Tuesday, January 31, 2012

And Then There Were Two

This blog post written by Tiffany Burke, Surrogate Mother

Two days ago, on Sunday, we had the embryo transfer.   It felt as if it took forever to get to the point!  The night before the transfer I barely slept.  I was so excited, nervous, anxious, ready.  I was ready.    I had a lot of questions going through my head.  Would the transfer hurt?  Would the embryos stick?  Would I feel different right away?   I slept about two hours total that night and while I was sleeping, I had been dreaming that I missed the transfer, I was three days late!  I was crying and so was Natalie's brother.  Natalie does not have a brother.  Dreams are strange.  My alarm woke me up and we did not miss the transfer.  My husband, and our film crew and I drove down to Seattle.   We arrived a little early for some filming and then we went to check in.    When you go to the lab, they have to ID you with your drivers license, then you get a wrist band with your identity.  They took me back to the exam room where I had acupuncture done first.  The acupuncture if supposed to be a two step treatment, one right before the transfer and one immediately following.  The pre transfer treatment is to work on opening your cervix for the transfer and help you with your full blather among other things.  Oh the bladder!  I drank 64 ounces of fluids that morning to give myself a full bladder.  I was able to go to the bathroom after the first 30 ounces, then drink another 34 and hold it.   So uncomfortable, I really thought it would be a piece of cake but that was one of the most uncomfortable parts!  After the acupuncture is over, the embryologist comes in and shows us the pictures of James and Natalie's embryos.  They were so cute and we were all so in love!  How funny.    The embryologist recommended at this point, we transfer two.   We had been thinking two for a long time, but this just made the decision for us.  One embryo had developed a little further along than the other and they thought two was a good choice.    Out of the 13 embryos that had fertilized, at this point, on Sunday, four of them had remained.  These were the strongest two embryos.     

The embryologist went back to the lab and the doctor and ultrasonographer came in to conduct the transfer.  They use a good old fashion speculum and insert it into my lovely lady part.  Then they do a quick test catheter through the cervix and into the uterus to make sure there are no unknown beds (I think - he explained it but I was a little pre-occupied!).  After that lovely time, the embryos get a chance to do the same.   A window in the room opens up, like a drive through window, only it's the embryologist. And instead of handing us two double cheeseburgers for a dollar, she is handing over two embryos for thousands of dollars. Yes, I am cracking myself up!   Okay, so they come right from the lab in their petri dish with my brother's last name on it.  Then they show the embryos up close on the big screen so we can see them.   Then we watch the needle at the end of the catheter suck up the two embryos (technically now called blastocysts).   The doctor then inserts into my lovely lady parts, in the cervix and deposits them into the uterus.  You can actually see them coming our of the needle on the ultrasound.  SUPER cool and surreal.   The doctor holds for 30 seconds, to make sure they don't head back up in there and then finally pulls out!  They set a timer for 15 minutes and I lay there with a really full bladder and count down till bathroom time!  The whole process hurt less than I thought but was still uncomfortable.  My sweet husband held my hand the whole time and kept a cool washcloth on my head.   James and Natalie were there too  (not in view of the lady parts) and were supportive and encouraging.   Here is a quick video a found on youtube that shows the embryos going in.  This is only from the point of view of the ultrasound so nothing gross is on the video and it's actually really cool, just head to this link and watch the video he made, it's about 30 seconds.  This is not a video of me, but just the best one I could find.   Click the picture to be brought to the website to watch the short clip.

After the transfer, James and Natalie and I were crying and hugging each other.   It was such an emotional moment.  We have been waiting so long to get here and all the work everyone has done.  I feel like I have done nothing and that Natalie has had to do most of it, doctors appointments, scheduling, reminders, bills, payments, painful egg retrieval etc etc.  Not to mention dealing with healing from the emotional loss of her uterus and her ability to carry a baby again.  She is so strong, inspiring and positive.  She never says anything similar to a poor me or a why me,  she is always saying, thank you for each blessing coming her way.  She is continually talking about how everything has just lined up perfectly, and although what happened was not ideal, everything else has happened ideally.  I have always loved my brother (all of my brothers) and I never knew I would love Natalie and admire her as much as I do.  We joke we are sister wives, but she is for sure a sister of mine and I am so happy to be able to be in here life and carry a baby for her.  I am hoping we can all send sticky thoughts to my uterus that one of these embies turns into a baby and that we can send positive thoughts to Natalie to keep her strong during this time.    We have to wait until February 9th for the blood test to confirm the pregnancy.   Longest two weeks of our lives.  On a positive note, I do have mild cramping, which could be implantation cramping.   Such a strange feeling to think I could be feeling myself getting pregnant right now! 

As always, thank you for all the support, emails, messages that you send.  We love and appreciate all of you.   We hope you will share our story with other moms, and even dads who are going through fertility issues, or aching for a baby of their own in hopes that this my provide them hope and to ensure them that they are not alone.   



  1. Oh, the dreaded 2 week wait. I remember it well. Positive thoughts & prayers! Hopefully it will go by fast and we'll have good news soon.

  2. Good luck!! I'll rub my belly for you!! :)

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