Why this blog exists...

This blog is a journal, a memento of my feelings, thoughts and personal experience of being a gestational carrier.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First photo of the baby!

Here is the baby at 10 weeks. I told the daddies that I think it looks like a Gingerbread Man Cookie. I suppose it could look like something worse. See the little arm and leg nubs? Too cool. I didn't get the pleasure of seeing my babies this early in the womb so it was a pleasure to see this little one so early. I am so excited to begin having a "normal" pregnancy from here on. I no longer need to be monitored by Connecticut Fertility Associates and can be seen at Cheshire Medical Center. Although to be honest I am most excited that I get to start weaning off the medications. I have to take the Progesterone shot every other day, take Estrace from twice a day to once a day, Prometrium every other day for another 2 weeks. I think I can handle that. I wish I could say that I would be able to take a celebratory time out to have a margarita with my pal Chelsea but alas that will have to wait for another 7 months.
I'm ready for all of this. I was looking at maternity clothes online today. I have to say that I was excited to bring them out of storage at my house. I repeat as I have said before...Progesterone makes you gain weight. I am not just someone that decided to let myself go because I am pregnant. I have gained more weight than I thought I would and am frankly ready to start wearing a few of the ol' maternity clothes. Meh, I don't really mind. I accept it and really, if I didn't like wearing the clothes among other things, I wouldn't have been able to commit to being a surrogate.

That being said I am so excited to move forward, to experience everything that is to come.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Almost 10 weeks..what?

Finally a new post here. Several of my dear followers have issued threats if I didn't write. There is not much going on here. I had some bleeding last week and instantly panicked that I was going to miscarry. I didn't of course and am still going strong. I've been so nervous lately. A few of the ladies on our surrogate message board have had some issues. One lost the baby at 5 weeks. Another got positive pregnancy tests only to have lost it the following week and another who is halfway through carrying twins is having complications. I don't even know what I would do if that happened to me.

I am intensely afraid even now that something bad is going to happen. More so than with my children. I was thinking about it and realized that I think in this instance it has got to be so difficult on the surrogate and-perhaps I am wrong here-but maybe even more so than on the Intended Parents. This isn't to be insensitive to the parents and their feelings but knowing what I've gone through already from medications to mood swings, the thought of starting all over again from scratch just sounds devastating.

When I signed up for this I knew that all of these things were possibilities. I am a strong person and truly believe that anyone would have to be to be in this position. I mean I started my medications on January 8 and will begin weaning off of the last of them next week. That is 3 months of shots and pills and vaginal pills too! I feel for those women, more than I could imagine because not only do they have to go through a miscarriage and the hormonal effects of getting off the medications cold turkey but they have to prepare their bodies to do it all over again, this time with perhaps a less optimistic view of the process.

I have my last ultrasound on Monday April 11 before I am turned over to normal prenatal care. I hope that this ultrasound is a positive one as I continue on this journey. I will be more than thrilled when the first trimester is over and I can breathe a little easier to know that the likelihood of complications drops.

Thanks to all who read. It is nice to know some people care about me and the impact this is having on not only the parents but on my life as well.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Time goes by so fast!

So I know I haven't updated in a while. Some people, I'm talking to you CPH apparently have nothing better to do than stalk my life. No just kidding. Seriously I guess the reason I haven't updated is because really not much is happening. Maybe I'm making too light of my situation.

Yes I am pregnant. I guess that would have been a good thing to post. However, I know that the few people that read this blog probably knew that so...meh..I didn't post it.

Plus to be honest I have been so extremely moody, which is so not me by nature that I feared typing something on here would sound either a) whiny, b)angry, c)even more whiny. So I steered clear until I could compose my thoughts.

I would be lying if I said I didn't mind taking all the medications or that I'm not nervous about al of this in some way. I mean I'm getting to the point where I don't want to inject a two inch long needle into my ass every day and sticking other pills up my vajayjay.

Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled beyond belief to be doing this but I am ready to be past this preliminary phase. I don't want to be soo tired beyond belief. And I am sick of being so edgy. Someone does one thing and I am about ready to bite their head off. I don't like feeling this way. I believe it is due to the medications. This is known to be a side effect. I hope it passes soon or I won't be able to be around people without screaming or crying or both. I almost broke down at work last week for no reason. I literally could not figure out why I felt like I was going to cry. It was embarrassing. Luckily no one saw me and I composed myself.

