Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ultrasound: 22 Weeks

Here we are at 22 weeks, 1 day and Baby A is really starting to look like a baby and less like an alien! I think this has been the most exciting ultrasound for me since hearing the heartbeat for the first time. Andrea will likely agree.

The first video has some great shots of her face using 4D. The good stuff starts around the 2:00 mark. Baby A is very active; opening her mouth, moving her arms and legs and generally doing anything she possibly can to keep us from getting a good look at her face. There is one point in the ultrasound where I'm positive she is flipping off the wand for making so much noise in her usually quiet environment!
She cooperated for a moment today and we got a great look at her face. She's a cutie!

The second video is more exploring around looking at organs and such as well as a heartbeat count. It is 148bpm this morning.



Today is proof positive that we really need to get into gear with the nursery and overall prep for our special family member. So far things have come together nicely and we expect that to continue. Anyone who knows me knows I pretty much want everything done by yesterday. Creating a nursery does not work like that. Also, I find baby stuff is like wedding planning. Everything is marked up substantially...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

22 Weeks!

No, I didn't forget to take a pic last week. I just figured it's probably kinda boring to read the same stuff every week, so I figured I'd post two pics at once for awhile. This baby girl is behaving herself and I'm really enjoying her. If every day of pregnancy could be like these recent days have been, well...I'd say I'd keep doing this, but I seem to do so anyway. :) I am finally starting to gain a little weight (up 3 pounds now, according to my scale at home) and I think it's starting to show in places other than the belly. :( Little miss is becoming more active and much stronger. I'm pretty sure she's going to want to kick my dog's butt once she's out, if he doesn't stop trying to lay on her all the time. Don't worry, he's a little dog! You can actually see him (Sawyer) begging me to pick him up in the bottom pic...lol. The second pic is also of him cuddling with me and protecting the baby. :)


21 weeks, 12/14/10




















Sawyer cuddling with me and protecting baby :)




















22 weeks, 12/21/10




Monday, December 20, 2010

Nursery Progress and Other Thoughts

For those of you following this blog, this will be the first post you have seen from me. I have collaborated with my husband on some of the earlier posts but felt it was time to post something of my own.
There has been a lot going on in the Miller household. Of course, we have been preparing for Christmas/the holiday season but we have also been busy starting the nursery and making other preparations for baby A's arrival. As time seems to be flying by quickly, we realized not too long ago that we probably needed to get a jump on all this. The furniture has been ordered and I'm really glad we did that first as I hadn't realized how long it would take to get here. I also finalized my decision on her bedding and some accessories. It will be fun watching everything come together.
On another note, it has been really nice that, over the past few weeks, LaDonna has been able to feel baby A move pretty regularly. Hopefully, soon, we will get to feel her move now that her movement can be felt on the outside of her belly. The next major milestone is 24 weeks and I can't wait until we are there.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

20 WEEKS!!!!!


Well we're half way to the big day!!!! I had an OB appointment this morning and I have gained a pound (finally)! My uterus is measuring 21 weeks, which is fine. Blood pressure was good, as was baby's heart rate. Everything seems to be perfect!!! (The pic was taken yesterday at 20 weeks exactly.)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Rockin' and rollin'

My goodness! I could feel this baby girl moving a lot, so I just put my hand on my belly and I can feel her from the outside for the first time!!!! I'm so excited and hope that Steve and Andrea might be able to feel her sometime soon! She's very hyper right now...probably because she knows I'm ready for bed! LOL

Level 2 Ultrasound, Part II

Those of you following along will remember the "Scary Day" post from back at 17 weeks. This was the first time we had an opportunity to see Level 2 ultrasound images of Baby A. Level 2 penetrates well enough to see inside the organs to ensure everything is 100% okay.
Today was our follow-up visit and second Level 2 look at things. We were able to get a recording right off the ultrasound machine.
For those who are really interested in every aspect of this pregnancy, we have posted all five parts below. Follow along in the upper left corner by reading what the tech is typing as she takes a look around.
For those of you wanting to see killer 4D images of Baby A's face, skip ahead to "Ultrasound 5". They were able to get some great face shots today even though she was trying to cover it with her hands!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Miller Lite


