Thursday, September 1, 2011

A...B…C...are healthy...

We received wonderful news when we went to see Dr. Ismail, an expert in high-risk obstetrics on Tuesday, August 23.  We had the choice to go to his Chicago or Indiana office.  After talking about it with J we decided to go to the Indiana office since it was easier to get to instead of dealing with the traffic and parking downtown Chicago.  We were happy with our decision.  My taxi driver and husband, Brian, took off work and we headed out at 7:45 a.m.  to make sure we got to our appointment on time.  We made it with plenty of time to spare.  That's a first!  :)   J brought her best friend, Sarah, with to the appointment.   The ultrasound was first and then we met with Dr. Ismail.

The ultrasound was amazing.  A little emotional, but amazing.  Jon Pierre was our ultrasound tech.  What a nice guy.  He was wonderful.  Jon Pierre (sorry I don't have that option with the accent over the "e") wasn't your run-of-the-mill ultrasound tech.  He had that French Italian black slicked back hair in a pony tail look and accent with a warm personality.  We all agreed we would request our next appointment when he is working.

On to our ultrasound…it was amazing to see A, B and C wiggle around and move.  Once I saw their movement, I lost it.  I couldn't control my emotions.  We have been waiting so many years for this day and it finally happened.  I have been on a roller coaster journey between failed attempts at getting pregnant on our own, IVF, surgeries, and bumps in the road at the beginning of our journey.  My emotions were a mixture of joy and happiness and a little bit of sadness.  Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to death that we have a positive pregnancy on our first attempt with our surrogate and we are not only having one baby, but THREE!  Mixed with my joy and happiness that my vision of a big family is coming true, there was a little bit of sadness that I was not the one carrying the triplets or feeling their movement.  That feeling of sadness lasted a moment or two and was overpowered by the joy and happiness these three little babies have brought  and will bring to our lives.  Sarah, J's best friend, and Brian, had a tear or two in their eyes as well.  John Pierre was great.  When I lost it, he came in for a group hug with Brian and I.  What a guy!

I think there our a few loved ones upstairs looking over us…my mom ("yia yia"), my dad ("papoli"), Brian's grandma ("Grandy") and my uncle ("Toto").  Our next appointment is at 14 to 16 weeks.  It doesn't look like B and C are mono/mono, but Dr. Ismail wants to make sure before J gets too big and risk any problems.  Until then…thoughts and prayers please!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What a Surprise!

We ended up going to Kankakee and having both ultrasounds done at once on July 30th.   J and I thought it was crazy to do an ultrasound to find out how many sacs there were and then the following week go back and do another ultrasound for the heartbeat.  We didn't need to incur any extra expense with taking off work and having two ultrasounds.  So, Brian and I were patient for another week.

We received a call from J and M, who invited us down for a cookout prior to going to the hospital for the our ultrasound.  We enjoyed a nice lunch and met J & M's three children.  Two of the three enjoyed climbing on Travis and wanting piggy back rides.  Travis might not admit it, but I think he enjoyed the attention. :) Their oldest son, who is 2 years younger than Travis, had the same love as Travis of building legos and playing WII.  So that was nice that they had somethings in common.  J likes to decorate like I do, so that was also nice to have that in common.  I knew their was that inner feeling when we first met back in October that all of us just clicked and knew J and M were the ones whom we wanted to share our journey.

After lunch J, Brian, Travis and I headed to the hospital and left M to be Mr. Mom and take their kids to a festival fundraiser.  Before we walked in the hospital I asked everyone if anyone wanted to place a wager (not literally) how many we had snugged away in J's belly.  Brian, of course, quickly said "one".  J and I said "two" and Travis said "five"!  We all laughed at Travis' response.

