Saturday, September 21, 2013

They're Here!!!

Super duper quick update before the zombie makers wake up!

The twins were born last Sunday a little before noon. Labor started the night before and was very tough for my SIL. The next day she made the decision to have a c-section as Baby A was not progressing, even though labor had been going on for quite some time and was extremely rough. After the c-section, we almost lost my SIL as she threw-up and passed out at the same time, causing fluid to go into her lungs. The great medical team at our hospital were able to quickly aspirate and revive her. Scary stuff! Especially for my poor brother!!!

Long story short - she is doing fine now and was discharged either Wednesday or Thursday.

Our Baby Boy (the trouble maker) did great. He was born 7lbs 1 oz. He was discharged on Wednesday, but technically could have been sent home Tuesday. They gave us an extra day because our little girl was in NICU.

Baby Girl went into NICU originally because of her weight. The hospital requires any baby born under 5lbs to go to NICU and she was 4lbs 14oz. That's over a 2lb difference than her brother!!! We aren't exactly sure why there was such a difference, but they told us it occasionally happens, even when twins don't share a placenta.

While in NICU, Baby Girl was having trouble eating so she initially got a feeding tube. Her blood sugar levels were also occasionally low. We were able to feed her some by bottle and some by feeding tube. Every day she progressed and needed the feeding tube less. Her blood sugar improved and we were finally able to take her home on Friday - which was really great because the hospital is over an hour away and too difficult to take her brother back and forth (he isn't allowed in NICU).

Every one is doing well as we are adjusting to life with twins. It's completely an utterly wonderful, but also scary - especially when the little one doesn't eat her minimum requirement. I'm adjusting to the not sleeping better than I thought, course don't quote me on that during the 3AM feedings.  Between 12 AM and 3 AM the twins tends to think it's party time.

Sorry for the absence - but truthfully I don't expect it to get better. Still - I will continue this blog as there is still soooooooooooooooo much to write and I know that other's blogs really really helped me. 1 year ago I thought there was no chance I would have any more biological children of my own. I had resigned myself to donor eggs, which in our circumstance would have greatly increased our time before we could try surrogacy again. To be clear, I would have loved ANY child coming into our lives, but I am very happy that I get a chance (for better or for worse) to see how a mix of our families will turn out AND that we don't have to wait many more years. At 41, that would have been tough.

That's it for me. I wasn't kidding when I wrote "zombie makers". My days are blending and I forget things very quickly. Not sure if I need a nap right now or dinner. Guess I go ask my hubby. :-)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fat Babies Update

Last week (32 week 5 day mark) was another ob/gyn & perinatologist appointment. I was unable to make that one, but hubby could go. 

Here's the short and the sweet:
Baby (A) Boy - head is down, heart rate 144, fluid looks good, and weighing in at a whomping 4 lbs 14 ozs. 
Baby (B) Girl - head is sideways to up, but that's ok since she is second to the cervix. Heart rate is 132, fluid looks good, and she is estimated to be about 4 lbs 11 ozs. 

She was a little light at our last appointment, so I'm glad to see she has settle down (including her heart rate) and put some more junk in her trunk. She's been pretty dance-y dance-y up till now, but I think she's officially run out of room. 

This weekend we will be 34 weeks! 

GAH! I'm not ready! 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Dream, News, and Baby Shower Thoughts

Last night I had a dream. I dreamed that I was pregnant. Like waaaaayyyyyyy pregnant, but only sort of. And I couldn't figure out if there were twins in there or a singleton or if I wasn't really pregnant at all (because my stomach kept changing from very pregnant to normal size). I was pleased until I realized - holy crap - we already have twins on the way with my SIL surrogate!!! How was I going to handle more at once? How was I going to handle twin newborns with more arriving right around the corner. I was in the hospital and it was oh so confusing.

It was a very weird dream.

Then I woke and felt relief. Probably best to leave the analysis of that one alone. :-)

On other news fronts, stuff seems to be coming along fine. For the most part. SIL got a positive on her glucose test and so she has to go back for the 3 hour test to check for gestational diabetes. I've been told it's quite horrid. 3 hours of drinking this big ole thing of sickly sweet stuff that makes you want to barf and sleep the rest of the day. She has school orientation with most of her children later that day. Major suckage. Even more major if she does have GD.

Babies are doing well. Viking-Boy was 3lbs 4 oz at our last visit and Girlie-Girl was a respectable 2lbs 14oz. He is still facing down towards the exit and that's a good thing. If possible, my SIL would prefer to have a Vajayjay delivery. I don't blame her. It's key that the boy be head down for this to be possible. They can flip the girl if needed, but not vice-versa (or both).


We are at 31 weeks. Holy crap. So much left to do. STAY IN THE OVEN FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN!!!

My Bestie is coming in from NJ to throw my baby shower with my mom and another great friend. I truly have some spectacularly awesome friends. Every once in awhile I just sit in awe when I think of it.

On the subject of baby shower - I was thinking today that I need to get something for my SIL for the baby shower. Don't know why I didn't think of it earlier. How boring for her to sit at my shower and watch me get a ton of gifts while she does all the work. But what to get her??? And does she open it there? Then it seems more like a "show" of gratitude than anything else. And really - nothing I could get would ever even come close to what she has done for us.

If you have any idea of what I can get her - light up my comment section. She has 4 kids (3 of them step-children) of various ages (5-14). Maybe I should get something for all of them and her?

That's it for now. Off to to one of the 100 task I still have left on my list.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Choosing Names and Swedish Etiquette

Hubby mentioned the other day that maybe we should consider my  Swedish Grandmother's name for a middle name for our girl. (All of my grandparents have passed away.) After all, I was named after my grandmother.  I'm fairly certain that hubby either didn't know or didn't remember that both of my grandmothers' names are extremely old-fashioned on any Continent. And not in that cool "old is new" way either. We both said no when I reminded him of the name. I looked at her middle name too, but it is easily confused with an alcoholic drink, so we marked that off the list. We don't want our baby to have a built in nickname for her college years. 

My other grandmother's name wasn't even a consideration since other family members already have it (and hate it). Her middle name is too similar to my ex-friend's that I previously blogged about. A few weeks after my blog post about said ex-friend and her awful treatment towards us, we had an opportunity to communicate via email and it did not go well. Long story short, I'm glad I was finally able to get everything off my chest about the hurt she has caused, but evidently she does not want to accept, acknowledge or apologize for any of it. Needless to say I don't want this constant reminder when saying my child's name. 

That lead me to think of my Swedish grandmother's sister name. It is beautiful and I have always loved it. She is still alive and well, and I'm hoping she will be able to make a possible visit in Sept as has been hinted by some family members. Her daughters have chosen other names for their babies, so I don't think there would be a problem with that. She's all sorts of awesome, and has the cutest pure white page-boy hair cut you have ever seen. When we visited Sweden in 2011, you could see my Grandfather was visibly upset, even in his dementia, when a younger man started hitting on my Great-Aunt. 

So here's the big question: is it ok to use someone else's first name as a middle name for your baby if the person is still alive? Do you ask first? I know here in America it would be perfectly fine, but I would HATE to do a major etiquette faux-pas towards my Swedish family. Have searched high and low and can't seemed to find any information on it. If I ask they are likely to say it is fine; they don't really tell us when we do something offensive as Americans and it is clear we didn't know any better. This is kinda an important one though (versus leaving my shoes on while visiting), so I'd like to get it right.

If you have any inside knowledge of if this is ok to do for Swedes (Tandoori Viking - I'm looking at you!) or Europeans in general, let me know. It's taken us FOR-EVA to decide on a girl's name and if it's not ok to use, then we better think fast on our second choice names. 

