Today was the Nuchal Translucency screening. It is exactly 13 weeks and 6 days, so it was the last possible day to do it. Everything looked great. That is not the best part though. The parents of these perfect little humans got to come and see them on screen and hear their heartbeats for the first time. It is such a beautiful moment to get to be in the room and see the little ones moving on screen and see the expressions on their parents faces when baby B swallows.
The IPs got here Saturday night and we did meet up with them for a short while. We spent all day with them on Sunday. I don't know what they were thinking, but they wanted my three rambunctious girls to come visit too. My girls are 11, 9, and 4. They can be very sweet, but can also be quite a handful. I must say that it was nice to see how well my girls can behave when they are asked to for a set amount of time. I mean, my four year old had a little trouble towards the end, but she was happy energetic at least, not crying.
We went to the Newport Aquarium first, which the IPs were excited about because it took them into another state to add to their list. We in Ohio, but near the Kentucky border. In fact, you pretty much have to go through Kentucky to get to Cincinnati from where we live unless you want to take the long way. They enjoyed the aquarium and even let my girls pick out a prize at the aquarium store. Have I mentioned the IPs are very generous and giving? We went to the Art museum after that. My older girls handled it well, my 4 year old was a little too excited about the echo in that big, old building. My husband had to take her outside. The IPs just laughed at how much energy she has. HA!
I am honored just to be a part of this journey with them. I know that they could have chosen another surrogate, but they chose to work with me and give me the trust required to let another woman carry your child. I love being part of this experience, especially now that I have hit the end of the first trimester, and the nausea and inability to eat much has mostly passed. (told you I was by the book)
I am even more elated to say that they have agreed to allow the babies to stay in my hospital room if they are unable to stay in the hospital with them. They have also asked me to help feed the babies breast milk until they took them home. I am so happy about this. I do intend to donate breast milk once this journey ends, at least long enough to get the recovery benefits. I am glad that at least some of that will be going to the twins I helped bring into the world. I am very honored that they have asked me to do that as well.
I can't express enough how lucky I am to have been matched with these parents. They are sweet, intelligent, giving, caring, understanding, hardworking, and most of all, they handled my three minions for an entire day and still messaged me afterwards about how much they enjoyed them. They will make amazing parents. I love these people.
Part of the reason I initially started looking into being a surrogate is because my pregnancies were rather textbook easy. In the first trimester, I had a little nausea that stopped like clockwork at the beginning of the second. In the second trimester, I felt great with maybe a little back pain. In the third, I was huge and uncomfortable. I had some ankle and all over swelling with my third pregnancy.
So far, this pregnancy is not much different. I am thisclose to reaching the 13th week (second trimester) and my nausea is almost gone. I am still limited on what I can eat since I have been eating so little for 12 weeks now. For the most part, I feel great. I have no baby bump still, but I assume that will come soon enough and wreak its havoc.
As for cravings, each of my girls gave me a slightly different craving. My first pregnancy led me to love tomatoes and gold star chili with cheese. I also craved iced tea with my first pregnancy. Since I was only 19 at the time, I had very little difficulty with that pregnancy. My biggest issue was the weight gain. I had never been little, but I just did not lose the weight when the pregnancy was over.
In my second pregnancy, I craved chocolate milk... all. the. time. I also got very tired with that pregnancy. I could not wake up in the morning without taking a nap in the early morning and possibly afternoon.
My third pregnancy was the hardest, but I think it has a lot to do with the baby in question. On the bright side, I craved all things fruity and light. I lived for cherry slushes from Sonic and watermelon. This baby was not a cuddly curled up baby. She came out straight. I knew she would come out straight because I felt her feet in my ribs and her head all the way in my cervix for the last three months. If I pushed in on my belly, she would push back- kind of saying "get out of my space"
This pregnancy has pretty much been by the book as well. The main difference is that I have no serious cravings yet... more like on a daily basis what I want is something different. I'm not saying I can actually eat much of it though. yesterday, I wanted steak, watermelon, and spaghettios. My super amazing husband was very supportive and even grilled the steaks for me. Today, spaghettios sound/smell disgusting, and all I really want is... well.. nothing. I am not in the least bit hungry and absolutely nothing sounds good. That is possibly also because someone dumped something in the sink that looked and smelled...well... awful. I found it first thing this morning, started to clean it up, then made my hasty departure back to the bathroom. Fortunately I had had a glass of water with my medicine, or that would have been worse than it was. I do need to take my medicine again though.
All in all, this pregnancy is not as bad as I thought it would be. If I were trying to lose weight, it would be the best diet plan. I am supposed to eat more, but positively cannot. I have lost a total of 16 pounds as of today- literally eating everything I want (because I don't want much). Tomorrow is 13 weeks. Woot!!
Thursday night at around 11, I found a little bit of spotting. I immediately started freaking out, as pretty much any pregnant person would. Bleeding is the ultimate sign of doom in pregnancy.
Well, maybe not. I decided to lie down and take a few minutes to think. If blood and girly things freak you out, skip to below the picture.
First, my doctor specifically told me that bleeding with no cramps is not a huge deal, cramps with no bleeding is no big deal, but both cramps and bleeding was a big deal. I took stock of my stomach and there was no pain all day. I did a lot of walking that day, and I did have some achy legs and feet, but absolutely no uterine pain. So on that note I was good.
I was also told that there is a difference in blood color can tell you something. Dark, brownish blood means it is old blood possibly just clearing out. Bright, red blood is new blood... the kind of stuff you'd like to keep in you. My blood was darker.