Now to the good things going on with all of this. So yes I found out I am pregnant. I am not 100% sure of a due date but I know that as of Tuesday March 15 I am 6 weeks pregnant. This should make me due right around the beginning of November. Not a bad time to have a baby. There really shouldn't be much snow, if any and I won't be sweltering hot like I was when I was pregnant with Simon. My HCG levels have been rising as they should and I have my first ultrasound on March 22nd. I should find out then whether there is more than one baby in there.

One woman who is on our surrogacy message board has found out that one of her embryos split and that she is having triplets. I empathize with her since I don't know what I would do in her situation. I really don't. Not that it would be entirely up to me. The parents would really have to make the critical decision whether to have all three or "selectively reduce" down to two. That is such a tough choice however the surrogate has extreme risks to herself and the babies if she carries all three. Yikes.

I personally think I am only carrying one. I just don't think both embies stuck...however I could be completely wrong. I am very excited to find out.

Update to come once I know more.

Monday, February 21, 2011

My transfer experience!

My transfer was yesterday. Here is how it all went down. My husband and I got to Bridgeport on Thursday night. I was expecting a Day 5 transfer so I knew it was unlikely that I would have the transfer on Friday but I was there on the off chance that they decided to do so. Anyway, we get to the Holiday Inn around 9pm, after we had both worked that day and got home and rushed around to get ready and drop off out children to our friends who were going to watch them.

I barely slept that night, knowing that tomorrow could/would change my life. I barely ate breakfast the next morning. I have a nervous stomach so I wasn't sure when/if things would happen. I wasn't sure what the potential timeline was so I called CFA around 8:30. They told me that if I hadn't heard anything and didn't hear anything before 10 or 11 then it wasn't going to be on Friday. I took a much needed nap as time passed and were set knowing it would be Sunday.

My husband and I took the day to relax a bit at the hotel. There is a mall near CFA so we did a bit of shopping-why not right? We had a wonderful dinner with our IF's on Friday night, staying out until past 10pm! Shock, it was way past normal bedtime! Honestly though I was thrilled to get the chance to chat with them more and they had lots of questions as did I. They had no idea what I had been going through as far as medications and shots. They were just told that I was on medications but hadn't a clue to what that entailed so it was nice to let them know what was going on and how I was feeling about it all.

Saturday rolled around and I felt a bit nauseous. I think the morning dose of Doxycycline may be at fault but I'm not sure....so we kind of stayed up cozy n our room. Bridgeport isn't exactly a city you want to take a stroll among. I was getting anxious and restless, I admit. I desperately began to miss my children but I enjoyed getting some much needed rest and time to think, which I did. I started a journal for the baby, separate from this forum or my blog where, should the parents choose to give it to them when they are older, they will know the experience I went through and how special it was for me.

Sunday comes and we play the waiting game. I obsessively check my phone, making sure I didn't miss a call and that my volume was at the highest level should I mistakenly miss it....10:10 rolls around and I finally decide to call CFA, I just can't wait any longer. Come to find out that they said I was supposed to be there at 10!! I was not informed of this so I was a little upset but I didn't really have time to think about it as we rushed to CFA for my long awaited transfer. I called the IF's and they were on their way already so we all got there about the same time. As it was Sunday there was no one else there so we got right in. I got into a johnny and was sitting on the table. The nurse told me that they had just recently changed their process so as it used to be done in a surgical room, they were now done in more like an exam room. There was soft lighting, nice music and a large tv showing peaceful landscapes. It set a nice mood. They put on my arm band and I was told to lay down, Dr. Williams came in and briefly told me what was going to happen. My IF's were a little uncomfortable being in the room with me so they waited in the waiting room. My husband attempted to take pictures. The placed in the speculum and from that point on I really didn't feel anything! It was less unpleasant than a regular pap smear! They placed in the catheter and on the large TV screen I saw the embryos, both of them looking beautiful. As Dr. Williams got them he said they were both in a drop of liquid! I never really thought about them as so small! Next he said that he was inserting via the catheter and placed in my uterus. He double checked to make sure neither of them got stuck in the catheter and said everything looked great! That was it! It took less than 10 minutes to change so many lives! The IF's got a large picture of the embryos. They were in shock but elated.

I go in on Tuesday to get initial blood work done and will find out March 1 if I am indeed pregnant. The waiting game begins...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Coming up transfer...and the scary shots!

So...I started my Progesterone in Oil injections on Monday. Let me tell you these needles are quite large and they have to be injected in the muscle which essentially I was given two choices, my upper thigh or my upper bum...and I have read several places that the upper thigh is more uncomfortable so I had to get myself prepped to inject this huge thick needle into my bum.

