Saturday, August 29, 2015

First Trimester Finale

*YAAAAAAWWWWWNNNNNNN* Oh excuse me I just woke up from my first trimester nap!

I realize it's been a while since I updated, but I've just been hibernating waiting for the worst part of pregnancy to pass. I've never been one of those third trimester "get this baby outta me" people. I'm the person who HATES the first trimester with a passion. It's not so much the morning (read: all day) sickness. It's not the extreme exhaustion. It's not even the fact that this is the portion of the pregnancy where I feel the most "pregnant" symptoms but just look generally jiggly and bloated.

It's the mental anguish.

The first trimester is like a breath holding contest. It's just waiting for that dreaded appointment where you find out everything's not as ok as it seems. Luckily we had SEVERAL wonderful appointments where everything was in fact ok. But the first trimester is just the absolute worst.

So I just put my head down and tried to stay busy while the weeks ticked by. I was lucky enough to have plenty of distractions. We took the kids to Disneyworld. My Sunshine started school (AND ROCKED IT).

But as soon as the dust settled I found myself sweating. I was officially 13 weeks this Wednesday. That is pretty much the undisputed end to the first trimester. Some say it's 12 weeks, but 13 is FOR SURE the end.

So round about 12 weeks this little nagging voice chimed in. We were in Disney and I was sitting in the ice cold gift shops while Hubs stood in the sweaty lines with the kids for the "wild" rides. And it was just too quiet in my brain.

I tried to push that stupid voice out. But I kept having passing thoughts about my 12 week visit with my first pregnancy. The one where I was barfing in the waiting room with my huge pregger boobs and cute little baby bump. The one where they couldn't find the heartbeat with a Doppler, but assured me it was my tilted uterus. And the one where I had the ultrasound that delivered the Worst. News. Ever.

It didn't help that my morning sickness vanished into thin air right on cue at 12 weeks. And I wasn't AS tired as I had been. I did start getting migraines though, which of course my brain started attributing to falling progesterone levels because surely something was wrong.

Things had been going so well, and I wanted it so bad that my mind was being an ass hole.

I saw some other surros say they could find the heartbeat with their at-home Dopplers at 12 weeks, but I swore I wasn't going to stoop to that. I could wait until the 31st.

Then I couldn't. Those stupid worries kept creeping back in and I started itching to know that there was still a baby in there.

On Monday I started to crack. I asked my nurse pal to bring her stethoscope over just to try. I didn't even hear a stomach gurgle, which didn't worry me too much since she said trained professionals have trouble hearing with a stethoscope later in pregnancy.

But that itch needed scratchin. So Wednesday I completely broke. I found an at-home fetal Doppler through a friend of a friend and I decided to give it a whirl.

Before I did I scoured the internet on techniques, tips and tricks. I was determined to have that thing on there for the least amount of time possible just to be safe. It's not dangerous, but if I'm not even eating soft cheese I'm certainly not looking to take risks. I rationalized that hearing the heartbeat would decrease cortisol levels and was the lesser of two evils.

Well the lady lost the charger for the darn thing so the battery was almost dead. I went to Best Buy, but the charger they sold me totally didn't work. So I scrounged through our stash of random chargers and found one that fit the voltage and amps.

I plugged it in and gave it a second before trying. After about 4 seconds of searching I came up empty handed. But I put it down and regrouped.

Then I realized that in the office they always use gel. I didn't have any gel on hand so I went MacGyver style and slathered my belly with Astroglide. So. Sexy.

I let the Doppler charge for a bit and gave it another whirl.

Within 3 seconds I heard the faint familiar gallop of little heart hooves. I had my phone at the ready and recorded it for Baby Mama. Then I shut it all off and put it away. The whole thing took about 12 seconds, but it reassured the CRAP out of me.

There's still a baby in there!!! Hooray!!

 I sent it to Baby Mama and confessed my neuroses. She just laughed at me for being a nut and thanked me for caring so much.

I'm like dude if I was babysitting an earthside baby and I wasn't sure where it was...I sure as hell would do everything I could to find it.

Later I started wondering what the beats per minute rate was, so I rolled the tape and asked Sunshine to count to 15 while I counted beats. I did the math and came up with 112 BPM which is NOT GOOD.

Then I got some sense and used a timer app on my kindle instead of a 6-year-old who is engrossed in My Little Pony. This time I came up with 160, which is just perfect.

So my neurosis is gone. But Nugget must have picked up on my crazy because that afternoon I was sitting in the recliner and my dog snuggled up in my lap. It's a known fact that this kid's parents are big time dog lovers, so naturally she is too (yes I'm still going with she). As soon as Daisy snuggled up to my belly the little bean thumped!!! I've had two kids. This was not gas. This was the very discernable baby thump!

