Saturday, April 30, 2016

Right on Target



In the news and social media lately, I have seen so much emotion and drama about people going to the bathroom.  Yes, we are vehemently arguing here in the U.S. about who is and is not allowed to pee.  I think this is absurd.  With this in mind, I am going to attempt a little tutorial on American culture and bathrooms from the perspective of a fairly well-educated, middle class, American woman.  I am going to explain a few basic ideas, and then pull them together so that we can have a simple understanding of the situation.

Rape Culture
The simple definition I go by:  As a culturally accepted, non-written rule, we blame the victim for the sexual crimes perpetrated against her.  
Even though I never heard the term until I was an adult, I have belonged to this culture my entire life.  When I was a little girl (growing up in my middle class, white neighborhood), my mother taught me to never go to anywhere alone.  She taught me to take a buddy with me to the bathroom and to always tell someone where I was going.  Bathrooms were an especially dangerous place- one that I could not enter without her or someone else along with me. Now, my mother never told me, "bathrooms are dangerous places full of men who want to molest or rape you," but that was what she said when she told me, "never go to the bathroom alone."  
I taught my children the exact same thing.  I went with my daughter to the bathroom until she was 12 years old.  When my boys were old enough to be embarrassed by using they women's restroom, they went with each other to the bathroom until they were 10 or 11.  Even when they went together, and even once I allowed them to go alone, I always asked if they were going "number one" or "number two" and let them know how many minutes they had until I came looking for them.  It may be in a restaurant, a church, or a school, but I never let my children use restrooms unsupervised and without me knowing exactly how long they were gone.  I also made sure to know that there were no exits between me and them.  I never told them bathrooms were scary places, but I am pretty sure they figured it out just like I did.  
To this day, when I am traveling alone and I stop at a rest stop or gas station to use the bathroom, I call or text my husband to tell him exactly where I am before I get out of the car, and I call or text him again when I am safely in my car and locked back in.  When I am walking into the restroom, I look around to see who is there.  I look in all the bathroom stalls if I think I am alone in the restroom.  I go as quickly as I can while listening for footsteps.  I am quick to wash my hands and I don't run the automatic hand dryer because I don't want to miss a sound.
This makes it sound like I live in fear.  The thing is, I do not live in fear.  This is simply how I was taught to travel in the world.  I must always be on my guard to protect myself when I do not have a man there to protect me.  This is rape culture.
 I am infuriated that I have been taught to live in a way that no man is.  My husband does not do these things.  My father did not do these things.  They are survival skills our mothers teach us to survive in a world where we are not protected against the men who may want to hurt us.     
Does it seem that this is just one personal example?  Here are some others:
Last week, a court in Oklahoma found that a teenage girl was not raped because she was nearly unconscious.  This allowed a white male to force her to perform oral sex on him while she was unable to give consent.  He will not be punished for this crime, even though he admits he committed it.

Over the last few weeks, it has come out that BYU, a prominent American university, has been disciplining the victims of sexual assault and rape because they broke the honor code.  Yes, according to BYU, a rape victim broke the honor code because of what was done to her without her consent.  

I just ran a search for "how to keep my daughter safe at college" and 13,300,000 results came up.  I typed in "how to keep my son safe at college" and 11,000,000 results came up.  I was about to be surprised, when I realized that those articles were being gender neutral.  Not a single one used the word "son."  On the "daughter" screen, every single one used the word "daughter."  This is rape culture.

My daughter wants a keychain with mace in it for a going-away-to-college present.  Just like her aunt got for hers.  Just like I got when I got my first job.  My brothers never got any such gift.

Clearly, 2016 America still holds on to its rape culture, even to the point that we don't even realize we are living it because it is a generational norm we have never stopped to notice.

Transgendered People
Disclaimer:  As far as I know, I do not know any trans people well.  I am going on what I have read and seen in documentaries, the news, and social media.  All ignorance in this section is mine.
  
