Sunday, January 31, 2010

I'm feeling a little bit bloated. ? Any of my fellow surros feeling that? I'm wondering if it's just in my head. Seems like it's too early to be feeling any changes.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Final Day of Bedrest

This is my final day of bedrest. It was nice to have an excuse NOT to clean, but My Oh My the clutter gathers quickly when Mommy is off duty! And I have found myself wishing I could get up and clean the house, maybe just do it really quickly, but instead I did the right thing and hired a housekeeper to do the job. So here I am on my last day of bedrest with a clean house. !!! :-)

I need a shower.
I need to go grocery shopping.
I want to take the kids to the park.
I want to start planting my garden!
And I can't wait to take a home pregnancy test!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


By the way, fellow surrogates, I just found out today that Prometrium causes drowsiness which is why we're instructed to take it in the evenings. Right now, I'm having one heck of a time keeping my eyes open. Considering I already had a valium nap AND have been laying around ALL day, I would think I'd be wide awake. Thank the Prometrium for getting to bed at a decent hour. :-)

Transfer Complete!

I'm home from La Jolla IVF. We transferred two perfect blastocyts into the highest part of my uterus. Now I'm on a strict bedrest for 3 days to help those little ones get a good strong hold.

I arrived at the clinic with a nearly full bladder (aids the ultrasound and transfer by pushing the uterus into an ideal position). They gave me a Valium to relax me and to stop uterine contractions which could complicate the transfer. They even turned down the lights and played soft music. I was reminded of a massage room, but with the addition of lef stirrups and ultrasound equipment. :-)

The embryo transfer procedure is as follows:
  1. Insert speculum
  2. Cleanse cervix
  3. Insert catheter through cervix (like a straw)
  4. Inject embryos through the catheter and deep into the fundus

The embryo transfer is aided by abdominal ultrasound and I was able to see the catheter on the screen and then a brighter white which was the embryos and the fluid they were living in.

Next, all instruments were removed and I was lowered to a full recline with pillows under my knees. For half an hour I lay there with the lights dimmed, music playing, with a Valium in my system.... needless to say, I quickly fell asleep and enjoyed a lovely little nap. :-)

One of the staff helped me to roll out of the bed and to the restroom (remember the full bladder?). Then I was put in a wheelchair and escorted downstairs to my waiting husband and little girls. The wheelchair was not because I was injured or overly sedated (although the Valium did make me feel a little bit drifty), but the doctor feels that we should limit the use of abdominal muscles until the embryos have gotten a chance to implant.

The whole process takes 5-10 minutes (not counting waiting before and after) and feels similar to a pap smear. Easy-peasy. :-)

Now we wait. On Monday February 1st we'll have a blood draw, and then the following Monday, February 8th, well have another blood draw to check hcg levels for pregnancy. If the hcg count is high (indicating pregnancy) then there will be another check in two days to be sure that the hcg is rising. Cross your fingers, say a prayer, and think sticky thoughts!

That reminds me! After the transfer, Dr. Smotrich asked my permission to say a prayer! He took my hands and prayed in Hebrew over the little ones. I think it is very special to have a doctor in such a medically/biologically/technically advanced field who is also a man of faith and takes that extra moment to ask for divine assistance in creating the miracle of life.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Brief Appointment Today

I went to La Jolla today expecting the usual routine, but it was only a blood draw. I'll have to wait until tomorrow morning to find out how many of the 14 eggs successfully became embryos.

In 24 hours I will be laying in bed, surfing the web, watching TV, napping, EATING in bed! :-) And wondering if the transfer will bear fruit.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Transfer Appointment

My transfer appointment has been set for Wednesday morning the 27th at 10am (arrive at 9:30). I also have an appointment tomorrow (Tuesday) morning for a blood draw. I'll be able to find out tomorrow how many of the 14 eggs were fertilized and how many good embryos have developed. The 2 best blastocycts will be used for this first fresh transfer and the remaining ones will be frozen in case we need to repeat.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Three Days to go!

