Google+ Followers

Sunday, June 30, 2013

It's Finally Here!

After anxiously awaiting next steps, it's finally here!

8AM this morning (It's Sunday). I got my email with my copy of the contract. I read through it a couple times and it's pretty straight forward - yet it's mixed in with all of the legal mumbo jumbo so there is some info that we have to decipher. I of course was hoping that everything would be perfect and I could just print and sign and send back. I was wrong.

I should not have been surprised that there would be some confusion or miscommunication. This is, after all, a huge transaction. We are dealing with legalities across two countries, covering numerous parties and 1 or more babies. Of course there is room for interpretation.

I sent an email to my journey coordinator and tried to schedule a chat with the attorney that is representing me. I also emailed our IP's a couple days ago but I haven't heard back which I think is a little odd. I am wondering if my email went into their spam folder again.

Lots to review for a few days, it seems. Fingers crossed we can clear out the confusion and get this thing under way pretty quickly. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Update Update Upppppdate!

Ok, yep. It should be well and truly obvious by now, that I suck at catchy titles for my posts. HA!. I guess I can work on that.

Anyways. I have been offline for a while as the fam and I went on vacation. Our first real vacation in almost 6 years and our first one since little M was born. We went to Orlando which was a huge deal for us. Being that we currently live in Minnesota and its so dang cold, the sun and warm weather was so nice to have for a change. I met my cousin and her family there and did Busch Gardens, as well as met my BFF from Australia and her family there and did Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. All was so much fun.

Anyways, back to the topic at hand. Friday, I heard from someone at circle who said that I passed the MMPI. Hooray! I also "met" with my journey coordinator on Friday. Things sound to be well under way. Sounds like our IP's might be switching clinics for the IVF, because the one they currently chose, wants me to have 3 regular cycles once my IUD was removed. So they are looking at choosing a clinic in either CT, CA, or MA. I have no gripes with any, personally seeing as I dont have anything to compare it to.

So, I went to my OB on Friday to get my IUD removed. I was a little worried about how much it would hurt. I always heard that it hurts more when taking it out. I took some Aleve about 30 mins prior in hopes it would help. Psh, what was I worried about?! It was so quick and painless. My OB really makes me so much less stressed over stuff like this. She explains what is happening as much as I need to know, but no more than I need to know, that would creep me out or make me panic. Best OB award goes to my OB!

So, next steps. I have to wait for my IP's to finalize the IVF clinic they want. Shortly after that, we should have a contract, followed by a medical screening (1-2 day trip as I understand it). I have also been linked up with some other wonderful women doing surrogacy and have been warned to read the contract with a fine tooth comb. Things I have been told to watch for:
  • Wording as far as exercise - Some contracts that others have seen in the past mention "no rigorous exercise". But by whose definition? A doctors? My own? The IP's? 
  • Sex. It's true! The more I ask people and the more advice I am given, I am told to watch about sex restrictions and that they may be negotiable. Very interesting thought to me, but I suppose it is good to know! 
  • Treatments such as an amniocentesis may be needed, but the contract should specify who can request one. IE, only by a medical professionals recommendation. 
So much to analyze once we get to that point. I cant wait! Here is to hoping it will be a quick process.

I also got a beautiful email from my IP's Friday wishing us a nice vacation. SO sweet of them to remember and send a note to us!
M, Little M, and myself with the super heroes at Universal Studios

Little M after 13 hours at Universal Studios

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Psych Test

Dun Dun Dunnnnnn.....!

Ok, so typing out the sound doesn't quite give the same effect.

Annnnyways. I had my psych test today, also known as the MMPI. I was so worried about how this would all work. Yet again, no reason to worry.

There was a webex, which had voice and video. I could see the doctor, and she could see me. We were able to communicate fully through the webex and I didnt have to use my cell phone. Which, honestly was a relief. I went over on my minutes last month because of all these phone calls. May have to up my plan! Apparently I failed to read all of the instructions because I missed that I had to have my ID available. Which resulted in me having to run down 2 flights of stairs to grab my ID and then back up. I was huffing and puffing when I got back up. haha.