Tack Tack (Thanks thanks!) 
AP2B

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Got Twins? Help a Sista Out

From: http://makingmade.com/2012/11/10/day-313-lyric-lettering/

So I thought I'd be ok. Figure out what I needed 2 of, figure out what can be shared, read through recommendations, and then I would be all set. Except with twins, it's not all easy-peasy-logical like that. Things don't fit all nice and neat into categories and some things cross over with twins that don't for parents of singletons. Plus, information specific to twins is a tad on the sparse side; unless you don't have a job, social life, or hobbies. All of which I do have  (yes - I am very aware a lot of that will change come this fall).

Price is an issue. We don't need the most expensive items, nor could we afford it. We don't get the luxury of handing things down to the next sibling. My ideas of a slightly fancy crib with all the ooh-la-la etchings of high-end, wood furniture has gone out the window with the new requirement of 2 simultaneous cribs.

That's not to say I want everything cheap and of suspect quality. Having had a child 21 years ago (oh-my-god just writing that), I am keenly aware that sometimes you have to spend money to save money. And then there are times where cheaper sometimes = less safe, not a description you want with your baby products.

Then there are space issues. Car trunk space issues. Bedroom space issues. Sitting on the couch but there isn't room for 2 things on the floor by the coffee table space issues. Arm space issues. The list goes on and on.

So what's a girl to do?

Instinctively, I reached for the book Baby Bargains (8th edition) a few months back when I was at a large consignment sale. This was at the beginning of the pregnancy and may have even been before we knew we had twins. The book was chocked full of good information, but I realized that it was an older edition and that several safety things had changed since it's 2009 publication. That lead me to purchase the kindle version of the latest edition. (DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT, purchase the kindle edition. Hopefully I will remember to post the long list why later.) Suffice to say, that I realized that it, as well as other resources, was lacking in areas that would be important to parents of twins.

What sort of things? I'm glad you asked!!! (I'll even happier if someone has some answers!) Here are some examples from my over-active imagination:

  • Infant carrier car seats. Part of the consideration of these things is weight. While a 30lb carrier (not including baby weight) might be ok to manage going up the stairs to my front door, 2 of these things would not be. Do I just go for the convertible car seats that accommodate infants? The biggest complaint of these (for infants) is that baby wakes up when you remove them (since you can't take the entire thing out each time), but honestly I don't think I'll be able to carry two of the infant car seats every time I leave my car sans hubby. As much as I'd like to see my jiggly arms tone up, I suspect this may not be the best plan. 
  • On that note: what about strollers? Do I go for the strollers that fit the infant car seats or has my previous concern just eliminate them? Side-by-side strollers or front back? Front back facing or non-facing. Which is going to fit better in our car trunks? I know one of us will eventually have to upgrade to a bigger vehicle (please let it be hubby, please let it be hubby), but considering my car was bought in 2010 and hubby's was bought last year - that ain't happening soon. (All those pesky IVF/Surro expenses and son's college expenses.)
  • What about carriers? I grabbed some groovy sling/wrap/boho-whatever-you-call-them at a consignment sale, but I'm guessing that after a few months we will need something a bit sturdier that won't kill my back. I'm only 5'3 and 115lbs. (Ok fine - 123 lbs, but I will get back to my pre-IVF weight soon. Whatever.) What carriers work well when carrying two??? Or do you need one for front and one for back? In that case, what one is safe on your back?
  • Bouncers. Do I need to worry about the elevated head sleep thing for twins? I hear it's common. I've already fallen in love with this ghastly, overpriced Babybjorn Babysitter bouncer that I'm fairly certain we HAVE TO HAVE. Have found a possible used connection for one, but I have no idea how well these things handle up over time. If need be, this will probably be my splurge item. I'm obsessed with them. 

If you are a parent of twins - what were your MUST HAVE items? How many sheets is a good number to have? (Just popped in my head.) How did you address the issues above? What am I forgetting?

HELP A SISTA OUT. I'm beginning to bug out. OK FINE. Bug out more than normal. OK FINE. I never really was normal. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? 
P.S. Please help. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Update: Fat Babies, My Cat Passing, Best Friend Moving, and Father's Day

We went to the OB/GYN and the perinatologist on 06/17. The later meaning ultrasound time! Babies are looking good and each are fatter than a singleton counterpart would be at the same gestation period. At least according to the nurse. Really, what I think she was saying was "not to worry -their size is pretty great."

We were just 1 day shy of the 23 week mark at 1lb 6oz for the girl and 1lb 5oz for the boy. According to fetus growth measurement calculators  that puts them right about at the 55-60 percentile that a singleton would be. For now, I'm calling them my fat ass babies and it makes me happy. Is it wrong for me to think of the girl as a little more bossy than the boy already? Nah - I imagine all different ways they will be - this is just the flavor of the week.

Girl Bean is already behaving naughty and flipped into breech position. She also seems to be hyper and dancy-dancy whenever the cameras come round (ie, ultrasound). Doc says this is ok for now and either one may flip several times before they settle in. Since boy is closer to the cervix, I think it is most important that he not be in breech when the time comes. If SIL is able to have a vaginal delivery, then they can flip the girl if needed and if the doctors think it is ok.

In sadder news, my beloved calico passed away last Thursday. Won't go into the whole sad story, because it's still too hard, but suffice to say she was 18 years old and it was her time. Realized afterwards that I have lived with my beloved girl (17+ years) longer than I have lived with any other living thing; including my parents and my son.

She was a crotchety cat from the day I got her (probably part feral) and I loved every bone in her body. The only living things she liked in this world were occasionally me and often my other cat. Both friendships took years to cultivate. (Conversely, my boy cat loves almost everyone except the un-neutered male that accidentally roamed into our house one day.)

Even with a house full of animals (2 cats and 3 dogs) we would mange to have alone time when I would take my baths in the evening. She would sneak up into our room on the top floor of our house (where animals aren't really allowed according to Daddy) and I would give her the special bowl of bath water she requested for consumption. She always had a thing for bathwater and I never quite knew why. She even "showed" our other cat one night and snuck him in to the forbidden area. He sniffed it and seemed unimpressed, so it remained our personal ritual. Between laps of water she would peek her head over the bathtub for some scratches, a rarity for her as she normally didn't like more than a few touches at one time.

She will be missed.

In other sad news, my BFF moved on Friday. She's the most awesome girl in the world. Both my husband and I adored her and her husband- and really - how often does that happen? She had a baby last year and has been my rock through all of my infertility (and before!). Seeing her baby never made me sad once. He was awesome and I loved spending time with all of them. We've all promised to visit each other often, and I think we will, but I know that sometimes changes when babies come. At least I will see her in August. She coming to throw me a baby shower. YES SHE IS THAT AWESOME.

Last but not least - Happy Father's Day out there to all you new dads, all you dad hopefuls, and all those wonderful Dads of past and present that have guided each and every one of us. My father died when I was very young (3 years old), but my mom married my Step Dad when I was 19/20 and I think he super rocks. Even when he is grumpy which is frequent and funny to me. Kinda like my cat was. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Question of the Week: What's Up with Short-Term Disability Insurance?

Sooooooooo, filling out my new employee forms, the old "do you want to pay for short-term disability insurance?" question popped up. This option wasn't available with my first pregnancy (read: I had no insurance way back then), thus this is a completely new path for me. My current options for it are about $40 a month for the 7 day exclusion option  or $20 for the 30 day exclusion option.

