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About Me

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Caledonia, Northern Illinois, United States
I am a Thirty-Something mother of four beautiful girls. My love for them, and the joy I've experienced during this crazy ride called motherhood, has inspired me to help make the dream of a family become a reality for couples through gestational surrogacy. I've proudly helped A&T, as their lives were forever changed when they welcomed a son in April 2010 and K&S were blessed as parents in Sept 2012 when we welcomed their twin boys. I completed my final surrogacy journey Nov 2015 when I helped a wonderful local couple J&W and Big Brother add their family with the birth of twin boys. I am so very fortunate to have wonderful relationships with each one of my surro-families and continue to share in their lives.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Negative Beta

We were disappointed to get today's negative beta results. I had a feeling the news wasn't going to be good as the lines on the HPTs kept getting lighter over the last few days, meaning that the hCG in my system was just residual from the trigger I had to inject a few days before transfer.  So on this cold wintery November night here in the Midwest, I'm spending the evening with a bowl of popcorn, a roaring fire and a glass bottle of Moscato.

Hopefully we can put a new plan to work after the holidays and start over fresh in the new year.

Here's to better luck in 2015.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

"Maybe Baby"

We have one lil "maybe-baby" on board.  Sorry I've been so quiet this cycle, but it was very touch and go and we weren't sure how everything would play out.

I started meds back in early Oct with IM to follow a few weeks later.  Initially she had several cysts on her ovaries so things got set back by a week.  Each monitoring appointment we held our breath as bloodwork and ultrasounds were analyzed by the RE.  Thankfully, things continued to move in a positive direction and IM was scheduled for her retrieval.

Today we transferred one little 3-day embryo and are all very hopeful that this attempt will be successful.  There are a few signs that have me feeling good about this one.  You might remember a previous post from a couple of years back, how I've had a lucky number since the 5th Grade ... it's #3. I realized a few pregnancies ago that all my due dates have had the number three in them, which includes the twin pregnancy that came about on try #3 shortly after writing the original post.

Due Dates
Baby#1 - June 23
Baby#2 - Feb 13
Baby#3 - Oct 13
Baby#4 - March 13
Baby#5 - May 3 (surrobabe/try #3)
Baby#6 & #7 - Oct 13 (surrotwins/try #3)

Well guess what, our resulting due date from this transfer would be Aug 3rd and this is try #3.  It's gotta work right!?!?

Good vibes, sticky thoughts, baby dust ....




Saturday, October 4, 2014

Round Three

My IPs and I have been working on their dream for nearly a year. In November of 2013 we started the process and now, a couple of attempts and disappointments later, we continue to fight to see their dream through and are beginning our third IVF cycle. We are hopeful that this will be the cycle that beats all odds and is successful.

I started Lupron today which will suppress my ovaries so that the RE can manipulate my cycle and sync everything to IM.  This will be a fresh cycle so when we transfer will be determined by how she responds to stim medications.  IM will undergo another egg retrieval once her follicles are mature.  As of now, our transfer timeline looks to be early November but we should know more in the coming weeks.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

CAKE!!


I had to share these absolutely adorable pics of the boys enjoying their birthday cake.  Too cute!
Mason
Ryan

Photos courtesy of "K" aka Mommy

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Birthday Wishes

 Sending lots of Happy Birthday wishes to two very special little guys who are TWO today!!!

Ryan and Mason, you are as sweet as ever and I'm so very thankful I had the honor and privilege to help your parents welcome you into this world. You are very loved and will forever be in my heart.  I hope the year ahead is full of discovery and excitement and all the things that make you smile.
XOXO -
Miss Tiffany


Happy 2nd Birthday!!!

Ryan (L) Mason (R)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Surro-World Update

Hello everyone. It's been a busy week in my little surro-world and thought it was time to update.

GSx3 - Not Our Cycle

Our recent second transfer attempt of one frozen 3-day embryo was sadly unsuccessful.  We knew there was only a small chance it would work, but we were all hopeful for a little miracle.  Beta drawn this Friday was negative however.  My IPs aren't giving up and are meeting with the RE on Tuesday to discuss options and the next step.  At this point, there are no embryos to work with so we'd be starting from scratch, likely an attempt at a fresh cycle again.  We are all very motivated to move forward quickly so hopefully there will be a fall transfer in our future.

