The journey of two guys ( with one cat & lot of great friends) trying to get through life and expand their family through surrogacy in Thailand.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Righty Vs Lefty

I’ve been a little terrified to write this post. I’m not sure why exactly.

Maybe it was because last time Frankie and I announced wonderful news, we ended up really let down.

Maybe it was because I thought I might end up jinxing us.

Maybe it was because I was afraid of Willow attacking me if she read it.

This concern isn't without precedent. Willow has met one baby so far. She proceeded to circle said baby keeping at least 5 feet between her and the terrifying non-mobile infant. At one point, the baby farted, Willow jumped and puffed up… and the mandatory distance became around 7 feet. I can only imagine what she will do when there is a permanent baby in our house. Let alone two babies.

Indeed….we’ve now had two ultrasounds, and both have shown the same results. Two little heartbeats.

The first scan was a little concerning, as one little heartbeat was only going at 76 bpm, which is pretty slow. But that same little nugget had a heartbeat of 126 bpm on the last scan, so we’re feeling much better about that.

We started by referring to them as nugget 1 and nugget 2…but then Frankie became concerned that it might make one fetus feel inferior to the other. I suggested nugget Alpha and nugget Omega because I figured that the end of the alphabet is just as important as the beginning of the alphabet….but Frankie saw things differently.

So we’ve now taken to referring to the little sacs of fetal joy as “Righty” and “Lefty”.

Righty is appropriately situated on the right of its sibling, has a heartbeat of 126 bpm, and a CRL of .69cm. Lefty is doing well so far with a heartbeat of 138 bpm and a CRL of .62cm.

We know we’re nowhere close to being out of the woods….but as we look around this time, the woods are beautiful. We may as well enjoy our time here as much as possible. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

287 Vs 6,221

We just got the official results of our second Beta HcG test.

Our transfer was on March 27.

The first Beta test was run on April 5, and the result was 287 mIU/ml.

Our second test was taken on April 11, and the result was 6,221 mIU/ml.

We actually got news that the pregnancy was still viable on Friday, but because All IVF is so backed up, we had to wait until today to get the numbers. But it was worth the wait. We had to check it a few times to make sure our eyes weren’t playing tricks on us. That gives us a doubling rate of about 33 hours. We couldn’t be happier right now. Our neighbors can attest to that since I’m sure they felt the small earthquake created by Frankie frantically jumping up and down. (That man brings so much light and love into this house, it even amazes me sometimes…)

For those keeping track, the results from the last pregnancy were 119.8 mIU/ml for the first test and 1,793 mIU/ml for the second test. So while there are still no guarantees at this point in our journey, we’re definitely feeling very good about the new numbers and how things are progressing so far.

Now we just have one more week of crossing our fingers tightly until we might have the chance to confirm that little heartbeat. We know that not even the heartbeat is a guarantee…but to make it to that point would make us happier than words could describe.

In other news…we were supposed to get the keys to our new house last Friday. Instead, we found out that the seller wasn’t exactly being upfront about how much she owed on her mortgage and the house was actually a short sale…that the bank hadn’t approved! So, she was in breech of contract and the deal fell through. Definitely not how we wanted that story to end.

But getting this news makes that headache seem inconsequential. We could have made it a great house…but if we’re successful in this journey it doesn’t really matter. We’ll make anywhere we live an amazing home. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Positive Vs Negative (Take II)

We waited up until about 2am last night hoping that we would get the email we had been waiting for before we went to bed. Instead the email came at 3:30am and Frankie and I were instantly awake at the sound of my phone going off. I set the ring tone to the “good news” jingle in the hopes that it would give the universe a cue. The universe did not disappoint. The email read:

“Congratulations! Your pregnancy test is positive!!

We will retest in one week.”

It was the best wakeup call we could hope for. We looked at the attached report and the serum HCG was 287.80. We couldn’t be happier. Up until this point, we’ve been chanting: “stick little embryo, stick!”, now our cheers turn to “grow little embryo, grow”.

We learned after our last attempt that managing our expectations is paramount. We’ve been here before, and things ended all too painfully. So, one week down, and just a few short weeks until we hear that little heart beating. Once that’s confirmed, we’ll be popping out the champagne.

