Friday, December 5, 2014

It's been a while... Surrogate Side

Hello world!  It's been a while!  
In my defense, not a whole heck of a lot has happened. 
Just a bunch of waiting...

That said, let me explain the waiting game.  Given our latest failed attempt at getting the super-cute Chuck a sibling, we were faced with some obstacles that needed attention prior to moving forward.  

For this past transfer, we used the remaining embryos that were frozen from our successful fresh transfer in April of 2013.  Due to the length of time from when we first started this surrogacy process for Charlie-man and our attempt for baby #2, some FDA testing had expired.  New testing is required before fresh embryos can be transferred. So, K&J got on it and had their testing completed just a little bit ago.  

K will be meeting with the IVF clinic to get her new protocol for the egg retrieval and then we'll determine the schedule for the next transfer.

Given the upcoming holidays, we are thinking that we'll shoot toward a transfer for either January or February!  Let's see if 2015 can top how awesome 2013 (we got pregnant!) and 2014 (we had Charlie!) has been.  

WooHOO!  I just can't wait to not have my period anymore...

In the meantime, I will continue to live it up during this holiday season and enjoy every moment with my little lovies while they are still in awe of the magic of Christmas.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The results are in... Surrogate Side

The 2WW is over!  The blood was drawn this morning!  The results are in...

But first, I have to relive the moments leading up to this day with all of you.  Not a minute went by that I did not want to pee on a stick (POAS).  I used great self-control over those two weeks.  I didn't start testing until 7dp3dt (7 days past a 3-day transfer - embryos developed for 3 days before being transferred into me).  I made it clear to myself that if the home pregnancy test was negative, that I would just consider it a "practice run". 

Monday was the first test. Well, the first official test; I didn't count Sunday's effort because I didn't use a First Response Early Result (FRER) test.  Those are the best and are the only test worth squinting for.  So, long story short, Sunday's leftover Dollar Tree test from a "scare" a few months back with the Hubs didn't make the cut. 

Monday morning, I POAS.  It was negative. And believe me when I tell you that I examined that thing thoroughly.  Nothing.  Because I was adamant about giving K a really good birthday present (Monday was her BIRTHDAY!), I did a second test on Monday evening.  I saved my pee for as long as I could so it could be "concentrated".  I POAS and... negative.  Bleh.

Tuesday's test was negative.  Again, a thorough examination was performed.  By Wednesday morning, I was expecting to see a second line.  Nope.  Negative.  WTF?!

Thursday: negative.  This is when I started getting nervous.  I google around to see if other people had not gotten a positive home test before getting a positive beta (blood test).  There was still hope!!  Other people have been negative with home tests and got a positive beta!  One of my friends (who just gave birth to her second surro-baby last month) had this same thing happen to her.  At this point, I was reassured.  There was hope.

Friday.  Today.  I took my very last FRER.  I watched as only one line appeared.  For a brief moment, I thought to myself, "how the heck did I get all the faulty tests?"  Well, at least we still have the blood test...

I arrived for my blood draw and was immediately taken back; no waiting!  The phlebotomist preps my arm and takes a look at my veins.  She'd taken my blood before without an issue, so I wasn't concerned.  Welp, I was wrong.  She sucked this time.  Long story short, she had to try FOUR TIMES before she could get my blood. 

Fast forward to noon.  The clinic called.  The results are in. We are not pregnant...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

9 Months...Parents Side


Same Chair, Same Socks...Parents Side

The time had come. I had taken 4 flights in less than 24 hours and I wouldn't miss it for the world. I was so excited to see G. Every time we see each other it's like seeing family.
I couldn't wait! The surrogacy process is never boring.  I flew in the night before, and did not sleep much because I was both excited and a tiny bit nervous for the next day.  There is always the risk of losing the embryos during the thaw but knock on wood that has never happened to us before. As I walked into the large fertility center this week, there is a feeling of happiness, familiarly and a little bit of anxiety. We had been down this road before, with much success. Every cycle you do your best to prepare yourself for a failed cycle or success. This was lucky cycle number 8. It becomes common, yet never super easy. Although, 8 is my lucky number so maybe this is a good thing! G was worried since she was going to be a little late but I assured her they wouldn't start without her, and a few minutes after she arrived. So great to see her! We were sent back by the same nurse as last time. Also the same chair which seemed a little weird, but hopefully good luck. The doctor on staff that day came in and explained the little embryos thawed well and we would be able to transfer all 3, with Assisted Hatching. G and I were thrilled. As we were sent back to the surgical room, I looked around. I stared at the medical staff, G, all of the equipment and stopped for a moment and realized that no matter what happened, we were already so lucky. The amount of time and energy that it took to have Charlie was amazing. A medical miracle really. As we went through the transfer, we waited with anticipation. We hung out for a bit after, and sadly I had to head to the airport. Frankly, that was the "easy" part.... Now we wait for the dreaded 2WW.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Rush... Surrogate Side

Our transfer was scheduled for Monday, September 29th at 9:30am.  I had to be at the clinic at 9am to check-in and prep.  K had flown in and was going to meet me at the clinic in the morning.  I couldn't wait to see her!  

