MicroblogMondays: Five Weeks Five Days

Microblog_Mondays

Today, we have reached five weeks five days.  I get asked a lot about my feelings regarding where we are in this process.  It has been quite interesting to be the intended mother and not the person being pregnant.  I continue to struggle a little on the frequency of getting information from Annie about her feelings.  I ask her about once a day. Some days I don’t ask.  She has told me that she would tell me if she is feeling something other than good.  But I feel that I should still ask because I do care a lot about how she is feeling.  Last week, she was feeling good earlier in the week but on Thursday, she told me that she had been feeling tired and very grumpy for two days and was seeking prayers for grace and compassion.  I took her fatigue and grumpiness as a great sign but I felt bad for her that she wasn’t feeling good.  But like she said, I don’t have to feel bad because she signed herself up for it.  But it’s at times difficult that I am not the one feeling anything.

Last week throughout the week I woke up every morning feeling anxious about all the things that have been happening in this country with the new administration.  In disbelief, I wondered for the first time in my life if it was the right choice to bring children into this world.  The direction that this country is going has made me really nervous.  At the same time, I know that I have to put my complete trust in God’s sovereignty.  But the events that were unfolding in the last few days definitely made my feelings of having children via surrogacy even more complicated.

I received an email last week from our surrogacy agency and the paralegal for our attorney discussing about the first payment for Annie.  In the contract, it stated that a beta 20 days post 5 day transfer would be done and a payment would be made to our surrogate after confirmation of the continuation of the pregnancy.  However, since we weren’t going to do a beta and were going straight to the first ultrasound, our agency had asked the paralegal to send the first payment to our surrogate.  It made it a little bit uneasy for me to issue the payment without confirming the progress of the pregnancy.  Agency said that we could always have my RE order a 20 day beta (which happened to be yesterday, but it would be done today since yesterday was on the weekend).  My anxiety went way up once I saw the words “20 day beta”.  I did not want to have to see another beta number for this current pregnancy in my life.  I did not want to wait all day for the number and feel nervous about it.  I wrote Dr. E to ask her for advice.  This is what she said, “Pay her for it.  I don’t do 20 day beta.  Never heard of it before!  Everything will be fine.  Only reason to do it is if she has spotting or anything like that.”  So with that, I authorized for the paralegal to issue a check for Annie.

Annie is so great though.  She knew that I was a bit anxious about the pregnancy.  For my satisfaction, she bought two FRER and peed on one on 11 days post 5 day transfer, the day after our second beta.  It was pretty dark for that day.  Yesterday was 20 days post 5 day transfer.  I woke up to her message on my phone with an awesome picture of a FRER.  The test line was way darker than the control line.  It appeared that her hCG was so high that the test line had pulled the color from the control line.  It means that she is still very pregnant.  It is very reassuring to know that the pregnancy has progressed.  I try not to post anything that may be a trigger for others in this blog post.  If you go over to the left side of the blog, you will see a page for the pee stick images.

Time has been going kind of slowly as we wait for the first ultrasound.  At the same time, it has been very exciting for Bob and me to talk about the very good possibility of bringing home a baby or two in September.  I know we still have many months ahead of us, but I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I can’t wait to get to that point.

Advertisements

MicroblogMondays: Sinking In

Microblog_Mondays

We find ourselves in this uncharted territory: we are expecting, for the first time, with very strong beta numbers.  We had dreamed of being in this position but never reached it.  Until now.  It is just so surreal.

I remember my dear friend A.’s words: Things don’t change until they change.  She said this to me in December when we ended the fifth year of our quest without a baby or pregnancy and this journey seemed to be never ending.  A few weeks later, everything changed.

I woke up the day after second beta feeling tremendously grateful for this pregnancy, for the life or lives that the Lord is sustaining inside Annie’s womb, and for Annie herself who has been nothing but a blessing to us.

Annie is so good.  She did her first prenatal workout the other day.  I have 100% confidence in her that she will do her best to take care of herself and this pregnancy.

I am allowing myself to dream a little dream, that maybe this is really the time that we get to bring a baby home.  On Friday, my heart was full and my stride was a bit bouncier and lighter.

I had some email exchanges with Dr. E on Friday and Saturday.  I told her that I was still soaking in my joy and disbelief.  I asked her for the record of the beta results, and which scans other than the 6.5 week appointment we should attend.

