Wednesday, May 29, 2013

British Baby Showers

I watched Barbara Walters' 20/20 program "Bringing Up Baby: Royal Edition" (hard hitting news, I know) and it was mentioned that Kate was in the middle of quite the conundrum. Her mother started a party planning company, but the Brits don't "do" baby showers. It's "an American thing."  The woman on the program said that the British aren't into making a big deal of things and think it is a little, for lack of a better term, rude to expect people to bring you gifts.

Mind blown.

Of course I had to investigate this cultural disconnect in traditions. I emailed my IPs and received this response and I quote,
"... isn't that just an excuse for all your non pregnant friends to drink at your
expense whilst you have to stay sober and discuss how easy it is to sleep?!?!"

I was astonished (and slightly disappointed they wouldn't jump at the chance to sit, sip, compare and complain...that's my typical girl's night). 

Now, I will say, I think gender reveal parties are a little silly. They seem like a stretch when it comes to excuses to throw a party. But a baby shower? That was just part of the "coming of age" process. I don't think I know a person that had a baby without having a shower.

Poppycock. I will have to convince them how important it is to their livelihood.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Journey Coordinator

I met my journey coordinator today.

She is the third "go-to" person I've had at Circle and will be my journey "overseer" for the rest of our adventure.

We went over all of the upcoming paperwork and generalized time lines. I hung up thinking my notes were still a little hazy with the details. She speaks very quickly. As I reflect I have to smile as this thought pops into my head. If I had trouble keeping up with her New England accent, I wonder how my London IPs did.

That thought deepened. Somehow, Americans went from having their British accents, mutating to an Eastern accent, and then continuing to evolve across the US with such different dialects.

In just 15 days Justin and I will be flying out for our medical clearance. I'm sure time will fly. Maybe I should start packing now...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Medical Screening Scheduled

They've scheduled me for June 13th!
I'm very excited to "really" start making things happen.

So let me explain a little of what is happening on the "back side" of our adventure.

As you know I've met my IPs. We have been conversing via e-mail. While I love e-mail, it makes it fairly difficult to cultivate a relationship - but we're doing our best.

I now have a journey coordinator. This is the 3rd person that helps me through the surrogacy process and she will be my, for lack of a better term, assistant for the rest of our adventure.

Of course, I would love to bore you will explaining all the paperwork - travel questions, a surrogacy book (literally 33 pages - it would have been nice to get that week 1), more medical records requests, and so on. LOTS of e-mails... but I love hearing my phone's little "ping!"

Now that we have a date for the medical screening and I have a basic timeline for meds and transfer, I need to start training.

"For what?" you may ask.

For this:

My friend, Meagan, talked me into this months ago, and I just didn't know how the timeline would turn out. I've got one month. I want to do it. I need to do it. I haven't trained nearly enough for it.

Good news: it's non-competitive (which isn't really my style, but I digress), not timed and only for women. I could walk the thing, if I wanted.

So, when Justin scoffed, "5K? You can't do that. You aren't in shape to do that..." my will power was lit with fire and I think that made me actually decide to do it.

Did I mention it was for a good cause? Proceeds go to breast cancer research. You should find a race near you.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Perfect Match!

We met the parents!

They were absolutely wonderful and I find myself getting excited and daydreaming about our adventure and what their in for (I say that because I've been chasing my naughty-at-times toddler).

Imagine this guy's accent...
The IPs are from London and I'll admit I felt very "American" when speaking to them. Their accents are beautiful, one from Wales and the other from the Scottish countryside. I never thought I had much of a Kansas accent. The term I used earlier, American, let me explain... Do you know when breaking news, especially bad weather reports, are on the news and they find someone's neighbor to interview? It is almost always a person that couldn't find anything but pajamas to wear and is missing a few teeth. Now think a bit of how they speak... Still thinking? Got it? Good (if not, I've added a picture to the right if you lack imagination). I felt like the featured neighbor on the breaking weather report; that is how beautiful their accents were.

I'm excited to share this adventure with such a deserving couple, soon-to-be family. In the meantime, I will be practicing my diction.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Potential IP's

I was presented with the potential intended parent's profile last week. I've been very hesitant to say anything about it; I don't want to jinx anything...

BUT, I have a Skype date with them tomorrow morning. I promise I'll get back with you with the details soon.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Just a little bit of crazy

I finished my MMPI test!

