Thursday, June 18, 2009

Seeing is believing

It's a miracle! That often overused expression is the only way I can describe what I felt when I saw the ultrasound of our baby. I know he/she doesn't look like much right now but that little being is growing, even as we speak, into his/her own and that's truly amazing to me. The miracle of creating life has always been a powerful reminder to me of just how fragile we all are and of what a blessing children are. I am truly amazed by this process!

We have been in the process of creating our family for quite a while now and getting to this point (as you know) has been a challenge. Now that we are here, there are all sorts of things to consider (and no, I'm not talking about decorating a nursery or picking out cute little baby clothes). As we approached the 6-week mark, we were all extremely nervous about what the ultrasound would show. We hoped for and were blessed to see our baby growing (on schedule) and were able to see and hear his/her little heartbeat. Let me tell you, I've never heard a more beautiful sound! At this point in a pregnancy, things are still fairly precarious and there are many things that can go wrong. I mean, a whole human being is being created and we are complicated creatures and lots and lots of things must go RIGHT for a pregnancy to be viable. At 6-weeks, you can GENERALLY see the heart beat but sometimes you can't. Sometimes you can hear the heart beat but sometimes you can't. Sometimes you can see a sac but have no baby. The list goes on and on and all these things run through your head as you approach the ultrasound appt. We were blessed to have a great result.

The other question on our mind was, how many babies we would see. IVF (invitro-fertilization) increases the chance that you'll have a multiple pregnancy. We had transferred 2 embryos, so if both had taken we could see twins or even triplets or quadruplets if the embryos split. We had had 3 beta tests (beta tests measure the level of HCG, or pregnancy hormone) and our numbers were on the high side so we didn't really know what to expect?

A pregnancy with multiples posed a couple of concerns for us. We were all (me, Chris and Kira) fairly comfortable with a twin pregnancy but what happened if there were more than 2? We had initially agreed that if there were more than 2 babies, we would selectively reduce. That sounded good in theory but as we got closer to the ultrasound date, Chris and I started to have serious doubts about making that type of decision. Kira had agreed to carry up to triplets so we had some flexibility BUT carrying that many babies is a risky proposition of several levels: risky for Kira; risky for the babies; and risky from an insurance/financial standpoint.

We worried about what impact carrying triplets would have on Kira's health. Would there be complications? Would she need to be on bed rest? How would she and her husband care for their son (3 year old Liam) and daughter (1 year old Ellie) with the added strain of a triplet pregnancy? 

What about the babies? Would all 3 be healthy? Would they develop normally? Would there be problems that caused them to deliver earlier than they should and how would that affect them long-term?  

Insurance! We had to purchase a special insurance policy to cover the pregnancy BUT if we proceeded with a triplet pregnancy, the policy would void. That's right, that would mean, if we opted to continue a triplet pregnancy, we would have to pay for all pre-natal expenses out-of-pocket. Wham! We had no idea what our potential financial exposure was? 

So, going into that ultrasound last Monday, we were a little anxious! As it turns out, we saw one healthy, developing baby and that's perfect! We would have been happy no matter what we had seen and know that we would not have been blessed with anything we couldn't handle but we still felt a big sense of relief after the appointment. 

Now, we were very quickly reminded by good friends that they had twins and one of the twins didn't show up on ultrasound until the 8-week check so there could still be a surprise ahead for us. We will wait and see but for now, we are happy with what we saw and feel immensely grateful to be on this beautiful journey together and with such a wonderful surrogate (THANKS KIRA!). 

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Why I chose Victor & Chris as My Intended Fathers

Let me start off by saying, not in my wildest dreams did I think that I would "fall in love" with the first couple's profile I was given. I was under the impression, that I would be given several profiles simultaneously, and that I would get to pick and choose who I wanted to work with. Luckily for me, I knew immediately that Victor & Chris were "the ones."

On 2-19-09, I was presented with Victor & Chris's profile...The first thing that attracted me to Victor and Chris is that they are an inter-racial couple. For some reason, I assumed that I would be given a Caucasian couple's profile & I was pleasantly surprised when this was not the case. I myself, grew up in an multi-racial family(Mom: Caucasian, Dad: African-American & Japanese,) so I felt an immediate connection to Victor & Chris on that level.

As I continued to read their profile, it was clear, that Victor & Chris are in a loving, caring, committed relationship, and have a huge support network of family and friends. Also, the fact that they are both openly gay in every aspect of their lives, showed me that they loved and respected themselves, and are proud to be who they are.

In addition, it was apparent that Victor & Chris were going to be appreciative of the surrogacy process. I definitely wasn't looking for a couple that thought of me only as a "womb for rent," or thought of surrogacy as strictly a business transaction. It was obvious that Victor and Chris didn't feel this way :-)

Victor and Chris had said in their profile, that they are going to be truthful, regarding telling their children how they were created, which I feel is extremely important. And, are supportive of the role that my family and I will play in all of their lives as their children grow.

Lastly, after we met on 2-27-09 we confirmed that we felt the same way, regarding the important issues of surrogacy, such as how many babies I would carry(fetal reduction,) abortion for medical reasons, communication/contact during the pregnancy, testing on the baby while in the womb, etc.

Choosing Victor & Chris as my intended fathers, is one of the easiest decisions I've ever made & I consider myself extremely lucky to be their surrogate! I love you guys! :-)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cautiously Ecstatic!

Wow, life is really amazing and creating life is an even more amazing process. We are pregnant and looking forward to all that the experience has in store for us over the next few months.

We couldn't have been more excited to get the call from our fertility clinic on Monday (June 1st) afternoon. They are on the West coast so we had to wait all day to get the results of our beta test. OK, a little background for those of you who may be wondering what a "beta" test is? The beta test measures the amount of HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) or "pregnancy hormone" that is being made by the developing placenta. A beta test that indicates a number higher than 0 indicates pregnancy but our doctor looks for a beta of at least 100 following the beta test which is done 10 days after the embryo transfer. During our first pregnancy (which unfortunately ended in miscarriage), our initial beta was 103. This time our initial beta (taken on May 31st) was 305! Because of what happened during our last pregnancy, we asked that a follow-up beta be completed 2 days later (beta numbers should double every 48 - 72 hours). Kira went in for the 2nd beta test yesterday (June birthday!!!!) and our beta was 985!!!!! Our beta more than tripled in less than 48-hours! So what does that mean??? Well, our doctor and MANY others think it means our surrogate is carrying twins (multiple pregnancies usually, not always, have higher beta levels). We won't know for sure for a few weeks but in the end all that really matters is that we have a healthy baby (or babies!). 

So, it's been a good week on the pregnancy front! We are thrilled that things are moving in the right direction but are also keenly aware that things can go from good to not-so-good quickly during pregnancy. The first trimester can be especially challenging so we are thinking only good thoughts, saying lots of prayers and believing that things will go well but also being conscious of the fact that we're still early in the pregnancy.

Key Upcoming Dates:
  • June 15th - 6-week ultrasound (we get to hear/see the heartbeat or heartbeats!)
  • June 29th - 8-week ultrasound
  • July 13th - 10-week ultrasound
  • July 27th - END OF THE 1ST TRIMESTER
  • February 8, 2010 - DUE DATE!!!!!!
We have a long road ahead and are looking forward to enjoying every minute of it! We have each other, a GREAT surrogate in Kira, a wonderfully supportive network of family and friends and the universe on our side so we know good things are heading our way. In the meantime, we'll keep you up-to-date and we ask that you please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

We are CAUTIOUSLY ECSTATIC and looking forward to the next few months of this journey!