Because we have been through this before, I knew I had to allow enough time in the morning to accommodate the EXCESSIVE traffic that I remember hitting last time.  I gave myself a pretty good cushion of an extra hour.  As I made my way for the 3-hour trip, I was making good time.  And then...BAM!  Traffic like you wouldn't believe.  I had 18 miles to my destination.  I texted K to let her know and we both were like, "yeah, no problem. We've got this".  I had an hour to go 18 miles.  We're good.  And then, I see this:

Is this for real?!  I'm in a rush!  At this point, I still had 14 miles to go and had already been in this traffic for about 15 minutes!  This was not good.  I stay in touch with K and let her know that I wasn't going to be on time.  It was 9am and I had 5 miles more and the traffic was bumper-to-bumper.  Long story short, I literally RUN into the clinic at 9:15am.  As soon as we saw one another, we immediately embrace.  It's like seeing family you haven't seen in a long time.

K and I were pleasantly surprised by how incredibly understanding and sweet the clinic was.  The receptionist was a doll who said, "you're here, you're safe; that's all that matters".  She even whispered 'good luck' to us as we walked away.  Lovely lady.

As we waited to be called back, we chatted about our families and, of course, gushed about Charlie and how awesome he is.  Clearly!  She listened to me complain about how badly I needed to pee.  I prepped my bladder like a champ.  When we were called back to prep, we were brought to the same station that we had last time; our nurse was even the same and K thinks she remembered us because she had said something while I was in the bathroom to undress.  I walked out of said bathroom adorned in these (and a robe):

Oh, but of course!  Couldn't forget these!  K had hers, too!
Everything was lining up to be a good transfer!  The Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) showed us the results of the thawed embryos and told us that all 3 of them survived the thaw perfectly.  Three 6-cell embryos!  K was concerned about the quality, but the RE assured her that a 6-cell can be just as good as an 8-cell, so he was happy with the odds.  Good enough for us!  

We were escorted to the room where the transfer was to take place and my excitement skyrocketed.  I got myself situated on the table and let go of all of my modesty.  Not too long later (well, it felt like forever having an old man was staring at my goodies), the 3 embies were transferred into my fluffy uterus where they will be urged to implant and grow.  Okay, okay.  Maybe I don't wish for ALL of them to implant and grow, but you know what I mean!  (wink, wink)

After saying our goodbyes, K rushed to make her flight given the horrendous traffic.  I rushed back home (but, not without obeying all traffic laws because I was carrying precious cargo...) so I could get a nap in before picking up the kids -- a 3:45am wake-up makes for a long day!  As I was resting after our festivities that morning, my doorbell rang. 

How thoughtful! A delivery from Charlie, K&J!
So now, we wait.  We wait, we wait, we wait.  The two-week-wait (2WW).  There is nothing more frustrating than the 2WW.  Our beta blood test to test for pregnancy is scheduled for Friday, October 10th.  Let's put a rush on it, okay?  But, maybe there's a plan in place to make use of these:

Just picked these bad boys up at lunch today... o_O

Friday, September 26, 2014

It's ON... Surrogate Side

My monitoring appointment was this morning at 10am.  As I waited to be seen, I thought to myself, "I cannot believe the time has come once again".  You may think that I am crazy to be doing this again, let alone so soon, but I am SOO ready.  I am just as excited - if not more so than last time - to do this again.  I have so much invested in my IPs and their new little family that I cannot wait to be a part in helping them achieve another little bundle of their own; to give a sibling to Charlie!  

As I await my turn to be called back, I looked around the waiting room to see other couples waiting to be seen.  I wondered if there were any other surrogates in there, but since there were couples, I figured they were there for themselves.  It made me think of all the people out there, not only couples, who struggle with infertility; all coming from different walks of life.  There are so many situations out there and so many broken hearts.  I was fortunate to be able to conceive on our own.  I am also fortunate to be able to be a part of another journey to bring another joy to such a wonderful family.

Okay, okay.  On to the good stuff...  I had my labs drawn (this lady was GOOD, too) and was sent on to my ultrasound.  I was informed by the technician that a resident doctor would be in to observe the procedure.  I said okay and was ready to go.  The ultrasound technician was no stranger to maneuvering the "weenie wand".  She shoved that thing in there with a vengeance.  I was, at times, squirming around the table from the pressure.  When she was done, she said that she was going to hand over the wand to the resident doctor (who I thought was just observing the ultrasound).  What?!