GSx2 - Zoo Trip with my Surro-Twins

Yesterday we spent a fun, sticky hot day at Brookfield Zoo with my second surro-family.  Of course after such a mild summer the one day we choose to go to the zoo it's humid as heck, but we made the best of it dodging in and out of air conditioned buildings.  We'd only planned to spend a few hours there knowing that Ryan and Mason would likely tucker out around their usual nap time.  We meet up with K&S and the boys and checked out the primate house, the boys were excited about the waterfall that splashed down near a bridge crossing where they could stomp in water and get sprayed.  Next we tried out the hands-on play zoo where the quickly discovered a puddle in the play area and stomped around in it getting soaked.  Inside the building, Ryan found a drinking fountain and was all smiles when Daddy started putting water on his head ... are you sensing a trend here?  LOL Water is a big hit with them. It was great watching them just be lil boys and having fun.  They did start to get tired though so it was time for them to head out to get lunch and ready for nap time.  Our family lingered at the zoo a bit longer allowing them to get settled at home.

We joined them at their house an hour or so later to grill out.  We had just headed outside to enjoy their beautiful new patio and yard addition (they purchased the building next door to their home and had it torn down to allow for some more green space, which is hard to come by in the city).  Just as we started to take our first bites, a storm rolled in so we retreated to the house.  There we chatted over lunch until the boys woke up.  Our girls enjoyed some silly fun with R&M before we all headed home.  Ryan and Mason gave us all hugs and high-fives before we left. It was a great visit.

We'll be seeing them again soon because can you believe it, the twins will be 2 years old in just a few weeks!!  I'm looking forward to spending their birthday with them and we are also going to try and sneak in another trip to the pumpkin patch together this fall.

GSx1 - Annual Trans-versary Get Together

My first surro-family came over to our place last weekend for a visit.  It's kind of become an annual thing this time of year, A&T take Giovanni to the "Day out with Thomas (the Train)" event at the railway museum not far from us every Aug and then we spend the evening together while they are out this way.  It's also always falls on the week of what was our successful transfer that blessed them with the amazing little kiddo that stole all our hearts.  This year we celebrated our 5-Year Trans-versary!!   Each year I jokingly say I should make a cake and decorate it with our positive HPTs ... yes, five years later I still have them. *Blush*

Things are going well from them and they are keeping busy.  Giovanni, now four, will be doing a 2 day a week Preschool program this year and the other days he's able to either stay home with Daddy or is watched by Grandma and Grandpa.  They've done a little traveling over the summer and are working hard to get their condo ready for the market with hopes to move closer to T's parents which is a little further outside of the city of Chicago.

I don't spend a whole lot of one-on-one time with Giovanni when they're here because he's usually busy with our girls, but he's such a smart lil guy with a fun cute personality.  I've encouraged A&T to consider taking a weekend getaway for a night or two and leave the lil man with us, or maybe utilize us as childcare when the time comes to move.  They thought that sounded like a good idea since Giovanni always hates to leave and can't wait to see the girls again.


*I do have a few pics to share but, Jason has my camera at the moment and I'll need to upload them later.  I will add them to the album soon so be sure to check back.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Don't Stop Believin'

Yesterday (Sunday) we received an update on the one embryo and the RE felt it was still best for the transfer to remain tentative until the day of.  The embryo, which had been frozen on Day 1 had thawed, but wasn't dividing as quickly as they would like for it to.  He felt that giving it another 24 hours was best so we all anxiously awaited the call this morning to find out if transfer would be a-go or not.

At 7:07 AM Dr. D called saying although the embryo was slow to divide it was still considered viable and after discussing with my IPs it was decided the transfer was worth a try.  Jason and I headed out the door, dropped daughter Lauren off at the gym, and drove to the Advance IVF Institute in Naperville, IL.  It was early and we were both kind of tired so the ride was quiet but when we did decide to put on the radio wouldn't ya know, the first song to play was Don't Stop Believin' (Journey).  How timely, I just couldn't help but get a little emotional hearing the chorus over and over.

We arrived at the clinic and were brought back to an exam room.  It was just the two of us, unfortunately IPs couldn't be there today but I've done this a time or two so it was no problem. *wink* Prior to the procedure the embryologist quickly reviewed the quality.  Despite it being a Day 3 embryo it was at the 2-4 cell stage yet, it wasn't great but still had a fighting chance with the help of a step called assisted hatching. The transfer itself was pretty uneventful and as no surprise went flawlessly.