Dr. E’s response: “I love it!!  ‘Soaking in your joy’.  Life is good!  The next big scan will be at around 20 weeks to look at the anatomy of the babies.  That’s a great one to attend too.”

Babies?!?  I know that our betas were high.  But I ain’t too sure about “babies”.  And what about the NT scan at 12 to 13 weeks?

Her response: “You already did PGS.  You can skip the NT.  You can go if you want.  It’s just like the first scan.  Not much different.  Buuuut there are babies in there :)”

She seems to think that there are twins inside.  I am emotionally not quite there yet.  I am still at that stage where I am wavering between having confidence that we’ll see a heartbeat or two and the fear of a huge disappointment and devastation at the appointment.

The next day, I emailed Dr. E again to ask if 6 weeks 5 days would be a good time for an ultrasound, and if there are any other supplements she might recommend for Annie if she is indeed carrying twins.

Dr. E said that Annie doesn’t need anything right now other than all the support she can get to have a stress-free pregnancy.

She also said, “She is such a relaxed person at baseline.  We are really very lucky.  Stress is  one thing that is consistently linked to preterm birth.  Six weeks and five days is perfect.  No words to describe how excited I am for you.”

I just love Dr. E.

An ultrasound has been scheduled for 2/6 at 6 weeks 5 days.  Plane tickets have been purchased for both Bob and me to attend the appointment.  A week ago we wouldn’t have dreamed of doing all of this.

There are definitely many emotions to sort through.

We are in general super happy and feeling super fortunate to get to this point.  We celebrated with a deep-dish pizza dinner.

As requested, Annie bought a FRER and POAS’d just for my satisfaction of seeing a dark second line.  It felt really surreal to receive a picture of that FRER.  It was not my pee but it is SOOO my pee stick.

I don’t know how to describe the feeling of seeing a BFP that supposedly belongs to us but at the same time it is so far remote from our life here.

The long awaited BFP.  I thought I would be jumping up and down in joy, but instead I felt a little jealous that the life/lives are not growing inside of me.

And then, there is a question of how much to check in with Annie about feelings or symptoms without being overbearing.  I don’t want to ask her every single day how she is feeling, if she is feeling symptoms or tiredness, etc.  Bob asks me everyday how Annie is feeling.  I think he is gauging how pregnant she is on how sick she feels.  He is probably feeling even more far removed from it all because he does not usually contact her directly like I do.  It is even harder for him to navigate this new stage of how to care for our gestational carrier without going overboard.  It is a fine line to walk.

As this news is sinking in this weekend, I suddenly feel a sense of loss.  As much as I look forward to finally closing this chapter of our TTC life and moving on to hopefully becoming parents, I also feel this intense loss of not being able to carry my own child(ren).  I know that it is a process to grieve and mourn this loss, and I shouldn’t expect myself to get over it at this moment.  As I think about what Annie will be going through in the next many months, I feel sad that I am not the one who will have these precious moments with my husband.  Bob will not be the one who comes home and puts his hands on my tummy waiting for his baby to kick.  I will not be the one who would notice my belly growing bigger and bigger.  As much as surrogacy is such a gift and an amazing thing, we still mourn the loss of these moments.

This sense of loss was so strong last night that I lay in bed in the dark with tears soaking my ears wet.  In darkness, Bob held my hand and said, “It may be a good time for you to go talk to S.”  S is my therapist.  I am very thankful for my husband who is perceptive of my needs.  Today, I emailed S and scheduled an appointment for the Wednesday after our ultrasound.  I hope to have good news for her and at the same time have her help me navigate the complicated emotions involved in this process.

But then, sadness only appeared for a little.  At church yesterday, I let myself daydream a little about it finally being my time to leave my baby or babies at the nursery.

This is my reality: constantly moving from being ecstatic to sad to grieving to happiness to hoping for the future.

This news is so fresh and it still feels very surreal.  I just feel so blessed to be writing this post.  I hope that I will be able to keep on delivering good news for the next many months.  And hopefully as the news continues to sink in and the time goes by, I will feel more and more joyful and less of a need to mourn my loss.

It’s Happening!!!

I just have to use exclamation marks for my blog post titles lately!!!

Second beta is 464!!!  Doubling time about 40 hours.  Progesterone is 43.