Do I have a statement written on my forehead that appears any time I enter a medical facility that says, "Hey, pick me! Pick me!  I'd LOVE to be your guinea pig"??!  
Seriously, I've done my fair share!!  

Anyway, I allowed her to check things out.  After some time of just laying there and hearing them whisper amongst themselves and seeing the resident shake her head and begin to get frustrated, I interjected and asked if everything was okay.  (At this point, I still hadn't been told how things looked and whether or not my uterus had failed or succeeded.)  The resident explained that she was learning and that she couldn't locate my ovaries.  I decided to clue her in that maybe she should shove the wand a little further since it basically felt that it wasn't in very far at all.  She followed my "suggestion" and pushed a bit further and voila;  she found the goods.  

After they used and abused me, I felt I deserved to know the outcome so I asked for the results of the thickness of my endometrial lining.  She obliged and told me I measured 12mm.  Umm, what?! 12mm!  My uterus is a rock star!  I walked out of the clinic with my head held high and nipping at the bit to text K my results.  

K and I waited (and waited and waited) until I was called by the clinic to let us know if we were good to go for the transfer on Monday.  I received the call around 3:30pm and they said my labs and ultrasound were great and we had the green light for our transfer!  They gave me my next steps as far as my meds, too.  I began progesterone in oil (PIO) injections tonight as well as began taking the antibiotics due to the assisted hatching to the embryos.  

I have to say, I totally rocked the PIO injection tonight.  Only a slight hesitation before taking the plunge...  I'm a pro.  Let's do this! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Time just ticks away... Surrogate Side

The time has come again!  The time to suck it up like a big girl and get ready to prepare my body to cater to a growing little human.  Because the time has ticked away and we are approaching the end of my 8-9 month recovery period from giving birth to Charlie in January, the clinic has called to set things up for our new cycle. 

There were a couple quirks; one being when I called one time back in August, the nurse asked me when my last period was.  I answered that it started yesterday.  Out of nowhere, the nurse kinda gets into a panic and says that she'll have to send out the meds STAT so I can begin them right away.  I was thoroughly confused.  I let her get through her entire spiel before asking if she knew that we weren't planning to transfer until October.  Although I knew we weren't doing anything until October, I was a little freaked out! But, we got everything cleared up and I was told to call on the first day of my next period.

In preparation of our upcoming transfer, meds were mailed to my home. My protocol this time around consists of estrogen pills (twice daily) and an estrogen patch that gets changed every 3 days. If my body reacts correctly to the estrogen and my uterus gets fluffy enough (they check this with a fun internal ultrasound), I start progesterone injections a few days before the transfer. 

Fast forward to early September...

I called the clinic with my first day. The nurse proceeds to give me some instructions and says she'll call me back because she needs to work out the details. A few minutes later, she calls me back with our potential transfer date; September 29th! Yikes! RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER! So much for October, huh?? Close enough, I guess. LOL! 

I have my monitoring appointment tomorrow, 9/26/14. At this appointment, I will have some labs drawn to check my hormone levels and have the internal ultrasound to check my lining. We need it to be super fluffy!

Since we will be transferring the remaining embryos that K&J had frozen from our last journey, things are little more laid back this time around. The timetable is a bit more relaxed in comparison to the rigid schedule last time around where we had to sychronize K and my cycles and time it perfectly. This time I didn't have to suppress my ovaries to prevent my own ovulation by using Lupron (the little needle shot into my belly). Woohoo! One less needle!

So, we're hoping my uterus cooperates so we can move forward with the transfer on Monday. K will be flying out for the transfer to be with me (can't wait to see her)! Charlie will be hanging back at home with J since he's been battling the ever-so-lovely ear infections... 

Fingers crossed for a good turnout! I just cannot wait to start the intramuscular injections into my backside... Can you feel my enthusiasm??! 


Thursday, July 10, 2014

6 Months and Next Steps...Parent Side

Charlie is 6 months old, hard to believe! He is almost crawling, has a few teeth coming in and is such a joy. We are so grateful to have him and every day is an adventure.

After we all agreed to do as sibling journey and we have spoken with our agency we also quickly reached out to our fertility center and decided we would work with them again. I had a phone conference with our physician and wanted to know what his recommendations were. I was a bit surprised that he did recommend that we try our frozen embryos before beginning a fresh cycle with G. For 2 main reasons. The first being the embryos are frozen in time, and they will be over a year in a half younger than my hubby and I are now, which makes sense. The second and the most important reason is that the frozen batch resulted in a healthy, live birth already. Of course, you always run the risk of it not working, but it seems like it makes sense to try them first. Fingers crossed, it could very well work! He stated that it was our decision on what we would like to do, but when I asked him if he were in our shoes would he try this first, he said yes. J and I agreed and we were on board. Therefore, the next steps are for everyone to enjoy the next few months, and in late October or November we will thaw all 3 remaining embryos and see which ones survive the thaw and go from there with the transfer.  Although J and I know what to anticipate more this time and there are less 'unknowns' in some ways the stakes are higher. We have seen what G has gone through in the past, realize her commitment along with ours and have now seen firsthand what a precious gift we have been given. The fact that she is willing to do this again, just blows us away. We are beyond lucky. We look forward to the coming months and will continue to complete the lengthy paperwork, screenings and legal paperwork that comes alongside surrogacy. What a journey, we can't wait.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Trickling right along... Surrogate Side

