Saturday, August 29, 2009

My last post...

With tears in my eyes and a sunken heart I have to say this will be my last post. It was found from our amnio result that this baby boy has Down's Syndrome. It was a surprise to all because all of the ultrasounds so far have shown perfect growth and no markers for any problems at all (besides for the higher reading on the NT screen). Kendra and Tony have decided that they want to terminate this pregnancy. I have pleaded, I have begged, I do not believe this is the right decision for this baby. In my heart, I know that he could have a fulfilling and loving life, despite his set-backs and handicaps. I know that Down's babies can be the most loving and cheerful children, and can bring so much into the lives they touch. If it were my choice I would have this baby and find a warm and loving adoptive family for him that would be prepared to deal with the special care he would need. But this is not my choice :( Instead, I go Monday morning to begin the 2 day process of ending this pregnancy. I am horrified and saddened. I have been feeling him move around for a short while now, and this little baby has no idea that he is different or may have problems. It is killing me inside to know that I am spending the last few days of his life with him, and that I will have to be there with him when it ends. It is gut-wrenching. I never imagined in a million years I would be in this position. I feel as if I am being punished for just trying to bring something good and joyful into this world. This is and will be my deepest regret in life. I wish and wish that in my contract phase I would have had the foresight to know how this would feel, and I wish I had changed my stance on termination. I had thought from the beginning that it is not my baby, so it should not be my decision. But after feeling this little guy squirm around inside me and after everything I have done for him to allow him to grow and be healthy, I can't help but feel that a part of me will die along with him.
I truly appreciate all of the love and support I have received from everyone around me. You all have made me a stronger person and have gotten me through all of the hurdles and challenges that have come along with this journey. I only wish from the bottom of my soul that this could end in a different way. But I guess I am just a passenger along for this ride :(

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I got a wonderful (and delicious) surprise from Kendra and Tony last week (see picture)! And I also included a little snapshot from when the baby was 11 weeks old (truly outdated by now - it has grown a lot since then - but cute nonetheless!) BUT, to say things are going smoothly would have to be a lie! These past couple of weeks have been the most extreme roller-coaster of emotions possible! It all started last Monday when I went for the first trimester downs screening (the NT scan) which is an ultrasound to measure the thickness of the fluid on the back of the baby's neck and it is also combined with a blood test to determine the baby's risk for chromosomal disorders. Typically people will get like a 1 in 10,000 (or some other high number) risk for something wrong. Well, we get the ultrasound done and then meet with the "genetecist" (contracted out from my OBs office) and she was like, "Well, from what we are seeing this baby has a 1 in 2 chance of having a chromosomal problem, and even if the chromosomes end up being normal, only a 17% chance of making it to delivery without dying in utero". This doctor was cold, matter-of-fact and totally lacked any spark of compassion or personality. It was just me and Kendra because Tony was out of town, and we both look at each other and she starts to cry. Fighting back tears myself, I try to concentrate on what the doctor is telling us, and try to figure out what it all means. This doctor stated that she believed we did not need a second opinion (and suggested that by getting one we were just trying to get somebody to lie to us tell us the baby was fine) and said we should go straight to having an amnio, if the baby even survived that long. :( It was a nightmare - the worst news ever. She wouldn't write down the information she was giving us because she didn't want us to go on the internet and get wrong information, so she just said if we had any questions to just ask her right then. YEAH - that's easy - you've just been dumped on with terrible news and are expected to know what to ask - stupid doctor. So we had the choice of scheduling the amnio with her or with Evanston hospital, so I went with Evanston. I scheduled it and like 20 minutes later they called me back and said that based on the results that got sent over from my OB, they didn't feel comfortable going straight to an amnio (which has a 1 in 150 or 200 risk of causing a miscarriage ... the geneticist told us it was 1 in 1600 - totally wrong information). So they had me come in the following day for a level II ultrasound just to make sure. And lo and behold, that doctor had absolutely no basis for making that diagnosis, and not only that, the levels they measured fall into a NORMAL category. They are the high end of normal, but nonetheless normal. This is shocking to me - can you believe that a doctor that you are supposed to trust can make such a huge error in reading results?? And had the hospital not questioned it, we would have went on to have the amnio and possibly risked the life of the baby for nothing. It just makes me sick to know that we were given incorrect information, and in such a horrible manner. We found out from Kendra's fertility doctor that this specific genetecist has a 60% termination rate with her patients, which is absolutely outrageous. We are all so upset. Anyways, I guess the moral of the story is to never trust a doctor and always second guess things that don't seem right. We are currently in the process of talking with the doctors of my OB office and we are going to meet face to face to discuss this "genetecist" and her practices. I feel as if we are in good hands now, but what about the hundreds of other women this doctor treats and may or may not give mis-information to? It is scary - heartbreaking. So we will see what (if anything) can be done to prevent this from happening to others.

