Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

You know that song is stuck in your head now. You're welcome!

So after a few revisions, Austin and I signed the final contract and FedEx'ed all 37 pages of it to the legal department at Circle Surrogacy!

I texted J&S this picture and said "Know what that is?! That's a signed final contract, on its way to Circle!!!" It made me smile to get a text back from them almost immediately, with their own picture of their contract and a message saying, "Do you know what this is! A signed contract on the way! :)"

But now we wait. Sigh.

Apparently, the egg donor is still in her medical screening process, and the guys have a separate contract they will sign with her.

Hurry up, Miss Egg Donor!

Just kidding! (Not really.)

Once all of that is complete, then the IVF clinic can start to sync my cycle with hers, using a calendar they create for medications and an estimated embryo transfer date. I have no idea how long it will take before we get our calendar. Originally, the IVF clinic thought we might do a transfer as early as the first week of July, but I don't think that will be the case. So now I'm worried about the date. I'm crossing my fingers that our transfer trip doesn't fall anywhere in between August 9th and September 14th. My niece has her birthday party that she's counting on me to help with, my daughters have their first day of school in August (the little one is starting VPK preschool), and then my husband and I will be swamped with coordinating our special needs daughter's fundraising fishing tournament on September 14th. I know that being a surrogate means I will have to make sacrifices and will likely miss some important events, but I really hope it all works out!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Surprise Souvenirs!

Last week, J&S had their medical screening and every thing went great! You should have seen them on Skype trying to explain about their part of the screening while my 4 year old daughter was sitting there listening. They finally settled on a swimming hand gesture while using the word "tadpoles." :)
I was so bummed that they were going to be in the same IVF clinic that Austin and I had been in less than two weeks before, but we weren't going to get to meet yet. When I said this to J before our medical screening trip, he said, "Yeah, you'll have to write a message on the bathroom wall or something!" We cracked up laughing, but the wheels were secretly turning in my head that I had to do something. So while in the Orlando airport, we picked up some stereotypical Florida souvenirs to surprise them with: chocolate alligators, salt water taffy, and a "Hi from Florida!" Mickey Mouse magnet. We bought a gift bag and a card at the Rite Aid in Grand Central Station (this makes me laugh--I don't know why), and then brought it to the IVF clinic the next morning. They were more than happy to let us leave the gift there to surprise the guys, and I am so thankful to them for that! That's really going above and beyond!

The guys loved their surprise, and said they started eating the candy right away because they had to fast before their blood work and were starving. I'm so glad the surprise worked out. And, even better, I found out that S collects magnets from the cities they visit while traveling. I had no idea! Now they have a Mickey magnet from their surrogate in Florida! :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

♥ Oklahoma ♥

My heavy heart goes out to the Oklahoma tornado victims and their families. The loss of any life is tragic, but the loss of so many children just makes this unimaginable. Please text REDCROSS to 90999. A mere $10 will be added to your cell phone bill. You'll never even notice the charge, but it will make a difference in someone's life.

Do it. Pick up your phone and send a quick text.

Today I am thankful for the simple things in life. My family, my friends, even the collection of itchy mosquito bites on my legs from our weekend camping trip. I've got it made. If you have a loving support system and a roof over your head, smile today.

As the pictures and video footage continues to stream in from Oklahoma, most are too devastating to even comprehend that they are real. Then I saw this one, and I couldn't help but share. Get your tissues ready.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hurry Up and Wait

I can't believe it's been almost a month since we started contract revisions. We were pretty much on the same page as J&S about everything, so I really thought this part would be done already. It looks like we're in the home stretch now, just one little wrinkle to iron out. Once contracts are finally signed, we can start to move forward again in this journey and get on to the baby making!

