Short and sweet

Congrats on being a year old to a couple of great big boys!  It sounds like they’ve sailed happily through their first year.  It’s hard to believe all that time has passed.

I didn’t, but then I did.

Yes, I will admit it, I talk to myself.  Generally not out loud but some sentiments really just flow better when spoken.  But only when you are all alone – I try not to be the crazy lady at the grocery store talking to the frozen fish.  The organic fresh mercury free fish obviously have more interesting things to say.

It seems my own self talk can be quite strong.  This past weekend, I set out in my neighborhood to do my 5 mile run without the treadmill.  I had mapped out a run that was 5 miles and was all set.  I got part way through it and lost my roads and didn’t know how far I had gone or how fast I was going and I felt beat.  I was running in my mind over how I’ll never finish it – I felt so weak – I was so far off course and couldn’t possibly keep running for the whole thing.  I started walking.  OH the shame.  Not QUITE as bad as the shame of being out in public wearing running clothing that didn’t match, but I felt so pathetic.  I thought maybe I was just running too fast and if I slowed down I could run the whole way.  I ran some more and stopped and walked some more.  I started saying I had to run at least the whole next block, I had to run at least to that mailbox, I had to run at least beyond where that barking dog might actually catch me.  (That last one was really much easier to keep doing.  Maybe a nice hint to someone trying to up your pace.)  I made it home and felt completely beat.

I went back to the running map and checked out what I had done.  I stopped running at ONE mile.  I walked/ran the remainder  of a total of 2.75 miles – out of the 5 I had intended to do I didn’t even make 3.  I was so discouraged.  The next day for my elliptical workout, I was tired before I even got on.  Today for my run – back on the treadmill – I couldn’t believe I was going to even attempt it again.

But.  I did.  And.  I ROCKED IT!  I got up to 6.0 MPH (my coveted 10 minute mile) and I was comfortable.  I could keep going.  I got to 10 minutes and I upped it to 6.1 MPH.  I stuck that out until about 18 minutes and did 6.8 until 20 minutes!!  6.0 again to ‘cool down’ (!!) until 25 minutes when I put it back to 6.1 and finished off at 7.0.  I officially did my very first (since the twins) 30 minutes 3 mile run!  Let me just say that again.  I ran 3 miles with an average of 10 minutes per mile.  The difference?  The whole time I was saying to myself  “Just this many more minutes at this pace.”  “You have to run this many minutes at this pace to bring the average speed up.”  “You’ve done this much so far and THIS is what I expect.”  So I did it.

So now my challenge is to be able to do the harder run without the treadmill telling me every little detail.  I KNOW I can run more than a mile without walking.  I KNOW I can finish off the whole course.  I just have to DO it. 

Of course, perhaps if I’d put a little more energy into picking something to wear out in public I might be able to spend less energy on the “They think you’re a sweaty homeless person.” self talk.

Tubes, sockets, and the best of intensions

Good morning!  So, I have been working out regularly again for a month with nothing serious happening to me.  No pianos falling from the sky, no wisdom teeth forcing removal and dry socket, no embryos attaching themselves to my fallopian tubes and trying to kill me via internal hemorrhage.  It’s all good. 

I’m depressed and motivated at the same time to see the ground that I’ve lost.  I knew I was gaining weight while trying to fix my anemia issues and dealing with surgery and transfer protocols and all that.  I just seem to have forgotten how far down I had actually gotten after the pregnancy and before starting IVF.  Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

So after my last post in September, I saw a hemotologist to go over my anemia that wasn’t getting better post pregnancy.  I had an IV iron treatment that instantly brought me up.  YAY.    I worked out a bit and then my jaw started hurting.  A lot.  I had one last wisdom tooth that was impacted.  A lot.  I had to have it removed and that was a pretty serious jaw surgery issue there which resulted in dry socket and pain.  That was eventually taken care of and then we started meds for IVF transfer #2.  We did this in December and received news at 10 days past a 3 day transfer that our beta was negative.  Sad sad and all that.  January came and I was back into my routine as I waited on my IPs finding a new egg donor.  I had an US at about cycle day 14 to see if there was fluid in my lining (persistent problem before and I wanted to see if meds were causing it since I wasn’t on meds that time.)  Well, I was spotting the day of the US so yes there was fluid but I had never been spotting before so my OB said it was not conclusive because actively bleeding means of course there is fluid.  I was working out again and discovered that I’d gotten up to 184 by that time.  Since I had been convinced that I was at least 190 before stepping on the scale, that was a happy shock.  Well, about 5 days after that US, I woke up in the middle of the night with horrible abdominal pain.  I ended up being ambulanced into the nearest hospital where we discovered I had a beta blood test for HCG of over 13,000!  I was pregnant even after that Dec. beta had been negative.  They did another US (5 days after the lining check one where no one saw anything) and saw a little fetus with a beating heart growing away in my right tube.  The IVF HAD worked, only in the wrong place.  My tube ruptured and was removed and I had them also remove the other one so that I would not be at risk for any more ectopics.  (And just in case, ya know, my husband’s TWO vasectomies ever decided to not work.) 

