By: John Jericiau
We’ve made it to 9 weeks, and the excitement continues! Our baby has ballooned to the size of a grape, with little hands and feet meeting each other for the first time in front of her body. We had yet another ultrasound a few days ago, and it was amazing to see and hear the heartbeat as it sped along at 164 beats per minute. The boys were both present in the ultrasound room during the procedure, just as they have been for the other two ultrasounds, but this time they were much more aware of what was happening. We were planning to keep the pregnancy under wraps from them for at least the first 12 weeks, but our IVF doctor, not being privy to the plan, asked them this time if they wanted to see “the baby.” “What baby?” our youngest asked, followed by the declaration “I want a baby sister”! Good choice! The doctor gave him a copy of the ultrasound which he clenched like a brand new toy, releasing it only long enough for me to ask the receptionists to make a photocopy of it so that our oldest son could have an ultrasound of his own.
Since everything looks great, we have one final ultrasound at 10 weeks before the IVF doctor releases us to our Kaiser obstetrician for continued care. Our friend/surrogate is feeling great – no more bleeding, a minimal amount of cramping, but hungry and thirsty and peeing up a storm. Because some of these symptoms sound similar to our son’s gestation, where our friend developed gestational diabetes along the way, we decided to go for the initial intake with the Kaiser doctors now rather than later.
At the intake appointment, which took approximately two afternoon hours with the boys in tow (spring break), our friend and I had to fill out a long questionnaire with lots of family heritage and past medical history questions. Our friend just handed this paperwork to me, since she is out of the biological loop and I was the only one knowledgeable about the family and medical history of the egg donor, Alen, and me. Some of the answers had to be adjusted to reflect the truth of the situation, but for the most part I filled out all the “mother” questions with the egg donor’s information. The nurses looked puzzled at times as they studied our two children wreaking havoc in the waiting room and compared what they were seeing in front of them with what they were reading in the questionnaire.
I had to ignore the multiple requests by the nursing staff that we immediately call the referral number for genetic counseling – those requests were based on the 40+-year-old pregnant woman standing in front of them and not the fact that the egg that was fertilized and resulted in this beautiful grape came from a 22-year-old girl. Lab work was done to get an idea of how my friend’s blood chemistry was looking. It was good to get this appointment out of the way so we could focus on choosing our ob-gyn in a couple of weeks.
We didn’t have to wait more than a couple of hours before the blood test results started coming back from the lab. Our friend’s sugar levels were as high as for our youngest son, so more extensive testing would be needed, and dietary restrictions would have to be implemented immediately. Gestational diabetes can cause problems during a pregnancy, not the least of which is an extra large baby at birth, making delivery potentially more difficult. Our son needed a vacuum to help pull him out at birth, and none of us really wants to go through that again. Another danger of gestational diabetes: both our friend/surrogate and our baby are at increased risk for Type II diabetes for the rest of their lives.
So the diet begins, and I’m starting too in solidarity: high fiber, low sugar foods, 8 cups of liquids per day, and small meals throughout the day. I need to lose a few pounds anyway, and we need a healthy baby, so this shouldn’t be too difficult. Anyway, it’s only for 31 weeks! And maybe it will help this persistent nausea.