While the contract revisions have been going on in the background, the guys and I have continued to email daily, Skype weekly, and even text now! I found this great smart phone messenger app, called Kik, which allows us to text each other without any of the international charges. Now when I want to send one quick little message to J&S, it doesn't have to be through an email! It's such a little thing to get excited about, but when you are communicating with someone that lives nearly 5,000 miles away, it's pretty cool for it to be instantaneous. If you are a surrogate or an international IP, you should definitely think about trying Kik!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

I am spending the day soaking up the Florida sun with my baby girls, splashing in their baby pool, throwing water balloons, and eating popsicles (rough life, I know). But I wanted to hop on here and say Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there! We come in all types--lots of kids, one kid, stepmoms, new moms, preggos, surrogate moms, angel moms, single moms, special needs moms, Mr. Moms, those who step in as moms for others who need them, those who aren't mommies yet but spend today dreaming of when that day will come--we're all different, but we keep our families full of love, strength, and happiness.

Thank goodness for us, because you know collectively, these boys would mess it all up! :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Surrogacy Contract, Yuck

This is the part I'm hoping is over with quickly.

The contract negotiations, the "business" part of surrogacy, is uncomfortable. Fortunately, because we are using an agency that has experienced attorneys, the guys and I don't have to figure out this part on our own. The attorneys draft the contract, and then work with us individually to make the changes we think are necessary.

But I hate it.

We have spent the last month getting to know these two amazing men and their family and building a relationship with them. I care about them deeply already, and they seem to really care about my family too. This friendship makes the business part feel awkward, but hopefully since the guys and I seem to be on the same page about everything, it will go smoothly and we can move on to the baby making! I can't start any injection meds until after the contracts are complete, but for now, it appears that we may do the embryo transfer in early July!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Medical Screening Complete!

On our second day in Connecticut, we had an early morning appointment at the IVF clinic for our medical screening. Austin just needed to do the blood test and a urine sample (and yet he still managed to whine about it...thank goodness men don't give birth). I also had the blood test and urine sample done, and the nurse said the blood work would take about a week to get the results back. They're testing for sexually transmitted diseases so I know everything will come back fine. If it doesn't, a certain husband has some 'splainin to do. ;)

We spent some time talking to the clinic's surrogacy coordinator, Shantai, and she was so nice. She's also an egg donor, so it was nice to have someone in the clinic with first-hand knowledge of the medications. We also got to meet Dr. L, the IVF doctor, and he was so great! Everyone was so friendly, and I loved how they knew who my IP's were and knew who they are as people, not just patients. Shantai explained the surrogacy meds I would need (I started prenatal vitamins last night!), and then showed us the needle for the Lupron (which was super tiny like I expected). I haven't been nervous about those shots in a while now (which I'm sure will change when it's time to actually poke the needle into my stomach), but I was still really nervous about the Progesterone In Oil (PIO) shots. Those needles are significantly bigger, and have to be given into the muscle in your butt. So, I should have been jumping for joy when she informed me that their clinic uses Crinone instead...a progesterone suppository that's inserted vaginally.

There was no joyful jumping.

I actually felt sad.

What?! I know, right?!

I just couldn't shake this feeling that I am somehow less of a "real" surrogate because I'm not doing the painful butt injections. I'm sure it sounds silly, but I feel like I'm skipping some sort of surrogate hazing or initiation. Like I'm taking the easy way out. There was actually a moment where I wanted to say no thank you, I'd rather have the shots. I shared my feelings with Shantai, and she looked horrified and said "In absolutely no way are you any less of a surrogate because you're not doing the PIO injections!" I've read a few stories on blogs about surrogates who say they much prefer the injections over the suppositories, so I asked her about that. She said it's about 50/50. Some women prefer the shots because of the mess and irritation that can come with using the suppositories. Also, the suppositories are done two or three times a day, as opposed to just one injection. But of course, there are so many women who complain that the PIO injections leave them bruised, unable to walk or sit from the soreness, they have hard lumps and bumps, and the anxiety is sometimes hard to overcome.