Things are falling into place!  Since agreeing to be a surrogate again for K&J and letting my agency, Circle Surrogacy, know of our intentions, things have been moving right along.  Circle has been on top of things.  Like I said before, I was surprised by all of the things that I had do for this second time.  I figured it would be a smooth turnover since my last journey ended only 5 months ago, but I was mistaken.

I had to "re-apply".  If you have been following my blog from the beginning, you will remember that the application for surrogacy was page upon page of at least 100 very in-depth questions pertaining to personal history, family history, medical history, previous surrogacy experiences, surrogacy expectations, education and employment background, hobbies/interests and legal history.  I was asked to have my OB complete a clearance form stating her opinion of how long to wait before getting pregnant again and whether she "clears" me to do this again.  (I can TOTALLY see the purpose of having this form completed.)  I was also asked to have my OB send my records from this last birth to them so they can have their doctors review it.  (Again, totally get this requirement.)

I was in touch with a social worker from Circle who "interviewed" me as part of the screening process.  That was about a 45 minute phone call.  It was actually kinda fun to talk about my last surrogacy journey.  It surprised me how much I forgot  about the "little" things of the pregnancy.  The social worker had asked how the pregnancy had gone and I genuinely replied, "great, no problems at all!"

Later in the conversation, she said that they had come across something in my medical records that she had never seen before: "significant VB at 19-weeks".  When she said that, it all came rushing back to me!  I explained to her that I had some vaginal bleeding around 19-weeks and it was attributed to passing either a subchorionic hemorrhage or what remained of the non-viable twin from earlier in the pregnancy.  (The beauty of being pregnant and giving birth is that you don't focus on the bad things that happen, but rather remember the glorious outcome!)

Since then (and that was back in late May?), much more has transpired!  I have just recently had my medical screening where the doctors performed a hystereoscopy of my uterus (saline inserted through my cervix to check my lining to be sure there aren't any potential problems before transfer), a physical, urine screen and labs consisting of 7 tubes of blood. 

The hubs also had to provide a urine sample and 4 tubes of blood; poor guy.  (If you've been following this blog since the beginning you can appreciate my sentiment...) I won't divulge the specifics of his experience, but...  WHO AM I KIDDING?!  Of course I will!

He got super woozy, turned transparent white and had to be offered juice and some time to rest and recuperate.  Bahahahaha!  The nurse informed me of his current state while I was waiting to be seen and my reply?  "I'm not at all surprised."  When he walked out, I was such a good wife and offered my assistance to walk him to his car and asked (sincerely...) if he was going to make it.  When he left (he didn't need to stay for the rest of my appointments with the docs), the nurse confided in me that she was hoping that he didn't fall over because she wouldn't have been able to pick him up!  Gosh, I love this man!

The same evening of my medical screening, I had a meeting with my attorney to review our contract.  (The contract is probably the most uncomfortable part of a surrogacy journey; for me at least.)  There were some new additions to the contract set up by my agency that gave my eyebrows a wiggle, but I can appreciate their purpose behind it.  I think??  o_O

But, all in all, things are taking shape and we still anticipate a transfer to occur sometime in October or November of this year!!  Just a few more months!  And, during that time I will be relishing in the "me" time, savoring a few cocktails and getting my body back into shape only to destroy it again! 

WooHOO!  Bring on a sibling for Charlie!!!
Look at him.  He clearly needs a baby sister/brother.  He's just too sad right now...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Challenge accepted... Surrogate Side

I let my agency know that I have agreed to a sibling journey with K&J.  That very same afternoon, I received a reply welcoming me back and a whole boatload of paperwork to complete.  You would think that it would be simple to return given that I am keeping the same "intended parents".  My insurance is the same, my couple is the same, my doctors are the same.  Everything is the same.  But, no.  Nothing is ever simple when it comes to surrogacy!  LOL!

Not that I mind, of course.  I really do love all things surrogacy.  I like the "busy" work, I guess you could say.  I have printed out all of the necessary paperwork and have completed everything.  It asked questions about whether I'd be open to work with different types of couples or a single parent... I answered with, "I'm only working with K&J for a sibling journey".  I'm not in this return journey for anyone else.  Just K&J.