After blood work was completed, we walked down to the radiology department and anxiously awaited our name to be called.  The time finally arrived and to our surprise they would only allow one of us back at a time.  So, of course, mama went back first.  We saw one sac and then another.  J and I were not surprised to see twins.  The ultrasound tech, Bonnie, and J were explaining to me what the "yolk" was and where it was located.  I was like "what yolk?"  Had no clue.  After measurements, we went back to do the heartbeats.  As Bonnie was doing the heartbeats (no audio, just visual), she had placed the ultrasound in between the two sacs.  As she did that I had asked what a spot was on the screen that was below the confirmed embryo.  She was short with her answer and told me "Don't worry about that side, we are done with that side.  We are working on the other side".  So I just left it be.

Once we were done Bonnie and I went out to the lobby area and got Brian so he could go back for his surprise.  Even after he pressed me for an answer of how many, I was proud of myself for keeping a straight face and told him "I'm not telling you.  You will have to go back there and find out."  Left out in the lobby waiting, Travis started begging me to tell him.  So, I couldn't keep in the excitement anymore and told Travis.  I think the surrounding area must of heard me.  :)

Travis and I waited and waited and J finally came out with Brian and Bonnie trailing behind.  My first response to J was "About time, what did Brian pass out on you?"  Brian heard me and said "No, but you may pass out".  My response back was "Brian, I already know we are having twins."  Noticing he had copies of the ultrasound in his hand, I asked him to see them.  He said "Yeah, take a look at these."  I looked at the first one and then the second picture and my mouth dropped to the floor….A, B, C and the number 3 at the bottom!  I couldn't shut my mouth and slowly looked up from the picture and said "What do you mean we are having 3?"  They all started laughing at me.  I looked at Bonnie and said "See, See I asked you about that second spot."  She had found a third heartbeat when Brian went back there.  I don't know if she did that on purpose or not so we could both have a surprise since the hospital policy wouldn't let us back there at the same time.  What a shock to the system.  Especially when the Embryologist at transfer said the chance for one of the embryos to split was slim.  I had asked her at the time "How do you know ahead of time if they would split?" She stated that you could tell by the shell of the embryo.  Boy, was she ever wrong.

Here I was trying to let Brian be surprised and they pulled a surprise on me!  All of us couldn't stop laughing with joy.  Our surrogate was a trooper with hearing the news of 3.  She had asked me "How do you feel with having triplets?"  My response back was "Me?  How do you feel about carrying triplets?"  Still with all of us still laughing, she said "What are you going to do?  You work with what you were given."  I completely agree.  God had a hand in it ( and maybe my mother and father up in heaven too) and he keeps on putting me through the test.  As they say,  he gives you only what he knows you can handle.  I hope he is right!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hcg Levels Still On The Rise...

On July 18th, 5dt14dpt,  J went for her second Hcg test.  Hcg still on the rise!  Yes!  It brought tears to my eyes!  It was one step closer to having our dreams come together.  Lisa said they would like her Hcg level to be at least 1,788.  J's Hcg came back at 2,092!  Wow!  I couldn't get over it.  When Brian came home from work we did our "happy dance" dancing around the kitchen, while Travis looked at us as if we were crazy!  lol :)

We don't know as of yet if their our multiples or not, but I was told it was a strong positive pregnancy.  We were to have another ultrasound on July 21 to find out how many sacs there are, but J and I agreed to wait and do the ultrasound for the number of sacs and heartbeat at the same time.  We go on July 30th for our first ultrasound!  Cross your fingers!  Until then, keep us in your thoughts and prayers!

Exciting News!!

On July 14th, 5dt10dpt, our J had her Hcg level drawn.  I received a call in the afternoon from Lisa at FCI that the pregnancy test came back POSITIVE!  How exciting!  FCI were expecting Hcg levels of 50 or above.  J came back with 447!  I was lost for words.  We have been through so much.  Of course I was excited, but then after it sank in,  reality kicked in and I had to take a step back and caution took over.  I didn't want to be too excited and then my bubble get popped.  I, myself, have medically, traveled a long road and have been through so much to get to this point.  It was like when I first found out I was pregnant with Travis.  I took the first pregnancy test and it said negative.  Four days later I took another and it said "positive".  I still wouldn't believe it so I made a doctor's appoint to get my blood drawn and the results didn't change.  It was definitely a "positive".  When I got sick with leukemia when I was 18 years old, one set of doctors said I probably won't be able to have children and then two months later another set of doctors told me I had a 50/50 chance.  Travis was definitely my miracle baby!  …and now another miracle!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

It finally happened...