I remembered that other women I know mentioned using it during their maternity leave, so it begs the question: Can I? My quick fingers googled on my iPhone for answers  (it popped in my head while I was at work and I HAD TO KNOW then). Alas, the results were not very helpful. Most of the answers applied towards the surrogate mother and not the intended parent (IP). Switched to googling about people who adopt and one answer returned that they could not. STD benefits (I giggle every time see the acronym) used in the context of maternity leave is allowed because of a woman's need to recover physically. That said - tiny print on a phone, especially when most of the results are on forums, is not full of awesome.

The uncertainty made me think I should to ask a professional, which was great because we already needed to contact our attorney about the next steps. She had told us that if we were successful with IVF then we would need to petition the court to have my name put on the birth certificate (instead of our GC's) during our 2nd trimester. We kept forgetting except at times where emailing/calling her wasn't practical, and thus having this questions (and wanting a fast answer) reminded and motivated us to contact her ASAP.

Side note: attorneys for this process is NOT cheap. This was a cost we didn't account for well. In India it was either included or only a few hundred dollars extra. We naively thought since my SIL was our GC that we would not need an attorney, but our fertility clinic informed us to the contrary. Our total cost for this is around $6500 as explained at the bottom here, with our second payment coming up.

The email I sent was as follows (with the boring parts taken out):
I have a quick question that I think I know the answer to, but maybe you could shed some light. I'm filling out my new employee forms for a job and I have the option to take short term disability.  I know pregnant women often use short term disability to receive partial pay while they are on maternity leave, but I'm not sure if we can use it in our case - or if it's even considered a pre-existing condition. Since it could make such a big difference for us, I want to make sure before I turn it down. I don't think I qualify for FMLA since I haven't been employed for a year. I've been a contractor for 6+months, but was just converted to employee status last week.

The email she sent back was hopeful, but I'm still a little wary:
If you have the opportunity to obtain short term disability, I would suggest you take it.  Yes, many mothers use it for maternity leave and I see no reason why it would not be applicable to you!   Call if you would like to discuss.
So I emailed her this:
Great thanks! When would be a good time to call? For some reason I was under the impression that it applied for maternity leave because the mother goes through something physical (body recovering), but that it didn't apply just for care of children (like adoption). Also wasn't sure if it would be considered pre-existing.

While I'm waiting for our discussion (is it possible she hasn't been asked this before?), I wanted to check in with you guys. For those of you that have used adoption or surrogacy, what was your experience? How does pre-existing conditions fit into all of this? For the ladies out there - did it change if you induced lactation? For the gay men out there: did you get to use short term disability?

Curious minds want to know. (Plus there really does seem to be very little info on it out there - at least if you can't sift through hours and hours of forum stuff that doesn't apply to you.)

Thanks in advance my peoples of the interwebz!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Yo - What's the Haps?

It's a tale as old as blogs. I've been MIA. I've even started posts offline, only to never finish them. (Ok, technically it was only one - BUT I've thought of a bunch of others.) I've lurked. Not on purpose mind you, but the feeder app on my iPhone doesn't do a great job of posting comments and so neither do I of late.

Ya, ya, ya - so what's the haps? Current status: GREAT. All scary tests have come back normal. YAY!!!!!

We are at 21 weeks and 4 days and everything is lookin' good so far.

Surro is having major stress with other family stuff, but she is holding up like a champ. She's a GD saint and all I can say is that I wish a plague on the horrible person causing her pain - except that plague would hurt other people I love, so I guess I really don't. But maybe I do because that person always hurts other people and she's sure to hurt the people I love again. Shew. Life sure is complicated.

We manged to live through our announcements. First we told family and any close friends that weren't already in the know. Ok - that's a lot, but the response was generally good. Oddly enough I didn't really get much response from my Dad's side of the family that lives here in the US (Dad died when I was 3), but got great response from the ones in Sweden. All of hubbinez's family was super-duper-uber excited. So was my mom's side of the family - but most of them already knew.

Next we made the dreaded FB post. That actually went WAAAAYYYYYYYY better than expected.

At first I posted this video:

Mostly because I love Min Pins and this cracked me up as a baby announcement. Apparently no one viewed it or "got it" but that was ok because seconds later...

.... hubbinez was so excited about making the announcement (he had been telling people all week) that he made me do a joint word post, where we hit the POST button at exactly the same time. Because we are corny like that. It went something like this:

"On Mother's day it is fitting that we make our announcement that we are expecting twins. This would not have been possible if it wasn't for another wonderful mother, my SIL <insert name here> . Unable to carry our biological children myself, and after unsuccessful tries elsewhere, she selflessly offered to be our gestational carrier. Words can not express our gratitude over this incredible gift."

Hubbinez was as giddy as a school boy.

I haven't told my work yet, but that's because there has been a snafu with converting me from contractor status to employee status. Technically I am now an employee, but everything isn't final in all the systems, so it makes me nervous. I'm going to feel like an arse when I have to tell them about taking time off - which incidentally the due date is 1 day off from my boss' new wife. I'm sure he's going to freak, but because of my last disaster with getting fired when I told them about starting a family, I want to at least be protected by law this time.

In other haps - I am doing a sleep study next week. I've always had problems with not feeling like I get enough sleep (even when I do!), so no time like the present (ie., pre-twin birth) to try and figure this stuff out. We are off to a good start. Initial blood work from PCP showed that I have a big vitamin D deficiency.

That's a big one with sleep and immune problems, which makes sense since I've been sick so many times in the last year I lost count. With Vitamin D the doctor is looking for any number above a 29. Mine was 18. :-/  Apparently all that sun block wasn't so great for me. Except the whole wrinkle thing. I'm ok with the past trade off, but had to find another option for the future. Yay for supplements! 2000 IUIs a day! At least the past year has prepped me for that.

Srsly, I have to be the only girl whose doctor tells her to go get some sun WITHOUT sun block. Ok, maybe not, but it's not something I have ever heard before. And so I went out in the sun the other day without sunblock on anything except my face for the recommended 15 minutes. Then I slathered on the sunblock. The glare from my legs are still intact!

That's it for tonight. I need to post right away, sans editing, lest it fall by the wayside. Holy crap - it's 11:30pm. Gotta go take a bath and go to bed. Night all!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Making Announcements - Getting Personal

The time is getting close where we will start making our announcements to friends and family that aren't already in the know. I think...

http://mashable.com/2012/04/18/social-media-and-the-news/

We keep putting it off. At first we wanted to wait until after the first trimester when the risk of miscarriage was still quite high. Week 13 rounded the corner and we decided to wait until we saw the specialist. Once that occurred we were introduced to all the bad things that could happen and decided to wait until after the initial tests. Then we wanted to wait for more tests (ie, the amnio). We still haven't gotten the results from that yet, but we expect them and another ultrasound this week. If all goes well, we will start widening our circle of who we tell.

But when do we make the announcement to our big group of friends??? Is that something you do on facebook? That would seem weird, but it would be equally weird to deal with people who want to know WHY we didn't let them know, when they start (hopefully) seeing baby pictures. Perhaps even more so. My worrying mind can just imagine people thinking "didn't we just see her at so-and-so's drinking wine, flat belly and all?" (Ok "flat belly" may be an exaggeration, because after 3 IVF treatments in 1 year my belly is no longer flat, but I am working on it.)

Ahhhhhh and all the questions we will get from so many people. I don't mind them from our-close friends and family - heck most of them already know my SIL is our surrogate or at least know that we have been trying with surrogacy - but what about the regular friends? We have A LOT. The idea of people publicly posting awkward questions or privately emailing me in droves, and then imagining people gossiping behind my back, is quite horrifying. Even if they don't. Which they will, because it's human nature.

