Ba da bing ba da boom!

Remember a few weeks ago when things were taking forever and I was writing post that barely had any updates to them? Yeah, well now things are moving so quickly I haven’t been able to keep up, which is great!

I had to go back and look where I left off last time because we’ve had so much going on in just the last week. Last Friday the husband and I had our first psych evaluation. It was basically just her reading back her previous report from 2 years ago, making sure it was all still correct and making some updates. I think my husband said literally 2 words…actually I think it was the same word twice haha!

A and O had already had their meeting the day before so all we needed to do for psych clearance was do the group session. Her assistant was Johnny on the spot with getting it scheduled and we were able to do it Tuesday afternoon. Also kudos to the IFs for responding to her emails so quickly that we were able to make the appointment before the end of business on Friday since Monday was a US holiday.

We completed the group session with no hiccups. I honestly hate those appointments because I get put on the spot with having to answer a question that I have literally never given a thought to. She asked what went well in my last journey and what would I have liked to change or what would I like to do differently. Um…I don’t know. Most of the things that changed were things that my previous IFs did or didn’t do that I didn’t even realize I had a preference on. Most of the things that “changed” were just matching preferences because I didn’t realized I had a preference before. So I answered like that, but then she asked for more detail about the pregnancy and stuff and I started rambling like I do sometimes LOL I was going on about how I like that they trusted me enough to not micromanage me because I’m pretty independent and obviously know how to grow babies (smacks head, no shit). Then I tried to backtrack saying that I always welcome parent involvement however/whenever they want (which I absolutely do) and that I certainly don’t get a micromanage vibes from them so I’m sure we’ll be just fine. Overall I hated my answer and like I do, replayed about a hundred better ways I could have handled that LOL I do no do well thinking on my feet like that. I need to process the question and think about an answer otherwise I ramble out some nonsense. Oh-well I guess, I haven’t gotten an email saying that they want to back out so I think we’re okay haha!

On Wednesday I emailed the fertility clinic to let them know that is was CD (cycle day) 1. Medical screening appointments are almost always scheduled on certain cycle days so I wanted to make sure we didn’t miss this month’s window and have to wait until next month. I didn’t hear back that day so I sent an email to another contact at the clinic because, again, I didn’t want to miss this cycle’s window. The coordinator at the clinic called me yesterday and we were able to get the medical screening appointment set up for next Tuesday. So in a week and a half we’re going to have had all 3 psych appointments and the medical screening appointment. It’s going to be great to have all this checked off the list.

The medical screening appointments always make me a little nervous. A lot of what ifs run through my head until the clearance comes through (around 2 weeks after the appointment). What if there’s something going on in my uterus I didn’t know about? GCs had polyps found all the time during screening and have to have them removed before they move forward. My thyroid levels are always on the back of my mind because I’ve always been told I have a large thyroid. Every doctor I’ve ever seen comments on it (thanks for that insecurity everyone). I’ve had tests run, ultrasounds on it, and the like, but it’s always been just fine. I mean the tested it with this last surrogacy and my numbers weren’t wonky. There’s just always the worry that something has changed and I just don’t know about it yet. I will be more than happy when the appointment is over and the final blood test results are in. I’m choosing to be optimistic that everything will be just fine.

Upside to this go around is that the clinic is only a 40min flight from here so I can fly up in the morning and home in the afternoon. This makes it much easier on my husband with kids needing to be dropped off and picked up. Other upsides is that it saves IFs some money because I don’t need a hotel and I was able to schedule it on a day I already have off so no lost wages to cover, just a small amount for an extra day of daycare for one kid. My oldest is still in school for a bit longer so we don’t have to have childcare for him.

