A Second Trimester Update and VIABILITY!
This journey is really starting to bring light to the phrase “it all goes by in the blink of an eye”. Ever since we entered the second trimester, time has been flying! Our last update was right after our Nuchal Translucency Screening, at 12.5 weeks. At 13 weeks, Tarynn had another regular OB appointment which went great, revealing a nice strong heartbeat, and all blood work free and clear of anything concerning. They also measured her uterus, which was measuring at 16 weeks! Ava has definitely had room to grow!
Tarynn reported most of her morning sickness was subsiding, and her energy was returning, between weeks 13 and 14. Woo hoo! She kept us updated with belly photos, and weeks 13 to 17 flew by with little to report. During week 17, Tarynn had another OB appointment which showed a strong heartbeat of 159! Then, unfortunately, Tarynn came down with strep throat. ☹ She called to let us know she would need to take a few meds which were all approved by her doctor, and we felt terrible knowing she was pregnant AND sick. How horrible!
However, there was a silver lining to this: Because she was feeling under the weather and was resting as much as possible, she started to feel flutters as she was lying still on the couch. OH MY GOSH! Our baby was moving in there! It was the best news, and to this day it continues to be reassuring to hear of her movement, letting us all know she is doing great.
Around this time Brooks and I were on our babymoon, spending a week in Maui with two other couples. There are definitely some positives to this situation, one of them being my ability to consume unlimited mai-tai’s while on my babymoon.
By week 18, Tarynn reported that Ava was doing gymnastics late at night, and each week after that Ava’s movements were more noticeable as her kicks became stronger. During Tarynn’s twentieth week of pregnancy (HALF WAY! WHATTTTT!), we flew down to Southern California for our “Anatomy” Scan, and to visit with Tarynn, her fam, and her precious wombmate.
It was another very, very, VERY early morning flight in order to maximize our day. We left our house dark and early at 5 AM and were landed in Ontario by 7:30 AM. We rented a car, grabbed some coffee and breakfast, and drove to Tarynn’s home. We spent some time catching up with her and her girls, and then all left together for the appointment, dropping the girlies off at Aunt Katie’s home so they could play, and not have to sit through a boring doctor’s appointment.
The experience at Tarynn’s OB was very different from our first. We were seen within minutes of sitting down, and this time we got to experience the “fancy” ultrasound room which looked a lot like a Fortune Teller’s lounge. We entered through a special curtain, sat ourselves on a big cozy couch (while Tarynn plopped on the exam table) and watched the show before our eyes on the big screen TV while the room was quiet, dim and dark.
The Anatomy Scan went very… fast.
I had heard from so many that this was the best ultrasound to be at through the entire journey, as you would see so much; but also because the exam generally took anywhere from 45 min – 1.5 hours. I couldn’t WAIT to watch our daughter move and wiggle for that long! Unfortunately, we were out in 15 minutes. Our u/s tech was very fast and efficient, and didn’t explain too much of what she was measuring. I could easily make out Ava’s face, fingers, arms, legs, heart, brain/skull, toes, and of course the “money shot” (Yes, still a girl lol). But I had no idea what I was looking at while she was measuring many of the other areas, which I believe were the tummy, kidneys, liver, lungs, etc.
Poor Brooks, not having as much experience looking at these things, couldn’t really make out anything. ☹ I should have spoken up and asked the tech to explain more, but I am always fearful of being disruptive, or a pest. Oh well, Ava received a clean bill of health from our doctor after the scan so ultimately, we were very happy with the appointment! We cannot stop staring at the photos we received from the scan. My mom and I are obsessed with Ava’s button nose, and we are continually debating who she “resembles” even though I know this is all speculation and virtually impossible to tell.
We also learned from our Anatomy Scan that our daughter already has some crazy long legs! Remember the photo of our alien baby who had nubs for legs? Well, now her legs are so long that her knees are crowded in her face. Good thing she has extra room in Tarynn’s over-achieving, growing uterus!
After the scan, we picked Tarynn’s daughters up and went to a yummy lunch together at Lazy Dog café. But not until after an impromptu park photo shoot which Brooks made super awkward because he felt silly pointing at Tarynn’s belly. Men. LOL.
We said our goodbyes after lunch, and Brooks and I made our way to visit friends in San Gabriel for the evening. It has been so wonderful being able to see our non-local friends so much this year with everyone living within 2 hours of Tarynn. We know it will be hard to make this trip when Ava is little, so it is a blessing to be able to soak it up now.
The next few weeks flew by surrogacy-wise, and we received more “bumpdates” from Tarynn showing a growing belly, and reports of a very squirmy and active Ava.
