Friday, April 27, 2012

Pre-Screening Complete!

All of a sudden, I think commenting is working for me again! I feel something weird went down this week with Blogger, because I got an email telling me I have an unmigrated legacy Blogger account. I tried to follow the directions but they don't seem to have done anything. I hope I'm not shut out of my blog in May sometime.

Yesterday we were in Boston and saw Gabby and her husband again! We had dinner with them after our full day of testing. You know, surrogacy costs A LOT, but after spending the day there yesterday, I just don't think I could be a surrogate for all they have to go through. When you think about it, $25K is just not that much for not only 9 months of pregnancy and giving birth, but all the stuff you have to do BEFORE you even get pregnant. If they got paid the full amount of what we are paying for surrogacy, then I might think it more worth it, but they only get a small portion of what surrogacy really costs.

Earlier in the week (of even at the end of last week) I'd gotten a call that the genetic testing for my heart that we had done at my last appointment in Boston 2 weeks ago was going to be in in time for our appointment yesterday, so we set up a 12pm appointment to discuss the results before the rest of our appointments with the doctors and social workers starting at 1pm. So we dropped the dog off at doggy day care and headed to Boston, getting there 15 minutes late, actually. And then we realized we may be at the wrong location, because they couldn't find out appointment!

Thank god I still had the number in my phone that they had called me from the previous week so I called the number and got a hold of Erin, the genetics counselor. It turns out she had gotten the wrong week. She thought we were coming NEXT week. Well, I had to tell her that we weren't going to be coming back next week just for the genetics info (honestly there's no reason they can't do that over the phone anyway), and she said that some info had actually come back the day before but they needed a little more time to go over it. She apologized profusely, which was nice, and said that I actually DON'T have a genetic heart defect. No DiGeorge's - no 22Q deletion for me!! Which on the one hand is GREAT of course, because now any child of ours has really no extra chance of coming down with a heart condition, but of course proves I'm a mutant :) So that's no fun.

But in addition to that she also said that even though there's no DiGeorge's, they did find a few other things, but they still had to go over them "to see what they mean." So my thinking is that, PERHAPS there's other genetic issues, but there's also the fact that no one on this planet has a PERFECT genetic sequence - there's deletions and mutations for everything and they just need to make sure all of my changes don't equal any major genetic defect. I think if there was something big, they would have recognized it right away, and they didn't, so they're just going to go over it in detail to make sure they didn't miss anything. Overall, I'm pretty relieved!

We would have been super late to this meeting anyway, so it's probably just as well. At least this meant that we got to our first real appointment of the day early! We checked in and sat down, L went to find a bathroom and all of a sudden I hear a screech and "Ducky!!!" (ok she used my real name :) from my left (I was reading my Kindle). And it was Gabby and her husband. She disappeared from view and then a few seconds later ran over to her husband with a cup of coffee in her hand exclaiming, "I LOVE free stuff!" (They had free K-cups of coffee in the waiting room). It just totally brought a smile to my face. She is always so upbeat and cheery and HYPER and totally doesn't need any coffee!

So we got called into do our social worker appointment, and they got called in to see the nurse, and we did all our stuff separately, but in between would see each other in the waiting room and chatted. I had to get a full physical (ugh) and they did a pap smear because I'm so close to the one year (I got one while I was pregnant last May) (double ugh). I had 8 vials of blood taken, Gabby had a bunch as well (she texted me a picture while she was having it done), even her husband - who is contributing nothing (except moral support) to this future pregnancy had 3 vials drawn - I think just to make sure no one has any communicable diseases, and L had 15!!! More than anyone else! It was very strange.

Finally we had our joint social worker appointment and it was great. The social worker (who had met with me and L separately, and Gabby and her husband separately, first) basically said, "All of you are the most high functioning adults I think we've ever seen here, and we've done a LOT of surrogacy here."

She thought we were all great, all perfect for each other and it was quite the ego boost. Although, I was thinking, holy cow, who do they usually see here??????

Afterwards we were supposed to be done but L and I had never met with the nurse to find out the protocol so we asked if Gabby and her husband would wait since we were supposed to have dinner afterwards. They said definitely, to take our time, and I told them it would be really quick. Yea, an HOUR later we were finally done, and I felt terrible!!

So I really feel the Boston doctor has really tried to craft a protocol that she thinks will work for me. I mean, it remains to be seen if it does, but I can see the level of detail and time she's taken to review my previous cycles and find out what will work, because NONE of my previous IVF cycles have been great, even though one ended up in twins.