Newly tube free and post surgery, I waited a week and went back to the gym.  To find out I was now 186.  I’ve managed to stay on that routine since that time and am now down to 178 as of yesterday!  YAY!  I also had an US mid-cycle with my first post tube-removal surgery cycle and my lining looked totally normal and fluid free.  I also had my final HCG beta at that time and it was a 2 so… basically back down to 0 finally.  Somehow, hitting 0 HCG triggered my system to reboot my cycles and I had a non-ovulatory period.  I’m now in the middle of what is my first normal cycle since July of last year and we’ll see how it goes.  I’d like to do another mid-cycle lining check US in March to verify a normal lining again but beyond that, I’m thinking I’m FINALLY back to normal!  And about 20 pounds more than I want to be but I’m getting there.

I’ve been ellipting and running which is going MUCH better than it did back when I had the anemia to deal with.  I’ve gotten up to a 5.8 MPH running speed for the 3 mile and a 5.4 MPH running speed for the 5 mile run.  It isn’t easy, but I’m pushing to get back my 6.0 MPH (10 minute mile) speeds.  My knees have been sort of whining but nothing serious.  My foot got a blister from my first 5 mile run and my friends guilted me into a decent running shoe (I got New Balance) which I promptly ran 5 miles on and got another blister.  The upper insides of my arms have been rubbing raw on something… sports bra?.. tank top?.. while I run/ellip as well which I find strange since neither of these were issues pre-twins.  I’m doing the ‘ignore it and it will go away’ method of dealing with both issues at this time as it has worked so well for me in the past with running pains.

Surrogacy-wise, we’re on a path towards transfer #3 which I am TOTALLY PSYCHED is going to work!!  I think that this time off for my system from the meds is doing it wonders.  I also think that the tubal removed my tubes from the possible culprits list for the dreaded fluid-in-lining issues in the past transfers.  We may never know what was causing it but it is possible that the Csection with the twins somehow got a little blood from that surgery inside my tubes which altered their surface and caused them to start creating fluid in the estrogen part of my cycle, especially when faced with ultra estrogen from the cycling meds.  That would be consistent with the ectopic because the blood in my tubes could’ve possibly caused the surface of my tubes to allow an ectopic more easily.  Of course, ectopics are really pretty common in IVF and there is a delicate balance of timing of the cycle, the direction that your tubes are trying to encourage things, your tubes want sperm to go in before/at ovulation time, egg to go out about 3-5 days after ovulation time… doing an embryo transfer before your body changes tube flow direction encourages tubal pregnancies.  I never had a med-free cycle that didn’t have bleeding caused by the tubal pregnancy creating fluid in my lining to check on US.  There’s just no way to know.  Regardless, it is water under the bridge because this next transfer is going to work!!!  New egg donor, great eggs, new cycle perfect.  It’s looking like we MIGHT end up with the transfer in May based on egg donor stuff so I’ve got a bit of time to keep getting that weight down. 

It’d be nice to be able to wear my OLD old pre-pregnancy clothes before going to get knocked up again.  I think I’d have to get down to the 160s,  maybe 165, before the bulk of that fits correctly again.  I am today wearing my 2nd largest pair of jeans that fit me pre-twins.  Granted, muffin top…  but that is way better than having my formerly known as fat pants being slightly uncomfortable tight.  (That would be my 1st largest pair of pre-pregnancy jeans which now fit me perfectly.)

OH!  I almost forgot!  As of a few hours from now I will officially be a founding member of Lifetime Fitness!  HA!!  I know, and yes, they still suck!  The thing is, they’ve bought out all the other big full service gyms in the area and they are the best available for what I need/want.  I’ve discovered that purchasing a founder membership is really not all that hard and it will lock me in with AWESOME dues for not just me, but also my family.  With Gavin nearing the 12 year age, I’d have to go up to a very costly $100+ per month membership to allow him into the gym with my regular membership.  Now it will only be $45 per month for the whole family for life.  (My dues are currently about $59 per month for just me.)  I’m totally excited about getting this purchase – hope for me that it all goes smoothly today at noon!

SO – the question is – how much can I lose in March?  I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll be stuck back on BCPs in April so I won’t count on losing much at that time. 