Our fingers are optimistically crossed. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Two Guys Vs Ten Days (Take II)

Well, here we are again. The ten day wait.

Last night was day 5 / embryo transfer and right now we’re feeling a mix of excitement, anxiety and unfortunately, slight disappointment. This time around, there were ten eggs fertilized…out of those, 5 made it to day 3…and out of those only 2 good embryos and 1 with a vacuole were left on day 5. We were really hoping for a better outcome this time with the fertilization process, but it just wasn’t to be. 

But, we’re of course also very excited. We're sending out lots of positive energy to the universe, and we all know it only takes one good embryo to make a baby. The surrogate had a great lining, and it sounds like the transfer went smoothly. They transferred 2 embryos; one good and one with the vacuole. And, the other will be frozen, so at least we have a bit of a safety net. 

Now all we have to do is wait. We should hear whether or not we’re pregnant on the same day that we close on the house and get the keys. So hopefully it will be a great day. (If not…at least I’ll have pent up aggression to take out on the house that weekend when we break down some walls!)

Fingers crossed! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Nursing School Vs T.M.I.

Those of you out there with a background in healthcare will probably be familiar with the following conversation:

“Hello unassuming stranger, looks like you’re getting ready for the storm with all your milk and bread!” said the elderly lady in front of me in the supermarket line. (I should explain that when there is a big snow storm in New England, milk and bread suddenly seem to become very hot commodities. Seriously…two weeks ago there was a news story about the shortage of milk and bread in grocery stores here in the Boston metro… so, naturally I panicked, immediately went to the store and bought as much as possible in an effort to fit in. This is the second year I’ve done this.)

“Yes, I have both milk and bread, because I’m a New Englander and that’s what we do!” Said the boy from California desperate for approval.

“That’s great! I hope it all fits in yah cahhh. (that’s “your car” for people not from Boston) So, what do you do young man?” she asked while loading her milk and creamer on to the belt.

“Actually, I’m just finishing nursing school.” I said as I silently cursed myself for forgetting milk related products like creamer. I did however feel slightly vindicated noticing that she didn’t have naan bread like I did. Surely I should get extra points for variety of bread products.

And then it happened…

“Oh…” she said with a sudden gleam in her eyes. “So, maybe you’ll know. I’ve got this boil right in between my…well my you know what. Do you think I should pop it, or just leave it be?!”

A slight gasp escaped my lips as my hand rose to my forehead awkwardly.

“.......Oh. Well…ummmmm……..uhhhhhh…..huh. Oh look, I think the cashier is ready to take your coupons!” I responded knowing full well that no amount of milk, bread, or acceptance was worth enduring that conversation.

This is one way that nursing school leads to too much information. (At least I learned something about myself: Evendently, I have to be in the right location to talk boils with a little old lady. In the hospital, no problem. At Stop and Shop, not so much...)

There is also another way that nursing school provides too much information. I spent last summer in my OB/peds rotation, which was amazing. We were able to assist with deliveries, give babies the all-important first vaccines,  care for newborns in the neonatal care center and NICU, and teach new moms and dads how to feed, hold, change, and  care for their new little ones. Yes, it was as awesome as it sounds.

But there is a drawback. While we as nurses are expected to know the natural progression of fertilization, pregnancy and delivery, we’re also expected to know the complications that can come along with fertilization, pregnancy and delivery. (Even more so than a complication free pregnancy.) After all, being prepared when something goes wrong is one of the most important roles of a nurse. We’re kind of like boy scouts in that way. 

Those of you who are going through a similar journey to ours know how difficult it is being removed from so much of this process. Add to that in depth knowledge of everything that can go wrong at any given time in development, and you have now discovered why during the last attempt I turned into a basket case for bursts of 5 minutes every other day or so. To know about everything going on, and to know that you’re physically so far removed from it all isn’t easy. But it’s what we sign up for as IPs going through international surrogacy.

That said, as we gear up for our next shot I take a moment every now and again and remind myself: what will be, will be. I am determined to try to enjoy the process as much as possible, regardless of how difficult that is. So now, I tuck away my paranoia; my doubts; my worries; my fears, and I try to think about this little dream of ours that we're working so hard to achieve. I am determined to once again find the delicate balance between being vigilant and involved, and just being flat out crazy.

