Friday, December 20, 2013

What's in a name?

Even though I was convinced we were having a boy, I hadn’t given much thought to choosing a boy name. We’ve had our girl name picked out for a few years, and boy names always seemed so much harder to choose. Adding to that pressure is the fact that you’re naming a person, a person who will use that name their whole life, and the stress is even greater.
Otter Pop and I looked at every name website and baby name forum out there. I really liked usingNymbler (great for name suggestions based on names you already like, NameBerry for more unique name ideas, and The Bump Name Forum.  We wanted something that wasn’t too unique, would be hard to make fun of, easy to yell at a soccer game, and had meaning to us. So after a lot of soul-searching, we came up with his name.

Baby Sea Otter’s First Ornament
We decided on Aidan James. Aidan is Irish and means, “little fire,” and judging from how active he was during his ultrasound, we’re sure we’ll have our hands full. Aidan also incorporates the first two letters of our surrogate’s name, which makes it even more special to us. James is a family name, and makes it easy if our son wants to go by A.J.
There was some back-and-forth over choosing one of the more popular names of the year, but I think the specialness of the name will outweigh a few people who could possibly have the same name in his class. I had many other Katie’s in my classes over the years and was actually always excited to meet with someone who had the same name. Maybe that’s just me though.
How did you come up with your child’s name? Does it have any special meaning for you?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Elective Ultrasound

I was so excited to see our little guy this weekend via an elective ultrasound! Aimee was great enough to fly down so we could see how much he’s grown since the last time we saw him in person at the 9-week ultrasound. Aimee and I usually FaceTime during appointments, but the ultrasound quality at her appointments is a much lower quality, and we were hoping to get some good photos that we could share with the grandparents and great-grandparents. Most people do an elective ultrasound around this time so they can find out the gender, but since we already knew the gender from the blood test, we were able to just enjoy seeing him.

We arrived at the ultrasound clinic and were ushered into a room filled with plush couches and a big-screen TV that broadcast the ultrasound images.
For Watching Ultrasounds, or Sunday Football

The tech was able to find him immediately, and I teared up when I saw how big he was! He was so active, kicking his legs and moving his arms like he was waving. They did checks on all of his bones to make sure he was growing well, counted his fingers and toes, and checked to make sure that he was still a boy (he certainly is!). I was able to FaceTime with both of my parents who were so excited to see their grandson moving around.
Since I’m not the one who is pregnant, these appointments make everything feel so much more real to me, and are a huge comfort that things are going well. I love hearing that for once, everything is normal and our baby is healthy.
Baby Sea Otter’s 17 Week Ultrasound Photo
After the ultrasound, Aimee and I grabbed breakfast and then spent the rest of the day getting pedicures and just hanging out. We are so fortunate to have found a surrogate that we get along with so well and truly feels like another family member. I probably say this a lot, but I can’t even express how grateful I am.
Post Pedicures!
Our next big appointment is in January, where we’ll travel up to Portland for the 20-week appointment. A few people asked whether or not we’d be doing a 3D or 4D ultrasound. We did a basic 2D ultrasound because at 17 weeks, the baby still looks really skinny and a bit alien-esque. We wanted to wait to do a 3D ultrasound until around 30-34 weeks, when you can actually see the baby’s facial features. I think having the 3D ultrasound to use as a comparison when your baby is older is pretty cool. And I’m a huge fan of technology. Just another thing to look forward to!
Did any of you do elective ultrasounds? If so, when did you have yours done?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Making Things Official

It took a long time for me to feel comfortable telling people about our pregnancy. Because we’ve been through so much loss, I was afraid to let people know what was going on until later than many people announce their pregnancy. Our immediate family however, was different. Our parents knew from the first positive HPT test so they could support us either way. With friends and work colleagues, we decided to wait until after we got results from our MaterniT21 test, which is a test that detects chromosomal abnormalities, and has the added bonus of detecting gender as early as 12 weeks. Since a lot of the first trimester screening can give false positives when it comes to birth defects, we wanted to have as much assurance as possible that our baby would be healthy before telling the world our good news.

