Wednesday, January 1, 2020

First transfer outcome

11/23/19 - started meds for the transfer cycle
12/10/19 - lining check and bloodwork - lining was good but estrogen wasn’t as high as they would like so we added an estrogen patch
12/18/19 - transfer went off without a hitch! Everything went smoothly, embryo was expanding nicely, couldn’t have been better! Intended Mom (IM) was in the room with me and we were very pleased with how great everything went
12/26/19 - 8 days past 5 day (embryo age) transfer - negative pregnancy test at home - I let intended parents (IPs) know - still holding out hope for a miracle
12/27/19 - negative beta HCG

Each transfer has about a 60% chance of working. Unfortunately this time we were in the 40%. I was pretty bummed for the IP’s. This is such a huge emotional and financial investment for them and I just wanted everything to continue going as smoothly as it had started. They seemed to take the news well. Her RE is out of the country until the end of this week and they needed some time to review everything from our failed cycle so the nurse suggested a month of birth control pills and a February transfer. At first I was really frustrated at the thought of losing a month but realized it’s probably for the best. Now we wait and see what February will bring!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Transfer date set!

Just a quick update. Had my lining check and bloodwork today. Lining was great, estrogen was a little bit low so they are adding estrogen patches to my bare bones estrogen/progesterone protocol. Transfer is set for Wednesday Dec 18th!! They will call me the night before with a time so we are planning to head there Tuesday evening and stay in town so we will be ready to go. We could be pregnant by Christmas! It’s such a different feeling going through this as a surrogate rather than for my keeper. I still get the excitement will fewer nerves. Can’t wait to see what God has in store for us!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Here we go again!!!

Let’s recap. In 2013 we were blessed with infertility (yes, blessed). In 2014 we were gifted a beautiful little girl through traditional adoption. A 15 year old girl decided she wasn’t ready to be a mom and WE got to become parents. In 2015 we were gifted 4 healthy embryos and welcomed our second little girl after a frozen embryo transfer in 2016. Our donors had 9 unused embryos after their successful twin pregnancy with a surrogate 8 years ago. While we were b with our little snowflake a friend of mine was on her own journey as a surrogate for a couple that was unable to carry a baby of their own. That was really the first time surrogacy was placed on my heart. 

Fast forward 2 years and the idea of surrogacy is still on my heart. My husband wasn’t too sure at first but after a year of researching he was finally on board. After a few winding turns we finally ended up matched with the most incredible couple. Our Intended Parents (IP’s) have one child and experienced a devastating complication at delivery and lost their ability to carry another. As we were sitting across from them for the first time back in August I realized my true motivation for wanting to pursue surrogacy. We were given 2 incredible gifts (one as a baby, another as an embryo). Without those selfless incredible gifts we wouldn’t have our family. Surrogacy has become our way to pay it forward and give someone else the gift of a child. 

We met our IPs for the first time in August, quickly did an in depth psychological evaluation, medical clearance and contracts. My uterus was deemed “pristine” but the RE and all of the pieces have fallen into place. Today marks the first day of our first frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle. With my own FET we got pregnant the first time. We are praying  that this next step in our journey goes as smoothly as the parts before. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

I cannot say enough about how much we love our photographer!!  Bump Meet Baby Photography is so incredibly talented. I have dabbled with newborn photography for the last 6 years so I am very particular about what I like. Newborn photography is about patience, lighting, posing, editing and so much more. Every photographer offers a different point of view and I just adore what Tamara Hart says with her photos. Our newborn photos consisted of 2 trips to Goose Creek (Charleston)... 8 total hours of driving. For the first trip Blake was wide awake for the first 3 hours before giving Tamara an hour of shooting. For the second trip she was wide awake for about 2 hours followed by another 2 hours of shooting. That's 8 hours of drive time plus 8 hours in the studio. I have to say it was completely worth every second. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. I can't wait to share some of our birth photos too from Whitney Hempsey of Studio 412 Imagery.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Official Birth Story...finally!

Please don't be mad at me. I've been in post-birth breastfeeding lala land and keep forgetting to post. If you haven't guessed it or seen it on Facebook, baby snowflake is here!! Born 1 day shy of her due date here are her stats:

Name: Blake Mackenzie
Date: October 25th 2016
Time: 4:30 pm
Weight: 8 pounds 3 ounces
Length: 21 1/2 inches long

Remember, I'm a midwife, so if I give too many labor/birth details I apologize.  On Saturday night (October 22nd) I was getting ready for bed and started to have more frequent crampy contractions. I warned my husband that baby snowflake wasn't going to stay in forever. He asked her to stay in through the weekend. I went to bed Saturday night and woke up at 4 am to go to the bathroom. From that point forward the contractions stayed regular and more painful and I wasn't able to go back to sleep.

I text my mother-in-law to have her pick Brennan up for church since I was up a lot of the night. I continued contracting all day Sunday but they never really got much stronger. I did something called the Miles Circuit, went for a long walk and rested in hopes something would change. I took some unisom to try to get some sleep Sunday night and woke up with regular contractions again Monday. They were definitely stronger than the day before and just as regular. I spent the day changing positions, going for walks, bouncing on the ball, the contractions were much more painful.

Brennan on her labor ball

As the day progressed Monday I was breathing through contractions. I couldn't find a comfortable position and knew they were the real deal. I tried a heating pad, massage, my husband coaching me to relax during contractions. I was miserable. We finally decided it was time to go to the hospital. When I got there I was 4 cm. I had been 1 in the office. I asked Vanessa (my incredible amazing midwife) to break my water to get things moving. The contractions quickly got more painful. I got in the tub and asked for my epidural. I was saving the tub for later in labor because I thought it would be a huge help but I had gotten so uncomfortable it didn't do much for me.