IM and I chatted and decided we weren't going to rush into any premature at home testing.  Usually I'm dying to POAS and have a drawer of HPTs stocked and ready to go, but we are going to wait things out. Considering we transferred only one 3-day embryo, even in the best circumstances we wouldn't expect HPT results for a week or more and this embie was a "slow starter".   Also, this cycle I did an hCG trigger to stimulate ovulation which basically means, I now have artificial pregnancy hormone in my system and if I were to test even today, it would be positive.  I'd have to test for the next several days to be sure that was out of my system before I could start any real testing to see if the transfer worked.  We are going to wait things out till beta.  Right now it doesn't seem so far away but that may be another story come end of next week.

Beta is scheduled for Friday, August 22nd and I'll update you all then.

Staying hopeful!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Latest Update

It's been a little more than 24 hours since IM's retrieval yesterday and it was confirmed today that the one egg that was retrieved was not mature.  Sadly, we do not have any viable embryos resulting from yesterdays attempt.  However, they did begin to thaw the one embryo from IMs prior May cycle and so far so good.  We will move forward Monday and transfer this one lil "maybe baby" assuming it continues to grow and do well over the next 48 hours.  Our RE will call tomorrow (Sunday) to let us know the status/quality and give us our transfer time for Monday.

Grow Embie Grow!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Fastest Cycle Ever!

Oh my, we are going through this cycle at warp speed!  10 days ago we didn't have dates or a plan and now, due to some new developments, transfer has been moved up nearly a week and is only days away!

IM and I both started meds the first of the month and have been monitored every few days since then.  They were anticipating her retrieval about 2 weeks after the start of stims, but at her appointment Wednesday (day 6) she had three potential follicles; R - 25mm (possible cyst) and 24mm, L - 22mm.  So, the RE decided it was time and she was instructed to trigger with retrieval scheduled for tomorrow (Friday).  Being ahead of schedule presented a potential problem though, my lining may not be at the proper thickness yet.  I went in this morning for u/s and bloodwork with the hope that despite AF just finishing earlier this week and only being on meds a a few days that it may be close enough. Lining is still "thin" but was 6.5-7mm + so no doubt it will be perfectly within desired range (7mm+ per the RE) by transfer which will be either MONDAY or WEDNESDAY !!!  Embryo quantity and quality will determine which day the transfer takes place.  We are all keeping fingers crossed that they are able to retrieve mature eggs from each of IM's follicles and they fertilize and make healthy strong embryos.

I've been on Estrace 3x daily and did Ganirelix injections both Tues and Wed to lengthen my LH phase.  I just did my Pregnyl trigger (new to me this protocol) which will stimulate ovulation since we are using my natural hormones in addition to the synthetic hormone support.  I'll start PIO (progesterone injections) tomorrow.  In the past my protocol has been weeks if not more than a month of meds and this time, it'll be about 12 days total.  Crazy fast.  Totally exciting!  Staying realistic but so very hopeful this is it!



Friday, August 1, 2014

Happy TWINS Day!

Sweet Brothers

Ryan

Mason

Ready, Set, Go!!


I had an appointment for blood work and ultrasound today and just received my instructions to start oral estrace 1x today and tomorrow, 2x Sun/Mon, and 3x Tues and I scheduled a return visit to the RE for monitoring that day.  This is a fast protocol and different from any I've ever been on so even though it's my eighth IVF cycle, it's a little new to me.  So far I've only been given verbal instructions, I'm hoping I can get a printed version of our calendar at Tuesdays appointment to have a better idea of what this protocol includes.

Previously with fresh I have always started a good week or two before IM and once my lining was ready, I coast while she stims and get ready for retrieval.  This RE however has us synced up exactly (she started meds on my CD1) and judging by the medications I was prescribed, I think I may be doing a trigger this time. BOO!!  This totally messes up my HPT obsession since it would introduce artificial hCG into my system.  No early testing? What!?!?

Since this is a fresh cycle, dates are tentative and depend on IM's follicle growth and response to meds.  Cycling can be very hard on the mind and body so please send her ~<~good eggie vibes~>~ and all positive thoughts appreciated.  The RE will determine when it's time to move ahead with the retrieval, which will likely be the second week of August with a transfer to follow 3 to 5 days later.  That puts our tentative transfer window between AUGUST 15th and 20th depending on the quality and status of any resulting embryos.  

That's only a few weeks away!!  So close!!



One final thing ...


