Monday, December 30, 2013

I know a secret....

...and I won't tell it :)  But Carrie will shortly!

Friday, November 22, 2013

15 weeks and growing right along....

Just thought I'd pop on to say HI!  We've hit 15 weeks (officially yesterday) and all seems to be going well!  No emergency trips to the doctor & no more spotting, so I think we're over the hump :)

Our next appointment is scheduled at 16 weeks.  No u/s planned, just vitals and blood work, but our 20w is set for 12/30 :)  We will know at that time whether they are having a he or a she!!!  Any guesses????

Saturday, November 9, 2013

12 Week Check-Up and Ultrasound

Last Monday we had our 12 week check-up, with a nice, long ultrasound.  Here are some peaks:

Profile: we could see baby "swallowing," or at least opening and closing its mouth!  I think this picture makes baby look like it is blowing bubbles, but really that is the umbilical cord.
Baby turned to look straight at us.  Yikes!  Looking a little alien-like here.

The 4-D pictures taken weren't as good as the ones from the previous two weeks, mainly because this was the first belly ultrasound!  Doctor said everything looked good, baby measured 12 weeks 1 day, which was actually 3 days behind, but is no concern due to growth spurts.

Here we are! 12 Weeks, 4 Days

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Baby Belly

We've officially hit 12 weeks tomorrow!  AND, I felt some very distinct baby "kicks" today too :)


10w5d - a self portrait while resting on the couch (in my jammies) after my trip to the ER the prior Saturday

In an upright position at the same day, the belly just doesn't look quite as big as the earlier shot!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ultrasound Pics, Weeks 10 and 11

Well, because we went to the emergency room, we had a follow-up with our regular OB-GYN the following Monday.  This was at 10 weeks, 4 days:

This is the most precious ultrasound picture ever!  Our ultrasound tech, Angie, switched the view over to 4D and I was not expecting it!  It looks like it's just rubbing its face after a nap, though I knew by watching the ultrasound that baby was in fact bouncing all over the place; its arms going  back and forth like a little boxer.
This last Monday we went again.  Jenn had some increased spotting Monday morning, after it had stopped for awhile.  So, I got another peek (these are 11 weeks, 4 days):

Not quite as cute as the 10 week picture!  It's because now the bones are really ossifying and are much more visible than at 10 weeks- where the baby's "bones" are mostly cartilidge.  Dr. said everything looks good, and there are many reasons at this point as to why there is spotting.  Personally, I think it's because baby is growing so fast!  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

And I thought this day was over... Another surprise from God

This is a comment from my last blog post:

My name is Marty and I am a stage 4 cancer patient who is very weak. I prayed this morning when I awoke for some way to serve God. Not long after this prayer we got a phone call with the desperate plea for prayer from a valued friend for her unborn child as well as the life of their surrogate. It is amazing to me how true it is when the Apostle Paul says: "Where I am weak He is strong". God shows his strength through weak people and I will tell you that I have a hard time even walking anymore; however when we got this call I knew that this was the answer to MY prayer on serving though my weakness. I can't do much...but I can gather my family and lead a prayer in faith for a friend. We found out later that the baby is good and healthy. THIS DAY ALL glory to GOD for using a weakened vessel to bring glory to HIS name. AMEN

Thank you so much sweet Marty.  You don't realize how awesome you are and how many people have been affected by your great spirit and your mighty fight.  You may feel weak, but your spirit is strong!

It was a .... day

It was a lucky day.
I woke up this morning and went to Kohl's.  I got a great parking space, the third space in the row by one of the doors.  I tried on five tops, and one after another they fit (!) perfectly and were just what I needed.
I bought the most delicious grilled cheese with tomato basil soup.  I put it aside to eat it after I make my awesome pick up of three vanity lights that I found on Woodlands Online.  I'm still pretty sure I paid just a third of what they were worth.  Next to the house where I made the pick up, they were having a garage sale. And what?  Only baby stuff left?  I scored a sweet deal on a diaper genie.  I was so excited, this was my first official baby purchase.

Then Jenn called me.