Finally, I actually had been warned that MANY IVF and MANY twin pregnancies do experience some bleeding between 10-14 weeks. I thought I was 10 weeks and 4 days, so it falls within the parameters. One website suggests that the twins take up a lot of room so sometimes something has to go.
Due to all of those items and the fact that it was almost midnight (and my dr. on call didn't pick up the phone) I decided to call first thing in the morning and just try to get some rest after a busy day.
In the morning, I called and explained my situation, and my doctor decided he wanted me to come in before the weekend for a scan, to make sure everything was ok.
Long story short, everything looks okay, and they could see no reason for the bleeding. I was told to drink plenty of fluids and take it easy.
I am so happy to be able to present their pictures, with permission from the parents.
First is both of them together:
Baby A Posed pretty for pictures. A is lying on the back with the head to the left. On screen, I could make out little arms and little legs. The face was not so easy to see since A was positioned sideways. A measures 11 weeks 3 days and has a heart rate of 168bpm, which is good.
Baby B was a little swimmer. When the ultrasound first found B, there was a flurry of movement. Eventually we got a good image of B's face. The positioning was funny because it looked like B was reaching over into As territory, but really B just went behind a little bit from the camera's perspective.
B measures 11 weeks 3 days as well with a heart rate of 162 bpm. I was very glad that both measured the same size since at my first utlrasound one was definitely bigger than the other.
I have to say, seeing these little miniature humans was quite an experience. I really wish their parents could have been there.
I have been kind of disconnected from this pregnancy really, which I think is a defense mechanism. I know I am pregnant: My blood tests show it, the ultrasounds before showed it, my body reminds me every single day. But until I saw these little people moving around on screen, I guess I was compartmentalizing everything because they aren't mine. Something hit that made it real. There really are two babies growing inside me.
As for after their birth, I still only picture them only in their parent's arms, swaddled in blankets so I can't see their actual faces. I can't even try to envision their appearance or their future. It is beyond my imagination right now. And that is okay. Their future is not mine to create, but I am so proud to be carrying them for their beginning. I can't wait to get to see what their future holds.
I am glad I am keeping a blog because I need to remind myself that while I feel bad for a day or two (or three), it doesn't last. Week 9 was rough, for sure, but I am halfway through week 10 and my appetite is better. I still feel a little nausea around bedtime, but it is after dinner. I feel great for the most part.
I do believe some of this is due to the fact that I now have plenty of time to rest since I only teach two nights a week. I have been getting upwards of 9 hours of sleep every night, and I hate to admit it, but I have also been taking the occasional afternoon nap. That's right folks, I have turned into a three month old baby. I eat, sleep, and then eat and sleep. Fortunately, no one needs to change my diaper.
I have to wait until June 30th to get another peek inside my uterus. I can't wait to see how these little China Dolls are growing. Even better, the parents are coming for a visit too. They get to see their babies for the first time!!!
I am so excited that I will get to see my IPs again.
My pregnancy: 10 weeks, 3 days.
The China Dolls are just over an inch long. They are about the size of a kumquat. What's a kumquat??? I think it's like a tiny orange. Another website says a small strawberry. Since I spent a few weeks not eating anything but strawberries, I can relate to that. Two small strawberries in a grapefruit sized uterus. They have arms, legs, earbuds, eyes with eyelids sealed shut. They are little people.
Nothing really to report right now. No bleeding, no cramps, only a few light twinges of the uterus. Other than feeling fatigue- which is different than simply being tired in the mental cloudiness and all over weakness I have felt- there is really nothing more to tell right now.
I don't get morning sickness. I get afternoon to evening sickness.
This has been kind of nice because it is time to lie down anyway. Yesterday, though, I began my 9th week of pregnancy. I woke up feeling great. The plan for the day was to take my girls to SummerFair at Coney Island. My oldest daughter was performing with her hip hop team.
After her dance, we got some overpriced festival pizza. I ate none of the pizza. I went for a chicken wrap, but I only ate a few bites because it was gross. The one thing I did do was make sure that all of us took in enough water. It was HOT. We walked around a bit to look at the booths, but we didn't last long.
The only other thing I ate was german roasted almonds.
When we got home, all of us were tired. I went to my bedroom to lie down and watch a little tv. I started feeling progressively worse. My head started pounding, my stomach was swimming, and I just could not cool down. I decided to take a shower to try regulating my temperature a little better. It worked: I did cool down. However, I also noticed that standing made my head swim and I almost fell over.
When I got out of the shower, I resigned myself to lying down again. My four year old began asking me all kinds of questions I cannot remember now. I tried to answer then had to tell her that I could not talk right now so please go downstairs.
As I said that, I felt that familiar, dreaded twinge that rises from stomach to throat. I ran to the bathroom and had one of the most violent prayer sessions to the porcelain god I have ever experienced.
All I remember was Gabriella standing at the door repeatedly asking "Are you puking?"
I cleaned up, stumbled back to bed and did not get back up for the rest of the night. I was able to enjoy a Popsicle a little later. Gabriella brought it to me.
I woke this morning still feeling like my stomach was twisted and my head had a javelin poking through it. I am up and pretending to be a normal citizen, but I hope this passes.
It is funny how symptoms work. If I have mild symptoms, I wonder if they are enough. If I have heavy symptoms, I fear something is going to hurt the babies. If I have no symptoms, I worry that one of the babies has stopped growing causing a drop in hcg and my symptoms. I will never just be happy apparently. I am kind of happy though because according to yesterday and today, my symptoms are going strong, meaning the babies are too.
Yay! Strong babies!