Everyone updated now?


Well hello there.

For those that still actually read this.  Or haven’t deleted it off your RSS feeds due to inactivity.  I know I’m supposed to be posting more.  I thought I’d confess the real reason there aren’t many blog posts.  No, it isn’t Facebook.  Fun, yes, but only so much so.  FB can’t take my attention away from blogging and I admittedly spend more of my time on FB checking to see if that damn panda couple has decided to give a little panda baby or two to the ‘my zoo’ cause yet than actually updating my status.  Well… except with my kindle.  For some reason my life seems way more exciting when updated on FB through my new kindle.

Anyway, no, it isn’t really FB that keeps me away from here.  It is also not, I’ve discovered, this other message board for surrogates that I have found a lot of support and information through.  No, the real reason is because I post on here to share what I’m thinking in my head and I haven’t really been wanting to share that lately.  I haven’t been liking that much lately.  Between the cycling demands and the anemia and the ‘who the hell knows where motivation comes from anyway’ of my life I’ve not been living up to my standards.  I’ve been gaining weight and not working out and blech.  I feel disgusting and the pictures I’ve seen lately don’t help.   So the question is, what can I change?

Cycling = hormones = little if any weight change in the right direction.  My first time weighing myself in a LONG time was this morning and I was back up to 181.  Gross.  While much of the cycle curse is hormone related, it is also emotional.  We did a transfer back on August 28th and have been waiting and hoping for good news and what we got was ‘iffy’ news which eventually moved on to ‘bad’ news.  A beta of 6, followed by a beta of 19, followed by a beta of 14.  That 14 finalized the string of really sad beta numbers for us and to this very day I’m waiting to miscarry for what will be my very first miscarriage ever.  I have no idea what to expect.  All shots were stopped on Thursday and now Monday nothing yet has happened.

Obviously, I can’t do anything about not working out after the transfer.  It is too important to get that + result to risk fate by pushing myself in other directions.  I’m also nervous about my anemia (last tested on Thursday to be at 10.5) affecting the results so I have been allowing the red meat meals way more often than I normally would’ve.  On a side note, my hemoglobin number has gone up in the exact same steady rate from the point of the twins’ birth to today no matter what I do in supplements, eating habits, or working out so I’ve decided that I cannot give my body MORE iron and expect it to raise my hemoglobin faster.  Thus, I’ve decided to hell with all the red meat meals that are killing my health in every other aspect.

What I can do is to accept that if I don’t put in the effort to workout while cycling I’ll not only stay the same weight, but I’ll go UP.  And I’ll feel bad while doing that.  To that extent, I can make CERTAIN that I get to sleep on time (my biggest trouble) so that I can get a workout in the next day without feeling like I’m propping my eyes open most of the day.

I can also accept that while I feel like crap on a number of levels in this failed transfer with my IPs, I don’t have to wallow.  If I were ever in a pageant and there was a talent section, I think I’d have to showcase guilt.  I mean, damn, I’m GOOD at that.  You’d almost think I was catholic or something.  Not sure really, how one would go about that.  Maybe I’d stand and recite haikus on all the things I should’ve done better in my life.  I mean, you can know in your head that a single failed transfer is no big deal.  I know we will get there.  I know statistically it is, in fact, likely that out of two transfers, one will fail so we just move on the next one.  Still, every little bump feels a little like a cosmic message of “And you thought you were such hot shit.  This’ll teach you.”  But really it doesn’t.  I still end up thinking that I can rock through every little fertility obstical course and break records and do impossible things.  That’s what I’m signing up for:  to give these IPs the PERFECT pregnancy.  That, people, doesn’t include a failed transfer.  You can’t sign up to be the fertility lifeguard and help people manage the crazy waters of infertility if you’re not a pro and experts don’t fail.  But I did and yes, I’m wallowing.  So I do really need to kick myself back into gear with my regular life and keep it all on track.  We will still get there, even if I’m not perfect, and in the meantime it’d be best if I kept my own life commitments to myself.

I did get to the gym today.  (Note that I’m also blogging today – no real coincidence, I’m sure.)  I did the elliptical because I fear that I’m way too out of shape to do much good with running.  I got to use my new kindle while working out and it is SOOO much nicer at the gym!  It was an OK workout with a sucky weight check at the end but oh well.  I would like to get back to running but I’m just so BAD at it that it feels like a big old yellow highlighter on the ground that I’ve lost in my fitness from last year. 