David and I went out for lunch yesterday. As we were leaving the restaurant, I spotted this truck and thought it was the perfect photo op. David convinced me to stand in front of it and he took the pic. I sent it to Steve and Andrea and told them the next time I send it to them, it will be "Miller time" and they'll need to meet me at the hospital. LOL I'm sure people were wondering why a pregnant woman was getting her pic taken in front of a Miller Lite truck, but oh well...it was too perfect since I've called this baby Miller Lite this whole time. Hey, I have to enjoy the nickname now as her real name will be used very soon! ;)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

19 weeks!


I cannot believe we're 1 week away from being half way through this pregnancy! It's flying by (for me anyway)! Little miss has been pretty active. She makes me laugh. She'll be very still for awhile, almost to where I get concerned, then she surprises me with a kick and a punch and a few dance steps all at once. LOL I guess she was nice and stretched out today because I got a big kick all the way over on my left side...and I didn't even realize she could reach that far yet! Overall, I'm feeling much better. I still get tired and queasy on occasion, but it's rare and so much better than it was. Not to mention, I think I finally look pregnant and not fat! :)


Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's Bedlam, Baby!

So it's Bedlam Game Day. This is even a bigger deal this year than most. You see, I'm a Sooner fan. I will cheer for the Cowboys until Bedlam, but my heart belongs to the Sooners. As many know, Steve and Andrea are Cowboys fans. I admit we've been pretty "nice" to each other until now, but today is the day and we now have our game faces on. I've already threatened to play "Boomer Sooner" to their baby so that will be the only that calms her when she's born. :) I'm awaiting their move because I know it's coming. And God have mercy on the losing "team" here because I know Steve won't let it go...and well, neither will I. No matter the outcome, I think I'm going to purchase this shirt and wear it proudly. http://www.cafepress.com/+future-sooner+womens-maternity Yeah, OK, so maybe I seem a bit over the top, but hey...it's all in good fun. BOOMER SOONER!!!! (Ha! Baby likes that. She's in there cheering!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ultrasound, Week 18

This morning we did an ultrasound to take a peek at Baby A. She had the hiccups and was very active so the shots we have are very active. There is quite a bit of video here. The first one is likely the most interesting as we see and hear the heartbeat, see the stomach and then some full-frame shots.


In this video Andrea manages to get some decent face shots. She assured me the baby will in fact NOT come out looking like E.T. as some of these images suggest she might.

Isn't technology cool?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

18 weeks!


I don't have much to say this week. I'm eating a little easier finally and I'm back to staying up past 10 pm. So it appears Baby A finally got the memo that we're in the 2nd trimester! :) Other than that, there's nothing to report. I guess no news is good news!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nursery Progress

We've been asked a lot about what our plans are for the nursery. The plan is to start from scratch!
We took the advice of many of our friends & family and decided to go with a wood floor. This required removal of carpet and tacking, then floor prep and finally a lot of glue and oak wood slats. The guys who did the job were very good; thinking we might have them back out to continue this wood down the hallway leading to the nursery.

So, in a matter of about 6 hours, we went from carpet to nice wood floors for Baby A. She'll have 18 years to destroy them as best she can. Better wood than carpet though I suppose!
Andrea has picked out a crib and dresser/changing table although we will wait to purchase them until the store gets enough orders to make it worth shipping a large quantity. Could be as early as mid December or as late as after the first of the year.
More on the nursery as we add to it!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Labor practice? Already?

Wow...I'm already having Braxton Hicks (false contractions). I know they're normal, but I wasn't prepared to have them start so early. Surely, my body knows what and how to do this by now! :) Twenty-three weeks of this is not my idea of fun...but I'd rather they be false than for real!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

17 weeks!



