Since I just finished speaking of nausea and utter helplessness, the natural transition of topics brings me to the present stage of the surrogacy journey. Last I wrote of the actual pregnancy "catching," as they say. Our elation of the milestone achieved against the odds was high, full of personal pride and hope for the future for the now certain life being nurtured by the giving womb of my beautiful life partner. Blood tests show numbers and numbers reflect scientific certainty. And although we're in the midst of a scientific adventure, we're visual people and naturally the next focus of anticipation is just that visual aspect. Seeing the heart beating. Hearing it. Not just through hormone levels, but on a screen. However vague looking it may seem on an ultrasound it's our first real indication of actual life. And further stepping into the anticipation, the next question to be answered is, how many?
Unfortunately, the morning of the pending appointment that was to answer this question, Orit awoke to the unfamiliar feeling of the negative side effects of pregnancy. Morning sickness. Morning used loosely. Weakness had crept in for a few days prior. My vibrant and strong wife was beginning to feel not as herself and needing the assistance of horizontal moments throughout the day. Little Man spared us any of the ill effects. He developed and grew throughout a picture perfect pregnancy and birth in the comfort of our own home (I may just have to write about that whole experience one of these days). Obviously enjoyable enough an experience she'd want to recreate, otherwise we certainly would not be on this particular course. If not for ourselves, definitely for a couple in need. In come J & R. Who are obviously now members of our extended family and co-pilots of this voyage.
So this first appointment had to be rescheduled at the last minute. With it crept in a sense of disappointment that maybe, although still hopeful, this would not be as smooth a ride as we'd hoped for. Regardless, we would overcome and come out strong. A few days passed. The nausea and fatigue persisted in a manageable enough dose to allow her (us) to make it to our now rescheduled appointment. Armed with pressure point nausea wrist-bands and vitamin b6, we arrive at the familiar waiting room of the fertility center. R, the intended mom, arrived alone this time. J unfortunately is sick. We have a chance to discuss future options of and for the pregnancy. And then the three of us anxiously walk into the ultrasound room and begin the experience.
We have video of the ultrasound. iPhone camera to the rescue. Little Man wanted to be present to see it, but understood that school took precedent for him at this stage. I promised there would be documentation. The computer is turned on and up comes the familiar screen we all know to be an ultrasound. Appears a clear bean shaped, black void. Immediately described by the nurse as the uterus. Go figure, the ultimate bearer of life looks like a bean shaped black void. And in the bean, there’s a seed growing. A little roundish speck of white amongst the darkness. It's the only thing visible in there. So the initial thought following "there it is," is "only one!" Relief. There's a flickering of the rhythmic pulse that's not accompanied by sound yet as the Doppler setting is not yet turned on. So we see one. We see a heartbeat. Emotions are setting in the room amongst the 2 female main players. At the switch of a button, the sound of the Doppler kicks in and we now hear the heartbeat. Rhythmically fast and true. And the flood gates open as tissues are passed and Orit and R celebrate their joint Mother's Day gift. Orit mentions it's R's first and that thought sets in as they hold hands to cement their bond.
So there you have it. The man made science succeeded as planned defying the odds. Numbers and percentages have told the story thus far. Nature is taking over and the old familiar story of humanity is to be retold through new eyes that are about to be formed.
The fetus is tiny at this point. Only 6.3mm, coincidentally corresponding to the 6 weeks and 4 days of the pregnancy count. A millimeter per week. As we finalize the visit and talk about the next appointment, a still photo print out of the ultrasound is offered as a souvenir. There's an awkward moment where the image is dangled in mid hand off, unsure of who's hands it should land - mom or surrogate? The silence is disrupted by Orit saying to R, "it's your baby, you take the picture." We laugh, and hug and say our goodbyes. Until the next time. The final time for the fertility specialist before he jumps ship and hands off the baton to the next captain of the ship. His job is done. There are other women trying their hand at fertility.
Following the ultrasound appointment we got back home armed with the good news and right away hit a rough patch. Over a long almost 2 weeks of nausea beyond the morning, throughout the day and night. No vomiting. Maybe that would have helped, but it wouldn't come. Weak, helpless, apetiteless and f****** miserable. The world continued to spin around her. And she picked up a sinus cold to top it off. It hurt seeing her so uncomfortable. Nothing helped. Just time and shut eye. Positively the most time I've ever seen her spend in bed in all our twelve years. Orit is usually the opposite of sedentary. She was worn out from feeling worn out. Down and out. Finally, we discovered a homeopathic formula that has taken care of the bulk of it the majority of the time. We believe she's reaching the tail end of this cycle and see it’s end. Back to being a functional super mom, though still with little bad moments.
We're currently looking for the next captain for our freelance crew. The doctor of our collective choice to take the reins for the prenatal care and birth. Which brings in another decision to be made given our alternative choices in life. Doctor or Midwife? Hospital or birthing facility? We knew going into this thing that a home birth would not be much of an option. Not our baby and not our choice to make. There is the matter of the other couple involved. All we can do is let our minds and hearts be known and hope that we can all be on the same page along the way. Home birth is beyond the comfort level for R as she mentioned. But she is still open to alternative ways. A midwife, natural birth is within our scope. The research for options is being done. So that's where we're at and where we're heading.