Of course we are not totally out of the woods yet. Since the measurements were on the high end (after going to Evanston and getting our bloodwork back, our risk came back at 1 in 108 of having a chromosomal problem - similar to what the odds would be for a 39 year old, even though Kendra was only 32 when the embryo was created). But it certainly isn't the dire situation that the first doctor had said. The baby went from having a 50% chance of having something be wrong at that first appointment, down to 1% - pretty drastic if you ask me!!!

So after much discussion with eachother and with all of the doctors, Kendra and Tony have decided to go ahead with the amnio. It is extremely hard to shake that awful news we originally recieved (even though our current doctor insists that the original diagnosis was incorrect), and they just are hoping to receive good news from the amnio and we can all go on to enjoy the rest of this pregnancy, and if the results come back not what we are hoping for, at least they can prepare for what is to come. But for sure they will have answers by the end of next week (and will know the sex of the baby for sure!! At least something fun to get out of a not so fun experience!). We are all just praying and hoping for the best at this point.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Crazy News....

So at my last appointment Kendra and Tony shared with me some news....

she is pregnant!!

I didn't post it then because I thought I would wait until she got past the point of her last miscarriages, and she just had an ultrasound and everything is looking good. So it is safe to say she will be having 2 babies 1 month apart from eachother... how crazy is that!!!
Of course the news was shocking to them and me as well. At first I just felt bad, like that they really don't need me here. I mean, I wanted to have a baby for a couple who couldn't have one themselves, and here we are! And for everything they have spent financially and emotionally to get me pregnant for them, it seemed kind of to be a waste if they didn't need to do this after all.
But it seems that maybe her body was able to get pregnant because after these past few years struggling with trying to have a baby, she was finally able to just relax knowing that they had one little bun in the oven growing away. It will be really awesome to see this all unfold. I can't begin to imagine what it will be like for them bringing home a newborn from the hospital and being 9 months pregnant... it will definitely be a challenge, but I am sure once they get their 2 little ones home safe and sound it will be just wonderful. So they will be getting their twins (sort of!) after all :)
Because of her blood clotting issue (which is why they didn't use their own embryos on themselves) they are monitoring her blood closely and will medicate if necessary to keep the baby safely put, but it seems like everything is going okay so far, so that is good. So it won't be exactly the journey I was expecting, but I guess the only thing better than getting one baby out of this situation, is getting two! And the greatest thing of all is that the baby I am having for them will have a sibling, which is truly wonderful and makes me happy!

Monday, July 27, 2009

11 weeks...

So we had an ultrasound at 11 weeks this past weekend. The baby is getting so cute :) Tony and Kendra were both able to be there - it was fun to see Tony's reaction, since this is the first time he has "seen" the baby! Everything is moving right along. The bleeding area is totally gone (thank goodness!), and I am now off every single one of the medications (FREEDOM!!) and off any restrictions. It feels great to finally be done with everything and go on to a normal pregnancy schedule. The medications were really starting to wear on me, so it is a relief to be done. However, the whole area where I had to do all of those awful injections is numb and achy at the same time. I don't know how long this will last - hopefully not permanent!! It is really strange because I have been off the injections for a couple weeks now. The good news is I think I am getting my energy back and morning sickness is subsiding (knock on wood!!). 2 days of feeling pretty great - I hope it continues! I haven't had a headache in a few days either, so I am thinking I am on my way to 2nd trimester bliss - haha :) Couldn't come soon enough!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

time is flying.... and all is well...

So far so good. I am almost totally weaned off my meds (no more shots - yay!!) and the only symptoms I have been really having (besidse being exhausted) is nausea and pretty brutal headaches, which I am hoping will start to go away in a couple of weeks. I had my first OB appointment last week. I was just under 9 weeks, so I wasn't expecting much. But the Dr. decided he was going to try and hear the heartbeat with the doppler anyhow. And to my absolute surprise... he found it!!!! 164! I couldn't hear either of my own kids heartbeats by doppler until like 13 weeks, so this was great! I am starting to feel really positive about this pregnancy now. Sometimes I let my fears/past experiences get in the way just enjoying things and keeping a good outlook. I know that is something I really need to work on, because as Brandon likes to remind me all of the time, if you are going to worry and expect the worst to happen, it might as well just happen, because you have already experienced it as if it had. It's true - I know! Anyhow, I get another ultrasound in a couple of weeks and then yet another one a couple of weeks after that. It is awesome getting to get all of these little sneak peeks at the baby! In normal pregnancies you definitely do not get all of this reassurance that everything is okay. It makes the time go much faster when you have so many small little milestones to look forward to :)