Plus - I really don't like people knowing my business unless it's on my terms. The idea explaining I had cryoablation surgery many years ago (and many other things) makes me cringe. Not explaining it means people will ask if we adopted, or worse, will think my husband cheated. (Not that there is something wrong with adoption,but it is a particularly hard discussion for me because of my own history with it. For the record, I think adoption can be wonderful.) From what I can tell, very few people know the ins-and-outs of IVF and even less know about surrogacy. I'm sure some people would even privately wonder "did she just not want to get pregnant?" as I see written over and over in comment sections of India surrogacy articles.

On the other hand, I think it's important to share my story; if not just to help others. Recently I had a male friend get married and I realized that they would want to have kids. The wife just turned 40 and I could tell that they didn't have the faintest idea what AMA was. Even a friend whose wife went through IUI a few years ago (took on the first try, but they had several miscarriages prior to that) seemed blissfully unaware of the difference between a woman getting pregnant at 38 and one getting pregnant at 41. They were talking about putting off the second child for another year or two. Of course both of these friends I gave the 5 minute run-down, but forcing your experience down someone else's throat is quite different than someone else reading your story because they want to. In fact, I distinctly remember being MAJORLY offended when various women told us that we better get it in gear if we wanted kids. (Ahhhhh - how naive we were back then!)

Oddly enough, I happily shared my story with the lady at the bank the other day who was genuinely interested. It started out simple enough when I was getting our house re-fi papers notarized and the bank lady asked if we were planning on having any children.  Not having told many others I was ready to burst with the news to SOMEONE that we have twins on the way. Still, I didn't want to startle the woman so I eased into it with the ole ego-boosting  "well I have I 21-year old" that always gives me the shock face I adore (wasn't always the case).

From there, the conversation naturally slipped into "we have twins on the way" which led to surrogacy, then our India adventure, and then explaining the entire IVF process. She was a young lady (26) and apologized for being nosy, but she was so sweet and thoughtful in her questions. She explained her aunt was in her late 30's and seemed sad that she may never have kids. She also explained that some women in her family were pressuring her to have more kids now, while she could, even though she wasn't ready. In the end, she told me I should be on Lifetime to help other women. (Her manager had been on Lifetime for something else - lol.) That conversation was so easy and the young lady made me feel great, but I know that isn't always the case in these situations.

The easy answer to addressing friends' questions would be to point them to this blog, but I really don't feel comfortable with that. At all. I've been brutally honest here and I don't need casual acquaintances knowing things of my past or people scouring through to see if they are mentioned. That's a can of worms that I really don't need on any level. I have very close friends that I have never mentioned here and at least one that I have spoken unfavorably about. This is a blog of my experience, the good and the bad, and rather than worry about what I write in the future or sanitizing things I have written in the past, I'd prefer to keep it that way.

So what do you think? How do I tell the masses? We are fortunate enough to have quite a large social circle, mostly because of my husband, but that certainly leads to uncomfortable situations about things such as this. What to do what to do? What would you do (or what did you do)? Any advice is surely appreciated. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Drum Roll Please

What I failed to mention the other day is some pretty exciting news. During our amnio, the nurse asked if we wanted to know the sex of the babies. While I realize it's a bit early, she seemed fairly confident in her assessment.

http://cakesdecor.com/cakes/11833


Drum Roll Please.
..................
................
............

One boy and one girl. 
Hooray!!!

Memorial to a Friendship

http://www.memecenter.com/fun/377795/when-losing-a-friend

Ok, so I don't really play video games anymore, but that has more to with an addictive personality and knowing I don't have time for it, then not liking them. Still the picture was applicable in this situation, because realizing I lost a close friend didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. Curiously, it would have if it had been any number of other people, but I think my lack of lamenting over it is what this picture is ultimately describing.

I suppose I should back up a bit lest you ask yourself repeatedly "WTH is she babbling about now?"

In 2008 I met someone that I became fast and furious friends with. So much, that she ended up being  in our wedding, as we had been hers the year before. On several levels, (politics, personality, likes) we were about as opposite as 2 women can be, but somehow we made it work and promised to be BFF's fo-eva. Her consideration towards others was what really drew me in about her.

In 2011, things began to change. Initially I chalked it up to the fact that she had a miscarriage and was TTC. Once she was pregnant, she became even more self-absorbed and rather than risk upsetting her by being my normal blunt self, I kept silent. A part of me feared upsetting a pregnant woman who had already miscarried.

Oh hell - I need to give her a name or my grammar skills will be tested too much. We will call her Sarah, because that's the first name that popped in my head of a person's name I don't actually know in real life. Ok, now we can continue with said fake name. Not sure why I need a fake name since my blog is anonymous, but whatever. 

I started noticing Sarah bullying a few of our other friends. Nothing big deal, but enough that it bothered me and it ended up with her losing friends. Every conversation was about her or her pregnancy. She had a blatant disregard for other people's feelings for all things and it was really beginning to show. Still, I chalked it up to hormones and let it pass. There was a few times I tried to approach her about it, but she didn't want nuttin to do with that.

By now hubby and I had begun our path of infertility that we knew we would have to travel when we first started dating. Sarah was distinctly aware of this path, as she was the one that had informed me when I had only been dating my now-hubby a few weeks, that he most definitely would want children being of Indian heritage. She knew my surgery earlier in 2008 prevented me from carrying anymore children. (As a side note: most AWKWARD conversation ever telling a man you've been dating a few weeks: "um yea, I can't carry a baby - wanna keep dating?") 

There were ups and downs in how she treated me, so I began to distance myself. After having to explain to her OVER AND OVER, that no it wasn't my doctor (I had seen several) misdiagnosing me and no there was not a chance I could get pregnant without a surrogate if I just changed to her doctor who was a regular OB\GYN that specialized in helping mothers-to-be that didn't want c-sections. Sigh. I explained the biology of how a woman has to have a uterine lining to carry a baby on several occasions, but I honestly don't think she even listened. Instead she just switched back to stuff all about her. It was tiring in the least.

Meanwhile, my grandfather was diagnosed with colon cancer. My father died when I was 3, so even though I was no longer super close to my grandfather (he had moved back to Sweden over a decade ago), he still was extremely important to me and who I recognized as a major father figure from my youth. I cried to her over his sickness and explained that hubby and I (as well as other family members) would be flying over to Sweden to see him. This was not a short conversation, but one that was rather long. When I saw her about a week later at a surprise birthday party we did for her, she hugged me and said "I totally forgot to say anything about your grandfather dying! I'm so sorry!" I quietly reminded her that he wasn't dead yet and she laughed it off blaming it on pregnancy brain.

He died a few weeks after our visit to Sweden. Nothing from her even inquiring about him or how I was doing. Internally I reconciled this and thought that maybe she just is bad about death. Maybe she didn't want to think about it while she was pregnant. I was making excuses for her, but that was easier than dealing with more sadness in my life that would have happened if I confronted her.

In the midst of all this, I had volunteered to throw a baby shower for her. Her attitude during this time became another slap in the face for me as I had explained to her that money was tight for us since our fertility treatments were expected to very expensive. I was planning the baby shower with 2 other ladies, who did not have tons of cash either. Sarah started telling us what food we needed to cater and about some special cupcakes she wanted that were super expensive. Then she presented us with a guest list of 70+ people. At this point, my patience cracked.

Every female person she had ever known was on that list. People who had simply inquired about her pregnancy were on that list. People from all over the country were on that list. At first I tried to gently explain that it was too many people. That it looked like she was just asking for presents. Then I explained that logistically it was not possible to host such a party. She had only had a little over 100 people at her own wedding! I explained that different people could throw different parties (family, co-workers, friends, etc) and thus maybe we should keep this to immediate family and our group of friends. She threw temper-tantrums and then threw the guilt trip in about how if her mother was still alive, then she would have just had her throw it for her. Her mother had passed long before I had ever met her and I felt this was extremely callous given what I was currently going through with my grandfather.