The simple definition I go by:  A transgendered person is someone who was born with a body that belonged to one sex, but with a spirit, mind, and heart that belongs to the other.  There are other people who do not identify as either male or female, and they fall in this category too.  Basically, the person inside of the body does not match the gender assigned at birth.
While looking up statistics to write this blog post, I found out things I don't want to know.  
75% of transgendered students don't feel safe at school.  Many of these students are not only harassed and bullied by other students, but many are picked on by teachers and administrators (which makes my teacher heart ache).    
These same children hear anti-LGBT comments at about the same rate.
Approximately 41% of trans people have attempted suicide at least once.
Trans children are often abused by their own families.
1 in 2 trans people are sexually assaulted (this is not adding all the other assaults they face).
I did not see any statistics about trans people as the abuser or rapist.  

What all of this tells me:  Trans people are one of the most victimized, abused, and singled out groups of people in our country.  These people- our coworkers, friends, brothers, and sisters- are hurting and the people around them often do not understand or blatantly say or do harmful things to them.  


Fear and Love
When I put together what I know about rape culture and trans people, this is what I get.  We live in a society where women (and boys and girls and other humans who do not qualify as men) live in a constant state of awareness to protect ourselves from becoming victims.  We must be  ever vigilant in protecting ourselves because we know that men are liable to harm us, and in the American justice system and American culture, we will be blamed for it.  We will be the ones who are scrutinized and held under a microscope to deem whether we are worthy to be a victim or if there was something we did that caused it to happen to us.  Among us are trans people, one of the most abused groups in America.  
Enter this fact:  Trans people have to pee.  Sometimes, they are out in public when this happens.  They go to the bathroom just like the rest of us do.  They pick the one with their gender on the door.  They go in and they pee.  Hopefully they wash their hands.  They go back out and carry on with their day.  Obviously, they do the same thing I do if they go into an empty bathroom- they check to make sure there is no rapist hiding on top of a toilet seat.  
Now, enter the absurd side show that America has become:  Some idiot on his legislative seat has determined that trans people should not be allowed to pee in the bathroom that fits their gender.  They should use a bathroom based on an appendage or a lack of an appendage connected to their body.  

What this legislator is saying is that instead of a little girl going pee with her mom, the mom should say:  Hi daughter, I know that you are a girl, but you were born with a penis, so I am going to send you in your pretty pink dress into a bathroom with men.  Don't bother checking the stalls for rapists or child molesters, they won't need to hide from you.  After all, one out of every four rapes occurs in a public place.  Don't worry honey, I'll be here when you come out.  I know that one in two trans people are sexually assaulted, and we had better get you used to it now.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  

Why Don't We Take Out Our Fear and Rage Upon Those Who Cause and Perpetuate It?
Last week, a former Speaker of the House of the United States of America was indicted for sexually abusing several teenagers.  I have seen many, many people take to social media to rage against trans children using the bathroom that belongs to their true gender.  I have seen ZERO of these people say a single word about this sexual predator.  Why, if our goal is to protect people from sexual predators, do we not fight for laws banning these rapists and molesters from bathrooms?  Why don't we fight for them to have a little shack out back to use for the bathroom?  Why are we taking one of our most abused populations and trying to force them into situations where they will no doubt be abused further?  
When we have celebrities, religious leaders, politicians, and countless other men raping, molesting, assaulting, and damaging other humans, do we not try to enact laws to keep us safe from them?  
When we have a population of abused and misunderstood people, why do we make laws to further push them out of our communities?
Why don't we rage against the evil of these criminals who cause our fear?
Why don't we love and embrace these individuals who have already been or are at the highest risk of becoming victimized?
I ask you, why do we choose fear instead of love?