We literally waited all day long for the results.  I was more nervous than on Tuesday.  I guess this time there is more to lose because we had never gotten such high beta number.  Annie finished her blood draw at 9:30.  I initially calmly waited.  The more I waited, the more nervous I was.  My mind just went wild!  I imagined all sorts of case scenarios….

Five o’clock rolled around and there was no phone call.  I left work at 5:30 having my earbuds on just in case Dr. E would call.  Nothing.  When I arrived home, I wrote her an email.  I was so anxious that I couldn’t cook or do my yoga.  It was pure torture.

Dr. E wrote me back at 6:20.  She said she hadn’t heard anything but told me not to worry about a thing.  She would call the lab now.  And she said next time call her before 4pm so she could contact the lab earlier. She said there was no need to torture ourselves.  HA!  I really should’ve contacted her.  I was being too polite.

Ten minutes later, Dr. E emailed me and Annie at the same time with the results.  When I saw it, I was so relieved!  She wrote:

“Doesn’t get any better than this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

She said I could choose to do another beta on Monday, or I could go straight to ultrasound.  I asked her what she recommends.  She said she’d go straight to ultrasound but she also understands how having a period of time with no reassurances can be anxiety provoking.

I thought about it, and I think most likely we’ll wait for the ultrasound.  Gotta have some faith in this process, yeah?

Thanks for all the love on Tuesday!  It has been very surreal and I am still processing my emotions.  But as of right now, we are expecting, Annie is truly pregnant, and it’s a great reason to celebrate!

Praise the Lord for sustaining this/these baby/babies!  May he/she/they continue to thrive so we will see a heartbeat(s) in 2.5 weeks.

I have real hope that we will finally meet our baby/babies in September!

The Post I’ve Been Waiting to Write!!!

I am overjoyed to let you all know that we are indeed expecting and the magic beta on 8dp5dt is 204!!!!!!

I just can’t tell you how and why but I had been the most calm out of all the previous beta days.  From yesterday to today, there were a few moments when I was a little bit nervous.  But I checked myself and found that my shoulders were relaxed and my heart wasn’t pounding.  I was just calmly waiting most of the time.

Last night Annie told me that she felt queasy.  I was wondering if it was because of any hCG in her system.  But it could also be because of progesterone so I didn’t say much.

Annie texted me at 9:10am telling me that the blood draw was done.  From past experience, I knew that getting results from Annie’s hometown would take forever.  So I didn’t even anticipate a phone call until 4 something or even 5.  All day long my friends were checking in.  I would have told them if I got the results, yeah?  But it is also so very heartwarming to know that so many of you are rooting for us.

Dr. E called at 5:04pm.  I didn’t even think much and just picked up anticipating good news.  She didn’t wait and immediately yelled out “204!!!”  I was so overcome with emotions that I started screaming and yelling… then tears started streaming down my cheeks.  She was crying and I was crying.  It is so crazy to receive good news after so many years of bad news and heartaches.  She said that this number this early could mean both of the embryos might have taken.  It is a very strong number.  I said I hope it isn’t three.  She said that the embryos would have split by now if it were 3.  And the number would have been much higher.  I feel a bit better about that.  Thursday is beta two.  If the number is good, we will fly to Annie’s town for an ultrasound.  Dr. E said 6 weeks, but I may until  7 weeks or so to make sure we will have a heartbeat or heartbeats.  She said we should fly Annie to California for the appointment because it’s too cold in Annie’s state.  But I think we are due for a visit there.

Dr. E asked if I wanted to call Annie or let her call Annie.  I told her to call so I could call Bob.  Bob sounded a little dazed on the phone when he heard the news because I was crying.  He thought it was something bad.  I know that it’d take him a little bit of time to take everything in, and I know that he doesn’t want to get too far ahead of himself.  But he is very happy that we got great news.  The first thing he said was “Praise the Lord!!!”  Indeed.  Praise the Lord.  🙂

Annie and I connected on the phone.  She said that Dr. E asked her if she felt like she was knocked up.  She said yes, and Dr. E said, because you are knocked up!  Annie told me that all day today she was feeling like crap on top of feeling queasy yesterday.  Maybe the hCG is strong for her to feel symptoms.  Annie said she had been praying for a number over 200 and she got it!

