Archive for the ‘pregnancy’ Category

23 February – Officially drug dependant!

February 23, 2009

So as of 10 days ago I am officially dependant on drugs!  I have been feeling horrendous, really ridiculously lethergic and tired because my hormone levels were so high, but I think the Eltroxin may finally be kicking in now as today I woke up with more energy than I’ve had in weeks!  I had a lovely day – Caeli’s preschool was closed for half-term so we had a girly shopping & lunching morning while James went to daycare…it was lots of fun!  We then cleaned the house together, played etc, and I managed to get them all cleaned, bathed, pyjama’d and had a full meal ready by the time my husband got home from work.  I honestly can’t remember WHEN I last managed all that in one day!  So hurray for Eltroxin! 😉

When I had my GP appointment (about 2 weeks ago) I did get a bit of a shock.  I was honestly expecting to just walk in, get a script and walk back out again… but alas.  He was a bit concerned about the size of my thyroid – I don’t have a goiter but when I swallow you can actually see the shape of my thyroid clearly and it is enlarged.  He urged me to have an ultrasound done just to ensure that there are no nasties lurking there.  I just immediately went cold at the thought – but tried to stay calm.  He unfortunately doesn’t have an ultrasound machine so I was sent into town.  I raced through the rush hour traffic and eventually got to the path lab where they gave me all the relevant forms.  The whole thing felt so surreal – my husband and children were with me and I just kept thinking “What if they find something terrible.  What if this is it??”  As the radiographer quietly scanned away at my throat, and then walked out to call the doctor I can honestly say I have never.  NEVER. been so scared in all my life.

The doctor found a cyst.  On the report he says that it is ‘probably a thyroglossal cyst’.  This report was faxed to my GP and he doesn’t seem to concerned, we’ll go over it in detail at my next appointment in 3 months time so I guess I can rest easy for now – but it was not a nice experience at all…and I just hope and pray that this cyst is in fact just a harmless little cyst that MAY even disappear on it’s own.

On surrogacy related news the GP wants me to be on Eltroxin for 3 months before falling pregnant.  I’ll have more bloods in May and if all is looking good then, THEN I’ll finally be able to move forward.  I have contacted my agency and they are being very understanding and supportive.  They have found a new surrogate for the couple I had been tentatively matched with – and I must admit I am overwhelmingly relieved and excited for them!  I was feeling awful at keeping them waiting all this time, so I am so happy to hear they have been matched with someone else and are finally moving forward!

26 January – Question??

January 26, 2009

Thanks for the comments in my last post, they really all meant so much to me!  And I appreciate all the encouraging words so much at this stage, so thank you all!

Now a quick question – I got a comment mentioning doing a “natural cycle with FET” and therefore “no need for BCP”.  Being a newbie to this I had no idea what FET means, so I googled and came up with Frozen Embryo Transfer and Fresh Embryo Transfer.  Now this natural cycle IVF REALLY appeals to me, I am admittedly a bit nervous of doing all those shots during the IVF, but I am very much prepared and willing to go through it if that’s what it takes – but if there’s an alternative way????  Why I’d be welcoming it with open arms!  Mostly I just don’t like the idea of pumping my body full of meds, chemicals and hormones if there was a way to avoid it…so can anyone explain to me exactly what a “natural cycle with FET” entails and under what circumstances it is viable?

Obviously at the end of the day the decision would be made by my IP’s and FS, but I’m still quite far away from that at the moment so I just want to know what the basic conditions are.  I.e. do you need frozen embryo’s (to help with the timing in case my cycle isn’t 100% spot on that month) or does it also work with fresh ones?  I read that you need quite a predictable cycle, my cycle is always between 26-30 days, and my luteal phase is always 12 days, no LP defect etc etc – would that be considered predictable enough?

Any info would be greatly appreciated, I have tried googling for info but it’s all either too basic, or far too complicated – and I just can’t seem to get the answers I need, LOL.  If it’s easier you’re welcome to email the info to me at yv*ytur*ner@ho*tma*il.com (without the stars, lol).

20 January – Back to reality!

January 20, 2009

**DISCLAIMER, mainly for KuKd vets, this post truly shows how clueless I can be about IF – so please proceed with caution.  All I’m trying to do here is put my own thoughts based on my own experience out there, and hope nothing I’ve said in any way offends anyone.  I do realise thoughts like “Oh wow, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t get pregnant after one IVF” might make you want to b*tch-slap me, yet based on my own experience falling preggy hasn’t ever been an issue so that thought WAS a revelation to me.  You know??

Anyway, if you decide to go ahead and read you have my full permission to roll your eyes (and curse a bit) at my naivete. ” Assvice” also welcome where applicable 😉

Well, the new year is now certainly in full swing! The kids are back to school and life is returning to a semblance of normality.  I still start and end every day with all my homeopathic meds (5 different types in all, 4 to take 2x per day, and 1 to take 3x per day – that’s 11 sessions of meds every day!!!) – great practise for upcoming IVF’s I’m sure!  I’m still very hopeful and quite confident that the meds are working..my energy levels are something else!  I’ve been exercising virtually every day and am loving it!  I try to do different things to avoid boredom, but over the past week I’ve gone on brisk walks through our estate, done Tai-Bo, Yoga, jogging and Aerobics.  And it’s been really fun!!!  The doc mentioned that exercise would help to kick my thyroid into gear so here’s hoping…

I’ve mentioned a few times recently how desperate I am to get this surrogacy journey going – and I truly can’t wait.  But why is that every time I feel POSITIVE that it’s the right thing to do, something makes me stop and doubt for a few seconds?