The answer is simple my friends.  Rape culture is so ingrained in us that we are willing to blame the victim for the crime we are afraid will happen to us.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Carrying my own baby again

I truly believed I was done having my own children when I became a surrogate.  After the last surrogate pregnancy, I pretty much knew I was done.  My body had been battered, my spirits had been crushed, and I knew that I could not emotionally handle another bad ending to a journey.
The thing I didn't count on was my husband deciding- after five years of marriage and three surrogate pregnancies- that he wanted to have OUR child.  And how could I say no?   I couldn't.  And the idea of us creating our own tiny miracle made me smile.
So here we are, 23 weeks pregnant with our daughter.  And I have realized that this pregnancy is so very different than the last three.
My own babies- take 1:
I was 18, 21, and 23 when I had my first three children.  I was young and strong and busy.  I took my own health and the health of my children for granted.  I didn't pay much attention to what was going on inside of me, just that I would have a child at the end.  I enjoyed my pregnancies and loved nothing more than feeling my child moving inside of me.    And each time one of my babies were born, I was the first to hold them.  I was able to look into their little face and see the person I had been getting to know for the last ten months.  Pregnancy and motherhood were beautiful to me.  They were my happiness and the one thing in my life I never doubted.  I knew I was an awesome mom.  I knew I had amazing kids.  No matter how fast or far I was running, my kids were always who I was running for.  Pregnancy was a means to an end, and an enjoyable means at that.
Surrogate babies- take 2:
I was 30, 31, and 34 when I carried my five surrogate babies.  Starting with couples who had experienced losses or infertility, going through shots and hormones and IVF, and belonging to a surrogacy community where pregnancy and problems were shared freely brought a new perspective to pregnancy.  I knew the odds, the risks, and the high stakes involved.  I knew that these families were counting on me to get their child(ren) here safely.  I took excellent care of myself, and treasured these babies as the most precious gift their parents had entrusted me with.  My pregnancies themselves became the journey, and I documented every month with pictures, updated the parents
with every change, and savored the beauty of growing a life for another family.  Pregnancy was the journey, and I loved it (well, until that last one....).   I relished the moment when I would deliver the baby and watch as her parents received her into their arms and fell in love.  My favorite moment of each journey was seeing those parents look at their child and .... Change.

Here I am, 36 years old, a year after I had planned to shut down the uterus, 23 weeks pregnant with my own child again. I didn't know how this would play out in my mind or what it would do to my emotions.  The first few months were terrible.  I had morning sickness for the first time ever.  I doubted my ability to carry a child safely to term after 6 successful and uneventful pregnancies.  On the heels of my miscarriage, I doubted baby would settle in and feared I would lose this child before we really got started.  Once we made it out of the first trimester, I started to believe the baby would be okay.  We have made it through all of the tests and all looks good.  We are days away from baby being able to stand a chance at survival if she were to come.   And in the last few weeks, I have noticed that this pregnancy is unlike any I have ever had before.

How is it different?  I am not enjoying pregnancy at all.  It is a means to an end once more, and the journey will not really begin until my daughter arrives.  I find myself wishing away the weeks until we arrive at her due date.  I still worry that something will go wrong because I still know all the bad things.  I plan for her nursery, and I prepare the necessary things.
I want desperately to see my husband's face when he looks at her for the first time. I want to see him when he sees her.  I want to record the look on his face when he changes.  I have always told him there is a magic in seeing your tiny, new child for the first time that changes something inside you.  I have told him that once he sees her and holds her for the first time, he will never be the same again.  I have always wished this for him, since it is the greatest joy I have ever known.  I hope against all hope that I will be able to witness this moment.
But in my mind, I always come back to the one moment.  I come to the moment when my daughter is born and they put her in MY arms and it is ME feeling her skin, kissing her cheeks, and counting her toes.  I am stuck on the moment when it is ME who gets to feel the delicious weight of her on my chest.
I think somehow, after watching the last five babies I have delivered go directly into someone else's arms, I think that I will appreciate this miracle being laid into my arms even more than I ever did before.
I am starting to believe, that with all the experience I have with childbirth and pregnancy and motherhood, with all I have learned of hope and giving and loss, I am starting to believe that I even I can, just maybe, still find the magic and... Change.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The new normal