It was a terrifying day.
She said she had some "disconcerting news."  Her and Michael were on their way to the ER.  She was bleeding bright red blood.  I made it home and sobbed in my car.  I froze.  My neighbor Stacey came over to help me.  I couldn't stop crying and kept thinking "things aren't supposed to be happening like this!"  I was just certain it was a miscarriage.  I had already played the scenario in my head.  Marc got home and we met Jenn and Michael in the Emergency Room.  I know I must have looked panicked.  Marc and I went out into the hall while Jenn changed into a hospital gown.  I was crying again.  Talking helped.  Soon, I went with Jenn to the ultrasound room.

It was a miraculous day.
The ultrasound revealed that baby was fine.  He/ she moved.  I was relieved.  We could see the heart flutter, and this time a flutter at the umbilical cord.  Baby was healthy, growing.  It had been five days since our last ultrasound and this time a spinal cord was evident.  I swear he (she) was sucking its thumb.
Marc and I left soon after.  The doctor said everything looked good, and we will be going to our regular OB on Monday to follow up.

It was a blessed day.
Any day, things can change in an instant.  We have no idea how fragile life is, and how abundantly blessed each and every one of us is.  Our God is holding our lives in His hands.  I don't want to ever forget this.  He blesses us in small ways, like my finding a diaper genie (!), but above all, he blesses us in large ways, like sustaining and growing the life of a tiny baby in the womb.  I want to have a grateful heart... toward God, toward our surrogate Jenn, toward my friends who prayed, and toward the nurses who helped us.  Toward my husband who calmed me, and to my neighbor for being there.  I want to be grateful to the God who fills me... with joy and peace, so that I may overflow with hope.

My friend Karen sent this to me today:
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  Romans 15:13

Monday, October 14, 2013

First OB Appointment!

Baby R looked perfect with a heartbeat of 188 and measuring at 9w3d (we are officially 9w4d today).  We visited with the NP since Dr R was out of town, and everything is perfect!  

Our next appointment is a loooooooooooooong 3 weeks away.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Our Story in Facebook Messages and Texts

The Beginning

Aug. 17, the weekend before egg retrieval and I was feeling very nervous about the process!

Aug. 20, Trigger Shot, Finally!

Aug. 21, Day After Trigger Shot:

Aug. 21, The Day Before Egg Retrieval

Aug. 22, Retrieval Day

Aug. 26, The Day Before Transfer Day

Aug. 27, Transfer Day!

Sept. 3, Waiting for First Beta

Still waiting for first beta, not seeing much on the home pregnancy tests

Sept. 5, Results of First Beta Test

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ultrasound #3- 8 Weeks!

Well, we have officially graduated from HIVF (with honors), as baby is looking very good.  He/ she measures 7 weeks 5 days, and has a healthy heartbeat of 170.

It actually looks like a baby!  It was moving around like crazy and it's little heart could clearly be seen pumping!  

Development-wise:  Baby's looking a lot less reptilian than before, it no longer has a tail, but hands and feet are still a little webbed.  It's the size of a large raspberry, and has been growing a millimeter every day.  Taste buds formed this week, along with eyelids, nose, and upper lip.  Kidneys, liver, and stomach have begun to take shape, and the aortic and pulmonary valves are present, giving its heart two chambers.

As part of my Fall decorating: here we are with our little pumpkin!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ultrasound #2

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

So the results of the long-awaited ultrasound #2 were in on Thursday (now three days ago, so I'm sorry this is late).  The baby has a strong heartbeat, Dr. Hickman said everything looked good as far as size, of the baby, of the yolk sac, of everything.  He (she) has a heartbeat of 127 beats per minute, which is very good for this stage.  Baby measures 6 weeks, 5 days, though we are at 7 weeks- but this is perfectly normal as well.  The baby is now twice as big as last week, last week the size of a green pea, this week the size of a blueberry!

Marc and I were very nervous about this appointment.  We didn't even talk much on the way, or the night before.  We knew that if there was no heartbeat, that could be a very bad sign.  There was a huge sigh of relief when the Dr. told us there was a heartbeat, and it was the first thing he told us!