We transferred funds to New Life last week. $10,700 for a second attempt with the same egg donor as last time cycling for us and fresh embryo transfer.  No word yet on when our fabulous ED will start her cycle, but hopefully we should be hearing about it sooner rather than later. (In fact, my next email is going to be to our NL contact to confirm they have received the funds and find out about getting a timeline.)

Hopefully things will get rolling soon. And hopefully this damn snow will clear up so I can go back to my low carb lifestyle.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Respite Vs Laziness

What is it they say?  Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans? I swear I had every good intention of posting something long before today, but things just kept getting in the way. For a while I also considered not writing anymore, because let’s be frank, really I’m just not all that interesting. :-p  But in the end, this is mostly for me to use as an outlet and maybe to share with any kids we’re fortunate enough to have one day. I guess I just feel ready to share again. Also, there are literally fives of people reading this blog. So I would hate to disappoint. ;0)

So why did it take so long for another post? Well, first off, in all honesty the last attempt and miscarriage definitely left a little dent in my heart and I just needed to step back from the blog-o-sphere and all things surrogacy to regroup. As some of you may or may not know, I also created and administrate the website It’s a place I created for IPs to come together and discuss their journeys. It’s something I’m really proud of, and also something I’ve been neglecting as of late. :-\  But, Frankie and I feel ready to go again, and so I will re-emerge myself into all things surrogacy. Of course Willow is against it, as evidenced by her hacking up a fur-ball on the surrogacy contracts I was getting ready to scan and email back to New Life. She is a jealous little creature.

So, I will excuse part of my absence to much needed respite. The rest…well, the odds are good that it’s just due to pure laziness and my new found addiction to Call of Duty. But in all fairness, I have been a little busy.

There was Christmas and New Year’s. Which were both great. (Outside of discovering that a friend’s best friend is actually a not so functioning alcoholic.)

With the new year came a new job for Frankie. He is now working as a Nephrologist at a private practice, which is awesome because if there is anything he loves more than me, its kidneys. So that was a big change for him, but certainly a welcome one.

This was followed by me and a friend taking an impromptu two day road trip from the north shore of Boston to Washington DC to see the debut of the new baby panda Bao Bao. 850 miles in two days via New Jersey…it’s a good thing the panda was cute.

Around the beginning of January, we also found out that we made a mistake on our taxes. A large mistake. But, fortunately a mistake in our favor, and it turns out we were paying more than necessary and we were getting a generous return. So, we figured….meh, why not use the money for a down payment on a house? After all, we only need 3.5% down, and in our area owning is much cheaper than renting. And so in the course of a weekend, we were pre-approved for a mortgage, went house hunting, fell in love with a place, and made an offer. Now, this isn’t just any place. It’s, shall we say, special and in need of some love. It was built in 1790, and I’m pretty sure it was only really updated once since then. While touring the house, we assumed that the previous owner was a cat lover. At least, we decided to believe that to account for the feces on the floor and the rat toy that we initially mistook for an actual dead rat. To say it’s in rough shape is to say that Lindsay Lohan only drinks on special occasions; a gross understatement. But it’s always been a dream of mine to rehab a house, and since it was in such bad shape, we got a killer deal on the place. So, we got a rehab mortgage that allows us funds for renovations and we’re in the last stages before closing, which should hopefully happen by early April. (The mortgage has a long closing time to allow for contractors to estimate repairs on the property.) By the time we’re done with the house, it will have had more work done than Cher’s face. But, like Cher’s face, although almost none of it will be original, it will still be beautiful. Most importantly, it will be the perfect place to raise a family. (The house….not Cher’s face.)

I also started my last semester of nursing school. In the first two weeks we covered acute respiratory failure and critical care cardiac issues like myocardial infarctions and EKG interpretation. Here is a snapshot of what I’ve been looking at:

I like the one on the left. 

So what you're saying is; those aren't just squiggly lines?

Now do you see why I’ve been spending the valuable time I have crying myself to sleep as opposed to writing in my blog. In all seriousness, it’s amazing stuff. Just a little heavy.

And that leads us to present day, and one of the most important updates. We sent back the contracts and it’s now official. We’ve decided to cycle again with the same ED as we did the first time, and use Frankie’s frozen sperm to fertilize the eggs.

