Monday, December 9, 2013

Tap Dancer




 

I was in denial for a while.

It's undeniable now; Bunny is kicking or tap dancing like a Riverdance girl.

My OB told me I have a posterior placenta (meaning it's attached at the back of my baby tank) so it would be a little longer before I could feel her really clogging around (my words, not hers).  At 20 weeks, let it be written, she made her presence known.








At 21 weeks, she is about 10.5 inches long and weighs just a little less than a pound. I'm still not that big out front, but definitely fitting well into my maternity clothes. The cold Kansas weather lets my bulky pea coat hide the extra me. That makes picking Dempsey up from daycare a lot easier without any extra questions about reserving an extra space for the Young family.

Hopefully I can get the Bellybuds out this week and start some Baby Mozart jam sessions. For those of you that don't know, Bellybuds are little speakers you stick to your growing belly to play music or other audio. I got them as a gift with my son and I think they are great. Dempsey is quite the music connoisseur and at age two enjoys Call Me Maybe, Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus (referred to as "the broken girl...)... but only if these artists are singing with Jimmy Fallon (truth be told, he really loves Jimmy Fallon).

Our goal with Bellybuds this go-round, is to have Michael and Jason record their voices to play to Bunny. I've heard that Alice in Wonderland is currently in production. Until then, she'll be listening to Baby Mozart, the Lumineers, Mumford and Sons... and maybe Katy Perry... Or Jimmy Fallon if Dempsey has anything to say about it!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Could it get any better?

Michael and Jason were absolutely fabulous.

In the words of my husband (ye of little words), "They're good people."

While the visit was short, I think we jammed as much conversation in as possible in the day we had together. I had a headache from all the laughing by the end of the day, so I popped a Tylenol and chugged a water to cut it before dinner. It worked and dinner was great. I saw a look cross Justin's face as we went to a barbecue place and he was the only one that ordered barbecue. Truth be told, America's portion sizes are quite large, so Justin was really the only one that was hungry by the time we went to dinner.

Ironically, there were two [BRAND NEW] gay dads, just a table away, celebrating the new family member with their friends and family. I think it made the evening even more surreal. The scan made the idea of that little gummy bear (now looking much more like a Whippet or Greyhound - such a long spine...) REALLY REAL. Bunny moved, even shook that little booty, quite the dancer. The hospital tour was great, and my glances to Michael and Jason revealed excitement and terror all wrapped into one. We really are fortunate to be working with such an accommodating hospital.

I'm kicking myself for not getting any pictures of us together. I'm sure I could photoshop something together, but I just don't have the flair for that kind of buffoonery today. That means I will just have to snap that many more photos in April.

In case any of you were wondering, Bunny is a little girl! This will make pulling off a nickname like, Bunny a lot easier!


Congrats, Michael and Jason!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

One More Day

Michael and Jason are in the air as I type.

By tomorrow we will have already been through our hospital tour and found out if Bunny will wear pink or blue (and tons of yellow and white).

Can you believe it?!?!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Building Anticipation

I've been a slacker in the blogosphere.

My apologies. I've been busy in the rest of my lifeosphere.

I've started my Master's. Finally. Now, in two years, I might be able to get a job where I can use, at least, one of my degrees. Maybe.

Michael and Jason are officially 17 weeks pregnant. CRAZY! Where has the time gone? I've been getting lost in the lull of no news is good news.

I unpacked old and purchased a few new maternity clothes. I don't know if I wore these with Dempsey, but I've got to fit them in to my winter wardrobe; maybe with tights. Aren't they beautiful?

I really wish I could have snapped a pic of the khaki pants that were in my second-hand tote (surely my sister didn't REALLY wear these horrid things). I STRONGLY DISLIKE khaki's because they've never been nice at accentuating my rump. But the maternity khaki's take it to a new level of figure abuse... it's just plain mean.

In any case, I'm happy I will be enjoying Thanksgiving in some awesome stretchy pants. Maybe, I'll even let Justin borrow them. Just for lunch.

NEXT WEEK Michael and Jason will be flying over the pond to see their baby wiggle on the ultra sound screen! Oh, and of course, we'll find out if there is a he or a she residing in the baby tank. I've got my own suspicions, I'll let everyone else spend the next week guessing.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

15 weeks




No. I am not ready to post a photo of my figure.

The truth is, I just look pudgy. I'm not really "showing," but, instead, look like I filled up at the local buffet. My pants don't button (comfortably) and I don't mind belting them on. But do I have that beautiful pregnancy bump? No. More of a lump, if anything, but I'm okay with that. I still get to wear spandex!

Bunny is about the size of an apple. Bunny still has a lot of ripening to do, but actually looks like a tiny baby.

Someone asked how far along I was. They gasped and said, "I didn't realize you were that far." I hadn't really thought about it, but then I realized, I'll be half way in a month! AHHH!

I guess I've been blissfully ignorant and going about my daily routine. It is after all the last day of October, that fact alone is daunting.