The questions were pretty funny. They are all true or false questions. I have to laugh, because one question was in there probably 7 different ways. "I hear voices" was all over the place. Just made me think of the Sixth Sense movie. "I see dead people". So every time it came up, I chuckled. Some of them also get confusing because of the double negatives. I also felt dumb with one question because I had no idea what one word meant. As a process of elimination, I guessed what the word may mean and I hope that isnt some red flag due to my guess at the definition.

I have also been in close touch with my IPs. Well, my IM. She is such a beautiful soul. I just want to reach out and hug her so tight. I wish we weren't so far apart. I'm enjoying getting to know her and she is so positive, lovely and open about her. I was so worried about being matched. I had fears that I would get matched with a couple that wouldnt want my friendship. My IM is truly the opposite. She is open to my questions, to sharing her story and I just really have such respect for her already. I am so in love with this journey! Circle should get an award for making such a great match!

Apparently I should hear more tomorrow about my MMPI and if any clarifications need to be made (like what did I mean when I guessed the meaning of the word... eeek!). I will keep you posted!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Brain On Overload!

So, I've officially been matched. I'm kind of in a waiting period for the MMPI (psych exam) and the official legal contract to be completed. In the interim, I have gotten SO much information my way.

I am kind of anal (I hate that word) about making sure I don't have people waiting on me for anything. I want to make sure I have read, understand and am completely up to date with whatever I need to do. Right now, I don't feel that way. I feel like with all the information I have, it is just floating around in my brain and I can't work out how it all fits.

If you have scenario A - go to step 3. If it turns into scenario B, go to step 6. If you go to step 6 and answer C2, go to scenario 123345y80ryeFOE.

That is seriously what I feel like when I read through everything right now. I've decided to take a step back from trying to understand every tiny detail and just take one step at a time so I don't feel so overwhelmed.

I have a "journey coordinater", also known as a "program coordinator" who will be my go-to contact from here on out, it seems. I am thankful to have a go-to person because this seriously seems like it can become overwhelming at any point. I have been asked 8 million questions about my current IUD and when it is scheduled to come out. I have been asked to get copies of my last physical sent over. I feel like there is so much to do and so little time. I seriously have a complex about leaving people waiting. I like to be prompt.

I have been in touch with my IP's and let them know about the blog. I wanted to be very up front with them about it so as to not hurt feelings or offend anyone. I've told them that if they are in any way, shape or form are offended or have a dislike for me blogging about something that is so closely related to them, to please let me know and I would stop immediately. Thankfully, she said she didn't mind at all. I provided her the link so hopefully she will be another reader added to my list. :)

I am so excited about all of this, that I want to shout it from the rooftops and tell every soul that I come into contact with. Yet, I don't want to jinx anything either. I am so curious as to how other people told their friends and family. Or even, their co-workers. Is there such thing as a common practice?

I have told my immediate family and friends, as well as my boss. Other than that, it's still pretty quiet. I think there has to be some fun way to tell your family and friends that you have decided to be a surrogate. Maybe I will just have to wait till I am actually pregnant and do a fun announcement then. "I'm pregnant and it's not mine!".

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The First Date

So sorry for my delayed post! Things have really been moving fast the past few days and I took a step back to reconfigure my thoughts and feelings.

Date day was Saturday. M, little M, and I were up north with my family at our cabin. We don't get a whole heck of a lot of privacy up there as the internet is finicky. I hadn't told my Dad about my surrogacy adventure yet and didn't think it was the right time to. So M and I had to go sit outside while we anxiously awaited our skype date.