My fundraising campaign for Surrogacy Together is coming to a close soon.  Please consider helping this wonderful organization assist couples and individuals looking to become parents via surrogacy.

Thank You!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fast Forward!!

Well, our transfer timeline just got MOVED UP!  We are cycling effective immediately!

Turns out the facility that our RE transfers at is getting a new roof in September during our transfer window and will be CLOSED.  So, our choices were to shoot for an August transfer or push things back a whole additional month from our original timeline and wait till late October.

IM had labs run yesterday to see where her hormone levels are and it was determined that we could start cycling right away.  I was given instructions to stop BCP and come in for bloodwork and ultrasound Friday.  I'll get our calendar and tentative transfer date then.

Wow, we are counting down days NOT weeks till our next attempt at this.  As IM said, hoping this is our final and best round yet.  Fingers crossed!!!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Womb with a View

My last update I left off worried about the possibility of having to do a hysteroscopy to rule out a possible adhesion in my uterus.  After some research I kinda freaked myself out ... I really wasn't looking forward to general anesthesia and what was described as an invasive procedure.  The RE  and my IPs discussed and he advised that we definitely do it because an issue could still be missed on an u/s alone.  He said it could be done in office sans anesthetic because, if there was an issue he didn't plan to correct it.  This was both good news and bad news.  Good news I didn't have to go under and it was going to be "simple", bad news was that if there was an adhesion my journey would be over.  That would be heartbreaking news to us all.  My IPs and I were very anxious awaiting the procedure that would determine our fate.

I went yesterday and I'm very happy to say that everything looked perfect!!  Dr. D said things couldn't look more normal.  In the past I had an RE say my uterus was beautiful, but I was super happy with normal. There wasn't anything to see, and in this case that was the best news ever. Today I saw my OB/Gyn for my annual and she was so surprised I'd done the procedure without anesthetic.  Maybe I have a high pain tolerance? The hysteroscopy itself was very easy (heck my pap today was more uncomfortable) and it was admittedly kinda cool to see the interior view of the womb that's nurtured seven little babies.


So with that bit of news, we are moving forward soon!  Our timeline is for a mid September transfer so it will be time to cycle before we know it!!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New RE - Medical Evaluation

Things are beginning to happen again as we gear up for a second attempt at helping my IPs (GSx3) add to their family.

 While on hold, IM cycled late May with the new RE to create some more embryos for our next try.  The stim and retrieval process was hard on her this time around both physically and mentally.  The new protocol was a bit more aggressive and she was also doing acupuncture in hopes for several mature eggs.  It didn't bring significantly different results but, they do now have one frozen little totsicle for our upcoming transfer.  We will be cycling simultaneously for our next IVF cycle and hoping to have fresh embryos to work with in addition to the one frozen.

I had my first visit and screening with the new RE this past week (Advanced Reproductive Center). Although this office offers monitoring for local surrogates & egg donors working with other clinics, it doesn't do very many surrogacy cases first hand.  The advantage to this office however, it is very personal and we will get a lot of individual attention - much different than the cattle call at the previous clinic.  Dr. Deutch was impressed with my knowledge of the IVF process and my very specific questions regarding his protocol.  I should certainly hope I know what I'm talking about, this will be my eighth IVF cycle!  LOL  I am familiar with all the meds and steps we will be taking and was comfortable with everything he explained.  We did a quick history and physical, bloodwork and an ultrasound. 



Image of an adhesion,
Similar to what we saw on u/s but
more dense here.
He did note "something" in my uterus that he wants to check out further by doing a hysteroscopy (scope w/camera). I've previously only had a saline u/s (sonohystrography/SIS) so this is a little new. He wants to rule out that it's an adhesion or scar tissue. The white line clearly went from the top to the bottom of the fluid pocket that's present in my uterus due to being mid period. I know for certain it wasn't there prior to our last cycle in February, so I'm doubtful that it is scar tissue considering in the last several months I haven't had a D&C or inter-uterine infection. I'm only on CD2 so it could just be dense clotted menstrual blood/fluid.  I'm pretty confident that's all it is and he was leaning towards that as well but, wants to rule it out for sure.

After returning home I did a some more research on the hysterscopy procedure and it's a bit more invasive than I originally thought.  It usually requires general anesthesia in a hospital setting.  It's similar to a D&C minus the curettage part, unless they discover something that needs to be removed and then they'd address that as well.  I am going to advocate that we do another u/s after my period is over to reevaluate.  I'd hate to go through something classified as a surgical procedure that may be unnecessary, causing me discomfort and my IPs additional expenses.  My insurance may not cover what would be considered a procedure to treat an "infertility" issue that has been diagnosed by the RE.