I hope everyone has a wonderful, candy-filled Halloween. Justin is in charge of Dempsey's trick-or-treating as I have my master's class tonight. That little donkey will be getting his Hee-Haw on without me.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Waiting for Kansas - a note from the intended parents

It's a month till we fly to Kansas to meet Morgan and Bunny. We are all booked in for the flights via Chicago and arrive late Thursday for the scan and hospital visit on Friday. The trip could hardly be more exciting to look forward too even if we don't have ruby slippers this might be the most memorable trip to Kansas ever.

The strange thing is that it all remains rather unreal as Morgan is doing all the work and her family are giving all the on-call support. Several thousand miles from the action we are merely the pushy parents proud to show round a scan and aware that Bunny still looks like a still of the starship Enterprise. We have held back telling too many people not because we are superstitious or fear their input or response but more because this is the most precious thing possible and everyone we tell somehow lessens the perfectly wonderful story that Morgan and we share. So until the next scan we are keeping it a limited secret and that makes us smile every time we think what we have. All those still in the dark will have enough of the sharing once Bunny comes along. 


Monday, October 14, 2013

Smooth Sailing: 2nd trimester!

It's been a while.

The good news: I have nothing to report!

I'm off meds and feel like a normal person, so it's nice to just live day-to-day, like nothing is happening. This is quite the switch from the beginning of the surrogacy journey, where there is only excitement. Now, it's just waiting. O, and by the way, second trimester!!! Exhale that heavy sigh of relief. As far as I'm concerned, it's all smooth sailing now!

At 13 weeks, Bunny actually looks like a baby. YAY; that's great news!


Size of a peach, little bones forming, wiggles and might even suck a thumb! As for my body... well not all pants button and I'm in the market for a "good pair" of yoga pants that I can pass of as work slacks... That's not because my body has made huge mutations modifications, but because I really never want to get out of comfortable pants.

Pretty soon I think we will be breaking out the BellyBuds to get those developing ears tuned in to daddies' voices. If you don't know what those are, they are awesome. I'll tell you more later.


Here is a glimpse of my weekend. Dempsey enjoys tinkering around in our "guest house." It's his play house, but it's my best attempt to sound fancy.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Thing About Naysayers...



...they suck.

Often they shake your convictions and even your foundation.

I've met little opposition to the surrogacy journey. I knew at some point I would, and that didn't bother me. I'm usually not up for caring much about what other people think.

However, it stings when it is family.

While the details aren't necessary, it is important to share why harsh words can make such a little difference in this journey. Michael's mum has been overjoyed by the whole prospect of extending the family. She is incredibly excited to become a grand-mum. Michael shared these kind words she had for me this weekend:
I want to tell her how happy she has made my 2 boys and me. I want to say a big thank you to the whole family as it could not happen with out their help, so thank you all.
That, people, is the reason that hateful or insensitive insights don't matter.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The best thing...

The best thing about my surrogacy journey so far is that no one has asked me to step on a scale.

No one.

Not NEFI, not my local monitoring clinic, not my IPs and definitely, not my husband.

Clearly, that is not the best thing about the surrogacy journey, but it's a nice perk. I was expecting to be weighed, measured, poked and prodded. Basically, all of the prior stated is standard and routine EXCEPT weighing in.

I think that will end today. I see my personal OBGYN and I think the first order of business, besides paperwork, will be a weigh in.

I've got an idea of what my starting weight was... so we will see if there has been much of a change. If my feelings get hurt, there may be a stop for ice cream on my way back to work.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Grow, Bunny, Grow!


Bunny is growing!

It is almost unfathomable to think about how much this little bebe has grown in two weeks. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Bunny is only the size of a grape - but that looks like a big grape!

I came to a conclusion today. Almost an epiphany. It is hard to explain the relationship of a surrogate with her Intended Parents. Even harder to explain the relationship with the child.

With my own pregnancy, I wasn't overly "ga-ga" over the idea of our little bundle of joy. Maybe it was more terrifying that exciting. I didn't make much of a big deal out of my pregnancy. I didn't tell many people and my mother and Justin both had to beg for the go-ahead to spread the good news. I loved my baby in utero, but I didn't get in a good bond until he smiled at me.

I was thinking about how much Bunny had grown and how exciting that was. Of course, I always find myself sending pictures or video of the appointment while still in the parking lot.

The difference between loving your own child and loving a surrogate child is that when there is a milestone, you get so excited for the parents. You try to imagine which one will be the mother hen and which one will the spoiler. As creepy as it sounds, I find myself day dreaming of their future. I love seeing the excitement in their faces every time we Skype and I'm so thankful that we have been extremely successful thus far.

It is pretty rare that I think things are happening to me. I more often think things are happening to us - Michael, Jason and myself. More often, I refer to things as happening for them. This is their pregnancy. This is their baby. I'm just excited to be a small part of it. I think that is the main difference of being a surrogate mama.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Moving along



Still nothing exciting on my end.

However, Michael and Jason are relaxing in France. I got an email this weekend stating that they were planning on "driving down."

Since I living in Kansas, I equate that with what would be a drive to Texas. That doesn't sound nearly as beautiful.

