A surrogacy journey, jointly documented by Surrogate and Intended Mother.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

6 week viability scan

We had a fantastic weekend as our lovely teamies came down to stay in Surrey again. As always, they just slotted right in, and it was fantastic to spend lots of quality time with them. There are so many excited people our end who are desperate to meet them/see them/thank them/hug them and they've taken it all in their stride, especially the children who have met so many new faces recently and just been brilliant! The four of us clicked the first time we met, but as time goes on, it just feels even more relaxed and normal having them here.

Our viability scan was at Hammersmith on Monday. This scan is standard practice in an IVF pregnancy, unlike "natural" pregnancies where the first routine scan is at 12 weeks (unless there are any concerns). The day before, we were all sitting around chatting about the logistics when I felt tears well up; I don't think I'd realised just how nervous I was but Monday was a big day - it would determine whether this was a viable pregnancy, and if we saw a heartbeat, that would be a massive step in the right direction. We drove up on Monday morning, and superstar Steve dutifully took the kids off to the restaurant whilst Niki, Adam & I sat down in the waiting room. I felt fairly sick with nerves, even though the scan the week before suggested things would hopefully be OK.

Our lovely consultant arrived and took us into the scanning room. Niki disappeared off behind the curtain to change and I felt the tears rise up as the reality of what the next few minutes would hopefully show hit me. Adam and I hugged as Dr C started the scan, telling us not to be concerned if it took her a little while to find the sac. Barely a minute later she turned the screen towards us and said "there's your baby, and there's the heartbeat" and there it was - a tiny white blob with the centre pulsating gently. The tears were in full flow now and I was absolutely speechless. I grasped Niki's hand tightly with one hand and then Adam's, and we all just stared at the screen in awe. It was absolutely magical and I was completely mesmerised.

Niki got changed and then we just hugged tightly; there were tears all round and whispers of "thank you so much" - completely inadequate words for this incredible gift but all I could muster. I was a blubbing mess and the tears just kept coming - it just made it so much more real seeing that tiny life beating away calmly inside our wonderful friend. Technically, now the pregnancy is viable, we will be discharged from Hammersmith IVF unit and care will transfer up to Niki's local hospital. Lots of hugs and thanks to very special members of the Hammersmith team followed; they have been absolutely incredible throughout our time with them, particularly our charge nurse Prem, and our amazing consultant Dr Carby, who have bent over backwards to make this rocky journey as smooth and as easy for us as possible.

So here we are, still very early on in the pregnancy, but having overcome a large hurdle. Monday was one of the most magical days of my life, and hopefully there is even more to come. We feel so very very lucky.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

11 days in

It's been 11 days since we found out we were pregnant. In some ways, it feels more real, but in most ways it still feels like a surreal and magical dream. Every morning I wake up and remember all over again that Niki is carrying our little hitchhiker (LHH) and my heart skips a beat in sheer joy. It's so early on but already it's consuming the majority of my thoughts; I can only assume that that's like most women who have found out they are expecting.

On Saturday we went up to see Niki and Steve. We were so excited about seeing them, and I couldn't stop thinking that we were going to be near to our LHH for the first time since transfer. We arrived, greeted as always by a fantastic excited happy feet dance from Beth and lots of hugs and joyful squeals ensued. Niki looks fantastic, and if she was feeling poorly (as she frequently is at the moment thanks to LHH) she was hiding it very well. We had a lovely catch up over lunch and then a hugely exciting moment - Niki (the generous soul) lent us some wee so we could take a pregnancy test! It may sound daft - we already knew the result, but even so I still felt nervous watching the timer flash and waiting for the screen to change...and still felt utterly elated and emotional to see "Pregnant" flash up, in the test I was holding with my own hands. We headed home grinning from ear to ear and feeling hugely excited, and with it beginning to feel a little more real.
Jack and I enjoying sunshine and ice cream.

The next day was a little different to put it mildly. I had just got home when Niki messaged; she had had a small bleed, and whilst trying to reassure me and telling me to try not to panic I could tell she was also really scared. It was a horrible 24 hours; I was so worried about Niki and about what might be happening to her, worried about LHH and panicking that it was all over before it had even really started. I felt absolutely useless being so far away, and powerless to do anything. Niki booked a scan at her local EPU for the following day and all we could do was wait.

As the afternoon went on, we both felt calmer (the boys remained calm throughout or seemingly so) and nattered on the phone reassuring each other that things were probably fine and that there was absolutely nothing anyone could do so we just had to stay positive. Sure enough, luck was on Cheese Teamcake's side and the scan revealed no sign of any problems, and everything looked just as it should for the 5th week of pregnancy.

It was a horrible 24 hours but trying to find a positive, I think it did a number of things. Firstly it reinforced just how amazing Niki & Steve are and how strong we all are as a team. Secondly, it was a reminder as to just how precious and delicate this is and how early on we are. And thirdly, we got to see LHH on a scan photo for the very first time. A tiny blob admittedly, but the most beautiful blob I have ever seen. I really feel like we've passed some sort of initiation test into the expectant parents club!

We have given LHH a firm talking to and are hoping for no more naughty behaviour. We have our 6 week scan (viability scan) next week which all four of us will attend. I'm naturally nervous about it but so so excited at the prospect of seeing our LHH on the screen, and possibly even a heartbeat. Our gorgeous teamies are coming down to Surrey this weekend and we can't wait to see them. Bring on the good times, the smiles and laughter and then please keep your fingers crossed for our 6 week scan.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Positive...Part 2.