Later on, I messaged her saying “Maybe I’ll have you pee on a stick”.  And after a few silent moments, she sent me a picture of a dollar store cheap pee stick with a light second line!  She said she couldn’t resist so she did it yesterday morning at 7dp5dt.  She didn’t tell me.  And now she was afraid that I was mad at her.  I told her that I wasn’t, but did tell her to go get a FRER tomorrow so she can pee on something that shows a darker line.

All my friends are so sweet.  They are so happy for us.  I just feel so loved.

Bob and I got together for dinner before he headed off to teach bible study.  When I walked across the street to meet him, we locked eyes and both were grinning to each other from ear to ear.  It was such a sweet moment to share with my life partner who has been there through thick and thin.

I pray that our good news will continue to come!  I will soak in the joy tonight.

MicroblogMondays: Here We Are Again

Microblog_Mondays

Tomorrow is the day we find out if any of the embryos have implanted.

I have examined my heart, and interestingly, I haven’t felt too anxious, yet.  Tomorrow it will be different.  But as of today, I am feeling as guarded and distant as I was on transfer day last week.  I would like to be full of excitement and anticipation but I am not.  We are hopeful; the embryos looked fantastic.  We have been talking about having twins and how that may change our lives, but I am still taking things one day at a time without getting so far ahead of myself.

Remember that sper.m test that assesses the epigenetic information of the sper.m?  We sent in the sample end of November and were promised the results in three weeks.  When we checked in three weeks, we were told that the company needed two extra weeks.  Two weeks rolled around and nobody had contacted us.  Bob and I decided to transfer our embryos regardless of what the test shows.  Finally last Thursday, three days after transfer, Dr. E received the results and consulted with the CEO of the company of them.

The test is called “Seed” which is run by this company called Episo.na.  (You can google the name without the period in the middle of the word.)  It tests the sper.m sample and yields two measures.  The first one measures the risk of male factor infertility by identifying the number of epigenetic abnormalities presented by the sper.m sample.  The second one measures the risk of poor embryo development by identifying the number of epigenetic abnormalities.  The first measure shows that our sper.m sample shows significantly elevated risk for male factor infertility.  It means that the chances of us conceiving naturally or through IUI are significantly reduced.  So IVF is indicated in our case.  Although this is not news to us, I am still very surprised that the underlying problems with Bob’s sper.m do not match his usually stellar semenalysis results.  Fortunately, we have been pursuing IVF for a few years now so we are not crushed by the results.  However, it means that the chances of us having an “oops” pregnancy are slim to none.  I am realistic and not hoping for one, but I sometimes still dream that I’d be surprised one day.

I care a lot more about the second part that indicates the embryo development.  Our results show that our epigenetic profile suggests no increased risk for developing poor quality embryos.  I was so very relieved when I learned this.  Our tested embryos are most likely going to be good quality.  It is so rare to receive good news so both of us rejoiced in learning about it.  It’s a huge weight off our shoulders.  It means that even if this round doesn’t work, it is most likely that our last frozen embryo is good quality.  Dr. E has another patient that also has significant risk of male factor infertility.  The difference is, his results also showed significant risk of poor quality embryo development.  That means that he may not be able to make any embryos, or his embryos may be very poor quality.  I don’t take our good results for granted as it is not a given.

There is one catch about the results.  There was one gene that was detected that indicates that perhaps Annie should be on a blood thinner like Loven.ox.  Dr. E said that this isn’t something that she can say is based on too much science but as the CEO of the company put it, a blood thinner may help with the situation.  I guess that particular gene may be associated with a higher risk of blood clotting problems presented by the embryo made with the sper.m?  Don’t know.  Annie was already on aspirin, but Loven.ox may be stronger for this case.  I made sure to ask Dr. E that the injection is not going to harm Annie in any way if she doesn’t really need it.  Dr. E reassured me that it is not going to do her any harm.  Based on all the information we got, we decided to do it just so that we have all of our bases covered.  Who knows what it all means, right?  We are willing to pay for the extra cost for anything that may help.