The only negative experience I have had so far is that the doctor I met with last week (who is definitely NOT my favorite doctor in the group) informed me that there is no way to make any exception to allow both Kendra and Tony in the OR when I have the c-section. This is extremely upsetting to me!!! How can you have a couple pay to have their baby in your hospital, and then not allow them both to be there to see the birth of their child?? I am furious and will definitely be seeing what I can do to change this. He said I can only choose one other person (besides myself) to be there. So of course I would pick Kendra, but it is just not fair! Not only will one of them not be able to see their child be born, but for myself, I am doing this whole thing so that in the end I will get to see the expression that they will both have holding their baby for the first time, and I will be missing that if they can't both be in there. Well, policy is policy, but we will see what happens with this one! I will not be letting this go very easily, that is for sure!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

8w ultrasound....

I was so dreading this appointment today. After having some more spotting this morning, I was just terrified that the ultrasound today would reveal something bad. I was so nervous in the morning that I couldn't eat, so I took my prenatal vitamin on an empty stomach (bad idea!!). I ended up throwing up before we left the house with 2 kids crouched over me in the bathroom asking me "What is wrong Mommy??? What is going on???" Not my finest moment - haha. I won't be making that mistake again!!
So anyways, we were fortunate enough to get good....GREAT... news. The baby (which looks like a little gummy bear) has grown tiny little arms and feet and was wiggling all around. The heartbeat was 167. And the best news is that the bleeding area that had doubled in size is now HALF the size it was, and is starting to clot up. That is such fantastic news!! So Dr. Jacobs says that the risk of miscarriage has dropped to 2%, and will be down to 1% by next week. I feel as if a ton of bricks have been lifted off of my shoulders! He released me to my normal OB and gave me a schedule to wean me off of all medications slowly over the next few weeks, as well as to resume all normal activities after 2 more weeks. Him and all of the nurses that I have gotten to know over the past couple of months seemed truly happy that everything looks so good right now. And of course Kendra seemed ecstatic that things are moving along. This was a really big appointment because we are really close to when we both had our miscarriages. So getting good news today was the best thing possible. So hopefully there will just be boring updates from this point forward - haha!! Who am I kidding? This journey so far has been anything but boring - who knows what we will have to conquer next? But I am confident that we can tackle any challenge that comes our way from this point on :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

7w3d - ultrasound...

So the next ultrasound showed the baby with a heartbeat of 145 and perfect growth for its age! It was wonderful news, followed by not so wonderful news. The SCH they were worried about last week has not only not gotten better, it has doubled in size :( One of the things I had thought when I saw this, was that maybe it has to do with the baby aspirin I am taking. It is meant to thin the blood to provide better blood flow to the baby, but wouldn't that mean that it would make a spot that is bleeding internally, bleed more??? So I asked then nurse, and she didn't seem to think so, but asked the doctor anyways. He advised me to stop the aspirin (I knew it! Why didn't I ask this LAST week????) and then to go on 24 hours off my feet. I am also restricted to no exercise or heavy lifting, and then I go back for yet another ultrasound next Tuesday. Thankfully, my mom offered to take the kids overnight and until tomorrow evening so that I could truly rest - it was a blessing!! So I am really trying to take it easy, although it is very difficult with so much going on. Today is Carmela's 1st birthday and we have a big party planned for this weekend. I am swamped with invitation orders, and work is very busy as well. So in between all of these things, I know I need to take a step back and just relax. I need to let this thing heal!! I am praying it will begin to clot up and next week will reveal better results. Fingers crossed!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

6w3d - we have a heartbeat!

So today we had our 2nd ultrasound and saw a wonderful little heartbeat of 117, which is really good for the stage we are at now! We did, however, have quite a scare though this past Saturday. I felt a little crampy all morning and then found that I had been bleeding quite a bit. I totally freaked out and ran to the bathroom to see what was going on, and in the meantime, Leo decided he was going to take advantage of my lack of attention and go into my little medicine bag I make for myself each morning. As I am panicking on what to do, he comes up to me and says "Mommy - I ate your vitamins!" and I realize that he ate the 2 Estrace tablets I had in there!!!! AHH!! So between the bleeding and thinking what awful things could happen to him, I quickly ran and called Poison Control in total panic (they said he would be fine - thank God!!) and then call the doctor and then Kendra to explain what was happening. I never had bleeding like this before during a pregnancy, not even when I had a miscarriage, so of course I am thinking the worst. I was a mess. But the doctor calmed me down and said there was nothing to do but wait until the ultrasound the following week.