Not only this but the medicine itself is oil-based so it is pretty thick. I took a half hour to finally do it. I called Mike in several times to say "I can't do it..I just can't!" and he says "You have to". I sucked it up and finally did it..after I poked at my skin a few times and even that hurt!

Once I got through the skin it wasn't bad. I pushed that oil in like it was my job. I have to take these shots every morning until I am 10 weeks pregnant. So roughly 3 months. I know don't be so jealous of how awesome that sounds. But it is all worth it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Transfer Date Set!!!!

My transfer timeline is set! The egg donor's retrieval is Tuesday so I will have my transfer either Friday or Sunday. This actually works out so perfect for me because Monday February 21 is a bank holiday and as I work in a Treasury, bank holidays are like mini work holidays where we don't have to do all of our normal banking transactions. Good news all around! Now if only there was a way around injecting a needle into my bum, that would be nice.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Crisis Averted

Soo.....I almost ran out of needles to inject Lupron. I realize last night I had two left. Enough for today and tomorrow Luckily Freedom Pharmacy will deliver more on Thursday, just in time for my next injection. Whew! That could have been bad.

A girl at work's sister had twin boys yesterday. Both were over seven pounds! I was excited for her and I realized how excited I am to have another baby, even if it isn't my own. Another girl at work is pregnant and due in a few weeks. She was talking today about how uncomfortable she is and how she can't stand it when the baby has hiccups or sleeps and moves around. I of course started to get dreamy and reminisced of the days when my babies did those things when I was pregnant. She told me that she could never do what I was doing.

I realized then that I suppose I am not like everyone else who has been pregnant. I mean I know there are women who've had horrible pregnancies and were miserable. I loved every minute of mine...well okay maybe not EVERY minute but I really do relish in the idea of getting to do it again. My husband will be getting a vasectomy in March and while I think that our family is complete, a part of my is so very sad that I will never carry and birth my own child ever again. I will never know that incredible feeling of meeting my new child again for the first time.

I know that being a carrier is going to fulfill this need while allowing me to give the most wonderful gift to another family. I couldn't be happier with my decision.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

So many things..

So many things to be nervous, excited, scared, elated..(insert pretty much any adjective here). I'm so excited about my upcoming transfer in about two weeks. I had an ultrasound this past week to look at my uterine lining. I could probably go into more detail but really, who wants to read that? I was bummed to find out on Friday that my lining was not as thick as it needed to be and it would push my transfer out a week. Boo....I ridiculously thought that I had reason to feel guilty about that which I know is not true..so I have to go back for another ultrasound on Thursday but the doctor at my agency is confident that everything will be fine and has decided not to push the transfer date out. The egg donor has already started her meds so I guess all will be okay.

One of the medicines I'm taking-Estrace- is making me gain weight...yeah like I need that. And to my luck, I take that medicine 2 pills twice a day and have had to make that three doses now just to make sure my lining thickens as it should. I find that throughout this whole process one might think that being pregnant is the tough part but really getting pregnant is the true test. I'm so scared that I won't get pregnant, or worse get pregnant and lose the pregnancy. I admit, I'm terrified. Arg too depressing.

I'm gonna make some daddies! I'm gonna make some daddies! W00t

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My match and the beginning of the process

I was matched in September 2010 with a gay couple who live in New York City. The agency matched us and then we spoke on the phone to make sure we were felt like it was a good match. We had a nice conversation. I told them about my family and thoughts about what was going to happen. I could tell they were so excited.

We check in once a week and they came to visit in October. I was so nervous. Even though we've been matched, I was nervous that that there would be something that would make them not want me to be their carrier. This is not justified but I'm always a worrier.

Next came the contract, a 30 page document that spelled out what would happen to cover any scenario. It was somewhat of an unsettling process only because I didn't like talking about the money and I would get this amount for this and that amount if this happens. It wasn't something that I felt comfortable talking about. These guys want a family, not a second mortgage. I couldn't imagine trying to gouge them for more money than they are already paying.

So once all the papers were signed, Mike and I crossed our t's and dotted our i's. We had to sign a celibacy contract to last the month before the transfer and the month after.

I went for my medical screening right before Thanksgiving and the doctor said that everything looks good and I shouldn't have a problem getting pregnant. It made everything more real. Connecticut Fertility Associates is a wonderful place and the people there are awesome. I look forward to going back for the transfer.