The last few days were not without drama.  Annie was told that she should have enough progesterone until the first beta.  She and I checked her vial before she left and it seemed like she should have enough.  Fast forward to Friday night, Annie sent me a frantic text asking if I had ordered the PIO already.  I was shocked because I thought she had enough.  It turned out she had sent me a text Wednesday but it somehow never showed up on my phone.  I did not know about the shortage of her PIO.  She only had enough for Saturday and Sunday.  She would need new ones today.  My first thought was, what if Fed.ex doesn’t deliver on MLK day?  Then do we have to contact the local specialty pharmacies so that Annie could pick up some?  I knew that the online pharmacy was going to be open on Saturday so I was going to call and place a refill.  Annie checked online and found out that Fed.ex does deliver on MLK day.  I also notified Dr. E.  She said that if somehow the meds don’t reach Annie on Monday, her office would figure out something.  I told Annie that next time if I don’t respond to her about something this important, ask me again.

I was still feeling very stressed out about the situation although I knew that it would be all sorted out.  Bob was telling me that everything would be sorted out and urged me to give it to God.  I couldn’t even pray so he prayed with me and for me so that I could sleep well and not be stressed about it.

On Saturday, I tried to call the online pharmacy at the time it opened.  For the life of me I couldn’t get a hold of a live person on the phone.  After trying a few times, I emailed Dr. E who immediately got on it.  I guess there is a special physician’s line.  While I waited, I also called Free.dom and asked if they’d send meds for a Monday delivery.  They would, but it wasn’t needed.  Within 15 minutes, Dr. E told me that our online pharmacy was open, and her nurse actually already ordered a new script.  The pharmacy called me within the next ten minutes and we were good to go for a Monday delivery.  I originally wanted to just order one vial to last her for about ten days thinking, what if she is not pregnant then I’d be spending too much money on something that we don’t need.  But I eventually ordered all three vials by faith as I still believe that this will be our cycle for success.  I hope that she will be able to use it all for this cycle.

 Annie has not been feeling much.  She said that one of her fellow surrogates is feeling a lot of symptoms after her day 3 transfer.  I told her that anything she may feel right now could be due to the effect of progesterone, not anything pregnancy related.  Plus she is somebody who never felt any symptoms for any of her pregnancies.  I told her that it’s always hard to compare herself to others on the same journey.  It will happen if it is in God’s plan, pregnancy symptoms or not.

So here we are at this very familiar juncture of our journey.  Tomorrow could make all the difference in the world for our future.  We’ll see what God has in store for us.

Now We Wait

We officially have two excellent looking blastocysts on board.  We will find out about their fate next Tuesday.

Throughout this transfer, I could just see God’s presence in our midst.  The more I think about the timing of the flights and the transfer, the more I appreciate how God orchestrated the logistics way ahead of time.  Dr. E originally set the transfer to Tuesday, but Monday was more convenient for Annie.  A Tuesday transfer wouldn’t have happened because the weather would’ve been too dangerous for Annie to even drive to the airport.  As for the drive to the clinic, God protected us as the rain didn’t come until late afternoon.  It would’ve been bad on Tuesday as the sky was dumping buckets of water all day long.  I am very thankful for God’s provision.

We all donned our superhero attires: Annie had Wonder Woman socks on.  I was wearing my Superman socks.  Bob was Batman, and Kenneth was Punisher.  After the pre-transfer acupuncture session, we arrived at the clinic at 12pm sharp.  Annie took a Val.ium a few minutes before that.  Our scheduled transfer time was 12:15, but we went way past that time and nobody was calling us in.  I was feeling quite calm that morning.  The thought of the embryos not thawing well did cross my mind, but I tried not to go there.  No phone call from Dr. E’s office was a great thing.  However, when the clock went past 12:30, I started to become a bit anxious.  The delay made me wonder what was going on, and my mind went wild.  Annie was super calm because of the drugs and she was giddy and a bit high. She didn’t feel it at the last transfer because we went straight from acupuncture session to transfer and then to the post-transfer session.  She was probably already lying on the table when the drugs finally kicked in.  My mind continued to go wild, and I had to excuse myself to go up to the front to get some water.  Just then, I could see in my peripheral vision that Dr. E walked into the clinic but didn’t see me.  It was 12:35.  She walked straight to the waiting area, saw Annie, Kenneth, and Bob and asked where I was.  Annie joked that I was freaking out.  I could hear Dr. E say, “Oh why is she freaking out?  Everything is great.”  I was right behind her so when I heard that, I immediately felt relieved.

