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.

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



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!!!