Ultimately, I had to tell her while I understand she wanted her party a certain way, it was not in my budget to do so given our current expenses. That if she wanted it that way, I would understand, but that someone else would have to throw it. The other ladies backed me up and she finally gave us a more reasonable list of about 36 people. She calmed down, but even with the smaller list (that only about half showed up to), I still went out of pocket for several hundred dollars. As hostesses, we sat in the back and split a bottle of wine to help deal. In the end, I barely got a thank you, although not surprising because  she has always sucked at thank yous. A few months later I got a demand for pictures I had taken during the shower.

I will take a side note here to explain another one of my close friends - we will call her Karey - became pregnant at the time and she was and has always been completely awesome. Two of us threw a baby shower for Karey and she was nothing but a pure delight. She was, and still is, my main go-to-person for all things and played a major role in supporting me through my entire infertility process. I'd like to think she feels the same way towards me because I think she is TOP banana. 

Needless to say, I really started drifting away from Sarah after this. Her baby came and everything was still all about her. I wasn't able to immediately rush over to see her baby, and honestly I didn't want to. I was having trouble all around, including major ones with work and my emotional bank was running low. We saw each other a few times and shared emails, but like many of her other friends, I quit reaching out to her because I felt it was one-sided.

The next year (2012) saw me in India twice for fertility treatments, the loss of my job, and many emotional ups and downs. I simply did not have the ability to prop her up anymore. I wanted to surround myself with positivity and as another friend put it "Sarah is toxic and I no longer can have such toxicity in my life." She contacted me in the middle of one of my trips to India, but I instantly felt it was more because she didn't feel "in the know" and not because she actually wanted to be a supportive friend. A mutual fried had jokingly told her I was dancing with monkeys in India after I sent the mutual friend my monkey siting story and Sarah WANTED DETAILS. This was further confirmed when Sarah didn't respond to a heartfelt response I sent to her about what I was going through in India. She had received the email, but then got "too busy" to respond. Apparently she was really too busy all the time because she never reached out as a friend and instead told the mutual friend she felt too awkward to because SHE didn't know what to say to me.

During this whole time I never lashed out to her or said WTF. For the most part, I'm non-confrontational and tend to give people a ton of chances. By now we were on year #2 of her attitude change and the world still revolved around her. If I sound bitter, it's because I really was back then. Hurt doesn't even begin to describe what I was going through.

After all of this, I did try a few causal emails with her. Our mutual friend disclosed that Sarah felt bad because she had lost many friends. That made me feel bad for Sarah. The emails I sent weren't super deep or long, but still just something to let her know that I still felt something towards her. Mostly joking about one of her favorite shows that I had started watching. Initially I got a brief response, but then she stopped. I wasn't going to sweat it. She was busy or uninterested or whatever. My emails dwindled away as such. We still invited her and and husband to events, but I never heard from her.

Fast forward to last Tuesday. I attended our mutual friend's production and low and behold - Sarah was there. She BLATANTLY ignored me with such rudeness that I was in shock and missed a part of the production. I went over and said hello to her, but she could only spit out a curt hello as I tried to hug her. When I went up to her at the bar she purposely turned her back on me and continued talking to the person she brought. In the show, she was sitting in front of us and besides loudly talking with her friend the first part of the show, she never even acknowledged my presence.

At intermission I went over to some of our other friends that were seated far away and they made me feel better. Some of them had long since given up on Sarah. Some of them reminding me how I had defended Sarah way past when they wanted to deal with her anymore. Oddly enough, Sarah went over to talk to them when I went away.

By the end of the show I had reconciled the situation with myself. Sarah was toxic, and I could no longer let that hurt me. I allowed myself to briefly wonder what was the cause of this latest rudeness, but I didn't feel the need to obsess like I normally would. (Was it because I told other people what was going on in my life but not her? Was it because I was so close to my other friend that had a baby at the same time? Was it because I had drifted away?) Ultimately, I didn't want to ask because I simply didn't care to be a friend with her anymore.

My husband and I talked about it when we returned home that evening. He had been close friends with her as well at one point and she was equally rude to him. He didn't understand how someone could be so publicly rude and had never experienced it before. (I can't remember it happening to me since I was in my early 20's!) We discussed how sad it was to lose someone that had been such an integral part of our lives at one point, but ultimately had become such a drain. We were sad to lose a friendship, but not sad to lose Sarah.

This post is my memorial to a friendship. The picture at the top of this post pokes fun, but I have no desire to be passive-aggressive about it on facebook, nor do I have an interest in stalking Sarah to see what she may be saying about me. This post allows me to put all of my emotions about it to rest and say farewell. And when I think about it, this is much more productive than anything else I could do about it. Including saying F-it and playing a video game. My old therapist would be proud.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Amniocentesis and another 2WW.

From: http://www.webmd.com/baby/twin-pregnancy-types


Thursday we had our amniocentesis. What a nightmare. It was really important for us to have one, but holy crap that stuff is scary.

The doctor certainly didn't help. It was that same irritating douchey specialist from the other week.

I guess I should back up a bit since I've been MIA.

The cell-free DNA test ended up coming back inconclusive. That's right, the test that the doctor recommended and then we found out afterwards that the manufacturing company doesn't always recommend for multiples or donor eggs (and since this is surrogacy, my eggs are considered donor) - came back inconclusive. Shocking. They wanted my SIL (our surrogate) to come back in for another. She called me and gave me the update. The nurse was really pressuring my SIL to come back in for another try at this test that is only partially covered by insurance.

After thinking about it, I told my SIL not to get it. It didn't make sense. Why should she have to take extra time off from work for a test that was not going to tell us anything different than the amniocentesis that we had already decided we were doing. Why should we pay even MORE money for a test that didn't give us anything different? Why should we put her through an unnecessary poking that could very well end up being inaccurate or inconclusive. I told her to not worry about going back for the test.

And then she called back. The nurse was EXTREMELY insistent that she come back for this test. At this point I because very irritated (not at my SIL, but at this Dr.'s office.) It was clear that they wanted us to do this test to try and convince us against the amnio. I told my SIL not to stress about it and I would straighten everything out with the Dr.'s office.

Ready to rage war, I started making phone calls. First I called our old fertility clinic ACRM. Our nurse that took over our case when our original nurse was promoted was nothing short of awesome, and I wanted to ping her for her advice. Then I walked outside my office, took a deep breath, and called the specialist's office.

The nurse that spoke to my SIL was not available, but another person in the office was able to call me back fairly quick. That conversation did not go as expected. Actually - it went quite well. The nurse (I think she was a nurse - but we will call her one anyway) was awesome. She is similar in age to me and she confided that she would consider the amnio if she was in the same situation. She explained why the other test was inconclusive and agreed that if we were going with the amnio, then it was not necessary to get the cell-free DNA test - especially so close together. We talked for quite awhile and she restored my faith in this part of the process.

Hubby and I decided that maybe it would be better to have the amnio done at an office closer to us. Maybe staff at a Decatur/Atlanta office would be more professional that some of our previous encounters at the Fayetteville office (like the bad nurse my SIL talked to). Heck, I'll bet the Fayetteville office, even though quite modern and large, has never even seen a mixed Indian/Caucasian couple, much less one using surrogacy. It would be the same doctor (groan), but hopefully no sight of other staff members with similar issues. (Atlanta is completely different than most of the rest of GA.) We would still do the regular appointments closer to where my SIL lives, but we felt safer with the amnio in a more diverse setting.

Fast forward to Thursday: amnio test day. Meep.

