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 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.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Spreading the News

My mother made a notable milestone.

She was at an off-site training for her job and was asked to for an introduction and some information about herself. She decided to tell them about my surrogacy adventure! I have to thank the people in the training with her; they were very supportive, said very nice things and gave her such a positive reaction.

This is a big step for my mom. Since I told her about becoming a surrogate, she hasn't told anyone; not siblings, not co-workers, not anyone. Of course, this group consisted of strangers that she would never see again, but being able to say it out loud with a warm response will make it easier to tell other people she actually knows. I'm very proud that she was willing to share such a personal journey. Surrogacy will probably be most difficult for her, the worrier. It can't be easy having your child do something potentially dangerous. I almost lost it when Dempsey rode his fire truck scooter down four feet of stairs and that was over in 2 seconds - this journey is at least a year.

I have told all of my close friends, have posted my blog on Facebook (omitting all family members until my mother feels comfortable talking to them about it), told everyone at work and generally just about any relevant person I come into contact with. Justin, on the other hand, has said he doesn't plan on telling anyone "until there is something to tell," i.e. a baby in the belly.

In one week, I will be at my medical screening in CT. Until then, I will be patiently waiting for the excitement.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Intended Parents - A Concise Introduction

After chatting them up this weekend, they said they were comfortable being "named" in my blog.

I was very nervous to even tell them that I had a blog. Some people are very private. I am not one of those people, but thought that it was important to keep personal information or descriptors hushed until I had approval.

Great news; Michael and Jason loved my blog and were even giddy to interact with my posts. Maybe I'll get one of them to write a guest post... I'll have to figure out how to do that first. Any ideas, Jeni?

Monday, June 3, 2013


I think Office Space said it best:

If someone were to say that to me today, there would probably be an HR case filed.

I'm just in a funk today. No particular reason (well, my boss will be coming back from her 1.5 week vacation from Hawaii tomorrow... and that alone is probably the reason). 

I have plenty to keep me busy and plenty to be happy about. It's a beautiful day in Kansas City and my little guy woke up in a fairly good mood. He was willing to give plenty of hugs and cuddles before I left for work.
I was fortunate enough to skype with my IPs yesterday. I, of course, mixed up the time difference and was an hour later than I originally told them. What a ding dong, am I? I was thankful they were patient with my crummy internet (our image froze several times) and Dempsey (who found a red button to push; the off button on the surge protector to the computer). Google will be laying the lines soon for our gigabit internet, THANK GOODNESS! After that, skype will be a breeze!