And it’s not even about the surrogacy journey any more.  I have, without a doubt, made my peace with that – it’s what I want, more than anything, to do.  But I keep thinking about the risks involved in pregnancy and childbirth…and honestly it’s not like I want to keep thinking about it…things just keep happening to remind me that pregnancy is not something to be taken lightly.  And it’s not like I’m harping on about the same issues – I keep hearing about new weird and wonderful things I’ve never even heard of!  I read one surrogacy story about a woman, Carolyn Zinn who had 5 failed IVF’s in a row on her journey to being a surrogate.  That just hadn’t factored into my thinking before…I just figured, you know, go for IVF and fall preggy?!  (yes naive and ridiculous I know, I’m sorry – but it really was like – OMG, she had all those injections, procedures, transfers within a YEAR and *still* wasn’t preggy. Holy Crap!) And for the first time a light really went on about some of the emotional toll just TTC’ing a surro baby must take. I mean – the PReSSURE.  Someone is spending all these huge amounts of money…and you really have no control on the results…yet all this pressure is laid squarely on your shoulders.  And that’s just to get a BFP.  Then it continues – every doctor’s appointment, every urine test, every scan etc…all continuous tests that you feel pressured to ‘pass’.  Scary.

And of course suddenly there is an onslaught of people that I’m aware of with all sorts of weird ‘conditions’ – my one friend gave birth about a week ago and suddenly she’s in hospital with suspected post-partum eclampsia!  Huh??  I was under the impression that once you give birth eclampsia is history but apparently not always?!  Any a million other things that could go wrong…

But then…then there’s the fact that I AM still fairly young, that I HAVE had a history of very easy pregnancies…the odds are in my favour…

and…

mostly…

There’s creating life. Creating a family. A brand new family.

My kids occasionally drive me around the bed but I love. I *love* being a mom.  It’s the best thing in the world.

And if I can help a family – any family – achieve that…then that would be the best thing ever, and the risks are worth it.

19 January – My dream last night…

January 19, 2009

Last night I had such a vivid dream, and I just want to capture it here – before it floats away as dreams tend to do…

I think the dream stemmed from the fact that a few of my fellow Gestational Surrogate (GS) bloggers have just given birth to their surro-babies.  Obviously with me wanting to do the same thing I’ve spend a lot of time wondering what they must be going through and how they must be feeling…

In my dream I was heavily pregnant with a surro-baby, and beginning to go into labour.  I remember the big belly, the sadness of knowing this journey was just about over, but yet the overwhelming excitement of knowing that I was about to give life to a new family.  I felt incredibly emotional, but in a good way.

The dream was pretty convoluted and at times didn’t make much sense (although it made sense at the time if you know what I mean).  I was pregnant with someone else’s baby, but hadn’t actually been properly matched to my IP’s yet (??? LOL).  So I was in labour but the IP’s weren’t there, as they didn’t even know that I was expecting their baby yet.

I remember that I was getting to the stage where I had to push – I clearly remember hoping that the IP’s would come – and also that they would then stay by my head, LOL.  And suddenly the baby was here.  Funny that after giving drug-free birth twice I just managed to gloss over the actual pain of giving birth in my dream – lol.  I guess maybe that’s because I already know what that entails.  I know exactly how sore it is, but I also know that I CAN do it.  I have done it before and I’ll manage to do it again… I believe the purpose of this dream was more about preparing me for the emotional rollercoaster of being a surrogate.

Anyway, the baby was born with no sign of the IP’s, so the baby was wrapped up and handed straight to me.  It was unconceivable that she wouldn’t be cuddled immediately by someone!  She was beautiful, tiny and new and just perfect. Even though I didn’t in any way feel like she was mine, or like I wanted to keep her – I just remember that feeling of emotions rising up in my chest, a heavy feeling like I was holding back a sob?  I felt very proud, very happy, very overwhelmed.

She kept turning her head towards me and rooting for the breast, and I felt so bad that I couldn’t feed her – it was like my body instinctively wanted to feed her, but my heart and mind didn’t agree.  I was worried about her being hungry though and kept hoping that the IP’s would come soon to give her some food.

Eventually the IP’s did arrive, and I remember apologising over and over that they couldn’t be there for the birth.  I just kept saying “I’m so sorry she just came so fast”.  They didn’t mind at all and were just immediately wrapped up in their little baby girl.  They were elated and thankful and wonderful.

It made everything worth it – although that emotional feeling stayed with me, even now as I sit here typing this I can still feel that emotional, heavy feeling on my chest.  I was just so real.

It was a wonderful dream though. I know without a doubt that this is something I need and want to do.  As difficult as it will be at times it’s bound to be in incredible journey, and I just can’t wait to get on board!!!!!

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 😉

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???

29 September – Question for other Gestational Surrogates…

September 29, 2008

So the clinic that I would really like to go with has contacted me after filling in the application form and they seem happy with everything so far – of course it’ll take a while to get all the in depth checks done but on the surface everything looks good so far.

They’ve asked me if I would consider travelling to a particular clinic to have the procedure done (about a 2 hours flight from where I stay).  At first I was not entirely keen as I’ve never left my kids before and the thought stresses me out – but on reflection it is probably a good idea to get away.  After the transfer I could then also go straight back to the hotel and literally just stay on bedrest for at least a night to maximise the chances of the embies taking – does my logic make sense so far?

I have emailed her back with some of my questions but in the meantime – for those of you that travelled for the transfar, can you give me a rough idea of how often you had to go?  Did you initially just get sent instructions and meds and have all your initial consults in your hometown, and then only travel for the actual transfer?  Or did you have to travel often?  Also roughly how long were you away for?

If it entailed me going on one 3/4 day trip I honestly don’t think there’d be an issue, however if I was going often it would obviously be a lot harder to arrange everything!

If I’m prepared to travel then they are confident that they might be able to match me quite soon – exciting days!!!

Would love some comments, opinions or advice please 🙂