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.