So at the ultrasound, they found there is a subchorionic hemorrhage behind where the baby implanted which caused the bleeding (sort of like a blood clot I guess that forms when the embryo is implanting). Apparently it is really common and not much to worry about, but I have never had this before, so I am kind of freaking out about it. They told me to take it easy and it will hopefully go away on its own. I go back for one more ultrasound next week before the fertility clinic releases me to my normal OB. I am SO happy we got to see the heartbeat and can't wait until next week - they grow so incredibly fast, it will be fun to see the small changes.

Just a few more week of meds, too. So I am seeing the light of being able to relax at the end of this stressful period of time! I think once we can get to 9 or 10 weeks, we will all be able to breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to the arrival of a new baby!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ultrasound #1!

So we had the first ultrasound today - ONE beautiful little "hole" (that's what the sac looks like on the screen) with a small yolk sac forming on the inside. It was measuring 5w3d, which is perfect for where we should be. Part of me was thinking we would see 2, but the idea of one healthy little baby is so wonderful! I know two would have introduced a whole new risk and worry, so one gives us a better shot of everything going as planned. Since Kendra and Tony have been pregnant twice with twins though, I was sort of hoping to be able to give them that. But in the scheme of things, one is better than it not working at all, that's for sure! It was too early to see the heartbeat, though, so we go back next week to hopefully see that amazing little flicker. I can't WAIT for that - that will be a great moment. My #s came back at 5713 for HCG and 33 for Progesterone - just right! OKAY, now another week of waiting! When you are trying to get pregnant, you always think that as soon as it finally happens the worry and stress will end, but unfortunately I don't think it ever does - even after the babies are born and grown, there is always a "next step" to think about :) The joys of motherhood!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Beta #2!

Well, Beta #2 came back at 884 - not quite double, but a good number, nonetheless! The awesome news is my progesterone is back up around 39, so that is wonderful. That's a good level! So they told me to continue on my meds as usual, which means continuing the nightly injection. Last night Brandon was working until late, so I had to give it to myself - yikes!!!! It took me a good 10 minutes of standing there holding the needle to push it in - it was extremely intimidating. But like every other thing, once I did it, it was no big deal. Maybe I will just do it myself from now on (well, maybe NOT - hehe!!).
So from the first beta, I was thinking twins. But after the second one, I am definitely more thinking one took. We will find out for sure next Wednesday at the first ultrasound - yay! We probably won't be able to see a heartbeat this early, but we will be able to see how many are in there. I can't wait!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

HPTs and Betas!

I came home this past week to a couple wonderful gifts ~ the first was a stunning bouquet of flowers from Kendra and Tony's parents. The most beautiful flowers I have EVER received!! And also a statue entitled the "Angel of Miracles" from the agency I used. What thoughtful gifts!! They make me smile when I look at them. What a great surprise to come home to!

Well, I just could not resist testing after receiving these gifts and ended up testing on Wednesday, which made me 6dp5dt (6 days past 5 day transfer). This was still really early to test though, so even if it didn't come up positive, I was still in the game. I knew I was going to test that morning, so I was SUPER nervous all night long - I woke up every hour hoping that it would be morning, and at 4:30 I just couldn't take it anymore, so I got up and tested. It was so early, my eyes were burning, and so when the test didn't immediately come up positive, I got depressed and then just sat there ready to head back to bed. But a minute later I looked at it again, and to my surprise, there was a line!!! It wasn't really dark, but it was definitely there (as confirmed by Brandon as I woke him up to look at it!). So I decided I was going to wait until the next day and retest. If it came up darker I would tell Kendra. Well, that morning I did it again, and surprise, it was darker! I then went to check my email and Kendra had written that she had decided that she didn't want me to test until the blood-test the following Monday. Oh no!!!! I didn't want to make her think that I hadn't respected what she had asked of me, but I knew if I didn't tell her, she would be going crazy all weekend waiting.

So my mom had suggested I go and buy some flowers and stick the pregnancy test in the flowers and drop it off at her house. It was a great idea! So I bought a little pot of flowers and went to her house, hoping she would be there. It turned out she wasn't, but her dog-walker was, which turned out great because she was able to leave it on her counter for her. I received a call a few hours later that she had gotten the surprise. She seemed SO excited!!!!! I was so happy to be able to share this news with her - it felt so wonderful to be able to be a part of making someone so happy! I was convinced all week that it hadn't worked, because I didn't really have any "symptoms". I may or may not have had some cramping 3dpt and 4dpt, but I believe I made that up in desperation to feel something! I also was tired and cranky, but hey, if that meant I was pregnant every time I felt that way, I would be octo-mom times 10!

