.

At this stage I still don’t know anything.  The news is still sinking in and I’m trying to research it (Google, I should sooo be staying away from Google right now!) – quite possible I’m making a mountain out of a molehill but I do need to research it thoroughly before I take this any further.

I’m feeling a bit deflated right now, I so badly want to see this process through…:(

18 October – What gets to me…

October 18, 2008

…just a little bit.

I know that embarking on this surrogacy adventure I’m going to need to grow a thick skin, as people are bound to have their own views and many of them won’t be shy to express them.  But here is the first thing that has started to kind of get under my skin on this journey.

Whenever I tell a new person (family, friend etc) that I intend on being a gestational surrogate (GS) they look a bit taken aback but riveted.  The very next question is ‘Who for?’.  The *second* I answer (‘I don’t know yet, I will be matched through an agency’) I’ve pretty much lost them.  ‘Wow. I can understand being a GS for someone you really love and respect…but for someone you don’t even know? No ways’ (accompanied by frowning and vigorous head shaking).  Subtext: you’re crazy lady.  Also, you’re a cold weirdo that can just give away a child without good reason.  Also you’re not looking out for your own family by doing something so rash.  etc etc.

Maybe I’m blowing it out of proportion – but people really seem shocked, and dare I say, unimpressed that I am willing to do this for a family I don’t yet know.

The fact is, if I knew a family that desperately wanted and needed help in creating their family I would love nothing more than to help them out.  But guess what, all of my close family and friends are either procreating on their own steam, or not ready to have kids yet.  So what? I should just *not* be a GS purely because by chance I don’t know the family that requires my help yet?  Seriously??  What about all the wonderful people out there that I just happen not to have met yet?  I want to help, they want help…so what’s the problem??

I mean, family we’re born into, but what is friendship other than a series of random encounters that eventually (through some deeper connection based on love and trust) develop into something more?

Of course I want to know, and love and trust my future IP’s, and I’m confident that I will.  I’ll find that connection, and the best thing will come of it.  A brand new family.

I do understand that people are surprised when they first hear about this journey.  But it gets me that often they are negative before even really listening to my responses.  And by then of course, they are so blinded by their own fog of negativity that they’re not really listening to my responses anyway.  They’re too busy thinking of yet another reason why this is a bad idea.

Even my gynaecologist (and yes thank you, AF stayed away long enough for me to have my check-up yesterday, so thanks for those no-AF vibes 😉  ) looked at me as if I was nuts.  He was very kind, very supportive, very sweet.  But definitely thought I was losing the plot.

Anyway, I’m sure on my journey I’ll come across many more irritating things…it’s all good – I’ll learn to suck it up and I’m sure, even laugh about it.  I was watching some video clips on You Tube where former GS Minette Trent talks about her journey and she mentioned wearing a maternity T-shirt with “Not my husband’s baby” emblazoned on the front, and “Not mine either!” on the back. Now *that’ll* get people talking 🙂 🙂

I really want to get me one of those shirts 😉

15 October – Things in the pipeline..

October 15, 2008

Things are moving along as smoothly as can be expected!

1. I have an exam scheduled with my own gynae this week friday.  This is not in any way a requirement of the agency, but I just felt it makes sense to speak to someone that knows my full history and has only *my* interests at heart about this decision.  Since the CIN1 I also never miss an opportunity to go for a check-up, so it seemed like a good idea all around.

The only spanner in the works is that when I made the appointment 3 weeks ago I accepted the first available slot and never considered where I would be in my cycle.  True as nuts I’m due to come on any day now, and have experienced mild cramping all morning.  I’m still sitting tight and holding thumbs that AF does not arrive before Friday, but I know Murphy and his stupid Law so chances are it’ll happen. *sigh*.  In that case I’ll phone the gynae’s offices and ask if I can reschedule.  I really want to get this done asap though so here’s hoping…!


2. I have finally managed to secure an appointment for my psychological screening.  This will happen next Wednesday morning.  Once my I’ve finished the consult I can apparently expect it to takes up to 2 weeks for the report on me to be compiled and filed with the agency, so I won’t be holding my breath.


3. I’ve approached a couple of friends and family members to compile some references for me, which the agency also requires.  I’m hoping to be able to send these to the agency within the next few days.


Once all the above are sorted (and assuming everything is in order) we’ll start planning my trip to Cape Town / Johannesburg for my medical workup, meeting with lawyers and a social worker – and to meet IP’s!!!  I’m so very excited about that trip, can’t wait for things to get moving now.


BUT in the meantime we are getting there..that’s the main thing!

Please send non-AF vibes until Friday lunchtime, lol.