If all goes well we should be able to start legal before the end of June. I’m thinking September is a more realistic goal for a transfer which would be fine. There’s never going to be a perfect time to be due and when we (the husband and I) decided to start this journey earlier than we originally planned we knew that we may have to rearrange plans or not be able to do everything we normally do. We’ll just wait and see how it plays out. If they make me do a mock cycle (which I personally think are dumb, for lack of a more politically correct term) then it will push it back further. There’s no use in planning everything out because there will be changes and set backs and you just have to roll with them.

I’m excited to have things moving along so quickly and hopefully they continue to do so. Fingers crossed for on time flights and a smooth appointment on Tuesday!

Happy Weekend!

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1st Psych Eval Scheduled

The counselor’s office contacted me via email yesterday and I was able to set up the first evaluation appointment for Friday morning. This appointment is done via Skype and is just the hubs and I. The next one will be all four of us. I was right in thinking this is the same person who did the eval last time. She personally sent me a quick note to say that since I did an eval 2 years ago that this appointment should just be about 15 minutes as we just need to update my previous record. Luckily the hubs and I both already took Friday off because we’re leaving for the coast that day so we don’t have to take any extra time off work for this appointment.

I’ve been trying to get an answer as to whether the fertility clinic requires psych clearance to be completed before they will schedule for the medical clearance, but my case manager hasn’t gotten an answer from them yet. I went ahead and emailed them myself using the email on their website. I doubt I’ll get an answer any faster than our CM, but it’s not going to hurt so why not. I don’t have a problem being proactive in getting things done, at least in the surrogacy process.

In other news I’ve been emailing back and forth with A and O getting to know them a bit which has been great. One thing I like about the agency we’re with is that they give our email addresses right after matching so IPs and GCs can start working on building a relationship right away. Other agencies make you communicate through them until after medical clearance or even after contracts. That would be so awkward! Every time you wanted to send IPs an email you would have to email it to the case manager who would then read it and forward it to IPs. Um…no thanks LOL I’m an adult and don’t need anyone screening my emails.

The agency also conducted a review of my insurance to see if it will cover a surrogate pregnancy. Apparently they have a “clear exclusion” which I though was interesting considering this is the same insurance plan that covered my previous surro pregnancy unprompted. IFs had purchased a surro friendly plan through the same company I have my regular insurance. The pregnancy stuff was only billed to the surro friendly plan. A few months in we got notice that my regular insurance was picking up a bunch of the bills. Since they were both through the same company they had caught that I had two insurances with them and both of them paid on the bills…who knows, insurance here is confusing AF. Since they already thought IFs would need to purchase a new plan for me my insurance coming up with an exclusion doesn’t mean anything in terms of moving forward. It was more just me trying to help out IFs to save them a little bit of $.

Next update when I have more info!

Guess What’s Happening Friday!

I haven’t mentioned that we started a new cycle yet because I didn’t want to jinx us LOL

My last update left off with me taking medication to induce more bleeding to thin my endometrial lining some more. I took the last dose on a Friday evening. It was supposed to take 5-7 days to have more bleeding. By Monday I had started spotting. Tuesday there was more, heavier spotting. I thought for sure I’d wake up Wednesday to a regular period. Wrong, it completely stopped. I was so disappointed and frustrated. I figured the 5-7 days hadn’t passed yet so I’d just have to wait.

Thursday afternoon I decided to update my nurse coordinator at the clinic. She wrote back about 5pm that the heavy spotting I had could be all the bleeding I would have and the only way to know would be to go in for an ultrasound the next morning to see. She let me know that if we decided to start it would put me at a transfer date of 12/22 and wanted to know if we could make that work. I was absolutely shocked that transferring before Christmas was even was an option. I had just assumed that the earliest it would be was the end of December/beginning of January. Nope!

I of course said we could make it work and after some stressful back and forth with the imaging place and the fertility clinic between 5:15-5:45 I got scheduled for an ultrasound Friday morning.

Friday morning I went in and my lining was 4.6mm. That’s kind of borderline for going forward. Some clinics want under 5mm some under 4mm so I just had to wait. I got an email in the later afternoon saying that we were okay to move forward.

