This timeline only includes dates for the surrogacy process starting from June 2014, but we struggled for years before that. We felt it was important to include this perspective of the process, but what this timeline cannot show is what happens in between the dates: the time we spend anxiously awaiting test results or agonizing over decisions, the level of stress that is involved, and the days when we simply cannot cope with moving forward and need to take a break.
January 24: Sweet Pea is here! He was born on his due date at 5:19am, weighing 7lbs 2oz and measuring 20 inches in length. Welcome to the world, Ross David.
January 21: Appointment with the obstetrician; Sweet Pea’s heartbeat was 144 bpm and he was estimated to weigh 6 lbs 15 oz. We got another glimpse of his face in 3D, but unfortunately there still hasn’t been any progress toward labor otherwise.
January 17: We’ve reached 39 weeks.
January 15: Appointment with the obstetrician; Elle is still only 1cm dilated and no progress has been made since last week. We got a freebie peek at Sweet Pea’s face via 3D ultrasound and he was estimated to weigh 6 lbs 8 oz (although it is often inaccurate at this point in the pregnancy).
January 10: We’ve reached 38 weeks.
January 9: We’ve made it to Elle’s and are now waiting for Sweet Pea to make his debut.
January 8: Appointment with the obstetrician; Elle is 1 cm dilated and Sweet Pea’s heart rate was 132 bpm.
January 6: Kyle and I left home for the delivery! The first leg of our trip is complete and Orion was dropped off at my parents’ house.
January 3, 2016: We’ve reached 37 weeks.
December 31: Appointment with the obstetrician. Sweet Pea’s heart rate was 129 bpm. He measured ahead at 37-38 weeks and was estimated to weigh 6 pound and 7 oz, which puts him in the 50th percentile.
December 29: Contacted by the legal team from the agency to go over the logistics for how everything should be handled during labor, delivery, and being discharged from the birthing center; Received the results from the group beta strep test: negative.
December 27: We’ve reached 36 weeks.
December 23: Appointment with the obstetrician; Sweet Pea’s heart rate was 146 bpm. Weekly appointments will now start.
December 21: Conference call with our program coordinators from the agency to go over final preparations.
December 20: We’ve reached 35 weeks.
December 13: We’ve reached 34 weeks.
December 9: Elle had an appointment with the obstetrician. Sweet Pea is still measuring a few days ahead and his heart rate was 142 bpm.
December 8: We received a digital copy of the signed pre-birth order from our lawyer to keep with us at all times in the hospital in case we need to prove that we are Sweet Pea’s legal parents.
December 6: We’ve reached 33 weeks.
December 2: A judge in Elle’s state reviewed our case and granted us status as the legal parents of Sweet Pea by signing a pre-birth order. This means I will now be able to be listed on the birth certificate as his mother.
November 29: We’ve reached 32 weeks.
November 25: We had our 3D/4D ultrasound, the very last one! We got to see what Sweet Pea might look like, and he weighed 4 pounds, 1 ounce. He’s still measuring a few days ahead, and his heart rate was 134bpm. We were both also able to feel Sweet Pea hiccup for the first time while staying with Elle & her family for the appointment and Thanksgiving. In addition, the pre-birth order papers were filed with the local court and we are waiting for our case to go before a judge.
November 22: We’ve reached 31 weeks.
November 20: We signed affidavits saying that we are Sweet Pea’s biological parents; Elle also signed an affidavit, which stated that she is carrying a child for us and is not related to him.
November 15: We’ve reached 30 weeks.
November 12: We signed an engagement letter with the attorney who will hopefully be able to complete the pre-birth order.
November 11: In contact with the legal team, trying to resolve issues. I’m starting to wonder if it will be straightened out before Sweet Pea gets here.
November 9: Followed up on some problems we’re having with the legal side of things. Our program coordinator at the agency has now gotten involved in trying to get the legal team to deal with our case.
November 8: We’ve reached 29 weeks.
November 6: Elle officially passed the second glucose test.
November 5: Elle took the three-hour glucose test. We are waiting for the official results from the doctor’s office, but she checked her own levels during the test: 78 (fasting), 163 (1 hour), 152 (2 hours), and 128 (3 hours).
November 4*: Conference call with our program coordination team from the surrogate agency to follow up on some issues, delays, and miscommunication. We are still not considered the legal parents of Sweet Pea, and we are rapidly running out of time to deal with it.
November 3: Received the news that Elle failed her glucose test and will have to go back later this week for a follow-up test to make sure she doesn’t have gestational diabetes.
November 1: We’ve reached 28 weeks and the third trimester.
October 30: Appointment with obstetrician. Heart rate was 146 bpm and he is measuring 28-28.5 weeks (about a week ahead). Elle had her glucose test and we are waiting for the results.