I found my eyes crossing while answering the questions. Rightly so - 338 true or false questions. That was the revised version - revised from 576 questions. It was difficult to wrap my brain around the phrasing of some of the questions. Who uses double negatives? Geesh...

I've got to work out a few kinks with the medical records and we'll be meeting/reading the profile of our IP's very soon!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

I think Hallmark and the jewelry companies create an unreal concept of most holidays.

The commercials are great and smooshy gushy. Every woman gets diamonds or at the very least, a macaroni necklace.

Dempsey and Justin
Justin worked late every night of the weekend and again today. Since I insisted on napping with my little guy, I was able to stay awake long enough to have a brief conversation with Justin. He handed me my card, which was sweet (even though I insist on him making me a card) and was excited about the iTunes gift card stuck to the back.

Before departing for bed, he asked me to run downstairs to grab his phone off the computer because he was too tired. I hopped downstairs and shouted up to him, "Where is it?" As I tally all of the junk and absent phone from the computer desk, I notice a gift bag. As I peek in, (because I'm a snooper like my mother) I notice an iPad box. I look up and notice that Justin has now stealthily descended the stairs and is goggling my reaction, which was, of course, "You have to take it back. It's too much." After explaining that I "needed" it for all the upcoming traveling and that it also got him off the hook for our anniversary, I opened it and started playing/inspecting; he got me a pink case. He did good. It kind of makes me feel bad for scolding him when he talks to our son with trashy grammar or teaches him a new obnoxious party trick. Almost. It also made me appreciate how "deep" he thinks. Of course he only does that when I'm not around...

As for Sunday, the day set aside to pamper mothers, it was a nice day. I made Justin take us out for brunch (and then thanked him for being so thoughtful ;)...) and after Dempsey and I had our nap and Justin was off to work, I made this little gem:
I got a little lazy with the mosaic and still need to do a few more steps, but my flowers were getting sad and crunchy. They seem happy in their new home. Also, I make a succulent pot that needs to find it's way to my work, but will probably thrive on our sun porch.

I should have an update with my intended parent profile soon!  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Speaking with the Social Worker

I had my phone meeting with the social worker on Monday. It was a two-hour phone conversation that wasn't quite what I expected.

My expectations:
"It's going to be a great two-hour conversation that flows effortlessly, where I really connect with this woman and she really gets me. We'll laugh and she'll want to be my new best friend."

How it actually went:
-I dropped her call once and then accidentally hung up on her several more times (my face likes to push buttons on my phone).
-She was typing while I spoke, so there would be semi-long pauses of silence.
-She asked me about my childhood. I mentioned the farm and said that I was very active in 4-H. I then had to explain what 4-H was. I've never known anyone that didn't know about that organization... Do you know how nerdy and country one sounds when briefly explaining 4-H? Very nerdy and pretty dang country.
-She asked me to describe Justin. Did I tell her that I think he is smart, tries to be funny, a practical jokester, a great dad, a huge sports enthusiast? No. I murmured a resounding, "Ummm" and then spat out that he works a lot and doesn't do the laundry near often enough. Sounds dreamy, doesn't it? Hopefully I made up for my lack-luster answer when she asked how we met.

Justin has his phone meeting today. He has threatened to make jokes. I begged him not to. I told him that the social worker probably wouldn't think his jokes were funny and turn us down. I know I'm getting too worked up - I know he's not a loose cannon. BUT, I have had to tell him, "I am recording a video. Please don't make any stupid jokes, mention body parts or use any profanity."

Monday, May 6, 2013

Breaking the news

This past weekend I made a trip.

I noticed, after about 45 minutes of driving, that I had been nervously bouncing my foot the whole way.

I was on my way to tell my parents about my family's decision to be a surrogate. I played out the worst-case scenarios. Even the worst-case scenarios weren't that bad, but they did account for a bit more yelling.

I am happy to report, no yelling. 

My mother took it harder than I hoped, but honestly, it was expected. I think it is just hard for her to wrap her head around right now. She is a very loving person and I think she worries about the emotional aspect of this adventure. Rightly so; it would be nutty to treat this like a business venture, with no emotional ties. She's warming up to it. I love her.
Let it be known: My father
looks nothing like this. 