I brought the documents home that my hubby needed to sign and he signed them with no questions asked...  o_O  (I guess that's a good thing?)  I did put those little "sign here" flags wherever I needed him to sign the first time this time around.  I thought about just putting them in random places, too, but decided against it.  I didn't want to give him any ammunition...  (wink, wink)

I have requested a copy of my Explanation of Benefits from my insurance agency and dropped off my OB Clearance Form on Friday afternoon.  I submitted all of my completed/signed paperwork to my agency and was told that they are setting up my file.  I cannot believe I am doing all of this AGAIN!  Eeekk!   

Friday, April 25, 2014

Charlie VISIT... Surrogate Side

I got my snuggles, squeezes and smooches in!  Cutest baby ever.  
What a smile he has; lights up the whole room and warms my heart... 

I was so excited to see the little stud that I could barely sleep the night before.  I was like a little kid on Christmas Eve.  A family trip was in order for the occasion - the hubs was able to make the trip, too!  We packed up the kiddies and decided that we'd go to the Museum of Science. 

The whole day before, my son couldn't stop telling everyone that we were going to Boston.  The whole drive down there, he kept asking "when will we get to Boston?" and we had just left the house...  My husband and I just looked at one another and couldn't help but laugh.  My daughter, on the other hand, was able to contain her excitement about our drive down there and casually fell asleep at 9:15am.  She loves her beauty sleep.

When we finally made it down to Boston, both kids were ready for the fun.  I was super excited!  I was in touch with K and let her know where we'd meet her.  My kiddies were bouncing around with excitement and we took family funny family photos while we waited.

After our display of great strength, K and Charlie showed up!  I immediately get the camera and start shooting away!  He is just the cutest little man!!  My children were full of giggles!

I couldn't wait to get my hands on him!  He's gotten so big!

We had a blast at the museum - my children were all smiles!  Charlie was so well-behaved and happy.
Look at the CUTIE!  Little thumb-sucker!
Momma is clearly in her element!  So happy.
According to Momma, Charlie is very "inquisitive"... LOL!
My little darling just LOVES this little guy!

I wish I had a photo of the most hilarious moment of the entire visit...  
You know those turnstiles you enter/exit at museums, amusement parks, etc. ?  
Well, we had a bit of an incident involving one of those and a baby stroller. 

I am so happy that we were able to meet for a little visit.  It is really nice to watch him grow.  I was telling my husband on the way down that I was super psyched to see Charlie. From his reaction, I felt like I had to explain my excitement a bit to him.  I shared that I was not in any way "drawn" to him, but it's a different sort of "interest" in how he's doing, growing, etc.  I explained that it was fulfilling for me to see his progress since I'd been such an instrumental part of his conception.  The hubs seemed to understand.  At least he pretended to.... ??  Either way, he must truly trust and love me -- he's agreed to another journey!  My son said Charlie should have a sister...  What a loving little boy I have.  (Proud Momma here.)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Here we go again...Maybe????.....Parent Side

It’s known within the surrogacy world that in fact, surrogacy statistics have been difficult to track, as they are not kept nationally. It’s impossible at this time to know the exact number of babies that are born each year by a surrogate, people use many different methods and routes. Our own family and friends may have assumed we wouldn’t have another baby, we beat the odds with Charlie. After 7 rounds of IVF, a few miscarriages and stillborn twins, we became parents. We were told by medical professionals it would be very difficult, yet clearly not impossible. We knew that having 1 baby was a miracle and we would never take this for granted. Yet, we would love a sibling for Charlie. We agreed that if it wasn’t possible to have another baby we would be more than okay, we would count our blessings and move on. Yet, especially for J, who was an only child for almost 14 years he really wanted a sibling for C and I wholehearted agreed. Two days after Charlie was born, as we were still in the hospital, J looked at me and said “we really can’t ask G again." He said after what I witnessed we can NOT ask her to go through that again. I knew where he was going with this, the famous birth was NOT exactly pain free. I looked at him and smiled and decided I wasn’t up for having this conversation 48 hours after our son was born. OH MY WORD......We dropped the topic. A few months had passed (barely) and J brought it up again. We talked about the expense, the process and if we were actually up for going through this journey again. We also talked about G. He said I don’t know if I feel comfortable asking G to be our surrogate again. She went through so much, had so many procedures, took time away from her family and work. I said to him, “no, we are asking, I want to ask her.” If she said no, and I would totally, completely understand if she did, then we would move on to other options, we would look for a new medical center (closer to our current home) to conduct our transfer and adventures and pursue other carriers. J agreed. Well, I got the lucky job of emailing G, and it was a little uncomfortable, not that I don’t think that at this point in our relationship, I couldn’t ask her anything or have in fact already, but admittedly. we felt a little nervous. She wrote back one of the most touching emails we had ever read. We prepped ourselves for if she said no. Secretly, we both knew no woman on the planet would ever compare. She is beyond amazing and always makes us laugh along the way. I know our agency would have done a good at finding a new carrier, but the truth was we kind of didn’t want anyone else. I can honestly say, that if I could choose anyone in the world (other than myself, naturally) I would have chosen her to carry our future baby. J agreed. We trust her and love her. It’s a connection that is impossible to truly understand unless you have gone through it. She’s like an extension of our family. Enough said. We decided that we wanted to start this process, if she agreed we would start the process in the fall, if she was interested and was medically cleared. Knowing it could take a year, to a year in a half but no matter what her response, we would completely understand. When she wrote us back and told us she was in (God love her) and her hubby and family were okay with it, we couldn’t believe it, we hit the lottery, again. J couldn't stop smiling all day, we were THRILLED. We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know that we are probably one of the luckiest families in the world and fingers crossed all good things ahead. 

