After having some time to reflect, Emily writes down a few thoughts and talks about how she is mentally and phycically preparing herself for her next transfer.
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And as always, keep your comments and questions positive and supportive.
I want to give you all a quick update on where things are in the surrogacy story. It’s been six weeks since we did the first embryo transfer and there has been a lot of time for reflection and processing as well as how I can best prepare for what’s next. Also, thank you for joining me here again in this story.
For now we’re taking October off all medication protocols. As hard as it is to wait, I’m really thankful for this time of recharge. Here are some of the things I’m doing during the pause before the next try:
I’m taking an 8-week Dynamic Mama pilates class at Rooted Pilates focused on strengthening my core, both physically and emotionally. It’s the first group exercise class I’ve done in like 8 years and it feels so good to do alongside other women at different stages in their journey as mothers. Some are newly pregnant others are further down the road in their mothering experiences (like me being 5 years postpartum, lol). On the first day of the class all the participants were encouraged to journal some questions…
We were also encouraged to pick one card from a special deck of cards to serve as a focus for the day’s practice.
If you’re following along with me, perhaps take a moment to ask yourself these same questions. Pause, take a deep breath, and fill your own cup.
I’m doing yoga at home everyday and that’s been amazing, too. Did you know that there are a bazillion YouTube videos for Fertility Yoga? Yeah, I didn’t either until I started this journey. One of my favorites is YogaYin. I also do Yoga with Adriene.
I’m doing acupuncture to help prepare my uterine lining. The topic of acupuncture for fertility deserves it’s own blog post to explain Traditional Chinese Medicine practice and how it can boost fertility. But for now I’ll share this quote from acupuncturist Jane Gregorie, MS, LAc, FABORM, from an interview with Elizabeth Katkin in her book Conceivability, “we nourish the soil before we plant the seed.”
I’ve also been taking this time to nourish my own family. My husband and I celebrated our anniversary this month and we’ve been working on some home improvement projects together. Also, the fall is our family’s season of birthdays, with our oldest turning 11 in September, our middle turning 9 in October, and our youngest turning 5 in November. So, making memories together has been an important priority.
Nourishing friendships and staying connected is also a priority! I’ve had the joy to reconnect with three previous doula clients over lunch or coffee in the past/upcoming week. Nothing makes me happier than maintaining these relationships, except maybe hearing that a family I supported during their first pregnancy is expecting again!
So, what’s next? Well, we will be starting medication again in mid-November in preparation for an early December transfer. I know my IPs are super excited, as am I, for what’s to come. Let me tell you folks, the determination and resolve they have is incredible. They are amazing people with unparalleled fortitude. Brave and badass. Please send some love to them today.
Flashback 4 takes us with Emily as she experiences her first embryo transfer.
If you need to catch up you can find all the previous posts here
Comments and support are always welcome, just please remember to keep it positive and supportive!
Originally written on Sept 6, 2018
"I'm a surrogate. What's your superpower?"
Those were the words etched on the necklace given to me by my IPs on the morning of their EMBRYO TRANSFER (!!!) And let me tell you, I am feeling super hopeful right now that the excitement is palpable. (I can barely say the words "embryo transfer" without wanting to squeal inside.)
Let me tell you about this experience. I arrived at the fertility clinic about an hour before my appointment time. My sweet friend, Michelle, dropped me off and picked me up when it was all done (Jack, my husband, couldn't get off work that day because it was right after Labor Day weekend and a co-worker already requested off.) Moments after I arrived I took a prescribed Valium, which is said to help me relax and also help my uterus relax for the procedure.
Then, I was told to empty my bladder and begin chugging water. The full bladder makes it easier for them to see and reach the uterus during the transfer on the ultrasound. In total I consumed between 40-64 oz of water in an hour and wouldn't be allowed to empty until after it was all complete.
Moments before my IPs arrived the valium began to kick in and I felt really loopy. The nurse lead us back to the room and asked me questions. The whole time I felt so goofy and not like myself. I was pretty glad my IM and I had been together the past few appointments because I thought she would know I was acting differently than normal. The IF probably just assumed I was a fruit. lol. This loopy feeling lasted about 10 minutes and then things seemed to level out.
The doctor came in, calmly explained what would happen, and just a few moments later we were ready!
They rolled in an Isolette (tm) incubator just like one would see in the NICU for a premature infant or other infant in need of a controlled environment. The incubator held the thawed frozen embryo. If felt like a holy moment.
The IM got to look at the tiny little embryo under the microscope and was given a printed picture to keep
Then it was time! They loaded the embryo into a catheter with an air bubble before and after it so we could see it on the ultrasound and with a quick burst of air sent it into my uterus to live! I recall saying many silent prayers in that moment.
The medical team wished us luck and were out just as quickly as they came in. I had to hang out on the bed for a few moments before I was allowed to get up and empty my bladder. And then we all got our things together and left the office.
While waiting for my friend to pick me up my IPs and I took a few pictures together. This was one they took of me wearing a shirt they gave me for the big day (plus the next size up, too! Gotta love that thinking ahead!)
"I've got joy like a fountain."
So, now we wait. For what exactly? Well first I've been given the green light to take an at-home pregnancy test on Monday morning. But really, the next clinical step is for a blood test a week from today. And after that we wait for the hormone levels to double and keep doubling.
I came across this interesting video today about what's happening in the embryo development at this stage. Apparently it starts as a pancake like structure and then becomes more of a cannoli like structure. I mentioned above that it felt like a holy moment. But I didn't say a "holy cannoli" moment! *audience groans*
Until next time!
Flashback three of Emily's surrogacy journey involves a quick trip to asses her uterine lining to see is she's ready for embryo transfer.
If you need to catch up you can find all the previous posts here
Please let us know your questions and comments and as always keep this space a positive and uplifting environment.
Originally written Aug 28, 2018
I feel like we are at the Olympic Trials and the judges just read off my score.... And it means we qualify for the big event!
The BIG news today is that we went to the fertility clinic yesterday to measure my uterine lining to see if it was ready to transfer one of my IPs special little embryos. And it is! The doctor said that they look for it to measure between 8-10 mm and mine was measuring 9.8 which is reason to celebrate! Normal values are between 2-16 mm, depending on the stage of the menstrual cycle.
Also, I learned something new about the uterus at that visit, which is that the uterine wall is comprised of three layers: the perimetrium, or the outermost layer, the myometrium, or the muscular layer which is comprised of interlacing fibers, and the endometrium, or the inner most layer, which is a mucosal layer and what changes in thickness during the menstrual cycle. On the ultrasound all three layers were visible, which is, again, exactly what they were looking to see!
So, our transfer date is set, folks! Send some positive thoughts and prayers to us for Tuesday, September 4th!
Also, send some positive thoughts for this upcoming week because I have to increase the medicine I'm on to include the progesterone oil administered via a very long, sharp needle for the next 13 weeks. It's something millions of women who have undergone IVF have stoically endured, but it's a first for me.
Oh, one final thing: my IM gave me two super thoughtful gifts at the uterine ultrasound: a surrogacy journal, similar to a other pregnancy journals where you get to record specific moments throughout the 9 months, but this specifically made (from Etsy, I believe she said) for surrogates. She also gave me a t-shirt in my (and her!) favorite color, which I'll wear to the Transfer next week for good luck!
A collection of posts from different humans all over the world, sharing their stories about the struggles they have faced in their individual journeys to motherhood.