What I realized was that the clinic wasn’t ready for our transfer yet, so Dr. E didn’t arrive until the right time.  A bit later, we were led to the transfer room.  This time it felt different because Bob was there.  We all squeezed in there.  Dr. E presented us with the pictures of the embryos.  Here they are:


The top one is Noelle and the bottom one is Quentin.  My first thought was that, Wow look at them!  They look so good!  Especially the bottom one that was a day 6 5BB blastocyst (Embryo #5).  It looked like it was hatching already!  Dr. E could not stop talking about how good #5 looked.  She said they looked gorgeous.

I didn’t feel particularly emotional this time like the last transfer.  I was just very happy and relieved that the embryos thawed well and looked amazing.  I would say that out of all the embryos that we had transferred, these two looked the best.

We had to wait a little longer for the procedure to start, which left the four of us alone in the room.  Annie suggested praying, and all four of us joined hands as the husband prayed for the procedure, the embryos, and for all four of us.  It was a very sweet and precious time of fellowship.  Amazingly, the professionals didn’t step in until our not-too-short prayers were all said.

Annie’s bladder’s fullness was just right.  Dr. E showed us the uterus, the lining, and where the embryos would go.  I pulled up my chair next to Annie.  The embryologist walked in to check our identification, and asked us to verify the number of embryos to transfer.  Dr. E inserted all the catheters that she needed.  The embryologist then disappeared behind the door.  Suddenly, Annie grabbed hold of my hand and appeared like she needed support.  I held my phone on the right side for the video and the pictures, and held her hand with my left hand.  She and I held hands for the rest of the procedure.  It somehow meant a lot to me to feel that we are in this together.  Our lives are intertwined and I really hope that this close relationship will last for the next nine months and many years beyond.

Once again, my name appeared on the big screen on top, and then it was Annie’s name.  The lens zoomed into the embryos.  Embryo #2 (day 5 3BB) was still a round ball with a little sign of starting to hatch.  Embryo #5 appeared even more advanced at that moment, as the embryo hatched out even more.  The embryologist captured the two embryos with a catheter.  Moments later, she returned to the room with our precious cargoes.  Dr. E focused on inserting the tube in the uterus.  She talked us through the process.  She slowly pulled the catheter out and handed it to the embryologist who moments later confirmed that the embryos had gone in.

The atmosphere changed instantly.  It felt like the whole room was relieved.   Annie stayed on the table as Dr. E lowered her down.  She asked us if we had any questions.  Since this was our 6th transfer, and Annie’s second, nobody had any questions.   Then the following happened.

Bob asked Dr. E, “If we hadn’t chosen a boy embryo and a girl embryo to transfer and leave the choice to you, would you have made the same choice?”  Dr. E said, “Oh yes!!!  The girls at the lab kept on telling me what a great choice we made this time looking at the great quality of the embryos, especially the [Insert Gender] embryo!  It looks so good!  We made a great choice.”  What she was referring to was Embryo #5, the hatching one.  Like I said, she had been giving this embryo such high praises throughout the transfer that I knew she was referring to this particular embryo and not Embryo #2.  I couldn’t believe my ears that she actually leaked out the gender of that particular embryo!  (I am not disclosing the gender here because I want to keep an element of surprise on this blog.)  My carefully plotted scheme of keeping something a surprise/secret has been taken away from me in an instance.  I looked at Dr. E in disbelief.  She realized what she had done and said, “Oh yeah you didn’t know!”  Then she pointed to my husband, “It was his fault!  He asked the question!”  Everybody in the room was laughing.  But it wasn’t too funny for me.  I can’t undo what I do know now.  I didn’t care too much about knowing what gender each of these embryos is.  If both take, then we have a boy and a girl.  If only one takes, we still won’t know which one until birth.  But knowing that Embryo #5 is a particular sex means that I now know the sex of the final remaining frozen embryo.  I never intended to find out about it and knowing it now has just ruined the biggest surprise in my life for me.  Well, what can you do right?  I can’t tell my brain not to remember.  So I guess I’ll just have to let go.