8 October – The Phonecall update

October 8, 2008

Soooo…we did the Agency phonecall today and I think it went really well.  It was a great way to open up contact a little more, and to help us get a better sense of each other.  She had a few questions for me and also spent a lot of time explaining the processes to me.  She herself is a veteran of 17 IVF’s so she definitely knows what I am (will be) through from a medical point of view!  It was really a good phonecall.  I’m so happy to be with this agency 🙂  She was also very happy to answer all of my questions and to allay my fears and worries.

I couldn’t be more excited to get this off the ground now!!!

Next step is for Nurture (the agency) to do a background check on me and to arrange a psychological evaluation.  Assuming that those both go smoothly (lol, I’ll be pretty concerned if they don’t!) we’ll then start making travel plans to Cape Town or Johannesburg for me, for a night.  This will be quite a whirlwind trip where I will meet a social worker, lawyer, have a medical work-up and meet possible IP’s.  Exciting stuff!

Because each individual process takes time it’ll probably be 5/6 weeks before we get to that point though.

So next up for me is my gynae appointment next Friday.  Here’s hoping he has only good news for me and my uterus 🙂

6 October – Excited!!!

October 6, 2008

Well, as you can imagine I’ve been doing nothing but eating, sleeping and dreaming surrogacy for the past while!  I’m getting so, so excited to take things to the next level!

I got some amazing advice (thank you so much to all the wonderful ladies that posted!) on my last post and have decided that as this is something I truly, deeply want to do I am going to go with my gut and Just Do It.  As I mentioned before the things that have been worrying at me a little bit aren’t the major things – they’re the details.  And the more I think about it the more I know I can live with them!

Next step now is the big phonecall with the agency.  They usually do a one-on-one meeting but seeing as there are about 1300km between us we’ll do a phonecall ‘interview’ first, and if things go well then we’ll consider when and how to take it to the next level.

In the meantime I’ve also decided to book an appointment with my own gynae.  I would really like someone that knows me and my history (CIN1, pregnancies etc) to give me an opinion on being a gestational surrogate.  He can also do a pap to ensure that all is good before I cost anyone else time and money for nothing!  My appointment is booked for next Friday, so I’ll update as and when I get results!  Please cross fingers that I get a green light – I trust and value this man very much so if he tells me not to take this any further I’ll have to believe he has very good reason for saying so!  That said though I’ve carried two incredibly easy and healthy pregnancies to term though, so I can’t imagine why there would be any issues!

I’ll update after Wednesday’s phonecall 🙂

2 October – How much panic is normal?

October 2, 2008

Lol.

Now that I’ve started setting the wheels in motion regarding the surrogacy thing I keep having bouts of panicky thoughts where I think ‘Uh-oh, this is so huge, can I really do this?!’.  I’m thinking this is completely normal, and good too as it means that I am really coming to terms with it fully, it’s not like I’m just igoring the realities… but how much panic is ‘too much’…when do I cross the line from ‘positive with legitimate concerns’ to ‘wanting to run for the hills’?

Don’t get me wrong – 99% of the time I still KNOW that this is the right path for me, that this is something I really want to do etc etc…and the frustrating thing is the nature of my concerns.

I’m not worried about the really big, life-changing stuff like handing the baby back to her parents at the end of the pregnancy – I’m not saying it’ll be easy but it’ll be something I can prepare myself for.  No, my worries are far more superficial than that.

I’m worried about all the injections and invasive procedures.  I think I’ve done too much reading up on them and now I’m psyching myself out completely!  So how bad are those IM Progesterone in Oil injections really, hmmmm?

I’m also worried about how my poked, prodded and ultimately pregnant (not to mention moody and hormonal) self will impact on my children’s lives.  I would hate for them to really suffer because of any of this – they do have to come first!  BUT I really think I’m over-thinking it somewhat…

There’s also just the logistics of the travelling to think through : if I need to fly out to the FS’s a couple of times, what on earth will I do with my kids?  The grandparents and daddy work, their schools only run half day…not to mention that I’ve never been away from them for even a night before so a week away sounds terribly daunting!

I know it looks like a lot of reasons NOT to do this just yet, but those thoughts only catch me every now and again, usually at 3am when I’m trying my best to go back to sleep after getting up for Jamie.  By far the MOST of the time I’m so excited to be on this journey.  I want to get going and logically, realistically I KNOW that my kids aren’t going to suffer just because their mommy is going to be pregnant again.  And hopefully, hopefully they’ll learn a very important lesson from it too!  The injections…well, I guess I’m just going to have to suck it up and be brave as all hell.  🙂

For any IVF veterans reading this post – is it the ‘usual done thing’ to do a mock cycle before your first IVF run?  I can understand the reason for this, yet I really don’t like the idea of all those meds, all those injections (eek, can you see this is really becoming an issue, lol) for nothing! 🙂

So this is the part where I need some help and encouragement…anyone???