I'm starting to feel less queasy on occasion. It comes and goes, but I have spurts where I get quite an appetite (probably to make up for the times I can't eat much at all). My home scale says I've lost a few more pounds, but I'm hoping to gain them back by the time we have our next OB appointment. I'm still needing/wanting about 10 hours of sleep, although I rarely get it. Things seem to be going well though and I can feel her move quite a bit these days. She likes to remind me she's there. :) I'm very relieved that yesterday's ultrasound went well. Those level 2 ultrasounds always amaze me with how much detail you can see. Now let's hope for a nice, uneventful 23 more weeks!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Scary Day.

This morning we received results of the Maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (MSAFP) test LaDonna had last week. This is a standard voluntary blood test that measures the level of alpha-fetoprotein, a protein produced by the fetus. Abnormal levels indicate the possibility (but not existence) of Down syndrome or a neural tube defect such as spina bifida, which can then be confirmed by ultrasound or amniocentesis.
Miller Lite/LaDonna tested above normal enough to cause slight alarm with the three of us so we promptly contacted Dr. Mirabile's office; he is a well respected Fetal / Maternal Medicine Doc in Norman. We were very fortunate he made time for us to see him today so we really only had a matter of a couple hours to worry ourselves sick over this.
Going into it we knew the probability of the test being inaccurate were high, especially on an IVF baby. No chances will ever be taken though and we appreciate LaDonna, Julie (@ Dr. M's office) and Misty/Becky in Andrea's office for making everything come together so swiftly.

Miller Lite passed the Level 2 Ultrasound tests with flying colors! Heart looked great, fingers looked great, lips, etc. etc. We also have two more definite "It's a Girl" confirmations so now we are back up to 99.9883% chance it's a girl! Unfortunately, I didn't have anything but my phone's camera to take photos with and none of them really came out. The shot above is the best of the batch.

In other "Oh crap, we're finally having a baby" news; I confirmed purchase of the wood floor for "Baby A's" nursery. We decided to go with the same wood we have in our master bedroom which is a thick stressed slat oak with a fairly dark stain. It will be installed next week and from that point we will begin serious decorating. Andrea has picked out a crib and I'll start searching for a rug. Those of you who know us will remember the "rug incident" from just after we moved into our current home. Let's just say she has expensive taste - and I almost had a heart attack. I put myself in charge of all flooring from then on...

Given our wild day, we will skip the usual Wednesday ultrasound this week.

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's A Girl!

Two OBGYN's and one Radiologist all three agree that Miller Lite now has a gender! Of course Andrea and I are thrilled about the results; cant say either one of us ever really cared.

Being that it is my kid, and a girl, the 16-week ultrasound netted us very few decent pictures due to the little gal being stubborn and not turning. Heartbeat is 146, structure looks great, and growth is right on-cue.

LaDonna pointed out that at her next appointment with Dr F, she we will be half way to the April 26th due date. Andrea and I are kicking the nursery plans into high gear now that we have a a direction on color to work with!

Here is one of only shots I took on Wednesday. Amazingly enough, it's the best of the batch. She was very uncooperative. We will take a look again next week and see how she's doing.

So, to all you parents out there, here is a question:
We will replace flooring in the nursery. Which would YOU install: Carpet or Wood?
Comment below! Thanks!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

16 weeks!

This pic was taken last night at 16 weeks exactly.


Well I've lost 2 pounds since I've been pregnant. You'd never guess it by looking at me! We had another OB appointment today and all is well. Blood pressure was 110/56, so I must be nice and relaxed. :) It wasn't easy, but we did find out what this little one is finally! (He/she has not made it easy to tell for sure the past few weeks.) But I'll let the baby's parents share that news...

Next appointment is in 4 weeks and we'll be half way there! I can't believe it!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

There's a little person in there!

