Ok so picking up where we left off - the blood test confirmed I was pregnant. Wahoo! Now we had to confirm heartbeat with a 6-week ultrasound with the reproductive endocrinologist here on O’ahu. With our girls, my first ultrasounds were around 12 weeks so I’d never seen a 6-week fetus on the screen before. How fun to hear and see the little babe so early on.
I had to continue daily progesterone shots and estrogen medication- still managed to do them myself most days, but did have some bruising and soreness.
My last ultrasound with the Advanced Reproductive Center of Hawai’i was @ 9 weeks.
At 10 weeks, the nurse from the LA-based fertility office called to say that I no longer needed to take any medications. WAHOO!!! I was SO excited to “graduate” to the no-meds stage. This meant we are now considered a normal pregnancy, and I can be passed on to my usual provider. Up until this stage, all decisions were managed by our IPs fertility doctor in LA. We are now with my favorite maternity care team - Kaiser Permanente. I will birth baby here on O'ahu at Kaiser Moanalua. My first Kaiser prenatal was on April 25th @ 12 weeks pregnancy. I love their system. The team is great and familiar.
During the first trimester and into the second, I had an incredibly full business schedule. I attended 10 births and worked with three different postpartum clients (including gorgeous twins), in addition to my sleep coaching clients and various postpartum belly binding sessions. I served as the Vice President of my BNI weekly networking group until April. Oh and my essential oils business (teaching classes, doing one-on-one consults and trying to be a mentor to my team which spans from Australia to the East Coast). I also project managed the sale of our home in New Zealand, our dog had surgery, and all the usual stuff like ballet and ice skating lessons, church volunteer commitments, etc etc etc. You know how it goes. Lol. It was a very busy first trimester! But you know what? This really has been my easiest pregnancy so far. There were definitely some days I was more tired, but because I work from home if I’m not with clients I was able to take the restful naps that my body needed. When I was pregnant with my girls in New Zealand, I was working in a management position at the hospital 40+ hours a week (oh and doing my Masters degree - no big deal). I honestly believe that our natural, holistic lifestyle also makes a huge difference to how I feel. Optimal wellness = optimal pregnancy in many cases (if you’re lucky and don’t get struck by gnarly nausea or hyperemesis - my heart goes out to mommas that have this condition). To my fellow doula sisters reading this, I share this part of my journey to reassure you that you can continue to see clients in your business if you have a healthy pregnancy. I know that doulas are the type of women that would probably consider being a gestational carrier, so I hope this encourages you. I was nervous, but so blessed that it all went smoothly. No one knew I was pregnant.
The only real “pregnancy” signs I had were gagging when I brush my teeth. I had that with our girls too. In the first trimester, I also got a little queasy when I was hungry, but nothing too major.
I did get to experience an amniocentesis during the 17th week. When you engage in a gestational carrier agreement, you agree to the requests of your IPs. They wanted one done, so we did it. I was a little nervous because when I read about it, the information said that it could be painful. Again, the team at Kaiser is so good. The procedure took about 15 minutes (after a full ultrasound - she looked great), and it didn’t hurt! The doctor was intrigued that I had read it hurt because that’s not how he would describe it. He inserted a fine syringe needle into the amniotic sac through an injection near my belly button and retrieved some amniotic fluid for testing.
So crazy. I received these beautiful flowers from our IPs on the day of the amnio - they are so thoughtful. There is a risk of miscarriage with an amnio, but praise God all went well with zero complications and the results were completely normal. Yay!
Babies that go through an IVF process are at higher risk of heart conditions, so my doctor did have me sit through a complete fetal cardiac exam done via ultrasound at 22 weeks. Again, all looked great and she is a healthy baby girl. Double yay!
SO happy for our IPs.
We had a memorable Mother's Day this year. Brad gifted me a beautiful haku lei to wear to church. Never did I image that I would be a surrogate momma in my life, but am so blessed to be a blessing through this experience. As I'm talking with friends, it strikes me that this really is a special journey only experienced by a few.
Up until 20 weeks, I had gained 10 pounds which is normal for me. But as with both of our girls, didn’t look pregnant (just looked like I had gained the weight back that I lost in January). Up until this stage, the girls still had no idea. More on that in the next post.