Tonight's Progesterone was easier than the previous two because now I don't have to check the location for injection -- I just stick the needle near the bruise from the previous injection site! :-)

A little bit sore, and a slight lumpy feeling. It's not bad for now, but one has to wonder how it will be in 8 weeks after 50+ injections. !!!

Tomorrow I'm meeting a potential nanny for my upcoming 3 days of vacation (bedrest). She has a 5 year old daughter who is going to come along and play with the girls. :-)

Friday, January 22, 2010


The Medrol tastes REALLY bad!

The Progesterone shot was just like the Delestrogens - same size needle, same location. However, the Progesterone is triple the quantity of substance to be injected so it takes longer to inject and I imagine it will be more prone to creating a lump. I still have an hour or more before bed to walk around and massage the oil into the muscle - hopefully we won't get lumps!

Yay! It's almost 6pm!

Surrogates are so silly. Haha! Here I am thinking, "Yay! It's almost 6pm and then I can stick a huge needle into my butt!" Haha. :-) And I KNOW I'm not the only one who has thought this! I am so excited about the progress we're making and the proximity to the upcoming transfer!

Of course, weeks from now I doubt I'll be so enthusiastic about Progesterone in Oil. !

Five Days!

I had a wonderful dinner with my IPs last night at a very nice La Jolla restaurant, Trulucks. I had a very good jumbo shrimp platter which came with a MOUNTAIN of fries! We talked about family and work, school systems (U.S. vs. Germany), and laughed about how many dirty dishes men create when they're making dinner! :-) They also brought gifts from the Alps! I would never have picked an orange sweatshirt for myself, but my IM thought it would suit me, and I'll be honest, she was right, it really looks GREAT on me! And my husband will love it; he's always trying to get me to wear orange or yellow. I'll try to get a picture of all of us posted later today.

Medications: Yesterday I stopped Lupron and had my Thursday injection of Delestrogen. Today I will have Prenatal, Baby Aspirin, Doxycycline, Medrol, Prometrium, and Progesterone injection in the evening. These meds continue daily for the next 5 days with the addition of Delestrogen again on Monday.

I'm really looking forward to my upcoming 3 days of bedrest. As a mother of 3 young children, I welcome the excuse to sleep in, watch movies, read a book (how long has it been since I read a book that wasn't about Parenting?), let someone else do the cooking, the cleaning, and entertain the kids. :-)

Today is the egg retrieval AND fertilization. There are 14 eggs to be harvested. Let's hope that we get several good 5-day embyos for Wednesday. We will want to have extras to freeze just in case we need to try again a second time. Think happy thoughts!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Seven Days!

I met my IPs this morning at our IVF office. They are sweet normal beautiful people! Mrs. IP played with my 4-year-old, tolerated purse-digging, and made balloons out of the office latex gloves. My 4yo says to her, "I love you so much! We are going to make a baby for you!"

The egg retrieval (donor) is scheduled for this Friday, and the transfer is now scheduled for next Wednesday the 27th. I stop Lupron as of today, then start Progesterone, Prometrium, Medrol, and Doxycycline on Friday. Those will be daily. Delestrogen remains Thursday and Monday.

There was no blood draw today, just an ultrasound to examine uterine lining which is now a 13. Anything over 10 is good at this stage. My next appointment will be on Tuesday to do one last check-up, including a blood draw to check all levels.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Eight Days!

My IPs should be in the air now, en route from Germany to San Diego! Too bad we've have uncharacteristically rainy weather. :-( Sunny California is POURING cold cold rain.

Appointment tomorrow at the IVF clinic. My appointment is at 10:45, and their's is at 11:30, so we will have our first face-to-face tomorrow morning! Tomorrow we will have the usual blood test (to confirm NO current pregnancy, as well as check estrogen level) and ultrasound to check lining thickness and confirm continued ovarian suppression.

