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!
I really hate this whole waiting thing. It has been two weeks since my last ultrasound. I am now 8 weeks and 2 days pregnant (according to sizing at my last ultrasound)
I have no idea what is going on in my uterus. It is kind of solid but not any bigger.
I am starving and nauseous or ravenous and eating everything.
I have gotten a few headaches.
I am SO tired
But I don't feel like the symptoms are enough. I feel like they should be worse for twins. That scares me because I have no idea if both embryos are still in there and doing well. (I mean, I have had no bleeding, so I know both are still in there... I just want to know if they are both growing)
I am so tense waiting for my appointment at the ob on Friday. I wish I could have made it sooner so I would know. I am wondering if I should buy one of those fancy heartbeat hearing things so I can listen for two heartbeats. I wonder if I would even be able to hear them at this point.
So yeah, I figured once I got pregnant I would just be as healthy as possible and everything would be good. Nope. Still stressful. More stressful since if anything does go wrong I will have to tell the parents. How do you tell someone something like that after giving them hope for twins? I hope I don't have to find out.
In the meantime, I really feel I need to nap a little more. 2.5 days left of the "real" job. I cannot wait until the appointment on Friday, then next week when I get to finally get enough sleep and I can take it easy when I feel yucky.
By the way...the raspberry-to-grape sized (somewhere in the middle there) twinlets are moving around of their own accord. They are hopefully enjoying their nice cushy waterbed. I can't feel them yet ( and wouldn't expect to for a while.)
Crossing my fingers for their health...
I have discussed some of the more annoying aspects of pregnancy, such as the nausea and fatigue. There are also good symptoms to this pregnancy.
First, I am eating so much healthier and drinking all of the recommended daily water. The healthy habits I am forming are not by choice, but by force of a nauseous belly. I don't care. I needed a nice kick in the pants to get me on a healthy path. That is not to say that I won't start craving fatty stuff in the second trimester, but I will at least be in the habit of reaching for fruits and veggies.
Second, the upside to all of the fatigue is that I fall asleep even quicker than I used to. I used to fall asleep in no time, now I am asleep before even I know it. And the sleep is that good, deep sleep. I may require an extra nap in the afternoon eve so, but my solid nights of sleep have been very nice.
Another side effect is that, while my belly has not yet started to grow to a noticeable size, I actually have obtained some glorious weight in my chest area. I am not very well endowed in that region usually, so that is kind of nice. There are a couple of tops that I fill out a lot better now. :)
Right now I am also enjoying longer and stronger nails. My hair is also growing faster. I think that is a definite plus too, since my nails usually break horribly and my hair grows very slowly. I would like to let my hair grow long through this process. We'll see how long I can leave it alone.
The good Juju is probably the best part of this journey. As I have said before, he support has been overwhelming. It is so neat to have someone just look at me and reaffirm that I am doing a wonderful thing. I joke and tell them that it feels more tiring than wonderful, but it does mean a lot. This is especially true when I am feeling particularly awful. It just serves to remind me why I am doing this.
I have a date with my husband tonight, so I had better get dressed. I just wanted to take a few minutes to discuss the positive aspects of this pregnancy. Other than the fact that I don't have to bring two newborns home when it is all over. :)
I have been officially released from the fertility clinic's care and placed in the capable hands of my ob gyn. I am happy about this because I am very comfortable with my ob gyn. He delivered all three of my own girls. He is very stress free.
My first appointment with him is next Friday, and I have no idea what we will be doing at that appointment. I do know that the intended parents will try to come out for the first doctor visit. It will be nice for them to get to see the offices and meet the doctor. I truly hope that Dr. Altman will be delivering the babies. Since they are twins, I may not go full term and we might have no say in who does the delivery.
It is odd though to not have any appointments going on this week. I have gotten used to my blood being evaluated and getting ultrasounds and just knowing what's going on. I just hope both embryos are growing. I am about 7-8 weeks pregnant, so they should be about as big a raspberries now, according to one site. I am feeling slightly better this week. I am definitely tired, but I can eat now which is nice. The secret is fruit. Not too sweet fruit, but citrus type, tart fruit. If I eat some fruit, I can get other stuff down too.
I usually watch an episode of House after I get in bed to help me wind down. After that I might put on a second, shorter episode of something and I fall asleep by the time it's over. Last night I put on House and was out before the end. I slept very well for about 6.5 hours. I wish I had more time to sleep, but of course I had to get up and go to work.
Oh yeah! That is my good news that I can now share. It is bittersweet because I do enjoy my day job, particularly the people I work with. I definitely prefer teaching though. More than that, I prefer having time to spend with my kids. There were many signs pushing me in the direction of quitting my day job and sticking with part time teaching and being an at home mother.
First, My go-to baby sitter had a medical scare and had to have a pacemaker put in. She is fine now, but I can't stick her with my kids five days a week.
Second, My other babysitter has to resign at the end of the month because her husband got a job in Columbus.
