Little steps and no gut instinct

So we finally talked to our first surrogate candidate.  She was very nice.  But…  I don’t know.  I have never interviewed surrogates before and it feels very odd to choose this person who is going to fill this massive role in your life based on a 2 hour phone call.  But I am getting absolutely no gut instinct on this.  I think my gut instinct is feeling so damaged after all the recent shi**y decision making that I am just out of touch with myself.  And the bad part is that I want SO BADLY to be moving forward that I think I would pretty much let the Devil carry my baby if we could transfer soon.

For those of you who don’t know the process of matching with a surrogate, here’s a brief summary:  We are using a (crappy, I hate them now) Agency to match us with potential surrogates.  We have filled out an Intended Parents (IP) profile and the surrogates all fill out their own version.  The profile feels very much like internet dating as does the initial phone call.  The Agency notified us they thought they had a potential candidate and we reviewed her profile.  We said we thought initially that things would work so then we get together on a three-way phone call with our carrier, my husband and I and the Agency rep.  Kinda awkward.  Then you try to make small talk until you can get around to asking more details which are far more personal than anything else you have ever asked a stranger over the phone!  At the same time, you really, really want this person to like you back, so you feel the need to be cautious and likable.

We don’t have a ton of criteria when it comes to a surrogate-  I have heard of IPs demanding their surrogate eat all organic or vegan or not have a single gram of caffeine for 10 months.  We are not in that camp.  We want someone healthy and trustworthy.

So do I think this person will be that?  Yes.  But I am still feeling no peace of mind in saying yes, she should carry our baby.  And the only horrible thing about saying ‘no’ to her at the moment is just the amount of time we will have to wait until another candidate is identified.  It’s taken us this long to see one profile, when supposedly our agency had dozens available (insert eye roll at Agency’s blatant lies), do we really want to turn her down and wait another 3-4 months?  So you really feel like if you don’t say ‘yes’, you are screwed.  But if my gut doesn’t say ‘yes’ about her, aren’t we screwed that way too?  What do you do when you don’t trust your gut anymore?  Or when you have suppressed it so much that you can’t even feel it?

 

So on other lovely life and uterus news, I am going to pretty much have to have surgery.  I am yet again without a period since that disastrous hysteroscopy.  Lots of cramping, lots of pain.  Too many different hormones to try to kick-start a period again.  Thank you all for your thoughts on my drastic action against my uterus- I need to look for another OB who could potentially operate.  I am actually at that lovely time of the year where I’ve paid out so much in medical bills (once again, I’m floored that it’s far more expensive to have a dead baby at 16w than to have a live baby at 39w at my hospital) that it would make far more sense to try to have a free surgery before next year resets our out of pocket maximums.  We’ll see what I can accomplish.  If nothing else, I need them to remove the scar tissue so I can get a cycle and stop this endless cramping.

 

 

 

Back to our regularly scheduled programming

What a week.

I had a nice vacation with my Sweetie.  I also remembered that traveling with a toddler is not very predictable, so I obviously did not get a chance to update over here. 

We finally heard that our agency has a surrogate candidate for us to talk to.  Hopefully we can get that scheduled ASAP (I would have done it today if possible!  Yes, I’m just slightly anxious and eager to keep the ball rolling).  Even a bigger hope is that she will like us.  I can’t even devote enough time here to the anxiety I have about talking to a surrogate.  It’s like internet dating on steroids.  I may have a slightly skewed vision of the current industry of surrogacy, but it seems to me that there are many, many Intended Parents (IP) to every Gestational Surrogate (GS) out there. We are definitely not the ones in demand, so I feel very helpless in this all. I guess I don’t really know how a surrogate chooses who to carry for, and it is just beyond my capability to put myself in her shoes (given my history of being a failure at pregnancy). 

Provera started working, finally.  So, if we want to, the clock is ticking on me deciding about doing a FET.  I say ‘me’ because my dear husband thinks this is just a non-question.  Of course we should try again in my body that has killed multiple normal babies.  Yep, makes total sense. (end sarcasm)  Yes,  we fortunately have a handful of embryos to work with, but by no means do we have unlimited options.  I refuse to do another complete IVF retrieval cycle, so once our frozen embabies are gone, we are done. 

So I need fingers crossed that we make some progress.  Any progress.  Towards a healthy, living baby at the end of 9 months. 

Friday nights

What do you do on a Friday night when you’re no longer pregnant and you have no friends left to hang out with when your kiddo goes to bed?

Mine will involve wine.  Probably lots of it.  Enough to forget that it has now been 9 weeks since I heard my baby’s heart beating beneath mine for the last time.

Red wine and Pirate’s Booty.  What is it with me and Pirate’s Booty? I swear it’s dusted with something drug-like and addictive.  I’m buying it by the case off of Amazon.  And the aged cheddar variety goes quite well with wine, I’m sure any great sommelier would agree.

Tomorrow we have a birthday party for one of Sweetie’s friends.  I’m thankful that’s the only time I have to go out in public all weekend.  And then on Monday Sweetie and I head off on a little adventure (because I couldn’t stand to sit home while my husband traveled out of the country for weeks on end).  Not sure how often I’ll be posting as I’m not taking my computer.

PS: Provera still not working… Sigh.

Working on a plan

Day 7 of provera and still no period, although I guess it’s not technically supposed to start until after I stop the pills.  I still hate the waiting!

I met with my OB this morning and she was wonderful.  They did put us in the conference room, so I didn’t have to endure the exam rooms  (so the mean receptionist came through- I thanked her when I checked out!).  And bottom line is that my OB is willing to do anything and everything to try to help us out with a future pregnancy, even ordering possibly odd therapies that are not ‘approved’.  It’s so helpful to hear her say that, because you hit a point where you wonder if your doctors are really trying to help you as a person instead of just treat you so they can be done with you (or move you off to another doctor because you are complicated with so many losses).