I got the call I had been anxiously awaiting while I was at work, and was so relieved to hear the doctor tell us that they were 99% sure that there were no chromosomal birth defects. I had been praying that there would be no problems, and was so relieved by the great news I almost forgot to ask about the gender. When she told me that we were having a little boy, I was thrilled! I had felt the whole pregnancy that we’d be having a boy, so I was happy my instincts were right. People would often ask me what my preference would be, and I would always reply that I’d be completely happy either way. Having a healthy baby has always been the only thing I’d ever been concerned about.
Baby Sea Otter’s First Outfit
I called Otter Pop to let him know the good news, and then we decided how we’d tell our parents. I think gender reveal parties are cute, but we’ve personally never felt that was something we’d want to do. So that option was out. My parents live out of town, and his mom who lives in town was visiting relatives, so we schemed for a while and decided that we’d get a boy outfit, then FaceTime our parents to share the news. After getting an outfit, we called his mom and tried to FaceTime her, but the call wouldn’t go through. We called and told her to FaceTime, and learned that she had an old iPhone, and so did everyone else in the house, so we couldn’t FaceTime. Foiled by first world problems! So we did the next best thing and called her while sending her a text with the photo. We waited on the phone with her for 10 minutes while this text went through, and she finally learned that she’d be having a grandson! Not the grand surprise we’d been hoping for, but we were just happy to give her the good news.
We were planning on calling my parents first since my mom had been asking if we’d had news, but learned that she had a meeting she’d be at till 10pm. At the ripe old age of 30, I’m usually in bed by then, but I fought through the sleepiness to FaceTime with my parents and let them know they were having a grandson. Boy, technology is great when you’re not able to be there in person with your family for everything.
After our families knew, we did the next most important thing: Make it Facebook official. Because news just isn’t official until it’s Facebook official. We had taken this photo at Disneyland during our anniversary trip a few weeks earlier, and since we’d gotten engaged at Disneyland, it was only right that we announce our happy news at the happiest place on earth.
How far along were you when you told people you were pregnant?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Blog Merger

Between writing on this blog (which is admittedly rare these days), writing on Waiting for Bee, and blogging for HelloBee, my posts have been pretty scattered. I decided to merge my two blogs into this one, which means a backlog of posts about my fertility treatments and what we've gone through to finally be lucky enough to be expecting. 

Waiting for Bee + Bees and Bows = MEGA Bees and BOWS!

Blogging has always been cathartic to me, and I hope that I enjoy blogging now that I'm streamlining all of my blogging outlets. Thanks for sticking with me! 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Our Surrogacy Story

The day that Aimee, our gestational surrogate, sent me the photo of her mailing the contract to the agency was like Christmas morning. It was one hurdle that we’d never passed before. Once the contract was signed, we started moving forward with having Aimee speak with our Reproductive Endocrinologist about the course of action, and see if she had questions. She went through additional medical testing to make sure she’d be a good surrogate and passed with flying colors. From there, our RE put together a protocol that would thicken her lining and make it ideal for a frozen transfer. We were given a transfer date and she started her medications, which included Estradial and Progesterone, and had to be given in the upper hip/butt area. Speaking from experiences, they aren’t fun. The Progesterone shots are the worst because of the knots you get. Mine had gotten so bad during my previous cycles that I couldn’t walk, and didn’t heal for months.
She’d text me during her ultrasound appointments to let me know how her lining was progressing, and compared to my uterine lining (and probably many other people’s linings), she was an overachiever and we were able to move forward with our frozen transfer! Just like the last potential GS, I was so nervous about meeting someone who would be a part of my life forever and carry our baby. No pressure… so when we picked her up at the airport, I was all sorts of nervous, but she was so laid-back about everything (which made nervous me so much more at ease!) We went to dinner, and then dropped her off at a hotel, where we’d pick her up the following afternoon for the frozen embryo transfer.