So I would have to put all three of my girls in childcare for the summer which would use pretty much all of my income. I considered just dealing with it and spending a few tight months that way, but then I realized that I would be working 40+ hours per week to pay someone else to spend time with my girls. I want to spend time with my girls. I talked to my two older girls about the possibility of staying home with them. I warned them that this would mean cutting down on lessons and extra things. They didn't even hesitate before saying they'd give things up so I could be home with them.
That made my decision for me. I will still be teaching. I'll actually be trying to pick up a few more teaching hours next fall when they go back to school. The beauty of teaching is that we'll all have the same holidays and snow days together, so there will be no mommy guilt when I have to miss work or pawn them off on the nearest family member.
I am lucky that my husband is supportive of this goal. I know he's just hoping for a cleaner house, but I'll take what I can get. (Yes, I will be focusing on keeping the house nicer. It is very hard to keep up with when we both work two jobs and have three kids dropping things everywhere.)
Right now, though, I just can't wait until I can take an afternoon nap so I can actually get through a day feeling human.
The little China dolls have heartbeats! Both of them! I am so happy that they are still growing and doing well in there.
Because it is SO early in the process, I can't feel or even sense anything except my own nausea and fatigue. It is so nice that I get to see these little ones a bit more often than in an average pregnancy. It helps to know that things are moving along. They are measuring (as of yesterday) at 6 weeks 1 day. I think that confirms my theory that this will, indeed, be the longest pregnancy ever.
The hardest part about early pregnancy is that the pregnant person is fully aware of the pregnancy and sometimes feels like absolute crap, but the rest of the world is still blissfully unaware. It is a cruel trick that once the pregnancy starts going more smoothly in the second trimester, that is also when it becomes obvious to outsiders that you are pregnant. That is when people ask how you're feeling and if you need a seat, or whatever.
I am over here like, come on, someone tell me I need to go home and go to bed because I feel like a poo popsicle!!!
I had to do it myself last night. I work two jobs, and my evening job is teaching. I was feeling exhausted and I couldn't eat. I think I was also still lagging from my oldest daughter's competition over the weekend. I got in touch with the other teacher and asked her to handle it alone. I felt like a failure, but I really needed the time to rest. I think part of taking responsibility for someone else's embryos also means taking it easy and knowing my limits. I feel my limit stops before the 13 hour work day ends. It's no big deal though. Things are changing for the better in that area. I will soon have more time to spend with my own girls and more time to spend on resting and growing these babies.
Today is a slightly better day. I just feel weak and fatigued but not nauseous. That means that I was able to eat breakfast this morning which is always a good sign. I hope my stomach stays this calm for a while. I think a lot of my fatigue is caused by the inability to eat more than a few bites of anything before I start feeling squirmy in the stomach again. Fortunately, water is always ok with my stomach. At least one healthy habit is prevailing. :)
I need some help. I need to know what I should call the little ones inside me while we wait for them to grow. I have been calling them China dolls (In case you missed it, they are Chinese), Thing 1 and Thing 2, and simply, the twins/ babies.
That is not very creative. Comment on this post with your suggestions and I'll create a poll with your ideas. Then I will have something fun to call them. :)
I had just mentioned my lack of symptoms. Yeah.
I spoke too soon.
I am constantly hungry, and if I have not eaten within the past 15 minutes, I get SO nauseous. They say that symptoms start between 5-6 weeks. I started right on time.
I am prepared though. I have some sort of healthy snack on hand at all times. I really don't want to gain too much weight in excess of the babies, so I am trying to drink a lot of water too. SO far, water doesn't stave off the nausea, but it helps me feel a little fuller if I am eating too. A good friend of mine also gave me lifesavers mints, peppermints, and goldfish crackers. She said they helped her through her pregnancy. They have been working for me today. I can keep something in my mouth without actually eating all day long. That's nice.
I am also very tired. My brain feels kind of fuzzy a lot of times. I just want to crawl back in bed for another three hours. It's ok though, the mint seems to be helping with that a little bit too.
I can't help but think how this is so worth it though. I know that my IPs are going to get the big family they want and deserve, and I get to help them get there. If this nausea and hunger are what it takes to get to keep both of these babies safe in my belly until they are ready to be born, yes, it is beyond worth it.
I have received a lot of support in the form of likes and comments on my facebook page. I am actually overwhelmed by the supportive response. I thought there might be more people questioning motives (only one has mentioned money) or wondering how I would be able to give up a baby I carried (again, only one). Those are questions I had too when I began considering surrogacy.
First, the money. Yes I get paid to carry these babies. The amount I get paid doesn't really matter. It is actually a very small piece of the overall cost to the IPs for all of the IVF, blood work, ultrasounds, egg donor, etc. I won't say I would do it for free. I couldn't honestly say that unless it were for a close friend or family member. I load up on hormones that change my appetite, weight, and mood constantly. I give myself shots daily or every other day. I go to the clinic for blood draws and ultrasounds once a week. My kids and husband are dealing with me being exhausted and not being able to lift things or complete certain chores. All of this takes place before I get pregnant, and I only get paid once pregnancy is confirmed with a heartbeat (or two).