They are enjoying beautiful French countryside with sunflower fields. If I were to drive, I might be lucky to see a dead armadillo with a beer bottle propped in its puffy little hands. It just doesn't produce the same imagery.
This?
Or this?

They checked in today with plans of visiting the village market. Apparently the weather there is beautiful with crisp night air; enough to need a fire. Meanwhile, back here in Kansas, I am expecting a high of 90 degrees. Never mind that two days ago it was 60 degrees and two days from now we will have a high of 70.

Their is a fair at the village market and the semi-celebrity, Chicken Man, will be there. He is renowned for the quality of his organic Bresse chickens. What a man! If Justin and I don't work out this is who I plan on running away with.


I doubt this is what chicken man really looks like, but I can dream, can't I?!?




Wednesday, September 11, 2013

8 Weeks


Uneventful is good.

This week I get to skip the doctor's office. All of my hormone levels and ultra sounds have been superb, so I get a break this week... at least from the doctor's office.

The due date for our little gummy bear is April 20, 2014, which just happens to be Easter. Baby shall from now on be referred to as, "Bunny."

I'm sure Bunny is growing like a champ in that baby tank. Am I starting to "show," you ask? NO! I'm a healthy woman... you'll have to wait a while for any noticeable bump to form.

Food aversions have mellowed as well as some of my nauseous tendencies. I seem to get really hungry, and then hardly eat any of my lunch. Considering I could be "losing my lunch," my appetite is hardly anything to complain about. Justin is already becoming worried about sympathy weight...

I set up my appointment with my own OBGYN (HIGHLY recommended by my new-mom neighbor). It's still a couple of weeks away, but I will consult with her before finishing my monitoring appointments. Jason and Michael are waiting on pins and needles for an ultrasound date, so they can make travel arrangements. Needless to say, that will be the first question I ask.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Little Peanut

It's Thursday!


Don't worry - s/he'll get much cuter...
That means it was testing day!



The little peanut's heart beat is growing and getting stronger. I could actually see the little beat on the ultra sound screen. I also think I saw the start of little limb buds! 






The nurse practitioner (who is amazing, by the way) said that this week baby looks like a peanut, but next week, baby will resemble a gummy bear, which, of course, sounds delicious to me. 


Ironically, the two things stashed in my desk drawer happen to be peanut M&Ms and gummy bears...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Meet the Parents


Due to technical difficulties with blogger, I have been asked to share this blog post from the intended parents. Hopefully this is just the first of many to come. Enjoy!


-------------------------------------------------------------------

We have been keeping a low profile as really Morgan is the star here....but now that "we" are officially pregnant, we can't control our excitement as IPs any longer. So how did we get here... five years ago we took a career break and travelled the world for a year and half. We had time to reflect and time to plan for our future away from the pressures of work and the daily grind. On a garden square in New York we got engaged and on a beach in Koh Samui we decided to explore growing our family. 

Fast forward through the rest of our travels, setting up a new business, buying a new home and researching surrogate options, we eventually met up with Circle and started the process that brought us to the news of being officially pregnant yesterday.

Once we had filled in the interminable paperwork and sought to understand how the journey would proceed, we got to the great bits...matching with our wonderful egg donor and our amazing surrogate. The matching was intuitive and we felt an immediate connection between ourselves and the two wonderful women who have helped us get this far. Words can't really explain how lucky we feel to have meet and been accepted by them. It was a nervous wait to see if they were willing to help us and it still is difficult to express how generous they have been to make it possible to arrive at this point.

Seeing the ultrasound yesterday and hearing the heartbeat was astounding. It brought tears to our mother's eyes and the still photo has been safely lodged in our wallets. There's a long journey still to go...Morgan has morning sickness, raging hormones, tiredness and more pills to take...we have to wait till our lives get turned upside down. I know we have the best of that deal but despite being an ocean away we are with her all the way.

Michael and Jason

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Un Solo Corazón

One Heart!

One healthy heartbeat!

I work in a bilingual workplace. The wonderful Spanish speakers gave my brain a workout yesterday by really pushing my sub-par Spanish skills. I try to keep it simple when thinking about my responses to their questions. Today, I was happy to report back - Un Solo Corazón (and I even botched that simple phase. Thanks, Google Translate!)

Here is the healthy little baby from head to tail. Baby still has a LOT of growing to do, but this is a really good start!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Something is Growing in there...




Sometimes it's strange what you notice.

I had one morning of nausea with Dempsey around 8 weeks. Other than the pregnancy test and the doctor telling me, I wouldn't have known I was pregnant.

But with this baby, I'm more in tune with the cause and effect. I know that my hormones have spiked. I know why I am so tired.

Yesterday, I was talking to Justin with exaggerated arm movements. I stifle an "Ow!" and proceed to see if there is a bruise on the side of my boob under my arm. "Of course there has to be a reason there is a painful spot on my boob - those things don't just hurt for no good reason," I thought to myself. Sweet Justin looks at me and says, "There's no bruise. Your mammaries are probably gearing up to become a milk factory." [that wasn't an exact, word-for-word quote, but you get the point].

Oh yeah. I forgot that these two attention-getters have a purpose other than filling out a blouse.