We knew that my hubby would be about 15 minutes late due to work constraints, but we really wanted the time to be more convenient for our SIL and let her set it. So when the doctor came in after the initial ultrasound, hubby had not arrived yet. The doctor started off with "are you sure you still want to do this?" and I had to resist the urge of having a fit. Both SIL and I answered in the affirmative.

The doctor then explained that since there were twins, the first injection would have an add-on of dye. The barrel part of the syringe is interchangeable and thus one needle can be used to insert dye, screwed off, and another barrel placed on to gather the amniotic fluid. This insures that you are hitting the same place and that you don't have to puncture multiple times. The purpose of the dye is when they go to do the second amnio on twin B, they make sure they get the fluid from twin b and not twin a again. Apparently the sacs can be all over the place.

Guess what happened? 

Removing fluid for the second amnio showed blue dye. The doctor stopped and asked us if we wanted to continue. By now my husband has arrived and we have to explain what the blue dye is and what it means. It also, all of a sudden, occurs to me that 2 punctures to the same sac means we have just doubled that baby's chance of miscarriage. And the doctor says that if he hits it a third time it will triple it. And if one miscarries, then it can make the second one miscarry.

I sat shaking. Oh - and I haven't even MENTIONED how horrible this looked for my SIL. The first one didn't look painful until they removed the needle, but the second one definitely looked painful. What to do what to do? I felt paralyzed. Secretly I wished my husband would make the decision for us, but I knew that wasn't fair. My SIL turned to us and said she was fine if we wanted to continue. She continuously amazes me.

While the doctor started rambling on about some of our other options, I quietly thought to myself. There was a pause and I explained to my husband again, because I felt it had been glossed over, that the second puncture had increased the chances of miscarriage and a third would triple it. I stated it again to make sure my understanding was correct. The doctor said it was and my husband started asking more questions. Again I reach internally and quietly thought to myself.

What I realized was that my initial fears of chromosomal abnormality had not changed. I still couldn't deal with certain outcomes, but now I was increasing the chance of making a good outcome bad. And I didn't have my comforting statistics on hand to let me know what was optimal. Ultimately I internally decided that I felt we should continue. And to nut punch the doctor if he pierced the wrong sac again. My SIL reiterated she was fine to continue today.

I overheard the doctor saying we could try again in a week or two. This made ZERO sense because then you would definitely be piercing the twin A 3x (because you would have to do the dye again) and the timing would be off if we had to make other decisions. My husband turned stonecold at this point and told him "Just do it now." Hubby looked at me and I nodded my head yes.

The doctor found another area that he sounded more confident with injecting. Complete opposite side that had not been available (baby moved) previously. My husband asked him "between 0 and 100% what it your confidence rate that you won't hit Twin A a third time?" The doctor replied "Oh you can never be 100%" and didn't answer the question. Hubby repeated the question again and doctor replied "I'm very confident". Which of course we followed up with "how much is VERY???" His reply: "At LEAST 50%." Facepalm.

The doctor had to get into a weird hand position to access the third location. The dye check occurred and this time it was clear. We all breathed a big sigh, but the room was still incredibly tense. I could tell it was painful for our SIL. I watched as the doctor withdrew the amniotic fluid and saw his hands visibly shake the entire time. I have no idea if it was because he was old, nervous, or just because his hands were in a really awkward position. I decided that it would make the situation worse to announce "WTF is wrong with your hands?!?" mid-withdraw, so I stayed silent. (I did tell hubby, mommy, and SIL later.)

It was over. We were done. We asked SIL if she was ok. She said she was. Hubby ran downstairs to pharmacy because the doctors office didn't provide any after pain medicine and we didn't want her hurting on the long drive home. Tylenol was fine the staff said. SIL said she was fine, but hubby ran to get some Tylenol anyway.

My mother was waiting in the lobby when we were done. She had graciously volunteered to drive my SIL when we realized the night before that she shouldn't drive herself. Doctor's office failed to mention this. Hubby ran back downstairs and got drinks and Reese's peanut butter cups for everyone. We talked for about an hour to make sure SIL was feeling ok, before the long drive home.

At the end, we scheduled our appointment for the next ultrasound. We decided that Fridays would work best for everyone, rather than Thursdays. The front desk lady informed us that we would have a different doctor if we went on Fridays. Without getting mad, or causing a scene, I simply replied "GOOD" and she made the appointment. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

All is Well - Hard Things to Think About

Ramble Warning. 
Depressing Statistics for Women with AMA Warning.
VERY Uncomfortable Discussion about Chromosomal Abnormality Warning

I wrote this over a week ago, but was afraid to post. It's been on my mind for awhile and still is. Since this is a blog about my experience and feelings during my journey, the honest thing to do was to post it. 

After a year of infertility treatments and tut-tuts about my age from a multitude of medical professionals, I've become a little more sensitive than usual regarding my age. To compound the problem, a years worth of infertility treatments (3 IVFs in 8 months!) and the stress that goes along with them has left it's physical and emotional mark in more ways than I care to mention. Now I am faced with the added realism of doctors constantly calling me 41 BEFORE my 41st birthday, because they have to consider the age of the embryos  when they are born. Why you ask? Because that is what counts for problems that may arise.

In the land of infertility, 41 is old and can cause a multitude of issues - age related things that most of us women with AMA didn't think of when we started down the dreaded infertility path. Besides decreasing our ability to get pregnant, our miscarriage rate increases, as does the chance that there will be a chromosomal abnormality. This last part is the current worry area we are visiting. Depending on where you look, our odds of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality is somewhere between 1 in 13 and 1 in 15. (Note this is with fraternal twins, much different for singleton pregnancies.)

On the upside, the odds that both will have an chromosomal abnormality are about 1 and 900. 

If you've gotten this far and are totally against fetal reduction in all cases - then you should stop reading here. I will have total respect for your beliefs and how they pertain to you, but I ask the same consideration for me. All of us in the land of infertility go through our own personal hell, and we really don't need judgement heaped upon us for the litany of hard things we have to consider every step of the way.

Since I am of "advanced maternal age" AND we are having twins, we are considered a high risk pregnancy and our surrogate has to see a perinatologist. We visited the new OB/GYN a few weeks ago (who won't be our actual OB/GYN, but that is for another post) and had our first visit with our Perinatologist last week. Building up to that visit, both my husband and I researched the heck out of the tests we would need to consider.

The consultation did not go well.  

While I didn't think about it before, our Perinatologist must be a part of the same religious medical group as the OB/GYN practice (not uncommon here in the south). This essentially means he Was. Not. Happy. when we were trying to get information about options if the worst case scenario happened and one of the fetuses has a chromosomal abnormality (CA) that we feel we could not deal with. These can range from things that would result in a stillbirth to death after a few weeks of life to some that we feel the quality of life would be extremely poor. Termination is somber idea for us who have fought so hard for life. 

At the doctor's appointment when discussing the CA tests, I uttered a question about "termination" and the doctor stopped short and very ADAMANTLY told me they DO NOT do that there. (Even our OB/GYN didn't act like he did.) Based on his attitude after that, we all began to have a genuine concern that he was misleading us on several counts. Tests he up-sold recommended to us (instead of amniocentesis) that we later found out may not be recommended for twins or donor eggs (which in this case, my eggs would be considered the donor eggs.) This is especially odd since I'm sure twins takes up a large part of his practice. Additionally, based on information we knew, some of his numbers for risk were off. (Example of that is below.) Finally, he suggested dates for the amniocentesis that would not allow us to get the information back in time (for GA law) should it be one of the items that we would consider termination. 

When I asked him directly about risk percentage of CA for what he was recommending - cell-free fetal DNA that tests for 3 types of CA - versus and the difference of the additional CA items discovered with amniocentesis, he assured me that miscarriage through amniocentesis was greater. (We do not have confidence that he was honest here.) 