Dr. Hickman let us listen to the heart- which was amazing!  Amazing doesn't even begin to explain the feeling I had, as I was in tears listening to that little heartbeat.  In Greek there is a better word to describe this feeling than "amazing," and I learned about this while I was working on my Bible study the morning of the ultrasound:

In the Book of Acts, when Paul left for his first missionary journey, he landed on the island of Cyprus.  There was a sorcerer who was employed by the governor of the province he was in.  The sorcerer was hindering the faith of the governor, and, as his first miracle, Paul blinded the sorcerer.  In Acts 13:12, it says, "when the (governor) saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord."  The Greek translation for "amazed" means "to knock one out of his senses."

Oh, how we have been "knocked out of our senses" by the work of God!!

Baby's development at seven weeks:

The liver is producing red blood cells until later when the bone marrow will form and take over this role.  Body parts are becoming more specialized, such as the heart and brain.  Even at this early stage, baby has an appendix and a pancreas.  Tooth buds, a palate and a tongue are forming.  Ears are continuing to develop and the baby now has eyelids!  Skin is very thin, and organs can be seen through it.

A closer look at 7 weeks:

Monday, September 23, 2013

Excuse me for just a moment...

....but I feel the need to detour for just 1 post from our regularly posted updates.  I feel the need to state the obvious, vent just a little bit, and then I will return you to our regularly scheduled program :)

I have been seriously bothered by a recent blog post I read.  Its really been bugging me.  And while this is my "diary" and I have spent countless minutes posting complaints and sob stories, I have always done my very best to keep this blog focused where it should be....on all of the positive experiences that surrogacy has brought to my life, of the blessings I have felt, of the miracles I have witnessed time & time again.  I don't claim to be perfect, but I do hope that my attitude has always been one of humble thanks.

Anyway, back to the blog post....when I read it, I was left sickened.  The particular post was one from a fellow surrogate, not anyone I know or am familiar with, but one that my current IM Carrie led me to.  Its a blog she has been following, and she simply inquired as to whether or not I happened to know this particular woman.  Her name didn't ring a bell, but I glanced at some of her recent posts, then decided to close my browser.  You see, one of her posts struck a terrible nerve with me, filled with lots of profanity (masked in symbols and letters).  Profanity is what it is, lots of 4 letter words that I choose not to use in my daily life.  My mother always told me that profanity was a sign of ignorance; that it was someone's lack of ability to express themselves with anything other than a simple 4-letter word.  I'm not judging someone by their vocabulary, but to me, posting something of that nature on the internet, where it will be forever read and seen (even if deleted later), isn't a very good idea, and is a poor reflection of someone's character.  And further, the idea that my IM has been following her blog, and read her tirade, has just upset me all the more.

You see, I am a surrogate mother.  I have carried 3 precious miracles of my own and have experienced everything that motherhood entails.  I have been blessed beyond measure to carry 1 little miracle for Allison, sweet little Emma, 1 beautiful little miracle for M&A, Alexandra, and now another little miracle baby for my current IP's Carrie & Marc.  My road hasn't always been easy, my last pregnancy landed me on the OR table having a c-section, and my path has been filled with allot of ups & downs.  But, through every little valley, I have always given thanks for the road I have walked.  I have always attempted to redirect my complaining to the gratitude of being able to do what I have done for the families God has placed in my life.  The little inconveniences I experience to get to where I am, they are just little inconveniences, blips of time that pass, ending in such an amazing joyful moment, no words can describe it.

Sometimes things just stink - reactions to shots, nausea, vomiting, aches & pains - in my book, all worth every single second.  Its not fun and definitely not all daisies & roses when I'm in the big middle of it, but it is something I chose to deal with.  I knew full-well what I was in for for the most part!  I didn't blindly sign a consent form and then say "Wait a minute!  You didn't tell me A, B & C!!!  This sucks, and I'm done!!!!"  There have been allot of things I was clueless about, but when I reached those moments, I had to stop & think....what would my IM give to be in my shoes at this very moment?  Likely just about anything!!!  Its not about me, it's about my IP's and their undeniable desire to become parents.  Its about me, giving of myself for a short span of time, to bless someone else with a gift no words can explain.  To get to the end game of giving back what they have asked me to care for for a brief 9 months.  Its also not about me being anyones hero or tooting my own horn, but about my desire to simply bless someone.