I've shared my concerns with IM and she and the RE will discuss and decide our next step.  Fingers crossed that this will be nothing and we will still be on target for a mid September transfer.




Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fundraising & Event Pictures

A few of my lovely surro-sisters

Tom & Mario
Sara & Zach
Good friends, Becky (L) GSx1 and Daisy (R) GSx1 & EDx5

Daisy, my best friend and fellow surrogate

We have started the 2014 fundraising campaign and invite you to participate.  This year the first 100 people who make a $20 or more contribution will receive a children's book about surrogacy, Sophia's Broken Crayons, to show our appreciation.

You can start your own team, join a team, or make a donation to a team by following this link:


Thanks for participating and for bringing hope to couples like Sara & Zach, Tom & Mario and other's like them that they may one day have a family.

Thanks for your support,
Tiffany and the Surrogacy Together Foundation

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Surrogacy Together - Chicago 2014

Last night a few surro-sisters and I made our way to downtown Chicago for the Midwest Surrogacy Together event. It was great to come together with others in the surrogacy community and to meet two of the wonderful couples the organization is sponsoring this year with their surrogacy journeys.  There were so many stories and experiences shared over cocktails and a photo shoot as well.  I can't wait to see and share pictures taken by the photographer which captured multiple representations of third party reproduction and sentiments about surrogacy.

In attendance at the event were Sara and husband Zach who live in Indiana and also Tom and Mario from Chicago. Both couples are working with Surrogacy Together, and with the love and support of friends and family will hopefully realize their dream of parenthood soon.

For years Sara battled with herself trying to accept a body and diagnosis, Mayer-Rokitansky-K├╝ster-Hauser syndrome, that left her unable to carry children. It was a lonely struggle that she felt too embarrassed to talk about. Finally, she realized she had so much to be thankful for. Although she was born without a uterus, she was still blessed with her ovaries and her health. Sara says her husband Zach has been so amazing and supportive through everything and now they are ready to share their love with a baby. A generous friend come forward and offered to be their surrogate and they are beyond excited to start their family. 

Tom and Mario have been together for a little over nine years and will be getting married in June! As a legal married couple they will be given the privileges and responsibilities of equal parental protection. Tom from Michigan, met Mario from California, while both were studying abroad in Madrid, Spain and are one of the happiest and most delightful couples you will ever meet. Just because they are in a same sex relationship should not mean that they must go through life without a family of their own. Thanks to medical advances, the gift of egg donation and Surrogacy Together they will be able to have biological children! These two hope to be given the opportunity like most heterosexual couples to raise children together and can’t wait to be dads! Tom and Mario were recently matched with a surrogate who is completing the screening process and all are anxious to move forward with their journey.

I'm very proud to be a part of the loving surrogate community that shares my passion for helping couples achieve their dream of a family.  I also couldn't be more excited about working as a Surrogate Consultant for Expect Miracles Surrogacy, the agency who's directors Jon and Christy founded the Surrogacy Together campaign.

Wishing all couples the very best and can't wait to follow along with the journeys that are ahead of you.  


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Summer Fun With The Surrofam

Last night we had a wonderful visit with A&T and Giovanni, my first surrofam.  Great dinner, drinks and conversation as always.

This little guy is growing up so fast!  He and Izzy (our youngest daughter) had fun running around the yard, swinging on the playset, riding bikes and just being silly.  It was a gorgeous day and the kids had hoped for a chance to bring on the slip & slide, but we got distracted by ICE CREAM!  We could all hear the familiar music of the ice cream truck nearby ... it was so close yet so far away. LOL Thanks to IF who chased it down in the neighboring subdivision the kids all got to enjoy a cool treat after their meal.  Yum!

As the night went on we caught up on life and also reminisced a little about the past and how our friendship has evolved.  We went from those first awkward encounters to what now can only be described as extended family.  It's a relationship I feel so blessed to have and have absolutely enjoyed watching Giovanni grow.

We visited into the early morning hours and said our goodbyes until next time ... hopefully we'll make a visit out their way soon and be able to meet up again before long.


Summer has officially begun!!




Thursday, May 22, 2014

Exciting Opportunity!!

