This Blog Post written by Tiffany, Surrogate Mother AND Natalie, Intended Mother
From Tiffany, Surrogate Mother:
So many emotions happening. It is very true when they say the journey of infertility is an emotional roller coaster. I have experienced feelings I never knew existed, heard stories that have broken my heart, experienced parts of my life that have broken my heart and felt on top of the world at times. This journey so far as been a roller coaster. Wednesday, the day of the transfer, we were on top and still remain there.
The transfer day is always a nervous, exciting one. Will the embryos be good? How many will be left? How many will they recommend to transfer? Will the transfer hurt? Have they found a new science where they can just inject the embryos with a needle into my stomach instead of going through my lady parts and up in my cervix? Nope, not yet. This second time around felt different, we knew more, we knew what to expect but I also were not as giddy. I think last time I thought 100% it would work. I was healthy and followed all my medications perfectly, same with Natalie. We were all perfect candidates for this, never had fertility issues in the past. All we were missing was Natalie's uterus, surely it would work the first time! As heart breaking as it was that it did not work, I have a feeling it will all work out in the end. I am still so hopeful this time, but I am prepared if it does not work. The transfer went better then last time, we were blessed to have our regular team with us, my amazing doctor, Dr. Paul Lin and our spectacular Nurse Practitioner Lindsay Wood and an amazing embryologist, Jocelyn. We felt like their only patients that day, they took such great care of us, and were so willing to answer our billion question, make the procedure flawless and of course, laugh at my jokes. Perfection. We transferred two beautiful embryos recommended by the embryologist. It did not hurt this time, just really uncomfortable and I am happy for that as last time it was painful for me and I felt everything! This time, the only reason I knew the catheter was in my cervix was because I could see it on the big screen above me. I did acupuncture before and after the transfer and felt very relaxed. I have been eating pineapple like it is going out of style. I wonder if you can OD on pineapples? I am currently bed resting and hopefully growing some amazing embryos!
I have to admit, one of the hardest parts so far is the weight gain. I knew I would gain weight on the hormones, but I gained about 30 lbs in just a few months and then almost 40! I have had a hard time adjusting to my rapid weight gain, my new body. I didn't mind gaining weight while pregnant with my two children and I don't mind my postpartum body, I bounce back rather quickly. This is different and hard. Seeing pictures of myself is hard. I don't even look like me. I feel swollen in the face and body, like I was stung by a thousand bees. I know I am smaller than some, and bigger than others, and my friends are so sweet saying how "cute" I still am, but I just want to be honest that it has been hard. I do feel a little down at times for not having my healthy slender body and I wonder if affects how people view me. Those thoughts are fleeting, but they are there. I wonder if other woman on hormones go through the same thing? I wish I did not care. I see other women my size and think are just fabulous. I wish I didn't care that my body was bigger now.
Filming went amazing, we have been getting some really great interviews, and we were able to film the entire embryo transfer. It is a really cool experience and I am excited to share it with everyone in the documentary. We had an amazing film crew that day and a spectacular on set photographer, Rachel Vos Photography. Here are some photos from the transfer day, and then Natalie's words to follow:
Doctor Paul Lin and Tiffany reviewing questions from readers to use for interview in documentary
Interview with Doctor Paul Lin
Heading to embryo transfer, filming and talking about what is about to happen
Tiffany getting Acupuncture Treatment right before embryo Transfer with James and Natalie
Learning about the new embryos with our amazing embryologist
Wait, I have to take my pants off for this? haha. Our amazing nurse, Lindsay!
From Natalie, Intended Mother
I feel like going into this a second time around is like driving back from a long road trip. Everything seems more familiar and a little less stressful. Yes, this whole process is very stressful in so many ways, but you can chose to try and control it and worry yourself sick or you can let the Lord take the drivers seat and have faith with work out.
This experience has been entirely different for James and I. Everything seems smoother. We are not worrying about every little detail, every cent we need to come up with and everything in between. We have learned so much more this time about this entire process.
When we arrived at SRM last Friday for my egg retrieval, I was a little nervous because of all the discomfort I had last time, but it went AMAZING! They took me back, retrieved all 18 of my eggs and I didn't even need to take any pain meds. My stomach has been sore to the touch since then but healing everyday. 5 days later when we came back up to Seattle for the transfer, I was super nervous about the quality of the embryos, because of our last experience but when our amazing embryologist came in and gave us our update I felt a wave of relief. They chose to transfer two fair quality embryos, and there were 6 embryos left to develop for one more day (3 made it to day 6 and were frozen) I had learned so much more about quality and the different stages of the embryos, they rarely ever rate them higher than fair unless they are pretty much perfect , she said ours looked healthy but hadn't grown quite enough for them to transfer just one embryo..which was FINE with me!! :)
I was a little nervous about the transfer as well, I hated the fact that Tiffany had to go through so much pain to do this for us. I remember last time she was dripping sweat and had tears rolling down her face the entire time. This time I remember her say, "that was it?" She is such a trooper. Our Dr was amazing, he explained everything step by step and was so comforting and optimistic. We had such an amazing team of drs and nurses we were so lucky.
We did some filming for the documentary shortly after Tiffany finished her acupuncture which was amazing. I just love to hear my husband talk about things that are close to his heart. I am often asked to explain our story and have such a hard time, everything gets so foggy. James was there to explain everything and had Tiffany and I balling.
I step back and just realize how blessed we are with all of this. it has been a crazy journey, but has shaped all of our lives so much. All of the little blessings that have come from this and all of the outpouring of love is overwhelming. I have recently had a few other women connect with me that have gone through the same exact situations, it almost like reading my own story. It help s not to feel so alone and be able to ask someone else how they are able to deal with certain feeling, situations and emotions.
I appreciate everyone who has reached out to us during this time, shared their intimate stories,, struggles, faith, and hope with us. I was very unsure about sharing my private world with everyone, and found myself very surprised how much all this support has meant to me and helped me along the way of this journey. Thank you to all our friends, family and readers for being there for us. Thank to our amazing husbands, James and Sean for being our biggest supporters.
Please, if you can take a moment and email our blog out to a few friends, share our story in hopes it reaches more women and men who are feeling a lone during their infertility issues. We have loved connecting with everyone from all over the country and even have some readers from different parts of the world now. We read every letter and one of us will write back to you. Thank you for helping us share our story.
Here are the rest of the pictures from our day.... also, don't forget to "like" us on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/ABellyForMeABabyForYou
Lucky green socks on, ready for transfer to begin!
James held his sister's hand during the transfer
The embryos are in! Natalie is a happy Mama!
Interviewing for documentary, James, Natalie and Tiffany discussing Natalie's traumatic loss of her uterus.
"Sister Wives" Tiffany and Natalie were crying while reliving story
From left to right: Sean (Tiffany's Husband and Director of Documentary), Tiffany (Surrogate), Natalie (Intended Mother) and James Natalie's husband, Tiffany's brother and Intended Father).
There are embryos in there right now!
Love makes a family, Tiffany and her brother, James after the embryo transfer with proud mama, Natalie.