I woke up this morning to what felt like a gut punch. My tummy was hurting. My guts had decided to clench up into a ball. I'm happy to report that I am feeling much better by mid-day. However, my cheerios were far less appealing, as were my peanut M&Ms...

My only steady symptom so far is apathy. It's hard to fake listening to a story I have zero interest in. I will not entertain a fake smile to a lame joke. And those baskets full of laundry needing to be folded? Well, until my closet is empty, they are not my concern.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Raging Hormones

I remember teenage angst. Well.

I've been feeling like a caged animal the past week.

It's obvious; I'm pregnant.

I knew it before I tested. I just looked at Justin and wanted to rip his face off. Poor guy never knew what hit him.

He doesn't understand why I'm reacting so negatively to a pile of [his] clothes in the basement right outside of the laundry room. BECAUSE IT MAKES ME CRAZY that he can't 1. put his clothes in the $50 laundry sorter I bought to lessen the hassle of laundry and 2. move the pile five feet into the washer.



 I've been catching up on the 3rd season of Dexter (relax! I've been busy!) and the girlfriend is pregnant and rants at Dex for, well, nothing really. Justin looks at me and murmurs a, "Huh..." I could have thrown a chair at him, BECAUSE IT MAKES ME CRAZY he could even relate that scene to his beautiful, loving wife, awesome mother of his child.




So tonight, when Justin got home, I admitted it. "Honey, I think my hormones may be getting the better of me."
"What would make you say that?" asked a very sarcastic husband.
The reply was less than P.G... because that sarcasm kind of made me crazy...

Work this week may prove to be difficult.

I am prepared to make a sign for my cubicle.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lucky


Sometimes I forget to stop and be thankful.

I started my adventure at the end of April. Matched with the intended parents in May. Screened in June. Started medication in July. Transferred August 2nd and officially pregnant on August 15.

That is amazing.

Do a quick Google search of "Surrogacy success rates." Let me know if you get a direct answer. 

At best, surrogates and intended parents are hoping for a 50% chance at success. HOPING FOR 50% - did you see that?

Being a part of surrogacy support group has been a great opportunity for me. While my partner and family are very supportive, there are some things that you want to share with your surrogate family. They cheer you on for appointments, blood work and pregnancy tests. They also sympathize with you for thin lining, negative pregnancy tests and sometimes, at the very worst of things, surrogacy denial from doctor and agency.

It is hard to revel in a victory when one of your surro-sisters is agonizing after her second failed transfer. It is hard to celebrate the stars aligning for a perfect outcome when one of your surro-sisters was just banned from surrogacy from something she couldn't control - her body's reaction to meds.

That being said, I find myself moving my state of mind back to cautious. I am so thankful that our journey has been so seamless, but I would be lying if I said I'm not nervous. 

Can things possibly stay this perfect? 

YES; surely, they can. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Positive Beta!



I'm positive it's positive!


My beta number was 279! What a super number!?!


It's now totally acceptable to get excited. I'm talking FREAKING PUMPED!


Congratulations, Jason and Michael!

On Edge

Could it be any more plainly stated?

I once had a music teacher that said, "If you aren't [sitting] on the edge, you're taking up to much space." This, of course, my frame of mind wasn't what she was talking about.

Possible reason:
  • Work has been irritating lately. I refuse to say stressful, so I'll stick with irritating.
  • Home has been fine, if you consider falling asleep at 9 p.m. with laundry piling up in the living room, fine (meanwhile my husband possesses the anti super-hero power: selective blindness. For some reason cannot see nor sense the very very very visible chaos forming in our home.)
  • It could be that I was running late with my little one today BECAUSE OF THIS:

video

The real reason is because we are waiting for the beta results.

"What's a beta?" you ask.

Considering the woman that drew my blood didn't want the responsibility of explaining it, I doubt I will do a decent job. But I'll try.

Surrogates seem to talk in code: "My beta was a 416!" What does that mean?

The beta number measures the level of hCG in the bloodstream. In case you don't know, hCG is the hormone the body creates when there is a pregnancy. So, beta measures that level (I don't know the unit of measurement, so it's hard for me to fully understand, but I digress...) to determine if there is a [viable or chemical] pregnancy and, perhaps, how far along the pregnancy is. 


The clinic I'm monitoring at would like to at least see a 50 at the first beta, give or take a few. They would like to see that number double (give or take a small margin) within 48 hours, meaning I will have a second beta next week.

It is also important to know that these numbers, as will every woman's body and pregnancy, are very different and very flexible.

For a more medical and thorough description of the Beta, Click Here.

The numbers will be in by this afternoon. Think positively!







Monday, August 12, 2013

Lines Don't Lie

I'm staying positive.

I don't want to get ahead of myself, but things are looking pretty good!

As you can imagine, Jason and Michael are ecstatic. I think it made the two week wait a bit more bearable.

My mom tried to tell my dad the good news, but my dad heard, "Morgan chewed on a stick and it was positive." I can imagine the confusion that ensued.

The beta test is Thursday. They will do a blood draw to confirm a pregnancy. I'll be completely honest, I don't exactly know what  a "beta test" is and I don't know what the numbers mean. I will find out and report back.