I have some personal news that I wanted to share with those that have closely followed my surrogacy journeys.

As many of you know, my passion for surrogacy was instant and I have been so blessed by the experience.  I was recently presented with the opportunity to work directly with Expect Miracles Surrogacy, located in San Diego California, and will be joining them as a Surrogacy Consultant based here in the Midwest!!  I will be helping with the process of educating, screening and qualifying potential surrogates and egg donors.  I am very excited to be a part of this sincere agency that strives to give each surrogacy experience a very personal touch.  

Whether you are a follower here because you have a connection to the surrogacy community, are a personal friend or family member, or were just inspired by my story - I ask that you please keep Expect Miracles Surrogacy and myself in mind if you should know of any potential Intended Parents, Surrogates and/or Egg Donors looking to explore this family building option.

Please don't hesitate emailing me for additional information or visit the newly launched website that is your resource to exploring the amazing experience of being a surrogate.

Email: tiffany@expectmiraclessurrogacy.com





Thursday, April 24, 2014

Make a Wish!!

 I can't believe that the precious "little" guy I helped bring into the world for A&T is turning 4 today!!!  Our family is looking forward to celebrating his birthday alongside their friends and family this weekend.  

Dear Giovanni,

May your birthday be filled with much love & happiness. You're a joy to all who know you and you bring sunshine and magic with each and every smile.  I'm honored to have been trusted with your care before you were placed in your parent's arms and feel blessed to have the opportunity to continue watching you grow into a sweet little boy.  

Happy Birthday!!! 

XOXO,
Miss Tiffany

Birth Story - April 24, 2010


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Our Latest

So I figured it was time for an update.  At this point we are in somewhat of a holding pattern.  Although we were all on board for jumping right back into things and doing another cycle with the new RE, we ran into a little hiccup.  While thinking about our next steps - one afternoon it dawned on me - if we have a successful transfer in June/July we'd have a resulting Feb/March due date that would interfere with my nine year-old daughters gymnastics competition season (early Jan to mid March).  The team travels to six or more meets during the season and due to the travel restrictions outlined in our surrogacy contract (no more than 100+ miles from the hospital or out of state after 30 weeks gestation) I'd be unable to accompany her. This detail would impact us in such a way that she would not be able to participate.  Lauren has worked very hard over the past three years to be on team and now that she is finally there, I just can't deny her the opportunity.

I feel just awful about this as I know my IPs are so very anxious and have a lot invested in this process. I most certainly don't want to be selfish but this is a big deal for our daughter and family.  If there were anyway I could postpone the season - like I could a vacation - I would in a heartbeat, but it's just not an option and obviously out of my control.   I'm so thankful that my IP's have been understanding and are willing to be flexible.  At first we discussed making an exception to my travel for this purpose, but the more I thought about it, I just wasn't comfortable with the potential scenario.  I'd much rather we all be a little disappointed in having to wait then to cause them additional stress and worry as I'm on the road and a good distance from home late in our third trimester.  I can also imagine I wouldn't physically be the most comfortable at that point either and hours in the car, hotel room beds and bleacher seating would be less than welcoming.

IM has discussed with our new RE and the plan is for her to move forward with an egg retrieval and do a "freeze all".  This will give us the chance to see how she responds to the new protocol.  If there are resulting embryos we could potentially transfer, we can freeze and do so come Aug/Sept.  We could also consider doing a fresh cycle together in the fall and use any frozen embryos from the first cycle as back up.  The details will all depend on how well she responds and what there is to work with.

So for now, we are focusing on IM and getting a game plan together for a bit later in the year.  I'm hoping with a busy summer just around the corner time will fly and we will be back on track - with some lovely embryos - very soon.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Visit with the Littles

We made a quick visit to the city this past weekend to visit K&S and the twins.  The boys are getting so big  - can't believe they are 18 months - and they are busy, busy, busy.  

Ryan and Mason are growing out of their baby fat now that they are very mobile and Mason is shooting up and stands a good several inches taller than Ryan.  They only have a couple of words but are able to understand some simple directions and you can tell they are on the verge of developing more language soon.  Both boys are also familiar with a little baby sign as well.  It was fun to watch them play and interact - such a couple of cuties.  Mom and dad said that Ryan has develop a little stranger anxiety but he surprisingly did very well with us, no tears. :)  Both boys didn't have any reservations about letting me hold them and they loved playing with our girls and "sharing" their toys too.