The day of the transfer, I went to work and struggled through one of the most nerve-wracking days of my life. I was getting ready to pick Aimee up at the hotel, when I looked down and saw I’d missed a call from our RE. I’ve never gotten a call an hour before a transfer before, so I had a horrible feeling I wasn’t going to get good news. I tried calling the RE back, and he was doing another transfer. So of course, I was freaking out. I went downstairs and met with Aimee and explained that I’d just gotten a message, and was pretty sure it meant that one of the embryos didn’t make it. I was crying a little, and mostly just being a complete nutcase.
We went to Whole Foods to get her a few snacks before she’d be on bedrest, and then drove back to my house for a few minutes to pick up Otter Pop, who to my surprise, was on the phone in total lawyer mode with the clinic, trying to get ahold of the doctor. Apparently they’d tried to transfer him and disconnected, and in that short amount of time he’d gone into another appointment.
Because we really wanted to prepare ourselves before we went to the clinic, Otter Pop stayed on the phone until he spoke to him. We got the news that I’d been dreading – that one of the embryos didn’t survive the thaw. The good news was that the other one in the straw had, and was already hatching. Since we only had four embryos left, we had to decide if we wanted to unfreeze the remaining embryos and choose the best two to transfer, or if we just wanted to try one. Even though those were our last ones, we knew we’d have the best odds with two, so we unfroze all of the embryos.
We got to the clinic and waited a while before being seen by the doctor. When we got back to the room, he let us know that of the other two that were unthawed, one of those didn’t look like it would make it either. I was a little crushed (and a lot overwhelmed), but really grateful to have two good ones. This looked like it would be our only chance.
For reference, every time I’ve had a transfer there’s been music that I find hilarious playing and I have to try as hard as possible not to laugh. The first time it was classical music that literally climaxed as soon as they put the embryo in. The second time it was some type of 80s rock that was just as funny. Before the transfer started, we requested control over the music. I will always remember that as they transferred the embryos, the song “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers was playing, and I heard, “I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheart.” It was so fitting and perfect, and Otter Pop and I watched as the embryos were placed into Aimee’s uterus.
Otter Pop ended up wearing a pink shirt and blue bow tie, and I had pink nails and blue toenails, just for a little extra luck. We drove Aimee back to the hotel and set her up with a Kindle to start the 3-day bed rest. We were able to spend time with her, and I had a great time having lunch with her and watching animal documentaries and just talking about our lives. I felt like I knew her forever, and I felt so comfortable that she was going to be the one hopefully carrying our baby.
We decided that we didn’t want to know if she was going to test before the Beta because we’d gone through a chemical pregnancy before, but then the next day, I told her I “wouldn’t be mad” if she wanted to test. She tested, and sent us a positive! We were so excited, but cautiously nervous. The next days we kept our fingers and toes crossed, and the tests were still coming back positive! We shouldn’t have been surprised when her first Beta came back as positive, and when the next three showed that the numbers were more than doubling. She even sent me the best birthday present imaginable – a positive digital test! But still, we were so nervous to get our hopes up.
Best birthday present ever
Aimee flew back in for the first ultrasound, where we’d see the baby (or babies), and make sure everything looked good. Otter Pop and I stood in the corner and waited anxiously to see the screen. I honestly had no idea what I was looking at, but the doctor seemed excited, and when they showed me the flicker of the heart, I started crying and was literally speechless, which is very rare. We finally had a baby on board!
For me, it seemed like every appointment was a hurdle. It was a hurdle to get a positive pregnancy test. A hurdle to get a positive beta, and see it rise appropriately. We had just passed the hurdle of finding the fetus, and now had to wait until the next appointment to see if he grew appropriately. Even though this was such a joyful time for us, I was living in fear that if I actually celebrated it that I’d somehow ruin everything or cause something to go wrong. I know that this is magical thinking, but I wanted to do whatever it took to make sure this baby would be ok.
But fortunately, we crossed all of those hurdles, and we’ve made it into the 2nd trimester of pregnancy! This has been such a crazy ride, but I am so grateful to have found Aimee, and now so excited to meet our baby in just 6 short months!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

San Diego Thanksgiving Re-Cap

I have so much to be thankful for this year. I was extremely blessed to be able to share the holiday with my family in San Diego. The holiday included beach football with the cousins, trips to the moon, great food, tons of laughs, dinner with a bunch of grateful Marines, a day-long detour of drinking and motorhome fun that led us to Sears on Black Friday and to the San Diego Air and Space Museum, and getting trapped upside-down with my sister on a flight simulator.

This is our last Thanksgiving as a family of two, and we are both so excited for next year when we have our little boy with us!

Story behind the flight simulator. My sister and I decided we wanted to go on one of the rides at the museum, and asked the guy behind the counter if it really went upside-down. In my mind, it was going to be something like Star Tours, where you feel like you're going upside-down but if you close your eyes, you're fine. He answered really sarcastically, "Of course you're going to go upside-down."

We took that to mean we could go upside-down "in our imagination." Color me surprised when we get strapped into harnesses in the machine and the guy starts telling us how to steer this thing, which I wasn't really paying attention to. So we decided to just fly as even keel as possible, and after about 2 minutes I got bored and decided I wanted to steer down a bit and then go up. I lost control (I suck at video games) and somehow got us stuck upside-down, unable to hit the emergency stop button or get us in the proper position again. I also had no idea that everything was being shown outside on video screen to people walking by, or that people could hear us screaming. Enjoy!