Keep positive thoughts coming our way!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What is Crinone?

How awesome are suppositories?

If you follow along with my blog or any other surrogates, you might hear us talk about suppositories. There are many complaints concerning surrogacy medications. I actually have none. Cri-none, to be exact (enjoy that pun...).

When I was first given my medication I was skeptical. No shots; just oral medication and suppositories. "Will that be enough?" I thought. I'm happy to report that yes, it worked perfectly to get my baby tank fluffy for a transfer.

What do these suppositories look like? How does it work, exactly? I was expecting a little gel capsule and some kind of applicator.

Crinone is just an applicator with progesterone gel. The tip to the right tears off and then the gel is expelled with that handy, dandy little air pocket.

I administer this twice daily. I would administer it 10 times daily if it meant not having to shove 3 differently sized needles into my skin, fat, thigh or rear for the better part of four months.





Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Published Author

I'm a "real" blogger!

Here is the link to my "published" article on Circle Surrogacy's blog.

http://blog.circlesurrogacy.com/2013/07/31/surrogate-stories-the-preliminary-stages/

No one is allowed to pass judgement on my low-resolution, facebook-cropped photo. Hopefully I will have a newer photo to add soon.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Transfer Week

It's nice to be home.

As I walked into the office today, several women asked if I was pregnant. Maybe, but isn't it a bit too soon, ladies?

August 2nd was the big day: embryo transfer. I was lucky enough to sucker Beatrice, my surrogacy coordinator, and Dr. Lavy into posing for a picture with me. Seriously, these people are amazing. I have nothing but awesome things to say about NEFI. I am also so sad that some people and surrogates have to experience other fertility clinics that are far less accommodating. Not only are the staff and nurses so sweet and nice (a terribly hard thing to find at a doctor's office), but Dr. Lavy is so personable. His bedside manner stands out far above the rest. Also, special shout out to Grace - my recovery nurse. She won my heart with the Oreo's and Tylenol.

The transfer is difficult to explain. Not because of the detailed procedure, but because of the emotions and feelings. I wasn't sad. My excitement had subsided and I felt nerves in the hours proceeding transfer. Perhaps pressure. Definitely pressure. As I was typing Carpe Diem, I got a text from Justin. The message wasn't anything elaborate; basically "Good luck. I love you." I felt a tear stream down my face. The hormones had finally caught up to me. I felt lucky to have a partner that was willing to let me get pregnant with someone else's baby and turn our "routine" upside down for the better part of a year. I am lucky. But let's be honest, he's pretty lucky he snagged a hot lady that can make this gown look good!


After gown-ing up, I went into the "operating" room. It was like any other "lady" appointment, except I had my mother behind me, my intended parents tuning in via Skype over my left shoulder, a nurse with an ultra sound and a lab coordinator walk in with a foot-long blastocyte-containing catheter for transfer. "The best part?" you ask - Beethoven booming over the speakers during the five minutes that passed. Completion was topped off with a round of applause from Jason and Michael, probably intended for Dr. Lavy, but I like to take a little bit of credit...

Look at those beautiful blastocytes!
Eight embryos were thawed. Seven survived the thaw. Three were deemed acceptably healthy for transfer. Two, the healthiest boy and girl, were transferred.

Michael and Jason were sweet enough to send me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and chocolate-covered strawberries. Dempsey received a teddy bear for giving up his mum for the week.

In case you were wondering, YES the flowers made it home! It took some creative thinking and packing, but, alas, they made it and are a beautiful addition to my kitchen counter.



I was even lucky enough to bump into two surrogates out of my support group, Chana and Carrie!  Chana is from Cali and Carrie is from Charlotte(ish). How great is it that a support group set up on Facebook can bring total strangers together. I had never met the women, and yet, it was like we were long lost friends.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Carpe Diem

Today is the day!

My mom and I flew into New England on Wednesday evening. We started the morning with breakfast with another surrogate that had just had her transfer. It was awesome getting to know another surrogate in person. After our monitoring appointment I ran Mom ragged strolling the streets of NYC. Staying busy kept me from focusing on why I'm here.

In 45 minutes I will be at the clinic being prepped for "conception" or transfer. It's becoming a little daunting. I try to find words to describe and I'm stooped. Surreal is the best I can come up with. I find myself being extremely short with patience and every now and again I find my blood running cold. I suppose I'm letting the nerves get the better of me.

Dr. Gad Lavy, NEFI
Luckily, my IPs will be joining me via SKYPE. I know they are so excited. I've been in the surrogacy process four months; they've been here for three years.

I KNOW this will be a POSITIVE appointment (enjoy that pun). My baby tank was deemed "gorgeous" yesterday at the monitoring appointment. NEFI has a beautiful way with words. Plus, look at that doctor with those sweet babies; Could I be in better hands?

I'll be back with an update later this afternoon.

Friday, July 26, 2013

ONE WEEK!


In a week, I will be in the doctor's office in Connecticut.

It's crazy to think about it. I applied three months ago. I met my sweet, deserving intended parents two months ago. I *WILL* be pregnant in a week.