9am came and I was so nervous I was literally shaking. These people sounded so amazing in their profile, I was so worried that they wouldn't like me. The video function wouldn't work on our skype call, which actually helped calm my nerves some. They will never know the effort I went to that morning to make sure I looked nice. :)

We chatted, well, mostly me. M is a very quiet guy until you break him. That's just who he is. So he sat and listened. I think he said "yeah!" once. Ha! They were amazing. I was really enjoying our chat. Despite our numerous technical difficulties we were encountering. After we were done chatting, an hour and some later, I went and tried to eat breakfast. I was still so excited I couldn't eat. I couldn't even think straight. I was so excited. I assumed, based on how the conversation left off, that we were a go ahead. But, I didn't know these people. Maybe they were just being polite and would eventually say to Circle that they would have to pass.

Today, I checked my email about 4 times an hour on average. Starting at 5am. I checked it over and over again. I couldn't wait to hear from Circle about what the IP's feedback was. Was this it? It felt  so "right" when we spoke on the phone. Was I imagining things?

NOPE! I sure wasn't imagining things! I heard from Circle and the IP's want to proceed with me as their surrogate. HOORAY!!!! I am so excited. I cannot even describe how excited I am about this! I went over to M at work (yes, we are one of THOSE couples who are crazy enough to work together) and did my little happy dance while explaining where we were at, at a rate of 100 miles a minute. I am not only excited for the journey ahead for M, little M and I, but also for our IP's. They are so deserving of this and I am so lucky to have them.

HOORAY!

Next step, I have to pass my MMPI on Wednesday which I am not too concerned about. After that, I have been warned that it may be "up to a month" to receive a copy of our legal contract to be worked out. I hope it doesn't take that long. I can't wait!

Thanks for all the well wishes and positive thoughts! :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Date Day!

"Will they like me?!" This is all I can think about. Over and over again. 

Their doctor approved my medical records. They liked my profile. They want to meet me! Oh my goodness. "Will they like me?!" Again and again, it's all I can think about. What if they don't get my humor? What if they don't realize that M and I are an interracial couple? What if that worries them?! 

So tomorrow morning it happens. I Skype with them at 9am CST. M isn't feeling real well so I hope and pray that he is feeling up to being chatty. I hope little M is not being naughty so he can come say hi. I hope I can think of things to say. I hope that.... Well, I could write pages and pages of "I wish". I suppose the best  for right now is to go to bed so I'm well rested in the morning. 

Here is hoping!! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Continually Amazed!

I know, I know. People are probably beginning to think "Is she going to post more than once a day, EVERY day?". No, probably not. The past couple of weeks has just been a whirlwind of information and excitement that I want to capture and express. I'm sure at one point there wont be as much to report back, but for now, I am so excited when every little thing happens that I need to add it to this journey.

Today, I got a response back about my decline on the first match. The response was, what I felt, was a little harsh. I was feeling slightly discouraged. I read the email response over and over and I feel like I must be over reacting, or being too sensitive because there isn't anything in particular in the email that sounds harsh, it just seems to be the way I took it. Sigh, I guess thats part of dealing with email versus phone.

Afterwards, I was skeptical for how things would proceed. I thought that it would probably be weeks before my next match. Boy, was I wrong! About an hour later, I got another profile to review. M and I reviewed the profile together. I read it, and re-read it. I was in a panic... I think this is it! Oh my gosh! What If I don't respond quick enough?! I emailed back immediately that I would like to proceed with this match.

Next step is to see if they feel that I am a match for them. Fingers crossed that they will like me! I would also have to have my medical records reviewed by their doctor as a part of the match requirements. I am so incredibly excited. I wanted to feel "something special" when I found "THE match" and I think I truly found it here. Now, if I could only get some positive thoughts and well wishes to hope this goes through.

I have a group of mothers on a birth board that I talk to regularly, and I am loving being able to share this with them. I sometimes wish that there was a Facebook support group for surrogates to connect. I haven't yet told everyone that I know. I am just afraid to jinx anything until I am matched and under contract. My Mum knows, my close friends and family all know. But, I am so excited and this is all I think about all day long so I just want to shout it from the rooftops.

Hoping and praying I hear something tomorrow about this possible match. Fingers crossed!!