On Friday I had woken up to an email from B & R as we typically email at least once a week. This one mentioned that B is taking a trip to visit family for Christmas and was leaving on 12/21. I didn’t reply right away because I knew they had wanted to attend the transfer and obviously the timing would throw a wrench in their plans. I didn’t want to stress them out or worry then unnecessarily if we didn’t get the green light to go ahead. Once I got the green light I sent them an email and let them know what had transpired. The problem is by the time I get the results it’s the middle of the night for them so they have to wait until morning to get any new information. I let them know that we were more than happy to make the 12/22 date work, but if they really wanted to attend we could wait and do a cycle in January. I only wanted to go with 12/22 if they wanted to. They emailed me back later saying that they’d love to go with the 12/22 date if we were okay with then not being there. Its a bummer they’ll miss it, but none of us want to wait unless we have to.

I had another ultrasound on 12/12 to make sure my lining was increasing and it measured 10.6mm (it went up 6mm in 4 days!) I was a little worried it was moving too fast, but the clinic said it looked great. My last ultrasound was on 12/15 and my lining had gone down to 9mm. I thought for sure we’d have to cancel the cycle since it had dropped, but I also knew that usually they only want it above 7 or 8mm so it was still good from that standpoint. I worried all day, but got an email around 3pm saying everything looked great and we were good to go with the transfer (pending a blood test on 12/19) on Friday!!

Last night was the last injection of Lupron

In a bit when we get home it will be time to start progesterone injections. These are ones that go in my backside 😏 wish me luck!!

Slightly Intimidating

My box of medications arrived today. I knew there were a lot and that there would be a huge stash of syringes, but when the box showed up at the office today the size of it was still slightly intimidating 😲

After unloading it it’s actually less medication than I thought, the syringes took up half the box by themselves.

Injections start Saturday, wish me luck!

Transfer is Scheduled!

This is going to be lengthy so if you’re looking for the short version here you go:

Our embryo transfer is scheduled for December 14 at 11:45am!!

Now here’s the long version….

After we signed our contracts on Wednesday Nov. 1st, a form stating that we now have legal clearance was sent to the fertility clinic. I knew it would likely take a few days to hear from them and get the ball rolling with a medication schedule. I still hadn’t heard anything by Monday so in the afternoon I emailed the assistant I had previously been in contact with. She said that she had not received the clearance yet and when they did a new contact would email me. I wanted to get things going so I had S & R’s lawyer send the clearance directly to the assistant.

So Tuesday I still hadn’t heard anything so I emailed the new contact person to make sure she got the clearance. She emailed me back rather quickly with some questions. I emailed her right back then silence. After another email she replied. As the day went on it seemed like she only ever responded to every other email. It was weird and obnoxious.

The other really obnoxious thing is that there is apparently no communication between the staff at the clinic. They either don’t make notes about conversations with patients or they don’t read them. This has been the case since I first started working with them.
Back in August when I went down there for medical screening the assistant told me afterwards to stay only on active birth control pills (BCPs) so that once we had legal clearance we could start the cycle whenever we wanted. Fast forward to my conversation last week with the newest contact (who is the 4th person I’ve had as a “case manager” there) she is acting like I’m supposed to have been taking BCPs as normal including the placebo pills so that I’m still regularly getting my period. She then goes silent for awhile until I email her again asking her if I’m supposed to be stopping BCPs or staying on them. She finally gets back to me saying that the doctor now wants me to do a mock cycle so we can see how my endometrial lining (uterine lining) responds to the IVF meds. Basically you do all the work of a regular cycle, meds, blood draws, and ultrasounds, but you don’t do an embryo transfer at the end.

Now, when I was there in August the doctor who did my screening said that a mock cycle wouldn’t be necessary because my lining looked good that day. You can imagine my frustration that the other doctor in the practice (the owner as well) comes back several months later when we’re ready to transfer saying we need a mock cycle. Not only that, but as much as I can tell it’s only because I’ve been on active BCPs for so long PER THEIR INSTRUCTIONS!