This transfer had been a precious time for me.  Unlike last time, Bob had a chance to hang out with Annie and Kenneth for an extended period of time.  The more we spend time with them, the more we love this couple.  They are cool, easygoing, selfless, funny, thoughtful, and much more.  It was pouring rain on Tuesday.  Knowing how much I hate driving in the rain, Annie sent me an email right before I left work on that day and said, “You’ll be driving home soon. Be careful.  No need to rush. I know you hate driving in the wind and rain. We are all good!”  They were cool with us sending them off to take the train to the airport instead of Bob giving them a ride because the two ways would take about the same time.  It was their first time ever taking public transportation (they are from a very small town).  They were so easygoing and adventurous about it.  It saved us a lot of time being stuck in traffic.  I just love them so much for who they are.

When I hugged Annie good-bye at the train station, I didn’t feel the emotions like last time.  I remember last time I felt like a part of me went with her.  This time I felt much more guarded and distant.  I don’t know.  Maybe being at this process for so long and failing the last transfer has made it difficult for me to feel the excitement of the possibility.  I am hopeful, but at the same time I also know that anything can happen.  Even the best looking embryos don’t always make it.  But, I really want both of our embryos to implant now that I have them both transferred.  I have never thought that I would want to be the mom of twins.  However, I do not want to lose even one embryo.  So  I hope and pray that both of them decide to burrow deeply, take hold, and continue to divide and multiply.

We will know in six days.  Now we wait.

MicroblogMondays: Our Sixth Transfer

Microblog_Mondays

We will have our sixth transfer this afternoon.   But as of yesterday morning, we weren’t very certain if we’d have a transfer or not.  I will explain at the end of this post.

Annie’s lining check was last Tuesday, which yielded a wonderful report of a lining that measured 12.6mm.   It was “gorgeous” according to Dr. E, who loves to use this word.  I am very grateful for Annie’s uterus as it seems to perform well and often delivers with very good thickness.  The next questions that Dr. E asked took a few days for us to answer.  Do we still want to transfer more than one embryo and if so, which ones?

Part one was easier.  We have long decided to transfer two embryos ever since we failed the last transfer.  Although I have to say, both Bob and Annie have been quite bold in suggesting transferring all three embryos.  That makes me cringe even just typing it out.  Annie said that a fellow surrogate is carrying twins after the intended parents decided to put back all three of their remaining embryos.  But what we have here is different.  We have embryos made with donor eggs.  Although we failed the last transfer, there is still a very good chance that all the embryos would implant if we transfer all three.  So why did Bob suggest that?  Well, he is always one embryo ahead of me.  He suggested transferring two last time.  We didn’t listen to him and our cycle resulted in nothing.  To him, if we transfer all three embryos this time and nothing takes, then we can move forward to embryo donation or adoption.  I am not willing to go to the place of fear and worry of potential risks for both carrier and babies should Annie be pregnant with triplets.  I don’t even want to think about the much higher chances of needing a high level NICU in that case and the potential danger of delivering in the neighboring state that bans commercial surrogacy.  A lady in one of my infertility Fac.ebook groups also urged me to transfer all of the embryos.  She insisted that Bob’s sperm problems (with his high percentage of DNA fragmentation) would mean that our chances of getting pregnant would be higher with three.  She told me to trust her, and that I met her for a reason.  But to me, this is all noise.  I have prayed for quite a few days about it and do not have peace with putting back all three embryos.  So two is the magic number.

Now for part two of Dr. E’s question, we had a little bit of a difficult time.  Which two embryos should we transfer?  If Dr. E never told me that these embryos are a mixture of male and female, I would have never thought to make a choice based on the sex of the embryos. I would just ask her to pick the two that she thinks have the best chance and move forward from there.  However, when we had a low first beta, Dr. E mentioned on the phone about transferring two embryos and told me to make a choice of transferring two of the same sex or one each.  Since I have always not wanted to find out the sex of our future baby until birth, I was taken aback by her suggestion.  But that was back in November so we hadn’t had to make a decision.

Fast forward to last week, Dr. E asked us to make a choice.  The embryos’ stats are as follows: one day five blastocyst (embryo #2) that has a high mitoscore which means the implantation potential is about 80%.  So we are definitely going to transfer this one.  We also have two day six blastocysts that were 5AB (embryo #4) and 5BB (embryo #5).  Their mitoscores are the same, with the implantation potential of 56%.  Dr. E revealed that #2 and #4 are the same sex.  So it means that #2 and #5 are different.  Since #4’s quality is slightly better than #5, she would transfer #2 and #4 if we don’t care about putting back one male and one female.  Otherwise, we could transfer the opposite sex ones (#2 and #5).