Speed Coaster

I had been warned in a positive way, that Surrogacy can be a roller coaster. I think that is to be expected. So many hormones, plus feelings, and then at the end of the day walking away knowing that you did this amazing wonderful thing for someone, and going home 'empty handed'. I knew that coming in to this, so I wasn't terribly suprised with the things I have learned to date.

One thing I was NOT aware of is how FAST this would go. Roller coaster, I knew about - SPEED COASTER.... Woah! I was caught off guard. We got accepted last night. Today I signed my letter and send it back. I also got communication about the psych evaluation and getting that setup ASAP.

Shortly after that, I got paired with my first match of IP's (intended parents). I was so nervous and excited and shocked and everything that I just sat and stared at the unopened email for about 10 minutes before I got the heart to open it. So many emotions, all at once! I read through all of the information very carefully, careful to understand everything I was reading.

I realized that we had a couple of rather large conflicts which was dissapointing. I guess I hoped that my match would be sent and that would be it. Done deal. I suppose I was being a little too hopeful. Anyways, I have responded letting them know my concerns and now I wait. But that certainly got my heart racing today to know that things are moving at super speed!

I also was contacted by the doctor who will preform my testing to make sure im not nuts. I think they call it an MMPI or something similar to that. Here is to hoping that the scheduling wont be a royal pain in the behind due to time differences and work conflicts. Im so excited! I also got to talk to my good friend about everything that has happened to date and ramble on and on about it. I am so thankful for good friends!!

That's all for now... Until the next wave of roller coasters!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

OMG OMG OMG!

The title really says it all. This is exactly how I have been feeling for about 12 hours now.

M did his screening with the social worker yesterday afternoon. I figured it would be a few days before we heard anything back so I planned to go as a family to run some important errands once M was done with the call.

Once we got little M to bed that night, I checked my email (which I check CONSTANTLY - you never know when you will get something important) and voila! There it was... Our acceptance letter.

I could not (and still cannot) believe it. This whole time going through all of these screenings, I thought that they would find something 'wrong' and say we weren't a good fit. I was certain that because I had told a few of my friends that I was looking to take this journey that I would jinx us. I was so worried (which is completely my nature, I worry about everything - which is why M and I make such a great couple, because he is so level headed) that I would do something wrong and would not be able to be a surrogate and give what I believe is the ultimate gift to someone.

I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!

Next steps, call the OB to have my IUD taken out asap, and then to the psych eval which is via webex. Im pretty sure I am sane - though I am certain some women will think that it is not possible to be sane if I am looking to be pregnant again with someone elses child. I suppose the jury is still out on that. :)

Monday, June 10, 2013

What's Next?

After reviewing information for weeks, and talking to people through my six degrees of separation, I finally decided I wanted to look into this a little more seriously.

Surrogacy was taking over my life. It was all I thought about all day long, and when I finally fell asleep, it was all I would dream about. I needed to see about what steps to take next. I reached out to some of my new surro friends to ask how they chose an agency. A few chose based on locale. A few based on BBB rating and then another went with a place called Circle Surrogacy. When she said the name, I realized that it was the same agency that my other friend used for her egg donation process.

I went back to their website again and started perusing all of the information. I researched reviews online, both through their site, and others. I searched the BBB for their rating, and I asked my friends about their experiences with them. My next step was to reach out to them and try to get a 'feel'.

So I decided to complete the online application. I finally took the plunge. I was really doing it!

When I started the application, late Sunday night I thought - this will just take a little bit and then I am sure I will be able to finish what I was doing before I started the process. WRONG.

The application process was long. Intense. They left no stone unturned. I wanted to make sure everything I put in there was accurate and 100% complete. They asked about my height, weight, age and health. They also asked about family history. A lot of other questions to also make sure I met the qualifications that they clearly outlined on their website.

The application took me probably over an hour. Partially because I am so detail oriented, I wanted to make sure everything was in place. I got so nervous about the application. I felt like I was 18 and applying for my first loan - What if they deny me? They say I am not good enough? Then what?!