Like everyone else they are ready to get out of this deep freeze.  They recently expanded their yard and everyone is looking forward to enjoying more playtime outdoors and letting these two active toddlers run around in the sunshine.

Mason

Ryan

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fresh Start

Well today marks a fresh start.  I made a final trip to the clinic for some blood work to monitor the hCG in my system and it has gone down to 1.5.  More importantly though, my period has started indicating my body is returning to normal and resetting for another try.

There will likely be a change in our game plan as my IPs are strongly considering changing clinics.  Our care throughout the embryo transfer process was just fine but IM feels that the current RE's "one size fits all" protocol may not be the right approach in regards to her care.  In a situation where there is compromised fertility you want a doctor who is going to proceed with caution but still use the most aggressive protocol possible and she didn't feel that in the past he had.  She's very hopeful that a different doctor may be the key to obtaining more eggs and potentially stronger, healthier embryos.

IM didn't waste any time and scheduled a consult with the new clinic the day following our decreased beta news.  We've requested that our records, including all my previous pregnancy records, be forwarded on to the new RE for his review.  We'll hopefully be scheduling appointments with him soon so we can continue to move forward.

I'll keep everyone posted as we work towards another cycle.   Staying positive!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Heavyhearted


Unfortunately the news following our third beta was not good.  The number has dropped to 13.  This means that at some point since our last blood draw the embryo development arrested and subsequently the hCG hormone in my system began to decline - the pregnancy became non-viable.  I had been mentally preparing myself for this seeing as our numbers were low and slow but nonetheless, this is absolutely disappointing news.

I will stop meds for now and we will hopefully have a new plan in place soon for another try.

Please keep my IPs in your thoughts.  Despite remaining positive, I know this news is difficult for them.




Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rising Slowly

Our beta is going up - 12dp3dt to 14dp3dt it rose from ...

61 
to
102

The clinic wants to see it double every 2-3 days (72 hours or less) so we are within the range with a time of 64.72 hours or 2.7 days.  It's slow and it's low but still rising which is what's important.  The lil bean is just taking it's time getting comfortable I guess.

We will have a repeat on Monday.  Stick baby!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

First Beta

As I shared this morning we had our first of three blood draws today.  The clinic is happy with a number of 25 or higher as confirmation of a positive pregnancy - our number today at 12dp3dt/15dpo is 61.

I'll be honest, I was anticipating a higher number seeing as we had the faintest positive nearly a week ago already.  However, it's not so much about the number as it is the doubling time so, we wait for the repeat labs which will be either Thursday or Friday and keep fingers crossed we see a nice increase.

Grow bean grow!!


Line'em Up

Beta was this morning and we are anticipating a positive as proof by the many HPTs I've taken over the course of the last few days.  The very first test gave us just a hint of a line (6.5dp3dt/9.5dpo - Wednesday PM) and as you can see they've become darker and darker as the hCG levels rise.

An early positive.
Looking pretty.
Clear as day.
Just before beta. :)

The digital HPT was taken on Sunday (10dp3dt/13dpo) and the 1-2 is the "weeks estimator" gauging that the current hCG level indicates that ovulation occurred 1-2 weeks ago. For all intents and purposes the case still remains true in our IVF situation, as our "ovulation date" would have been 3 days prior to the transfer. I however can't help but look at it as the test telling us there may be 1 or 2 babies??? LOL That question will remain unanswered until the ultrasound, which assuming all continues to go well is a couple weeks away yet.

Keep us in your thoughts as we begin the roller-coaster of the first trimester. We are cautiously excited and praying the lil bean(s) stick around. We still have a long way to go and staying positive that we have a healthy pregnancy.  Coming soon, beta numbers!

To be continued ....


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Care Package

I received a little care package from IM today.  I think she's anticipating that I will test before our BETA. These 14 should get us off to a good start. LOL

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Transfer Day!!

We have transferred two 3-day embryos in hopes that at least one of them sticks around until what would be a very late fall due date.  The little "maybe-babies" both survived the thaw and were given a thumbs up rating by the RE and embryologist. 

Jason and I joined my IPs for breakfast prior to arriving at the clinic.  I'm always so grateful for these opportunities. I often explain to people - that question my connection to the baby - that my connection to my IPs is far stronger than any I develop with the child I carry for them.  It's time spent getting to know them and their dreams of a family that I hold most dear during the process.  Of course we all have the same goal in mind which makes it easy to connect but I've been so very lucky to work with some absolutely wonderful couples that I can now call friends.  I feel no differently this time around.  I'm glad we fit this visit in because the transfer that followed was over in the blink of an eye!