Omg! Omg... Surrogate Side

When I finally reached the decision to carry a sibling for Charlie (and be K&J's surrogate again; I don't know which way is more "PC", but you get what I'm sayin'...), I didn't know how to share the news with K&J.  We communicate a lot via email and texting.  We were never really big phone conversationalists; we saved the phone calls for the "big deal" moments.  Although one could consider this a "bid deal" moment, I still decided to announce my decision via email.

The email exchange was really quite cute and read a little something like this:

Me:  I'm in. :)

K&J:  Are you serious????
Are you sure??!!
Are you kidding me??!

Me:  Yep, I'm sure.  I'm not kidding.  Let's do this.  But, let's wait a while... ;)
Late fall?  I just remember carrying my daughter so close after giving birth to my son 
and I felt like if I opened my legs too far that she'd fall out. o_O 
What do you think?

K&J:  100% agree.  We need to wait a bit.  Late fall for sure.
I just cried reading your email.  J is going to be jumping up and down.  G...I can't even imagine!!!!
This is amazing, we can't ever thank you.  We really can't!!!

Me:  I have chills.  And, tears in my eyes.  Love you guys! :)

K&J:  We love you!!!
    Omg!  Omg.

They really are the most amazing couple I know.  Their appreciation is undeniable.  Later that afternoon (I assume after K had shared the news with J), I received this picture:


Seriously.  How did I get so freakin' lucky??  And, Charlie?  Couldn't be any cuter.  Check him out...

Can you say future HEART-BREAKER??!
So happy!  (J said that hat had to be burned...LOL!)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sibling for Charlie?... Surrogate Side

After receiving that email from K&J asking if I would carry a sibling for Charlie, I did a lot of thinking.  I weighed the pros (there were a ton) and cons (there weren't many).  I talked about it more with the hubs.  I thought about talking with my little ones about it, but decided against it as I didn't want them to become confused if we didn't go through with it or if it didn't work this next time.  My family is still greatly supportive and that's just awesome. 

After all that talking, I looked at myself in the mirror.  I looked at my body and appreciated all that it has done for me, my family and K&J's family.  It may not look as it did before I birthed 3 children, but it doesn't look too, too bad...  At that moment, I promised to take better care of it from here on out.  I promised to eat healthier (not that I eat bad, but I slip at times) and start working out regularly.  My body has given me so much; it deserves a little bit of love.

Well, those promises had to wait until AFTER our little get-away to Nashville 
because we ate and drank a good amount.  I may have contributed to 
a few more pounds last week.  The food was absolutely incredible...  YUM!

As I begin my voyage of saying "thanks" to my body now that we are back from the mecca of "all things scrumptious in southern hospitality", I take this time to ask my body one more favor; allow me the opportunity to carry a sibling for Charlie.

Process for baby #2 will commence this Fall!  YAY!

Hey girl, You just gave birth yesterday, but if you’re ready to start that sibling project like your IPs want, I’m totally on board. 
Umm, okay! (Not exactly how it went, but...)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Question... Surrogate Side

Well, hello out there!  It's been a while!

You probably thought this blog would come to a slow halt after delivering Charlie since it seemed like the natural ending to such a beautiful story (and you are probably correct in thinking that), but I'm not done yet.

I know in the past, when there was longer gaps between posts, it usually meant there was something radical that has happened which ultimately caused the holdup.  Welp, same thing goes for this delay, too...

Things were going pretty normal as this journey was coming to a close.  I received "thank you" and "goodbye" emails from my agency and was asked to complete an "exit interview" so they can get honest feedback.  I was happy to oblige and completed it without hesitation.  The very end of the form had a "hypothetical" section - I've copied and pasted that part below with my actual answers:

If you were planning to perform another surrogate pregnancy, 
would you choose Circle Surrogacy as your agency again?
Yes.  Definitely.

If you were asked to perform another surrogacy for the same couple, would you?  Why or why not?
I would want to, but I don't know if it is something my body could do again.   
We shall see.  It would be hard to say "no" if they asked.   
They are such an amazing couple and our journey together couldn't 
have been any better.  They are an extension of my family now.