I got my epidural and right after had progressed to 6cm. We quickly realized that my epidural wasn't working. It started out working on one side and eventually didn't work at all. I worked through another hour of contractions while waiting for the anesthesiologist to return. My second epidural was much better.  This is where things get goofy.

For the next 11 hours I remained 6 cm. Thankfully my epidural worked well. Every hour I changed positions from hands and knees to side lying, sitting up to knee chest. Nothing helped me to dilate. After 6 hours at 6 cm we elected to start pitocin. Finally I started to feel some pressure and had changed to 8 cm and for the first time baby girl had started to come down. Quickly after I was 9 cm with a ton of pressure and needed to push. That's where the epidural failed me. I could feel everything. With an epidural you lose your ability to distinguish between hot and cold. An icecube would normally feel warm where the epidural is working. Vanessa used iced cold rags on my bottom between pushes and they felt ice cold. Seriously, the epidural was doing nothing for my bottom.

The pain was a huge motivator to push as hard as I could. I used the mirror which was really helpful because I could see her head descend every push. I ended up pushing for an hour and twenty minutes. When her head finally came out she was looking straight up to the ceiling. You may have heard it called sunny side up, posterior or OP. A lot of babies end up coming out via c-section when they are face up like this. For those of you who know what this means she was actually OP and asynclitic. I can't believe she came out! And all with a tiny little laceration. I feel like I was screaming with every push and probably traumatized my husband for life. He was a little nervous about the whole delivery but he was incredible. He was a great coach during contractions, fed me ice chips between pushes and held my leg the entire time. I am so blessed to have had a supportive husband, incredible midwife and awesome nurses.

When I first saw this photo I was embarrassed at how awful I look. Then I realized that this is real life. I'm not sure if I was screaming, crying, happy, shocked. Maybe a little bit of everything?  But this right here captures every emotion that was flooding over me when baby snowflake was placed on my belly for the first time.

Baby Blake was eventually taken to the warmer for evaluation because she had had a bowel movement prior to delivery (meconium). Her temp after delivery was 102. Both pediatricians were concerned and they took her to the nursery for blood cultures, lab tests and to start IV antibiotics. She ended up on antibiotics for 48 hours but fortunately her blood cultures were negative and she didn't end up having an infection.

Brennan came in to meet her sister a few hours after the birth. She said "aww" and quickly wanted to "pet her". She was very excited to be a big sister and has been a huge helper. I will cherish this photo forever. My entire heart is outside my body and walking the earth in these three right here.

my whole world
I will be forever grateful for the countless hours that my dear friend and loving midwife spent with me during my labor. Without the help of Vanessa and Adam I would have never been able to do this. Vanessa was supportive and encouraging, calm and empowering. My labor wasn't your average labor and she never once made me feel like I couldn't do it. It's not easy to be the midwife and the patient but Vanessa did an amazing job taking the worry away from me and convincing me that I could have the birth that I desired. Vanessa, you will always have a special place in my heart and in our family.

We have been home for a week now and life is good! I am grateful to have the help of my in-laws during this time. They have been a huge help with Brennan, meals, housework, errands, everything we need. Without them I don't know how we'd keep it together. Family is starting to visit and of course everyone is in love with Blake already. Baby Blake is nursing like a champ, sleeping well and gaining weight. Life is so good.

Thank you all for your prayers and support during this crazy adventure. I can't wait to share more of Blake's birth photos by the talented Whitney Hempsey of Studio 412 Imagery.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Maternity Photos with Bump Meet Baby Photography

I can't talk enough about how much I love our photographer. Brennan is in love too! Brennan lights up when we see her and she always gets such amazing photos. Here are a few of my favorites.

Check her out here:

Bump Meet Baby Photography 

Bump Meet Baby Photography on Facebook

38 weeks

The one question I get 10 times a day is, how are you feeling?? I still feel pretty darn good!  My carpal tunnel has returned and my left hand is numb 24 hours a day. My wrist injection lasted about 11 weeks which is pretty good. i'm going to get another one next week just because I'm worried about breastfeeding with this and I know it can take a few weeks after delivery to resolve. Other than that I feel like this baby is very content inside. She likes to rub her big booty on my ribs and I swear sometimes she is strong enough that she could push me over. I was painting Brennan's nails today and she kept pushing where my arm was resting on my belly, I kept messing up!

We survived Hurricane Matthew thanks to our good friends in Augusta, Georgia. We stayed with them 5 nights and returned home just as the power was finally coming back on. We didn't have any issues during the trip there or the return trip and came back to an intact house. We are so grateful!!

Tomorrow starts my first weekend of call since being admitted to MUSC at 26 weeks. I'm on-call the next 4 days and the full moon is on Sunday. Two of my friends/coworkers are due with their little girls this weekend. Typically the hospital makes me contract like crazy but I'm hoping they get to meet their little ones first!  We already know Baby Snowflake likes drama so I wouldn't be surprised if she chose this weekend to come. I'm on call.  Full moon. 1 midwife is out of town. 1 midwife will be (tipsy) at a family wedding. And my husband and I are still in denial. We will see!

Brennan saw my camera and said "mommy, will you take my picture?"  Literally this girl would look at pictures and videos of herself all day if I let her. I'm not sure exactly what we are doing to our child to start that but at the same time I can't blame her. I could look at her all day too!

This is kinda crazy... 32 weeks on the left, 38 weeks on the right. And she has always measured at least a week ahead on ultrasound with a lot of fluid!  I can't wait to see how big she ends up being.