My meds cheat-sheet says I will be starting Progesterone, Prometrium, Medrol, and Doxycycline on the 22nd or 23rd; I believe Lupron will stop. I will find out the exact schedule tomorrow. And I don't know what the Prometrium and Medrol are for, but I will ask the doc when I meet with him. The Doxycycline is an antibiotic to destroy any malicious bacteria that might be in the uterine environment. It's a standard protocol, since apparently some of the common bacterias that populate the area are toxic to the embryos. I always always get a yeast infection after an antibiotic so I plan to supplement probiotics at the same time.

I will post again tomorrow afternoon!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Count Down: 9 Days!

9 Days until Transfer! I'm excited, nervous, and can't believe it's suddenly happening so soon!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


When I was at the doctor's office last Thursday a nurse reminded me to always check my prescription expiration date, just in case. I wouldn't normally think to do so. Today I reached for a new bottle of Baby Aspirin and noticed the pill description at the bottom of the label "Yellow, round, tablet, imprinted with L." Well the pills are yellow, round tablets, but they are imprinted with PH! Clearly the pharmacy has made a mistake here! I watched an episode of House recently where there was a pill mix-up just like this... same pill description but the marking was different... the patient nearly DIED, but that's how it always is on House. :-) I checked an online pill database (because my pharmacy is not answering their phone today - CLOSED I suppose) and this pill IS a baby aspirin. So all is well. But I'll be calling the pharmacy on Monday to let them know of the discrepancy between label and actual pill markings.

Enteric Coated Aspirin Tablet - 81mg Tablet

Friday, January 15, 2010


I can't believe it's LESS than two weeks until T-Day! The Transfer will be either the 27th or 28th, depending on how the embryos are developing. I will get a phone call saying it's time to come in... I wonder how much notice I'll get? I'm sure it will be at least a couple hours, but perhaps 24 hours notice? I'm so excited!

Experienced Surrogates: How much notice did you have for a fresh transfer?

My IPs are on vacation skiing in the Alps! Next week they will be flying into San Diego for a few days to take care of business at the IVF clinic and we are going to meet for the first time! Being an international match, we have only spoken via phone, email, and my blog. I'm fine with the long distance, and I don't mind going to doctor's appointments alone, I've always been very independent. But if the roles were reversed, I can't imagine a woman on the other side of the world carrying my baby and I being unable to keep a watchful eye throughout the pregnancy -- I'm a little bit of a control freak though, which is why I do my own shots. So, I plan to do whatever I can to keep my Parents in-the-loop for their long-distance pregnancy.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Doing Beautifully!

That's what the doctor said today... I'm doing beautifully. :-) Had the usual blood draw and ultrasound. Uterine lining is a 14, when anything over 8 is good. I don't know what the numbers mean... some kind of measurement.

Meds stay the same for the next week: Delestrogen on Monday/Thursday, Lupron daily, baby aspirin and prenatals daily.

FYI: Delestrogen makes the body think that it is pregnant and causes typical pregnancy changes such as softening of the cervix and breast tenderness. I had a day or two of fearing that I might BE pregnant (despite ovarian supression) until I confirmed with the doctor that Delestrogen causes these symptoms. :-)

Monday, January 11, 2010

2nd Intramuscular

This time I did the shot on my left buttcheek. I'm not really afraid of the needles or the discomfort anymore. I use a slow insertion instead of a quick jab, but I'm starting to push through the skin a little more quickly since that's the most painful part and slower means longer discomfort.

The left side was definately more difficult, being that I am right-handed. I sat on the bathroom counter to get a good view of my left side. Checked and double-checked the correct location. Stuck it in, pushed into the muscle (slight twinge, not much) and slowly slowly depressed the plunger. Since this oil is thick it takes longer to get it through the needle and it was more difficult with my left hand than it was with my right. But, I don't think I have to worry about intramuscular injections anymore. They really don't hurt very much. As long as I can avoid getting hard lumps (inject slowly, massage and walk afterwards) I think I'll be just fine.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

As described by my 4yo...