I must have looked lost in thought and torn in my decision, because right then, Austin pipes up with, "Do you have a progesterone needle you can show her?" Shantai hesitated and said, "Yes, but I don't think I want to show you...." Austin said, "No, I want her to see it in person. I want her to remember what it looks like, when she's back in Florida and getting tired of the suppositories and considering switching to injections."

Holy cannoli, that needle was huge.

I'm so glad he did that (I knew I kept him around for something!), and I feel more confident in my decision to choose the suppositories. Either choice is going to be annoying and sucky anyway, so I might as well pick the one that's not painful! I still have this lingering less-of-a-surrogate feeling, but I'm hoping that goes away soon. I was still feeling a little down at the clinic, but fortunately Austin fixed that for me. We were sitting together in the waiting area, and quietly talking about my feeling this way. He was being so nice and supportive, and says to me, "I'd much rather you stick something up your butt than have to get an injection."

Thank god I wasn't drinking water...I would have shot it across the room!

"What in the hell are you talking about?!" I said. "You know," he said. "The suppositories. In your butt." I started hysterically laughing at the confused look on his face and said, "Um, I think you missed a key word in that hour long conversation. You missed it about 27 times. VAGINAL! Vaginal suppositories!" To which he responded, "OOOOhhhhh. Okay."

In his defense, my best friend did the exact same thing when I told her today. :)

So now his misunderstanding has cheered me up, and it was time for the saline ultrasound of my uterus. Also known as my date with the weenie wand. Which did not live up to my expectations.

Oh, weenie wand, I'm so disappointed in you.

You merely looked like a stick. How pathetic.

But once again, my husband saved the day. Because hanging next to this so-called weenie wand was a huge bag of condoms. You would have thought Austin was 16 years old again. He thought it was so funny, and I didn't dare make eye contact with him when the nurse practitioner was putting a condom on the weenie wand. I knew we'd both lose all composure!

The ultrasound was over pretty quickly, and it wasn't TOO bad. Pretty uncomfortable, lots of cramping and pressure, but nothing too horrible. The best part was when the nurse said, "My dear, you have a lovely uterus!" Why, thank you. :) I had some cramping the rest of the day and the flight home, but I never even had to take any Motrin, so that's good! My medical screening was successful and we had an amazing trip!

It's just too bad I didn't get a great weenie wand picture.

But I did get this one.

An Amazing 36 Hours

We got back from our medical screening trip two days ago. I cannot believe from when we left our house on Tuesday morning to when we got home on Wednesday evening was a mere 36 hours. We crammed so much into such a short period of time, and we had so many new experiences! I'm so thankful that although the purpose of this trip was for the surrogacy medical screening, we had a little bit of time to visit a city I've always wanted to see. It's a trip I will never forget!

Right after I posted my last post, we took a taxi (a first for us) to the train station (another first) so we could make the trip down to Manhattan. I'm so glad J&S encouraged us to do this! We spent the evening in midtown Manhattan, walking around the city, going to the top of the Empire State Building, and then heading over to Times Square. The city is indescribable, and the view from the top of the Empire State Building seemed too amazing to be real. Although I love living in a small town, the buzz of energy and excitement in Manhattan was pretty awesome. All of the buildings were so gorgeous, and when we first walked out of Grand Central Station on to the street, I will be the first to admit I got choked up. I couldn't believe that we were actually standing there, and it was even more than I imagined it to be. We spent about 6 hours there before heading back to Connecticut. We were absolutely exhausted and even fell asleep on the train (oops!). I'm having a hard time deciding which pictures to post here, and I took too many to post them all. So here are just a couple, or you can click here, and see all of the pictures along with their descriptions. :)

Me and my hubby in front of the New York Public Library,
Look at their gorgeous flower bed of tulips!

Our view of lower Manhattan from the top of the Empire
State Building. In this shot, you can see the new World
Trade Center building and the Statue of Liberty.

Finally, in Times Square, someone offered to take
our picture so we didn't have to do another selfie!

Times Square as the sun's going down. See
the New Year's Eve ball up there?!

Next stop: the IVF clinic for my medical screening!