Our donor passed the medical screening and was good to go.  That was great news after have gone through two prior donors.  After coordinating the egg donor and our surrogate, we were finally able to begin our IVF cycle in June.  Our donor started her medicines on June 6 and responded very nicely to the stimulation.  We ended up with 21 measurable follicles!  Out of the 21 follicles 17 were injected with Brian's sperm and 14 continued to grow to embryos.  What a GREAT number to work with!  Much, much better than when I went through IVF myself and only had one to work with.

Well, 4th of July was the date for transfer.  Five o'clock in the morning rolled around really quick to get ready and be downtown Chicago at 7:30 a.m.  Good thing we didn't have to fight traffic.  It was smooth sailing all the way downtown.  J & M were already there smiling and cheery as usual.  We couldn't have asked for a better couple to work with.  Our surrogate is always smiling every time you see her and M is so supportive.   Every time we talk on the phone or see each other we always share a good laugh and are so comfortable around each other.

We met with the Endocrinologist  and confirmed that we were transferring two embryos.  The two embryos were graded as a 2AB (the "Beauty Queen") and 2BB.  The men were sent out of the room and I was able to stay and observe the transfer.  The Ultrasound Tech was amazed how wonderful  J's uterus lining looked.  Two thumbs up!  :)   I told J "I don't whose more nervous me or you."  She responded that I was probably more nervous.  I have to agree.  J was so laid back like it was just another task in her day.  She is such an amazing person to give this gift of bringing a life of a child into this world for another person.  Such an unselfish act.  The procedure was over within 15 - 20 minutes.

We were planning on going to breakfast after transfer, but J was told to go home and rest and have M pamper her for the next day or two.  Oh, well, next time.

July 14 is the big day to check levels!  Let's hope it will be a 4th of July to remember!  Cross those fingers and toes for us!  Sticky thoughts until then...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Three is a charm...

Well, we are on our third egg donor.  I hope number three is the lucky one and we have no further setbacks.  Honestly, I don't know if I can handle anymore. ;)  As much as I wanted our donor to have some Greek heritage, we decided to get the next best and go Italian.  It took a lot of thinking and talking to get over that hump.  I just wanted all parts of the puzzle to fit.  After thinking about it, our children learn from their upbringing, so he or she will be a part of you.  As not to go through the expense again of having an out of town donor, we decided to go with a local donor, who has previously donated.  We are thankful that we found our third donor quickly and that she was available.  She just finished her 5th cycle and we are waiting on her results.  We will be her final cycle, as a donor can only donate 6 times in her lifetime.  We learned that 3 of her 4 cycles were with positive pregnancy results.  The fourth was no fault of her own.  One cycle resulted in twins.  She is a beautiful young ambitious lady from Illinois and has one child of her own.  Going back to the Greek heritage, the donor's first cycle was with a Single Greek doctor and her last will be with a Greek to complete her full circle of giving.  If everything goes as planned, meds will start in May with a June transfer.

Cross your fingers...

Back to the drawing board

As we thought everything was coming together to start injections/medicines for a February retrieval, they easily fell apart.  We were very excited that we were flying in our donor for her medical screening and everything was starting to come together.  Our surrogate passed all of her medical screening and psych evaluation.  Good news as we are really looking forward to working with J.  We rushed to have our donor fly in to meet the date our surrogate wanted to be pregnant by, to only learn that our donor did not pass her medical screening.  We were not only disappointed, but sadden that our donor was diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia C. Fanconi Anemia type C is an inherited disorder in which the body cannot properly produce a protein that protects DNA from damage.  The defective proteins results in an impaired ability of bone marrow to produce all types of blood cells, which can lead to abnormal bones and organs, as well as developmental delay.  A shortage of white blood cells makes the body more susceptible to infection and cancer.  1 in 100,000 people are effected by Fanconi Anemia type C.  

So, we are back to the drawing board...