I explained to my 4yo a couple days ago that we are going to make a baby for a nice husband and wife who want to be a mommy and daddy. She's been seeing my daily Lupron shots, and I took her along to my doctor's appointment on Thursday. It seemed like it was time to explain what was going on.

"Aly, tell me about the baby we're going to make."

It starts with a little baby like this big (fingers pinched together, tiny) and they put in in your stomach. It's going to grOW! And then it's going to come out. We're going to give it to (IM name) and (IF name).
The most basic requirement to be a surrogate is that the woman has already given birth to at least one healthy full-term baby and be raising that baby at home. I have three - ages 6, 4, and 2. This weekend 2 out of 3 of my girls came down with pink-eye! And then the other one had an allergic reaction to who-knows-what! We were visiting their grandparents who live 2 hours away and BAM! all three kiddos are less than healthy and we had to drive home the same day.

Thankfully, my 2yo is looking much better today, the 4yo's hives are gone, and my 6yo still has crusties on her eyes but is looking like she will be recovering soon.

The life of a surrogate is not just appointments, medications, and being pregnant. We are also wives and mothers dealing with all the joys and difficulties of marriage, parenthood, paying bills, cleaning house (over and over again everyday, when you have young kids at home), and trying to find time for friendships.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My First Delestrogen

Well, my first intramuscular injection was MUCH less painful than I'd feared it would be. Delestrogen is in oil, like the Progesterone will be, and it is better warm because it thins. I drew up the oil with the giant 18 gauge needle, then removed the needle from the syringe and tucked the loaded syringe into my bra where it could get nice and warm. (This was a tip I gleaned from other surros.) After a few minutes I took a seat in the kitchen and attached the 22 gauge needle. It's definately smaller than the 18gg, but still much bigger than the insulin needle. My first try resulted in pierced skin and hesitation. I stood up and checked the spot again, and then again, trying to make sure I'm putting the needle into the right spot. Stalling! :-) Ok, ladies all over the globe have done this... I can do it. Surprisingly, once the needle was past the skin I didn't feel anything, until I hit muscle (I do have about an inch of fat back there), then I felt kind-of a twinge down my leg. I feared I may have hit a nerve but everything seems fine so maybe the twinge is normal when penetrating muscle. I'm again favoring a slow push instead of a quick jab. Not bad!

Delestrogen will be Monday and Thursday. I think this will be a nice little break-in period to get used to intramuscular shots before Progesterone starts daily.

Oh, and I saw our doctor today. My lining is thin which is good since I just finished my flow. Both ovaries are quiet. We also did a blood test to verify that I am not pregnant (this is for the lawyers), that way when pregnancy occurs the parentage won't be questioned. We'll do the blood test next week and the week after as well.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Lupron is easy now that I've given up on the quick jab. Ryan says he will give me the Progesterone shots when it is time. I don't know if I want to do that one myself or not. It's a big needle into the muscle of the upper buttocks.

I've been reading other ladies' stories about the Progesterone shots looking for tips. General consensus is
1. Warm the oil;
2. Relax the muscle (sit or lay down);
3. Quick jab;
4. SLOWLY inject over approx 30sec or more;
5. Warm compress and massage for 15min+.

One lady pressed the needle in slowly (instead of the jab) and claims it saved her from the typical bruising, swelling, and lumps. Extra long massaging after the injection may help avoid lumps, and doing the shot in the morning (rather than before bed) may also help with soreness.

The Progesterone doesn't start for another 2.5 weeks, but I think I have to take it daily for about 12 weeks! So I'm definately concerned about how to best preserve my comfort!

My next appointment is this Thursday for ultrasound and check blood levels. If all is as it should be I'll be starting Delestrogen twice a week (injection) and reducing the Lupron dosage by 50%.