To know that my beautiful, kind-hearted, sweet IM had to read the tirade of a hormonal woman upset about the discomfort she's experiencing at this time upset me.  I can completely relate to the frustration and discomfort, 150%, but I just feel sorry for her.  For the fact that she took the time to post such an ungrateful post, and for my IM to have read it, just makes me wonder what her IP's must be feeling?  I, for one, know many MANY ladies that would give their right & left arms to experience every single ache & pain & discomfort to carry their own child, and yet this GS went off saying she couldn't do it for 5 or 6 more weeks.

Um, excuse me, have you lost sight so easily of the end-game?

Ok, I'm done....

Carrie & Marc, M&A, and Allison, you guys will never know how very grateful I am to you.  Your ability to trust me, a total stranger for the most part, to care for your precious off-spring, brings me to my knees time & again.  I am and will forever be blessed by the friendships we have formed, and for the life-long relationships we will have.  I wanted you to know that I truly appreciate each of you.  You are loved!!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Six Week Ultrasound!

"With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26

Well, we got very good news at the ultrasound: we have a perfect, little bean growing.  We were all nervous, but I think we all knew that there would be one little guy in there with all the nausea Jenn's been having and all the positive pregnancy tests! The doctor didn't know these things, and all he had was our three low betas (9.8, 26.9, and 84.6).  He slipped the words "I'm shocked" (Jenn and Marc heard it!) when he found the baby on the ultrasound, and it did take him awhile to find it!  Here is our little bean:

It measures 5 weeks 6 days, give or take a couple of days, so it has caught up and is right on the mark as far as development.  Dr. Hickman measured the fetal pole (which really just shows it has a head and a tail).  The darker spot above the "bean" is the yolk sac.

So I needed more information about what the low beta numbers meant: did the blast attach late, did it attach on time and just develop slowly?  He said it attached when it should have, but didn't start making the placental cells as rapidly as others do, and there really wasn't an answer to why.  I asked him what the statistics were as far as such a slow-starter developing into a full-term baby... are we talking 1 in 10, 1 in 100?  He said that if this becomes a full-term pregnancy, we would be the first in HIVF history starting with a beta under 10 (he's had one survive at a beta of 10).  That is 1 in 24,000!  This is the information I felt was completely overwhelming!!!  If things go well with this baby, if we make it, this would truly be a miracle baby!!

Jenn had bloodwork done, everything looks good, and HcG is very good at 2,493!

As far as baby's development goes: Wow!  A lot has been happening in the weeks between three and four; some would say the most in the baby's entire development!  Now it is the size of a sweet pea.

It has developed leg buds and arm buds, a lower and upper jaw, and eye spot, nose spots, and a heart bulge.  It has a very primitive circulatory system and blood is pumping!  It still has a yolk sac that it is dependent on for nutrients, as the umbilical cord is not yet complete.

Here is a closer look:

Much cuter than last week!!

A friend shared with me this video:

This is the most realistic depiction I have seen!
Here is a screen shot of a 32-day baby, three days away from today:

It looks like an alien, and not nearly as cute as the cartoonish pic above.  The two circles just below the headlike structure is the heart developing, and you can really see the upper and lower jaws.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

'Twas the Night Before Ultrasound....

....and I am still peeing on tests :)  

This one is a video that you should watch :)  For those that aren't pee-a-holics (or surrogates), this might be something you've never seen!  The 1st dark line to appear is the "positive" marker, and the 2nd, much lighter line is the "control".  Its always awesome to see the positive show up before the control!!!

And this Bag-O-Pee-Sticks would be my collection since 3dp5dt.  Marc & Michael both say I could make a small fortune selling the positives on Craigslist, LOL :-D

Our u/s appointment is scheduled for tomorrow @ 11:30, and I'm hoping that Carrie or I (or maybe Carrie AND I) will be posting some really good news.  Prayers are appreciated!