Monday, January 30, 2012

Unexpected findings

As part of the medical procedures that I'll start next month, I had to have my annual midwife checkup last week. I've never been bothered by the "girl doctor", so I wasn't really thinking too much of it. I was more concerned with getting all my OB records sent to the fertility clinic. While meeting with the midwife and filling her in on all the surrogacy stuff during my breast exam, I heard words I've never heard before in relation to me: "palpable lump". Took a minute for that to sink in. She didn't seem overly concerned, but given my family history of breast cancer, plus the fact that I wouldn't be able to have a mammogram while pregnant, she referred me to the breast center to be on the safe side. Anyone who knows me knows that my logical side usually kicks in during a situation like this. And it did. For about 30 minutes. Then the following thoughts came in rapid succession: my aunt died at age 33 of breast cancer, my grandmother in her 50's, a friend of mine was just diagnosed at the age of 28. Then the biggest irrational thought of all: I have had many many many years of such an amazing life and blessings: is this karma sneaking up on me at last?
Since my beloved Aunt Rhonda, (nicknamed "Stella" when she was being full of herself) passed away when I was 9, breast cancer has been a big scary monster under the bed for me and all the women in my family. She was the oldest of 4 girls, my mom's big sister, my soulmate in many many ways. We had so much in common, including our birthdays being 2 days apart and we look eerily alike.  Her death was devastating to my family full of strong women. All of us prayed to reach the age of 33 in good health, and thankfully, all of us did. My mom had a couple of scares, and I'll never forget going with her to have an ultrasound, waiting for the verdict. So here I was, in the same position. My world turned upside down.
I didn't tell anyone except Russell and my mom, because I didn't want anyone to worry needlessly and because I don't handle sympathy very well. I had to wait all weekend to schedule my mammogram, and let me tell you, it was a very long weekend. Finally, this morning, I secured an appointment for today. After dropping the kids off at the sitter, I broke down. Russell was already in the middle of his day, as neither of us expected to have an appointment so soon. So I called my bestie Charlene to go with me. Thankfully she was able to come, cause I couldn't have done it without her. That ridiculous sense of humor and the promise of a margarita after, no matter what, really helped.
At the appointment I had a mammogram (my second one ever) that proved inconclusive. Great. Immediately, I thought they were trying to think of the right way to break the bad news. I was thinking of having to leave my kids without a mom, my husband without a wife, my mom without her daughter, the intended parents without their surrogate. Then I went back for an ultrasound with the sweetest tech ever who really made me feel more comfortable than the not-so-warm-and-fuzzy nurse who did the boob squishing. Apparently, there is no lump, just really dense breast tissue. I cried for about the 10th time today. Relief doesn't even begin to describe it.
With a clean bill of health, I'm ready to move on in this process. But more importantly, I have an even greater appreciation for my incredible life. I know it was only a false alarm, but it changed me deeply, fundamentally, forever.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Psychologist, part 2

Just when I thought I was done with the interview portion of this whole process, I get a call from my not-so-favorite therapist. I had conveniently forgotten (purposely blocked out) that there would be a group interview with the psychologist once I was matched with a couple. Sigh. I obviously have some insecurities   or I wouldn't be so ambivalent about this interview. One one hand, all of my deep dark secrets and entire life story have already been laid bare for this woman and for the intended parents, so its not like I have anything to hide. On the other hand, her "couch-side manner" strikes me as condescending so I just don't like her. In fact, I am much more comfortable with the medical proceedings that will involve a catheter and my uterus than the psych proceedings that will just involve talking. A big part of me is also frustrated with myself for feeling apprehensive about it. Seriously, what is my problem? What is the big deal? Its already a go, the couple and I adore each other and are super excited about moving forward. Yet there it is: the image in my head of me sticking out my tongue at her.
I really believe that it is important to honor one's feelings, acknowledge them, accept them, process them and then act accordingly. So this is me processing. And I'll be processing for the next week until the appointment.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Coordinating cycles

Short post today, just a quick update:
I haven't been on birth control pills in over 5 years. I got off of them when we decided to start a family, and after my second child, my husband "got fixed" as he calls it. But since I need to regulate my cycle and sync up with the egg donor, here I am, starting the pill again. Weird to be taking the pill so I can GET pregnant.

In other news, my daughter has expressed concern that my vagina will hurt when the baby comes out. Damn I love that kid :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mock Embryo Transfer

Finally, contact has been made with the fertility clinic and the first of the medical procedures have been scheduled. I'm excited and nervous. Because most of the procedures can only be done at certain times during my cycle, the first one won't be until next month. Russell and I will be driving to Maryland for the initial assessment, lessons on how to administer myself hormone shots and the "mock embryo transfer". Lots of interesting things going on that day. First of all, my nurse suggested that I have someone with me who would be assisting me with giving myself shots, like my husband. I laughed out loud at that one. It may surprise some of you who know my husband, but he is totally needle-phobic. Not the kind of needles that tattoos are administered with, as he has one whole sleeve, a chest piece, a back piece and random other ink artistry. But the kind that inject medicine into your body-forget it. Just as a joke I told him he would have to help give me shots in my booty and he turned a lovely shade of green. So I will be doing them myself, which is fine with me.
Second, the mock transfer is a fascinating procedure. Basically, they are going to use a catheter to "map" the layout of my uterus. That way, when it is time to actually transfer the precious embryo, they will know exactly where to go and where to place it. I will be able to watch the mapping on a monitor if I want. And I totally want to.  I won't go into all the details, but most women I have spoken with who have had the procedure say that it can be mildly uncomfortable, like cramps. Thankfully I'll have my hubby with me so he can drive home and take care of me :) I'm only slightly nervous about it.
In the meantime, I have to get my annual check-up, pap-smear and breast exam and send the results to the clinic. I also have to notify them when my next cycle starts so we can nail down the exact day I have to go in for the procedure. I will also be placed on birth control pills briefly so that we can more easily coordinate my cycle with the egg donor's cycle. After I'm back home, I'll have to go to a radiology clinic here periodically to have my hormone levels checked. Whew, this is the crazy coordination and planning phase that to me, is one of the hardest parts. But it means things are moving forward, and hopefully, if all goes well, I should be pregnant in March or April.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Baby weight (and wait)

As any mom knows, losing the baby weight after a pregnancy can be challenging at best. Some women are genetically blessed and have a much easier time; I am not that woman. So after 2 pregnancies, I still have a bit extra padding. I've had a hard time staying committed to a workout routine, and with a third pregnancy looming somewhere around the corner, it is time to get serious. I am the type of person who needs a regimen, I can't just work out whenever I have extra time. Enter Mayhem Fitbody Bootcamp. One hour a day, five days a week of extremely challenging workouts at 5:45 a.m, for the next 5 weeks. Eek.
I'm still waiting to hear from the fertility clinic to schedule my medical assessment so we can get this party started. I'm a bit frustrated at the wait, but I am taking this opportunity to seriously kick my butt into shape. It may sound strange or counterproductive to get in great shape right before a pregnancy, but I really want to start out in the best position possible (no pun intended) before I get pregnant. The less extra weight I have to begin with, the easier it should be to get my body back after the baby is born. I was active during both of my previous pregnancies, but I really want to step it up a notch with this third (and FINAL) pregnancy.
All that being said, I LOVE my bootcamp! It is the hardest workout I've ever done, and I know it's going to be exactly what I need. Now, if I could only walk without wincing...