So case manager #4 tells me that case manager #5 will be in contact soon to set up the mock cycle…grrrr

I hadn’t heard from #5 by the next afternoon (Thursday) so I emailed her to see if I should be staying on BCPs or not. I wanted to get this all sorted out before the weekend. She got back to me saying she was “just going to contact me” yeah, right…She asked me a few question about my schedule this month which I answered right away.

Out of the blue later she sent me an email that since we already have contracts done we’re going to go ahead and just proceed with a regular IVF cycle and as long as all my test results look good we can go ahead and transfer at the end of the cycle. Wait, what?? I was so confused, but so happy that we’d still be able to transfer next month. I don’t know what went on at the clinic to warrant the change or if my case manager at the agency said something that changed their minds. Whatever happened, I’m just so glad that we have a chance of being able to transfer next month.

#5 referred me back to #4 and I was completely prepared to have to wait until after the weekend to get a med schedule, but surprisingly #4 emailed me on Friday evening with a schedule from here until the anticipated date of 12/14.

I have my first blood draw tomorrow morning and I start injections in 1 week! I can’t believe we’re actually starting to prepare for a transfer. It’s no longer some way out there vague goal, it’s actually here! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. There’s a lot of pressure for my body to do what it’s supposed to, especially since now we’re skipping the mock cycle. While I had no desire to do one, I’m stressed that they thought I needed one and now we’re not doing it. I just keep telling myself that this is just like a mock cycle except with the option to transfer at the end LOL

So keep all your fingers crossed and send lots of good vibes that everything goes like it should and we can transfer one beautiful girl embryo next month…oh did I not mention that R & B have decided that they want to transfer a girl? Isn’t it crazy that they can decide?

All right, let’s do this!

 

Officially Medically Cleared!

I just realized that I never wrote a post about getting my medical clearance… oops!! Last Monday I emailed my nurse at the clinic to see if I was okay to donate blood or if I should wait. I got an automatic reply that said she was out of the office until the next day. Fairly early on Tuesday she sent me an email letting me know that I could go ahead and donate and that they had received my medical clearance!!! Woohoo! It was such a weight off my shoulders to read that! I’ve been worried that something would show up on the blood work and I wouldn’t be able to continue. Fortunately everything looked good!

So now that’s behind me and we’re moving onto the legal/contract stage. While we’re in this phase B & R are going to plan a visit to Bend to meet all of us in person! I’m so excited to meet them face to face. They’re going to be coming up with some dates that work for them and we’ll see which ones work for us.

I have selected a lawyer to represent me in the contract process. I spoke with him on the phone last Friday and he seemed like a really nice guy who will make sure I get a contract I’m comfortable with. For those who don’t know it’s very important that the GC (gestational carrier) have a lawyer separate from that of the IPs. It’s to make sure that her interests are represented and that the agreement does not take advantage of the GC. This lawyer is paid for by the IPs, but they are not the client. Last week I spoke with K (case manager at my agency) about a few contract points just to make sure that we’re all on the same page before the contract is drafted. I thought that might help minimize the back and forth with the contract. I don’t really foresee us running into any issues that will make this process longer just because we had to talk about the major things (how many embryos to transfer, termination, IP involvement, etc) before we matched and again during the psych screening. Also the compensation is set by the agency as long as other fees so there’s not really anything to negotiate there. I think it will mostly be clarification in language and that kind of thing.

I’m hoping we can get this busted out by October so I can get on meds and transfer before November 10th. If we can’t, I’ll ask if we can wait unyil mid December to transfer due to us having a very busy August next summer. Fingers crossed we get this done quickly!