The beta (bloodwork) was done today, and I got the great news my # was at 484!!! I was just hoping it was over 100, so to be 484 was music to my ears! The next beta is scheduled for Wednesday. They also upped my PIO injection to every night because my progesterone level was only a 9 and they like to see it over 10. At least I had some time to get used to it before having to do it every night!!! Well, now the wait is on again. Hopefully my #s will double by Wednesday. I am still SO nervous, but at LEAST we have good news so far. That's the best I can hope for right now!

Friday, May 29, 2009


So Finally it was the big day - Transfer Day!!! It seems as if we have been waiting for this day for what seems like forever, I can't believe it has finally come! It was a wonderful day. My mom came with me because Brandon had to work, and Kendra's mom came with her as well. It was so nice having the moms there. So they took us all into this small operating-like room. It was a lot more "medical" than I imagined it would be. I had to put on a gown and lay down on this crazy table. The doctor came in and said that both the embryos thawed nicely and my lining looked "beautiful". Perfect! The doctor put in a small catheter and then an even smaller catheter within that one to place the embryos in my uterus. We got to watch the whole time on the ultrasound screen, and with one little blast, both embryos went in . We even all got pictures from the ultrasound machine! It was such a big moment. I was so nervous going into the day, but during the whole procedure (which was only a couple minutes) I was calm and in awe of what was happening. What an amazing experience! And now I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. I am carrying around the most precious thing in the world to Kendra and Tony. It is such a massive responsibility. I am on a couple of days modified bed-rest and then my blood pregnancy test is scheduled for 10 days from now (I think I'll test earlier though at home, just to be prepared). So now the wait is on (once again!). Hopefully the embryos will implant in the next couple of days, and I will have good news to follow!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

PIO shots - getting ready for the transfer!

So I ended up having to do the PIO shots (progesterone in oil). These are the bad ones! In the picture is the Lupron shot (on the bottom) which goes in the stomach - no big deal, and doesn't really hurt at all. The TOP one is the PIO. It goes in your butt area and because it is in oil, you have to massage it and put on a heating pad afterwards to prevent the oil from pooling up under your skin. Brandon happened to be at the Indy 500 when I needed the first one, so luckily my dad was willing to come over and stab me! I was SO scared, but it actually didn't hurt as bad as I thought it would. Brandon took over a few days later :)
So here's my medicine list:
Baby Aspirin and prenatal vitamins every day
PIO shot (1 ml) every other day
Lupron shot (.25) every day
Estraderm patches (change every few days - sometimes 1 sometimes 4)
Estrace vaginal suppository (1 pill 2 x a day)
Endometrin vaginal suppository (1 pill 3 x a day)
Z pack antibiotics
Gee- I think that's it - haha. So our transfer is scheduled for May 28th - YAY!!!!
I didn't think this day would ever come!
I am scared it will work - I'm scared it won't work - I have such conflicting emotions. But above everything else I feel, I just hope hope hope that this works the first time. I will feel just terrible if K & T have to endure yet another dissppointment. My mom is coming with because Brandon has to work, and her mom is coming too, so that is exciting and fun. I can't wait!!!! Wish me some luck.....

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Appointment #2 - check!

So appointment #2 went pretty good. Another ultrasound and blood-work. The only issue the doctor had was my lining was only just above the minimum level they like to see. The tech also said there was a tiny bit of fluid in there, so hopefully that will just absorb and not be an issue. They increased one of my medications and I need to go back in a few days for another ultrasound to see if that corrects the problem.

Also, I was informed that I will indeed need to start the PIO (progesterone in oil) injections :( Boo! They originally said I wouldn't have to do that one, but apparantly the doctor has changed his protocol. They are supposed to be really painful and go right into the muscle of your butt. Brandon will have to give them to me. I won't have to start them for another week or so though. I was such a baby about the Lupron injection - and that was nothing compared to this! It should really be a scene :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

1st appt down!

So the first appointment went really well. I had to go downtown to the fertility clinic for bloodwork and an ultrasound. The doctor needed to make sure everything is a certain level so that I could continue on the medication schedule. I received the phone call later that afternoon that everything is a go! So I now have to start an estrogen patch and pill, as well as taking baby aspirin, as well as continuing the lupron injection. Next week they check again to see how my levels and uterus lining is progressing. Crossing my fingers no issues so we can keep the transfer date of May 28th!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

lawyers, contracts, injections, oh my...