I am not complaining at all about these things. It is all worth it, and there is nothing I didn't expect before I got into this. I guess I just hate that surrogates are sometimes looked down on for "renting their womb" or something. Some states are even trying to enact laws that make it illegal for a surrogate to be paid. How many struggling couples will be able to find a surrogate then? It is sad. The same state *cough*Louisiana*cough* also wants to restrict these unpaid surrogates to only assisting male/female, married couples. I am glad I live in Ohio, a state that so far has just kind of ignored surrogacy in any way.
As for giving these little China dolls away after carrying them nine months, well, of course that is something I had to come to terms with. I made sure I was fully prepared mentally before ever making the decision to be a surrogate.
1. I have three amazing, entertaining, beautiful daughters. Long before my husband and I considered surrogacy, we already knew we had enough of our own children. I don't have the time or energy to give any more children the attention they deserve. Three is our magic number.
2. These children have absolutely NO genetic link to me. I could never donate embryos. Everyone has a line they just can't cross, and that is mine. I appreciate those women who are so selfless that they are willing to go through the drugs and procedure to have their eggs harvested for hopeful parents. That's just not me. The China dolls are just that, Chinese. Not even of the same heritage to me.
3. The IPs are wonderful, and we plan on staying in touch and visiting after the China dolls are born. Not only am I blessed enough to get to carry them, but I also get to be like an aunt or close family friend. I get to know how they are doing. It is important to me that they live a full and happy life. I know my IPs will give that to them.
4. I get to snuggle the China dolls, then hand them back to their parents if they cry or poo. I also get to NOT have to wake up at 10, 2, 3:30, 4, and 7 am. I like my sleep.
5. I know all of this sounds good in theory, but there is always the question of after the birth and after the IPs have taken their little ones home. The agency and the clinic both offer support in the event that I don't take it quite as calmly. I have no worries about that, but resources are available to me.
These babies will have a wonderful life, and I will get to be a part of it. I might miss them. I will definitely love them. I already do love them. The love I have for them is very different than what I experienced with my girls. It is a little detached as though it were someone else carrying them. In fact, my greatest emotion is happiness for my IPs. When I think of these China dolls, I just imagine their mom and dad holding them, all smiles and pride. It is very interesting being so far removed from something so close to me.
All I know for sure is that I am a part of something bigger than myself. I not only have my own family, but I have become a part of a second family under some extraordinary circumstances. This is their gift to me. They opened their hearts and hopes and dreams to me. That can't have been easy. My gift to them in return is the realization of their hopes. Here's hoping everything goes smoothly.
Wish us luck, and send positive vibes to the China dolls so they grow big and healthy. :)
The speculation based on my hcg number (1654 last monday) was correct. Today I went for a rather early ultrasound (5 weeks 4 days) and we saw TWO sacs, each with a developing yolk already showing. One of the sacs has a yolk about twice the size of the other, but the monitoring doctor said, to his intern, not me, since he can't actually give me any real information, that this is nothing to worry about, and we will know much more at next week's ultrasound, when we will be looking for two fetal poles.
Twins! I am so happy for my IPs! They definitely deserve the two healthy babies that they are hoping for.
Symptoms are minimal. I feel great for the most part. I do need to eat smaller meals more often to avoid feelings of nausea. I am just surrounding myself with healthy snacks so I don't eat too much junk. I have cravings for salty or pickled foods, as well as pasta and cheese. A Vlasic kosher dill pickle is like heaven to me.
I have been entirely off of caffeine since before the transfer, and even before then I was limiting myself to a cup a day of something caffeinated. The hardest thing for me right now is that I also want a pepsi, so. freaking. bad. Any time it starts to bother me though, I just remind myself of the goal and the fact that the one pepsi could make a big difference in the development of my little embryos at this point. It doesn't take much to talk me down. Fortunately, mostly I just want to curb my thirst, so water is wonderful.
In any case. I am SO EXCITED!!!! Just so excited to have this chance to carry twins for my IPs.
That which is meant for you shall not pass you. Optimism, Determination, Life. :)
I've decided this is going to be the longest pregnancy ever.
If this were a normally conceived pregnancy, I would have no idea I was pregnant yet. I might start getting suspicious by next week... maybe. But I happen to know the exact moment of conception, and that I am exactly 4 weeks and 6 days pregnant (because they count back to last period.)
I have very few symptoms that would scream "Pregnant!" to the average person. It's sad because I keep waiting for morning sickness to kick in. No, I am hungry and a little more tired than usual. I have also had some weird cramping that I would have called PMS if I didn't know better. Other than that... I don't really feel pregnant. Oh. I also am peeing a lot, but I am drinking more water too.
RIght now, the little guy/s are no bigger than a grain of rice with some basic liver function. The placenta and umbilical cord are also working to get nutrition where it needs to go. Not a whole lot going on right now other than that. No big, just creating life here. :)