The expression "time stood still" most certainly did not apply to our transfer.  Draped in a hospital gown I was hastily scooted into a dim room where my IPs were seated in a tiny corner by the head of the bed.  I plopped my backside down, then had my knees guided into stirrups as a cold ultrasound wand placed on my abdomen offered us a view to the transfer that was about to take place.  We got a quick glimpse of the embryos blown up in size on the overhead screen as they were readied by the embryologist and then -seconds later we got confirmation on the ultrasound screen that the embryos reached their destination by a visible small white "starburst" in my uterus.  The catheter was checked to be sure both embryos were cleared and then off I went to relieve my very full bladder.  All this happened in a matter of maybe 10 minutes.  



This was my 7th IVF transfer so I was accustomed to the procedure but for my IPs it was all so very surreal. They were filled with anxiety and excitement and hopeful that this brief moment in time could change their lives forever.  It all happened so quickly there wasn't really much time to experience the emotions we were all feeling, but it all went perfectly and that's what matters.  
  
So now we patiently wait!  IM and I will likely be in touch daily until bloodwork is drawn 12 days post transfer.  I always start off this wait cautiously optimistic but as we get closer and closer to the testing window I become a ball full of excitement and nerves.  I know my IPs are beyond anxious and these next few days can't go fast enough! 


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Transferring Soon!

We are almost there, just a few short days until we transfer.

Things are going really well with this cycle.  I've had three visits to the fertility clinic over the last few weeks as they monitor my response to medications.  More than two weeks out from transfer my lining was measuring 9.2 mm already (9.0 or above is ideal for transfer) and at my final check last Friday it was a fluffy 13.3 mm.  On Saturday I began the progesterone protocol which means daily inter-muscular injections in the upper outer quadrant of the buttocks area.  I honestly have no problem with these as I have plenty of cushion there, but they do leave your backside a little sore and sleeping on your side a bit uncomfortable.  If we have a positive result I'll remain on these, as well as additional estrogen, until we are 10-12 weeks pregnant at which time the placenta is producing enough hormones to stop the synthetic ones.

As transfer day approaches the anticipation increases.  We are hopeful that both of the embryos thaw nicely and praying for the best uterine conditions possible.  This is my seventh IVF cycle and I've followed countless surro-friends through the process and one thing I've learned is that it is all kind of a crap shoot.  The most beautiful embryos sometimes won't take and the questionable ones will.  It's always a good approach to keep expectations in check,  maintain a positive attitude, and remember - it only takes ONE!

I'm anxiously awaiting the opportunity to introduce you all to the wonderful couple that is the other half of this journey so successfully becoming pregnant can't come soon enough!  Keep us in your thoughts!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Contracts Done, Cycling Has Begun

Things came together quickly and we are moving forward full steam ahead with the new journey.

After Jason and I got our med clearance it was immediately onto contracts.  We were able to work out the details within a couple of weeks time but not without a few revisions and compromises - which is to be expected when negotiating something so complex.  We made it just under the wire, legal was due to the clinic by 4:30 PM on Friday the 17th in order for me to start my med protocol the next Monday.  The final changes were approved just after 4:00 PM and Jason and I were signing our copy of the documents to be faxed minutes before the deadline.  It was a little intense.

We've also run into some challenges when it comes to verifying that I can use the maternity benefits under my insurance policy to cover a surrogate pregnancy.  You'd think that they would simply be able to tell you "yes" or "no" but as with most things related to insurance, that's not so easy and getting it in writing is near impossible.  We finally were able to get documentation that will hopefully satisfy the requirement, but it was not without a lot of hassle and headache.

Meds began on Monday and all is well so far.  I am experiencing some headaches from the Lupron but they usually don't come until late evening and at that time I just head to bed and sleep them off.  My first monitoring appointment is this upcoming Wednesday which is for a baseline u/s and bloodwork.  If all looks good we will continue to move forward with the protocol.

Ryan (left) & Mason (right) - One year photos
On a side note. Today marks two years since two little embryos were lovingly transferred to me for safe keeping.  Can't believe that much time has passed by already and that they are 16 months old now.  Many hugs to my sweet surroguys Ryan and Mason.  XOXO

Tiffany