I opened up blogger to write a poem today.  Of course, what I found when I arrived was the post I wrote in January while I was healing and starting to finally feel like a "normal" Emily again.  As you would suppose, I cried when I read it.  Cried to remember the pain, the loss, and the journey back to me.
I will never be who I was before.  I have known what it means to "lose myself" and learned that it is the worst feeling.  I have learned compassion, I have learned "it is what it is" and I have learned how to let go.  Elsa, the most annoying Disney princess ever conceived, is of course the bearer of my theme song.  I have learned to let go.  Of my pain.  Of my fear.  Of other people's choices.  Of judgment.  Of my children (the most difficult of all).  Of everything. 
I am happy to share that I am off meds and therapy now.  I still go to my group meetings, but I made it off meds!  It was a very challenging process; I didn't realize that going off the meds brought back the symptoms of depression and anxiety.  It took me two months to get them out of my system.  I am now fully functioning at my new normal.
I sometimes wonder, "Would I go back and change this journey I have taken as a surrogate?"  I would not.  If the price of growing three families, carrying five children, and growing love is this journey I have walked, I accept the pain with the joy. 
I was taught as a little girl in church that I was sent to earth to choose for myself the path that I would walk through this life.  I am most thankful that I have been able to choose for myself to walk the path that I walk. 
This last year, as I struggled through depression and back to myself, I taped a poem up on my computer at work.  I think I will put up a new one this year, but this poem has become part of my soul:

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul. 

William Ernest Henley

*Italics and bold on the last line added by me.  And this poem, written to describe life, for me was about depression and finding the strength and support to make it out.  My counselor said that depression was like a rut, and I was a car trapped in it.  All I needed to do was to keep turning the wheel, trying different maneuvers to get out, and eventually- POP!  I would be able to drive out.  That is the picture I kept in my mind as I journeyed, and now I see the car is free.  I am free!!!!!!!
 

Friday, January 2, 2015

It is done


 

A few months ago, I received an email from the owner of the surrogacy company I have worked with three times.  She had received an email from a French journalist asking about me and the twins.  She had found my blog, and wanted to know what happened.  I have let this information percolate in my mind these last months, and have been amazed that a French woman found my blog, and then with the thought that maybe there is someone out there wondering what happened to me and the boys.  The short version is- all is well, we are all well.  More or less.  The long version is longer than anyone cares to read, but here is a mid-length version.

I have been a surrogate mother three times.  Three times I have found a couple who, for various reasons, could not have a child without reproductive assistance.  Three times I have carried another woman’s child inside my womb, loved him/her/them, and delivered them safely into loving arms. 

As I began my third journey, I had planned to keep my blog up better than I had the previous two times.  I had planned to journal and keep track of so much more than I had in the two journeys before.  I had planned to be amazing this time, since I planned on this being my last journey.

And, as usual, life happened in a way I never expected.  During the first months of the pregnancy (twin boys this time), I felt a sorrow and a darkness I had never felt before.  I could no longer write, and I just wanted to sit in my house in the dark and stay away from the world.  This was scary, but I figured it was the hormones (IVF requires about three-four months of fertility hormones and such to ensure a healthy pregnancy).  In great news, within two weeks of going off the last of the hormones, I felt much improved.  I settled into the second trimester feeling much closer to normal and hopeful for a healthy pregnancy.  I didn’t get going too much with my blog because I kept waiting to have time to go back and pick up in the beginning where I had left off.

Well, that obviously didn’t happen during the summer.  Then, I went back to work in August, and all mental hell broke loose.  I struggled through the last trimester, hurting and aching and exhausted for the last several months.  I was in such pain, contracting all the time (which I had never done before) and so worried that these boys would come too early, I practically begged my doctor to let me stay home, but to no avail.  Finally, about four weeks before the boys were due and two weeks before my doctor planned to induce labor, I started having enough contractions and he grew concerned enough that he put me on modified bedrest.  He told me that it “wasn’t just you” I need to worry about and I believe he put me on the bedrest as an extra precaution for the family who had gone through so much heartache to make it to this point. 

I spent the last few weeks of my pregnancy home, sitting on the couch in the dark and watching TV to keep my mind off of my discomfort.  Four days before the boys were set to be induced, I went into labor.  Jason and I went to the hospital, called their parents when we knew it was true labor, and prepared for delivery.  As my luck would have it with this pregnancy, when the doctor broke my water, blood and blood and blood came out.  We did not know where it was coming from, but neither baby was in distress.  I was exhausted, afraid, and knew that my run of beautiful vaginal deliveries had come to an end.  I had an emergency C-section while completely unconscious, my mother and husband standing outside of the OR worrying while my husband texted and sent pictures to the boys’ parents- who were driving at lightning speed to get to their boys.