Monday, I was anxious all day. I wasn't real sure what to expect. Then, I checked my email.... I had passed the first step!!! How exciting! I was ecstatic.  I told M immediately and then contacted my BFF in Australia to update her on the process.

I had to send in a bunch of paperwork to back up everything that I filled out when I did the original application. I worked with a wonderful woman named Jeni, who also had been a surrogate (and whose blog I had read from start to finish!). Next step was to meet with the social worker.

My meeting with the social worker was about 2.5 hours long. While at first thought of a call being that long, I was dreadful. I do not want to try and fake laughing at someone with terrible jokes, or have to explain everything in great detail as if I was speaking to a toddler the whole time. Instead, my social worker was amazing. She really got me to connect with her. We laughed and joked, it was a lot of fun. It seemed as though we were having a conversation like we were old friends.

The social worker then had to do a similar process with M. That call is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon and I am so nervous! As long as he doesn't appear to be crazy, then we move on to the next step, which would be my psychic evaluation. Wish us luck!


So Much To Consider

When I started considering becoming a surrogate, there was just so much to consider. A friend had mentioned that she had done egg donation through an agency and I had no idea what either of those things meant. I started researching egg donation and found a lot of information about surrogacy.

Surrogacy was something I was aware of, but not familiar with. I have a very close friend in Australia who was, at that point in time, considering searching for a surrogate as their IVF treatments were not working. I had discussed with her about her experiences, even though she did not ultimately need to proceed with the surrogacy, it was very interesting to learn about.

That is when I started my research. I found so many blogs that, in looking back, helped me define my decision. From that point on it was easy for me. I read as many blogs as I could find, as many articles, as many web forums, as many online books as I possibly could. I found a lot of great information and it seemed to be very honest, but as this is the internet, and you truly never know (I think about that State Farm commercial "they can't put anything on the internet that isn't true! Here is my French Boyfriend I met on the Internet" "Bonjour!") I started to reach out to friends of friends who could give me some answers to questions in a one on one setting. Turns out the theory of "six degrees of separation" really came into handy when looking for people I may know who have done Surrogacy.

First, I posted in my birth board. When I had my Son, we went onto Baby Center and joined a board full of women who were all due August 2011. We then migrated to Facebook (a secret group, so no one can see our posts about baby poop, stretch marks and anything else pregnancy/baby related) and have maintained our friendships and watched them all blossom, while talking about all things baby/toddler related, along with some random topics thrown in from time to time. I asked if they had opinions on becoming a Gestational Surrogate, if they knew anyone who had done it, and what their experiences may be.

I got a lot of great feedback. There were quite a few that were puzzled and did not understand why someone would want to be pregnant again, but I feel like I am a realist, and I expected some people to have this kind of response. A few women on there were able to connect me with friends and family who had been surrogates. My first question was one that I assume would be the obvious for most people. I'm not so concerned about the hormones, the matching process, the pregnancy itself, my biggest question was "What was it like to go through the pregnancy and then hand the baby over at birth?".

To date - every single person I have asked, has said that while you do have some emotions about it (to be expected!) It's different than with your own child/children because you go into it knowing this child is not yours from the get go. I cannot say how I will feel when my time comes, I cannot begin to imagine. What I do know though, is that my support system is strong. I have faith that they can pull me through anything that I cannot do myself.

I then brought the topic to my Fiance. I was not sure how he would react. He might shut me down immediately and that would be that. So I approached the topic, and asked what he thought of it. My Fiance, (M) is an amazing man. He is so supportive. On the downside, he is so straight to the point, no nonsense. So I was worried that he might view surrogacy as nonsense. We talked it though and his question to me was "Why?" and I was so confident in my response when I told him "My life changed when we had little M, and I want to be able to help someone have their own baby and open them up to the same happiness that I have experienced". Much to my surprise, he said "Ok". We were able to discuss in more detail, further, but that's what I was looking for, his OK.

Next step - find an agency and start the process!!