While this is the most expensive of our options, we decided it really was the best way for us to go.  I won the “who’s material to use first” war and hence we’re starting with Frankie’s. But part of the compromise is that, successful or not, we will one day try again with mine. This has never been important to me, but it’s something Frankie really wants and therefore we’ve always planned on going through this process twice. We also decided that it would be really great for any children we have to have a genetic link through the ED. So, while I have 7 frozen embryos that we could use, Frankie is essentially fresh out; and since we have no idea what the ED will be doing in a few years, we decided to let mine stay on ice for the time being and work with our ED again now while we know she’s available and willing to help. Also, while it’s more expensive than if we just proceeded with my frozen embryos; it’s actually cheaper for us to try again with Frankie’s material now as opposed to later, since it counts as a second attempt.

We’re feeling good about this, and ready to go again. Actually, the biggest hesitation we had was that we would have to wait longer to go through the whole ED cycle again. But anything worth doing is worth doing right, and this is definitely the right option for us.

So, that’s where we are now. I’ll try to update a little more regularly now that things are moving again. I hope everyone in blog land has had a great start to their year. :0)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fall off the horse Vs Get back on again

So what do you do when you fall off the horse?

Well, if you’re me, then you first look around to see how many people witnessed the fall because your injuries will be in direct proportion to the number of people who saw you sustain them.
For example, in a large group of people my reaction would be as follows:

“No, no guys! I’m good. Don’t even worry!  No, it’s cool, my arm usually bends like that, I swear. And I’m pretty sure it’s ok for my shin bone to be peeking out of my skin like that. It just needed a little fresh air, that’s all. I’ll just walk it off, it’ll be fine. Walk it off….walk it off. Now where is that horse? Time to jump back on!!”

Now, if no one had seen it…my phone would be out and I would be dialing 911 on my way down to the ground; because even if I only had a scratch, there’s always the possibility of getting mad horse disease…which isn’t even a thing, but I’m sure I would be the first to contract it. I would then concoct a believable story about being mugged by the horse so that the EMS personnel wouldn’t know that the injuries were due to me trying to stand up on the saddle of the horse like they do in the circus.

Those reactions aren’t because I’m prideful; it’s actually just the opposite. I can’t stand to be the center of attention especially if the attention is garnered because of an injury. So, I’ll do whatever I can to ensure that the attention is directed elsewhere as quickly as possible. Look a unicorn!!

It’s the same idea here. How do I direct attention away from the emotional injuries sustained earlier? Try, try again. And so we shall.

We’re currently regrouping to see how we should move forward. Right now, Frankie only has one embryo frozen at the clinic, and it really isn’t a great embryo. In fact, it wasn’t even able to be graded, so we have no idea whether or not it would continue to develop in utero. Using that embryo simply isn’t the best idea if we want to give ourselves the best chance of success. So, realistically we have two options:

The first is to see whether or not Frankie has any frozen swimmers left at the clinic. If he does, we would ask the ED we used from the first round to cycle again for us, fertilize the eggs with Frankie’s frozen sperm and then proceed with another fresh embryo transfer after the cycle. We would really love to have the same genetic mother for any children we are lucky enough to have. So, in some ways, this option would be ideal because who knows what our ED will be doing in the future and whether or not she would be willing to donate again down the line.

The second is to try a frozen embryo transfer with one of the 7 embryos with my genetic material. The agency we’re using (New Life) has been really great in working with us as a couple and not making us jump through a lot of hoops should we need to change the contract with them (using my embryos instead of his). I would much rather use Frankie’s embryos, but time and money make that a bit more difficult if he has no frozen sperm left over. If we were to go down that road and use mine, and we were lucky enough to be successful, we would then see if our ED would be willing to donate sometime next year when we went for baby pick-up. That way, Frankie can donate more swimmers while we’re there, and those embryos can be frozen for a later attempt with his material, and if we tried for a sibling in the future, our kids would be genetically related.

So, that’s where we stand right now. We are once again full of hope, full of excitement, and full of joy. That might also be due to the pleasant distraction of leaving for an all-inclusive resort in Cancun on Monday, but either way…hope, excitement and joy. And a liquor dispenser in our room at the resort.