I woke up drugged, cut in half, and miserable.  All the women I know who have had C-sections make it look easy.  I had each leg bound in a squeezy thing (to keep circulation they said), I was drugged and semi-conscious, and the boys’ parents came so they got to their children before I was well.  In my drugged state, the parents brought the boys to me and I was able to hold them both.  I remember them being warm and perfect.  Then they were gone.  The next morning, while I was still drugged, I said goodbye to the boys while they were strapped into their car seats- I never saw them once the drugs wore off.  I was fairly impressed that twins born just over two weeks early were both over seven pounds and able to go home less than 24 hours after birth.

I went home a day later and everything hurt.  I could not even sit up on my own.  My husband had to help me lay down, sit down, stand up, and I could do nothing except sit and heal.  A few days later, the twins’ father sent me a hate email ( have tried to find better wording for this message he sent, but there is none).  He accused me of abusing he and his wife and taking advantage of them because I asked for lost wages (as per our contract) for the two weeks I had been on bedrest- you know, keeping their children safe so they could be born strong and healthy and able to go home the next day.  I responded, defending myself and at the same time telling him and his wife that I love them, and I always will.  I let them know that I would never hurt them and I had done nothing wrong (except trusting them- which I of course didn’t put in the email) and never heard from him again.

I sat in my house for two weeks in the dark, watching comedies to keep my mind off of the physical and emotional pain.  I went back to work after two weeks- a bad idea I later learned.  Time went by, and I didn’t feel any better emotionally.  I felt worse and worse.  I hated everyone and everything and all I wanted to do was sit in my house in the dark.  A few weeks later, I received a text message picture of the boys from their mom, and I broke into tears sobbing that all contact had not been lost.

A few more months went by, and I was not okay.  I literally wanted to kill my dogs, hide in my house in the dark, and I could not think clearly.  It was as if a fog of darkness was drifting through my soul, keeping me from experiencing any joy in my life.  My ob/gyn told me to see how I felt in a few more weeks and let him know.  In the meantime, I had a check up with my family doctor and let him know I was on the verge of darkness.  He made me promise to call if it got any worse.  One Saturday night, I woke up with horrific nightmares that had me curling up to my husband because the fear was so real and so terrifying.  I planned to call my doctor on Monday morning.  Serendipitously, my family doctor called me Sunday morning because he was worried about me, and I told him (through tears) that I needed help.  He gave me some medication for the depression, some medicine to take in case of another panic attack, and encouraged me to see a counselor.  I set up an appointment with the counselor and began seeing him about every two weeks.

The twins were born the beginning of November.  I started getting help for my post partum depression in January.  I felt ashamed and guilty, not so much because this terrible illness had taken over my mind, body, and soul, but because I had done it to help another family, not my own.  I felt like I was robbing my family of me, and they received no benefit for it.  I didn’t talk to people about it because the shame was so high.  As the months went by and I shared with a few people, I realized that so many women suffer from post partum depression, but all are ashamed because our society doesn’ t accept depression as a true medical disorder- which it is- society sees it as a mental weakness.

In July, on a much needed trip with my friend in Portugal, I felt true happiness for the first time in well over a year.   I wept with joy.

It is January now.  I received a picture of the boys on their first birthday and a Christmas card of their beautiful family.  I am much healthier now, but I still have days and weeks where I struggle daily to overcome the depression.  I attend a support group with others who have depression and we find strength in one another and can honestly share how we feel without fear of judgment. 

I find joy in my life, and happiness knowing I live the life I want with three amazing children and a husband who stood by me like a rock through this experience.  I have learned humility and patience.  I have learned that nobody- no matter how stubborn, strong-willed, brave, or smart- can fall victim to depression.  I have learned that doing good does not always end in a reward, but can sometimes leave scars that will never heal.  