At this point I'm in the middle of taking my medicines. I received a huge box of them on January 7. I started with Lupron. An injection in my stomach once a day. I remember my first time. I read and reread the instructions on how to do the injection. I was practically sweating before I had to stick the needle in. I knew once I did it that I would there was no turning back. This medicine would be changing my body in ways I hadn't experienced before. I took that for two weeks and had an ultrasound and bloodwork to confirm that my ovaries were being suppressed. Hooray! I found out Friday January 21 that everything looked great and I could start Estrace and aspirin. So it continues. I look forward to the end of February when I really begin my journey...

Look back for more

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Backstory and the Application Process

This journey began in August 2010 when my dear friend Lynn suggested to me that she thought this would something I would be good at. I had in fact in the past offered to be a carrier for a friend of mine who ironically suggested I create this blog. Brad, the offer still stands should you ever come to need it. I credit Lynn however to make me think about it seriously enough to apply. I did so shortly after speaking with Lynn.

I did massive amounts of research, scouring the internet to find agencies that not only looked credible but would consider me based on where I live. The agency I found was was one located in Boston. The website was inviting, with upcoming due dates, pictures of parents and surrogates. There were numerous stories, many from news casts and international stories. My excitement began to increase and I realized "I was meant to do this". Yes it sounds a bit silly and I realize that but I am not an average person. I actually care about people, sometimes too much. I wanted to do something for a family that to many sounds almost crazy when for me sounds so natural. I enjoyed being pregnant so much with my two children that I honestly couldn't imagine never experiencing it again. Never feeling that power of creating a human life. I felt this was something I could do to change someone's life in a way that no one else could. There is much more demand for carriers then there are carriers themselves. This isn't to say I am a saint. I have my faults as we all do. I don't claim to be selfless however I have always had dreams of doing something big but knew I was never to have the capabilities, whether monetary or the fact that my family had started and I couldn't pack up and do something as immense as I felt I needed to do. I can only say that even if I had the time and money, would I go through with what I claim to want? Maybe not. I am shy, painfully aware of this and I don't always have the courage that I wish could help me do the things that I would like to do. I'm a homebody who really enjoys spending time with my family. This was something that would be personal, on a level that while my family and friends will be outwardly affected, would be on me. This is something that I can do that I will take with me for the rest of my life. It is terrifying and exhilirating at the same time. I spoke with my husband who was on board right away, then my family who I believe were taken aback. I could understand. If I had told them I was pregnant with triplets I would have received less surprise. They still are supportive but don't still don't quite know how to talk much about it. This doesn't bother me much. I don't let this quell my excitement. I am doing something special, not to be ashamed of.

After finding the agency I wanted to work with, I immediately began the roughly sixty question application. Some of the questions were easy, talking about me and my family, why I wanted to do this. These were questions I expected. The questions I didn't expect were of course the toughest. These questions right off forced me to question all my morals and thoughts of right and wrong. Questions about termination of the fetus, things that are not to be talked of in every day conversations. I battled with these. Some were easier to answer such as whether I would let parents choose to abort should the fetus have serious complications or disease. The one question about whether to abort if the fetus had down syndrome I admit I first said no. I was so afraid that I would be seen as someone who didn't care about the fetus and that I would abort any creature without thought behind it. It is not a black and white type of answer. Saying no to this one question was enough to disqualify me.

I was not going to give up that easily. I reapplied and this time chose Yes as my answer to the question. I had thought about it and had to realize that this was not my child, nor my decision to make. I'm not getting on a soap box here and I don't want this blog to be about abortion and my thoughts about it. I just want to state that while I personally could not see myself doing that to my own child, I take on this as a potential reality should the parents deem it necessary. That being said, the parents are screened and frankly are putting a lot of time and money into having a child which I do not think would make them take aborting it lightly. There, I've said my piece.

Once the questionnaire was complete and I was initially "accepted", I was flooded with paperwork. Forms to release medical records, forms about my medical past. All necessities but I was realizing day by day that this was going to be really big. If I had any second thoughts, now was the time to say so. I trudged on, not thinking for a minute that I shouldn't do this. I got the heads up that a psychological exam was to be taken. The MMPI. This was a 600 question True/False exam which was designed to make sure I'm not a nutjob. The questions ranged from asking things like whether I'm happy to whether I hear voices in my head. I can't see how it would be hard to pass but maybe that's just me..

Anyway, following that I had a conversation with a social worker at the agency. She was great and while I knew in the back of my head that this was almost like an interview, it was an easy conversation to have. I talked about my family, my upbringing and my intentions. The next day she talked to my husband. She told him that out of 200 applicants, they would only choose about 6-8 to be surrogates. I was one of those chosen. It was the beginning of my surrogacy journey.