My hubby says this is confusing how I say it, so I'll try to clear it up.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(Chance of any CA (for 1 baby) in my age bracket with twins = 6-8%) - (Chance of one of the 3 types of trisomy that his test is for - variable X) 
Is this > (Risk for miscarriage for doing an amniocentesis (.3-1%)?

or 
is 7%-X > 1%

So theoretically, if the cell-free fetal DNA tests only 4% of the CA's, that still leaves us with 2-4%  untested risk. In my mind, that is a higher risk than the .3-1%  from amnio. This isn't even including the other things amnio tests for that are non-CA. That 4% is probably pretty close estimate. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

All of this is a major problem, but to get a new specialist would could cause us to run past the time period that were are so precariously balancing in at the moment.  

Don't get me wrong, this is not something either of us takes lightly. I shouldn't even have to justify it as everyone has their own limits - and yet I still feel an overwhelming need to do so. We have gone through so much and if we had to make a decision like this, it would be horrific. But that said, both my husband and I are on the same page on what we would and wouldn't do when faced with certain results for certain tests. And our SIL/surrogate agrees as well.

Not only do we have to consider what we could handle at the birth of a child (death being a major one), but also as we age. Both of us have had a lot of experience with people important in our lives that have some very severe issues - both young and old. Enough that we wonder what will happen when everyone is much older and unable to physically care for them. With our siblings (and us) all in an older age group, the option of family being able to step in probably would not be available to our babies. Unless I left the burden to my son, which I don't think is fair at all. 

A child born with a severe chromosomal abnormality can have devastating effects. More than likely one parent will have to not work, which can be a big blow in income. Add the costs of medical and 1000 other things normal people don't think about, and any savings could be wiped out in a very short time. It only money right? Yes and while that may be true, older parents entering their 70's and 80's may have zero money left over to care for their child when they no longer can (much less themselves). They are then faced with the VERY REAL probability of a mentally and physically disabled child that will be sent to a state run facility. Knowing the child will spend the rest of his/her life potentially living in hell is just not something we are prepared to risk. 

So while I absolutely despise that we have to think about things like this, I guess I feel it's important to share. Because I think it's important we all know these things before we jump in.* That may not change our minds, in fact I can almost guarantee in most cases it won't, but maybe if someone is on the fence about other decisions (such as donor eggs)** then the information will be important to them. We all get so caught up in the idea and worry of having a baby, that we forget some of the other, very real, life changing concerns.

In my mind, there is no right or wrong answer with these tough decisions. I place no judgement on those of us that don't even want to know about things like this. Nor do I judge those who decide things differently than we would. In the end, we are all left with our own decisions and we must choose what we can live with 1, 5, 40 years from now - not what matters to outsiders looking in.

Sigh. I told you this would be a rambling post. We had such a small chance of getting pregnant. Heck, our chance of miscarriage was higher than our chance of getting pregnant. If we can just make it past the amniocentesis, then I will be able to breathe. For a little while at least. 


*In our experience, which is A LOT of different medical professionals, we really did not get enough information about all of the risks for my age. Really the only one that was relayed to us was our lower chance of getting pregnant. I'm not sure if we would have made a different decisions, but I think medical professionals need to do a much better job of informing their patients about these risks. 

**Even this does not guarantee that all will be fine and dandy as many here in IF blog land can attest. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Testing... 1,2,3

Yesterday we went to the new OB/GYN with SIL.* Excited in our anticipation for another ultrasound, we weren't prepared for the possibility of NOT having one and were a little disappointed when it didn't occur. Not sure if it was because the appointment ran long, if the doctor felt it wasn't necessary, or she was holding off because she knew the perinatologist would want to do one. You know....because of all the testing coming up.

Testing? What testing?

Since I am of AMA, there are about a zillion tests that should be done to test for chromosomal abnormalities. Great another reminder that if something goes wrong, it's probably because we used my old-ass eggs. Thursdays doctor was not the first doctor to count me as 41, even though my birthday is not until the end of April. Seriously - I am waaaayyyyyyyyyyy over hearing the tut-tut regarding my age.

We elected not to do the chromosomal testing on our eggs/embryos. Not sure why, but it was one of the things I just didn't focus my laser (some say obsessive) research skills on during the IVF process. A part of me thought that a small biopsy could endanger our chances of implantation and thus we weren't really interested in lowering our chances (no matter how small) or spending extra money unnecessarily. Now, unlike congress, our proverbial bill is due and it is time to pony up (i.e. take all the tests).

Here is the nice handy-dandy chart for us to stress over for the next 6 or 8 weeks. Look a bit overwhelming? Yea, me too. Fortunately some of them overlap, so it's not like we have to do all. But we DO have to weigh the pros and cons of each and decide which we think is best.  Right now we are weighing more towards the amnio vs the CVS. Hubby says CVS is slightly riskier for miscarriage and the doctor mentioned something about loss of limbs(!!!). I haven't had the heart to look.

RISK ASSESSMENT CHART FOR DOWN SYNDROME AND TRISOMY 18
Screening
parameters
First Screen
11-14 weeks
Integrated
Screen
Combines first
screen & Quad
Quad Screen
15-18 weeks
Amniocentesis
After
15 1/2 weeks
CVS
Chorionic
Villi Sampling
10-12 weeks
Down syndrome detection rate
83%
92%
81%
99.9%
99%
False positive rate
5%
5%
5%
1%
1%
Trisomy 18
detection rate
80%
90%
80%
99.9%
99%
Biochemical Markers
PAPP-A
Free Beta hCG
PAPP-A
AFP
hCG
uE3
Inhibin-A
AFP
hCG
uE3
Inhibin-A
Diagnostic evaluation of hundreds of types of chromosomal anomalies
Early Diagnostic evaluation of  chromosomal anomalies
Nuchal
Translucency
NT
NT
NT
***
***
Timing
1st
Trimester
1st & 2nd
Trimester
2nd
Trimester
2nd
Trimester
1st
Trimester
Open Neural tube defects Detection Rate
***
80%
80%
99.9%
***
Fetal Nasal Bone presence
Preliminary results/ significance
***
***
***
***


All this and we know we are at higher risk because of twins. I should be celebrating and instead I feel like a big bag of worry. At least the appointment went well.

*I never know whether to put SIL or surrogate. Some days it feels more appropriate to put surrogate for a number of reasons, but other days it seems so impersonal for such a great thing my SIL is doing. Bear with me. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Still Here

And so are the twins. Yay!!!! Growth rate in both is great and heartbeats are great.

Our surrogate has been officially released to her obstetrician with special instructions to also see a perinatologist.  Her obstetrician will recommend a perinatologist that she [the doctor] is familiar with so they can work in tandem. Our clinic was very happy with our surrogates choice in obstetrician. Everyone is so excited for us. 

I'm excited too, but still very nervous. Twins increase everything, including risk. If I think about it too long, I will drive myself crazy.

More later - just wanted to drop a quick update. Crap it's late. Night all. (I can't believe it's after 1am - sheesh.) 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

News Article: Why Women's Eggs Don't Last

A human oocyte.FLICKR, ED UTHMAN

It's late and I'm tired, but I've been meaning to post about this since last week. My BFF sent it to me the same day we got our twins u/s report and I wasn't ready to share our news with him yet. Will have to have a talk with him at sometime to explain "timing" and how it relates to "appropriateness", but fortunately our u/s went well. Anyhow - since I wasn't in anguish over my old-ass eggs that day, I was able to read the article as it was intended.