I was expecting things to take so much longer. Thank goodness they didn't. I'm not a person who deals well with patience. 

 



I like things to happen;
and if they don't happen
I like to make them happen.
-Winston Churchill


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blogger news

I have been asked by Circle Surrogacy to write a guest blog! How flippin' awesome is that!?!

It will be about the beginning of the journey for surrogates, what to expect and what I wish I would have known.

Stay tuned. I have a two-week deadline, which means, I will probably do nothing until 2 days before the deadline... and then I'll turn it in at 11:58 p.m. the night before the deadline. Man, I miss college :)


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rock Star Uterus

I had my second monitoring appointment today.

As you can guess, it went really well!

For the past week, I've been taking 3 Estradiol orally daily. The average uterus lining measures around 6mm depending on the timing in the cycle (according to my google search). The fertility clinics like to see between 8-10mm for an embryo transfer. Mine, dear friends, is almost at 13mm!

They talk about seeing a coveted "triple line" right before transfer, which outlines all walls of the uterus and indicates a nice and fluffy place for a baby to grow. THEY SAW IT!

I will be starting my second regimen of medication next week: Crinone, 2x daily, not orally.  We'll see how much this frontal suppository fluffs up my baby tank. By next week they may be seeing a down pillow in the ultrasound monitor.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Hush

I'm not feeling the effects of a hormonal roller coaster as I anticipated.

I am, however, on this Monday morning, wanting everyone to not talk to me. Just walk on by.

It may be hormonal, it may just be my natural self (I'm not known for my sparkling personality in the a.m.).

Side note - I did lose my pancakes yesterday morning... I thought it was just a sugar overload, but now that I think about it... it may not be coincidence.

I have my second monitoring appointment on Wednesday, which I'm pretty excited about. Hopefully, my blood draw will be a little less painful this time. I will chug some H2O to expand those tiny little veins.

Until then... enjoy some silence.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Monitored and Medicated

I got my package of medication last week.

As I unpackaged it, it was starting to become a little more "real." I will really be taking this little pill 3x daily and enjoying that suppository 2x daily.

Dempsey has aquired the top of the cooler and likes to use it as a 3 inch step stool.

Do you know how many things are out of reach until he's added 3 inches to his height + arm length? A lot.








It doesn't seem like much, but there are three of those Crinone boxes. So far, I'm thankful I haven't had to deal with the shots. A pill is so much easier to swallow.

I had my first monitoring appointment yesterday. They said my lining was looking just as it should and that my ovaries were, "nice and quiet."

I have started my oral medication today. I've only taken one pill, but I seem to be "normal" so far. It is a relative term, though...


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Yoga: My Zen


I haven't even started my hormone therapy and I'm already hormonal.

Thankfully, I have the opportunity to de-stress with an hour of yoga on my lunch break a few times a week. I think this will be my saving grace throughout the pre-pregnancy stage, as well as the actual duration of the pregnancy.

I have my first monitoring appointment tomorrow! That means I will go in to a local fertility clinic to have them poke and prod me (i.e. v. ultrasound and maybe a blood test) and I will then start my fertility pills. More details on that to come!

Spoiler alert: Jason and Michael have picked a name for their precious little baby! I can't bring myself to divulge such information yet, though... you'll just have to check back in later!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Counting it down

In one month from today, I will be attending my "readiness" appointment prepping for an embryo transfer!

This is my last "drug-free" week. I will be getting my medication in a couple of days.

The good news about my fertility drugs: I don't have to use any needles. I would have been okay with needles; I had already lined up my administering volunteers.

The other news about my fertility drugs. I have two pills. One will be taken orally. One will not. I will leave most details to your imagination, but this daring little pill gets to boldly go where no pill has gone before.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

FAQs and concerns

Everyone Else's FAQs:

1. "How will you give up the baby?"
  • Simply stated, it's not my baby. That baby belongs in the longing and loving arms of its intended parents. Of course there will be a strong connection with the child, but that is because of the strong connection I have built with its parents.


2. "How did you come to this decision?"
  • It's been in the back of my mind for a while. I seriously considered it shortly after I had my own child, but Justin wasn't ready for it yet. It took some convincing, but all I really had to say was, "Look at our baby. Imagine if we couldn't have that. How empty would we feel if we couldn't hear that awesome little giggle." He was pretty much mush after that.

    I suppose that still doesn't answer the why. The further i am into this process, the more I will be able to answer that question. To be continued...

3. "How much money are you getting?"
  • I am amazed how many people are comfortable to rudely ask this question without their brain filter catching it. I'm a pretty open person, and I really wouldn't care to tell an acquaintance my weight or how much I make at my job, but this one irritates me. A lot. Maybe because this process is about completing a family. There is a little person at stake. There is a family at stake. Surrogacy is usually a last resort and I've put a lot of pressure on myself to deliver some awesome results. And the best question these bystanders can come up with is, "How much?"

    My first instinct is to bark, "It's none of your G D business." After I calm that instinct, I will tell you that all of that information is readily available on pretty much every surrogacy agency website. Put in a little effort and Google it.