So, on other notes, you’ve heard me mention the kindle.  Yes!  My IPs showed up in California for our transfer with this amazing gift in hand!  I’m over the moon about it and I don’t think I’ve left the house without this since getting it.  As awesome as this item is and as much as I’d like to spend a good 3 pages highlighting exactly why I love it so much, I will rather say simply that it is amazing that R and M could know me so well, in such a short period of time, to get something this special for me (not to mention GENEROUS!).  It is very touching how open these two are as people.  It is like they just fold you into their world and accept you as a member of their family – even if you are a bit pudgy around the edges.  And not perfect.

So you asked…

Alright.  Here is what I have to share about my newest surrogacy:

Shortly after posting that I had to decide what I wanted to do, I figured that if I wanted the perfect IPs to walk up and wave in my face, I should at least do something to help them.  It was pretty clear to me that there wasn’t any family or friends making the call.  I placed a VERY small ad at SMO stating simply that I was a GSX1 (gestational carrier times 1) and looking to do another gestational surrogacy.  I had been contacted by a few people that were all very very nice and it is, I tell you, heart wrenching to know that there are a lot of people out there that you could help but you have to pick ONE.  Eventually though, I did make that choice and I will forever feel bad about the ones that I didn’t pick.  Sorry, I just will.  I hope that they find their carriers and beautiful outcomes all the same.

So, M and R answered my ad.  A truely sweet couple, I was drawn by the amount of time and heartache they have gone through to have this family.  I was drawn by M’s endearing, optimistic way in which she recounted her path.  I was also drawn by how open and accepting she was towards surrogacy and ART in general.  She said to me once, “It would be like being pregnant with my sister.” and my heart melted towards her.  THAT is what I was looking for.

The problem is that they do not live in MN.  I was also looking for someone that lived near us to give me that inclusion that I craved.  I had to work that out with myself because in the end I decided that really, feeling included is a personality thing and not a location thing.  I will very much miss the weekly get togethers and the frequent visits in person, especially at each appointment as I love watching the new family grow.  In exchange for that though, I have someone who is almost as obsessive about calling and talking to me as I am about them.  This is a huge plus because then I don’t have to feel like a giant pain as I intrude on their lives.

So no, no agency.  Speaking of that, I do need to get a cheap MN lawyer who will agree to review the contract in my name so you surros out there, feel free to send me some names.  I feel empowered though, to be doing this myself.  No dumb little surrogate girl that is being told what to do and how to do it by a pandering agency.   No one telling me that they aren’t going to require the IPs to have a psych screening because it isn’t right to require someone to take a test to be a parent.  The IPs and I are on equal footing and are equal partners in this story and that is just what I want it to be. 

Today?  I got to do a sonohystogram for the first time.  It was pretty much cake although now I’m nervous about uterine infection after reading about the sonohystogram on some blogs.  My uterus was stamped all clear so that’s one more step completed.  Also, just for the record, I’m NOT a fan of the plastic speculum.  I don’t care if it isn’t as cold.  Not that I’m a big fan of the metal ones either, but at least the metal ones were smoother, if you catch my meaning.

Also today?  I ran another 3 miles.  This time I completed it in 38 minutes.  Still slow, but getting better.  I figure I’ll just do the best I can until the transfer time.  So, if I don’t get back to my 165 pre-pregnancy weight, I get to just not gain those pounds during the pregnancy, right?

Stacy and Clinton, WTF?

Seriously, I cannot understand how I have not been accosted by this fashion duo yet.  Every morning I go to get dressed and have to deal with the effects that this:
My Weight Chart:
Weight Chart

has done to my closet.  Your body doesn’t do this while your closet stays normal.  I have literally clothing in every size from 10 to 22.  Some maternity, some not.  Some hanging up, some shoved on the shelf above the rack, some shoved in drawers and some just on the floor.  Of all of these clothing items, only a fraction actually fit me at any given time and because it is all so flux – it is usually NOT the items hanging up that fit.  Add to that the fact that MN can go from 30 below to 100 above in a matter of weeks and you see my dilemma.  Add to that the fact that I have ZERO fashion sense and manage to wear the most inappropriate thing possible and you see even more how perplexed I am to have not been asked by some twitchy looking market research person about my personal sense of style.

As for Stacy and Clinton – seriously – I’m a woman working full time in a male dominated computer field with three kids and a military husband who has carried twins for two married gay men and is starting surrogacy #2.  I have lost a daughter at 39 weeks.  I share embarrasing and questionable facts about my life with no regard to privacy and I’m a solstice celebrating pagan.  I’ve also lost 70 pounds in a quest to better myself.  How I have reached 34 years of age and NOT been on TV is a mystery to me.   Forget Stacy and Clinton, Oprah, are you not paying attention???