I'm starting to get to where I can really enjoy this pregnancy. The nausea and fatigue are still here, but at least I'm starting look pregnant and feel baby kicks. Feeling the little flutters from within help remind me why I feel so blah and makes it easier to deal with. :) This pregnancy seems to be going by fairly quickly. While I'm happy we're past the first trimester, I kinda hope it slows down just a bit so I can enjoy it. I like to treasure each pregnancy, as they are all special and I never know when it may be my last.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

15 weeks! (OMG!)

I must've swallowed a watermelon seed or something because I know there's just one baby in there this time and I'm sure we're only 15 weeks. This is crazy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wait a minute! What happened to his...?

Remember a week ago when we were 99.94155% sure of the baby's sex? Well, it's a good thing we gave ourselves .05845% worth of margin because today, with two separate physician opinions, we are now 90% sure it's a GIRL! You will note we give ourselves a 10% margin of error this time... We will not ultrasound again until two weeks from today so that the next time we see Miller Lite, there will be a more definitive answer. Last week though, we really were nearly 100% convinced we were going to have a boy.

Above is a 4D shot of the kiddo. 'She' is waving at us here. I wish we had video as it appeared 'she' had the hiccups as we were doing the ultrasound! The cord is clearly visible in this image as well. Heartbeat today was 158bpm and normal.

A standard view shows the spine and skull features as well as bones developing in 'her' legs. It shows a bunch of other stuff that Andrea knows that I can't even pretend to act like I understand. I'm told 'she' looks great and healthy; that's all that matters to me.

We realized we had only one shot of the three of us and that was taken at transfer. Today marks 14 weeks since that nervous morning the Dr transferred two embryos to LaDonna as Andrea and I crossed our fingers. I think we all look a little less stressed now then we did then!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

13 weeks!

(The pic was taken last night.)


13 weeks and growing...

No, it's not because I'm eating too much! Miller Lite keeps me queasy and I've actually lost a pound! I had an OB appointment this morning and all is well with me, as well as baby. :) I'm hoping the nausea subsides now that we're entering the second trimester. (Hint, hint little one...)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Welcome!

Many of you are visiting this site for the first time today because we have announced that there will be a baby Miller entering this world sometime around April 26,2011. Welcome! The best way to get caught up is to read this post, then find the first post in the blog and read from the beginning (at the bottom of this page, look for "older posts").

Our story is a little more complicated than most. Andrea and I have endured nearly 5 years of trying to have a baby on our own. It has been a long road; one we wish no one ever had to travel. We've learned a lot, we've cried a lot and we've become very strong throughout our journey.

Our first step was to try multiple rounds of fertility treatments including testing and oral medications early in this 'journey'. These ultimately helped to assess our situation.
Our next step was IUI (IntraUterine Insemination), of which we had a total of four sessions. The first of these attempts resulted in a miscarriage and although it was heartbreaking, it gave us hope that we would succeed with another IUI cycle. The three following attempts were void of positive news though so the obvious next step would be IVF (In Vitro Fertilization).
IVF is a very serious process/procedure that requires multiple talented physicians, extreme patient discipline (there are a lot of shots involved and timing is important), a petri dish, and a lot of luck. Unfortunately, luck was the missing component as the first two attempts under a fertility specialist in Tulsa did not end in pregnancy. As we were tired of traveling to Tulsa for the cycles and needed a fresh start, our third attempt was in Oklahoma City (we had since moved to this area from Tulsa) where we started with a nationally recognized fertility specialist who gave us renewed hope. This IVF attempt also resulted in a negative pregnancy test but the physician was able to shed some light on what he thought our problem might be. Our advisement was to attempt experimental treatment in OKC, seek further consultation, and possibly highly experimental treatment program placement with the top fertility specialist in the country in Denver, CO - - or consider surrogacy.
Our decision was heavily weighted on surrogacy based on what we had gone through with previous attempts at pregnancy. Medicine, procedures, and emotion are all a factor and these factors had added up and were beginning to take their toll; plus, we had three frozen embryos left over from our most recent attempt in OKC. Surrogacy would become the choice for us even though we knew little about it in the beginning.