I know you guys will have already read the fabulous news in Em’s post (yaaaaaay!!!) but we both felt it would be good to get this down from my perspective too.

This 2ww (actually 11 day wait) has been the longest 11 days of my life. Knowing somebody else’s, and something else’s fate lies in your hands is just an indescribable feeling, and one that has brought with it a rollercoaster of emotions.
I’d started to ‘feel’ pregnant just a few short days after the transfer and when I started to get a few signs and symptoms I started to think my feelings may have been right. After a couple of days of feeling a bit funny the sickness started to creep in and I let myself tell Em about it all. I played things down a little bit, and in a way, felt awful sharing this with her, as the last thing I wanted to do was get her hopes up. As the sickness crept up a notch and the tiredness and lethargy crept in I let myself tell her a little bit more.
I was so sure, yet in the same breath was so damn nervous about being completely wrong.

I dreamt we’d got a positive midweek, a 2-3 weeks pregnant on a Clearblue Digital, but woke up telling myself off for being so confident and spent the rest of the day convinced it had failed.
By Friday morning I was itching to test, for various reasons we’d all agreed to stick with the test date Hammersmith had given to us but the wait really was driving me crazy.
Em had said to be that she wouldn’t hold it against me if I needed to know but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it without her. Even though we wouldn’t be together in person on the day, it was their moment and their result to share, not mine, and I didn’t want to know a result any longer before them than I had to.
So my decision was made, I was driving myself mad for 2 more days.
I kept feeling more and more pregnant, yet almost feeling more and more negative. My minds way of keeping me grounded I guess.

So, along came Sunday, ‘pee on a stick’ day (or pee in a pot and dip the sticks in my case).
We’d already planned that we’d talk via our ‘Teamie’s chat’ group on our phones and all 4 of us were online bright and early at 7am.
We all said a quick good morning and I headed off to the bathroom to do my stuff.
After an agonising 40 second wait (yes it appeared that quickly) I gingerly pulled back the cover on the Hammersmith test to reveal two lines!!!!

We were Pregnant!!

I think my words were ‘Bloody hell’. I showed Steve and, in a typical Male (sorry), blasé response he simply said ‘yeah…well we already knew you were’.
I still couldn’t quite believe it so spent what felt like an age staring at the flashing egg timer on the Digital, willing it to hurry up. After a minute or so, staring back at me was the word pregnant, closely followed by the numbers 2-3 (just as I'd dreamt).

The first thing I did was burst into tears, quickly followed by snapping a photo to send to a nail biting Em and Adam followed by the words ‘OMG’.
The emotions that followed are really hard to describe.
Those of you reading who have been lucky enough to experience a pregnancy will know that magical feeling you get when you know a new life is growing inside you, the instant that instinct kicks in to want to do everything in your power to protect it. Well I felt that as much when seeing that positive test as I did with my own two children except this time my instinct is to do everything in my power to help it make it’s way safely to it’s Parents. And this time I had the added magic of knowing that the news I was about to break to two very special friends would not only make their morning, but their day, week, year and many, many more years to come.
I felt like the luckiest person in the world being able to be the bearer of that news, and being able to share the utter elation that followed it, and I feel truly honoured to be carrying a very special little baby for two very deserving, now parents to be.

And the result is...


We are pregnant. Let me just write that again, WE ARE PREGNANT!!!! I honestly cannot believe it, I don't think Adam can either. It hasn't sunk in at all; we are just floating on cloud nine, unable to absorb that we are actually pregnant.

We woke up bright and early on test morning. Niki was going to message at 7am to check we were all up and ready. I woke up at 6.30 and swiftly felt sick with nerves. Tried to distract myself (with Rastamouse incidentally - got to love CBeebies at that time of the morning) and try and steady my pounding heart.

At 7am Steve and Niki messaged, and Niki went to test. Those few minutes felt like an eternity; I was desperately trying to talk myself into "being ready" to hear that it was negative, trying to brace myself to cope with it as bravely as possible. I started crying whilst we waited for the result (I've managed to do this every time, it's the anticipation I think) and then the little message came up that there was a photo to download. Fearing the worst, I clicked on it, and there it was: a clear blue pregnancy test quite obviously displaying "Pregnant".

The next bit is a blur - I could hear my own loud heartfelt sobs as we hugged tightly, speechless. After 3 long long years of pursuing surrogacy, we were finally pregnant. The very earliest of stages, yes, but we have never got this far, never seen those blue lines appear, that word confirming a dream is well on the way to becoming a reality.

As soon as I was vaguely coherent we rang Niki and Steve, and I sobbed down the phone to them as well. The words "oh my god" have been uttered so many times I think we may have used up the world's annual allowance.

The rest of the day was just magical - telling our closest family & friends who have been rooting for us so much, picking us up after each failure, and each time we've felt sad and found things hard - being able to share such joyful news and watch their expressions of shock and joy was just indescribably amazing.

We had an inkling this might be the result, as Niki has had some symptoms, but I don't think we wanted to allow ourselves to believe it. Now things are entering my head that I've never thought about before, never let myself stop and consider, that Adam and I have never dared talk about....We are all aware that it's very early days in the pregnancy, but oh my goodness what an incredible hurdle, and we all intend to celebrate the hell out of it.

What can I say at this stage about Niki & Steve? How do we try and put into words how much this means to us, how much they are giving, what joy they are bringing? They are doing the most amazing thing for us and are just being so incredible and supportive throughout, especially Niki as little hitch-hiker is already making its presence known. I'll leave Niki to tell the tale from her side of the fence but before I sign off, will post the best photo I've received in a very long time....