So they finally arrived... all of my medications for this cycle! Before I could get them to mail me all of these lovely pills, shots, patches, etc., we had to make sure all of the contracts were signed by both Brandon and myself, our lawyer, Kendra and Tony, and their lawyers as well. It was a really quick process and we got the paperwork together right away. The contracts basically consist of a lengthy explanation of how the compensation works, including addressing a lot of the "what-ifs". For example, what if the baby has severe abnormalities, what if there ends up being multiple babies, what if I DIE and need to be put on life support in order to save the baby (morbid!), and most importantly, what if the baby ends up not belonging to me OR THE PARENTS!! WHAT?! And I guess that DOES happen sometimes. Sometimes the clinic messes up and inserts the wrong embryo. Umm, yeah - somebody should be getting fired for that little mistake! The most important part of the contract for Brandon would be the part that states that we must, ahem "refrain from activity" that may result in pregnancy for the entire month before the transfer - sorry honey!!! Lawyer/Dr.'s orders!

There was nothing surprising in the contract though and after it was signed I got to start the fun stuff - injections. So I'm thinking, no big deal. I have never been afraid of needles or pain, so whatever. Well, that was before I had a sharp pointy object aimed at my stomach. Brandon sat there laughing at me - every time I would go to stab myself, I would hesitate millimeters from my skin - I could NOT make myself do it! So, being the man he is, he quickly grabbed it from me and shoved it in (as I am screaming "How could you do this to me??"). Turns out it didn't really hurt at all, and I am now able to give it to myself no problem. I get a shot a night for the next month. The drug is called Lupron which apparently shuts down my ovary function so that I don't ovulate during the cycle. Knock on wood, no side effects yet!

The other great thing is I met up with Kendra for lunch, and I had a wonderful time! I was nervous that maybe when we met one-on-one she wouldn't like me as much as she had thought. But it went really well and we had really good conversations. So that makes me that much more excited to move on with this and to do this for them.

The next step involves weekly ultrasounds and bloodowork, as well as starting the rest of the meds. I'll update with each appointment :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Moving forward!

To my surprise the mom called me today and told me that it's a go! They both talked it over with their families and decided that despite my added risk, they still want me to be their surrogate :) WOW - now it is real - I am excited, nervous, anxious, a hundred things. I am thrilled that they think so much of me that they are willing to continue with me, but at the same time I am sad that I have to put their little babies in extra harms way because of my issue. I want to be a surrogate to help a couple, not add an additional hurdle to their quest to be parents. But I know (and they know too) that as long as mother nature cooperates, I will do everything I can to care for their baby as if it were my own. After all of this waiting these last couple of months, now it seems to be going so fast! The next step is to meet with an attorney and work out the contracts and after that is all done, I have to start on the medications to get myself ready for the transfer. So onto the contract phase....

Saturday, March 28, 2009


So the first step in getting evaluated to be a surrogate is getting a psychological test done with a psychologist at the fertility clinic. So, I expect to go in, answer a few questions, and find out I am indeed not crazy! Well, talking to her was fine. Then she hands me a booklet and Scantron sheet and asks me to go home and fill it out and mail it to her. OK - that's not too hard. WELL, almost 600 true/false questions later, I am beginning to question my sanity! And not just typical are you crazy questions - this odd test has ones like "Would you like to become a florist?", "Have you ever stalked somebody?", "Have you ever tried to kill somebody?", "Are you afraid of earthquakes?" - HUH?????? And of course I over-analyze every question. Well, I am not afraid of earthquakes here, but yeah, I guess I *would* be afraid if one ever happened - how do you answer that?? But I finished it up and sent it in and again...wait around.

About 3 weeks later I was informed that I passed (phew!) and then I was able to transfer all of my records to the fertility doctor and make my appointment for my medical evaluation. After waiting about 2 weeks for them to call me I finally get a call from the agency saying there is a problem. In my medical records it states that I have a septated uterus. I had been told this a few years ago and was going to have it further checked out when I found out I was pregnant with Leo, so I never did. And since I got pregnant 3 times total and had 2 full term normal pregnancies, I never though anything of it. WELL, the fertility doctor sees it as a big problem, and after going back and forth and waiting an additional week, they finally agreed to see me and check it out. A septum is just a piece of tissue on the wall of the uterus and the problem is that if the embryo implants on this area, it will die because there is no blood flow there. So, anyhow, they finally allowed me to make my appointment, which involves a saline sonogram, where they inject saline into your uterus and watch it on an ultrasound machine to see what is there. So you need to have it on a certain day of your cycle, and they needed me to start birth control pills first. So I was able to make the appointment for almost a month later.

The appointment wasn't bad at all. Brandon had to come with because we both were supposed to sign forms and get blood work done, so I had him come back to the room for the exam with me. I didn't know, however, that it would be a full exam - everything off and into a dreaded paper gown. I don't think he has recovered after seeing that exam - haha :) He sat in the corner the whole time with a magazine covering his face. My bad! At least now he knows what us girls have to go through!