We met with LaDonna, a surrogate, for more information. LaDonna is a friend of a friend who was willing to have dinner with us and help us better understand the process of surrogacy. At the time we met, she was contracted for another couple who were also in an unfortunate situation regarding fertility. She was a wealth of information and, as we pondered what we would do, one day we got a call out of the blue and it was LaDonna saying she had been released from her contract due to some marital issues between the other couple. The surrogacy was ON!

Meet LaDonna!


Surrogacy is not necessarily 'supported' by the State of Oklahoma. This brings a few challenges but not anything that could not be overcome. LaDonna is well versed in the in's and out's of our new direction and helped connect us with an attorney, a fertility team in Dallas and other necessities to get the process underway.

Our first attempt in Dallas failed due to the three remaining frozen embryos not surviving either the trip from OKC to Dallas or the thawing process (one or the other). We will never know.
We hit the reset button again and, after a few more weeks of decision-making, went for the Hail Mary to try one last time, a full IVF cycle with Andrea and myself resulting in a live transfer of two embryos to LaDonna.
We had no additional embryos to freeze and keep for later so we knew this would be our last chance to have our own little Miller. That was 13 weeks ago.

We obviously have a very strong desire to have a child of our own but were not at all opposed to adoption should the Hail Mary have not worked. LaDonna will give us the gift we have sought and we cannot thank her enough for being there for us. I believe everything happens for a reason and our situation further reinforces this.
We invite you to bookmark this site and visit often for updates.

It's A ______!

Thirteen weeks today and we are 99.94155% sure of the baby's sex. Make sure you get your vote in on the poll to the left (although we figure it might be a little skewed since early detection usually means one thing...).

What a difference two weeks makes! Andi and I were on vacation last week so we postponed our weekly ultrasound date with LaDonna. All three of us were very anxious to see the development that had occurred over the previous two weeks and were thrilled today to see the progress.
Arms and legs are very defined, as was the head and torso. Miller Lite did not cooperate with us when it came time to snag a shot of the face. Arms were in the way and covering facial features.

Here is a 4D image of the little bugger hiding from us as if we were shining a bright light! Heart rate was 164 and everything appears to be developing very normally!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

12 weeks!

12 weeks!
(Be gentle...this is baby #7 and it's been a very long day!)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Baby is playing nicer now

So Miller Lite has decided he/she was hungry and let me eat a little bit yesterday and today. This baby is very picky though and will only let me eat what he/she is interested in...and sometimes baby changes his/her mind in the middle of a meal. *sigh*

So I have to show off the cute ultrasound pics we got last week!

Little gummy bear baby


Profile in 4D (on right)


Baby's face in 4D - Isn't this amazing?!?!


OK, Miller Lite, I forgive you because you're so adorable.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I do not want to see, smell, or talk about food!

I have lots of great pics to share of this little one, but it will have to wait. Miller Lite has taken control and we've had a really rough day. The nausea is horrible and the thought of most food makes me want to vomit. I haven't actually gotten sick yet, but I almost wish I would just to get rid of this feeling. I have forced some food down and tried Zofran, but it's not even touching it. I guess I jinxed myself. I just pray this was just an "off" day. Blah.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A "Moving" Experience

Okay, remember a couple posts ago when I stated the heartbeat was likely the coolest thing I had ever seen? Yeah, that was trumped today with a perfect ultrasound of Miller Lite's arms and legs moving right before our eyes. The visible heartbeat plus a lot of movement was something I guess I didn't expect.
Having the luxury of weekly ultrasound sessions I don't expect as much development as there actually is therefore each week is a surprise. I like surprises.



video

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Now I lay me down to sleep...again and again and again

This pregnancy has been way different than any other I've had thus far. I get queasy, but I haven't actually gotten sick. *knock on wood* I actually forget I'm pregnant until I get this overwhelming desire to SLEEP! It hits me out of nowhere and I need to nap as soon as possible. And these are no little cat naps. I sleep for 2 to 3 hours! I would much rather sleep than vomit, but wow...I hope I regain some of my energy back soon.