It literally feels like someone takes their thumb and middle finger and thumps your uterus from the inside. It was just little and tiny and just once. But I got the message.

You're in there little gummy bear. I got it.

In other news we got the Harmony test done. The Harmony test checks for trisomy issues, but it can also tell you the gender. HOWEVER....Baby Daddy is still in the surprise camp, so I checked the little box that said please don't tell me. Will power people. Will power.

I got a call in Disney that they ran the test, but the results were inconclusive because of  "too many DNA variances"

So all you people who don't understand gestational surrogacy pay attention. That means this baby is 100% not genetically mine and the testers were like "Well effing eff! It's a kitten!"

I kindly reminded the nurse that I was an IVF patient using a donor egg, so she sent that information back to the lab and they reran the test. They called a few days later and everything was negative! Which is positive. It means baby doesn't have any trisomy issues. Whew! (Although some of the most wonderful people I know have Trisomy 21).

So our next appointment is Monday. We should just have a heartbeat check and I'm not sure what else. I'm pretty sure we won't have another ultrasound until 20 weeks. I think they sometimes do a nuchal translucency scan around now, but I'm guessing the Harmony test made that obsolete.

So as for now I'm enjoying the absence of barfy feelings and getting some energy back. Which is great because I just started a new job!

A totally rad friend from college and I reconnected this year over book publishing. I just celebrated the one year anniversary of Naked Salsa (shameless plug), and she published her first children's book Sebastian Scouts (oh what's this I found? a plug!).

She apparently found my sarcastic wit and crude humor quite endearing, and she invited me on board with a totally rad business consulting firm called Intelivate (plug pluggy plug plug).

I love it because I've written such straight laced pieces for so long (which I'm totally thankful for dear editor!!) that it's fun to mix it up and use my snarky voice.

So that's the news on my end. Pretty good things happening around here. I'll update again on Monday after my appointment so you know that I'm still awake. Sorry for the long snooze. But we're out of the first trimester woods, so it's time to CELEBRATE!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Well we met with the midwife and things went fabulous! I think Baby Mama and Baby Daddy felt better after seeing that the practice is down the hall from the OB and across the parking lot from the hospital. 
Also it wasn't in a grass hut. 

They did all the medical history song and dance, and the midwife asked about our story. Baby Mama is a horrible witch and started saying all sorts of ridiculously nice things about me. And I was sitting right there!! Pregnancy hormones and all. 
She's lucky I was able to choke back the tears with some wise cracks. Otherwise it could've gotten ugly. 

At the end the midwife noted that since we'd had an ultrasound at the RE we didn't necessarily need one. But she could do one just to be sure of dating etc. 

Baby Daddy said he was good and that seeing the heartbeat last week would suffice. But I knew Baby Mama wouldn't be seeing her peanut again until 20 weeks. And although I'm a little wary of ultrasounds there's a lot to be said about the mental health of a first time mom who won't be getting reassuring baby kicks. 

So I stuck my big nose in their business and sort of told the midwife that I was happy to submit to one if they wanted to. 

She said we'd just do a quick one to be sure of dates. 

I asked if I should just disrobe behind the curtain and she looked at me crazy and said nah we'd try over the tummy. 

Holy crap no weenie wand!!!!! Small victories folks. 

As she looked around I explained that my uterus was installed backward, and it proved to be a little tough to see. But then little peanut wiggled onscreen and it was glorious. We could see it starting to look less like a blob of mashed potatoes and more like a person!

Again she wiggled a flipper at Mama. 😊

As we were leaving the office Baby Mama said she actually got a bit choked up this time. She's played it cool until now but I guess the little flipper wave hit her right in the feels. 

I'm sure plenty of mamas remember the first ultrasound their hearts jumped in their throats. Rates up there with the first smile. 

I've always said surrogacy was a one time deal. I don't know any surrogates who only did it once by choice. But I figured I was just weird. It's a bucket list check and I'd be done. 

But if delivery day is anything close to the overwhelming joy I felt when Baby Mama lit up at that doctor's office...I might be in trouble. I can definitely see this being a drug. Nothing I've ever done in my life has felt this big or brought this much joy to another person. 

So that was last week and today I went in and gave the blood thirsty midwives all the AB+ I had on hand. 

Our next appointment is at the end of August, and our next milestone is in 2 weeks! 


Such. A. Big. Deal. 

My morning sickness is letting up a bit but I'm still pretty tired. But I'll be ready to hear that sweet heart beat at the end of the month.