October 25: We’ve reached 27 weeks.
October 18: We’ve reached 26 weeks.
October 16: Appointment with the obstetrician. Sweet Pea’s heart rate was 150bpm and he was measuring a week ahead! Appointments will now increase from monthly to every two weeks.
October 11: We’ve reached 25 weeks.
October 4: We’ve reached 24 weeks.
September 30: Our lawyers started the pre-birth parentage order process so that Elle’s “presumed parental rights” are terminated prior to delivery in hopes of having me listed as Sweet Pea’s legal mother on the birth certificate (getting Kyle’s name on the certificate shouldn’t be a problem as the father).
September 27: We’ve reached 23 weeks.
September 20: We’ve reached 22 weeks.
September 16: We had the “growth & development” ultrasound (anatomy scan) during which they looked at everything from the brain and heart to the kidneys and bladder. Sweet Pea measured 1 pound, 1 ounce and all of his organs checked out okay! Only one more ultrasound left!
September 13: We’ve reached 21 weeks.
September 6: 20 weeks! We’ve reached the halfway point.
August 30: We’ve reached 19 weeks.
August 23: We’ve reached 18 weeks.
August 21: Received the non-invasive prenatal testing results and, as far as they can tell, Sweet Pea is healthy.
August 19: Gender reveal ultrasound. It’s a boy! His heart rate was measured at 153 bpm. Elle’s blood was drawn for the second part of the non-invasive prenatal testing. Sweet Pea now has a real first name! Still working on the middle one yet.
August 18: Kyle and I got to feel Sweet Pea move for the first time!
August 16: We’ve reached 17 weeks.
August 9: We’ve reached 16 weeks.
August 2: We’ve reached 15 weeks.
July 26: We’ve reached 14 weeks and the start of the second trimester. Also, Elle felt the first “flutter” of Sweet Pea moving– twice!
July 21: Appointment with the obstetrician; Elle’s blood was drawn for non-invasive prenatal testing. Sweet Pea’s heart rate measured at 160 bpm.
July 19: We’ve reached 13 weeks.
July 12: We’ve reached 12 weeks.
July 5: We’ve reached 11 weeks.
July 2: First official ultrasound with the regular obstetrician (3rd official ultrasound total). Everything is measuring appropriately and the baby was very active today! We watched Sweet Pea wiggle and dance around for several minutes and were even able to clearly see the feet and all of the fingers on one of the hands. The heartbeat was measured at 170bpm today.
June 28: We’ve reached 10 weeks; Elle completed all of her injections and will now get the first significant break from them in over six months! By now the placenta can take over the job of producing progesterone.
June 26: Our first appointment with the nurse at the regular obstetrician’s office. We didn’t have a scheduled ultrasound, but we were able to hear the heartbeat (167bpm) and get an unofficial “sneak peek” of the baby at 9 weeks and 5 days.
June 21: We’ve reached 9 weeks.
June 19: The second ultrasound (8 weeks and 5 days) is behind us. The baby measured 2.04cm (from the top of the head to the baby’s bottom) this time with a heart rate of 170bpm. Today was the first time we were able to see the baby move. We also received word that we have “graduated” from care through our fertility clinic. The next step is to be transferred to a regular obstetrician.
June 14: We’ve reached 8 weeks.
June 7: We’ve reached 7 weeks.
June 4: First ultrasound (6 weeks and 4 days)! Sweet Pea’s heartbeat was 125bpm and everything looks great with a measurement of .64cm. Due date is January 24th, 2016.
May 31: We’ve reached 6 weeks.
May 26: Elle’s beta levels continue to be strong; today’s number was 1689! We are now planning for a 6-week ultrasound.
May 24: We’ve reached 5 weeks.
May 22: Beta levels progressing at 397.6.
May 20: Received the news that we are pregnant! Beta levels at 212.
May 8: Transfer Day: transferred one (previously frozen) embryo to Elle (our gestational carrier). We’ll get the results in 2 weeks.
May 5: Received a call with our scheduled FET time: May 8th at 2pm.
May 1: We were approved for a FET based on Elle’s ultrasound results; Elle started progesterone injections, which are meant to help support a pregnancy.
April 30: Elle had an ultrasound to measure her lining (10mm).
April 17: Elle began estrogen injections every third day.
April 16: Elle had her baseline ultrasound (5mm lining) and we got approval to officially begin the cycle.
April 14: Elle finished her pre-cycle birth control pill treatment.
March 31: Elle began taking birth control pills to prepare for our FET (frozen embryo transfer)
March 30: Scheduled the dates for a FET cycle
March 27: Spoke with our fertility nurse about how to move forward with a frozen embryo transfer using our last embryo
March 24: Received the results of our first (fresh) embryo transfer: Negative
March 12: Day 6 Update: One more blastocyst survived, which will be frozen. The last three embryos were lost. Final result: 2 out of 17 embryos.