Medical Screening Appointment Complete

I started this post on Tuesday at the Las Vegas airport and it’s taken me until now to finish it. It’s too late for me to read through it all again so please excuse any typos πŸ˜‰ It’s a long one so grab a glass of beer, wine, or cider…or really whatever is your thing and read on ☺️

I left work on Monday about 12:15 and swung by Target to grab a few last minute things I had forgotten to buy earlier. I then headed to our little airport to jump on my first flight to San Francisco. I breezed through security and went to the board to see what gate I would be headed to (our airport only has 4 gates total LOL). Then my heart sank into my stomach, my flight was cancelled. I checked my phone and had an email from 5 minutes before letting me know it was cancelled, thanks for the heads up (mind you this was less than hour before departure). So I called my agency coordinator (K) and let her know. I told her I was waiting in line to see if I could get something figured out and she said to call her if they needed a credit card and to keep her updated. After standing in one line for awhile we were told to go downstairs to the bag drop area because they had more agents. Looooong story short about an hour later (at least I meant some nice women in line!) I finally had a new flight that would still get me to Vegas that night. The new flight left in 40 min which meant it was boarding ASAP. I then had to stand in another line to get a boarding pass and of course when I went to go back through security the line was much much longer than it was before. Eventually I made it with just enough time to hit the bathroom before boarding. I flew to Seattle first

I hung out at Sea-Tac for a couple hours before heading down to Nevada

Flying into Las Vegas at night was actually pretty awesome and I was kind of glad that I ended up getting there a couple hours later than originally planned.

I was pretty tired at that point even though it was only 9:30. I still had to get the shuttle to the rental car area, pick up the rental, and drive to my hotel. Luckily the drive was easy and I made it to my cute hotel room without a hitch.

After I got there I took a nice long shower, ate some snacks since I would have to skip breakfast and fast before my blood draw, then I painted my toes and watched some TV. It was a little bit hard to fall asleep thinking about my appointment the next morning. I felt like everything should be fine, but there could always be something going on I’m not aware of.

Next morning I got up, took another shower just because, and packed up my things. The whole trip I often wondered if people were wondering what I was doing in Las Vegas by myself for one night. I mean if I was the lady at the car rental counter or the guy at the hotel I would wonder LOL Anyway I jumped in the Kia Soul I had picked out the night before and headed to the fertility clinic.

I arrived 15 min early as directed. I was brought back rather quickly for the blood draw where they drained 10! vials of blood. The girl doing it was so sweet and so good I didn’t even feel the needle (much to my surprise and delight). She also told me that when they take blood our bodies make new, fresh blood cells which is good for us and she said she was making me younger 😁

After that I went back out into the waiting room and was given a consent form to go over and sign before they took be back again. The medical assistant took me back, grabbed my vitals and my blood pressure was high. She said borderline, but it’s the highest it’s ever been for me. She noted it then took me to the exam room.

In the room she asked me a few questions and explained what we were going to be doing today. Then she left me to get dressed in the super sexy paper gown and wait for the Dr.

In the exam room is the transvaginal ultrasound wand which is know by many a pet name including Mr. Wienie Wand and the Dildo Cam πŸ˜‚ I think both are pretty self explanatory, but here’s a picture in case you’ve never seen one, this is supposed to be a somewhat educational blog πŸ˜‰

The doctor came in, let’s call her Dr. Bubbly because she was so sweet and just bubbly 😁 She asked me the same questions again plus a few more. We briefly discussed my high BP then it was on to the “fun” part. Both Dr. Bubbly and the medical assistant laughed out loud when I gave her the precise location of my cervix πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Doctors can have a hard time tracking it down because it’s not in the usual spot so I’ve become accustomed to giving them directions and honestly they all really appreciate it 🀣

Dr. Bubbly then did a mock transfer which is just passing a catheter through the cervix to make sure there’s not issue. Then they do a sonohysterogram where they put a small amount of saline solution into the uterus and do the ultrasound to see if there are any fibroids or polyps that would cause a problem getting pregnant. Dr. Bubbly told me I have a “very pretty uterus” which is a compliment surrogates love to hear! She took some measurements of my uterine lining which once she remeasured was at 7mm which is good for that cycle day. Hopefully with that lining number I won’t have to do a mock cycle which is basically doing a fully medicated cycle, but not transferring. It’s to see how the body responds to the meds and how thick the uterine lining gets.

