Monday, April 28, 2014

Some speed bumps along the way....

While finding a surrogate is the hard part there are still a good bit of hoops that you need to jump through to make sure that she will be a good candidate.  One of these hoops was the psychological evaluation.  Check.   Another requirement of surrogacy is for our gestational carrier to be medically cleared.  This involves meeting various medical requirements that the clinic sets forth, including a clean STD panel for both her and her husband, a current PAP, and a Sonohystogram or SHG (which is an ultrasound of the uterine cavity to rule out any abnormalities).  The SHG has to be given during a particular time of the month, usually day 7-10 of a woman's menstrual cycle.  When we met my surro, she told me she had an IUD put in following her last surro birth, which meant she hadn't had a menstrual cycle in five years.  She was scheduled to have her IUD taken out in February.  I asked if she would mind getting in taken out sooner and she thankfully agreed.  My research told me that it can sometimes take 4-6 weeks for your period to return to normal once the IUD is removed, so I was anxious for her to have it removed as quickly as possible.   The day after our first meeting, she schedule an appointment for the IUD removal and it was removed later that week.  She also got her STD testing done that day as well.  She was unable to have her PAP the same day due to insurance constraints but scheduled to do so at the first available appointment.   I was really impressed about how on top of everything she was and encouraged about how quickly things were happening.  Get this, her period even came quickly! Less than a week after the IUD was removed!  We were trucking right along!

And then we had our first little speed bump.  When she got the results of her PAP it showed some minor abnormalities.  This meant she needed to go back in for a colposcopy to further examine the cervix and biopsy the abnormal cells. She was really apologetic as she knew this might set back our timeline, but I told her not to worry about us and to just make sure that she was okay.  Privately, I was a little worried myself.  I researched to make sure that abnormal PAP's wouldn't exclude her from surrogacy and mostly found mixed responses. We were supposed to meet with our RE later that week so I figured we'd find out the answer then.  Thankfully, the RE didn't seem too concerned with the abnormal PAP and said as long as the colpo was clear it (it was) we would all be good.  He looked at her medical records and said on paper she looked like a great candidate.  All that was needed next was the SHG.

I accompanied my surro to the appointment for her SHG.  It was then that we hit our next speed bump, but it had nothing to do with her uterus.  In fact, our RE said her uterus looked "marvelous".  Phew! However, he was concerned with her thyroid level as her TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)was elevated.  This wasn't news to us as the one minor health problem my surro has is Hashimoto's disease, which means her thyroid is often out of whack.  The normal range for TSH is .4 - 4.2 , thought when trying to conceive, RE's like it to be between 1 and 2.  When she was first diagnosed about a year ago, hers was a whopping 100.  She was put on 100mcg of Synthroid to help regulate it and once on this medication, her thyroid was normal.  At least it used to be.  Her most recent bloodwork showed that her TSH  had risen to 8.  While not as bad as 100, it was a far cry from the 1-2 that the RE wanted it to to be.   Our RE increased her dosage of Synthroid and told us we would re-test before transferring.

I was super-anxious upon leaving that doctor's appointment.  I was worried about how long it would take to get her thyroid back to normal, and worried that it would continue to be out of whack throughout the pregnancy.  When I was trying to conceive I was on Synthroid myself due to slightly elevated thryoid levels of my own, so I was somewhat familiar with the perils of high thyroid levels during pregnancy. Still, this didn't stop me from consulting Dr. Google and I did not like what I found.  Elevated thyroid levels can quadruple the risk of miscarriage!  While I knew my surro had never had complications with her pregnancy, she also was only diagnosed with this thyroid issue in the last year.  Further research told me that it is possible to lower thyroid levels through dietary changes (specifically lowering/eliminating gluten).

When I was trying to conceive,  there wasn't much that I wasn't willing to try in order to have a healthy baby.   I knew that if it were me trying to carry the pregnancy, I would absolutely cut out gluten. And yet, this wasn't me, so there was nothing that  I could do except hope the increase in  medication would work. My surro had previously agreed to doing acupuncture so I figured I would ask her to start that in the hopes it would help regulate her. However, I did not think it was my place to ask her to modify her diet.   She was already doing enough for us.

Later that day, we were texting about the thyroid stuff and I was honest with her about my fears.  She told me, as she often does, to step away from Dr. Google.  However, she did some of her own research and told me that she was looking at natural things she could do to help lower the level.  Then she wrote, "For instance, I'm going to cut waaaaay back on the gluten".    I could have cried.  I  couldn't believe that I was lamenting about the fact that I didn't think I had the right to ask her to adjust her diet when she volunteered to do so without me saying a word.  I wrote back and told her how much it meant to me that she was willing to do that (and even told her that I too would cut back on gluten in solidarity). Her response:
And then I really did cry.  I was so unbelievably touched by her words.   We are so, so grateful for everything that she is doing for us.  How did we get so lucky? 

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