Through the next two months, our relationship continued to blossom as we got the major surrogacy hurdles out of the way. A week after Sarah's visit, my family went to Atlanta for our psychological consult. Fertility clinics who have surrogacy programs require that both the IP's, surrogate, and surrogate's husband have a psych consult just to be sure that all parties are on the same page and understand the emotional energy that a surrogacy takes.
First the psychiatrist would talk to Frank and I alone, then she would bring in Sarah and Paul for the four of us to talk with her together. Knowing that the psych consult was somewhat important business, you would think that we would have taken it more seriously than we did.
We planned ahead of time that once the four of us got in with the psychiatrist together, I would begin to hear voices and start "talking" to them suddenly. I guess Paul heard them too, because before I could talk to my imaginary friends, he was already telling them to "sit down and shut up." Sarah got the giggles and then I almost lost it.
Needless to say, we were all "cleared" to proceed. I think the psychiatrist just figured that we were two pairs of nuts, so we had to be a good match even if we were crazy. On that visit, we also finalized and signed our contracts. We were now legally official!
Everything was finally in line for me to begin cycling. Sarah still had frozen embryos from her first surrogacy transfer, so I was the only one who needed to take meds.
The day before I was to begin my transfer cycle, Frank and I made another trip to Atlanta for my "shot class" with the nurse. Sarah nearly exploded with laughter when the nurse pulled out the hella big needle for the progesterone injections and I exclaimed a startled, "Holy shiznit!"
We left the clinic that day with me loaded down with a huge fertility-lucky yellow bag full of meds and my "calendar," which was a list of what meds I was supposed to take and the amounts that I should take.
There was a total of two different injections and three different pills that I was to take through various points in the cycle, in addition to one baby aspirin and one prenatal per day. I had to take my medicines at the same time each day, so I had to adhere to a very rigid schedule.
The most interesting thing was that coincidentally, the transfer day was set for my 8th wedding anniversary of June 22, and the Beta-HCG blood test to check for pregnancy was scheduled two weeks later for July 6, which is Frank's birthday. Sarah and I took these dates to be good omens.
In the last few days before the transfer, I designed matching t-shirts for Sarah and I to wear to the transfer. On the front, in the upper left corner was a picture of three blastocysts (8-celled embryos) and the words "Think Positive." On the back, I designed a doll pregnant doll that looked like me and a non-pregnant doll that looked like Sarah. My shirt said, "My oven, Sarah's bun" and Sarah's shirt said, "My bun, Kym's oven."
Finally the day came for Frank and I to head to Atlanta for the transfer. I was all keyed up, knowing that when we returned in a few days, I really would have Sarah's "buns" in my "oven." On the way, we stopped at the store to buy a couple of transfer gifts. Frank bought himself and Paul matching lucky yellow shirts to wear, and I bought Sarah a crystal and gold baby pacifier as a good luck charm.
When we got to Sarah's house, we found that she had left us a gift basket in the guest room. In it, was yellow Sponge Bob undies for me (I love Sponge Bob!), candles, a Spiderman X-box game and a grilling cookbook for Frank, and also a box of pregnancy tests for me to use in the two week wait. The pregnancy tests were rather funny, as Sarah knew that I had extreme peestickitis and I had already stocked up on over 70 tests from eBay and from the generosity of a fellow surrogate who sent me her leftovers after she became pregnant.
The next morning was the transfer, and Sarah and I were loaded in as many lucky charms as we could. I had on my yellow Sponge Bob undies, had painted my nails yellow, and on one wrist I wore the prayer box bracelet that Becky sent to me for my birthday which matched her own. On my other wrist I wore the yellow-beaded fertility bracelet with the turtle charm (also a fertility symbol) that I had earlier bought for myself and a matching one for Sarah. Sarah had her pacifier charm and was also wearing her bracelet. We also had on our matching shirts, and just for good measure, we each sprayed ourselves with cotton blossom body spray. Most of all, we were armed with prayer, and hoped that within two weeks, we would get those prayers answered with positive pregnancy tests.
Paul met the three of us at RBA, and as we waited to be called back, we took some pictures in the waiting area. Finally we were called back for the transfer.
Sarah was rather nervous, because we wouldn't find out which of her embryos had been thawed or how many would be transferred to me until we got back there. In the bathroom, I undressed from the bottom down and covered with a sheet as Sarah, Paul, and Frank took their seats in the room. After a few minutes, the RE, a nurse, and the embryologist came into the room and dimmed the lights so that we could view a picture of the embryos that survived the thaw.
For Sarah, this was a really big moment, as with the last transfer with the previous surrogate, the clinic failed to thaw the best embryos, thereby giving less of a chance for the transfer to actually work. On a flat screen monitor, up popped a black and white image of four embryos. We were told that the four embryos were of good quality, but Sarah was less than satisfied. Once again, they did not thaw the best embryos to give us better odds of success. Though Sarah noticeably and understandably was upset, she was still excited and full of smiles as the embryologist, who was gingerly carrying a thin catheter, brought her embryos out.