However, Miller Lite is doing well. We had another ultrasound last Wednesday and it was unbelievable how much he/she had grown. (Maybe all this sleep is assisting with growth spurts?) We have our first official OB appointment this coming Wednesday and I know we will have another ultrasound to peek in on the little one. :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A tiny heartbeat

Last week at 6 weeks, 1 day we were able to see the heartbeat of Miller Lite (as LaDonna has aptly named him or her). At that time I wished I had video capability as that was definitely the coolest thing I have ever seen. There really are no words to describe it.
This morning (7 weeks, 1 day) I came to the ultrasound prepared with my point & shoot camera. I snapped several pictures and a couple videos, one of which is the 10-second clip below.
Rest assured, this will be the most photographed and videoed baby in existence.

video

Monday, September 6, 2010

Houston, we have a heartbeat!

So yes, the little bean has a newly beating heart. :) It was beating 106-107 beats per minute. Andrea kept staring at the screen and I was starting to get concerned she saw something wrong. But, no...she said, "Sorry. I just can't stop staring." Steve took pictures of the big ultrasound screen with his phone. It was obvious they were in love already and I am so very happy for them. I'll be returning a week later (this Wednesday) to see how much more their little bean has developed.



As for me, nausea has kicked in and I have an adversion to most meat. My body has also remembered what it's supposed to do apparently, as I apparently have a baby bump. I have been asked about the pregnancy already. We're not even 7 weeks yet. *sigh*

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In the beginning...

So I'm a gestational surrogate. Yes, I carry babies for other people. No, they are not MY babies. It's their biological baby. I just "babysit" until the baby is ready to be born into the world to live with his or her mommy and daddy. I enjoy being pregnant, but my family is complete. So why shouldn't I help someone else begin, grow, or complete their family?

I often get asked what I get out of it. Well here's my answer: I get to share a pregnancy with someone that may otherwise not experience positive pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and baby kicks. I get to give someone the joy of seeing their newborn take their first breath. I get to hand someone their baby to meet for the first time. I get to see a family grow and a new life begin. I get to see a child be loved and raised in a nurturing home. I get to know I had a part in making someone's dream a reality.

Another question I am often asked is, "Is it worth nine months of all you go through?" You betcha. It worth the nine months plus some. It's obviously worth it since I'm now considered a "serial surrogate."

I'm a little behind on getting this site up, so here's a timeline of how we got to where we are:

August 8, 2010 - Steve, Andrea, and I headed to Dallas for the embryo transfer. They transferred two embryos that morning and I lay on bedrest for 24 hours.




August 14, 2010 - I get the first + on a home pregnancy test!

August 16, 2010 - We have a quantatative beta done and it comes back positive at 49!

August 18, 2010 - We have another beta drawn. It comes back at 120!

August 20, 2010 - For good measure, we have one more beta drawn. 266!

August 25, 2010 - We sneak in an early ultrasound. We see one definite sac!

August 30, 2010 (early morning hours) - I experience severe lower back pain and bleeding. I go to the ER and they diagnose me with a kidney infection. I get another ultrasound and they still see one baby, but there is a small subchorionic bleed. Everything looks OK other than that though. *whew*

August 30, 2010 - I go in for another quick u/s. We see a yolk sac and what may be a fetal pole! So far, so good...


And this is where we are today. We're going in for another u/s tomorrow in hopes of seeing a heartbeat. It's still early, but we're hoping for a little reassurance.

Here's to mood swings, cravings, and lots of happiness and joy over the next 8 months! Hold on to your seats, folks...it's going to be quite a ride!