So anyway, the benevolent scale has today given me 172 which shocked the hell out of me but I’ll take it.  I’ll take anything I can get while on birth control pills before this transfer.  I just did a 30 minute run on the bike today as I was up way too late on the phone with my IM last night.  I love that we all can talk so great and oddly I don’t really feel that tired but I opted to not try something that involved standing up this morning.  I always think the bike is the wussy workout but I was sweating quite a lot by the time I was done.

I suppose…

That it won’t kill me to post another blog.  The trouble is, once it has been a certain amount of time, you feel like you need a title and post subject to sum up EVERYTHING that has happened since the last post and it is very overwhelming.  Well, it would be, if you were more exciting than me anyway.  For me it is just embarrassing as you would THINK there was more to post about.

I do have some exciting things, I guess, so I’ll try to hit what I can recall.

Workouts:  I kinda suck in this regard but oh well.  I have been able to run!  YAY!  My heel has healed and I was finally able to get a 30 minute run in even though it was oh so slow.  I’m pushing to get 5.0 MPH which is a 12 minute mile which is, sadly, sad.  Generally I spend some time walking during that and/or setting the treadmill to 4.8 or 4.9 but all the same, running I have been doing.  Today, in fact, I made the full 3 miles for the first time although it took me about 38 minutes.  Also?  I almost died.  I walked it off for a bit and did my stretching to cool down before attempting to walk down the stairs to the locker room as passing out and nose diving down the stairs is probably not something that would have people in the gym looking at me thinking “How cool is she?”  I thought I was fine once I got down to the locker room but when I was in the shower I started feeling rather ill.  Now, I’m no germ freak or anything like that but all the same, to be feeling bad enough to actually sit down in a public shower is a big deal, I think.  Ick, but at least I did not pass out.  As for the weigh-in, I was dreading this because I hadn’t weighed in for over a week because I had stopped hitting the gym when I went on my trip to MD (to be disclosed later) and between the trip and the drinks and the not-perfect food consumed I was certain my weight would be high.  Anyway, before I left my weight has been super stubborn in moving at all even though I’m quite certain the calories in vs calories out prior to that was sufficient to have lost at least an impressive 4 pounds since my last posting.  Instead, I had been going up and down such that I was about 176 before I left.  Today I gingerly glanced at the scale results with a pre-emptive cringe on my face and was shocked to see 174.  Huh.  Go figure.

Other fronts?  Well, I’m thinking there is no way to get back to my 165 or under before I do another surrogacy round because I have to say, I’ve been matched!  I’m working with a couple from NY, M and R, who are extremely excited to get going NOW.  My OB has OK’d another pregnancy as long as the transfer is after August 3rd and thus a year after my last one.  I’m a little nervous about how soon it is but my new IPs have been working on this for so long and I will do what I can to help.  I’m a bit nervous about the distance but hopefully it will all work out as they are very active in the communication department and I certainly don’t feel isolated.  I already like my new RE WAY WAY WAY better than the old one so that is fun.  I got a call last night for a number to call in my BCP meds to and I got to go pick those up and start them last night.  (Yes, the BCPs are why I don’t foresee any more weight loss in my near future.)  Talk about easy!!  Way better than charging my IPs to overnight the darn things from some Canadian pharmacy!  Plus, the person that was actually calling me with about the meds was the RE herself and not some goofball pharmacy person that could barely spell her own name.  She also asked me to make a phone appointment to just talk to her and get to know her.  Like I said – SO MUCH BETTER! 

In an interesting twist, we are using the same lawyer as we had been through the old agency although as we are NOT going through the agency, he has way less control or even access to things with this surrogacy.  I’m fine with this mostly because I know there are limited numbers of lawyers for this in MN but also because I am bravely ready to ‘chain a dragon to cook my meal’ as the Darkover saying goes.  (Or something like that.  It’s fiction anyway people so it isn’t real and I promise that if Marion Zimmer Bradley were alive she herself would not bat an eye at getting it perfect.)

SO – last but not least – my trip!  I had said that I needed a vacation and I got one!!  There is this message board online for surrogates and they were having a get together.  I’m pretty sure that it was intended for those that had been on the board for longer and really knew everyone but what the hell, right?  I crashed it.  They were amazing and wonderful and very nice people and accepted me into their gathering just like an old dear friend and I had a great time.  I flew out to MD and had a very relaxing time out there.  I even got to see a copperhead snake although I don’t think the snake had a very good time as it ended up dead.  We went out to the Tiki Bar and I got completely toasted on one drink and then I was laughed at for my pathetic tolerance levels.  Oh well.  At least I did nothing to embarrass myself. THAT is saying a lot too as I usually manage to do that sober.

So that is my update.