A day or two after submitting the exit interview back to Circle, I received an email from K.  This email was probably one of the most heartfelt sentiments that I have witnessed in a very long time.  It went a little something like this:

Hi there!! I hope you guys are doing well!! 
I still can't believe Charlie is getting so big. 

Today, as I have been reviewing paperwork from Circle that they sent yesterday, 
one of the questions they just asked was if we would ever be interested in a sibling journey. 
The answer is 'yes', we would be interested in trying 1 more time.

We are so incredibly blessed no matter what would happen though.  
J and I actually feel really uncomfortable asking this question, 
and fully would understand if your husband came to our door with a shot gun. ;)

We don't know if you would ever be interested in doing surrogacy again for us or someone else. 
I realize this is a huge, huge decision and we would never, ever expect this of you 
and our love and appreciation for you extends a lifetime. 

In planning for the future it is something we wanted to ask, the main reason of course 
we wanted to ask you before anyone else and we know the process can take a while and J is old. 
All kidding aside, my endometriosis is getting worse so it was recommended 
if we wanted to try ever in future again for 1 more child we should do sooner than later.  

Again, we feel uncomfortable even bringing it up, and wouldn't for a second ever be upset 
or think differently of you if you said "no way".  

Thanks for letting me know your thoughts and I truly hope 
I didn't offend you or make you uncomfortable. We send our love! Happy happy weekend!!!

After reading this, I immediately wanted to reply back to let her know that she in NO WAY made me feel uncomfortable!  And so I did...

I wanted to get back to you right away to let you know that you are FAR from offending me!  
It is, actually, quite a compliment.  :)

As much as I would love to jump up and down and say, "YES, OF COURSE!", I don't have an answer for you right now.  
This will have to be something that I will have to really discuss with my husband.  
I have said before, that if I ever did decide to do this again, it would ONLY be for you or my immediate family.  
If it was solely up to me, I would jump all over this opportunity - I just love you and your (growing) family!  
But, I have others to think about, too.

Like I said, I don't have an answer for you right now, but just know that I won't be doing this for anyone else. 

Let's just say I was able to miraculously get the hubs eager for me to do a sibling project; 
when were you looking to start this again?   

I took some time to really think about this.  I gathered up the nerve to broach this topic again with my husband.  (Don't get me wrong, he was completely on-board with Charlie's surrogacy; he was proud of me and was so happy to witness such a gift.  He was, however, also really happy to have his wife back.)  He reacted just how I anticipated he would, but then really surprised me.  He wanted me to talk with my doctor and my family.

And so I did.  My doctor wants at least 8 months between conceptions and is perfectly okay with me doing another surrogacy.  I spoke with most of my immediate family and they are supportive of whatever decision I make.  Some thought I was crazy, but are supportive. How did I get so darn lucky??

That said, I still had to make the decision for myself.  I weighed all the possibilities and really thought about all the scenarios my husband voiced to me (some of which were absurd -- shorter life expectancy with multiple births??, while others were realistic -- being able to do the things we wanted to do with our own family). 

It's been a lot of back and forth for me.  Will I be a surrogate for K&J again?  Will I be the one to give Charlie a sibling?  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Parent Side...Charlie Update

We can't believe that Charlie is almost 10 weeks old. We can't imagine our lives without him and everyday is a new adventure.. Overall, Charlie is doing really well. In all honestly, the first 7 weeks were a little rough, as our little guy had colic and severe reflux and a nasty case of Croup which involved a hospital stay, but after a few formula changes, some medications and some earplugs (kidding) he is doing great. G was completely correct when she stated while preggers that he is active, he never stops bouncing around. Even in his sleep he is a mover and a shaker. He is always full of smiles and laughs and is a joy to have around. Many people ask if we still keep in contact with G, and the answer is OF COURSE. I hope to visit some family and friends this spring near her and can't wait for G to see baby Charlie and spend some time hanging out. Every day we are reminded of her and are forever grateful.
Time flies when your having fun!

Friday, February 7, 2014

More FAQs... Surrogate Side

Just as there were questions about the logistics of becoming a gestational carrier and actually being a surrogate when I was going through my journey with K&J, there are still lingering questions from many regarding the "conclusion" of the surrogacy.  Many of you (mostly close friends and family) have expressed an interest in knowing some of the finer details of the delivery experience itself and the after-effects of giving birth, but not going home with a baby.

Q: Were the IPs in the room with you when you delivered?
A:  Yep, they were!  They were with me every step of the way; always offering to help make things as easiest as possible for me.  I was hell-bent on delivering their baby that day and that was clearly not a problem with K&J!

Q: Did they cut the cord?