IVF #1 - Agonist cycle. Never got above 1300 E2. Only 12 eggs, on 7 fertilized, none made it to freeze. Chemical.

IVF #2 - Agonist cycle. Never got above 1400 E2, then plunged to 349 day before retrieval. Got 18 eggs, but only 4 were mature. They let the others mature overnight and amazingly 12 fertilized. Ended up with twins that cycle and 4 frozen.

IVF #3 - Antagonist cycle. Got to 2100 E2, 17 retrieved, 11 fertilized, but only 3 were around still on Day 5 transfer. Plus even though my E2 was only 2100, I got a very painful case of OHSS. So weird.

So I really wanted to know if they were going to put me on Lupron or not. Because my E2 rises SO SLOWLY on lupron, but clearly in the cycle they didn't my embryos didn't live very long. So they are putting me on lupron, but they are diluting it, so I'm only going to get at first about 40% of the normal dosage of lupron and then they will drop it to 20% at a certain point. That is very cool and shows she really looked at what happened to me previously.

They're also putting me on Gonal F, which I've NEVER used before and comes in a really cool PEN looking device, and menopur, which I used for the first time last cycle. I've only ever used Bravelle and have about 5 boxes of it at home. I really need to do something with it, donate it or try to get some money back for it or something because it's a shame to waste it because IVF meds are SO expensive.

So I'm very excited about this protocol and hope it makes for some great eggs!!

As for timing, I'm really not sure how that's going to work out. They won't have our b/w back until the middle of next week when Gabby will be on vacation. Then we have some FDA requirements that we have to go through because we're putting my cells in someone else's body. And I had two "flags" go up in the questionnaire they gave me. The first is that I lived in the U.K. for more than 3 months between 1980-1996. Yep, my dad got transferred to England in 1980 when I was not even 2 and we lived there till 1984 or so. I was very young but I guess it counts. And apparently it has to do with mad cow disease or something back then. Considering it's been about 30 years I think I would know if I had it by now, no? Sort of funny.

The other red flag is that I've had an animal cell put in my body. As in I have a pig valve (it might be a bovine valve, I don't know, but definitely an animal) put in during my heart surgeries (I had one put in my first one, and they replaced it with another one in my second surgery). So that is also problematic.

At first I thought that meant this was going to ruin our cycle, but it turns out it just adds an extra layer of bureaucracy because we can still do it, but Gabby just has to consent to it. So she has to go in and meet with the doctors and sign some forms saying she's ok with it. Which she's willing to do (I explained to her at dinner about these red flags - she knew about my heart surgeries, but I had honestly never even thought about bringing up my living in England when I was kid before), but it's going to just delay us even more.

So I don't really know if this is all going to fit in before we go on vacation in June. I almost wish I could postpone vacation but we have friends counting on us and really excited about it, so I can't back out now. So it may have to wait till after vacation - ugh!!

Anyway, afterwards they took us to this microbrewery and pub (since L loves those) for dinner and we had wonderful conversation and I just like them so so much. I wish they lived closer to us, they are just such nice people and I don't know how we got so lucky! We even had the nurse tell us that they had no idea how our surrogate decided she wanted to BE a surrogate because she's just so perfect!

After dinner we made our long trek back to NY and when almost home I got a text from Gabby talking about taking her prenatals and how much she loves skittle and it was just really nice and friendly. If she gets pregnant I will mail her CASES of skittles if it makes her happy! :)

So I hope this stuff happens fast, because not having anything to write about for the next 2 months will kill me. We are both SO READY TO GO!


  1. All the cool people are mutants. (From another mutant. :) )

  2. I'm so glad you found Gabby to be your surrogate. You sound more upbeat, and she sounds really nice! I am rooting for you! Continuing to hope for you.

  3. Gabby sounds AMAZING!!! Sounds like you got a super surrogate :) And even though Gabby's husband may not contribute anything genetically or physically - he's there taking care of Gabby :)

    I have a mutant.... my son was born with Mosaic Trisomy 16 ... he has an extra 16th chromosome in some of his cells, but not all of them. I was told he would die before he was born .. when he was born (at 1lb 12oz) the doctor told the nurses he wouldn't survive the first 24 hours. He's 10 years old now.

    I went through many years of infertility, 14 miscarriages ... and I got 4 wonderful boys. <3


    Perusing through your blog via ICLW (#86)

  4. Good luck! It sounds like you guys are a great match.