I believe that life is all about learning and growing.  We use what we learn to become better and help others.  Through this experience, I have learned what it feels like to lose control of my mind, something I never thought could befall somebody as strong as I believe I am.  I have gained a deep understanding and empathy for those who suffer from mental illness because I can testify that it is real and it is completely debilitating.  I have learned humility, which I have seriously lacked all my life. 

I am changed from this experience.  I have spent the last six years growing other people’s families and I never knew how I would stop because it is such an incredible high.  This last journey let me know- both body and mind- that I am done.  I have given so much of myself for others, and I have been rewarded by bringing five wanted and loved little people into the world.  I know these children are loved, and no matter how things have ended, that is enough.

I cherish my life, my health, my own children, and more than I ever imagined possible, my husband.  There are days I believe I have overcome the depression, and days I feel I will never escape it, but I have learned how to live with it, and I have too much to live for to let it control me.

This is the end of my surrogacy journey.  It is beautiful and tragic to me.  No matter how things have gone, I know it has been part of my path through this life, and I am forever grateful.
 
My family- Christmas 2014
Me in Douro Valley, Portugal- July 2014

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The First Trimester (March- May 2013)

While completely overjoyed to be carrying these precious children for my IPs, the first trimester has not gone well for me at all.  I am filled with a sorrow, a depression I have never felt during pregnancy before.  I hesitate to write [and for months I couldn't actually write a thing] because I don't want to write about the sadness I am filled with, but I can't write without writing the entire truth. 
My body seems to understand that there are two little humans playing in here once more, and she is angry with me!  I tell my body, "just one more time, just get these children here safely this one more time and I will listen to you."  I am afraid my body will give out on me, will not get these babies here safely and on time, and I feel afraid that I will fail my IPs.
I cannot write, play the piano, enjoy the sunshine.  I sit in the darkness of my living room, staring out the window at the light and I am sad.  It is a terrible feeling, but at least I know it is not real.  I know these feelings are just hormones and they will pass.



Finally, I am able to go off of all the meds from the IVF cycle, and within days, I feel wonderful!  I am so happy to know it was just the meds making me feel so awful, and I am able to enjoy the sunshine once more. 
The babies are growing well.  I am already sporting a little belly and everyone at work has already noticed.  I am excited to have a baby bump so early so that I can enjoy the last six months I will ever have a cute belly in my life (I realize that it will be stretched beyond recognition after this final journey).  Summer is almost here, and I can't wait!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Are we pregnant yet?

Step One- POAS (pee on a stick):
As we have learned from prior experience, I am not patient in the least!  I started the process of POAS three days after transfer (all the hormones you take in IVF make you feel pregnant even if you aren't, so those feelings are unreliable).  On day 4, we saw this:

And my fear of twins skyrocketed!  That is an early BFP (big fat positive).  I continued to test, of course, and this is what we saw:


Step Two- BETA (a quantitave count of the hcg level in your blood to determine pregnancy):
And, just for comparison's sake, these are the BETAS from my last two pregnancies-
Twins:                                                 Singleton:
270@9dp5dt                                        101@11dp3dt
550@11dp5dt                                      373@14dp5dt

BETA #1- 324@9dp5dt (And yes, this is a higher number than my first set of twins.  I am already convinced at this point that I am carrying twins again- despite the low odds the doctors gave us).
BETA #2- 624@11dp5dt (even higher)

Now, in both my other surrogacy experiences, the IVF doctor would schedule an ultrasound to see what all is going on inside the belly.  Hence, the commonly used phrase "in the 2ww (two week wait)" to describe waiting to see if any and how many babies are growing.  However, this IVF doctor decided that instead of scheduling an ultasound, we would continue with more BETAS.
BETA #3- 8099@19dp5dt
BETA #4- 20600@25dp5dt

At this point, I am totally flabbergasted that I have not had an ultrasound, and I am ready to strangle the doctor for making us wait so long! 
In fact, I am already showing:


Finally, finally, after over a month of waiting, the IVF doctor decides we will have an ultrasound.  I already know it is twins, and convince myself I will survive another twin pregnancy, and hope I am wrong.  We have the ultrasoud and see:

Yep, twins it is!  The twins' mother literally jumps up and down smiling and laughing for a few minutes.  Dad is calmer, but has a huge smile across his face.  (I would love nothing more than to insert the beautiful, glowing faced of the parents-to-be here, but I will have to check on that.) 
We have started another adventure, and we are off and running...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lucky Transfer




 photo clover_zpse4fdd411.jpg


March 17 is a lucky day.  It is St. Patrick's Day, and tradition dictates luck will come on this day. I woke up this beautiful Sunday morning, donned my knee-high four leaf clover socks and "I'm your lucky charm" green tshirt, and went with my IPs to transfer.
Our first bit of luck came in our 5 day transfer.  In most protocols I have seen, clinics opt for either a 3 day or 5 day transfer.  If there aren't a lot of embryos, or the embryos aren't developing as nicely as the doctor would like, they do a 3 day transfer to try to get them into a natural environment and hope they thrive there.  If there are plenty of embryos and they are developing well, a 5 day transfer is preferred because it gives time to watch the embryos develop so we can transfer the strongest ones.
This is the first transfer I have had that didn't happen in the clinic itself.  This one took place a few buildings away in an outpatient procedure type of place.  It was Sunday morning, and only one other transfer was taking place, so it was very calm and peaceful.  We walked into my pre-procedure room and found three sets of gowns and caps folded neatly on the exam table and the two chairs- one set for each of us.  My IPs actually had masks they had to wear, but I got a pair of fuzzy red socks instead!  I signed a bazillion papers, including one that said the "condition" I was being treated for was "procreational management" (which made me laugh).  I was offered a valium, and I accepted!  I drank my 1 1/3 bottles of water (the amount my bladder requires to reach full capacity), and tried to keep my bladder calm as we chatted and waited for our scheduled appointment time.
 photo embryos_zps2db27f9d.jpgThe IVF doctor came in and showed us the two beautiful embryos we would be transferring.  One was already branching out, and one was about to.  He said they were as perfect as could be, and gave my IPs the picture taken of them just that morning.
We rolled on down the hall and into the
"operating room", even though there would be no operating occuring.  I went in to the special chair, and the doctor himself got me all wrapped and snuggled into position.  My IM sat just to my left, and my IF sat just behind her (where he wouldn't have to endure the peek-a-boo show!) Once I was settled, we looked at the u/s screen to our right and watched as the IVF doctor opened the path up into my uterus.  As soon as the way was prepared, we turned our attention to the huge TV screen on the left wall and watched the embryologist put the catheter into the dish with the two embryos and suck them up.  They didn't really want to go into the straw, and kept jumping out of it.  Finally, both embryos were loaded.  The embryologist came in with the catheter, and we threaded it up the pathway to the very back of the uterus.  Then, the IVF doctor pulled the trigger and we watched the embryos shoot into their new home, followed by an air bubble (which you will see as a white dot in the picture.  The air bubble is loaded behind the embryos so there is a visual that the embryos left the catheter.  Once the doctor sees the air bubble, they take the catheter and put it under a microscope to make sure the embryos are not still in it.) 
 photo embryosinuteruscropped_zpsb7e1187c.jpgWe were given the all clear, my bladder was drained for me (sweet relief), and we rolled back down the hall to our room to wait for 30 minutes.
We left the clinic, hoping and praying the embryos were snuggling in to their new 10-month home.
We went to my IPs home, where they fed me lunch and helped me get situated to rest.  I kept waiting for the valium to kick in, but it didn't.  Well, until I fell asleep...
We had a great transfer day.  I came home with my family from my IPs' house with a strong feeling of peace and calm.  I am not superstitious in the least, but I do like to believe that we had a bit of the luck of the Irish with us on Sunday, and that it will follow us through to a healthy pregnancy.  My wish is for my IPs to have a baby in their arms, a living, breathing piece of St. Patty's Day luck, by the time we roll back around to this festive holiday.
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