March 11: Transfer Day (Day 5): one blastocyst transferred to Elle; 12 embryos lost.
March 9: Day 3 Update: All 17 are still thriving; 11 of them have made it to the next stage while 6 are taking a little longer to get there. This will be the last update we get until the embryo transfer since they will be in transition on Day 4.
March 8: Day 2 Update: 17 are still going strong.
March 7: Day 1 Update: 17 of the 24 eggs were fertilized via ICSI. Elle began progesterone injections in preparation for the fresh embryo transfer next week.
March 6: The day of Ashley’s egg retrieval. 27 eggs were collected and 24 of them were mature.
March 4: Ashley’s 7th monitoring appointment. The ultrasound showed 17 follicles that are 15mm or larger and should be mature. Given a “trigger” shot of HCG (the final injection) at 8:30pm; egg retrieval surgery was scheduled for Friday morning. Estrogen still below 4,000.
March 3: Ashley’s 6th monitoring appointment. Her blood work showed her estrogen level has remained under 4,000, which is good. Lots and lots of follicles present on the ultrasound, a few of which have now reached maturity. Menopur will be lowered. Follistim injection (150 iu), Menopur injection (150 iu)
March 2: Ashley’s 5th monitoring appointment. Largest follicle measured at 17mm and blood work showed an estrogen level of 2,514. Follistim dosage will be lowered. Follistim injection (150 iu), Menopur injection (225 iu)
March 1: Ashley’s 4th monitoring appointment (blood work and ultrasound); estrogen level of 1,486 and largest follicle measured at just over 14mm with a handful of others around 10mm or a little above. Doctor estimates another 2-4 days of injections until we can do an egg retrieval. Follistim injection (300 iu), Menopur injection (225 iu)
February 28: Follistim injection (300 iu), Menopur injection (225 iu)
February 27: Both Ashley & Elle (our gestational carrier) had ultrasounds today; Ashley’s 3rd monitoring appointment results showed that the follicles in her ovaries are still growing but not where they need to be yet, so her dosage of Menopur will be upped. Elle’s lining is a perfect 13mm and she will be ready for the embryo transfer. Follistim injection (300 iu), Menopur injection (225 iu)
February 26: Follistim injection (300 iu), Menopur injection (150 iu)
February 25: Ashley’s second monitoring appointment (blood work and ultrasound); estrogen level jumped up to 250, so the medication dosage will remain the same. Follistim injection (300 iu), Menopur injection (150 iu)
February 24: Follistim injection (300 iu), Menopur injection (150 iu)
February 23: Ashley’s first monitoring appointment (blood work and ultrasound); follicles are fairly small, estrogen (at 50) is still low. Medication dosages upped. Follistim injection (300 iu), Menopur injection (150 iu).
February 22: Follistim injection (225 iu), Menopur injection (75 iu)
February 21: Follistim injection (225 iu), Menopur injection (75 iu)
February 20: First day of injections; Follistim injection (225 iu), Menopur injection (75iu)
February 17: Ashley had her blood drawn (estrogen 28, progesterone 0.3) and an internal ultrasound (follicles present in both ovaries); We were given the green light to finally start our IVF cycle, signed all the necessary consent forms, and submitted payment for the full cycle. Time to get started!
February 16: Ashley finished “pre-IVF” birth control treatment.
February 14: Elle stopped the daily Lupron injections and started Delestrogen (0.20 ccs) injections every third day.
February 13: Received Ashley’s IVF medications; Elle had an ultrasound and blood draw to evaluate her body’s response to the Lupron.
February 5: Elle began daily Lupron (20 units) injections in preparation for our IVF cycle.
January 28: More blood work for Ashley to get an update on her anti-mullerian hormone level (3.2) prior to starting the IVF medications.
January 22: Finally received the projected dates for our IVF cycle. The next several days were spent trying to see if our insurance will help cover the medications Ashley will need (they won’t).
January 18: Ashley started taking birth control pills, which will help prepare the ovaries for stimulation, allow her cycle to sync with Elle’s (our GC), and give the doctor more control over timing.
January 16: We received medical clearance from our fertility clinic and were approved to begin planning for our first IVF cycle.
January 14: Kyle & I, as well as Elle and her husband, have officially received legal clearance from the surrogate agency to move forward.
January 13: Elle had an ultrasound to measure the lining of her uterus following two weeks of injections (13mm). This was her final test for the medical screening.
January 12: We signed our wills, which had to be drafted to include surrogacy-specific wording in order to receive legal clearance. Copies were sent for review to our surrogate agency.
January 11: Elle took the final injection for her mock cycle and will have an ultrasound to measure the lining of her uterus.