4. "How does that all work?"
  • In my case, there is an egg donor. Her egg and one of my IP's genetic material created an embryo that is waiting for my baby tank to make a nice comfortable home. Soon, little baby embryo, soon.
My concerns:
1. How well will my family handle it?
  • It's now a part of the conversation. My mom keeps getting more and more comfortable  with the task at hand, although she hasn't told any of her siblings.
  2. What should I expect for strangers reactions when they ask me about "my" baby I'm so obviously carrying?

  • I didn't like the attention my own pregnancy garnered. I imagine I will like this attention even less, because I will  have to address certain reactions. It's hard to  think that the IPs can't experience that attention. To look at them, it won't be obvious to any stranger that they are expecting. I on the other hand with be having a Q&A  session in the grocery store when I just wanted to pop in for a gallon of milk. I think I may invest in one of those surrogacy T-shirts, in black of course. This lady doesn't wear white when pregnant, especially if there is a camera any where within the vicinity.
3. Failure. Multiple attempts.
  • Need I say more? As difficult as it is for me, I can't imagine the agony the IPs would be experiencing. I'm trying to stay positive, but the statistics are a 50% chance of success with one embryo and around 80% with a two-embryo transfer (with standard margin of error, I'm hoping). Glass half full? The odds are just as likely to be successful so let's stay positive.

4. Postpartum
  • Baby blues aren't very fun. The great thing about being a surrogate is that you don't have to stay home a feed a baby every couple hours, although I will be pumping, so it's still fairly taxing... I wonder if it is easier to dull the hormones with an anti depressant, or just leave town for a refresher. The real plan is probably keeping my baby boy home with me to keep me company and keep my mind focused.
5. Postpartum relationship
  • I think every surrogate has the fear in the back of her mind that the Intended Parents just might change their minds. That the relationship they desire isn't the same as the one you desire. From their point of view it must be terrifying; they've put an amazing trust in a woman they barely know and she is carrying their child. She could go crazy and skip town with their precious cargo or a variety of other scenarios. I hope that my family becomes an extension of their family. 
6. Hero Award
  • Let me be very clear. I don't think I'm special. I don't think I'm great. I think I am one person trying to put some good juju out in the world. I've already been told that I am, "amazing" and "selfless." That makes me uncomfortable. I don't think of myself that way, so it is hard to give an un-awkward response when it happens. I am excited that I get to be a part of Jason and Michael's adventure. I am the lucky one that gets to get to share their experience (yes, I know, they do get a baby out of the deal, and that is pretty lucky/special/awesome).

    I think, especially as Americans, we forget how big the world is. I am not well traveled, I don't have a passport (YET!!) and I get really excited when I speak to someone with a "foreign" accent. Getting the opportunity to work with international intended parents let's me link to the "outside world."

    I also want to set an example for Dempsey. He is much too little to understand now, but I hope one day he will be able to appreciate the idea of "paying it forward" and maybe model that behavior.

    So really, I'm being pretty selfish. I hope Michael and Jason are okay with that - as long as they get their little honey bee, I think they will be.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

We Have a Transfer Date!

August 2!

I sent Jason and Michael this message:


 I finished the note telling them they needed to call their mothers at their earliest convenience.
Jason replied back very quickly with:



 I literally have trouble containing a huge smile every time Jason uses, "OMG." I love that reaction; it makes him seem so candid and boyish. I love it.
And here is Michael's reaction:


I laughed out loud in my cubicle at work. "Restrained Brits," such an image to upkeep... :D


It is barely more than a month away and it seems so far away!  I was excited, but their excitement sent me over the top and should carry me through the rest of the week, at least.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I DID IT!

I finished the Dirty Girl 5K obstacle run! Me along with one of my bests, Meagan.

Yes, I am aware that we don't actually look that dirty, but we were. The mud was watered down.

I don't know my time, because the awesome part about this obstacle run was that it wasn't actually timed.

I ran really good the first half of the way.
When I was running the second half I had specks of blurred vision...oops. I also got a nice war wound: a rope burn to my shin. It makes me look tough.

But, I finished and I wasn't last! That was my goal.

I'm not sure if I want to do it every year (if so, there will be pedicures immediately following the shower), but right now I'm proud that I did it. It is something I can mark off my bucket list.

I seem to be on a mission to live life to it's fullest. I want to do as much as I can, while I can. I don't want to get to the end of my road and wish I would have done something. This, in part, is where our surrogacy adventure comes in.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Contract signed

Signed. Sealed. Delivered.



Please enjoy this GLEE video of the same name.



It's amazing that the anxiety I had a few days ago has just melted away. A great way to end the week and I'm looking forward to my skype date with my IPs discussing the IFV details.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Contracts and the Nitty Gritty

I've passed the screening. We've been matched. My body has been medically approved. Now we negotiate the contract.

The word itself, contract, sounds so cold and business like. 

Obviously, I understand the necessity of it all. Let's be honest, most surrogates aren't legal junkies. I would assume a select few enjoy reading business/legal documents for fun, which just makes those 37 pages (give or take a few) of legal jargon painful. But you can bet your sweet little fanny I read every word of that thing while diligently adding my concerns, comments and edits throughout the day. Justin - well he read through it in less than an hour and e-mailed, "Looks good to me."