However, entering this New Year shaped up to be a rocky one for me personally (not related to surrogacy) and I would be lying and would be doing a disservice by not including all the real and raw details while documenting this journey. So here goes:
For the past 5 years, my life more or less centered around having a baby. I put my health in the backseat while I went to appointments, shot myself up with hormones and steroids and blood thinners, took more pills than what I think is actually humanly possible, had multiple surgeries and procedures, and lived day to day focusing on bad news, BFN’s, and of course, the extreme pains and hopelessness during the unfathomable miscarriages & chemicals. Although Brooks, close friends, and family were my rocks, and ultimately brought me through the darkest times; I did not take much time to focus on myself, my physical health, or my mental health. Rather, I just kept moving forward and pushing everything into a black hole in my head where I figured it could never be retrieved again.
I have never once regretted my decision to pursue surrogacy, or the timing. And to be truthful, nothing has ever felt so right. I only wish someone would have told me to go straight to surrogacy from the get-go! I love knowing my child is being well cared for, better than I could ever care for her while she cooks. I have no jealousy, no sadness, and no longing to feel her kicks from the inside… only the predictive longing to hold her in my arms on her arrival to the world; and to cuddle, love, and parent her until my final days.
With that being said, many of my most horrendous past symptoms, and an ongoing list of new symptoms, have all flared up again. I have been feeling ill these past few weeks and it was getting harder to wake up every day and get through my day without pain, or a migraine, or a stomach ache, or extreme fatigue and dizziness. I am a meticulous planner, and I struggle with needing life to fit according to my google calendar (HA! Can’t wait for Ava to teach me to throw THAT out the window!) Luckily, I was on top of making doctor appointments in efforts to get better asap.
One initial check-up led to another appointment, which led to 3 more, which led to me seeing (and still seeing) 2 regular doctors and 6 specialists, and undergoing more tests and bloodwork. I was becoming extremely overwhelmed, not that I wasn’t used to so many appointments, but because I felt I was getting no answers, feeling like I couldn’t catch a break, and also quickly realizing that I should have been working on my health all this time instead of ignoring it! For some strange reason in my cloud of happiness, glitter and rainbows since our BFP with Tarynn; I completely forgot that I still have incurable and invisible illnesses that need to be acknowledged and treated daily.
That’s right, surrogacy does not cure Endometriosis, PCOS, migraines, nerve damage, Hypothyroidism, POTS, and anxiety folks! Who knew?
Every week has become easier as I try to let go of the reins, let my doctors work with me on the best path for a healthy future, and remember that I am so blessed in many other areas in life. It has been a daily struggle that I am slowly but surely pulling myself out of, and I do it every day for my husband, my marriage, and for my daughter. I want her to grow up with a healthy, active, happy Momma. This has meant making a lot of sacrifices in my diet and exercise regimen, making time for needed appointments, and trying to say “No” to plans or favors more often than I used to so I am able to hang back and rest. *Shudder*, I hate saying no!
I wanted to throw this out there on our blog to bring awareness and attention to Intended Mothers. Most of us have a medical reason why we are unable to carry our own children. And sometimes, it is an ongoing and incurable illness that we have to deal with daily, and it shouldn’t be forgotten or ignored just because we finally reached our goal destination of parenthood. It is a constant work in progress on ourselves, and it is a battle we fight especially for our families.
And now back to the regularly scheduled programming…
We hit 24 weeks last Saturday, which is our first viability milestone! Tarynn had another appointment this past week which showed a very wiggly baby, a very strong heartbeat, and a very BIG uterus. Her uterus is currently measuring 28 weeks, although we are only 24 weeks. Her doctor mentioned this could be due to too much amniotic fluid, which is closely monitored as it could cause some issues in rare cases. He will continue to monitor her uterus growth, and we will address this again at Tarynn’s next appointment in mid-February. Keep your fingers crossed for us that it’s nothing! None of us are feeling overly concerned, however prayers are appreciated and can’t hurt.
What’s up next for us? Tarynn has her glucose test in approx. 3 weeks, we have our co-ed baby shower bash which Tarynn will be attending in Nor-Cal in 4 weeks, her next OB appt. in 4 weeks, and lastly in mid-March we will be flying down south for a special 3D u/s and a mini-photo shoot to further document this incredible journey, and time in our lives. Once these things are complete, the next time we will likely see Tarynn is when she is giving birth to our child. Mind…BLOWN!
Catch up on the entire Surrogacy Journey to Baby Paine HERE