January 8: Elle signed the official Carrier Agreement.
January 7: We signed the official Carrier Agreement and sent it to the agency.
January 6: Received the final draft of the Carrier Agreement from our lawyer.
January 5, 2015: In touch with our lawyer at the agency to go over clarifications and revisions for the Carrier Agreement.
December 31: Contacted by our lawyer to continue working through the Carrier Agreement.
December 30: Elle (our GC) began injections for her “mock cycle” as required by the medical screening to test how she responds to the medication.
December 23: Ashley had another round of blood work; Elle had an HSG (a test to determine how open the fallopian tubes are using injected dye and an x-ray) as part of the medical screening.
December 22: Received new draft of Carrier Agreement to review.
December 17: We were approved for the financial program we applied for through the fertility clinic.
December 15: Met Elle and her husband in person for the first time; completed both individual and group counseling session requirements; Elle continued with her medical screening as required by the fertility clinic.
December 12: Met with our lawyer from the surrogate agency to finish revising the first draft of our Carrier Agreement, which will be sent to our GC
December 11: Met with a lawyer to draft wills with surrogacy-specific wording
December 10: Completed applications for various financial programs
December 9: Met with our financial counselor from the fertility clinic to discuss available programs and payments; chose an IVF program after weighing the costs for services.
December 8: Met with our “Intended Parent Support” team member from the surrogate agency; our carrier and her husband booked flights to travel to our Fertility clinic.
December 4: We received first draft of the legal contract we’ll sign with our gestational carrier and were given 5 days to make any necessary revisions.
November 24: Spoke with our GC clinical assistant about setting things up for our carrier to travel to the fertility clinic for her medical screening
November 22: Met with our program director from the surrogate agency to discuss what to expect in the coming weeks while we wait for the contract with our carrier to be drafted.
November 17: Officially matched with a gestational carrier.
November 15: Met our potential carrier for the first time over Skype.
November 14: Received the call to say that the potential carrier would like to set up a meeting via Skype.
November 12: Completed our profile, which will be sent to the potential carrier to look over and decide whether or not she would be willing to work with us.
November 6: Signed contract with surrogate agency and officially became clients.
November 5: Met with a lawyer to review the contract before signing.
October 28: Received the first information on a potential surrogacy match.
October 27: Spent the morning & early afternoon in consultation meetings over Skype with a potential surrogacy agency to discuss everything from the step-by-step process to how we will legally protect ourselves and the custody of a future child born with the help of a carrier to the expectations of cost and when each payment will be due; made the decision that we would like to sign a contract with this agency.
October 24: Completed a pre-consultation questionnaire and provided in-depth answers on issues such as how we met, how will we care for a future child, what kind of outside support we have in our lives, what qualities we want in a gestational carrier, how much involvement we want to have in the pregnancy of our child, what role we expect the carrier to have in our lives post-birth, and an outline on how we plan to pay for everything.
October 21: Only heard back from one agency (located about 8 hours from us) and set up a consultation appointment to be conducted through Skype.
October 20: Finally built up the nerve to contact a couple of nationwide surrogacy agencies on the list provided by our fertility clinic as a jumping off point.
September 15-October 2: Fertility treatments were put on hold so we could take a special trip to England & Wales before coming back to tackle the difficult issue of finding a gestational carrier.
September 8: All-day appointment at a main branch of our fertility clinic located a few hours away from where we live; attended a two-hour injection class in order to learn how to inject Ashley with all of the different medications she will be on; blood work was taken from both of us to test for infectious diseases; additional blood work was taken from Kyle to fulfill an FDA requirement; Kyle filled out an extensive questionnaire required by the FDA for the intended father; first in-person meetings took place with both our fertility nurse and our GC clinical assistant; Kyle finished the last of his infertility testing; we completed everything on our pre-screening checklist and can’t move any further without first finding a gestational carrier.
September 4: First meeting with our fertility financial counselor.
August 19: We received our genetic testing results, Ashley is a carrier for cystic fibrosis, but it will not affect any children we might have because Kyle is not a carrier for the same disease; Kyle is a carrier for a very minor genetic disease.
August 13: Kyle received the initial results for his infertility testing.
August 12: Second round of infertility tests began (the first round was done by my local GYN a couple years ago); additional blood work was taken from both of us for genetic testing; later that day Ashley received some of the initial results of her first ultrasound; long phone meeting with our GC assistant during which we discussed the pre-screening checklist that we would be working through, as well as the overall process.
August 6: Scheduled a meeting with financial counselor; introduced to GC assistant over the phone.
July 23: Initial consultation with fertility clinic; we met Dr. M and were assigned a team- a gestational carrier (GC) clinical assistant, a fertility nurse, and a financial counselor.
June 30, 2014: Contacted a fertility clinic to set up a consultation