A:  Yes!  The original plan was to have J cut the cord, but in the heat of the moment, he got just a bit queasy.  No worries, though, K stepped right up and cut the cord.  J was able to cut the cord shorter after Charlie was assessed by the nurses.  (It had to have been a lot to take in.  Both J and my husband had to leave the room at one point or another to refrain from passing out.)

Q: Who held the little guy first?
A:  This part is just a lil' bit fuzzy for me...  Although I am not 100% sure, I believe it was J who held the little man first.  After seeing Charlie make his beautiful debut to the world, I was relishing in the absence of pain while doctors poked and prodded me during the unspoken afterbirth events...  Good times (wink, wink).  I do know that it was K's wish to have J hold the baby first.

Q: Do you miss  baby Charlie?  (Did you have a hard time "handing him over"?)
A:  Because I went into this journey with such a strong mindset that I am just the "jar" for K&J's "sauce", I was able to get through this entire pregnancy without developing a mother/child bond with Charlie.  Don't get me wrong - I cared for Charlie and his well-being A LOT, but that particular bond was never established.  Like I have said before, our bond had more of a best friend vibe than that of mother/child.  I wanted to grow a healthy baby for K&J and did everything I could to make that happen.

That said, I can honestly say that I did not have any problems delivering that baby and "handing him over" to his parents.  In fact, it was the most amazing feeling to be able to do that.  It was that very moment that made this whole journey worthwhile.  Seeing Charlie enter the world and be given directly to his parents, seeing K&J cry tears of joy and mouthing the words "thank you" with the look of sheer joy and gratefulness in their eyes will never be forgotten.  To this day, I can easily say that (apart from the births of my own children) this journey has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of my life.

Q: Was the baby still in the hospital when you left?
A:  Yes.  I was torn about leaving early.  On the one hand, I wanted to get back to my family and rest/relax peacefully at home.  But, on the other hand, I wanted to spend more time with the new family.  I ultimately decided to go home early; the very next morning/afternoon.  It was hard saying "goodbye" to the brand-spankin'-new family, but I know in my heart that they will always be a part of my life. 

Q: Did K&J fly home with Charlie or did they have to drive back?  How does travel go with a brand new baby?
A: Given the weather at the time, K&J's plans for heading back home were in a bit of disarray.  They had initially planned to stay for some time with J's family in Boston, but when they met with the pediatrician, he advised them that Charlie really should be seen by his own doctor within the first week.  The doctor explained that flight travel is completely fine with a newborn.  They decided to spent a day or two with J's family and then fly back home.  The weather caused them to stay a bit longer than expected, but they made it back home just fine.  Charlie was a doll during the flight -- I was told he slept most of the way. 

Q: Were all the legalities figured out?
A:  YES!  Thank the heavens above!  I appeared for my court hearing to request a post-birth order the Monday morning after giving birth.  We were worried that we would have the same Judge who denied our pre-birth order, but were pleasantly surprised to see that he had since retired.  The Judge overseeing our hearing was delightful; very understanding of the situation and clearly an advocate of surrogacy.

Q: Was it strange when it was all over? (Like leaving the maternity ward without a baby?)
A:  No, not really.  I actually had some experience with leaving the maternity ward and hospital without a baby.  When I was pregnant with my daughter, an ultrasound revealed a mass in her abdomen.  My delivery room was chock-full of doctors, specialists and nurses ready to examine her upon delivery.  She was immediately taken for an ultrasound to determine our next steps.  The doctors expressed a concern that it may be cancer and ultimately decided that surgery was necessary to remove it right away.  My baby girl was taken in for major abdominal surgery just 6 hours after she was born and I had only been able to hold her in my arms for 3 minutes (which I had to ask for) before they swept her away for testing/monitoring.  So, I knew what it was like to be without a baby; my own baby.  This time around was cake compared to that!  This wasn't my baby!  Charlie was with his family, completely healthy and so very loved.  Leaving him with his family wasn't hard at all.  

Q: Was it strange being home with all the postpartum stuff happening, but without a baby to take care?  (Or, was it simply amazing to give birth and then go home and SLEEP and just work on getting your body and life back to normal?)
A:  This was where it got strange.  I was healing very quickly and sleeping nicely.  Overtime, I had "forgotten" how recently I had given birth.  I didn't have a baby at home to remind me that my flabby belly was okay because I just gave birth only a few short weeks ago.  Here I am now, 5 weeks post delivery, and I am still thinking that my belly should be firmer.  That is the strange part.  I have to keep reminding myself that it's only been a short time since bringing Charlie into this world.  I have to give myself some time!  Healing so quickly has contributed to my warped sense of time, too. 

Q: Do you still keep in touch with the family? 
A:  Yes.  I anticipate that there will always be some sort of communication amongst our families.  Maybe not as much as there is right now, but it definitely will continue through the years.  They are an extension of my family.