Yesterday, I got a little down. I was frustrated. Honestly, I felt dirty. I felt guilt. I thought that something in my concerns or edits could or might offend my IPs. I had not expected that a stack of papers would make me feel like that. I shouldn't have allowed myself to feel like that, but I suppose my great-grandparent's Irish Catholic guilt may run a little thick in my veins. 

I'm excited for the end of this week. My hope is that it will be finished and signed and we can move on to the more personal side of things. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Scottish Highland games

Michael grew up in Scotland.

As I was perusing a local monthly magazine about the local events and saw that Kansas City was having a Scottish Highland Games - Come be a Scot, even if your not - I was excited for the opportunity introduce a little scottish culture to my son and my sister's children. Not to mention, it was a great excuse to get out of the house on a Saturday.


In good spirit (and being the awesome mom that I am), I was determined that Dempsey would be wearing a kilt. My mom did remind me that part of our lineage is from Scotland, and it just so happens to be the side that Dempsey's family namesake is derived from. How fitting, right?  Was else could I do? I had to make him a kilt.


What a handsome, wee lad.


All in all, the games were great and it was nice to expose the kids to a little bit of culture (Not too much, we wouldn't try the delicacies... Jason warned us about the haggis, thankfully).

The kids made shields where they colored their own crests. Dempsey is still bringing his to me and says, "awesome," which is what I think Justin tells him when Dempsey shows it off. The boys we enamored by the knives and swords and Leah enjoyed the dancing girls and anything pretty.

Friday, June 14, 2013

One Quick Trip - Our Medical Screening





I just got back from my medical screening. In short, it was more than 3,000 miles in 32 hours, 5 cities, 4 planes and 2 tired people.

Trip and the medical screening was a success, but I'm sure of a couple things: 1. I could never have a job that required constant travel and 2. I am glad that my mother will be joining me next time!

I love Justin. I love him so much that I would rather sit on the other side of a tiny airport than cause physical or emotional harm to him. Nerves were stripped, fatigue was high and irritability was on full alert on the return flights, but let me start at the beginning.

On Wednesday, June 12, I had intentions of leaving work by Noon, but was held up and was lucky to make it home right after 1:00 p.m. I assumed that Justin would beat me home, but apparently I did not hear him say that he would be leaving work at 1:30 p.m. This cuts us a little close to catching our 3:30 flight. We are very thankful that we had already packed everything and KCI is a small and diligent airport. We made it to the airport 1 hour before our departure...and we had to wait to board.

From there, we flew to Charlotte, NC for a lay over. Let it be known that I'm not a fan of flying. I'm fairly sensitive to motion sickness and my ears feel like someone is shoving needles in them when we begin descent. I've also never flown on anything smaller than a 747. Imagine my surprise when a little "jet" pulls up outside of our ground-level terminal to take us to the teeny tiny "airport" of White Plains, NY.


The next day we met with the professionals at the New England Fertility Institute. They were AWESOME (as was their office; the walls were decorated with beautifully framed photos of Dr. Lavy posing with babies, babies and more babies)! I was told that I have a "normal, beautiful cavity" to grow babies in. Now say that quote in an Australian accent, as it was delivered to me; it sounds so much more boastful and eloquent, doesn't it? I asked my questions, left our DNA samples and we were on our way.


Unfortunately, the weather was a red, orange and green messy blob on radar, so we didn't get to enjoy strolling around waiting for our shuttle back to the airport. We did make it to the Stamford Town Center Mall...9 levels. Enough said.

We made it back to the tiny White Plains "airport" to wait on our flight, which has been delayed to Atlanta by several hours and we would probably miss our connecting flight to KCI. After roaming around the "airport" getting some space from my soul mate, I see it has been cancelled. AH! I grab my folder full of all the information/agendas/itineraries I had prepared for our travels and hustled to the counter for some sort of direction/fix to our problem. Luckily, she was able to put us on a flight to Detroit around the East Coast weather mess that would land an hour earlier than first planned! YAY!

I would skip over this part, but it made the day so much more fun to recount... When going through security at White Plains I some how set off an alarm with the hair tie that I didn't take out of my pocket. I was asked to step aside where a gentleman took what looked like a coffee filter to wipe my hands and placed it in a reader that automatically flashed all caps, bright red screen, EXPLOSIVES DETECTED.  
This, of course, was very unexpected and suddenly made my joke to Justin about leaving his fireworks behind as we entered the security area a lot less funny. After a full wand and pat-down search, I was clear to go. They said it was probably lotion or soap, which begs me to ask two things: 1. What is in the airport soap?  2. How many people aren't washing their hands after using the airport bathroom?


The only other interesting thing to mention is that some poor girl got hit in the head with a trim piece of the plane during takeoff. I'm beginning to think that all the planes I fly on were built far before I was born.  Below you can see the flight attendant and the guy behind trying to fix the unfixable problem. To the right of that, you can see the bar that hung there for the rest of the flight.



We are glad to be home.