The results of the appointment were that I didn't have an actual septum, but a "dimple" as the doctor called it. But the good news was that it was the best kind of problem to have, meaning that I could still go on to be a surrogate. The only thing is, the parents would have to agree to still go with me and realize that there was an additional 5-10% chance of miscarriage. And the doctor was very against me having it removed, because he believed that doing surgery would make the problem worse and affect my own fertility. So that was it - if they decided to still go with me and my risk, I would do it. If they decided against it, the whole thing was over for me. And OF COURSE this has happened on a Friday, so now I have to sit around all weekend and just await their decision. I'm so nervous!!!! But it's out of my hands now....

Monday, February 9, 2009

We have a match: Part II

So the holidays passed and I received another phone call. Another match! I waited until the agency forwarded me their profile and pictures. And to my surprise, again I felt as if this was a perfect match! They are a wonderful couple and seem so similar to Brandon and me. They are around the same age and have the same interests. So I called Brandon and said "Guess what? We have another family!". He thought somehow that I meant that I was pregnant and we had another addition to OUR family, and proceeded to almost have a heart attack over the phone :) But after calming him down I explained what I meant. They live so close to us, so we decided to just go forward and schedule an in-person meeting at the agency.

Going to meet this couple was a bit odd. I mean, how do you react to people when you meet them solely to potentially have their child for them? What a crazy situation!! I could not help but put myself in their shoes, and if it were me meeting my surrogate, I know I would be looking her up and down and analyzing every single thing about her. How awkward!! But right away I felt totally comfortable around them. They were so outgoing and friendly - the type of people you just know off the bat will be fantastic parents. And then they went on to tell their story and how they got to the point of surrogacy.

They had gotten pregnant twice with twins each time, each ending in miscarriage. They later found out that the IM (intended mother) had a blood clotting disorder which caused the miscarriages. She also has PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) where her body grows cysts on her ovaries making it really difficult to get pregnant. She had gone through an IVF cycle which resulted in frozen embryos, but the cycle made her very very ill. So long story short, it would be very dangerous for her to continue trying IVF and for her to get pregnant. And they have 4 frozen embryos left for surrogacy, which would give 2 tries of 2 embryos each time.

Everything about the couple sounded great to me! Their responses completely matched Brandons and mine and I was overjoyed that we were able to meet them and get this opportunity to help them. And they seem so happy and excited to meet us as well to get started. So, finally an "official" match. Now on to the evaluations!

We have a match!

Shortly after submitting my application and meeting with the agency, they called to inform me that they had found match!! I was SO excited. We had set up a phone interview for later that week and I could hardly wait to talk to this couple. The phone conversation was a 3-way between the agency, the potential Intended Mother, and myself. I was really nervous and did not know what to expect. But I had received their profile and pictures and felt somewhat like I had already known her before I spoke to her.

The phone conversation went so great! Her story about having a hysterectomy after having her son due to complications brought tears to my eyes. We totally clicked throughout the conversation. I felt as if she was answering the questions the same way I would and she made it clear that she felt that I sounded perfect for her and her husband and what a great experience this would be. They lived in Indiana, and ironically we were passing right through the area to visit family the following weekend, so we decided to meet up during our visit. Yay! I felt so lucky to get matched with such a wonderful couple. I could not wait. We had both contacted the agency the day after our interview and said we thought it was a match and I got prepared to meet them.

Then, 2 days after that, the agency called and said unfortunately they had decided not to go forward with surrogacy. Their reason was financial. I felt so crushed! It felt as if I had gotten broken up with by a boyfriend - lol! But I was seriously upset. I felt as if they had wasted my time by getting me so excited and then taking it away. But I knew that it had to be meant for a reason. There were several other options for couples at the time. But none of them really had what I was looking for. I preferred to have a couple who were close so they could take part in all of the appointments and ultrasounds. Most of the couples were out of the country, which I felt would make it more like a business transaction. You know, get pregnant, have the baby, and off the baby goes on a plane to another place on the planet, never to be seen again. So there was nothing left to do but to sit and wait.....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Picking an agency...

The first thing I did when I decided to become a surrogate is what most people nowadays would do - I went to the web. I searched and searched all over online. The agencies I came up with the most were in California. What I learned was that not all states have the laws that support surrogacy. For example, in Michigan, it is technically illegal for surrogates to get compensated. In many states the actual parents of the baby cannot even have their names on the birth certificate until they officially "adopt" the baby from the surrogate. That's crazy! California seems to be the most surro-friendly state out there and their agencies are huge. So I placed a few calls with them.