The article is a very interesting read regarding how egg quality declines as women age. Too tired to go into my analysis of it so I will just give you the link outright. :-)

http://www.the-scientist.com//?articles.view/articleNo/34375/title/Why-Women-s-Eggs-Don-t-Last/

This really doesn't help me that much because of my age, but I do think it has great potential for others 10+ years from now, with a hope of pharmaceutical help to all ages of women. That would be freaking fantastic. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cupid's Gift


Purchase here


Today could have been the best or worst Valentine's: this morning we had our ultrasound. Originally it was supposed to be on Saturday, but we realized that there was a miscommunication and that they don't do non-required-cycle ultrasounds on Saturday. That's a story in itself that at this point bores even me, so I will spare you the details.

I think I may have held my breath as the ultrasound began. My husband has never seen an ultrasound, which seems incredulous now that I think about it, so it was a completely new experience for him. (I've lost count on how many I've had in the last year alone!) After what seemed like forever (really just a few seconds), the big black circle came into focus. With a little white circle (yolk sack) inside. And a blinky heartbeat that measured at 129 beats per second. The doctor said it was perfect.

And then she showed us #2... Equally perfect.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Ferris Wheel

From: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/devil%20in%20the%20white%20city?before=17

Recently I read: The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, an intriguing, historical novel about the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893. While I will spare you even a brief review (ok fine, for the most part I liked it - there are you happy?), I was fascinated to get the history behind the wonderous Ferris Wheel - a staple to every decent fair I have ever known. In this well researched story, the Ferris Wheel, though only briefly mentioned, so perfectly captures the feelings that I am going through right now. From the build up of delays and potential problems to the exhilarating ride to horrible possibilities of things that can (and do) go wrong to the remorsefulness that comes with loss and success.

Similarly,
I'm nervous.
And excited.
And scared.
And guilt-ridden.

Who knew that after getting our initial hCG values (and good ones at that), that I'd still feel like a bundle of nerves? In the Land of IF*, a positive pregnancy test really is just extending the anxiety from the 2ww. Yay we are pregnant with a good hCG! Oh crap - I hope it doubles in two days. Yay it went over double! Oh crap, I hope it grows as expected by next blood test. Yay! It grew as expected! Congrats - you get a new 2ww till ultrasound, where hopefully, you will see a heartbeat. It feels like every milestone comes with new nerve-shattering waits.

But I'm also excited. For the first time ever, I'm considering shopping. On the surface that seems like a trivial thing, but as fellow IFers** know, it really isn't. There's always the thought "What if I buy something and then something goes wrong?"  In March, we have a HUGE, local community mom consignment event coming up, and if everything is still ok, then I'll feel like I can purchase some things. Not big things, but SOME things. A pleasure I have completely avoided on all of our tries (with the exception of 1 book last year). There are other things I am excited about, but the idea of allowing myself to shop is a pretty big deal.

Being scared is another emotion all together. There are so many things to worry about. Will the pregnancy make it? What if there are twins? What if there are more??? What if the baby(ies) are born early? What if there are medical problems afterwards? As the pot grows bigger, it feels like any loss would be that much more.

Lastly, I feel guilty. Of late, I have not read as many success/pregnancy/baby blogs as I normally do and even ditched a baby shower a few weeks ago that came smack in the middle of my 2ww. I just needed a break from everyone else's "Woo hoo". Quite frankly, I was trying to simultaneously prep my self for a bad outcome, while still holding out some hope. Now we have had a few "woo hoos" of our own and I think of all the other individuals out here in blog land, men and women who have been through so much more than me, still waiting. And that makes me sad. And it makes me feel guilty. Like a weird survivors guilt where circumstances could change and put me right back were I was before. Guilty for my current feelings of success that happened while I was shamefully avoiding other's.

The ride of infertility is much like that first ferris wheel created in 1893. Not only does the ferris wheel go up and down on it's circular ride, but the details before, after, and in-between can't be ignored. The marvel of it all staying together, even when massive numbers of nuts and bolts fly off, is awe-inspiring. On so many levels, each successful turn is to be admired.

*When I refer to the Land of If, I mean it from a metaphorical perspective. I am not quoting the book, but I do like to place a link to it because I feel in this phrase, Melissa Ford so perfectly captured the seclusion often felt by our community: people dealing with infertility. As such, I like to give her credit.

**IFers: people dealing with infertility. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Don't Bring It.

We received our 3rd beta test result today. For those of you keeping score:

January 27th: 130
January 29th: 365
February 2nd: 2268!

I have no idea what that means except that our nurse says our numbers are fantastic. On Tuesday we asked about singleton versus twins - the nurse I spoke with said right now they are considering it a singleton, but we won't know until the ultrasound. So what did we do? What any reasonable hopeful-parents-to-be would do: pestered our favorite nurse. 

"It is very, very difficult to know whether there could be more than one from bloodwork alone - and I have been wrong enough times to wait until the ultrasound rather than guess."

Fair enough. I guess I can stop obsessing with Dr. Google.

http://veterinarynewshub.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Dr.Google.jpg

Oh who am I kidding? Just a few more peeks. Apparently we've reached a small milestone with our hCG of 2268. Between 1000-2000 you can see a gestational sac on an ultrasound. 

According to this IVF calculator, we are 4 weeks and 6 days pregnant with a due date of October 6th. 

If this was a normal milestone or challenge in my life, I'd be all 
"WOOOOOOOO HOOOOOO! We've made it this far - BRING IT <insert challenge here>!"
I think this time I will be all "woooo hooo. Don't bring it. Unless by "IT" you mean baby in 9 months. Or 10 months. Or whatever weird counting system they have going on these days that will result in a crying, pooping, bundle of joy"

Wonder what my 14 year old self would have thought of that statement from my 40 year old self? Probably just happy I'm still all weird. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ultrasound Question

For all of the peeps out there that have made it to their first ultrasound, when did it take place? Specifically how long after TRANSFER?

The reason I ask (instead of google) is because I'm a little confused on how they calculate pregnancy. Apparently they now calculate "how far along you are" based on the date of your last menstrual period (LMP). When I went to use an IVF due date calculator last night (don't judge), it gave us a due date in October, but then also displayed that we were considered 4 weeks and 3 days pregnant. This is different than how they calculated it 20+ years ago, and I'm not ashamed to say, offends my logical sensibilities. Whatever. I still don't know if people are talking about the ultrasound being at 6 weeks based on after implant date OR based on "how far along you are" date.

I'd call my clinic and ask but a.) my favorite nurse isn't there today and b.) I have a cube and still have to keep things hush-hush. Since I always have to wait for them to call me back, I can't exactly time my privacy.

My husband has only told his Dad so far, because our previous fails have been hard on his family. Particularly his mother as his parents are much older (he's the baby of 6) and not always in the best health. He is itching to tell them, but is also wants to wait until the first ultrasound. He couldn't help but tell his father when he made his normal weekly call last Sunday.

Our breath is holding for our next beta on Saturday. Then we will hold it until the ultrasound. Once we hit that point, we will exhale, fill our lungs, and hold again. Rinse and Repeat.


Update:
my main question is:
Specifically how long after TRANSFER did the ultrasound take place.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Years Worth of Beta

365!!! hCG. Yay!!!

Waiting Sucks

Waiting sucks.

Sitting here in my cube, waiting for an update. Checking to see if my phone is on ring. Or if somehow, miraculously, I've missed a call even though my phone hasn't been less than a foot away from me all morning.
I look at the clock on my computer and realize only a minute has passed.

Do they wait longer to call if it's bad news?
What time was the GC's blood appointment this morning? Was it 8am or 10am? Can't remember and I'm afraid to call in case she has bad news of her own from spotting.
What if everything is fine and they just forget to call? That's happened before. Even from our other clinic.
What if it's bad news and they have to wait until the doctor can call us to explain?
Why aren't they calling???

Breathe.