After that was finished there was some Q&A with the doctor and filling out a consent form. After that I was good to go. They do some hormone levels testing in house, but send some blood out for outside testing.

I had a little bit of time to kill before I needed to be at the airport and since I’ve never been to Las Vegas I took a drive down part of the Strip (I would have went further, but I hit construction and I noped the heck out of there LOL

I did take pics while I was driving, but I promise most of them I was driving super slow or stopped at a red light 😳

Then I headed back to drop off my rental car and head to the airport. I still hadn’t eaten anything yet that day because I had to fast before the blood work and then I never really saw a place that sounded good. Β I got to the airport, got my boarding pass, went through security and headed to find some food. After lunch I found a place to plug in my phone and sent a couple texts to K (agency coordinator) and an email to B & R (the intended fathers). While I was there I got an email from the clinic saying that everything looked great at my appointment and that my initial blood work came back great. There was also instructions to start taking my birth control pills again and to stay on the active pills only so we can go to transfer as soon as contracts are done. Now we’re just waiting on the out of office lab results and if they’re all normal then I’ll officially have my medical clearance which will be a huge weight off my shoulders.

The rest of the trip home was uneventful expect sitting in the plan for over an hour on my last leg because apparently there were some intoxicated people who needed to be dealt with πŸ˜‘

I finally made it home and was in bed ready to pass out by 11:35pm.

And that, my friends, is the long ass version of my first (hopefully not last) journey to Las Vegas for this surrogacy journey 😁

Med Screening Scheduled!

We are finally moving forward again woohoo!

The process took a pause while I was on vacation. Luckily for us we got all the psych stuff done before, but we weren’t able to get the medical screening done because it has to fall on certain cycle days. CD1 kind of crept up on me, which was kind of nice because I would have stressed out if it took longer than I expected. I was able to talk to our IVF nurse at the clinic and we set up an appointment for August 15th at 10am.

She sent all the info to K (case manager at the agency) who will organize my travel and lodging. This will just be a quick trip down there. I’ll likely fly in the night before and fly out soon after the appointment.

You might be wondering what will happen at this appointment (I know I was!). The IVF nurse sent me an overview of the appointment to let me know what to expect. Here are the bullet points:

  • Physical Exam & Consult
    • This will include an exam, vaginal cultures (oh fun), and a meeting with the doctor
  • Initial Blood Work
    • We will be drawing a large amount of blood today. You’ll need to be fasting for at least 8 hours before. (Doesn’t that sound like a party? Luckily for them I have a nice juicy vein on my left arm that’s a champ when I donate blood…fingers crossed I didn’t just jinx myself!)
  • Sonohysterogram
    • This will consist of an ultrasound exam with fluid inserted through a Β catheter into the uterus to identify any possible lesions in the uterine cavity. (Honestly this is the part I’m worried about the most. It’s not the fact that I’ll have people all up in my business, after two vaginal deliveries I couldn’t care less about it. It’s that they might find something that delays or even ends this journey before it even really gets started. What if something is going on in there that I have absolutely no idea about or control over and it disqualifies me? The thought is terrifying because I want so much to be able to help my IFs fulfill their dream.)

So that’s what I have to look forward to (well that and hanging out in Vegas in Mid August…ick). A few hours of being poked and prodded then waiting (hopefully not too long although it seems the norm is a couple weeks) to see if I can actually move forward to contracts. If/when I get clearance my wonderful IFs are going to plan a trip all the way here to meet in person! How exciting is that?! It will be amazing to get to meet them face to face and for them to meet Thing 1 and Thing 2 (our kiddos).

Happy Wednesday!