For somebody who didn’t want to know the sex of the embryos in the first place, this had been an extremely difficult decision to make.  Let me see if I could explain my thought process here.  I really wish that Dr. E hadn’t mentioned about the sex.  Then I would just say transfer the embryos based on quality.  However, I can’t undo what I do know.  So we really had to make a choice that we won’t regret in the future.  Do I have a particular preference?  Well, I have all along wanted two children, one boy and one girl.  If we transfer two and both take, then we’ll have both genders.  However, I really didn’t want to know the sex of the baby before birth.  If both take, then we know from the beginning that they are one of each.  How big of a deal is it?  Well, I just want one surprise on this journey.  I guess I can let go of that surprise if we are blessed with two babies.  If only one takes, then we will still not know the sex of the baby until birth.  We also won’t know the sex of the remaining embryo until we transfer it.

The question is, should we put back the two that are the best quality knowing that we give this cycle the best chance?  First of all, the two day 6 embryos are very similar.  They both have good implantation potential.  Dr. E said that there is not a huge difference between the two.  And second, sometimes the best looking and even “normal” embryos don’t implant, but the ones of lesser quality do.  So it’s really hard to say that we are not giving this cycle the best chance if we don’t transfer the two embryos with the best quality.

I almost wanted to bury my head in the sand and just let my RE choose.  I just wanted to wait until the last moment and finally it came.  A nurse from my RE’s office gave me an urgent call last Friday as she had to put in an order to indicate which embryos to transfer.  She left me a message so I discussed one last time with Bob.  I had been praying for it but it wasn’t clear to me.  He told me that if he had a choice, he’d opt for one of each.  When I heard his choice, I felt completely at peace with it.  So that was the choice we made.  A male and a female.

Why was I uncertain about whether or not we’d transfer?  I learned that there was going to be a storm hitting this side of the country.  It would hit the hardest on the day of Annie and Kenneth’s arrival.  If Annie’s flight got canceled, we wouldn’t be able to have a transfer.  It would have to be postponed for another month of so.  I was honestly quite worried about a canceled cycle.  But Bob reminded me that this is totally out of our control.  God has already ordained these events. If it is in God’s will for us to transfer, we’ll be able to do it.  If not, then it’s okay to wait for another month.  It would suck, but it’s not the end of the world.  I prayed and prayed for their travel to go smoothly, but more importantly, for my complete trust in the Lord and His sovereignty and control over my life.

The fortunate thing is, instead of booking a flight into SFO that has at least one stop, I decided to book a non-stop flight into OAK (as there are no direct flights from Annie’s hometown airport to SFO).  The biggest reason was that it’s much easier to make changes on Southw.est Airlines rather than other airlines should we have to change the transfer date.  It did cross my mind that a non-direct flight would mean a higher risk for Annie and Kenneth to be stranded at another airport during transit.  The storm started after midnight on Sunday.  The wind and rain picked up and sounded very scary at home.  Despite the bad weather at Annie’s hometown and here, Annie and her husband got to the airport safely and the plane departed on time and arrived on time.  We did witness one spinout on the freeway on our way back home but we got home safely.  I just want to praise the Lord for his provision as He protected them and us on the road.  Later on, we found out that many flights from Annie’s hometown airport were canceled later in the day.  So it’s such a blessing that Annie and Kenneth’s flight arrived safely and on time. 

It has been wonderful to see Annie and Kenneth again.  We are like old friends.  They even brought superhero socks and shirts to wear for the transfer.  That warms my heart.  Transfer is scheduled for 12:15pm.  Bob is coming with us this time too!  He’s coming mainly because he wants to drive us there in the rain as I have major anxiety driving in rainy weather due to my experiences having two car accidents both in the rain. I love my husband that he takes care of me. Annie will have her pre- and post-transfer acupuncture sessions.  We won’t have to pay as much as last time since she is a repeat customer.  Although I’d much rather her NOT to be a repeat customer for this, we still got to celebrate small victories such as saving a bit of money, right?

I will report on the transfer after it’s done.  Hopefully the embryos thaw well today and we will have Noelle and Quentin safely home soon.