My father was pretty predictable, as well. After my mom pulled out the chair at the dinner table and announce, "Here, spill it." and then walked away, my father naturally looked over his glasses at me with this, "What did you do..." kind of look (see picture at right). I kind of blurted out, "I'm just going to keep it simple: I've decided I'm going to be a surrogate." His head turns slightly, as if to process. Then drilled me on a few topics, including my motives, my husband's thoughts and then told me that I was an adult that didn't need his permission. "You're young, you had a healthy pregnancy and fairly easy childbirth. You'll make somebody very happy." What a great guy, right? Little did he know, the ace in my pocket if he opposed was, "Dad, you've had surrogate livestock." Luckily, I didn't have to use it. It would have been a moot point, comparing livestock to his child.

Next stop: interview with the social worker.

Saturday, May 4, 2013


It wasn't hard for me to find a blog name. The first one I typed in was available. There are quite a few blogs pertaining to this subject to choose from if you are up for a good read. Many of them have "typical" names related to buns and ovens, peas and pods and, plainly stated, surrogacy.

My first admission. I'm a farm kid. I look back and love every aspect of my childhood. I love my mother's home movies. Many of them include me hopping around without many clothes on (a luxury of living on a secluded farm), dragging an animal around until it submitted to my country girl charm (i.e. a 4 year old dragging a kitten, goat, dog or bucket calf around until it got used to me being "the boss") and my favorite, baby animals. My dad often hatched baby chicks or ducks (and even ostriches a few times!) from an incubator. I even got to be their "mother" sometimes.

To me, then and now, this is what an incubator looks like:

See the eggs?
Not this:
This is a baby incubator post delivery.
...but I digress.

When people asked me how I was doing when I was pregnant with my son, I often stated, "Oh you know. Just incubating."

So, I chose to become an incubator for someone else's little eggs. 

I am the baby incubator.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Adventure Begins

I'm on the cusp of being "approved" from the screening process. Barring the psychologist confirming me crazy or my husband saying something incredibly embarrassing about me during the interview with the social worker that would send up a red flag, I think I'm good to go. Note: he will say something that I deem as embarrassing, but I don't think it will be anything damning...

I'm past the stage that requires me to refresh my gmail account every 5-10 minutes with hopes of a reply or a new "to do" list.

Now I wait.

From what I've noticed, many surrogacy blogs begin a little too late to really understand what the beginning of the "process" entails.

Let me tell you.

Last Monday night, April 22, I applied with Circle Surrogacy (a very long application, by the way). By Tuesday night, my junk folder had been notified that I was accepted for pre-screening. I found out on Wednesday when Jeni, the surrogacy coordinator, called me. Do you know that feeling when the blood in your body stops and turns cold and a bit tingly? That's what I felt when I saw I missed a phone call from an unfamiliar number. It was unfamiliar, but I knew, generally, who it was. 

I will now condense what I experienced and the preliminary process until now:

  • 4/24 - Phone meet and greet with the surrogacy coordinator. Sent family pictures, copy of DL and insurance.  
  • 4/25 - Sent completed a welcome packet (similar to the initial application but with releases for med. records) AND won the "most organized" status for the day (just let me brag a little, I rarely receive that prize...). 
  • 4/26 - I then was tasked with an insurance application with the agency my OB clearance form. 
  • 4/29 - Mailed my personal insurance booklet to HQ.
  • 4/30 - Appointment with OB. "You're cleared! Oh, but I stopped delivering babies..." That is not necessarily a direct quote, but you get the picture. So, I've been cleared by my [former] doctor. Next...
  • 5/1 -  Waiting on prenatal records. Chatted with Jeni. Picked her brain. She is so much easier to get information out of than those surrogacy forums... Also, she told me I should probably  definitely tell my parents as quickly as possible. Planned visit with parents
  • 5/2 -  Told my boss about this ensuing adventure. Positive feedback. She even teared up a bit. 
  • 5/3 - Social worker phone interview set. Justin and I will both complete this. My interview will be 2-2.5 hours.  Justin's will be about half an hour... Apparently, guys have far less to say.

So, I am now in the screening phase. I will speak to the social worker who will create a profile for me and my family. I will, at some point in the near future, complete a psychological exam via Skype with a psychologist from MA, HQ for the agency. I will then get matched with my intended parents. My IPs.

Nervous?    A little bit.
About injections, IFV, meeting the IPs? No
About raising the blood pressure, stress and anxiety levels of my parents? Yes. Definitely.