Sarah stood next to me and gripped my hand. Guided by the ultrasound that the nurse was doing, the RE inserted the catheter and transferred the embryos. We could see the lining of my uterus and the thin, white thread that was the catheter. I could feel slight prodding, but it was completely painless and felt much like a simple pelvic exam. It took only a few minutes for the procedure to be finished, but I laid there for another thirty minutes (still with my bulging bladder) just to be on the safe side.
Back at Sarah's house, I spent the rest of the day lounging in bed or relaxing on the couch, as I needed to stay off of my feet as much as possible for the next 24 hours. I hardly wanted to get up to go to the bathroom or even sneeze! Later that evening I did feel some mild cramping and twitching, which I hoped was an extra-early sign that one or two embies were starting to settle in.
We spent the next day with Sarah, and on the morning after, we returned home to impatiently wait out the rest of the dreaded two week wait.
Sarah knew that I would be testing as early as possible, so she was at the edge of her seat whenever we started our day-long ritual of Yahoo chatting. I tested before we even left Sarah's house, knowing that it was impossible to get a positive that early, but with the suspense I had all wound up inside, I felt better after peeing on something.
On the day after my return home, just three days after the transfer, I tested first thing in the morning, and nearly peed again when I noticed a faint, but definitely there pink line show up. Just to be sure it wasn't a fluke, I tested again with two other tests using the same sample. Both were positive. Frank saw the lines too, and I cried; we were pregnant.
As soon as I collected myself, I went to the computer, buzzed Sarah on Yahoo, and turned on my webcam. I asked Sarah to turn hers on too, since it wasn't unusual for us to chat with our webcams on.
I tried to play the innocent role and asked Sarah a hypothetical question: If and when I tested and got a positive, would she want to know later, or as soon as I did? I told her that I just wanted to be ready since we were getting into the timeframe that I could begin some serious testing. She said that she wanted to know AS SOON as I did.
I said, "Well...I tested this morning and got a line." The look on Sarah's face was priceless. I didn't know that stutter-typing was possible, but that's what she did. She asked if I was sure and I told her that I got positives on three tests, and she hung her head and cried. She would look up at the screen, cry a bit more, try to type and couldn't, smile...it went on like this for a couple of minutes before she could collect herself enough to say, "I JUST WANT TO GIVE YOU A HUGE HUG!" She called Paul and told him at work, and a split second later Paul had logged into Yahoo to talk to me himself. We were all in a fantastic daze!
Understandably, Sarah was nervous. What if the lines didn't get any darker, indicating that the hCG wasn't doubling properly? What if this wasn't real? I knew that happy as Sarah was, the only thing that would let her settle and relax enough to really believe that it wasn't a dream was confirmation of a heartbeat through ultrasound. We spent the rest of the day dreaming of all the fun things we were going to do through the pregnancy and chatting with excitement.
The next morning I tested again, and the lines weren't any darker. I was slightly concerned, because I really wanted to tell Sarah that the lines were noticeably darker than they were the day before. But the lines were still there and not any lighter, so Sarah felt confident enough to post our pregnancy announcement to the community at SMO. Everyone was thrilled, and we had a three-page thread full of congratulations to us.
With IVF transfers, you can potentially get positives much earlier than with a regular conception, as when the embryos are transferred, they are usually already the equivalent of three or five days past ovulation.
There is a general SMO rule that the earlier the positive in an IVF transfer, that's the more likely you are to have conceived twins or more. Everyone just KNEW that I was pregnant with at least twins, and we were all anxious to see what further testing and the beta would bring.
The next day's testing produced lines that were still no darker, and Sarah and I both began to get worried. My world was shattered the next morning. When I tested, the lines were practically gone, and the next morning, there were no lines AT ALL. Nothing. Again, Sarah and I spent the entire day chatting, trying to encourage each other. I was upset, but I still had immense faith for the remainder of the two week wait.
We were only six days past the transfer, after all, and we still had time for new, stronger positives to show. Our theory was that one or two of the four embryos tried to implant but just didn't make it.
The next few days leading to the beta was an emotional roller coaster for all of us, because the pattern of getting positives that turned to negatives continued.
With each new set of positives, I got hopeful, but was shattered again each time I tested and saw no lines.
Finally came Frank's birthday, the day for our beta. Sarah and I both felt, at that time, that a beta was almost pointless. I had tested again that morning, and there was hardly even a shadow of a line. That afternoon, our fears were confirmed when the RE called Paul to give him the results that my beta was in fact, negative. I was instructed to stop meds and wait for my cycle to begin; it was over.
To read Week 5, part 6, click here.