I did hear some extremely frustrating news at my appointment-  I told my OB’s colleague (my OB was not on call when my last baby died) that I wanted all possible genetic and pathologic testing done on my baby (even though we had done PGS and believed the baby to have normal chromosomes).  I wanted a microarray done in addition to the standard tests.  Well, they did attempt to do a microarray and they just confirmed last week that they did the microarray testing on me.  Now, I can understand that things get contaminated when a fetus is only a few weeks along, the fetal tissue is not as easy to distinguish.  But I lost my baby at 16 WEEKS.  My baby was almost 6 inches long.  How could they not get a clean tissue sample for the microarray?  My OB expressed similar annoyance.  So they think now that they do have fetal cells isolated/growing that they can test by the end of the week.  Fingers crossed.

Honestly, I don’t expect to really learn anything more.  I think everything is going to come back normal.  But I would be so angry to lose a piece of the puzzle when we could have had it.  More information and data always feels useful to me, I guess that’s just the kind of person I am.

And no word from Agency S-  ARGH, they are so bad with communication.  Nothing on that front, unfortunately.

More waiting and hard decisions

So I had blood drawn today to see where the heck my period is.  Progesterone is low, so I haven’t ovulated yet and I’m just sitting in limbo.  At least my HCG=0 (three weeks ago it was 3, so at least it’s gone now).  Starting a course of Provera tonight (assuming the RN gets the prescription called in!) so I can hopefully get the show on the road.  She was nice and warned me that it may be a heavy, painful period.   I just had to shake my head because ANY period after losing a baby in the second trimester is going to be painful, physically and emotionally.

So what’s next for us?  I really wish I knew the answer.

OPTION 1:  FROZEN TRANSFER TO ME 

I have several PGS normal embryos on ice, so that’s an option I guess.  We had a monstrous load of bloodwork done with Expert #3 in NY, so I’m waiting to hear what he thinks about all that.  I don’t want to attempt this again in my own body unless I’m trying SOMETHING/ANYTHING different and there’s some reason to do so.  I’ve already been on the progesterone, aspirin, dexamethasone, intralipids, etc. route and that obviously hasn’t helped. I’m not going to do the exact same thing again and expect a different result.  I’m insane enough without doing that to myself again.

My RE, Dr. D., is SO incredibly conservative, I really can’t get him to order some of the more extreme things that people are trying these days to treat Recurrent Pregnancy Loss.  On the one hand, I can see his point- there aren’t good, published studies that prove them safe and beneficial.  But on the other hand, I don’t understand how doctors can look at RPL patients and just say ‘sorry, we don’t understand why your babies all died and we won’t try anything outside-the-box to help’.

At least Dr. B. is willing to look into some of the possible immunological causes, even if I don’t know if I want to try those therapies.  I have a feeling he’s going to come back and suggest Neupogen (filgrastim) and IVIG infusions.  I am not thrilled about doing the IVIG, but I’m not opposed to it.  I think it’s expensive and inconvenient, but I’m open to trying it.  I don’t know if I want to take Neupogen while I’m in the early days of pregnancy.  It scares me to take something that has not been studied at all really in pregnant patients.  It’s funny to talk about drugs that are ‘safe’ for pregnancy because I know none of them really are proven safe.  During my pregnancies, I’ve always tried to be very cautious and not take any medicine period, it just wasn’t worth it to me.  But to take a medicine to increase my WBC (neutrophil) counts with no knowledge of what they may do down the line to a growing fetus is just downright scary.  If my child someday develops leukemia or some illness like that, I know I would blame myself taking Neupogen during pregnancy.  But I blame myself now for losing my precious girl at 16 weeks, so is that any different?

OPTION #2: SURROGACY

We have put a deposit in with a surrogacy agency, Agency S.  My embryos seem to be good (we got 5 normal blasts out of 6 the last IVF cycle and 2 normals out of 6 the first cycle), so that doesn’t seem to be our biggest problem.  At least 3 of my 6 miscarriages have been chromosomally normal, so something is wrong with my body and pregnancy.  Of course, I want to carry my baby myself, but if my baby will do better in a Gestational Surrogate’s body, we are not opposed to that.  I do think there is such a stigma surrounding surrogacy, and that makes me nervous.  I really don’t need people making negative comments about it (or I’ll lose it and end up in jail and that wouldn’t be good!)  or lumping us in the camp of people who use carriers because they just don’t want to get fat from pregnancy.  On the other hand, I don’t give a flying leap what anyone else thinks about how we grow our family.

And our agency which seemed great on the front end has been nothing but disappointing this last month.  They talk so big about communication and they have not bothered communicating with us at all.  Their owner has spent more time on vacation than in the office and she doesn’t respond to emails when she is in the office.  When you are investing SO MUCH MONEY with them it is frustrating beyond all reason, but they really have the power until you are matched with a surrogate, so you have to sit back and twiddle your thumbs hoping you don’t piss them off.  In our initial contact with them, they acted like they had surrogates waiting to be matched, now I wonder if that’s true at all.  Other agencies were honest and said they had a 4-6 month waiting period, we were hoping things would move quicker with the agency we selected because that’s what they indicated.  I did check references and the Intended Parents we talked with were happy about them.

So we are in limbo with surrogacy.  We passed the initial hoops you have to jump through.  Hopefully something moves along on that front because already the waiting is driving me crazy.  It’s hard to give up so much control.  It sucks to have to give up so much control when it’s so easy for so many people to just get their baby.