Well, it was like a meat-market out there. Totally cold and automated responses to all of my questions - like they want to get you in and get you out and get their money. I just assumed at the time maybe that's just how agencies were. After looking over my application, they called me and confirmed one of my answers. The question was under what circumstance would you not want to work with a couple? Well, my answer was that I wanted to work with a heterosexual couple. Not that I have anything whatsoever against the gay and lesbian community, I just thought if I was going to help bring a baby into the world I would want it to have a mom and a dad. Well, the Cali. agency said if that were the case it would take over a year to match me with a couple. A YEAR? I was really disappointed. But luckily I had also found an agency through an online forum called Family Source in Illinois. They called me back right away and were so helpful and friendly towards me. They said they could match me right away. So that was it - Brandon and me met with the owner of the agency, who had a surrogate herself to create her family. She was just wonderful!!! So I filled out the application and sat and waited for a response.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

There's no way I could ever do that...

"There's no way I could ever do that"
That's what I hear over and over from people when I tell them I want to be a surrogate. I am not sure where it came from, but I have always thought about being a surrogate. Before I had kids, before I was married. To me it just seemed like something I should someday do. Years back Brandon's aunt and uncle were going through infertility and it had occurred to me that I could have a baby for them. Of course they chose the route of adoption, but had they come to me and asked, I would not have hesitated in saying yes. (as a side note, when I refer to surrogacy, I am talking about Gestational Surrogacy, as opposed to Traditional Surrogacy. With gestational, the baby has no genetic link whatsoever to myself - traditional would require the use of my own egg. My genetics are reserved for my own children :) ) But it was always in the back of my mind.

Shortly after getting married, Brandon and me started trying to start our family. It only took a few months and we were pregnant!! I was thrilled - overjoyed at how lucky we were to get pregnant so quickly. I told EVERYONE about it right away - people I had not seen in years knew. And then sadly at 11 weeks when we went to go hear the heartbeat for the first time by doppler, it wasn't there. A horrifying ultrasound showed a tiny lifeless baby that had stopped growing at 9 weeks. I had a D&C the next day. I was devastated. Actually, devastated is an understatement. I really did not have any other friends who were getting pregnant at the time, and did not know anyone who had lost a pregnancy before, so to me I was the only person this had ever happened to (although later in life I have found lots and lots of people it happens to - it is terribly common). It took us about 7 months after that to get pregnant with Leo, which may not seem long, but when you are desperate to have a baby, it seems like a lifetime. Fortunately my pregnancy with Leo was totally uncomplicated and 9 months later we welcomed our healthy beautiful son.

During that time, I vowed that if I was able to carry a pregnancy and have a healthy baby, I would help someone else who couldn't have that. During that time I didn't know if I could ever have a baby. It makes it extremely hard to imagine couples who have gone through what we went through in that short time for years and years. It is heartbreaking, really. You can't get away from it. It is impossible to leave the house, turn on the TV, open a magazine, without being reminded what you don't have.

So my answer to that, is how can I NOT be a surrogate? How can I go on knowing that I am totally capable of carrying a healthy baby and not share that gift with someone who cannot? Especially after having my son, and then my daughter. Anyone who has children can tell you, having kids is hands down the most amazing thing one can go through in life. There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful and grateful for all of the moments I get to have with my kids. Yes, some times are rough, and there are days I feel like I am going insane :) But at the end of the day, they are mine, and I am theirs, and there is nothing in the world that can replace that.

So here I am starting out on this journey to start a family for somebody. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving! People tell me they are shocked that there are women out there who are willing to be pregnant for somebody else. Well, if there weren't women like me, there wouldn't be an opportunity for these babies - these babies that are wanted so extremely badly by their parents - these babies that will go on and hopefully do great and amazing things for our world. By being a surrogate, you are opening up a whole world of opportunity that just would not be there otherwise. Of course, it may still not happen. I have to go through several evaluations before it is decided I can do it, by health professionals. But it is a really exciting time. Brandon is surprisingly extremely supportive. I say surprisingly because it is not like it is total fun for him for me to be pregnant :) But he agrees with me that in the scheme of things, it is a very short period of time to give somebody a lifetime of having a family.

And yes, there is a compensation. I will get paid for it. That is typically the first thing people ask about when I tell them. But anyone who has been pregnant can tell you, it is HARD to be pregnant. There are many easier ways to make that amount of money in a year. It is NOT about the money - it's just a bonus. For those who are wondering (and I know a lot are!) if all goes well and I get to be a surrogate, the money will probably go into Leo and Carmela's college accounts, or it will go to grow my business. So it's a win-win. A couple gets a baby, and I help out my family too :) In many ways, I feel like money cheapens the whole process. BUT (and a big but) I will be giving up a lot to do this - I will be taking time and energy away from my own family to give to this baby. So if everyone can benefit from it, why not?

So it begins - we will see where it takes us. I am hopeful it will all go smoothly and I will get the chance to actually go through with it! And I will keep this blog to hopefully inspire others who may have ever thought about being a surrogate as well!